LAST GASP: Hold your horses Tinkler

The Last Gasp is a wry take on the week’s biggest news, every week. This week, Nathan Tinkler’s not quite ready to ride off into the sunset, conservative US grannies get their guns, and Tony Abbott’s memory doesn’t appear to be getting any longer.

That explains the long face

An important week for both horses and races brought winners and losers of all types, as well as another in a long line of inconveniences for billionaire Nathan Tinkler. Despite assurances from the mining magnate last week that reports of his continuing financial trouble were rubbish and evidence of a media campaign against him, another former employee of his has let the cat out of the feed bag, so to speak. John Thompson, Tinkler’s former horse trainer at the magnate’s stable, Patinack Farm, said a lack of funds had forced the group to ration feed as it was unable to pay suppliers -- a policy that clearly did not extend to the owner of the stable. He also admitted that the reason the group was recently kicked out of its Hawkesbury training facility was due to continued late rent payments. In Tinkler’s defence, it is possible that these claims, as well as the growing number of debt-related court cases that continue to pop up against him, are all part of the same, exceedingly well organised conspiracy. Much better organised than Patinack Farm, anyway.


Left in the office, Right in the foot


The United States presidential election brought us a lot of things this week, including a nauseating level of ignorant opinion from street level Australians whose knowledge of American politics extends to what they learned from downloaded episodes of John Stewart. This won’t be the first time you’ve read this, but the vote went the way of incumbent Barack Obama, which went on to cause an alarming sell off on Wall Street that most put down to fears about the upcoming US ‘fiscal cliff’’. Oddly enough, it also brought on a run on gun stocks, with shares in Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger all rising, which was put down to smarting Republican attempts to redefine the meaning of ‘taking a loss badly’. The fact that such a defeat makes people want to stock up on weaponry and head for the hills as if the apocalypse was literally on their heels, inevitably leads to disappointing questions about the intelligence of the average person. It’s enough to make you want to buy a gun.

You... you’re serious?

The one good thing we can take from the North American vote though, according to opposition leader Tony Abbott, is that the kind of nasty muckraking seen from either side throughout the campaign will not be reaching our shores when Australians go to the polls next year. Which is fantastic news, as it’s quite difficult to imagine Australian politics descending to that level, of course, if you deliberately ignore the last six months of discourse in Canberra. Or have some kind of acquired brain injury. The Abbott comments come after media reports claimed that Labor has been given access to much of Obama’s campaign strategy, which the government hopes to utilise in tis push to remain in power. Analysts are now preparing for appearances from Julia Gillard outlining the difficulties of growing up as a young black man in modern Australia.

Oh so now you’re keen

It’d be easy to feel sorry for the Australian retail industry, and its doyens like Gerry Harvey, who couldn’t get a single bite for months on his bid to lower the tax threshold and create what they claim will lead to a more level playing field in the local sector. Now the government is finally interested -- it only took a promised surplus teetering on the edge of the precipice to make the extra revenue all of a sudden seem like a good idea. Treasurer Wayne Swan said after the news first broke that such a move was not a priority, but as the week has gone on, it’s looking more like recommendations contained in a joint state government report will outline the changes. So yeah, it would be easy to feel sorry for retail. But you know, it would be even easier without all the price gouging.

C'mon, help ol' Gil out here
Media reports this week have questioned the accuracy of Australian new car sales data, amid allegations of misreporting among local dealers through a complex method of mathematical gymnastics to make their numbers look better. It is believed to be the first known case of car salesman abusing the trust of members of the public.

Quick misses


Liberal frontbencher Jamie Briggs has called recent analysis showing a coalition government would cost Australian businesses billions of dollars a "dodgy piece of work", and much less trustworthy than another, just as speculative number suggesting the government will fail in its bid to return the budget to surplus.


Telstra Corporation has officially registered its interest for Leighton Holdings’ $1 billion in telecommunications assets, despite a warning from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission that such a move would be heavily scrutinised. Telstra sources said that as long as the watchdog was going to let News Ltd take over Consolidated Media Holdings, than it was obviously pretty much open season.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd says China's president in-waiting, Xi Jinping, has a good grasp of where Australia fits into the Asian region, recalling on at least one occasion that he was pretty sure it was ‘south-ish’.