For once the lounge-bar bore of the Canberra press gallery Alan Ramsey has bestirred himself to actually write a story that doesn’t consist entirely of huge slabs of cut-and-paste Hansard … and it’s a good read.
A small excerpt gives the flavour of Ramsey’s lengthy piece:
Winnel was upset he had not been invited. What Whalan wanted when he phoned two days later was to arrange a meeting for his client. Heffernan took the call. The first thing he said to Whalan, in his usual blunt if affable manner, was: “I’m told you’re the Brian Burke of Canberra.”
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While lobbying can be a grubby business, at least there’s a positive in that some of the events described involved a formal Senate committee rather than private meetings bought at auction to fill the coffers of the NSW Labor Party.
The Premier’s dinner date auction, held at the beachside Lagoon Restaurant in North Wollongong, was arranged by Ms Hay, who Mr Iemma yesterday stood down from her role as parliamentary secretary for health.
This latest example of Mr Iemma selling appointments to the highest bidder follows the Herald’s revelations yesterday that private lunch dates with him and the Planning Minister, Frank Sartor, were respectively auctioned off to a licensed club and a developer for thousands of dollars at a fundraising event at Parliament House in September 2005.
Given the detail contained in Ramsey’s story, however, it becomes harder for the airport management to deny that they are leaking material damaging to Bob Winnel.
Winnel has said:
“Canberra Airport have tried to stir things up to try and link us to the corrupt developers in Wollongong and that isn’t the case.”
This itself is disingenuous since he is linked to the Wollongong shenanigans:
The company, run by Bob Winnel, has also donated thousands of dollars to Wollongong City councillors – including independent Mayor Alex Darling – and more than $10,000 directly to Police Minister David Campbell, who has already been dragged into the ICAC sex-for-development scandal.