From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours …
Miner in trouble? Perth-based mineral exploration company Padbury Mining turned heads when it told investors (via the Stock Exchange) back in April that it had 100% of the funding to build the massive Oakajee port and rail project. Apparently the money was in “a bank in the Cayman Islands“. Well, Padbury was later forced to admit it did not have all the dough as it terminated the Oakajee deal. ASIC is taking a look at Padbury to see if it misled the market.
Now we’ve heard a claim of possible looming class action on behalf of shareholders in relation to the initial claim by Padbury. We tracked that down to law firm Lander and Rogers. The firm’s partner for commercial disputes, Greg McKenzie, told us this:
“Lander & Rogers has been requested to advise a group of investors on the prospects of bringing a claim — possibly a class action — against Padbury and its directors.”
So yes, there could be more trouble for Padbury …
Hello possums, I’m in charge now. If you’ve typed “Abbott government” into Google lately, you might have been surprised by the results:
It’s likely that a News.com.au article titled “Seven ways the Abbott Government may change your life” is responsible — the Google search algorithm has “crawled” all pages with the words “Abbott government” and chosen the best “hero image” to appear in the search summary box in the top right-hand corner. The PM does love a good Dame, though — perhaps Dame Edna should run for a seat in 2016?
CSG questions. Shareholders of beleagured coal seam gas explorer Metgasco reckon NSW Energy Minister Anthony Roberts has some pointed questions to answer after he summarily suspended the company’s licence to drill for conventional gas from the Rosella prospect, in the state’s north, which was subject of a successful community blockade at Bentley.
The minister, while referring Metgasco to ICAC (and despite having his own well-publicised issues in that forum), suspended the exploration licence on May 15 ostensibly because the company “misled the public over its drilling operation … by saying it was seeking a less controversial type of gas” and had “not undertaken genuine community consultation”. Regardless of the strength of these claims (it is inconceivable Roberts’ department, the NSW Office of CSG, was unaware of the type of gas Metgasco was targeting, given its plans were outlined six months earlier), section 22 (vi) of the Petroleum (Onshore) Act 1991 states that before cancelling or suspending operations under a title, the minister must serve written notice of the grounds of the proposed cancellation or suspension and:
“… give the holder of the title reasonable opportunity to make representations with respect to the proposed cancellation or suspension [and] take any such representations into consideration”.
Given Roberts only sent an email to Metgasco at 4pm the afternoon before the morning’s announcement — and the CEO Peter Henderson was unaware of it until he opened the email at 7pm that evening, effectively getting no opportunity to respond at all — Crikey’s informant wonders whether the minister is in flagrant breach of the very legislation he is responsible for administering?
Cory, put down the spray can. SA Liberal/Labor MP turncoat Martin Hamilton-Smith is copping flak for switching teams. This is what his office looks like now:
As far as graffiti goes, this is rather eloquent and the spelling is relatively accurate. You can tell it’s a Tory behind the spray can. Was it Cory Bernardi, Christopher Pyne or Alex Downer?
The students are revolting. Phew — Tony Abbott’s family doesn’t have to worry about his cuts to funding for uni students. That’s because daughter Frances got a $60,000 scholarship to her private uni. We’ve heard students plan to occupy the uni in question, the Whitehouse Institute of Design, this afternoon. Frances went to the Sydney campus, but the protesters are targeting the Melbourne campus. Oh well, you get the idea.
Tough questions on Mirabella. Labor Senator Louise Pratt, who has to leave the Senate to make way for Joe Bullock, grilled bureaucrats in Senate estimates today about this Crikey story on the government appointing Sophie Mirabella to the SBS board. Er, check the date, Senator Pratt …
Fake Kevin Andrews identified. Tips was intrigued to see The Daily Telegraph air a Kevin Andrews doppelganger as a byline pic this week. We couldn’t work out who the fake Andrews was, so we asked you …
… and you obliged. Within two hours of Crikey going out yesterday, eight people had emailed in to say the imposter is Jim Longley, former MP for Pittwater in the NSW Parliament. He is now chief executive of Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Well, at least he’s a Liberal.
One cheeky reader has a theory on how the pics came to be muddled up:
“While I can’t confirm the identity of the other man, laboratory tests have conclusively confirmed that the same wig is being warn in both photos. The government needs to come clean.”
And Longley may be one to watch. We heard a rumour he’s keen to replace Bronwyn Bishop as MP for the federal NSW seats of Mackellar (where Longley lives) when she retires. He made a bid last time around, but our noble Speaker keeps asking for one more term, and it seems she has the numbers sewn up so Longley has to wait til she wants to go. Bishop, at 71, is the oldest MP in the lower house (even pipping veteran Philip Ruddock by a few months). She has been in Parliament since 1987; is it time to move on? Speaking of Bronwyn, we love the URL for her personal homepage: www.bronwyn.com.au.