Heavy hitters of the business world are taking the place of
politicians on the walls of Machiavelli, Sydney’s Italian eatery for
rich and powerful “friends” of the Packer Empire. And a brochure at the
restaurant for The Bulletin magazine reveals those being hung.

The
Bulletin
must have something against big mass
retailers: Coles Myer CEO, John Fletcher and Woolies CEO, Roger Corbett
aren’t there, but Gerry Harvey of Harvey Norman is. Corbett has been a
far more influential businessman than Harvey.

Melbourne Commonwealth Games visionary (and Fairfax chairman) Ron
Walker is there. He’s
from Melbourne so that can’t be the
reason why John Fletcher (originally from Sydney), isn’t on the list. And why
is Solomon Lew there? After all, we all remember Yannon, and the loss of value that happened at Coles Myer
under Mr Lew’s
stewardship. At
least John Fletcher has pushed the share price up.

Dick
Pratt and Bruno Grollo are there from Melbourne, along with
Michael Gudinski and Lindsay Fox. Fox’s putative
transport partner, Chris Corrigan, a PBL director and CEO of Patricks, is also there of course.

There
are some other unusual choices: Julia Ross, a Sydney employment agency entrepreneur more notable for
glamorous stories about her lifestyle. Mark O’Brien, the Sydney lawyer from Gilbert
and Tobin and an expert in defamation and litigation whose clients include those in the
Packer Empire. Company receiver and liquidator, Ian Ferrier is also on the list, a curious choice
given one or two others are missing.

Of course, any promotion involving the Packer Empire has its
insiders to be honoured: CEO, John Alexander; chairman, James Packer;
PBL
director, Sam Chisholm; Nine CEO, Eddie McGuire; Leo Schofield (a
friend of Alexander) and Rod McGeoch, who was in charge of the bid for
the Sydney
2000 Olympics and is married to PBL promotions boss, Deeta Colvin.

But
there are a couple of oddities. Where’s a pic of KP? After all, death cannot mean he’s unable to be
hung: the rogues gallery included the late Christopher
Skase. Kerry
Packer was clearly the biggest mover in Sydney, although not very
Machiavellian.

And,
finally, there’s one very rich and powerful person missing: The centre of power
in Sydney, for
all the recent thrustings by the Packer
Empire. There’s
no picture of Westfield founder, Frank Lowy – a man far more
Machiavellian than KP.

Peter Fray

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