Correction:

Crikey: In the story “How the corporate world looks after its own” (Monday, item 21) it was suggested that former investment banker Trevor Rowe was forced to resign from the board of the Queensland Investment Commission in 2009. Crikey has no evidence to support that assertion and Rowe maintains that he made the decision not to seek another term.

The story also asserted that toll-road company BrisConnections paid a $500,000 success fee to former Queensland Treasurer Terry Mackenroth. Terry Mackenroth was not directly employed by BrisConnections –the project sponsors (Thiess Pty Ltd, John Holland Pty Ltd and Macquarie Group) engaged him. The company Enhance Management was also incorrectly referred to as Enhance Communications.

The story has been amended on the website.

Trevor Rowe writes: Re. “How the corporate world looks after its own” (Monday, item 21). Mr. Bolton, as a then greater than 5% Unitholder, requisitioned an extraordinary general meeting of BrisConnections seeking to pass a number of resolutions which would give effect to “winding up” of the BrisConnections Group, NOT as you state in your article ” …in an attempt to force a corporate reorganization”.

As required a meeting was so convened and as you should also be aware, prior to that meeting, Mr. Bolton sold his votes to Leighton Holdings and did not attend the meeting. As you should also be aware, until the time of the meeting, the determination of votes is not final or certain and accordingly no disclosure can be made.  There was no failure of the continuous disclosure obligations by BrisConnections nor any misleading of investors.

In fact, as soon as we became aware of information, it was provided to the meeting and the market.  In addition, no charges or prosecution has ever been undertaken by the regulators in relation to our continuous disclosure obligations, nor do I expect any to be commenced.

There has been NO financial collapse of BrisConnections.  Rather, we remain fully paid and over 70% of the BrisConnections and Airport Link project of $4.8bn of construction is complete in readiness for commencement of operations in mid 2012 of this transformational infrastructure project.  In addition, funding for the entire construction program is in place, interest rates are fully hedged for the construction period and there are no refinancing obligations until mid-2018 (six years after opening).

We continue to be traded on the ASX.

The No Carbon Tax Rally:

Nick Morgan writes: Re. “Hitting the footpaths for the No Carbon Tax rally” (yesterday, item 6). Tom Cowie and Andrew Crook start their report on yesterday’s climate change protest by saying that the attendees were “mostly white”. Why is this a relevant fact? Do protests have to have a specific racial balance to be considered reputable? Are the views of white people less important than the views of others?

Many other union and pro-environment protests consist of mostly white people yet the racial balance is never reported on by Crikey journos. Reporting that the protesters were “mostly white” is Cowie and Crook’s code for saying that the protesters are racist rednecks and not to be listened to. This is just one of the many techniques used in their article to demean those attending the rally.

Sure there were a few crackpots attending, but I’m sure just as many crackpots can be found at any left wing rally (think the Socialist Alliance, anarchist rent-a-crowd who attend any rally). It is pretty clear that the pre-determined brief for these journos was to do a hatchet job on the rally.

For a publication that often complains about the balance of The Australian, this was a pretty unbalanced report.

Campbell Newman:

Peter Coom writes: Re. “Only in Qld… Campbell’s the new man in the hot seat” (yesterday, item 5). Campbell Newman’s entry into State politics is not new for a Brisbane Lord Mayor.

In 1972 the late Lord Mayor of Brisbane Alderman Clem Jones contested the state seat of Yeronga. At that time Clem Jones was the most popular Lord Mayor Brisbane had ever had and even he could not win a place in the Queensland Parliament.

He was that popular that in 1973 the Liberal opposition only won one seat, albeit with a little help from Joh Bjelke-Petersen. He also had a tilt at federal politics only to achieve the same result, the consensus of opinion at the time was that the citizens of Brisbane voted against him so as not to lose him as Lord Mayor.

History has a habit of repeating itself…

The fuss about fission and fusion:

Wayne Robinson writes: Sorry to be pedantic, but … Actually, fission of uranium isn’t actually natural (with the exception of the natural nuclear reactors in Gabon 1.8 billion years ago).

What is natural is that uranium DECAYS into lead through a multistep process (the Wikipedia has a nice flow chart showing the process). There hasn’t been enough uranium-235 on Earth to support naturally occurring fission for hundreds of millions of years, without enrichment.

Fission of uranium results in elements lighter than lead such as caesium and strontium.

Dictator Watch:

Julia Thornton writes: Re. “Dictator watch: Yemen … going, going, gone” (yesterday, item 3). Companions to Dictator Watch: Oligarchy Watch could profile those repressive states with more than one person in charge. Junta Watch could do those with military commanders. Burma for instance, Fiji?

A broad spread focuses the question, why are we against some, but not others?

The Age:

Jim Hart writes: What a pleasure it was to open The Age yesterday morning.

Libya was down at the foot of the page with main article and photo inside on page 10. And that nasty stuff in Japan was further back on page 12.

That left the front page above the fold for the important stuff — a photo of the Grid Girls and a big story about cheap beer.

So good to see a once-great newspaper is finally prioritising true Australian values.

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