Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Death of Democracy - Indeed - but the Murderers were the ones who were disrupting Parliament

Today  - the protestors in Parliament were protesting the so-called "death of democracy".

But the Murderers of Democracy were the very people proclaiming the Death of Democracy -  themselves!
They were the ones who were disrupting Parliament.

Is that too harsh?

Just ask yourself, what would the Conservative side of politics and the Far Right supporters of the Nationals and Tony Abbot and the Climate-Change Deniers say if the Parliament had been disrupted by so-called "long-haired hippies", OR Lesbians and Gays protesting inaction on Gay Marriage, or any other Left Wing cause?

Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and other demagogues would probably be screaming "Shame, Shame, Shame", from their microphones.

But will they denounce these disruptive practices in the Media tonight and tomorrow? We shall hear, tomorrow morning.
  • Is that the sound of silence I hear?
I note the involvement of the previous "Convoy of No Confidence" organiser (which rally had the support of Alan Jones).

This is part of what The Australian's website tells us:
  • "About 80 protesters chanted 'democracy is dead' and 'no mandate'.
  • "They included Peter Madden, who helped organise the anti-carbon tax Convoy of No Confidence in August.There were two teams of protesters, seated on each side of the lower house chamber.They stood up one group at a time to disrupt Ms Gillard as she attempted to answer a question from a Liberal MP.
  • The protesters were escorted from the chamber by security guards but could still be heard as they left the public area."

My only comment to the protestors today - look in your own mirror!
You and only you distrupted the Parliament of Australia.

Comments authorised by Denis Wilson
Robertson NSW 2577

Enrolled voter in the electorate of Throsby.

I am posting a link to this page on Stephen Jones's Facebook page. He is the Member for Throsby.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Poking holes in the Pokies bullshit Debate.

Personal declaration:

Consequently, I gagged when Virginia Trioli failed to interrogate Helen Coonan last night on QandA, when she weighed in to the Poker Machine Debate without declaring her obvious conflict of interest - as a person who has accepted a recent offer to join the Board of James Packer's Crown Ltd, owners of the Melbourne's Crown Casino.

I do hope Jonathan Holmes takes Virginia Trioli to task for that screamingly obvious lapse of standards - next week on Media Watch

Today I am pleased to note that Crikey has put together a list of many more such omissions of declarations of conflict of interest. In honour of Stephen Mayne's excellent work on this subject, I am quoting it, our of respect.

