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Howard Hughes to buy Sydney Opera House: Treasurer

Michael Costa's bizarre and geopolitically ignorant response to a question in State Parliament on Tuesday about Chinese investment in New South Wales was not the end of that particular matter.

Yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald reported that Costa issued a press release on Wednesday offering more, er, information in response to MLC John Kaye's inquisitiveness of the day before.

Now the New South Wales Government, firstly under Bob Carr and now under Morris Iemma, have the sort of openness and transparency not otherwise seen this side of the 38th Parallel. Ministerial press releases simply do not appear on line, and as for email mailing lists... que?

Consequently, I can't give you an html page with Michael Costa's glorious press release, entitled "Greens Expose The Reds Under The Beds", however the SMH has placed a PDF of a faxed copy on their website.

While still failing to answer the double-barrelled question:

"Is the Treasurer aware of any interest in the purchase or long-term lease of components of the electricity industry in New South Wales by a company owned or partly owned by the People's Republic of China? Has the Treasurer or any official agent of his department had any communication in respect of the sale or long-term lease of components of the electricity industry in New South Wales with agents, employees or representatives of any company owned or partly owned by the Government of the People's Republic of China?"

Costa ended his fax with the following admission. Is Federal Attorney-General Kevin Andrews taking note?

"I'll take this opportunity to let Mr Kaye and his wacky co-conspirators know that I've also not met representatives of Baader-Meinhof, the Red Brigades, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the IRA, the PLO, or Shining Path.

I've been too busy meeting with Howard Hughes and Elvis about buying the Opera House."

That's Presley, or Costello?

(Addendum: John Kaye's press release in response is suitably restrained.)