In warming up the audience, O’Neill, who was MC for the event, isolated former Colliers International chairman Bill McHarg, who was sitting in the front row of the event wearing his customary suit, shirt and bow tie.
O’Neill joked with Mr McHarg and the audience that “because he wears a bow tie, is from Malvern and is at a PCA lunch, he must be a Liberal voting capitalist” and that “he must be disappointed Rudd got in.”
When met with roaring laughter from the crowd – which seemed almost unanimously trying to find Colliers International chief executive officer John Marasco in the crowd – O’Neill continued with the insinuating jokes.
Mr McHarg – who recently returned to Melbourne after a fortnight lobbying against John Howard in the Sydney electorate of Bennelong – produced for O’Neill a copy of the controversial advertisement, that resulted in his resignation from Colliers last month. Mr O’Neill thought it funny himself when he learned the whole story.