Election 2022: Inside Lisa Wilkinson and Peter FitzSimons’ Albo victory party


A glittering array of actors, politicians and TV stars attended an election night party hosted by media power couple Lisa Wilkinson and Peter FitzSimons at their multimillion-dollar harbourside mansion in Sydney on Saturday.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s triumph over Prime Minister Scott Morrison was said to be a ‘healing’ experience for the predominantly left-wing guests, who had been left devastated by Bill Shorten’s unexpected defeat in 2019.

After some initial concerns when the first results trickled in, the mood ‘became more and more buoyant’ as Mr Albanese edged towards victory.

The hosts marked the significance of the moment by hushing the crowd as an Indigenous guest ‘recited the Uluru Statement by heart’, reports The Australian.

Married actors Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward rubbed shoulders with the likes of WSFM radio duo Brendan ‘Jonesy’ Jones and Amanda Keller at the exclusive event, where the attendees ‘celebrated into the wee hours’.

Actors, politicians and TV stars attended an election night party hosted by Lisa Wilkinson and Peter FitzSimons at their harbourside mansion in Sydney on Saturday. (Wilkinson is seen here with actor Simon Baker and journalists Julia Baird and Jennifer Byrne)

The most high-profile guest was actor Simon Baker, the Tasmanian-born star of hit U.S. TV show The Mentalist and Hollywood movies including The Devil Wears Prada.

The day before the high-powered gathering, Baker had been pictured speaking with Allegra Spender outside a pre-polling booth in Sydney’s Bondi Junction.

Ms Spender, the teal independent candidate for the Wentworth division, ended up unseating Liberal MP Dave Sharma on Saturday.

Wilkinson and FitzSimons (right) host a party at their multimillion-dollar home every federal election night, inviting a Who's Who of media, politics and the arts

Wilkinson and FitzSimons (right) host a party at their multimillion-dollar home every federal election night, inviting a Who’s Who of media, politics and the arts

The most high-profile guest was actor Simon Baker, star of U.S. TV show The Mentalist and movies such as The Devil Wears Prada. (He was pictured speaking with teal independent Allegra Spender outside a pre-polling booth in Sydney's Bondi Junction on Friday)

The most high-profile guest was actor Simon Baker, star of U.S. TV show The Mentalist and movies such as The Devil Wears Prada. (He was pictured speaking with teal independent Allegra Spender outside a pre-polling booth in Sydney’s Bondi Junction on Friday)

Married actors Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward (pictured at the Sydney Film Festival on May 8, 2019) rubbed shoulders with the likes of WSFM radio duo Brendan 'Jonesy' Jones and Amanda Keller at the exclusive event, where the attendees 'celebrated into the wee hours'

Married actors Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward (pictured at the Sydney Film Festival on May 8, 2019) rubbed shoulders with the likes of WSFM radio duo Brendan ‘Jonesy’ Jones and Amanda Keller at the exclusive event, where the attendees ‘celebrated into the wee hours’

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson (pictured on March 24), who is a supporter of the UK Labour Party, was also among the guests, and later tweeted: 'What a night to be in Australia!'

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson (pictured on March 24), who is a supporter of the UK Labour Party, was also among the guests, and later tweeted: ‘What a night to be in Australia!’ 

British celebrity chef Nigella Lawson, who is known to support the UK Labour Party, was also among the attendees, and later tweeted: ‘What a night to be in Australia!’

Several notable journalists were on the guest list, including ABC presenters Julia Baird and Jennifer Byrne, who posed for a celebratory Instagram selfie with Wilkinson on the night.

The Sunday Project host captioned the photo: ‘Well, that was a fun night. This one’s for you, Brittany Higgins.’

Wilkinson has long been an advocate for Ms Higgins, a former Liberal Party staffer who claims she was sexually assaulted by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019 and has since become an outspoken critic of the Morrison government. 

Wilkinson name-checked Brittany Higgins in an Instagram post from the party. Ms Higgins did not attend the gathering, although she was no doubt invited

Wilkinson name-checked Brittany Higgins in an Instagram post from the party. Ms Higgins did not attend the gathering, although she was no doubt invited

Wilkinson has long been an advocate for Ms Higgins (pictured), a former Liberal Party staffer who claims she was sexually assaulted by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019 and has since become an outspoken critic of the Morrison government

Wilkinson has long been an advocate for Ms Higgins (pictured), a former Liberal Party staffer who claims she was sexually assaulted by a colleague in Parliament House in 2019 and has since become an outspoken critic of the Morrison government 

Top-rating breakfast radio hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones (pictured on November 19, 2015) were on the guest list for Wilkinson and FitzSimons' traditional election night party

Top-rating breakfast radio hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones (pictured on November 19, 2015) were on the guest list for Wilkinson and FitzSimons’ traditional election night party

Several notable journalists were on the guest list, including Kate McClymont (pictured on July 26, 2018), an investigative reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald

Several notable journalists were on the guest list, including Kate McClymont (pictured on July 26, 2018), an investigative reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald

Ms Higgins did not attend the gathering, although she was no doubt invited. 

The journo contingent was completed by Kate McClymont, an investigative reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, and Mike Carlton, who used to host a 2UE radio show with FitzSimons, as well as several producers of Channel 10’s The Project.

