Di,

FYI I sent the yarn to Margaretta Pos, along with the photo, and she wrote this:

Hi, I am almost sure
the photo is of both Farmer and Touber (I barely know what Touber looks
like) . I asked Lindsay to double check, which he did against Mercury
files, and he says he is almost sure also. However, he says that he can
ask someone who could verify the photo if you would like him to ….
The story is fine. My only quibble is the last sentence “Perhaps Lennon
should have stayed home that night” is good, but the next part is ho
hum, and maybe, it could have something about the mates he chooses
which bring him flak … Crown, Gunns etc …

And here’s the story:

The
premier, the promoter, the predator – and a pile of odure

Christian
Kerr

Has Paul
Lennon, the Tasmanian Premier, hung out with some bad company?

The
Hobart Mercury carried a sleazy story on January 23 this year:

A Labor candidate in Tasmania’s upcoming
state election has a business linked to the state’s worst serial rapist
operating from her home.

Former Pharmacy
Guild of Tasmania director Louise Sullivan, who is an endorsed ALP candidate
for Denison, has her family home listed as the principal place of business for
a company whose directors are her husband, music promoter Charles Touber, and serial rapist Shane Ronald Farmer.

Farmer is
serving eight years in jail for his crimes.

An investigation
by News Limited has found that Farmer is still listed as a director of the
company 16 months after being found guilty of indecency crimes against seven
women aged between 16 and 21.

While Ms
Sullivan is not a director of the company, the principal place of business is
registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission as her Sandy Bay
home.

Neither Mr
Touber nor Ms Sullivan has broken any company laws in relation to the issue.

Yesterday Ms
Sullivan denied being connected to Farmer and said any suggestions of the sort
were “scurrilous muckraking”…

She said she had
met Farmer, but he was not a colleague.

Mr Touber said
he had not taken steps to have Farmer removed as a director of the company
because he had been winding it up and Farmer had little to do with its running…

Mr Touber is a
former ALP state and Senate candidate.

Two days
later a letter to the editor from Touber appeared in the Mercury, where he
bewailed “the silly effort to establish a tenuous link
between my wife, Ms Louise Sullivan, and Mr Shane Farmer in your article”:

Over the years I
have operated or been involved with a number of companies, Louise has not
performed even the slightest roles in any of them. We have always conducted
separate professional lives.

Louise would not
have any idea of what these companies were, let alone have any knowledge of
directorship issues…

Louise has met
Mr Farmer on a few occasions but has not had a professional or personal
relationship with him.

She was
distressed and angered by his convictions. She abhors sexual assault.

After all,
Louise’s professional career began as an officer of the Sexual Assault Support
Service.

This episode
sadly illustrates some advice I gave Louise about her decision to pursue a
political life. It can be a nasty, negative and vindictive affair. It exposes
people to unfair intrusion and attacks on their character.

It is
particularly ironic that the media, including this newspaper, calls for
high-profile achievers from private life to become involved in public affairs.
Louise responded to this rather altruistic calling. This silly muckraking
exercise is another example of why so many people are not prepared to make this
sacrifice.

His links
with the convicted rapist weren’t denied, and now allegations about who might
have been friendly with Farmer are becoming matters of concern.

Farmer
ran nightclubs. Like all clubs, they had some interesting patrons. In a March
2003 Sydney Morning Herald feature, Mark “Chopper” Reid talked about a visit to
“Shane Famer’s lap-dancing club; called Men’s Gallery”.

The clubs
and their boss developed a reputation. A Mercury feature from 2004, after his
conviction, reported:

[T]here was talk Farmer was sleazy and “into
drugs”. There were rumours of drinks being spiked in his clubs…

The first time he came to police attention
was in 1995 when there were claims of drink spiking and rape at his Launceston
nightclub, the Playroom.

It was reported at the time a major crime
team of seven detectives was carrying out an investigation.

Interviews were conducted with witnesses but
no charges were laid because of insufficient evidence.

The case file later went missing – and has
never been found.

Another complaint of alleged rape was made to
police in 1996. Again, there was not enough evidence to press any charge…

In November 2001, Farmer was charged with 14
coutns of administering a drug with intent to facilitate rape, 10 counts of
rape, four of indecent assault and one of aggravated secual assault.

From that point his legal battles began…

Farmer eventually went to trial with two
other men over the 1995 rape of a 19 year old woman in the manager’s office of
the Playroom at Launceston.

He was found guilty last December of aiding
and abetting manager Craig Randall to rape the woman, who was severely affected
by alcohol…

Touber
was a witness in the case. In the background facts to his ruling on Randall’s
and Farmer’s convictions, Justice Cox stated: “In the manager’s office there
were the two appellants… and one Touber, a promoter who had arranged for
performances that night by several bands. He had travelled from Hobart where they both
then lived and they subsequently returned there together in Farmer’s car.”

Crikey
has been sent a photo that allegedly shows then Lennon at the opening of one of
Farmer’s clubs, the Wild West, with Farmer and Touber when he was deputy
premier.

While
Farmer had been convicted of no crime at that time, the talk surrounding the
club owner would suggest it was a major error of judgement for Lennon to attend
such an event.

Politicians
and proprietors of nightclubs move in very different circles, but surely Touber
could have bridged the gap.

Perhaps
Lennon should have stayed home that night – and perhaps he’ll have a delayed
sore head come polling day.

Peter Fray

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