Geoff Clarke, Wayne Jackson, political donations and rail pork-barrelling


Can we get Terry Maher to do something on the various flacks who are greasing the hacks for our aspiring Melbourne City councillors? Who is behind the ubiquitous Chipp and what have they been flogging in the past? Who is spending that $200k budget? Does Fatty McMullin even have to bother?

Cheers, anon

Crikey: Tezza’s latest piece covers this territory and his 5 columns so far have easily been the most informative of what is going around.

Get it right on that thug Clark


In the interests of accuracy, I bring to your attention the spelling of the surname of the ATSIC Chairman. It is Clark ….. with no “e”. For as long as I can remember there has been a feud in the Framlingham community between those who spell their surnames Clarke or Clark.

The general opinion of many people in the local area, is that whilst they were not witnesses to the allegations currently made against Mr Clark, there is no doubting that those allegations are wholly believable.

As one who attended the same secondary school during the reign of Geoff Clark, I too can recall his bully-boy antics. Tales abound of his standover tactics and how many young women of the time were fearful of their safety when Clark came to town. In balance, it was not only the young women, we young blokes often beat a hasty retreat to places of comparative safety when we heard that Clark was roaming the streets.

He was a thug then and he is a thug now. The only difference is that he is now a thug who walks the corridors of power with people such as our Prime Minister and others.

Which thug is to be more feared, the one in the schoolyard and on the football field of several years ago, or the one we see today? He has amassed wealth, land and power beyond his wildest dreams. Has he also gained immunity from full and open investigation of the allegations made against him? I sincerely hope not and that in the fullness of time the truth will be told.


Crikey: The tide does seem to be turning in the court of public opinion but Robert Richter got him off last time which did set the cause back a long way. It is emails like this that do add to the picture and you should encourage others to come forward as well.

Captain Smirk dodges HIH

Anyone notice that our Mr Costello is magically invisible at any mention of HIH – when, if I’m not mistaken, it does fall somewhere in his portfolio! Rumour is that this is not a coincidence, that Costello has painstakingly avoided any association between his good name and HIH whilst leading his bunny Hockey like a lamb to the slaughter. Please feel free to correct me if this is wrong?

Crikey: Good point. Poor old Joe has been getting flogged when it was the Wallis report that led to the changes in prudential regulation in the first place.

Great value Crikey

I have been a subscriber for two weeks and already I reckon I’ve got my moneys’ worth (and no, I will not pay you more). I was always vaguely suspicious of big business but by crikey I never realised what an incestuous bloody lot our “rulers” are.

I work for a family business involved in newspapers and magazine distribution, although, a fight to the death with publishers and Newsagent associations would be a better job description. The publishers blindly follow a scorched earth policy in their efforts to control distribution costs while they issue motherhood statements proclaiming the great “partnership” that we share. Ask the newsagents whose sales have been decimated by the free dailies and then asked to distribute them for bugger all what sort of partnership they think they are involved in.

It is times like this that we need a strong body to represent us but our national association seems paralysed by indecision and playing silly bloody politics like the fools in Canberra. They would rather spend their time buggering around with in-store radio than dragging newsagents into the new millennium. Why try and solve problems when you can sit around and have a cosy chat and agree to meet again for another chin wag, all the while keeping an eye on what the other bloke might be up to and making sure he doesn’t get the jump on you.

Anyway enough of my whinging, keep up the good work.


Crikey: Like any freemarketer, I’ve always had my doubts about the newsagents monopoly but the freebies in Melbourne move does sound like a rough call by Fairfax and Murdoch.

Erica Betz: what a clown

Dear Crikey,

Has the Liberal Party a special unit that enlists only arseholes? I had the gross misfortune to see and hear Erica for the first time on Lateline last night (18th June). It appears he comes straight out of the Kroger/Yabsley/Kemp/Alston mould of arrogant numbskulls.

With clowns like Erica appearing in public the Poison Dwarf will have to do a lot more than stealing hundreds of millions of public money for Liberal Party propaganda campaigns if he wants to win the next election.

Yours, Rog

Crikey: Yes, I’ve even heard from former University colleagues of Erica about how average she is. Why can’t the Liberals throw up some better talent for a change?

