Fairfax's SMH journalists have been amongst the few to probe the NSW O'Farrell's government backing of James Packer's plan for a new hotel casino in Sydney. Reporter Sean Nicholls broke a story about how the government had changed the rules for "unsolicited proposals" in a way that made it easier for Packer to avoid a competitive tender. So I was shocked when I opened the SMH on Saturday and found a plug for a story by Packer pitching his casino plan labelled as an 'exclusive' and 'news'. There were several independent reports inside the paper, but online, Packer's free promo was number three while other pieces were buried further down the page.
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Packer Wins A PR Coup
If James Packer urging Sydneysiders to back his casino plan is 'news', then that's news to Wendy Bacon. She asked senior journalists at the SMH what they thought of Packer's journalistic debut.
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Packer's Casino Present
In late October, New Matilda began our series on James Packer's proposal for a new casino in Sydney. I worked on this series with Lawrence Bull.
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Economists question Packer's promised bonanza for NSW
This week, New Matilda continued our series on Packer's proposal for a hotel with casino at Barangaroo South on the edge of Sydney Harbour. Lawrence Bull asked two economists what they thought of James Packer's claim that his casino would deliver $400 million to NSW and they raised lots of questions:
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NSW has laws to control casino industry but Premier O'Farrell wants to cut free
Today, New Matilda published another story in our series on James Packer casino deal. This one explains how casino regulation works in NSW and how O'Farrell's plan to "get on with it" removes a lot of safeguards put in place to protect NSW against organised crime and corrupt influences which have a history targetting casinos.
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Red Tape Cut For Packer
Tough laws regulate gambling in NSW - and they're about to be bypassed to help James Packer build his casino. The independence of casino regulation is being challenged. Wendy Bacon reports.
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The Casino Macquarie St Wants
Packer makes his Sydney casino proposal seem inevitable with strong support from LNP Premier O'Farrell and Treasurer Mike Baird, urged on by NSW Labor
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The Questions O'Farrell Won't Answer
New Matilda had some questions for NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell about James Packer's casino plans. We got a reply from his office - but no real answers. Here’s our exchange with the Premier’s office.
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Who Is On Team Packer?
No businessman in Australia can rival James Packer's political and business connections. This is a summary of Team Packer in 2012
Communities planning rights under attack from NSW government
A big issue in the NSW state election in 2011 was the Part 3A planning law which handed development consent for many major projects over to the Minister for Planning backed up by selected panels of experts. Councils and communities felt betrayed by Labor and hoped for something better from the Liberals, who promised to return rights to the community. Now eighteen months later, those same communities and Councils are fighting proposals put forward in an O'Farrell government Green Paper that look even worse.