Australian politics

Jan 18, 2010

Dear Mike Rann, Show us the money…please

Mike Rann to Crikey: “Any payments associated with teams or cyclists taking part in the Tour Down Under are commercial in confidence. This has been the case since the inception of the race 11 years ago”.

Bob Gosford — Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

Bob Gosford

Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

In February 2009 Crikey wrote to South Australian Premier Mike Rann seeking details of his government’s payments to the American cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Dear Mr Parker,

I forward the following email previously sent to you on 3 and 6 February without response.

I advise that I am preparing a piece on this matter for publication tomorrow and again invite a response from the Premier, Mr Rann or yourself on his behalf.

My deadline will be 10 am NT time and advise that my contact details remain as given below.

I look forward to receiving your response either later today or early tomorrow.

Thank you,

Bob Gosford

Dear Mr Parker,

I write for Crikey.com.au and have some questions about the recent involvement of Mr Lance Armstrong in the Tour Down Under that I would like to put to the Premier, Mr Mike Rann and/or his Department.

It has been widely reported that the amount of $US1 million was paid to Mr Armstrong for his visit to South Australia recently. I have not seen any confirmation that this was the amount actually paid to Mr Armstrong and I have heard reports that the actual figure was $2US million.

I note that it had originally been claimed that any monies paid to Mr Armstrong would be donated by him to charity.

Subsequently, Mr Armstrong informed the media that that proposition was incorrect and that he would receive the money personally for his efforts related to cancer research in Australia, and South Australia in particular.

1 – Please confirm to whom any monies paid by the South Australian government or its related entities for the personal attendance of Mr Armstrong in South Australia during the conduct of the Tour Down were made to, i.e., to Mr Armstrong personally or a corporate entity with whom he is associated.

2 – Please confirm the actual amount paid to, or on behalf of, Mr Armstrong by the South Australian government or its related entities for his attendance in South Australia during the Tour Down Under?

3 – Please advise of the additional costs met by the South Australian government or its related entities (airfares, accommodation etc etc) involved in bringing Mr Armstrong, and his entourage, whether members of the Astana team or his personal staff, to Adelaide for the Tour Down Under and related events.

4 – Please advise of any other participants in the Tour Down Under who received similar payments to that received by Mr Armstrong.

Thank you. If you wish to clarify any of the matters referred to above or have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be contacted by return email or by telephone.

Bob Gosford

As noted in today’s piece in Crikey the response from Mike Rann’s office was as follows:

“Any payments associated with teams or cyclists taking part in the Tour Down Under are commercial in confidence. This has been the case since the inception of the race 11 years ago”.

A week ago I sent the following email to Mr Rann’s media liaison staffer, Ms Jill Bottrall and to a representative from Tourism SA, Ms Hitaf Rasheed.

Dear Jill and Hitaf,

Further to my short ‘phone conversation with Jill the other week I have the following questions for Premier Rann and/or officers from Events SA in relation to payments made to various teams for their attendance and/or other purposes at the Tour Down Under in 2009 & 2010.

I note by way of background that, as far as I am aware, there has been no confirmation of the amount of money paid, or the conditions on which it was paid, to Lance Armstrong by the South Australian government – or any of it’s agencies – for his attendance at the Tour Down Under in 2009.

1 – Please confirm the amount of money paid to Lance Armstrong as an attendance fee or similar for his attendance, competition at or other purposes during the Tour Down Under in 2009.

2 – Please advise how that money was paid – by direct payment to Lance Armstrong personally or to some other person, agent or entity? If so, please provide the details of that other person, agent or entity.

3 – Has a money figure been agreed between Lance Armstrong, or his agent, another person or entity and the South Australian government in relation to his attendance at the Tour Down Under in 2010? If so, how much?

4 – Has a money figure been agreed between any other individual rider, or any professional team, in relation to their attendance at the Tour Down Under in 2010? If so, please provide details of to which individuals and teams and how much.