You journos always back each other

“BLUNDEN BACKS THE AGE: We journalists don’t support each other enough…”

Stephen, that has to be the funniest thing you have ever written. Journalists support each other through complicity. If a journalist “crosses the line” (in other words, breaks the law for the layperson) to get to the truth, how many journalists besides you and Media Watch would cover it? Remember Mal Colston’s son being taunted by journalists stepping onto the family property hoping to get a newsworthy (now there’s a euphemism) story. Only Media Watch showed what happened. Time and again, A Current Affair breaks the law with hidden cameras and privacy invasions. How many analytical stories have been run on this practise in Australia? You regularly bring up gross irregularaties by media people and yet, strangely, these stories never carry on.

The only time journalists will cover other ground breaking stories is if there is something “newsworthy”. So, Geoff Clarke’s assorted accusers gets front page on The Age and subsequent follow up from other papers glad some other bunny went first. But will Four Corner’s investigation on the tax avoidance industry get more than a re-hash by The Age right before the election?

Media celebrities like Neil Mitchell and Jon Faine do not understand the role of a free, BUT ACCOUNTABLE, press. Yes, they do not stand up enough for competent, critical investigative journalism. They have not come to your defence when they should have. When Brumby’s press secretary banned you, Jon Faine found it a little hard to take up the sword of defence because…well, after all it was Labor wasn’t it? (Imagine if Jeff had done that.) Neil Mitchell has no idea what you are doing at all!

I’ve spent too much time in the rooms of one newspaper to believe journalists apply the same critical eye to each other as they do to this week’s popular target. Just like any industry body, they defend their own by silence and regular lack of investigation. Just like any powerful body that refuses to deal with internal corruption, they rot from the inside and become easy fodder for PR people. And PR people “do not support journalists enough”. Perhaps that is what you meant?


Crikey: My point was that when Kennett was savaging The Age and the ABC, the Herald Sun and 3AW stood back and enjoyed their paid rather than standing up for the general principles of a free press. That said, you’re right in saying that journalists are fairly unaccountable, especially now that Media Watch has gone. BTW, Faine was the only journalist who took Kennett on over the material and should be commended for that.

Law matters just terrible

Stephen, I caught that law matters show on the ABC after Four Corners Monday night (didn’t see 4 Corners). Isn’t it awful? It was like the Paul Clitheroe Money show in its lowest common denominator approach and hectoring tone. Just appalling. Maybe Susanna will settle into TV after a while, and aim a bit higher, but honestly. How insulting to the audience is a simple minded, cram show like that.

Better not use my name as I don’t want Paul Clitheroe to think I’m sledging him – what he does is perfectly fine for a Channel 9 audience but we don’t want the ABC to treat us like children, do we.

Crikey: Must say I thought it was okay and the format is tough in 15 minutes. The program on defo was also good. If I was them I’d lose the studio interviews and just present a thesis a bit like Littlemore did.

Wayne Jackson’s chateau disaster

Hey, buddie, I hate to be a smartarse but Hardy Bros was/is a Sydney jeweller (Skase unit?) while Thomas Hardy and Sons Pty Ltd was a very successful winemaker until they employed Wayne Jackson who, you quite correctly reported, undid 130 years of a family efforts by buying French chateaus and wineries because he was scared that the EU would block sales of Ozwine in the EU.

I wonder how many punters out there would know of Jackos past form?


Crikey: A lot more will know about it now Geoff. This is an interesting skeleton to rattle and we’ll happily publish more details on Jacko’s wine management history as it comes forth.

Dodgy political donations

Letter to The Hon Dr Brendan Nelson MP

Dear Brendan,

I was astonished at the Sydney Morning Herald’s article by Pilita Clarke regarding the political donations that have been made to the Liberal Party of Australia, particularly those who have been responsible for participating to destroy my family business . Those responsible are Mr David Baffsky, Mr Rodney Adler, Mr Malcolm Turnbull, Mr Harry Trigobuff, Mr Ian Clement Hayson, Mr Tomas Hayson and Arthur Andersen the liquidator of Merlin International Properties (Australia).Pty Ltd.A.C.N.003 266 448.

