THE LAST GASP: Murdoch malarkey

Rupert's running rampant, Clive Palmer's winning elections and tangled tongues are wagging over Huawei.

The Last Gasp brings you a wry take on the week’s biggest stories, every week. This week, News Corp lets another inconvenient scandal out of the bag, Clive Palmer makes an interesting attempt at justifying his claims against the Greens and the government can’t get their heads, or tongues, around Huawei.

Some news is bad News

Despite its best attempts to quell recent public concerns over their values, News Corporation has again become the subject of controversy, this time over the alleged corporate sabotage of its pay TV rivals in Australia and abroad. Locally, the global media giant has been implicated in a scheme that allegedly caused $50 million a year in damage to Australia's Pay TV industry, and targeted rival groups including Austar, Optus and Foxtel. News Corp has denied any involvement in promoting piracy, releasing a statement calling the accusation "laughable” and based on "fanciful conclusions”. The comedy continued later in the week, when global chief Rupert Murdoch took to Twitter to personally defend the company, warning that he was willing to fight the allegations across the seven seas. The media mogul said he was prepared to "have it on” with his critics and slammed unnamed "old toffs and right wingers[,] who still want last century's status quo with their monoplies [sic]”. We understand those close to Murdoch said they hoped this did not mark a new 'campaign' of infighting.


Along with the hours spent trying to pronounce its name properly, many spent time this week grappling with the reasons behind Chinese telco Huawei being barred from any involvement in the construction of the national broadband network. The Gillard government has put the decision down to national security concerns, in a sign that it is happy to be friends with China as long as it is simply funding the mining boom and not spying on us with the internet. Both Huawei and China have slammed the allegations, claiming it was unfathomable that big international firms would risk their corporate reputations by lowering themselves to hacking for corporate gain.

Credit where it’s not really due

Clive Palmer has taken some credit for the Liberal National Party winning the Queensland state election, claiming his long-thought through claims that the Australian Greens were involved with the American CIA had helped distract the public from weaknesses in the coalition’s campaign. No, really. That’s what he said. The billionaire justified his comments, which both confused and intrigued the public last week, by claiming they took a lot of attention off some of the negative aspects of the LNP leading up to election. Palmer would not say if he made up the claims surrounding the CIA and the Greens and told reporters he was "still thinking about that one”. He then left the media conference early, claiming he was late for a tea party with the fairies at the bottom of his garden.

Gotta try something

Queensland Labor state president Andrew Dettmer has urged the party to do away with its internal factions in the wake of its humiliating election loss last week. He said the party could not continue to be divided internally, especially given the current number of sitting members meant bitterly opposed factions were represented by the same person.

The leaking seat

Internationally noted scallywag Julian Assange spoke to Fairfax Media this week to outline his policies should he be successful in his attempts for Senate election. It is another unpredictable step from the WiikiLeaks founder who appears to enjoy being the head of a secret organisation yet still wants to be on the news every night. The sudden openness from a man formerly so covert has shocked many who were under the impression that nobody would ever use the internet to look for attention.

Go suck a cheap lemon

Coles managing director Ian McLeod has hit back at opponents of the supermarket giant’s grocery war against rival Woolworths, saying criticism of its practices was just "convenient excuses” to cover up their rivals' own corporate failings. Apparently McLeod's message to critics was that if they really wanted to succeed in business, they should try setting up a retail duopoly and mercilessly squeezing every last dollar out of their suppliers.

Quick misses

– Prime Minister Julia Gillard met a class of South Korean schoolchildren this week ahead of nuclear talks with government dignitaries in the country. She said her audience seemed confused and impatient, while most in attendance appeared more interested in the free meal at the function. Although her earlier time with the schoolchildren was apparently much more productive.

– Senator Kate Lundy attended a McPherson’s Printing event this week, where the group officially launched its new HP T400 Web Press printer. It was a busy day for the government, with Stephen Conroy attending the launch of a revolutionary new washing machine and Martin Ferguson announcing plans to buy a toaster.

– And finally, Leighton has continued its fantastic start to the calendar year, adding a huge profit downgrade to ongoing delays at its two marquee projects, fines from ASIC and a bribery investigation in Iraq. Chief executive Hamish Tyrwhitt said the company was not hitting the panic button just yet, before tripping over a black cat, stumbling under a ladder and smashing head-first into a mirror.

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