It's cattle class for high fliers

It's cattle class for high fliers

Ian Narev, virgin of the sky. The Commonwealth Bank boss (pictured) and his PR sidekick, Bryan Fitzgerald, were spotted on Tuesday morning mingling with the plebs in the Virgin lounge at Sydney Airport.

Apparently being the boss of Australia's biggest bank - the 10th biggest in the world - is not enough to win any favours from Virgin boss John Borghetti.

Adding injury to the insulting lack of luxury lounge facilities, the bankers then had to cram themselves into unglamorous economy-class seats and listen to the flight attendants spruik mixed nuts to tourists.

"When you're flying out of Sydney to Launceston and that's the plane available, that's the one you take," Fitzgerald told CBD. "And it was all economy."

He said CBA policy was to fly economy for all trips of less than 4 hours. "It's only an hour and a half to Launceston," he said.

Don't feel too sorry for Narev: he may be missing out on the delights of the pointy end of the plane, but his bulging wallet should cushion the hard seats of cattle class. Last year, his pay deal was worth $5.67 million.

Palmer's turn

Mining's most entertaining man, Clive Palmer, may be taking a turn to the political left, if the part-time professor's Twitter habits are any guide. Once a stalwart donor to the Liberal National Party, the billionaire resigned from the party in November after slamming Premier Campbell Newman's public service job cuts and accusing Treasurer Tim Nicholls of overstating the state's debt.

On Tuesday, he went on a Twitter binge, adding lefty publications New Matilda and The Monthly to users he follows.

But talk of a major conversion could be premature. Proving he is a man of the world, Palmer also added gossipmonger Perez Hilton and socialite Ivanka Trump (daughter of living comb-over Donald Trump).

Missing mojo

The first batch of ore has been shipped by KalNorth Gold Mines, the explorer-turned-miner chaired by former Ten Network co-owner Laurence Freedman.

"In a matter of weeks we will be cash-flow positive, no longer dependent on shareholder equity to fund our activities," Freedman told the ASX.

They could use some of that mojo down at Freedman's old stomping ground, Ten.

While the ailing network is now said to be cash-flow positive, it tapped shareholders for $230 million in December following operating cash flows of $0 for the three months ending in November.

Gloss still sells

Good to see the nasty ABC hasn't been able to push the embattled LM Investment Management business run by Queensland man of mystery Peter Drake into hiding away its bountiful offerings.

Drake's property outfit, Maddison Estate, has a booth in the corporate area of the Quiksilver Pro surf contest, which is being held at the perhaps aptly named Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta. The booth features a scale model of Maddison, a Gold Coast property development that is to feature a continuous wave pool bearing the name of pro surfer Kelly Slater.

On Monday night, the ABC's Four Corners cast aspersions on the project, but our spy said this didn't faze the smartly dressed woman handing out glossy brochures on Tuesday.

Mind you, she was up against stiff competition: underwear company Moskova has the booth across the way. Perhaps Maddison should convince its other celebrity endorsees, stripper-turned-gardener Jamie Durie and Olympians Sam Reilly and Natalie Cooke, to help out with sales by getting into their knickers.

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