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Monday, January 16, 2006

Lennon must release all details of Women’s Weekly deal now

Media Release



HON MICHAEL HODGMAN QC MHA
Her Majesty’s Shadow Attorney General
Monday, 16 January 2006

Premier Lennon should immediately release all details of his and his office’s dealings with PBL (part owner of Betfair in Australia) and Women’s Weekly management over his puff-piece, soft-focus article set to appear in the next edition of the magazine, Shadow Attorney General Hon Michael Hodgman QC said today.

Mr Hodgman said that the whiff of cronyism over the licensing of Betfair already surrounded Premier Lennon, and any perception of yet more dodgy dealings could be cleared up immediately if the Premier were to be open with the public over the Women’s Weekly article.

“The old saying ‘if you have got nothing to fear, then you have got nothing to hide’ could not be more relevant in the case of how exactly the Women’s Weekly decided to do a puff piece on Premier Lennon,” Mr Hodgman said.

“If Premier Lennon asserts that the commissioning of the Women’s Weekly article is completely above board, then he should have no problems whatsoever releasing details of contact between him, his office and management of both PBL and the Women’s Weekly.

“This should include any contact, such as phone records, letters and emails that Mr Lennon, his Chief of Staff Rod Scott, his Chief Media Adviser Matt Rogers, the Head of the Media Unit Rod Wallis, DPAC’s Manager of Communications and Marketing Julie Pellas, the Premier’s Director of Communications Jane Lonergan or other key advisers to the Premier have had with Women’s Weekly or PBL.

“And the Premier should also reveal what discussions that he or his staff had with PBL or Women’s Weekly representatives at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival or in the lofty heights of the Crown Casino tower.

“The public deserve to know who exactly initiated discussions over the Women’s Weekly article, when these discussions were had and whether this was in anyway related to the licensing of Betfair as some allege.

“If the Premier maintains his secretive approach to all things Betfair and refuses to release any documents or information about the Women’s Weekly article, then he will only further feed the belief by some that this was stitched up as part of the Betfair deal.

“At least the former New South Wales Premier, Bob Carr, when a puff-piece on him appeared in the Women’s Weekly just before the last NSW State Election, had the decency to be open about his appearance in the magazine and who paid the many thousands for publication of the article the Labor Party.

“These feature articles in the Women’s Weekly don’t come cheaply in commercial terms they are worth at least $100,000 each so we are talking about really big bickies.

“Paul Lennon really must give all the details and now. This is the sort of openness that that we rarely get from this Premier and his secretive and arrogant State Labor Government,” Mr Hodgman said.






For more information, please contact:
Patrick Clancy (03) 6233 2505 or 0411 279 252
Ends/ref…jan1602pc

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