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Follow the Power: Assange’s privilege … opera attack … Google on big biz …

Assange wants parliamentary privilege. We gave Julian Assange the No. 1 spot on our Thinkers power list because he’s sought, with much success, to revolutionise the way people leak confidential information.

Now, he’s looking to simplify the process a little. In an interview with Fairfax’s Phillip Dorling published today, the WikiLeaks founder says that, should he win a Senate seat, he’ll make the most out of parliamentary privilege to avoid court suppression orders and be a “fierce defender” of free media.

Assange’s plans to run for the Senate were revealed on Twitter recently, when WikiLeaks tweeted: “We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian Senate while detailed. Julian has decided to run.” He’s yet to reveal in which state he will stand.

You can’t have unions running art’. Lyndon Terracini, Opera Australia’s artistic director and contender for the top spot on our Arts & Culture power list, has hit out at the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, labelling their opera singer quota “prehistoric”.

Currently, Opera Australia can only work with 10 foreign singers a year, as dictated by an MEAA agreement signed in 1989. Terracini reckons that given people are forking out $300-or-so a ticket, that figure should be closer to 15 to 20 in order to attract the best singers to our shores.

Terracini told an opera roundtable discussion yesterday that often, “singers in [a] particular repertoire” can’t always be sourced locally.

Google guy on the micro-multinationals. There’s a new form of multinational with arms of influence extending across nation borders, and they’re really, really small.

They are the micro-multinationals, organisations with fewer than 10 employees that have a global clientele. At least that’s the opinion of Google’s local MD Nick Leeder, and No. 5 on The Power Index’s Digital Media list, whose been given some column inches in The Australian Financial Review today to bemoan the lack of small businesses online, and talk up the opportunities for those that still await the call of the world wide web – or Google’s helpful offer of assistance.

According to Leeder, just a quarter of the world’s 90 million small businesses have an online presence. “You can choose to be sad about this,” Leeder says, “or excited about the potential latent in the other 75%.”

Or you can choose to ignore the potential of the web all together. That’s what Gabby Leibovich, co-founder of CatchOfTheDayclaims DJs chief Paul Zahra did when Leibovich approached him to discuss how online retail opportunities could assist the ailing retailer. Leibovich describes a number of local retailers as “dinosaurs” that have been “fat, lazy and arrogant”.

Huawei, who what? The Telco explained. Canberra politicians have been sent into a spin regarding the Chinese company Huawei. But what exactly does this difficult-to-pronounce telco do, and why has it caused such a stir?

Huawei had its sights set on being appointed the National Broadband Network’s second supplier of fibre-optic equipment, alongside French company Alcatel-Lucent, which signed a $1.4 billion deal two years ago. — Lucy Clark (read the full story here)

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