1. The conflicts of interest muddying the anti-pokies campaign
Stephen Mayne writes:
Jenny Macklin, the federal minister responsible for implementing the pokies deal with Andrew Wilkie, is complaining that the industry is refusing to offer up any venues that will trial a mandatory pre-commitment system with $1 maximum bets.
Jenny, ask your own party in Canberra. The Canberra Labor Club operates about 500 machines in the ACT and it represents the single largest investment asset owned directly by an ALP branch.
Labor’s role as the only major political party in the world that fundraises through operating gambling venues is just one of many conflicts of interest which dominate the pokies reform debate.
Here are a few other favourites:
  • Jeff Kennett: As The Australian reported today, the outgoing Hawthorn president is obviously conflicted in defending AFL clubs operating several thousand machines given his chairmanship of Beyond Blue and the known connection between depression and problem gambling. Kennett is further conflicted by his paid gig as chairman of Amtek, a private company aiming to becoming one of the biggest service providers to Victorian pokies venues after Tabcorp and Tattersall’s are kicked out of the system in August next year.
  • Colin Carter: The Geelong president has come out supporting the Wilkie reform package, even though he is seemingly conflicted as a Wesfarmers director given the retailing giant operates close to 2000 machines across Australia.
  • Richard Goyder: The Wesfarmers CEO is in a similar position after it was announced yesterday he would join the AFL Commission in November just as Andrew Demetriou was inaccurately claiming the proposed federal reforms would see AFL club gaming revenue fall by between 20% and 40%. This excludes the windfall gains Colin Carter has pointed to courtesy of many clubs picking up 10 years entitlements for a pittance in the Brumby’s government’s botched pokies auction.
  • News Ltd: Heavily conflicted given that it relies on pokies at NRL club venues to try and stem future losses on its 50% investment in the NRL which has so far cost it more than $500 million with little prospect of any recovery, save for the profits enjoyed on the NRL broadcasting side of the equation through Fox Sports and Foxtel.
  • Eddie McGuire: Conflicted through his brother Frank being a Victorian Labor MP and also from his history as the man who took Collingwood heavily into the pokies. Eddie also has a history as a gambling entrepreneur through a failed footy tipping joint venture with Tattersall’s 10 years ago which was sanctioned by the Bracks Labor government in Victoria. Also paid millions each year by Channel Nine, which is the rights holder for the NRL and open to pressure from Clubs Australia.
  • Roger Corbett: The Fairfax Media chairman is conflicted as it was his controversial decision to take Australia's biggest retailer into the joint venture with Bruce Mathieson which made it the biggest pokies operator in Australia with about 12,000 machines. It is also the biggest manager of venues for AFL clubs through secret management agreements . Corbett is involved in other non-pokies ventures with Mathieson and retains an interest in Woolworths shares. However, anyone who read The Australian Financial Review’s strong editorial endorsement of pokies reform today should be comforted that the Fairfax tradition of directors not influencing editorial remains in place.
  • Andrew Bolt: News Ltd’s most widely read and powerful columnist was the man who kicked off the bogus line about the AFL joining the anti-pokies campaign in this September 21 column in the Herald Sun. He is clearly conflicted courtesy of being on the payroll of MTR owner John Singleton, the pokies venue owner who came up with the "licence to punt" advertising campaign for Clubs Australia as we explained here and here.
  • Helen Coonan: The recently retired Liberal Senator Helen Coonan was conflicted on Q&A last night as she expressed doubts over whether mandatory pre-commitment would work while failing to state that she last month accepted an offer to join the board of James Packer’s Crown Ltd on a package worth more than $100,000 a year. This will involve attending seven board meetings a year, plus some additional committee work.
  • Karl Bitar: Coonan’s colleague at Crown was appointed head of government relations in May on a generous six figure salary sanctioned directly by billionaire James Packer. Bitar is calling in favours from various NSW federal Labor MPs that he supported through pre-selection in his previous roles at the top of the NSW and federal ALP machines. Bitar showed off his pulling power with various right wing Labor heavyweights in a piece published by The AFR in June.
  • Daryl Melham: The federal Labor MP for Banks is chairman of the Revesby Workers Club which operates more than 500 pokies and has bankrolled and provided resources for numerous Labor candidates across all tiers of government, according to The Australian today.
As with any public debate, the challenge here will be getting participants to put all their cards on the table and declare these conflicts as they arise.
So far, such declarations have been few and far between.


Right on, Stephen.
Denis Wilson

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Babcock and Brown - SOME WINNERS - most are losers

This post is in honour of the nameless Robertson resident who was once a Director of Babcock and Brown.
  • There will be a few happy faces this morning after the settlement of liquidator Deloitte's $160 million damages action against the directors and auditor of Babcock & Brown, the whizz-bang financier that collapsed in 2008, wiping out $12 billion of creditors' and shareholders' funds. 
  • Happiest of all will be B&B's co-founder Phil Green, who won't have to dig into his pocket to pay any of the estimated $25 million to $30 million damages awarded in the confidential settlement.
Read more of that story here.

In case you cannot be induced to visit that site - here are the punch line(s)
  • Those who have less reason to be cheerful include B&B's noteholders, the key remaining creditors, who are still owed $620 million. They'll be lucky to get 2 cents in the dollar, if our calculations are right.
  • And there's still the small matter of the other $11.38 billion that B&B managed to vaporize. Plus, whatever happened to ASIC's investigation?
Ain't it marvellous how some people can keep on tip-toeing all the way, just ahead of the disaster and pain they cause to others?

Thanks to Paul Barry and his new e-publication The Power Index.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Fwd: Can you believe this Pretentious Git?

Can you believe this Pretentious Git?

This was forwarded to me by the PR staff of Greg Combet.

Who gives a shit about Danny Morgan being "wired for sound".
I didn't email him.
I don't care what he thinks.

Who is trying to impress whom?

