26 Oct 2012

The Questions O'Farrell Won't Answer

By Wendy Bacon and Lawrence Bull
New Matilda had some questions for NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell about James Packer's casino plans. We got a reply from his office - but no real answers. Here’s our exchange with the Premier’s office
New Matilda submitted a list of questions to Barry O'Farrell about James Packer's casino plans.

We received a disappointing reply from Mark Tobin, previously a senior reporter at the ABC.

"Please quote a spokesman for Premier Barry O'Farrell. "The Premier has spoken extensively about this topic and will not be adding to his statements that are on the public record."

New Matilda reviewed the questions to see whether the Premier had already answered them in previous comments. We could not find the answers, so we sent a slightly shorter list through again.

Dear Mark,

Since receiving your response I have further searched available material and cannot find answers to my questions. Indeed I can find no reports of extensive statements by Premier O'Farrell on this matter containing relevant answers. If these do exist, I would appreciate it if you could forward links to these or give me appropriate information so I can locate them.

I have slightly reduced the questions as I appreciate that the Premier and his staff are busy. I am however persisting in my attempt to get answers to these questions. I have a new deadline of this Thursday September 20 at 5 pm.

Along with another reporter Lawrence Bull, I intend to publish one or more articles in New Matilda on the subject of Packer's proposed casino. This subject is in the public interest and answers to these questions will enable my readers to more fully understand the issues.

Here, again, are the questions addressed to the Premier. The wording is slightly adjusted and in some cases reduced.

1. How and when did you first become aware of James Packer's proposal to operate a casino in NSW either through the Echo license or separately? From whom did you receive this information?

2. Were you aware of these plans before you took government? In what circumstances did you receive this information?

3. In February this year, you said that every time you met Mr Packer, he mentioned the casino to you. When did this first occur? At which events did these occur? ( if it is not possible to list all these events, could you please provide information about some of them.)

4. In February this year at the time of the announcement of Packers's NSW casino plans, you were quoted as saying that James Packer had requested a meeting with you about the casino plan. Who attended that meeting? Have you had any further conversations with any representatives of Crown about the proposals? When and in what situations did these occur?

5. Has Lendlease had any meetings with you or any other Minister at which the matter of the casino was discussed? If so, when and who was in attendance?

6. Have you, any member of your department or any other Minister seen the Allen Consulting report on which Mr Packer depends for his claims about the financial boost of $300 to $440 that his hotel/casino would bring to the economy of NSW? Have you or any member of your government requested this? Have you or any other Minister requested or received independent advice on this claim? When and in what form did that occur?

Thank you for your assistance. I would appreciate receiving answers to these questions by the deadline indicated above.

Regards,

Wendy Bacon.

We received this response from Mark Tobin:

We have nothing to add to our previous statement.

Read the first installment of Wendy Bacon and Lawrence Bull's investigation into how Packer has made a Sydney casino licence for Crown look like a fait accompli here.

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jackal01
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 06:02

The Question is. Are we going to be the old Cuba, pre Castro Revolution or the new Cuba.

Isn't a rich Casino man in the U.S backing Mitt Romney financialy?.

Why did Prescott Bush back Adolf Hitler financialy?.

Barry O'Farrell looking for rich friends, is Barry another Reagan maybe.

Will the Casino bring in rich Foreigners to Ripe Off or will it be locals, what about Prostitution. Can't have Casino's, all those Ego's without sex trade?. Solo Moms forced to work for a living by the Government to be Casino Hookers by night, good little moms by day?.

Nation of Freaks!. Ahhhhh Consumerism, spend your money wisely, a million ways to spend it and only one way to earn it, of the Tax Purse.

77% of Australians live of the Tax Purse, (Business's and all) is that the problem. Rich Foreign Gamblers (Imported Foreign Income), and local Hookers. Lots of work for Women who are after all 52% of the population and can't all become Solo's, what about Men?.
Men don't have a womb so can't breed for an Income, forced to be on the only means of income for males, New Start, because the Kiwi's, the Irish, Poms and even women have all the Government funded Job creation Project Jobs.

