MICHAEL STEDMAN Mercury

TECHNOLOGY industry heavyweights will pay $5000 a head to attend an exclusive Labor Party fundraiser. The Mercury understands big names, including IBM, NEC and Alcatel-Lucent, will attend the private dinner with federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and Premier David Bartlett at Moorilla Estate on Thursday night. It comes as the Federal Government prepares to spend up to $700million on the National Broadband Network in Tasmania — and amid concerns major contracts will not be put to tender. Proceeds from the event will be used to fund the Tasmanian Labor Party’s 2010 re-election campaign. Labor state secretary John Dowling would not comment on the guest list but said eight to 10 people had confirmed their attendance. Read more here