Does the NAB and Gina already own Fairfax

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by contributing editor-at-large Tess Lawrence

THE pornography of spin has long been like K-Y Jelly to our media and The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald's saccharine fawning over the National Australia Bank in the substantial wake of Gina Rinehart's financial assault on Fairfax has been a spinmeisters wet dream.

The inexplicable notion of a journalist ignoring a hard news story unfolding before his very eyes in the Supreme Court of Victoria on January 19 this year, was exposed by Independent Australia on June 4; as we confirmed the presence in Court that day, six months ago, of The Age's property reporter Chris Vedelago — who witnessed litigant-in-person Matt Norman and his wife Rebecca being intimidated by Supreme Court Security Chief Graeme Spurr, doing the bidding for legal thugs and conveying a threatening message from the NAB's legal henchman in Sydney, one Kevin Pringle of Gadens Lawyers.

Moreover, Chris Vedelago was present that same morning when His Honour Justice Judd accused Matt Norman of sending him a menacing letter, and then reduced the Court to fly in fly out (FIFO) Justice, when he told Norman to get a move on because His Honour had a dental appointment and thus effectively gagged the by now debilitated and hapless Norman from making pleadings.

It was an ignominious performance by Judd and yet another ignominious moment for Justice in Victoria; one of many of late.

Oh, yes, in passing, did I mention that His Honour denied Norman his appeal?  Surprise, surprise.

Nothing more for the Great Unwashed to see here.

That The Age's Vedelago did not write anything about what happened that day is astonishing enough.

But for him to then write an article months later, on June 3, based on a spurious and facile report by the Justice Department that contained coy and doctored references to the above incidents, implying that Norman was the offending party, is outrageous.

Vedelago wrote up the report as if he hadn't been present in Court on that inglorious day and he failed to contradict the DOJ's doctored report.

Reliable sources inform me that the Justice Department's so-called report, supposedly based on the 12 months period leading up to 2011, yet which seemed to devote great attention to what it alleged took place in 2012 at Norman's hearing in January, was a clumsy and knee jerk pre-emptive strike by all concerned in this judicial debacle to deflect blame upon Norman and away from the NAB's servants, their disgraceful and contemptuous conduct and the presiding Judge's compliance to such conduct and to avoid any chance of a re-hearing — or in Norman's case, a real hearing.

To the dozens of Norman's supporters who had flown in from various States and from throughout Victoria to attend Court, the disappointment with The Age – and with Fairfax in general – remains palpable.

Given that we all bore witness to the deplorable events, we truly expected The Age, the SMH and The National Times to all report what unquestionably was a newsworthy series of incidents.

The Age and Fairfax employs some fine journalists and so often I take professional inspiration from their works, and they cannot always be held responsible for the ineptitude of certain of their colleagues — or indeed, the invisible hands of proprietors and influential shareholders, that so often is channelled and laced like fake ectoplasm in a medium's séance, within its hard copy and websites.

Editors know which journalists will bend to their will. Good editors employ journalists who won't.

News Limited is not the only instrument servile to those who own it.

But journalists must first serve allegiance to the story – as hard as that is for us at times – and we must also serve the reader/viewer/listener.

In my self-irritating naiveté, in a second article on Independent Australia on June 9, I implored Matt Norman to inform the Chief Justice of Victoria, Marilyn Warren, of the unacceptable doings in the Court that day.

Given that Her Honour had earlier publicly expressed her irritation with the conduct of the Department of Justice, I naturally assumed that Norman's predicament would be of vital interest to her jurisdiction and Office.

Moreover, the Chief Magistrate Ian Gray, also backed up Her Honour's frank comments about the Department of Justice.

Silly me. I was stupidly unaware that Norman, an award-winning film director (Salute) had gone on to appeal Judd's flawed and slack decision in the Court of Appeal.

Or that Marilyn Warren was sitting in Judgement on his case and that Her Honour also ruled against the hapless Norman — now totally orphaned by Justice.

In a comment posted on my earlier article about the Vedelago Affair, Matt Norman wrote:
Matt Norman (WINGMAN) says:

7 June, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I want to personally thank all of you who have shown such commitment to justice to someone who you don’t know. My family and I thank you from the depth of our soul.

Tess, your pleas to Chief Justice Marilyn WARREN have not been heard. In my appeal I was in front of Justice Harper and Chief Justice WARREN who gave me the greatest of ever slaps in the face. She said “Mr Norman, you have explained to me what you say happened in the court in front of Justice Judd but you have not told me why Justice Judd’s decision was wrong in law.

You are here Mr Norman to identify where the Judge made a mistake in his judgement”. In other words Tess, she allowed the violence in the court.

One of the greatest moments was when in front of the very man that wrote it I quoted Justice Harper in something he wrote a few years earlier about fairness etc in our court. He sat there so proud that he was being quoted and then just slit my throat at the end like it was butter. He couldn’t even follow his own belief in fair play, justice and proper investigation into events.

