The Latham Diaries record the following entry from Monday, 1 November, 2004 – just three weeks after the election:

Mark Arbib (NSW State Secretary) reckons that Laurie Oakes was consistently against us during the campaign: “He was the worst every night, so you might have a problem with Packer. You need to go and see the big media people every now and then and kiss their a-ses. Carr does it all the time, it works wonders.” Yes, if you don’t mind having sh-t on your lips.

As we all know, John Howard delivered big time for the Packers with his new media ownership laws, but now they appear to have done a huge backflip, if you can believe this email from someone working on the NSW Liberal campaign:

Channel Nine, especially Adam Walters, is really sticking it to the NSW Libs in the State Election. They’ve screwed us on every 6pm bulletin so far in the campaign.

Nine have been bloody good to us in every federal campaign since 1996, so I just assumed it was Graham Richardson’s influence at Nine – looking after his former staffer and little mate Morris Iemma.

But then I thought: why the heck was Richo given the gig at Nine in the first place? Everyone knew it was to have a powerful ALP figure (and fixer) within easy reach of “Big Kerry”.

All of which raises the interesting point: When does the exclusivity arrangement for the Sydney casino licence end? September 2007.

Is there anyone in Australia (perhaps even connected to PBL) who is REALLY keen to get his hands on a gaming licence in the biggest gambling city in Australia? And which party appears to be on track to win the election?

So then, what has Nine and PBL got to gain by being fair and impartial to the Libs, as opposed to sucking up to Iemma and Labor?

This is a fascinating situation. Iemma is a creature of the Arbib-led NSW machine and Arbib knows all about the power of Channel Nine. Did Iemma follow Arbib’s advise and kiss some Packer butt, holding out the lure of a casino licence if they were good boys?

As Paul Keating noted during his hilarious interview on The World Today, “Brian Burke was Graham Richardson’s candidate against me for the Prime Ministership.”

Surely it’s time for Richo’s old Burke connections and ongoing Packer gig to receive some serious scrutiny, especially given he’s facing jail over alleged tax fraud.

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Peter Fray
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