Greg Combet ought sack the staffer responsible for this stuff-up.

Denis Wilson

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Fri, May 27, 2011 at 5:36 PM
Subject: [Climatepublic] I heard your email
To: read it to me.I will get back to you soon.
Sent from Danny's Blackberry
Kind Regards

Danny Morgan
Managing Director
Enact Energy Pty Limited
Suite 407, 15 Lime Street
King Street Wharf
Sydney NSW 2000

T: +61 (2) 8239 8861
M: +61 434 270 226
F: +61 (2) 9279 1378

IMPORTANT: This message, and any attachments to it, contains information
that is confidential and may also be the subject of legal professional or
other privilege. If you are not the intended recipient of this message, you
must not review, copy, disseminate or disclose its contents to any other
party or take action in reliance of any material contained within it. If you
have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately by
return email informing them of the mistake and delete all copies of the
message from your computer system.

Denis Wilson
"The Nature of Robertson"

Thursday, 12 May 2011

chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Rob Freeman, has resigned.

Newsflash from ABC News

"The chief executive of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Rob Freeman, has resigned.

Federal Water Minister Tony Burke says Mr Freeman will finish in the job on June 1 and become commissioner of the National Water Commission.

He will be replaced at the authority by Rhondda Dickson, the current deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry."

My personal opinion is that:
  1. everyone who opposed Craig Knowles' "Crash through or crash" approach is getting the hell out of there.
  2. Looks more and more likely that there will be a Irrigator Appeasement Policy in the MDBA, following the massive publicity they attracted to the Draft Plan.
  3. Good bye Ramsar Wetlands, etc.
  4. Tony Burke will be happy, as at least he will have "A Plan" - the fact that it will probably return to just a trickle for the River Red Gums and Wetlands is not important to him, for River Red Gums and Wetlands do not burn books on Television.

I sent that notice out privately, and got a request from my Blogging collaborator, Miss Eagle that I post it here.

Her comment is as follows:
  1. Please put this on The Body Politic.
  2. I was surprised that Freeman had not gone earlier. Perhaps remained to provide continuity after Mike leaving. Perhaps because he is a public servant.
  3. Why is he going to the National Water Commission? Is this a backhanded exit, needed to do some good while at the same time allowing Knowles a personal appointment. It need not mean an actual clash with Knowles - it could just mean that Knowles wants his own person in there. So what is special then about Dickson?

Brigid aka "Miss Eagle"
The Network:

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Osama's execution illegal and bad policy

I have already stated my opinions on this troublesome issue - the manner of the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the disposal of the "corpse" (without verification of the true identity of the person killed).

Now some others have joined the chorus of disapproval.
Geoffrey Robertson, no less, has come out today to say much of the same, and far more eloquently than I managed.

"Bin Laden's summary execution maketh the man, martyr and myth"
Geoffrey Robertson
May 4, 2011
I urge you to read the full article.

Robertson says:
  • "The US resembles the land of the munchkins as it celebrates the death of the wicked witch of the East. The joy is understandable but, to many outsiders, unattractive. It endorses what looks increasingly like a cold-blooded assassination ordered by a president who, as a former law professor, knows the absurdity of his statement that "justice was done".
  • "Amoral diplomats and triumphant politicians join in applauding the summary execution of Osama bin Laden because they claim that real justice - arrest, trial and sentence - would have been too difficult in the case of public enemy No. 1. But should it not at least have been attempted?"
Robertson argues:
  • "Bin Laden could not have been tried for the attacks on the twin towers at the International Criminal Court, since its jurisdiction only came into existence nine months later. But the United Nations Security Council could have set up an ad hoc tribunal in The Hague, with international judges (including Muslim jurists), to provide a fair trial and a reasoned verdict that would have convinced the Arab street of his guilt.
  • "This would have been the best way of demystifying this man, debunking his cause and de-brainwashing his followers. In the dock he would have been reduced in stature - never more to be remembered as the tall, soulful figure on the mountain, but as a hateful and hate-filled old man."
 and follows on with this interesting comment:
  • "When the time came to consider the fate of men more steeped in wickedness than bin Laden - the Nazi leaders - the British government wanted them hanged within six hours of capture. The president Harry Truman demurred, citing the conclusion of Justice Robert Jackson that summary execution "would not sit easily on the American conscience or be remembered by our children with pride … the only course is to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused after a hearing as dispassionate as the times will permit and upon a record that will leave our reasons and motives clear".
  • "He insisted upon judgment at Nuremberg, which has confounded Holocaust-deniers ever since. Killing bin Laden instead of capturing him was a missed opportunity to prove this charismatic leader was a vicious criminal, who deserved to die in prison, not as a martyr to his inhuman cause."
Thanks to Brigid for pointing me to this article.

There were two links I added in yesterday to two sites, both American and both Christian, which expressed disgust at the way America was celebrating the death.
And even better is this one:
This story has a long way to run.
Already the Americans have contradicted early reports of cooperation of the Palkistan Government.
And what of the "wife" who was reported to have been present in the room?
She was supposedly used as a shield by the "coward Osama".
She was supposedly killed. Wrong.
If not killed, then was she captured? Where is she now - is she a prisoner of the Americans? If so, where?
She might not even have been a woman.

The longer the Americans take to "get their story straight" the worse this whole debacle looks for them.

And here is a Leunig cartoon which perfectly sums up the situation.
From circulation on Facebook. 
Not sure about Copyright issues - please forgive me, Michael.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Murder of Osama bin Laden

Lets not kid around with "soft words" - Osama bin Laden has apparently been murdered by the Americans.
Their President has said so.

While in no sense do I propose to "stick up for" (support) Osama bin Laden - was his murder justified?

I mean that in a legal sense - was it "just" - as in the meaning of the word "justice".

Firstly, it was a foreign intrusion into the sovereign territory of Pakistan.
Was that authorised? Probably not.
Do the Americans care about such niceties? Probably not.
How do we know for sure that the person killed was Osama bin Laden, not some tall bearded person of Arabian style and breeding?
Make no mistake the Americans are perfectly capable of killing a "look alike" person of Arabic features, to justify their actions - for their political advantage.
The Americans claim that he has been identified by DNA analysis, comparing the "victims" DNA with a sample of the blood of  a female relative of ObL apparenly living in the USA.

The body has apparently been buried at sea.
I can see lots of reasons for not holding him as  a prisoner, nor for holding his body, lest it become a reason for pilgrimage, or adulation.
However, a burial at sea, is awfully convenient - simply because the story is unverifiable.


Personally, I have believed for some time that ObL was very likely killed in the Tora Bora caves, years ago, in a huge American bombardment.

In my view it suited the Americans to keep the myth of ObL alive - to give them a reason to progress the "War on Terror".

Then the Americans discovered that Aljazeera was being used very successfully by the Islamists to perpetuate the "myth" of ObL's leadership.

Eventually the Americans had to get rid of him, and they have done so now (apparently) in a manner both illegal and immoral.
Worse it is unverifiable.


If we condemn Israel for unauthorised assassination of their enemies (as we do), how does this differ - in any legal sense?

If we condemn terrorism, how does this action differ, in any legal sense?

And, on a cultural basis, how does brutal hysterical rejoicing (on the streets of America) at the news of the killing differ from the kind of uncivilised behaviour people attribute to uncivilised societies?

Is the celebration of this murder going to convince any Islamists that everything they have been told about "The Great Satan" (America) is wrong?

In case you think that everybody is shouting and cheering, in America, I am pleased to say that not everybody there is totally mad.
And even better is this one:
Whose Death Does God Cheer?by Jimmy Spencer Jr. Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Thanks to Brigid for those links.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Pauline Hanson left out in the cold

Well, it was a close thing, but Pauline Hanson didn't quite make it into the NSW Upper House.

Now, predicatably, she is having a whinge.
And here is the ABC report.

Diddums Pauline.

See you in 4 years time, and I'll still not vote for you.

Monday, 28 March 2011

The ALP clean-out needs to start today.

The ALP clean-out needs to start today - but it probably will not.

Already the Media is pointing out that John Robertson IS part of the PROBLEM, not part of the SOLUTION. I agree.