Last week The Hon Prime Minister indicated that he was planning to introduce a new legislation about directors of failed companies who have taken bonuses to return the monies to the creditors. As a creditor of Merlin international properties, I bring to your attention that Mr Ian Clement Hayson and Tomas Hayson are directors of 80 deregistered companies who owe the creditors more than $328,000,000. yet they own a shopping centre in Cremorne and a shopping centre in Kogarah and a House in Palm Beach. According to Arthur Andersen, Mr Ian Clement Hayson and Tomas Hayson and Roger Kohler took almost $5,000,000 in bonuses while the company was insolvent. When Mr Alan Cameron was in charge of Australian Securities Commission I made a complaint about the manner which Arthur Andersen was handling the liquidation of Merlin International Pty, far I have not received a proper explanation of the matter and to my surprise I found out that Mr Alan Cameron is now employed by Arthur Andersen as a legal adviser, which in ICAC’s term is called Post Separation Employment.

When I was in litigation with Hayson group of companies I voluntarily appointed Mr john Vouris as the administrator of my company (Sanirise Pty Ltd), not realising that he was also the liquidator of two of Hayson’s companies namely Junecrest Pty and Haycrest Pty Ltd. There was a clear conflict of interest and Mr Vouris should not have given consent to being the administrator of my company.I also brought this to the attention of Australian Securities commission with no proper response. I have requested the ACCC who are supposed to be the administrators of Trade Practices Law to assist me and take care of my case, to my surprise I found that ACCC is a tenant of Merlin International at Sky Garden in the city and no help was upcoming.

Since the political donations have come from our members, party loyalty dictates that I should discuss the matters with other party members such as yourself to intervene and if the other party accepts to participate in a mediation. Otherwise there are two options: an Inquiry is held into this matter or ACCC take action against those responsible..

I respectfully request your assistance and patiently waiting for you to present my case to The Government and in particular to The Prime Minister.Hon John Howard.

Sincerely Yours, Frank Nejad

Crikey: Hmmm, interesting names and interesting allegations but it is the first we’ve heard of it. We’re not suggesting Frank is right but simply publish this to contribute to the public debate.

Geoff Clarke the footy thug

My boss shared this with me. Apparently Geoff Clarke used to play football against him and he was a true thug – punching people who were nowhere near the ball. If anyone can be bothered chasing it – it seems there are countless assualt charges against him – whether they were taken off the record or not is another matter.

I am going to avoid my soap box re assault vs rape…but really…

Keep up the good work.

Crikey: For the record, Crikey reckons Geoff Clarke is not fit to be chairman of ATSIC and that the board should move against him.

Trouble at BRW

Dear Stephen

I was delighted to see your story on BRW and its demise after the dramatic changes made by Michael Gill and Peter Miller 2 years ago. It was not only the editorial changes that were made but also the cut in some of the major commercial staff at the time. I was the International advertising Manager for BRW and for its contract Publishing titles, in addition to handling half of its Victoria based clients, I also under Stuart Simson’s leadership was the instigator the promoter/producer and seller of the bi-annual men’s fashion sections the biggest in the country for 7. 5 years (usually 32 – 48 pages in size) & fathers day sections.

Michael Gill at the time felt that this position was no longer required so after 8 long years with BRW and many long hours I was retrenched………no longer is there the men’s fashion and father’s day sections in BRW, and I am pleased to see that the Rich List down some 25 pages also carried no International Hotel/ and fashion advertising and other product advertising – their International revenue has gone through the floor. eg: Regent/ Peninsula Hotels, Hugo Boss, Stafford Group, Polo, Ralph Lauren etc…one would have thought these labels and products made this title the countries market leader and made it feel like a global title (which in it’s boring state today it is no longer).

I was not the only commercial person let go at that time………..the CEO, National Sales Director, circulation director amongst others…………..

It is a sad day when you have worked so hard on a title you loved in tatters and going down the tube………….I feel sorry for Bob, Stuart and the many others that were so dedicated to this title.

When I read about the good old guys at the subs desk, I suppose I should feel lucky that (although ones job security is taken away) I got away with a retrenchment package – lucky me- ……….those poor guys are stuck there. They were a great group to work with and I wish them all luck.

Thanks for a great, but sad story.