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie represented Labor at Wilkinson and FitzSimons’ election party.

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (pictured on February 28, 2019) represented Labor at Wilkinson and FitzSimons' election party

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (pictured on February 28, 2019) represented Labor at Wilkinson and FitzSimons’ election party

The most high-profile Liberal in attendance was NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, a Morrison critic whose advocacy for climate change action has put him at odds with members of his own party

The most high-profile Liberal in attendance was NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, a Morrison critic whose advocacy for climate change action has put him at odds with members of his own party

Mike Carlton (pictured on March 9, 2013), who used to host a 2UE radio show with FitzSimons, attended the party

Mike Carlton (pictured on March 9, 2013), who used to host a 2UE radio show with FitzSimons, attended the party

The most high-profile Liberal in attendance was NSW Treasurer Matt Kean, a Morrison critic whose advocacy for climate change action has put him at odds with some members of his own party.

Novelist Thomas Keneally, whose non-fiction book Schindler’s Ark was adapted by director Steven Spielberg into the Oscar-winning 1993 film Schindler’s List, ‘regaled the assembled throng with an impromptu poetry reading’, according to Media Diary.

Wilkinson and FitzSimons host a party at their ritzy home every federal election night, inviting a Who’s Who of media, politics and the arts.

The 2019 event was said to be a sombre affair when Morrison secured a ‘miracle’ victory over then-Labor leader Shorten, who was widely predicted to win.

Anthony Albanese (pictured on May 21) is set to become Australia's 31st prime minister after Scott Morrison conceded defeat at the federal election

Anthony Albanese (pictured on May 21) is set to become Australia’s 31st prime minister after Scott Morrison conceded defeat at the federal election

Anthony Albanese is set to become Australia’s 31st prime minister after Scott Morrison conceded defeat at the federal election.

As vote counting continued, Labor was leading in 71 seats, to the Liberal-National coalition’s 52, according to Australian Electoral Commission figures.

The crossbench will be at least 13-strong.

‘The Australian people have voted for change. I am humbled by this victory and I’m honoured to be given the opportunity to serve as the 31st Prime Minister of Australia,’ Mr Albanese told supporters on Saturday night in Sydney.

He committed to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.

Mr Morrison earlier congratulated him on his election win.

Mr Morrison (pictured with his daughter Lilly and Abbey as he conceded defeat) congratulated Mr Albanese on his election win

Mr Morrison (pictured with his daughter Lilly and Abbey as he conceded defeat) congratulated Mr Albanese on his election win

‘When we see those in Ukraine fighting for their very freedom and liberty, I think on a night like tonight we can reflect on the greatness of our democracy,’ he said.

‘It is proper to acknowledge the functioning of our democracy. I’ve always believed in Australians and their judgment and I’ve always been prepared to accept their verdicts and tonight they have delivered their verdict, and I congratulate Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party and I wish him and his government all the very best.’

With 55 per cent of the vote counted, the coalition was on 35 per cent of the primary vote to Labor’s 32 per cent.

The Greens were sitting on 12.3 per cent of the primary vote, while independents held just under six per cent.

Labor’s highest profile loss is frontbencher and former NSW premier Kristina Keneally who was seeking to shift from the Senate to the lower house Sydney seat of Fowler.

On the coalition side, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg appeared on track to lose his Melbourne seat of Kooyong, but was not conceding.

The man who was considered a future party leader said holding the seat was ‘mathematically possible’, but difficult.

‘I thank Scott Morrison for what he has done for our country to leave Australia in a stronger position than when he found it,’ he told supporters in Melbourne.

With Mr Morrison saying he would stand down as leader, Defence Minister Peter Dutton is widely expected to become opposition leader.

‘We live in a wonderful country and we have many challenges ahead,’ he told supporters in Brisbane.

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek (right, with Albanese on May 4) said it appeared many people who had voted Liberal in the past had opted for independent or even Greens candidates in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne seats

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek (right, with Albanese on May 4) said it appeared many people who had voted Liberal in the past had opted for independent or even Greens candidates in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne seats

Official figures showed Labor incumbents trailing in Gilmore and Lyons, while Liberals were behind in Wentworth, Chisholm, Brisbane, Mackellar, Higgins, Reid, Robertson, Ryan, Boothby, Sturt, Deakin, Pearce, Hasluck, Curtin and Swan.

Labor could lose the Brisbane seat of Griffith to the Greens.

Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said the coalition had lost the ‘are you in touch?’ question in many electorates, while Labor had ‘failed to win the best able to govern’.

‘That’s why we’re seeing a situation where our vote is down significantly, yet the Labor Party, who could form government out of tonight, have their lowest primary vote since 1919 at this stage.’

Labor deputy leader Richard Marles said his party did not ‘escape judgment’ at the election.

Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek said it appeared many people who had voted Liberal in the past had opted for independent or even Greens candidates in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne seats.

‘They are people who have always voted Liberal in the past,’ she said.

‘It is a big jump for someone who has always voted Liberal to make the jump to Labor.

‘Those voters are trying to send a message that climate change is important to them, a national integrity commission with teeth is important to them, and equality with women.’

Independent MP for Warringah, Zali Steggall, who held her Sydney seat, said she expected more community independents would be elected.

‘People are really frustrated,’ she said. ‘Communities are turning to alternatives to the major parties.’

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