THE Australia's Worst Journalist contest run by disgraced former doctor Geoffrey Edelsten is at the centre of a financial crisis, with the company that owned the competition website collapsing under pressure from the taxman.
But it appears the awards will survive because the website has since been transferred to a brand spanking new Edelsten company.
The Australia's Worst Journalist website allows users to browse anonymous vitriol-laden pen portraits of journalists who have earned the ire of the former Sydney Swans owner before voting on which hack and publisher is the direst of the year.
It's not easy to codify what will earn a nomination, although, generally speaking, making reference to how Edelsten solicited hitman Christopher Dale Flannery, aka Mr Rent-A-Kill, to commit an assault and then performed laser surgery on Flannery in order to get an adjournment of the hitman's murder trial will do the job. Unkind references to Edelsten's dazzling wife, Brynne, also seem to help.
Edelsten's company Lonnex set up the website in 2009. CBD's author, who was working for Uncle Rupert Murdoch at the time, was the inaugural winner. (Edelsten has yet to provide a trophy.) Since 2009, the title has become a more sought-after gong than the Gold Walkley, with the Daily Telegraph's Annette Sharp and Jill Singer from the Herald Sun winning against stiff competition from some top-notch scribes including Paul Barry and The Sydney Morning Herald's Kate McClymont.
Edelsten moved to wind up website owner Lonnex on October 10, appointing liquidator Ross McDermott. According to documents filed with the corporate regulator, McDermott told a creditors meeting on October 19 that the company's estimated deficit was $3.9 million.
Edelsten told the meeting the company last year sold its business, which he said was running a medical centre in Melbourne suburb Mill Park, and had since been hit with a $1.5 million GST bill.
The meeting could have been held in a phone box, with only McDermott and Edelsten turning up in person and an ATO representative dialling in.
Queried by the Tax Office on a claim the company owed him $3.6 million, Edelsten said the debt represented ''funds advanced for the running of the company''.
All this corporate kerfuffle might sound a tiny bit worrisome for fans of Australia's Worst Journalist. But never fear. Whois records show the domain name was transferred on October 25 to a company, happily also called Australia's Worst Journalist, which was set up on October 1. Its sole director and holder of all 100 issued ''founders shares'' is Geoffrey Walter Edelsten.
Attempts to reach Edelsten on his mobile were met with a recorded message saying the service was subject to ''incoming call restrictions''.
Travel world tango
AIRLINES exist to make the world smaller but it looks as if the travel and tourism universe has already shrunk to pocket size.
Querulous Qantas quarterback Alan Joyce has been blasting his predecessor, former lunch buddy Geoff Dixon, over what he reckons is a conflict of interest between Dixon's position as chairman of peak body Tourism Australia and his alleged role as a conspirator in a ginger group that is circling the airline.
But Dixon is not the only former Qantas chief executive with links to interests not exactly aligned with those of the flying kangaroo.
Take bow-tie-wearing Woolworths chairman James Strong, who remains a Qantas director and this week took on the chairmanship of Australia's favourite motor sport code, the V8 Supercars.
Those petrol-guzzling beasts, together with drivers, engineers and event staff, need transport to whisk them to the various racetracks where rubber is ritually burned.
It's not Qantas that provides that service but rather its domestic rival, Virgin, under a sponsorship deal that was announced in February.
Qantas spokeswoman Olivia Wirth declined to comment.
Wirth herself is another example of the tiny world of travel: before she hitched up to Qantas, she worked for the Tourism and Transport Forum and, earlier in her career, she was at the body with which her employer is now at war, Tourism Australia.
Cup winner's win
KINGSTON Rule died last year but the champion racehorse's winning spirit is apparently indomitable. An exploration well named after the 1990 Melbourne Cup winner, sunk in central Australia's Cooper Basin, has paid off for energy company Senex Energy.
Kingston Rule-1 hit a 53-metre gas reservoir, the company told the exchange on Thursday.
Senex inherited a whole stable of exploration wells named after Cup winners when it took over Stuart Energy last year.
Others include Rising Fast, Comic Court, Tawriffic, Doriemus, Might and Power, Subzero and Brew.
River runs slowly
DIAMONDS are forever and that's how long shareholders may have to wait to get a straight answer from Rio Tinto boss Tom Albanese about the future of its shiny stones business.
''As we've said in the past, when we have something to say, we'll say it,'' he told reporters on Thursday.