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.