What about this comment, from Crikey today?
  • "The arrogance of Iguana-gate was far from unusual in NSW Labor, he said -- recalling one senior frontbencher, still in the Legislative Council, who entered a restaurant late at night and ordered staff to re-open the kitchen just so he and his team could have a meal. Senior Labor figures, he added, regularly spoke with utter disdain about the working-class people they were supposed to represent.
  • "He had sailed too deep into NSW Labor's heart of darkness. Now he campaigns for the Liberals.
  • "Pat's tale is a personal one -- yet it is also the story of the election. Over the past four years, many Labor loyalists in NSW decided the party no longer represented their interests or their values. The ALP was seen not as a light on a hill but as a patronage machine interested above all in perpetuating its own power."
As I have said before, the ALP needs to resurrect Ben Chifley. Trouble is the poor old Labor Train Driver now lies buried in an Alien Territory (Bathurst). The Boys from Sussex Street would need to apply for a Visa to get there.

And their applications would be rejected - stamped "Suspected Terrorist".

Its all too late.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Bid Bitar Bye-Bye!

Today's  Crikey says: "Bitar's reign of mayhem comes to an end too late for NSW and Fed Labor" 
Ain't that the truth.

Bye Bye Bitter Bitar (Source ALP website)
Today's SMH reports this: ''I am extremely optimistic about the Party's future and absolutely confident that the Government under Prime Minister Gillard will go from strength to strength in the coming months and be in a strong position for a decisive win at the next election,'' he said in a statement today." Read more here:

Now all we have to do is get rid of Mark Arbib. 
For that we will probably need the permission of his "controllers" over at Moonah Place, Yarralumla, ACT 2600. But history shows once he has outlived his usefulness, as a "protected source" he will be discarded.

Well, not all, but that's be a great start to bringing the Labor Party back to its true beliefs and principles and values.

JB Chifley
Ben Chifley
"I try to think of the Labour movement, not as putting an extra sixpence into somebody's pocket, or making somebody Prime Minister or Premier, but as a movement bringing something better to the people, better standards of living, greater happiness to the mass of the people. We have a great objective - the light on the hill - which we aim to reach by working for the betterment of mankind not only here but anywhere we may give a helping hand". Source: Chifley Research Centre

Well, that is unless we can dig up Ben Chifley - from his grave in Bathurst?
  • "If an idea is worth fighting for, no matter the penalty, fight for the right, and truth and justice will prevail." 
That's my favourite quote from Ben Chifley.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Pauline Hanson running in NSW election

God. Just when you thought it was safe to go out into public affairs in NSW - it is no longer.

Pauline Hansen is trying to come back.

Read the SMH article here
The ABC has run the story, but they made a fundamental mistake, saying she is running for the Upper House (which is correct), and say: "She is standing for the locality of Corlette on the state's north coast, and is running in the March 26 poll as part of a group of 16 independents." The NSW Upper House is based on State-wide voting, not with "Wards" or Zones or regions.

Ms Hansen is living in Corlette, but she cannot be "standing for the locality of Corlette". The ABC Radio News (Midnight News 8 March (9 March from 0001 hours) just carried the same wrong statement (read exactly from the same script). How stupid are they? I hope Media Watch tears them to shreds for that basic error.
Anyway, lets hope Pauline is rejected by the public, as she has been before.

But in view of the loose talk about the Tea Party on Q and A on Monday night, perhaps she will feed on that sentiment.

If so, God Help us All.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Coal and Gas forum in Wollongong - breaches of Caretaker Conventions

Today there was a Department of Planning Coal and Gas forum in Wollongong. The event was billed as a "consultative meeting" by the NSW Dept of Planning.
They didn't want to hear what we said (despite statements to the contrary). They simply wanted us to hear what their message was (of course).
What a farce!

Public Servants were put through their paces, to make the Minister (or the Government generally) look good. 

Their answers were a mixture of bluster and sycophancy. Long on rhetoric, but short on detail. They certainly gave wrong answers about the draining of the Woronora Reservoir, and failed to understand carefully worded questions about removal of radio-nucleotides from contaminated groundwater, as a result of drilling.

