Gupta, of course, shot to fame by snapping up the assets of the collapsed steel company Arrium almost three years ago as he expanded his empire around the world (he’s been living in a $30,000-a-week seven-bedroom mansion in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs).
As the Herald reported in August, Gupta went cap-in-hand to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg asking for a debt guarantee. South Australian Premier Stephen Marshall had already forked out $50 million, while the Scottish government promised to back $1 billion of the company’s debts. Those suckers.
But this column can also reveal that Gupta’s requests for public money go further back than this.
It started soon after he acquired the Arrium assets — which included a number of Sydney facilities — in 2017. That’s when he wrote to the office of NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet asking for tax relief on stamp duty and transfer duty expenses.
No doubt he was hoping to take advantage of politicians worried about potential job cuts.
No luck. Revenue NSW wrote back last year declining the request. As one British investor describing Gupta’s business model told the Times of London: “it’s playing roulette with public funds.”
Labor’s treasury spokesman Jim Chalmers appears to be so committed to housing affordability that he’s flogged the family home for a rock bottom price.
Having acquired the four-bedroom Brisbane house for $670,000 some nine years ago, the Chalmers family have sold it for $687,500, according to RP Data records.
After stamp duty on his new Springwood address, the ledger is looking decidedly negative.
Hey, maybe there’s a reason that housing affordability wasn’t among the 8186-word talking point brief accidentally circulated by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s office to the media yesterday (instead of its intended recipients: Coalition MPs).
The property was originally on the market in July for offers of over $750,000.
Perhaps the property description could have done with a Lenore Taylor-inspired rewrite. As we reported last week, the listing of the Guardian Australia editor’s Canberra home came complete with a list of her achievements (number of Walkley Awards included).
Surely being home to a Federal Labor heavyweight would have bumped up the price at least a touch.
One of the great NSW Labor traditions appears to have become the latest casualty of the recent Independent Commission Against Corruption-created tumult.
The party’s annual conference, associated with Sydney’s Town Hall for decades, will next year have to be held at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour.
Administrators — general secretary Kaila Murnain is suspended and assistant secretary Pat Garcia has nabbed a new job — didn’t make the usual booking in time.
The Town Hall has played host to some of the most memorable party conferences including the 2014 edition which featured statesman John Faulkner demanding major changes following the Eddie Obeid years (unheeded). It’s also been home to factional dealings, backroom antics and the coronation of leaders — most recently Bill Shorten — for years.
As Kristina Keneally said in August in response to a suggestion about moving Labor’s HQ: “sometimes to change culture, you have to change environment”.
For the record, the conference has on a rare occasion been moved from Town Hall. In 2008, it was held in the Sydney Convention Centre — the scene of then premier Morris Iemma‘s quick departure just hours before his plan to privatise the state’s power industry was rejected.
There’s never a dull moment at Macquarie Street’s Parliamentary Catering.
Who can forget the time Liberal MP Catherine Cusack abused them for cancelling her booking? And then there was last week’s inquiry into traces of palm oil (very bad for the environment) in the jam donuts and other pastries sold in the parliamentary coffee shop.
Now Parliamentary Catering has turned its attention to the future.
Last week it begun trialling “three different blends of coffee” at Cafe Quorum — the staff and members cafeteria — in a blind taste test lasting Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“If you could remember which day you preferred and then email me with your preference,” staff reminded the residents of Parliament House yesterday morning.
“Presently Wednesday is looking like the favourite but it’s early days.”
Kylar Loussikian is The Sydney Morning Herald’s CBD columnist.
Samantha is the The Age’s CBD columnist. She recently covered Victorian and NSW politics and business for News Corp, and previously worked for the Australian Financial Review.
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