Dick Smith claims his beets are a good root. We all know nothing beets a good Aussie root. And thank heavens we’ve got Dick Smith to stand up for the farmers who produce it.

What other squillionaire would spend his Saturday morning driving a truck to Manly and giving away cans of the stuff to anyone who’ll stop and hear how our big supermarkets are beeting our farmers into submission?

Answer: not one. Which is why Dick was right up the top of our recent Rich Crusaders list, beaten only by Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest and Graeme Wood.

A few weeks ago, Dick heard that one of the last beetroot farmers in Australia was going to plough his crop back into the soil, because he couldn’t sell it for love or money. Dick bought some, canned it, and tried to flog the product to Coles and Woolies at cost, for 90 cents a can. But the supermarkets refused, because their even cheaper rivals, Aldi, are knocking it out at 75 cents a can.

So Dick was left with 100,000 tins of the stuff — labelled “Magnificent” — which had cost him $90,000 or more. Read the rest here at The Power Index.

Somebody’s got something nice to say about Labor. John Rice, vice-president of GE, has done the unthinkable: he’s dished out some praise to the Gillard government for its $23-a-tonne carbon tax.

Rice went so far as to label the move as courageous on ABC television yesterday.

“It takes gutsy politicians and so we applaud the Australian government,” he said. “It takes leadership and if you wait for the world to act in unison, it will never happen.”

Lucky for GE, it’s in the business of wind turbines. — The Power Index.

Barry’s anniversary a lesson for Campbell Newman. Today marks exactly one year since the NSW Labor Party was annihilated at the polls. On March 26, 2011, Labor won just 20 seats of the 93-seat NSW Parliament, down from 52.

And, as well all now well know, Queensland Labor faced a similar defeat in over the weekend, currently predicted to win just seven of the 89 seats available, down from 51.  — The Power Index.

But in a lesson for incoming Queensland premier Campbell Newman, O’Farrell’s one year in the top job in NSW shows that dominance at the polls is no prelude to an easy first year in office — not if you’re going to be slow off the mark to deliver on much needed reform across the state.

O’Farrell faced plenty of criticism for his slow start in the job, including from The Power Index and the man he appointed to head up Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner. He even earned himself the moniker of “Barrier O’Farrell” from The Daily Telegraph.

Still, in the past six months, O’Farrell’s been getting down to business — and has been announcing everything from sacking thousands of public servants, to banning lobbyist success fees and tearing down Sydney CBD’s much loathed monorail.

Barry’s lesson? Just get on with it.  — The Power Index.

Five people to watch in Newman’s team. Getting on with it shouldn’t be too difficult for Newman. Thanks to the scale of his election victory, he’s got a deep pool of talent to choose from when deciding his shadow cabinet.

Over on The Power Index, we present the five LNP pollies we expect to feature prominently in his cabinet.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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