Honda F1 website

MAY 17, 2005

Walker in hot water again

Australian Grand Prix chief Ron Walker is in the newspapers in Australia again, accused of subsidising hotel rooms for officials during the city's Commonwealth Games in March next year. Melbourne hotels have at least doubled their rates for the period of the games and top prices are now up to around $350 a night but Walker has agreed to subsidise officials to the tune of $210,000. The problem is that he now stands accused of having agreed to the subsidies without consulting the Victorian state government and is, in effect, spending taxpayers' money without permission to do so. The Minister for Sport and Recreation and Minister for the Commonwealth Games Justin Madden says he agrees with the subsidy.

Walker's activities have come under increasing scrutiny in recent times, since he joined the board of Fairfax newspapers. Many of the attacks are coming from publications produced by a rival media group owned by Rupert Murdoch but it is not clear whether this is a deliberate campaign or whether the Murdoch journalists are simply better at digging up stories.