So, I’m now JUDGED by two judges which makes me wild with anger. The next step is the HIGH COURT which is what I’m preparing for now. However, this time I’m armed with a new set of facts that prove that the banks not allowing discovery of ANY documents to prove their case means that all judgements made before have been done so without authority.

Associate Lansdowne – Gave 3 hours for the bank, me 13 minutes.

Associate Judd – Gave me a DeNovo (re hearing) and then from a properly worded and legal affidavit that was 50 pages long stopped me at page 4 and I was made to forgo any of the facts as he wanted to go to the dentist.

Chief Justice Warren and Justice Harper then heard my appeal to the threats in court, the non-ability or opportunity for me to present the case in its entirety due to Judge shifting and also the fact that no summary judgement can be made when I declare fraud (yes folks, the supreme court rules state that no summary judgement can be made if you accuse the opposing party with fraud). Yet they sank their boot in without even batting an eyelid.

For those that don’t already know, I’ve just had my exams for first semester of law school. I have no doubt I passed as thus far my scores are around 87% – 100% for my assignments etc. So, funnily, in this last semester the subjects that I studied were in fact about issues that I have faced in the past year. All of which my own law school teaches me is unjust, unethical and completely against the whole purpose of justice.

You see, if a person is not able to or is stopped from making their case in the Supreme Court, then the justice that needs to be seen to be done and failed. The only way a person can see justice is if the case is given by both parties to its completion. Yet, I have been in court not because of the facts of the case which is a fraudulent bank but because I have been too busy fighting off Summary Judgement.

It’s incredible to know that the facts of the case for what I am meant to be defending have yet to be heard. A decision to rape me and my family and steal my home was made because the judges did not allow normal and proper process. In fact they were challenged to prove their case and they refused to answer.

Then to kill off further attempts they had a person called “ASHWATHI MURLIDHAR” who is in fact a drone of some kind or a mythical creature made up to robosign documents who not only signed an affidavit of the ONLY evidence they are bringing to the court but who ALSO signed an “OVERARCHING OBLIGATION CERTIFICATE” instead of the lawyers. Meaning, if she lied she would go to jail. Why then was she not in court. Usually an Overarching obligation certificate is filed on the first day of hearing by the lawyer to show the lawyer understands and agrees not to lie. This person who doesn’t exist did it instead (she is not a lawyer, she is not a real person, she is not a witness, she is not a real person… sorry, SHE IS NOT A REAL PERSON). When this was brought up in front of CF WARREN, instead of asking the Plaintiff if this was true as per her duty, she changed subjects.

I have now made all four judges aware of the fact that it is my belief that ASHWATHI MURLIDHAR is not a real person and not ONE SINGLE JUDGE has asked the bank if this is true. This person signed the only evidence as being true and correct whilst also signing the overarching obligations and ALL JUDGES have refused to ask the plaintiff if this is true. CONTEMPT, CONTEMPT, CONTEMPT!!!!!!!

Gadens Lawyers and the barrister working for the bank ADAM SEGAL should be charged with Contempt of court. Yet, nothing has been done.

In conclusion, I have been threatened, I have been refused any opportunity to put my case, I have given evidence of threats made, testimony of issues with the court staff and the judges mistakes, have demanded that the Plaintiff prove the banks affidavit by a real person, including her identity and for that the bank takes my home, plus hundred thousand in fees and interest and not one single document from the bank is ever disclosed.

So Australia, what do you think I should do about it. To be honest we’ve been under so much pressure that I did think the Bipolar was going to flare up but so far the ongoing high has been putting my mania into creative justice, writing, law school and thousands of pages of summary and application to the courts. I’m also fighting a lawyer in court (yep, a lawyer has taken me to court) and two others. So I’m full time court these days.

My wife is concerned that the sudden fall will be the end of me but I live in hope that I stay motivated by the injustice of this case and the injustice of all Australian’s.

Thanks again for the support. What has happened to me and also what I have witnessed in Tess’s case and also Rosie’s simply defies belief. I WILL stop this, friends. I make that promise to all Australian’s. I WILL stop this fraud. xxx

On June 9, the same day as my article appeared in IA, exposing the silence of the Fairfax journalist, and the conduct of the Department of Justice and the NAB, Fairfax's Financial services editor Eric Johnston wrote a godawful puff piece about Cameron Clyne, the CEO of corporate psychopath National Australia Bank and banged on about a vapid and tame interview he did with Neil Mitchell on Radio 3AW on May 29, two days before the closing date for submissions for the Senate Committee Banking Inquiry.

Despite its massive spin machine, the NAB failed to lodge its submission in time and sought and was granted an extension.

In reality, it was stalling to see what other submissions had to say before it proffered a tailored response.

How Johnston's silly story wasn't spiked is beyond me. It was a non-event. A non-story.

