Illustration: John Shakespeare.

Illustration: John Shakespeare.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce foreshadowed the year ahead for the national airline on Wednesday night. And it equates to pain, pain and more pain. And he knows who is to blame, too.

Joyce was due to deliver a speech to about 50 Coalition MPs and senators in Canberra known as the ''Coalition Friends of Tourism''.

Bombshell of the night was his naming of the party - or parties - responsible for the airline's unacceptably high cost base.

''Much of Qantas' cost base is a legacy of 48 years of government ownership from 1947 until 1995,'' he said in a speech that was sure to cause a few pollies to choke on their creme brulee.

Helping the Qantas boss grease the wheels was the flying roo's government lobby team of Andrew Parker, Euan Robertson and Craig Simonetto.

Tourism Minister in everything but name, Andrew Robb, was also to deliver a speech at the closed-door dinner at the National Gallery.

MPs and ministers due to attend included Bob Baldwin, Bronwyn Bishop and Kevin Andrews.

Emirates Australasia executive Bryan Banston and Tourism and Transport Forum bigwigs Ken Morrison and Trent Zimmerman were also on the list.

Xero plus one

Xero Ltd has bolstered its bid for global domination of the accounting cloud services space with the appointment of Kiwi super expat Chris Liddell (right) as chairman.

The former Carter Colt Harvey boss has had a career that reflects a man of many qualities.

He served as bean counter-in-chief at Microsoft and then General Motors during the carmaker's journey back from bankruptcy to profitable listed entity.

That experience might come in handy as Xero continues to put world domination ahead of profits for the time being.

GM ended up being a brief tenure after Liddell was overlooked for the top job. ''I won't be a CFO again,'' Liddell vowed at the time.

And true to his word, Liddell's next job involved holding the purse strings for Mitt Romney's 2012 US presidential bid. He also worked on the transition plan for Romney's government which proved to be surplus to requirements.

He did make the most of the experience, writing a book with two campaign colleagues: Romney Readiness Project: Retrospective and Lessons Learned.

The book is still available in paperback for a bargain $US16 ($17.75) on Amazon, and it got some very good reviews. Too good, according to some.

''This book prompted many five-star verdicts by writers offering their first and only Amazon review. Clearly they were staggered by the quality of the product and had to express themselves,'' says a three-star reviewer.

Defying Gravity

Success has many fathers, and in the case of The Lego Movie a lot of the names have an Aussie accent, including Village Roadshow, and local animation studio Animal Logic.

One name missing from the credits - as it notched up the second-biggest February opening weekend in the US with a $US77.2 million take - is our own wannabe Hollywood mogul James Packer.

His RatPac production venture is in cahoots with Warner Bros as a producer of The Lego Movie, which puts it in the box seat for what will no doubt be many profitable sequels.

RatPac is on a bit of a purple streak at the moment having backed box office smash Gravity.

The news must have been music to Packer's ears as he winged his way back from Sochi. Packer was there with a member of his other Rat Pack, Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch, checking out the network's broadcast of the big event.

Artfully done

Former Multiplex boss Andrew Roberts and Gretel Packer have been appointed as trustees to the Art Gallery of NSW.

Ms Packer will no doubt be keeping an eye on the $10 million donation last year by her family, and the Crown Resorts Foundation which she chairs.

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