Thank you for your time. If you have any queries about these matters please do not hesitate to contact me by return email or by telephone.

As of press deadline this morning we have received no response. I’ll keep you posted if, and when something does come in.

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12 thoughts on “Dear Mike Rann, Show us the money…please

  1. Lance Armstrong and the conspiracy of dunces | The Northern Myth

    […] * Dear Mike Rann, Show us the money … please – January 2010 – A record of some (largely unanswered) questions put by me to (then) South Australian Premier Mike Rann and staff at the Tour Down Under. […]

  2. Bob Gosford

    And this update from yesterday’s Advertiser in Adelaide. It seems that while some things may stay hidden behind the veil of “commercial in confidence” glimpses emerge in the course of State estimates…

    $2m fee for Lance but none for us

    * SARAH MARTIN
    * From: The Advertiser
    * October 19, 2010 12:01AM

    LANCE Armstrong’s suspected $2 million appearance fee for the Tour Down Under has been backed up by discrepancies in the state tourism budget.

    Yet despite the taxpayer contribution to Mr Armstrong’s personal wealth, his cancer charity Livestrong has overlooked South Australia to donate to cancer centres in other states.

    Budget papers show the figure for tourism events in 2009-10 was $15.055 million, which the Government has confirmed does not include Lance Armstrong’s appearance fee.

    However, estimated final expenditure for tourism events for the year, including the fee for the Tour de France champion, was $17.05 million.

    In budget estimates questioning, Tourism Minister John Rau hinted the $1.995 million discrepancy could be attributed to the cost of Mr Armstrong’s appearance.

    Opposition tourism spokesman Terry Stephens labelled the fee “staggering”. “At a time where they are cutting through the public service like an axe, they are obviously embarrassed about Lance Armstrong’s fee,” he said.

    In Adelaide this year, Mr Armstrong announced he had donated the Livestrong name to the $27 million Flinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, incorporating the Livestrong Cancer Research Centre. But it has not donated to the centre and the Government could not provide examples coming to SA from the charity.

  3. dear mike

    […] and … Mike Butcher is a former editor of New Media Age magazine, speaker and currently editor …Dear Mike Rann, Show us the money…please The Northern MythDear Mike Rann, Show us the money…please. January 18, 2010 12:48 pm, by Bob Gosford. In February […]

  4. Jon Hunt

    I think you should ask Mr Rann whether:

    – The main issue as I see it is whether the “income” from the event exceeded the “expense”.
    – please explain how world-wide media coverage can be described in dollar terms
    – What are the “key indicators” and how are these arrived at
    – What do they mean by “economic impact”; is it a positive or a negative impact? And how is this figure arrived at.

    In other words ask them to back up their claims, because lets face it they could have just made them up; no-one would be any the wiser!

  5. Lysistrata

    If there are big bucks being made as a result of the Tour Down Under it isn’t in the East End of Adelaide which was very quiet on this Monday evening. The Cancer Council whilst thanking Lance for his highlighting of cancer has been cranky enough to ask for money to do something about it – something along the lines of they would happily use the appearance money to research into cancer treatments. Whilst there are those who are happy to ride with Lance there are others who are over Lycra clad riders (who should have R ratings) creating traffic hazards.

  6. Frank Campbell

    Anyway, shouldn’t big pharma be paying for cyclists?

  7. Frank Campbell

    “commercial in confidence” is the device now used by all levels of government to hide financial dealings, virtually of of which should be public. Local govt is the worst offender.
    It reflects the penetration of the public sphere by the private- and the subservience of the former to the latter.

  8. Elan

    The headline for the story is: “Nobody Wants To Play Favourites”:

    One response so far…….MINE!!! (You see…,NOW we are not playin’ favourites).

    Isn’t that sweet? Awwwwwwwwww!

  9. Elan

    Well now how lovely!!

    Now perhaps we can learn what our outlay was, to bring in this mass of good fortune…

    Sod it! This is where we came in…

    Still, not a bad return to a State that has outlaid peanuts for the cyclists who live here permanently.