They certainly did not satisfy that half of the audience who were clearly "environmentally conscious". Nikki Williams and her supporters from the NSW Minerals Council, and the guys from the CFMEU might have been pleased, though.

  • To start with, the largest landholder in the region, the Sydney Catchment Authority, was not invited to attend, either as a participant (it is a Government agency after all, and it is meant to be a "whole of Government process" as the Minister, Tony Kelly, told us), or as "victim" of the Dept of Planning's appalling Mining Approvals procedures.
It is a nonsense for the Labor Government to pretend that they are calling for detailed Submissions, (due in mid April, after the election), when the Government is 5 weeks out from a State election. 

Worse, today they put themselves in breach of the long-established Caretaker Conventions The opinions expressed on Caretaker Conventions in the linked article are from the ALP's own favourite policy advisers - Hawker Britton. I haven't made that advice up - but it accords entirely with my own personal understanding.
And anyway, what's the point of the Government going through this elaborate charade? If the current opposition gets in, they will drop the whole idea, as "tainted" by having Labor's fingerprints all over it. And rightly so, too.

As a former Federal Public Servant, one from the days when Public Servants were trained to give "free and frank advice" *** I was both fascinated and appalled to watch the reality of the political process in action in NSW today. 

How can senior DoP officials possibly be expected to give straight answers to honest questions from the public when the Minister, and the local Member are sitting in the room watching them "perform"? That is a clear abuse of the neutrality of the Public Service.

Democracy? I don't think the NSW Government understands the meaning of the word.


After several hours of "stewing" over what we were put through, today, I have come to the following conclusion:- What we witnessed today was clearly a joint job application for positions in the Mining Industry, in anticipation of the defeat of their current employer, the NSW ALP Government.

Today's meeting was held in the "Diggers Club" in Wollongong, the centre of BHP's empire, in Australia. I thought (in advance) that the choice of venue was simply a large RSL meeting room. But to watch the performance of the Dept of Planning "boys", the penny has now dropped. It was a collective Job Application. They were so totally "pro-mining", the choice of venue was appropriate.
The name "Diggers Club" takes on a whole new meaning.

Denis Wilson
Robertson NSW 2577
Chairman, Australian Water Campaigners
(The foregoing is my personal opinion.)

*** Caretaker Conventions.

The Caretaker Period
The formal period during which the caretaker conventions operate dates from the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly until the election result is clear, or, in the event of a change of Government, until the new Government is appointed.
The NSW Government assumes a ‘caretaker’ role during the period immediately before an election to ensure:
  • decisions are not taken which would bind an incoming Government and limit its freedom of action;
  • important decisions are not made by Ministers who cannot be held accountable once the Legislative Assembly has been dissolved;
  • the neutrality of the public service is protected; and
  • state resources are not being used in election campaigns, or to advance the aims of a particular party.

*** Free and frank advice

It is the responsibility of public servants to provide honest, impartial and comprehensive advice to ministers and to alert ministers to the possible consequences of following particular policies, whether or not such advice accords with Ministers’ views.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Finally, the media realises BHP is not Australian

"BHP was once famously called “the Big Australian”; its CEO Marius Kloppers evidently prefers “nominal Australian” for himself, at least when talking to US diplomats. As this nominal Australian smirked his way through the announcement this week of a record profit — putting BHP-Billiton on track, according to one British newspaper, to record “the biggest profit ever made by a British company”"
Bernard Keane - in Crikey.

At last, someone is calling it like it is. Someone else, that is, other than me and my friend David Young.

The Big Australian?
It might be British funds backing it these days, but it is Australian Coal and Australian Iron Ore on which they make their gazillions.
Even more annoyingly, it is run by a cartel of  "Suth Afrikens", and other international citizens (and Caroline Hewson, for a bit of local colour and experience).
Watch this:
And weep.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Lance Armstrong's "bag of gold"

My friend, Leo, from Canada is a keen cyclist - a "cycling nut" one could say. He keeps me updated with stories about cycling and cycling's "heroes". 

Sometimes, the issues are harsh, such as rumours of drug taking (professional cyclists? Really?). Of course, in the world of professional athletes it is called blood doping. It is a war between the chemists working for the specialist "sports physicians" and pharmaceutical companies and the anti-doping bureaucrats caught up in an endless game of "catch-up". The other issue for Leo and fellow cycling purists, about Armstrong, is the question of "sponsorship". 

