Nine changes story on pokies spiel. Channel Nine has changed its story on the celebrated rant by rugby league commentators Phil Gould and Ray Warren against the new pokie laws proposed by independent MP Andrew Wilkie. Nine has now admitted it scripted the attack (or almost). But we still don’t know who wrote and commissioned it.

Just after half-time in the Manly-Brisbane preliminary final on September 23, Gould told more than a million TV viewers that mandatory pre-commitment was “a rubbish policy” that “won’t work, will hurt”, adding: “I’ve never seen such a stupid policy in all my life.” Warren, who had started the ball rolling by claiming pokie profits benefited the community, rounded it all off with: “And that’s an endorsement.” — Paul Barry (read the full story here)

Bell case lingo baffles financial brain. It’s no easy feat to force Paul Clitheroe, chairman of the federal government’s Financial Literacy Board, to pull out his dictionary. But that’s what West Australian Supreme Court Justice Neville Owen achieved with a remarkably bombastic verdict on the Bell Group case.

Justice Owen deemed Australia’s longest-running and most costly court case “a dispute of Brobdingnagian proportions”, admitted that at times he’d felt like he was “confined to an oubliette”, and expressed gratitude that the mammoth litigation did not prove to be “sempiternal”. — Hilary Simmons (read the full story here)

‘Celebrity’ Max Markson maximises exposure. If there’s one person who should be on our Sydney list, but isn’t, it’s got to be “celebrity agent” Max Markson, who brought Tony Blair and Bill Clinton to Australia and made such a case of representing Lara Bingle.

The star of last night’s A Current Affair s-x scandal story has shown once again that fame and money are all that matters in the Emerald City. “All people remember at the end of the day is the name,” he told Channel Nine. — Paul Barry (read the full story here)

Archbishop George Pell’s latest coup. George Pell missed out on a spot on our list of powerful Sydneysiders, but the opening of a lavish new refuge for Australian tourists in Rome testifies to his influence within the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney, has been the driving force Domus Australia, a $30 million pilgrim centre located 4km from the Vatican. It will be officially opened by Pope Benedict on Thursday. — The Power Index (read the full story here)

Peter Fray

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