    (I note from a ’tiser headline today, that other well-known participants are uber careful not to say anything to offend fancy Lancy…., but they ARE a little ancy about Lancy. It’s subtle,-but it’s there. I have put up a post in response ‘so there IS more than one participant in the TDU?’. The breath she is not being held!).

    Thanks for the update, Bob.

    A very predictable response.

    At present Rann fans and cyclist nuts are running around in paroxysms of loving adoration, and covered in facial brown stains…

  10. Bob Gosford

    Here is a response to the most recent questions Crikey asked of Mr Rann received from Events SA this afternoon after press time:

    “In response to your questions…

    Any commercial arrangements we have with athletes, teams or events are commercial in confidence, as we operate in a very competitive environment.

    Furthermore, the agreement with Lance Armstrong was prepared on the express understanding between both parties that the agreement would be kept confidential.
    Any investment in Lance Armstrong has been more than returned in benefits to the State.

    The benefits of gaining UCI Pro Tour status for the Santos Tour Down Under (2008) and of attracting the world’s greatest cyclist Lance Armstrong to participate in the event (2009 and 2010) are open for all to see.

    Lance’s participation in 2009 Tour Down Under saw a more than doubling of every key indicator, including world-wide editorial media coverage which increased from $43 million to $227 million. Furthermore, the economic impact for South Australia of the Tour Down Under increased from $17 million to $39 million, event specific visitors from 15,000 to 36,000 and more than 760,000 people lined the streets of Adelaide and South Australia to take in the event, which showcases our State to the world.

    Please contact me should you require further information either on email or mobile.”

  11. Elan

    Mr Gosford sir, This is SA! You are nissing into the pind! We don’t talk about that here. (‘We’ don’t talk about anything much here. You do realise don’t you, that I am referring to the Royal ‘we’ here:-His Preciousness Ranndy).

    I am but a common pleb, and try to avert my eyes when a biker passes, just in case he breathes on me and I get arrested. I try to give a wide berth to ‘the gang of 49’. (I think they caught one…or maybe one and a little fella,-so I suppose it is now ‘the gang of 47 and a half’).

    I tried to get a wee dram at my favourite watering hole recently, but the Dictatorship (we call them ‘dicks’. It saves time), had ordered their frontline troups (they’re called SAPOL. It saves time), to close it down because the bikers were going to stop there.

    I have read (online, one doesn’t pay good money for it), in our daily mouthpiece the heading “The Legend Has Landed”!! Gosh! Wow!!….,and, “He Tweeted-They Came”.

    Oh my!! I had to take a chill pill, I came over all unnecessary.

    I tried so hard to put up a post on AdelaideNow-four times-but it must have slipped through their system. My heart was warmed by comments like:’I rode next to Lance for a while’ and the tear-jerking comment that ‘this is something I can tell my children about when they are older’ ( he means breathing the same air as…………ooo! er! .., LANCE!!!).

    Oh how Rann smiled (I was concerned that he might split his face), and Jane? she got a new frock just for Lance;- after all he DID tell us he would vote for ‘his friend Ranny’ if he could vote in our election. (surely Mike can arrange something?, we’re talking “LANCE” here!).

    And Lance has said that athletes should not be afraid to go to danger zones. I hung on his every word-him having vast experience an’ all.

    It is simply appalling that someone was silly enough to hit His Preciousness with a rolled up magazine, I was given no time to donate a lead pipe that would have fitted neatly into that reading material. I loathe it when people go off half cocked….,then others have to resort to empty magazines!

  12. Jon Hunt

    I have to say that I am biased; my opinion of Mike Rann is that he is someone who tries to get away with whatever he can, unlike most politicians. Just ask that lady’s ex-husband what he thinks of him. Heaven knows why the electorate seems to be fond of him.

    With that off my chest, in this instance I would think that seeing as this is taxpayer’s money, one would think that the taxpayer, myself included, would have some right to know. But I don’t know the legislation.

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