Loopy conspiracy theorists perched atop the grassy knoll are starting to ask questions about whether coal-hungry Japanese interests are enjoying a spot of revenge against John Singleton and Gerry Harvey as equine flu devastates NSW racing.
It’s very hard to believe but the irony is indeed rich given the war that Singo has waged against all things Japanese ever since Kirin-controlled Lion Nathan gave his advertising agency Singleton Ogilvy & Mather the flick three years ago.
Singo’s rage extended to making racist anti-Japanese remarks, funding the Sea Shepherd pursuit of Japanese whaling interests and launching Bondi Blonde, a rival beer to all those Lion Nathan brands such as Tooheys, Swan, XXXX and Hahn.
Singo and his billionaire mate Gerry Harvey then decided to put horse racing ahead of Hunter Valley coal mining interests. This is how NSW Stateline presenter Quentin Dempster introduced a quite remarkable story on 30 March this year:
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QUENTIN DEMPSTER: If you’re a Hunter Valley coalminer, it’s one thing to have the Greens on your back, but quite another to have a rival and wealthy local industry about to pounce. The valley’s thoroughbred stud breeders today launched what they are describing as an aggressive and relentless campaign to have mining in the Hunter Valley not stopped but seriously constrained. The breeders say they’ve had enough of coal mines encroaching on their multi-billion dollar industry. They want all new mining proposals stopped, they want a cap on coal exports and a full scale inquiry into the environmental effect of mining in the Hunter. The campaign involves high profile breeders, like Gerry Harvey, John Singleton, and chicken king, Bob Ingham.
And which country has invested many billions in Hunter Valley coal to feed its vast steel industry? Japan. And where did the equine flu come from? A Japanese horse.
Singo and Gerry Harvey were on the front of The Australian today given that it was the retailing billionaire’s horse, Paxton, which contracted the virus that has now spread throughout the Randwick stables.
Despite the specific campaign against Centennial Coal’s Anvil Hill mine, it was approved by the Iemma Government on 7 June this year, although Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull is now facing a court challenge from a local green group.
This equine disaster is the last thing Turnbull needs given the keen interest that many of his Wentworth constituents have in the business of racing.
Federal agriculture minister Julian McGauran is struggling to cope as the industry gets increasingly agitated about the lack of compensation and the reluctance to do the honourable thing and have an independent inquiry into this apparent stuff up at the Federally run Eastern Creek quarantine centre.