I cop what Crikey writes about me, but
I won’t cop what Stephen Mayne has written about Nick Paspaley. I was
his nominator in 1995 and if you recall I was Chief Minister of the NT
at that point (that’s CLP and not Liberal – in fact the two parties
compete for donations, they don’t share).

True, he has also been a
good supporter of ours (CLP) in the Territory, but his nomination
was put together by a community group who were intensely proud of this
man’s achievements nationally and internationally.

Nick has
defined the world pearl market and done it from Darwin. He also happens
to be one of the most generous philanthropists and benefactors that the
Territory has ever had. The number of organisations, schools, sporting
clubs and down and out individuals who have benefited from this man’s
generosity and that of his sisters Ros and Marylyn are innumerable –
and you write this about him.

Your article has been widely
circulated in the Territory community and you have damaged a decent
citizen in our community with your ill-informed commentary.

Mayne makes a living sledging individuals for whatever reason, but your
mean spirited uninformed attack on this man and the imputation that he
somehow bought his Honour of Australia goes too far.

Stephen Mayne writes:

Paspaley has undoubtedly done a great job tapping into a public
resource with his lucrative government licence. Indeed, Australian
pearls are known around the world and are particularly hot property in
Japan – at least that’s what the Paspaley man said when I dropped into
their Broome office in 1997.

However, in my opinion there are
other more deserving recipients of the single highest honour on offer,
the AC. Indeed, Stone himself joined the same exalted club two weeks
ago and I’d also include him in the “over-gonged” category.

question remains: would Shane Stone AC have been Nick Paspaley’s
nominator for the AC if he donated four times as much money to the
Labor Party as the Conservatives. I doubt it. There is a perception
that large donations to a political party can smooth the way for a gong
and the fact that Stone himself was the champion of the Paspaley gong,
while his party simultaneously chased him for large donations, simply
reinforces it.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey