RAJ REPORT

Aquis and Cairns wait for the Queensland Government, Packer gets what he wants from the NSW Government——————“He’s played an absolute fucking blinder,” says a leading businessman, who has known Packer for years, and not always been impressed by him. “Think how ballsy you have to be to say ‘Change the rules and give me a second casino licence’. But that’s what’s happened, even if it’s made Australia look like a low-rent South American state. It’s not the front of a barn door. It’s the front of a door the size of an aircraft hanger.” It is as if Australia has regressed, he adds: “We’ve returned to the divine right of kings.”

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“He’s played an absolute fucking blinder,” says a leading businessman, who has known Packer for years, and not always been impressed by him. “Think how ballsy you have to be to say ‘Change the rules and give me a second casino licence’. But that’s what’s happened, even if it’s made Australia look like a low-rent South American state. It’s not the front of a barn door. It’s the front of a door the size of an aircraft hanger.” It is as if Australia has regressed, he adds: “We’ve returned to the divine right of kings.”

Up against the casino’s coalition of the willing are the Greens and independent MP Alex Greenwich who campaigned against the project in the Sydney by-election last October. However, they are helpless to stop the project, because of their insignificant parliamentary numbers. “If you are asking whether we are impotent,” laments Greens MP John Kaye, “then the answer is yes”. In November, Kaye tried to have the state government’s handling of the casino project referred to the Independent Commission Against Corruption. As he wrote to the commissioner, the O’Farrell government had failed “to provide an adequate explanation for weakening requirements for a private proposal to be subject to a competitive tendering process”. But this gambit was a complete non-starter.

“In the 1980s, short cuts were expected,” says the anti-casinos campaigner Tim Costello. “I thought we were beyond that.” But, he says, when it comes to, “those who are rich enough, politicians are dancing to whatever they say. No debate, no tender, no public consultation is very shabby”.

 

Empire Under The Son | The Global Mail.

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