Angela Priestley, editor of The Power Index, writes:

We’re providing a new profile from The Power Index for Crikey subscribers to read every day. Currently, we’re covering Political Fixers, but stick around for the rest of our lists across the year — each fortnight we’ll kick off a new list drawn from our categories of Media, Culture, Business, Law & Order and our major metropolitan cities.

And check out the site for all the latest power news.

Here’s today’s profile from our Top 10 Most Powerful Political Fixers:

Top 10 Political Fixers #6. Don Farrell. Known in his home state as the Godfather or the Pope, Don Farrell was one of the players in the coup that brought down Kevin Rudd in June 2010. He also orchestrated this month’s mugging of South Australian Premier Mike Rann, although he left the deed to others.

And although you may never have heard of him, this softly-spoken Labor powerbroker has actually been king of the hill in South Australia for the past two decades.

”Don has absolute power in the Right,” says the ALP’s former deputy leader Ralph Clarke. ”He controls the pre-selection directly or indirectly of every MP in South Australia. If you want to get on, you get on with Don.”

Farrell also decides who is the state’s Labor leader – which means he has been busy in recent weeks — and who gets into Cabinet. At the end of the day, it is a simple proposition, explains Clarke: “He has got the numbers.” — Paul Barry (read the rest here)

Yabsley vindicated by Vic Liberal donors. Liberal Party grandee Michael Kroger has joined former party treasurer Michael Yabsley in calling for a complete ban on political donations from business and developers.

Kroger made the call following today’s lead story in Melbourne’s The Age, which highlights concerns about a proposed rezoning of land on the outskirts of Melbourne that could benefit Liberal Party donors to the tune of $500 million.

“I absolutely agree with Michael Yabsley,” Kroger told The Power Index, “In the modern era, elections should be 100 per cent publicly funded so we can avoid the perception that people can pay money for favours.” — Paul Barry (read the rest here)

It’s prawns, Moet and satire, as yachties head for Hamilton. Boaties will get a taste of Moet, oysters and even a bit of political satire this week, as the rich and powerful descend on the Whitsundays for Australia’s largest offshore yachting race.

Among those racing will be winemaker Ian Oatley (with his tub, Q), Robert Saltier from Tenix (with One O Nine) and former Leighton Holdings deputy CEO Bill Wild (aboard the good ship Wedgetail).

Hopefully fellow entrant Anthony Bell and his maxi Investec Loyal will have a bit more luck than the celebrity accountant’s multi-million dollar luxury boat Stealth, after it mysteriously sunk in Sydney Harbour a few years ago. — Tom Cowie (read the rest here)

Phil Green’s chance to give back. At last we may see some action to clean up the mess left by the financial geniuses at Babcock & Brown Ltd, whose collapse in 2008 completed the wipe out of $12 billion of shareholders and creditors’ funds.

B&B’s liquidator, Deloitte’s David Lombe, is suing several of the financial engineer’s directors and its auditor, Ernst & Young, for at least $160 million in damages. And if he wins, some of the massive bonuses paid to B&B’s principals may well be clawed back.

One of the key defendants in the Federal Court action, filed on Wednesday, is B&B’s co-founder and principal, Phil Green, who raked in $56 million in bonuses from the company during the four years it was listed on the Australian Securities exchange. — Paul Barry (read the rest here)

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey