We can take it there won’t be a rush for the Nine network current affairs and news programs to do any stories critical of the Tasmanian Government’s logging policy, or any other stories that might be critical of the state. Tasmania are the Packers newest, bestest friends for allowing the joint venture with Betfair, the Pommie betting exchange, to be based in the Apple Isle.

And to add pressure on the racing and gambling bodies opposed to Betfair, Big Kezza has let it be known that he’s upset at being denied the chance to make money from the punters of Australia. He’s going to sue, as this exclusive story in the Sydney Daily Telegraph reveals today. Gilbert and Tobin, the PBL lawyers are off to the courts, or rather, threatening to go to court to sue the various racing bodies for restraint of trade.

Betfair’s Australian mouthpiece was quoted as saying that the group had written to various people and bodies voicing its concerns about “certain public statements”. The mouthpiece, Mark Davis, confirmed that Gilbert and Tobin had been given the case to run against the racing bodies if necessary.

He also revealed that Betfair (a 50-50 joint venture in Australia with PBL) was negotiating with the Tasmanian Government for a licence to operate. So if Tasmania allowed Betfair and PBL takes up its interest, we can be sure that Sunday, Business Sunday, Nine News, 60 Minutes and A Current Affair will cover the clearing of Tasmania’s old forests, and the racing and gaming business with the same intensity and depth that they already cover the operations of Crown casino in Melbourne – ha!

There are already suggestions of Tasmanian sensitivities about coverage of the forests issue by mainland press. A Betfair deal will reduce that troublesome coverage by the country’s major media group!

Peter Fray

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