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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
JBD Chief Exec: 'Pratt and Rivkin not singled out as Jews', SMH controlled timing of Facebook story
Mood:  chatty
Topic: corporates
The correspondence below is very categorical and informative and we take it on face value as true. We are still interested in the timing of the page 1 story run by the SMH's education journalist Anna Patty: Because it's the kind of story with quite flexible timing at the discretion of the newspaper. It just happened to run and arguably swamp the not guilty plea in a huge price fixing case against Richard Pratt. 
For instance ABC TV prime time news in Sydney didn't report the Pratt story at all. And notice the Pratt PR operatives of the highest calibre, husband of a ex high profile senator: The Australian at p7 right hand column carries this:
[including, bold added]
"Asked whether he had considered that the settlement deal would allow the ACCC to bring a criminal prosecution against Mr Pratt, Mr Cassidy replied: "No".

Mr Cassidy also said he was unaware the statement of agreed facts contained a clause stating that it could be used as evidence only in the civil case and did not constitute a general admission.

Mr Richter asked Mr Cassidy why, at a meeting to discuss the possibility of criminal charges, he didn't say: "Hang about, we promised not to use this".

"I didn't become aware of that promise not to use it until the investigation into Mr Pratt," Mr Cassidy said.

The ACCC chief did not explain how the commission justified using the statement against Mr Pratt despite having undertaken not to do so.

The court was also told that public relations maven Ian Smith, executive chairman of Gavin Anderson & Co, was used as a go-between in negotiations between the ACCC and the Pratt camp on the terms of the settlement deal, but Mr Cassidy denied he was used as an intermediary. "

We spoke briefly to Ms Patty yesterday by phone but she was in a meeting. We will try again in due course. Where did she get the story we do wonder, not that we expect to be told of her source.

[5.15 pm 10 Dec 08: Anna Patty states by phone that she was tipped off by someone in the education sector and didn't know anything about the Dick Pratt case. In response to the coincidental convergence of the two stories: If there was any agenda in the tip off she couldn't say either way. She just thought her Facebook expose was a good story.]


----- Original Message -----
From: Vic Alhadeff
To: SAM editor Cc: Principal's Assistant Scots College
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 4:25 PM
Subject: RE: questions with notice re meta analysis of today's media re scandal story smh etc

Dear Tom 

Thanks for the positive feedback to our position against prejudice. There is no connection between the Facebook and the Richard Pratt stories; one is a story about antisemitic racism and the other a story about the prosecution of a person who happens to be Jewish, but whose identity has no bearing on his activities.

Furthermore, we do not subscribe to the notion that Mr Rivkin or Mr Pratt were singled out for prosecution because they were Jewish.

 Vic Alhadeff

Chief Executive Officer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies


To answer your questions:

1. Are you aware Dick Pratt pleaded guilty to civil breaches of the corporations law last year and has now been charged with criminal offences?


 2. Are you aware Pratt pleaded not guilty to the criminal offences today as per abc radio news we heard earlier?


 3. Are you aware that Jewish members of the business community in Melbourne in particular were concerned earlier this year that ACCC's failure to drop the criminal charges even after a $40 million fine for civil breaches might be motivated by discrimination?

 I have heard many reactions to the issue.

 4. Do you think the Scots' students allegedly involved in the offensive website might have got prejudiced attitudes from their business parents here in Sydney?

 Prejudice can stem from many sources – peers, family members, social circles. The usual common denominator is ignorance.

5. Is billionaire business man Dick Pratt a donor to the JBD or related groups in the past? How much? 

Not to the JBD. I cannot speak for other organisations.

6. Is it a coincidence that these two stories are running today namely Scot's College website and Dick Pratt not guilty plea to criminal breaches of the corporations law?

Yes. There is no connection between the two.

7. Is the JBD or similar/related groups innocently seeking to make the point of prejudice existing against the Jewish community in some parts of the upper echeleons of society, as expressed by their adolescent children? That indeed "racism is unacceptable"

No; we point out prejudice wherever it exists and in whatever echelons of society it exists. This is merely the latest example.

8. Did the NSW JBD or related groups 'get the story up' regarding (alleged) Scots student scandal website? 

It is our policy to report and expose racism whenever it occurs and is brought to our attention. In this case, we were approached by the media to respond to the issue; we did not take the issue to the media.

9. Is there any intention of the JBD or other groups that you may know of to influence the public's view of the Pratt criminal case, or indeed the court itself?

Absolutely not.

10. Are you aware that the courts receive clips of articles of all related matters in the press via such service providers as Media Monitors? Indeed on the flipside does the JBD continue to receive clippings from MM as they did in 1999-2001?

Yes. Yes. 

From: SAM editor Sent: Tuesday, 9 December 2008 1:24 PM
To: Vic Alhadeff
Cc: Assistant Principal Scots College
Subject: questions with notice re meta analysis of today's media re scandal story smh etc

 Dear Vic,

While always agreeing with your strong stand against prejudice that we wholeheartedly agree with, there is an interesting convergence of news cycle today regarding prominent Jewish business identity and philanthropist Dick Pratt in alot of trouble for allegations of criminal corporate behaviour.

I am submitting these questions in good faith, as per many other 'story behind the story' lines of inquiry in our website on diverse topics. Feel free to reject or repudiate the inferences. However the coincidence in timing is there and the questions are in the public interest, also speaking as a (rusty) corporate lawyer.

 Tuesday, 9 December 2008


By way of comparison, I worked for an independent (radical) secular Jewish guy Lawrence Gibbons (City Hub, Bondi View, Sydney City News) 2001-2007 who suggested to me in all seriousness that when Rene Rivkin was being pursued over Offset Alpine fraud and share trading issues and later personal meltdown "that it was only because he was Jewish". The claim being that plenty of fraudsters cheat on the sharemarket but prosecutions were selective.

Anyway I scoffed at the suggestion while really having no proof one way or the other about any such conjecture. It did seem to me a little paranoid but who really can judge these things. On the other hand there can be little or no doubt that website by the students was offensive and has to be confronted and exposed. No debate about that.

Yours truly

 Tom McLoughlin, editor/owner www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 tel. 0410 558838.

CC Principal assistant Scot's College


Postscript 11 Dec 2008

ACCC delayed perjury charges against Pratt | The Australian 11 Dec 2008 ... Mr Pratt's legal team has accused the ACCC of conducting a campaign against Mr Pratt to trick him into signing a document,

Posted by editor at 5:23 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 11 December 2008 5:51 AM EADT

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