How The Daily Telegraph ranked former CEO Matt Bekier so highly in his Power 100 list

Such puffery highlights the longstanding cosy alliance between the paper and the casino’s interests. As a sponsor of the Australian Turf Club, The Star supports Australia’s richest horse race, The Everest, which is part-owned by Racing NSW, the organization that helps fund The Daily Telegraph by sponsoring its racing form insert.

Racing NSW boss Peter V’landys ranked fourth on this year’s Power 100. The jockey who actually won The Everest, James McDonaldwas more than a few lengths behind at 80, although luckily one spot ahead of Hillsong Church founder Brian Houston. The Tele’s 81st most powerful person can’t even cop an invitation to the White House, let alone remain the head of his own organisation.

No-NIMBY zone

So who is the Tele for exactly? Take, for instance, The Star’s proposed $500 million Ritz-Carlton development in Pyrmont. Since 2016, the paper has written dozens upon dozens of articles supporting the Tower of Bogan.

This included a 2019 page one exclusive slamming the state government for bowing to NIMBYs after then-planning minister Rob Stocks backed his department’s decision to refuse the initial 237-metre-high monument to (alleged) money laundering.

This infuriated then-2GB broadcaster Alan Joneswho was later fined by Australian Communications and Media authority for campaigning to have the decision overturned at the same time 2GB parent Macquarie Radio (since acquired by Nine Entertainment, owner of The Australian Financial Review) was being paid by The Star. Sky News host Graham Richardson (who dropped off this year’s Power 100 after taking last place in 2021) labeled Stokes’ decision “political cowardice… on a grand scale”. (Like Richo, Jones has also fallen off the Power 100 after last year’s 46th spot, having left 2GB and Sky News. He’s spent the past few days teasing a television return on Facebook, though, so perhaps further heights await.)

Amid the criticism, Gladys Berejiklian set up the new Pyrmont Peninsula Place Strategy, which is identifying potential developments for the area.

This includes The Star’s proposed six-star luxury hotel, although at a lower maximum height of 110 metres.

After a consultation period ended in February, the strategy is due to rule on planning controls, including for The Star’s proposals, by the middle of this year. Though you’d imagine there’ll be a bit of reduced customer interest in The Star’s hotel if it is found unsuitable to hold its casino license by Adam Bell, SC.

Wonder where Bekier will rank on next year’s list…

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