Phillip Hudson reports on this rara avis in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Robert Ray famously called him a dalek, but the faction warlords from Labor's NSW Right thought they had encountered a genuine alien in Stephen Conroy. They identified with his confidence and ferocious determination to win. They even begrudgingly tolerated his lifelong abstinence from alcohol. But how could they do business with a man who did not eat Chinese?
"One of the first right wing factional dinners I ever went to in Sydney was of course Chinese," Conroy says. Insisting he did not indulge the cuisine, his co-diners stared "at me as though I was from another planet, not just from Melbourne". That's because the real deals in the NSW Right are sealed over a good Chinatown meal, often within stumbling distance of the ALP's Sussex St headquarters.
"If you can't eat Chinese food you starve," says the former Labor leader Kim Beazley. "But I think Steve lives on adrenalin. He could quite cheerfully turn up at a Chinese restaurant for three hours on a glass of water while he pursues politics. For those who are his enemies, they always ought to be aware this bloke would rather a fight than a feed."
Fortunately, Conroy is not Minister for Dining, Catering and Carryout.