Both Eric Johnston and The Age failed to mention that Radio 3AW is also owned by Fairfax, who publish The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald — and lots and lots of NAB advertisements.

At the moment, it seems that The Age is also failing to mention anything at all about Mr Johnston.

When I clicked onto this link it produced a photo of the journalist with the following message: 'Unfortunately we currently do not have any content for eric johnston.'

At the time of publication, the site was still without content for Mr Johnston.

Perhaps he has been offered a job with the NAB's PR machine.

In June 16, in Independent Australia, Associate Professor Evan Jones wrote a blistering analysis, headlined The NAB Spin Machine in Overdrive, about the hyperactivity of the NAB's propaganda unit and the unseemly heavy breathing of its Fairfax devotees.

Associate Professor Evan Jones


Now, I don't know what planet Eric Johnston is on, but it appears there's little sign of intelligent life.

In his article, he seemed to deify Cameron Clyne — apparently agog at what we all know to be mere pedestrian and standard practice for studio guests to contact a talkback caller off air.

What a pity Mitchell didn't ask Craig of Nabandoned Land if he would mind sorting out his problems with the NAB publicly on air with The Great Man Clyne.

Despite original high hopes after the appointment of Greg Hywood as Fairfax CEO, The Age, founded in 1854 during the second year of the Crimean War and once regarded amongst the world's best 10 newspapers is, sadly floundering, both in sales and leadership.

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting is now shovelling close to the 19.99% shareholding limit in her Fairfax carpetbag — and for sure Georgina will secure two bums on the seats of the Fairfax Board  when the music of tinkling coinage stops.

With the help of her two amigos John Singleton and Jack Cowin, there are loud rumours that Grand Prix Supremo and former Age Board member, Ron Walker, is again loitering with intent in the foyer.

Will Gina's bum look big wearing a seat on the Board? You decide.

Is the real reason why The Age is sucking up to the NAB, as well as its million dollar advertising teat, because the National Australia Bank and the Paris-based BNP (Banque Nationale de Paris) Parisbas, whose motto is The bank for a changing world, are backing the Ginab partnership in the Roy Hill project to the tune of a reported $7 billion — although NAB insiders tell me it will be close to $13 billion?

The day after Clyne's interview with Fairfax/3AW's Neil Mitchell, Robert Gottliebsen, the respected Associate Editor of the Business Spectator wrote a comprehensive article about the Roy Hill project.

It was all wonderful media strategy by NAB's spinmeisters, dovetailing neatly into all the other touchy-feely tongue-kissing going on between the NAB and Fairfax and its new Mistress, Gina the Rinehart.

Patricia Cross' photo on the NAB website

Of course, it is mere co-incidence that one Patricia Cross sits on the Advisory Board of the Business Spectator.

Or that Ms Cross just happens to be a non-executive director of the National Australia Bank — or that she once held executive positions with both the NAB and the Banque Nationale de Paris?

Whose funds will be used by Rinehart to acquire control of Fairfax?

However, we should state that the Business Spectator is unequivocal about its editorial policies:
Business Spectator has a strong commitment to editorial independence and integrity. A clear separation exists between the journalists and the non-journalist owners of Business Spectator and this concept is enshrined in the Shareholders' Agreement of our parent company, Australian Independent Business Media Pty Ltd, which says: "For the avoidance of doubt, the parties agree that the Board is not permitted to influence or control the editorial policy of the Company or any Subsidiary in relation to any publication of the Company or any Subsidiary..."

Furthermore, our two non-journalist shareholders, Mark Carnegie and John Wylie – principals of the corporate advisory and private equity firm Lazard Carnegie Wylie – have non-voting shares and do not sit on the board of Australian Independent Business Media.

There is also a clear delineation between our editorial and advertising sales operations. It is an article of faith for us that advertisers have no influence on the editorial content of Business Spectator.

On April 10, the Sydney Morning Herald ran a Reuters news story about Fairfax wanting to buy Business Spectator.

But by June 8, the musical chairs and financial teasing continued and was quoting Crikey's story about News being in the market to buy Business Spectator.

Most likely Fairfax had to dump all thought of wooing BS to concentrate on uber mining magnate Rinehart literally getting her mining rocks off and in position to chew her way into Fairfax, and unless something dramatic happens – like Kerry Stokes taking more than a passing interest – the fate of Fairfax is sealed — like a spent and long disused mineshaft.

But one thing is patently obvious, Fairfax's sycophancy towards the National Australia Bank is unseemly and an insult to journalism and good people within both organisations.

The pornography of spin has given rise to new and virulent strains of STDs within electronic and print media. Spin Transmitted Diseases have been released into the media community and are rife and able to expertly manipulate, mutate and mimic the real deal.

At times it is difficult to detect fact from pulp fiction.

The danger lies in victims morphing into perpetrators and we being unable and unwilling to differentiate between the two.

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