anonion: much-needed independence in reporting this issue, with the major Australian news organisations Fairfax and ABC/SBS being well and truly in the pocket of the pro-uranium lobby anonion: Fairfax Chariman Ron Walker is one of the main forces behind the drive for nuclear power here, having recently set up a company with experienced bigwigs in the mining industry anonion: of course most news reporting here about Walker's involvement doesn't mention that he is a chair of Fairfax, they prefer to focus on his sporting achievements. Even Wikipedia's one-par summary (cough) describes him thus: "Ronald Joseph Walker AC CBE (born September, 1939) is an Australian businessman renowned in Melbourne for his work in managing sporting events." anonion: and even articles in The Age (a Fairfax newspaper and seen as one of the remaining bastions of any measure of independent reporting here) fails to draw the line between Fairfax and Itself ... hahahahaha free press oh yessss they pwn us anonion: "...Prime Minister John Howard revealing that he had a discussion with Mr Walker about the company days before he announced an inquiry into nuclear power..." anonion: How's the ELECTION coming along, Mr H? anonion: six months and counting anonion: Not even worth explaining how come ABC/SBS -- the two government broadcasters, and previously seen as reasonably independent of government influence due to the previous funding arrangements -- are in the pocket of the pro-uranium lobby anonion: the only other significant news press here, other than fairfax, is Rupert Murdoch-pwned .. yes all of it anonion: many of the articles at this site are simply reprints from mainstream press <cough> but some eg this story about government ignoring local population very existence are not anonion: in fact that's a press release .. but then a great many stories in the mainstream press are basically just that anyway ... at least this site credits the source appropriately anonion: the sporting event Walker is most famous for presently in Melbourne is the Formula One, I doubt he is eager to push austerity as part of the solution for the energy/CO2/water/environment crisis, huh? anonion: no discussion in the press about him influence peddling but if you want free tickets to the most prestigious sporting event in the southern hemisphere, you know where your friends are, right? So does Melbourne Lord Mayor John. anonion: Recent scandal over a lunch meeting by people on the other team in Parliament shows how EVIL this practise is, though. huh. anonion: "Have you dropped Kevin Rudd right in it by having him at your house while Brian Burke was there?" anonion: coincidentally the Burke/Rudd scandal occurred just when people started asking how it was that Ron Walker has such unfettered and timely access to the PM .. a nuclear "review" for the PM by the past-and-future head of the nuclear business ANSTO, being instituted just when Walker set up his Uranium business anonion: note that the contrast is that in the Burke/Rudd "scandal" noone could actually point to any actual discussion or influence that Burke had or could have perpetrated on, or for, Rudd anonion: in Howard's opinion, the Switkowski (ANSTO) report, is the be-all and end-all of the "full blooded debate over nuclear power" that he reckoned Australia needed right now, in place of a "full-on debate", about solutions to the greenhouse/pollution/water problems we face anonion: note that "full-blood" was a term used for referring to natives whose genetic ancestry did not include recent European arrivals, whereas "full-on" is a term used to mean "unfettered", such as the "full-on access" which Walker has to the PM anonion: full-blood might somehow connotate fettered, given the long history of slavery of black peoples, which contrary to some sources, did occur in rural Australia, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanaka .. anonion: Switkowski before his recent heading-up of the Government-owned nuclear business ANSTO, was the head of the government-owned Telecoms business Telstra, before he was put on notice by the government anonion: Walker also received favourable government attention in getting Melbourne's only Casino license, and in winning the Formula One anonion: other major casino's in Australia are owned by the only other major media player here, PBL .. late head of which Kerry Packer was renowned for his gambling anonion: note that within Australia, people with an involvement in a Casino can't legally gamble at their own casino .. they have to visit a competitor's casino to do so anonion: peddle some influence anyone? anonion: note: generally people interested in Casino enough to actually buy one, let alone have government legislation changed to set one up, ARE INTERESTED IN GAMBLING anonion: Note2: I lose $34m in YOUR CASINO, makes you VERY HAPPY anonion: or so I believe ... anonion: recently a scandal emerged concerning so-called Community-benefit contributions that gaming venues should make to offset the costs of gambling in the community anonion: Crown wasn't mentioned, but the widespread practice was to claim all sorts of venue expenses as "community benefits" in the spirit of belief that the gaming venue itself is a community benefit anonion: one venue even claimed preparing the community-benefit statement was a community benefit and wrote off the expense of its preparation against the contributions it was meant to have made anonion: one wonders whether a nuclear reactor might be claimed by Crown as being of Community Benefit anonion: .. and in case you're wondering, I have never been given free tickets to the Formula One ;p anonion: hmm PBL already owns crown .. I guess that means Walker is with PBL and there is no real PBL/Fairfax distinction .. well whatever anonion: interesting that Switkowski had previously suggested Telstra buy out Fairfax, an idea which Telstra itself rejected and which was widely reported as precipitating his ejection from the company after the story was leaked to the media by "someone within the boardroom" anonion: also interesting that his cohort in the supposed failed attempt was a previous Fairfax CEO ... and this time, not Ron Walker. anonion: if such a deal had gone ahead, it would have put the Australian federal government "effectively in control" of the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, and Financial Review anonion: meaning that the deal had zero chance from day one, may have been a case of "falling on his sword" if for example, the government had secretly suggested he take up a position at a (security-conscious) government Nuclear Lab anonion: a position which he took up a year and a half later anonion: who knows .. this is mere speculation anonion: though his appointment was for five years, within 6 months he had resigned in order to do his "independent" report for the PM, then immediately after presenting it, took up his position again. anonion: the PM had actually expected him to do the review while at ANSTO anonion: "absurd allegations about a conflict of interest" hahaha yes. how absurd.