THE LAST GASP: It’s just a flesh wound

Nathan Tinkler's financial credibility receives a boost, Turnbull bides his time and the CFMEU performs a balancing act.

The Last Gasp is a wry take on the week’s news, every week. This week, Nathan Tinkler can’t hear the tanks rolling in the background, Turnbull seems happy to take his time on Abbott and the CFMEU juggles lectures on ethics with allegations of death threats.

The harder they fall

Any pretence of financial stability in the Nathan Tinkler camp got harder to maintain this week, with the collapse of investment vehicle Mulsanne Resources painting a muddy picture for the future of the Newcastle mining magnate. It didn’t stop them trying, though. The New South Wales Supreme Court has ruled that Mulsanne will be liquidated, after it failed to cough up the $28 million it owes to coal miner Blackwood Corporation, which the Tinkler group agreed to buy a third of back in July. The magnate has no plans to ride off into the sunset though, and it has nothing to do with the condition of his horses. Tinkler’s main arm, Tinkler Group, was adamant that the liquidation will not affect its other companies. In fact, the only thing the news seemed to affect straight away was Blackwood, which got smashed on the share market following the decision. The Tinkler camp’s confidence is not unjustified, and comes no doubt from the strength in his remaining suite of companies. Like the ones which have settled two other legal disputes in recent weeks, both parting with millions in settlements with Sedgman and Mirvac Group. Rock solid.

The more bones they break

Did we say rock solid? Just a day after the Mulsanne mess, Tinkler’s horse racehorse empire, Patinack Farm, joined its stablemate in falling apart at the seams. It was the Federal Court in Adelaide that was cast in the role of the villain this time, calling for the curtain amid legal action by Workcover Corporation of South Australia. The New South Wales Office of State Revenue has also been sniffing around the group over more unpaid debts. The move comes just a week after Tnkler announced plans to close down his stables in Melbourne while reinforcing his commitment to the industry. Turns out that was wishful thinking. Despite concerns expressed from various sources, there has been no immediate word from the courts over whether the administrators will actually feed the horses.

About-face value

A flirtatious encounter with former sparring partner Kevin Rudd, and the resulting renewed popularity spike, has led ex-Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull to pledge his unconditional support for current opposition leader Tony Abbott, and completely rule out a return to the head of the LNP. Turnbull has made clear that he has no desire to challenge the coalition leader before the next federal election. The admission will take a load off the opposition leader’s mind, because, if past Labor party leadership battles are anything to go by, the one thing you can always trust in these sagas is somebody’s word. Liberal insiders have praised Turnbull, noting the decision now at a pivotal time for the party could position him well for any potential future challenge as, really, it’s only a matter of time before Abbott screws it all up anyway.

Casting stones

A group of Victorian building unions, including the charming folk at the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, have demanded superannuation group Cbus, chaired by former Victorian premier Steve Bracks, explain its links to Grocon, the construction group currently regarded by the union as the world’s biggest evil jerks. The unions want Cbus to outline the corporate governance and ethical policies that govern its investments, which reportedly indirectly includes Grocon. It’s a fair request from the CFMEU because, as we know, the union is a symbol of all things right and just in the world. Except for, you know, the alleged death threats. Yes, the CFMEU’s great feats in the field of ethics are best highlighted by reports this week that members of the union allegedly threatened the lives of people associated with a dispute at the Little Creatures brewery building site in Geelong. It’s a double blow for the workers at the site, who, after a long day on site taking alleged threats from protestors, have to go home and live in Geelong.

408 request timeout

The term ‘colossal screw-up’ is thrown around a lot these days. It‘s really something that should be reserved for complete and utter failures – failures like the launch of the highly-advertised Click Frenzy online retail event earlier this week. The event, which involved retail luminaries including Myer, Westfield and Target, was meant to provide customers with access to a wide range products discounted by up 90 per cent. Instead, it gave them a stylised error page. The website had crashed under high demand, despite assurances from the promoters of the event that they knew what customers wanted as they had been following the Australian retail industry closely. Clearly they had been following it so closely they picked up a few bad habits.

They just make you worse

The federal government has turned to greedy cancer patients hoarding millions of dollars in public funds earmarked for trivial things like vital medical treatment in a bid to ensure its noble quest to reach a surplus in 2013/14 is completed. The perfectly justifiable plan led bleeding heart Senator Nick Xenophon to call for a rethink of the plan, which will see a 70 per cent cut in funding for the drug Docetaxel under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. It’s good to see the government finally standing up for itself under growing unjustified criticism of the surplus push, and accepting the fact that this crucial $50 million budget-saving measure is far more important than ensuring easier public access to stupid chemotherapy drugs.

Quick misses

– State education ministers failed to hand in recommendations concerning school funding reform this week, letting the due date sail helplessly by. They will be docked 10 marks per day until it is received, and on Friday will be forced to stay back in class until it is finished.

– The term "double Irish Dutch sandwich” sounds both oddly alluring and utterly horrifying at the same time.

– And finally, Labor has confirmed it will list the level of revenue raised by its Mineral Resources Rent Tax in its regular monthly financial reports. Finance Minister Penny Wong said it should be no trouble getting the boffins to add an extra zero to the books.

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