Catlin did have some pores and skin within the recreation. He labored on Liberal member Nick Russian’s bid to develop into Melbourne’s lord mayor (Russian polled a strong fourth), and helped take care of a narrative that briefly threatened to destabilise that marketing campaign, when Russian’s spouse Rozalia was noticed purchasing at Tiffany’s throughout considered one of Melbourne’s interminable lockdowns of 2020.
Most of his expertise, nonetheless, has been with high-end company purchasers. After leaving the media – he was a tv journalist with Seven – he labored in public relations and advertising, spending nearly 5 years as Myer’s PR and occasions basic supervisor earlier than transferring to Swisse Wellness in 2011, for nearly 4 years.
In 2014, he registered the title for his personal PR firm, Catchy Media Advertising and marketing and Administration, though its web site has since expired.
It was this firm that stood to achieve from Catlin’s method to billionaire Liberal donor Jonathan Munz, when Catlin sought greater than $100,000 in funds, along with his taxpayer-funded wage. Munz mentioned that when he acquired the e-mail “he rejected it out of hand”. Catlin resigned on Tuesday after The Age revealed the sorry affair.
Few Liberals will go on the document to share their ideas about Catlin. One senior determine unleashed a barrage of unprintable descriptions of Catlin when contacted, whereas one other disparaged him as a “name-dropper” who gained favour with Man, along with his guarantees to herald large donations from company supporters.
“Lots of people who knew him fairly properly have reached out to me saying, ‘we knew this might occur’,” that individual mentioned.
“It was solely a matter of time earlier than he got here unstuck.”
Publicly, senior Liberals are holding schtum (with the notable exception of former chief Michael O’Brien, who pointedly posted on Twitter, on the day of Catlin’s resignation: “Sick of dodgy politics? So am I.”
However privately, they’re reeling. Some predict Man will lose the management, whereas grimly acknowledging the place this turmoil would lead lower than 4 months earlier than the state election.
“I feel on the floor, they’re all speaking it up as if it’s a storm in a tea cup, however I feel deep down, they’re fairly properly conscious of the severity of all of it,” one mentioned of the management.
And of Matthew Man: “I simply don’t know the way he can survive it, to be trustworthy.”
Discuss to individuals about Catlin, and one episode is talked about time and again. Not, maybe, for the explanations Catin would possibly favor.
Three years in the past, 9 star Karl Stefanovic – then dealing with relentless social media strain within the wake of his divorce and new relationship – was the topic of a speculative column within the Herald Solar (by the identical trustworthy scribe) describing his obvious signing of a deal to have Catlin kickstart his “fame reinvention”.
Catlin, readers have been informed, would assist Stefanovic’s “on the street to redemption” to remake his “model”. Bother was, it appeared the Herald Solar knew extra about this association than anybody else.
“Mitch is a person of monumental confidence and self-promotion”, a well-placed supply with data of the episode informed this masthead. “He and Karl had a dialog in a marquee on the Melbourne Cup. That’s all it was.” The association, such because it was, was to not final. Catlin declined to inform the Sydney Morning Herald whether or not he had “leaked” the story himself.
One one that labored with him earlier than he joined Man’s workplace, nonetheless, mentioned Catlin was a “bloody good publicist”. They pointed to him bringing US comic Ellen DeGeneres out to advertise “G’day USA” in 2013, and Nicole Kidman for an look within the Swisse marquee on Derby Day at Flemington in 2012.
The latter was, that supply mentioned: “complete genius, to be trustworthy … It was all anyone was speaking about.”
However to be genius in PR – realizing which journalists to court docket, whom to take to lunch, and which celebrities to convey out to Australia to advertise your model – isn’t the identical as being intelligent in politics.
“He’s a rat-cunning, savvy way of life product publicist,” one one that knew him properly observes.
“So to make this launch to politics, aside from the disdain he had for [Daniel] Andrews, I did suppose it was a bizarre transfer, and the very first thing I did suppose was, ‘gee they have to be taking part in him a shitload of cash’ as a result of I assumed, , why would you?
“I did discover it somewhat bit unusual.”
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