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Friday 17th May 1996

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Queenslander Michael Groom who nearly died last weekend on the slopes of Mt Everest is already planning another assault on the mountain. He was still too distraught to talk about the incident during which he survived a horrendous blizzard which claimed the lives of 9 others. Four of the dead were from Mr Groome's party.

American Seaborn Weathers described how he dragged himself to safety after being pronounced dead when he was found unconcious after the blizzard.


The gun lobby in Queensland yesterday showed the face which reinforced the need for the abholition of military style guns. They called for blood, a couple of state members of parliament received death threats and John Howard was called Jackboot John.

In front of 200 people at the Gympie Bowls Club, Ian McNiven (vice president of the Firearm Owners Association of Australia) said that the gun ban would lead to bloodshed and that only blood could buy back freedom.

Now that's exactly the sort of talk you would expect from a radical not an Aussie. Me thinks this decision to ban guns has come not a moment to soon. Disarm the shooters and we will all live in peace.


Kerry Packer had a great year according to the latest Business Review Weekly magazine. It claims that Packer's fortune rose by Au$300 million in the last year, or at a rate of about Au$570 per minute or Au$825,000 per day! Packer's fortune is now estimated to be about Au3.3 billion - wonder how much personal tax, if any, he pays?


Kerry PackerAu$3.3 billion
Richard PrattAu$1.5 billion
Frank LowyAu$1.2 billion
Smorgon FamilyAu$1 billion
David Hains and familyAu$900 million
Harry TriguboffAu$750 million
Sidney Meyer, Neilma Gantner, Marigold SoutheyAu$710 million
John and Tim FairfaxAu$650 million
Elisabeth Murdoch and FamilyAu$600 million
John GandelAu$560 million
Jack Liberman and familyAu$560 million
Mr Rupert Murdoch's fortune in News Limited shares alone is worth about Au$6.1 billion, but he is now an American citizen.


Scott Volkers the Australian swimming coach who was banned from supporting his swimmers during International Swimming Events has launched a legal appeal against the ban. The Australian Coach of the Year who was caught up in the Samantha Riley fiasco a few months ago was banned from coaching at an international level for two years by FINA the international swimming federation.


Home ownership is a poor financial option for many Australian families according to Australian Institute of Family Studies research. Andrew Burbidge and Ian Winter report that people would be better off investing their equity and renting accommodation.

Personal trivia, from the global office:

Very successful day in the big smoke yesterday meeting with friends and business associates. A number of big ones about to come off the production line... watch this space. Beautiful day again, sunny skies and warm temperatures.

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