Sue Brunskill

BRW Insider: Larry Trobe’s piece has certainly stirred up a lot of response and Larry would like to add the following comments this week: “The last man standing from the original BRW staff has pulled the pin. Tony Thomas, once deputy (or was it associate?) editor, will be gone in August. After nearly 21 years he’s had enough of the new regime. Staff were advised by email last week of his pending departure. And further to the BRW insider report. To ease the angst it caused the BRW subs’ table, I’m advising that I’m not a sub, but I do admire the cranky old bastards. But in answer to one of your respondents, I can tell you that when the new concept, layout, philosophy and targeting were unfolded before them in a meeting, the COBs did tell editorial management it was a gigantic wank. No, they weren’t encouraged to put up any alternative ideas, just to go back to their desks and shut up. Cheers, Larry Trobe.

7.30 Report doing better than you think

Dear Editor

Your analysis of the 7.30 Report under the hammer was interesting, but it’s conclusion that the program is being left to wither on the vine ignores one key fact. The program is, on more than one night of the week, the ABC’s second highest rating program (behind news). Analysis of the figures shows that while the ABCs overall audience has fallen approximately 25 percent this year, the 7.30 Report has maintained and in some weeks even increased it’s share. No management axes a successful program.

An industry observer

Crikey: Tend to agree with you on that. Despite all the hand-wringing, Kerry O’Brien will be leading the election coverage again this year and the program will continue to rate pretty well.

Stop knocking our rail pork barrel

How so? Just because something hasn’t risen spontaneously in response to market forces doesn’t make it uneconomic in any but the narrowest sense. By that definition, a lot of public works projects would be massively uneconomic, like the construction of new schools in new suburbs, and virtually every road project. I notice youre opposed to toll roads – does this mean a massive public subsidy for road is okay but for rail it isn’t?

The Darwin to Alice rail line offers considerable long term social, environmental and economic benefit to the Northern Territory and to Australia. Darwin is an excellent deep-water harbour and there is considerable road-hauled freight on the Adelaide – Darwin run. Transferring heavy road haulage to rail is a useful thing because it reduces air pollution and greenhouse emissions, helps reduce our dependance on imported oil (which will only get more expensive as time goes on) and improves the liveability of the urban areas those trucks must at some stage of their journey go through. Not to mention the employment and economic stimulus from construction.

Nobody mentions the massive public subsidy that road freight recieves – do you know how much it costs to keep a road up to scratch, and how much of it is attributable to the heavy freight that the road carries?


Crikey: Why don’t we build a rail line from Broome to Adelaide as well then?

Rupert and Beattie cuddle up over Lang Park

I direct this comment to the situation which evolved today in which the Queensland government sought to use its (somewhat questionable and unconstitutional) legislative provision which empowers it to bypass the land and environment court in relation to objections to the Lang park redevelopment at Milton.

The government here has gone to the enth degree to get the Bronco’s back to Milton to play. Firstly, they bent over backwards to ensure that there was no effective opposition to the bronco’s club redevelopment. They then ensured that the Broncos had approval for their optimum poker allotment.

Secondly, they ensured the bronco’s that there would not be any sporting club operating out of Lang park.

Thirdly, they have put the onus of paying for the development onto hoteliers not clubs (definitely not the Bronco’s).

The current government is the same ilk that opposed the specialist treatment of Iwasaki, Skase, Horvarth, and Theiss Bros. It always proclaimed procedural fairness. And pronounced opposition to the interference in the separation of powers.

What Happened? Well, if you want my opinion the ghost of Russ (the human eclipse) has taken possession of the Qld. cabinet.

All I can really say is it’s damn pathetic!

Regards, Annon Toad

Crikey: And of course Rupert Murdoch controls the Broncos and gave lots of editorial support to Peter Beattie through the Courier Mail. Lang Park is a venue for both codes of rugby and Rupert owns the TV rights for both so of course he wants taxpayers to build him a great new venue for his product.

Leave us Panel types alone

Dear Stephen,

I refer to “The Panel, Plugs and Village Roadshow” by Anonymous in your publication of the 12th of June 2001.

“The Panel” has regularly shown trailers (from any distributor) without film critic Lawrie Zion or a related guest. The reason is simple, a panelist wants to show it. There was no quid pro quo in the “Scary Movie” clip or any other.

As far as your “snippet” is concerned – it’s categorically not true.

Yours faithfully,

Michael Hirsh

Working Dog Pty Ltd

Crikey: The Working Dogs have corrected a sealed section item and have also corresponded that our tale is not right about Village Roadshow giving them an extra $1 million for The Castle to stop them going public bagging the company for ripping them off after The Castle took $10 million but only cost $600,000 to make.