Lance Armstrong is not immune from suspicion.

Leo's recent email was entitled: "Is this guy nuts?" (referring to SA Premier Mike Rann). His only comment is: "You got a winner, there - Leo"


Leo sent me a link to the following story of which this is a small extract:

"The Texan (Armstrong) was presented with a thank you gift from South Australian Premier Mike Rann who credited Armstrong with drawing crowds of nearly 800,000 and raising AUS$40 million for the local economy this year alone.
Rann said he hoped a pair of locally-made RM Williams boots, an iconic Australian manufacturer, would be worn by Armstrong the next time he visited the race. To that Armstrong excitedly replied after inspection: "I'll wear them tonight."
  • "This is amazing and to start and finish in this city and to be all around the area, all over South Australia, to be treated like kings when we often are not, I should say, sometimes, it's been a real pleasure," Armstrong told the crowd at the presentation.
  • I congratulate you all on building an unbelievable event ... we travel all over the world and you do not see crowds or an atmosphere like this in many places. 
  • This rivals the Tour [de France], the Giro [d'Italia]and all the big races.
  • "Thanks for a great couple of years, a great few years. Not just from myself but from all of us in the peloton."
Armstrong made a quick getaway from the presentation and did not take any questions from the waiting media." 
To see the full story visit the source:
I would love to see the statistical evidence for Mr Rann's claimed "cost-benefits" he attributes to Armstrong's participation in the "Tour Down Under". What we do know is that Armstrong earned a huge amount from the South Australian Government for agreeing to participate in the Tour, simply because of his "name". All he had to do was turn up, and go for a ride. He didn't have to try hard. Just as well. In this year's "Tour Down Under", he came in 67th position.

We also know that South Australian Premier Mike Rann was the "pimp" who acted as an intermediary to get Armstrong to agree to appear in the "Tour Down Under" - by flying to Dublin to meet with Armstrong "privately". Ah, the thrills of the jet-setting life of the South Australian Premier. And the "cost"? Well, Micheal Turtur, the TDU Director, was coy about that.
  • However, Tourism Minister Jane Lomax-Smith and TDU director Mike Turtur were very coy about when the deal to bring Armstrong back for next year’s event was finalised.
  • Mr Turtur said the final aspects of the deal were negotiated in recent days but clinched only because the Premier flew to Dublin for a face-to-face meeting with the cycling superstar. This is despite Armstrong appearing at this year’s event, when he and the Premier became close friends and Twitter buddies.When asked what the sticking point was and why it required the Premier’s personal intervention, Mr Turter said “you’ll have to ask the Premier”.
  • Mr Turtur, Dr Lomax-Smith and Mr Rann are refusing to reveal how much South Australia is paying in an appearance fee for Armstrong, although they did not deny it was at least $2 million.
  • Mr Rann went into a tweeting frenzy on the social network website Twitter after he announced Armstrong would return for next year’s event, which comes just eight weeks before the next state election. Armstrong introduced Rann to Twitter.
There's how to get an Australian State Premier excited - jet-setting, private meetings with sports celebrities, Twitter-buddy him up, and of course, bags and bags of sponsorship money, in secret deals.

Lance Armstrong was reportedly "so excited", he could hardly wait to wear the free RM Williams boots - the most recent of the numerous and valuable gifts he has received from Mike Rann over the last four years. Why do I get the feeling that Lance Armstrong's idea for wearing the gifted boots was in a manner, or circumstances, which dear old RMW would never have dreamed of. That's the mark of a Superstar, Lance!

If you look at this article, it is no wonder Armstrong left the final Press Conference, without waiting for any questions from the Press.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Another breach of Caretaker Conventions likely.

According to the SMH today, Premier Keneally is preparing to sign an agreement with the Federal Government, in the person of Minister Albanese,  re the Epping to Parramatta railway line, which the NSW Libs are vowing to not build. 
It is precisely that sort of "binding commitment" which is ruled out under the Caretaker Convention as outlined in the Hawker Britton advice.