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Rinehart jokes about Fairfax snub

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart laments her 'partial opportunity' at Fairfax.

PT4M0S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-29x61 620 349

TOO much towel whipping. That's the problem with the ''sordid boarding school'' that Canberra has become, according to one of the biggest Gina Rinehart fans.

Sydney Mining Club chairman Julian Malnic is one of the two admirers of Her Roy Hill Highness to contribute to her new book.

The other is antediluvian adman John Singleton, who says Rinehart's book, Northern Australia, and then some, ''puts our future under the brightest light I have ever seen''.

Illustration: John Shakespeare.

Illustration: John Shakespeare.

While Gina's words of wisdom were kept strictly schtum before a grand unveiling in front of the cream of Sydney's mining nobility on Thursday night, there's plenty to be learnt from Malnic's contribution.

''As Gina Rinehart's book is launched, our national capital seems like a sordid boarding school, where the political towel whipping in the corridors commands far more attention than nation building our great North - or anything at all,'' he writes.

''The great Labor-Swan era of pointing the bone at mining, and of fiscal bingeing, will be long remembered as a grim signature of the year this book was born.

''But by the time the book reaches its first birthday, we pray it will be over, and it will be time to nation build once again.''

Malnic also has kind words for the notion that Gina, Queen of the Desert, famously immortalised in poem: a special economic zone, aka an internal tax haven.

''Feel the North, feel the energy of its people, imagine a special economic tax zone where your kids will be hanging out to go and make their first million,'' Malnic exhorts.

''Dream, and connect with the other half of your continent.''

Ten's moments

PAUL Henry, the host of Ten Network ratings write-off Breakfast, is fast turning into the least welcome import since the cane toad.

Piling on to the anti-Henry bandwagon is the Australian Shareholders Association, which has turned TV critic in a position paper released ahead of Ten's annual meeting in a fortnight.

The ASA says not to worry about Ten's other bombs, the cringeworthy reality TV effort The Shire and talent show Everybody Dance Now, fronted by Sarah, the wife of Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch, because these were ''the type of disasters everyone has''.

''Much less excusable, it took 10 months to kill off the $7 million-a-year Breakfast program, which had only one 20th of the combined audience of Seven and Nine, and then there was the primetime disaster of the Renovators,'' the ASA says in a note headed ''Costs being saved while ratings dive''.

''At the end of the day controlling costs may be important, but without the ratings you don't have anything,'' the ASA says.

The ASA says next year Ten is relying on MasterChef: The Professionals, with uberchef Marco Pierre White, and asks: ''If that doesn't work, what next?''

It recommends shareholders give the thumbs down to the remuneration report and the appointment to the board of Siobhan McKenna, who runs Lachlan's investment vehicle, Illyria. Breakfast will be euthanised on November 30.

Byrnes' unit probe

WHERE will police start in investigating the drive-by shooting at the home of colourful Sydney business identity Big Jim Byrnes in the early hours of Thursday?

After all, it's not as if over the years the former adviser to Alan Bond has accumulated any enemies. He's only been banned twice by the corporate watchdog, jailed on drug offences, convicted of assault, acquitted of fraud, and smashed up a solicitor's window with a baseball bat.

In this latest episode, two shots were fired at the Byrnes

family home in leafy Bellevue Hill. Byrnes promised CBD

a statement but none was forthcoming by close of business on Thursday.

Shop assistance

IT WAS a sombre gathering on Thursday when the country's major retailers had brekky together at the 2012 Australian Retail Awards breakfast in Pyrmont, Sydney.

Given the dismal nature of the retail sector, the biggest noise coming out of the Doltone House function rooms at Darling Island Wharf was the clattering of cutlery.

But fortified with strong coffee and perhaps a sense of ''we will fight them (the internet) on the beaches'', the stellar crowd of retail luminaries perked up when it came time for some old-fashioned back slapping.

Joanne Ryan, of Super Retail Group, won the big gong as the FCB Australian Retail Practitioner of the Year, for seemingly defying the sector's malaise.

Attendees were also treated to a keynote address from Myer chief Bernie Brookes, who told the audience that he was ''absolutely thrilled to be addressing a room of fellow industry enthusiasts who were not only passionate, but also achieving excellence in Australian retail every day''.

This the day after Click Frenzy, the much-promoted push by bricks 'n' mortar retailers into the newfangled world of the interwebs, turned out to be more of a Click Fail.

Brookes' passion may have soon disappeared. He was spotted walking about Pyrmont, Sydney, looking a tad lost - or maybe it was ruse and he was looking around the casino and media-dominated area for some space to lease.