We heard a lot about Alan Jones’ cash for comment activity a couple of
years ago, but is anyone tracking what is driving his commentary on
Channel 9? Last week he used a Nine “editorial” to rip into airports
and their monopolistic practices, their gouging of airlines and their
elevation above the normal planning laws that apply to, ooh let’s say,
Westfield or Centro.

He was remarkably well briefed (well, from
an airport and property developer perspective, anyway). He even said
“Westfield have challenged this planning power” – but failed to
mention Westfield and Centro were comprehensively towelled
in the Federal Court, and Westfield did not even bother to appeal.

Shouldn’t
Nine viewers – like 2GB listeners – be told that Mr Jones’ sponsors
over the years have included airlines with a direct and material
interest in airport charges being regulated and controlled? Given his
previous form and looking at the pathetic 2GB website
“commercial agreements” section, whatever happened to the requirement to disclose all such commercial agreements?

When
you take a look at the moment the only agreement disclosed is with
Channel 9? Does that mean the Parrot is paying full freight whenever he
flies with Qantas in 2005. In the glory days of cash for comment he and
John Laws received hundreds of thousands in cash from the national
carrier plus loads of free flights.

And who can forget the very
close mateship that the Parrot’s boss and 2GB owner John Singleton
shares with Qantas CEO Geoff Dixon? A cynic might say that Qantas is
paying millions to John Singleton, who in turn is paying millions to
Alan Jones who in turn is saying things that benefit Qantas yet in this
post cash for comment regulatory environment aboslutely none of this is
disclosed.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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