Energy ambassador displays a handy side-step

NEWS a fortnight ago that rugby league great Darren Lockyer would embark on a "journey of discovery" into coal seam gas, shooting promotional videos for Origin Energy, prompted a volley of emails.

NEWS a fortnight ago that rugby league great Darren Lockyer would embark on a "journey of discovery" into coal seam gas, shooting promotional videos for Origin Energy, prompted a volley of emails.

One correspondent attached a photo of a particular billboard, apparently outside Rockhampton airport. The billboard, for a training and labour hire firm called OneKey Resources, shows Lockyer in front of a fairly bleak mining landscape before the slogan: "Mining is booming, your career should be too". It turns out Lockyer has been for some time a paid ambassador for Brisbane-based OneKey, which consults to clients in the resources and infrastructure industries - and that includes clients in the gas industry. Lockyer has shares in OneKey, a spokeswoman confirmed. Which is fine, except that it somewhat undermines Origin's claim that Lockyer would be someone "objective" who would 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 firm that consults to the industry?.

Coming to party

IT'S been under fire in Canberra but now supermarket behemoth Woolworths plans a good old-fashioned roasting.

The supermarkets and pokie machine operator, which is being probed by 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 attendees the chance to meet "some of Australia's fresh food farmers, producers and retailers". The invite is silent on whether chief executive Grant O'Brien will personally don the 'Kiss the chef' apron and turn a sausage or two.

And if the invite that's doing the rounds of Parliament House is any guide, they'll also be welcome to gorge themselves on vast platters of meat. Among the burnt offerings pictured are sausages, steaks, chops and kebabs.

Loyal followers

COULD players at AFL club Essendon really have been shoving as much strange junk into themselves as recent headlines suggest? 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 told reporters last week. "I think we should just be calm and wait for the actual outcome of the analysis."

It's true that McNamee is a mad Bomber - as is the man who asked the question, David Langsam of Biotech Daily.

However, he is also a qualified doctor who runs a company specialising in drugs and blood products. Who better to present an opinion?

Hard to watch

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 through 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 business news makes far better reading than pictures.

World traveller

AND lo, Treasurer Wayne Swan's postcard landed over the weekend from where he claimed to be "sub-zero" Moscow. While most political types see the G20 finance meeting as an interruption to their very busy political calendar (see Woolworth's item above), Swan relishes the chance to meet with his G20 finance minister colleagues from around the world. And Swan loves a good name drop. Not only did he meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin, there were treasurers from around the world including Britain, France and Germany. Amid concerns here in Australia about companies paying their tax take, Swan noted efforts were under way globally to clamp down on tax avoidance to "tackle profit shifting and base erosion".

While no names were used Swan said some companies were avoiding their tax obligations and leaving "all the heavy lifting to the companies and individuals who do the right thing".

Surely the Treasurer wasn't talking about the mining tax?

Can't win 'em all

IF NEW-ISH Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev, who has a penchant for getting around on weekends in old shorts and a "daggy t-shirt" is looking a little frazzled lately, it's because he has just discovered his role is, frankly, impossible.

"I can tell you I have had home loan customers tell me they think the rate is too high, I have had deposit customers telling me they think the rate is too low and I have had shareholders as recently as the recent annual general meeting tell me they think the dividend is too low," Narev mused during a briefing on the bank's bumper $3.66 billion headline profit.

"Unfortunately I need to realise in my role that it is impossible for me to please all those people at one time," he said. So let's just please the shareholders and be done with it.


Re our piece "The jaws of life" (CBD, 15 February 2013), Macquarie advises us that it has never covered its own stock.

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