So where to for the Australian Male?

jackal01
Posted Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 06:05

Thought!
Get married, by your wife a fancy pair of Knickers and send her of to work in a Casino. I'm sure she will look after the knickers.

Dr Dog
Posted Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 09:27

Dear Lawrence and Wendy,

I know you have been frustrated at Barry's refusal to answer your queries so I had a go at what he almost certainly would say if he was inclined to cut loose.

1. How and when did you first become aware of James Packer’s proposal to operate a casino in NSW either through the Echo license or separately? From whom did you receive this information?

Well it was probably at the wedding and that was a pretty hectic day. James and I were on the piss from about 7:30 in the morning so I couldn't say for sure who told me, but you know, I kind of assumed he would want a casino when I got into power, so its possible he didn't even have to ask. A good premier anticipates the needs of his constituents.

2. Were you aware of these plans before you took government? In what circumstances did you receive this information?

I didn't really take government. Labor gave it to me as a gift so that they could leave and get jobs with Packer. Luckily as they left they called out 'and by the way, Jamie wants a casino at Barangaroo'. I was happy to oblige, after all, how else am I going to get a seat on the board when I hand the keys over to John Robertson.

3. In February this year, you said that every time you met Mr Packer, he mentioned the casino to you. When did this first occur? At which events did these occur? ( if it is not possible to list all these events, could you please provide information about some of them.)

Yeah, he beacame a bit of a nosebleed about it to be honest. Every time we went out on his boat or I dropped over to his place with my togs for a quiet swim he would go on and on about why he wanted a casino. Probably something to do with the amount of time his late father used to spend gaming, but I'm not a psychologist or anything.

4. In February this year at the time of the announcement of Packers’s NSW casino plans, you were quoted as saying that James Packer had requested a meeting with you about the casino plan. Who attended that meeting? Have you had any further conversations with any representatives of Crown about the proposals? When and in what situations did these occur?

Well I don't think you can include those ladies as actually attending the meeting as they had other duties that precluded them contributing to the discussion. As for representatives of the Crown as soon as I knew I was going to help Jamie build the thing I got Prince Harry on the phone and invited him to the opening. Nothing like a few nude royalty shots to beef up the publicity.

5. Has Lendlease had any meetings with you or any other Minister at which the matter of the casino was discussed? If so, when and who was in attendance?

You keep saying meetings but clearly most of this stuff happens at lunches. How do you journalist types get anything done if you don't know how to lunch properly? The waiter was in attendance, and a bunch of dudes in suits. Christ knows where they worked but Lend Lease is a good guess.

6. Have you, any member of your department or any other Minister seen the Allen Consulting report on which Mr Packer depends for his claims about the financial boost of $300 to $440 that his hotel/casino would bring to the economy of NSW? Have you or any member of your government requested this? Have you or any other Minister requested or received independent advice on this claim? When and in what form did that occur?

I didn't need the report - Packer gave me the $440 last week at the TAB. I did decide to seek council from a Labor figure to ensure probity so I took some independant advice from Graeme Richardson, who advised me to hold out for a lot more cash. He claims to have bought a boat with the proceeds of his independant advice alone.

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Sandie
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 13:06

sandifeet

Dr Dog

So pleased you were able to interview Barry & get the expected responses to your questions.

Love the $440 financial boost to NSW sounds about right.

Whole thing is brilliant thanks

This user is a New Matilda supporter. Dr Joseph M Fer...
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 21:43

This saga is a fresh reminder of the volte face that usually happens when journalists cross to the other side. This story could have well been one that Mark Tobin himself pursued, in a previous life. And now the master's voice prevails.

wendy bacon
Posted Monday, November 5, 2012 - 13:32

Thanks Dr Dog for those great responses. You will save New Matilda lots of work and phone calls that don't get returned. You should apply for a PR job with O'Farrell. I am sure it pays well. Wendy

This user is a New Matilda supporter. aussiegreg
Posted Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 04:35

Genius, Dr Dog.