Woolies boss puts heat on pollies

Woolies boss puts heat on pollies

It's been under fire in Canberra but now Woolworths plans a good, old-fashioned roasting.

The supermarket and pokie-machine operator, which is being probed by the chief consumer regulator, Rod Sims, over allegations it gouges suppliers, is chucking a courtyard barbie at Parliament House next month.

The make-nice session promises the chance to meet "some of Australia's fresh food farmers, producers and retailers". The invite is silent on whether CEO Grant O'Brien, right, will don the "Kiss the chef" apron and turn a sausage or two.

If the invite that's doing the rounds of Parliament House is any guide, they'll also be welcome to gorge themselves on platter loads of meat. Among the burnt offerings pictured are sausages, steaks, chops and kebabs. Just let's not overdo the potato salad, OK?

Lockyer's journey

News a fortnight ago that an all-time undisputed rugby league great, former Brisbane Broncos captain Darren Lockyer, would embark on a "journey of discovery" into coal seam gas and shoot promotional videos for Origin Energy prompted a volley of emails.

One correspondent attached a photo of a billboard, apparently outside Rockhampton Airport. The billboard, for a training and labour hire company called Onekey Resources, showed Lockyer in front of a bleak mining landscape with the slogan: "Mining is booming, your career should be too."

Turns out Lockyer has been for some time a paid ambassador for the Brisbane-based Onekey, which consults to clients in the resources and infrastructure industries, as well as clients in the gas industry. Lockyer has shares in Onekey, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Which is fine, although it somewhat undermines Origin's claim that Lockyer will be someone "objective" and be given open access to experts to form his own views on coal seam gas. Is it really possible to be objective if you're a shareholder in a company that consults to the industry?

Needling the boss

Have players at AFL club Essendon really have been shoving as much strange junk into themselves as recent headlines suggest? The soon-to-retire CSL chief, Brian McNamee, is unconvinced.

"I think it's a bit too early yet to be completely convinced that they're guilty of all the things they've been accused of in the media," he said last week. "I think we should just be calm and wait for the actual outcome of the analysis."

It's true McNamee is a mad Bomber, as is the man who asked the question, David Langsam of Biotech Daily. But he is also a qualified doctor who runs a company specialising in drugs and blood products. Who better to give an opinion?

Pressing times

Amid the recent development that the Lachlan Murdoch-chaired Ten Network will use the global resources of News Ltd's Gold Coast Bulletin and NT News to produce its political Sunday morning show Meet the Press, CBD hears that, over at Channel Nine, the powers of production are considering dusting off the Business Sunday logos for a resurrection of the once mighty flagship program. However, after spending many days in a newsroom with a TV monitor fixed on either Bloomberg or CNBC, CBD can confirm that business news makes far, far better reading than watching.

Macquarie stock

Re our piece "The jaws of life" (CBD, February 15), Macquarie advises us it has never covered its own stock.

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