May 24, 2013

Richard Farmer’s chunky bits

As Australia's first bookie to sponsor a football team (well, a coach, really), Richard Farmer has reason to think Tom Waterhouse's ads must be profitable. Plus other political views along the way.

Richard Farmer

Crikey political commentator

Rio Tinto, the rich and the poor. In Australia it is wealthy Hunter Valley horse stud owners complaining about coal mining companies like Rio Tinto ruining their lifestyle. In Mozambique it is 1429 families in coal-rich Tete province forced to swap their fertile land for new dry and dusty farming plots no longer capable of growing the staples like and maize and sorghum they used to survive on.

Spruiking the odds. I’ve been a bit reluctant to buy into the debate about Tom Waterhouse and his paid for television appearances. I don’t know him well but have worked over the years with both his father and grandfather in the bookmaking and punting business. And I guess I was the first bookmaker anywhere to sponsor a football team. Well, not a team really, but a coach. When the cameras zoomed in on Denis Pagan many years ago when he was the boss at North Melbourne there was the sign of the bookmaking company I was chairman of. These days it’s hard to watch a game of anything in Australia and Britain without signage that in retrospect makes my old lot look absolutely timid.

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