As you know, we love compiling list so here is the beginnings of one on cynically timed releases of bad news.

Here’s our fairly feeble first attempt which needs to be amplified, expanded and corrected.

Cynically timed bad news press releases


National Australia Bank telling the ASX at 8.28pm when chairman
Mark Rayner was standing aside because of his conflict of interest
in also chairing Pasminco which owes the NAB $150 million and appears
insolvent at the moment.

– Jeff Kennett released the FOI on his personal credit card expenses at 6pm on the eve of the Brownlow Medal.


The Adsteam Group of companies announced a $1 billion loss at 4pm on
Easter Thursday in 1990 knowing that the next Financial Review was not
due out until the following Wednesday. John Field’s PR team used the
belated release for an excuse to have an office piss-up to mark the
occasion.

– The Penrith Panthers NRL side
announced the sacking of Royce Simmons, their popular long term
coach and grand final hero from 1991, on September 12 2001 when the
September 11 attack was still a breaking story.

– Kim
Beazley announced Labor was keeping the 30 per cent health insurance
rebate shortly before Cathy Freeman took off in the Olympic 400 metres
final.

– HIH held their last ever AGM at 4pm
on Friday, Decmeber 15, 2001 in Redfern, knowing that
Saturday papers have early deadlines.

– News Corp
released one of the most generous executive options schemes in history
late on the middle Friday of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.


Nick Whitlam announced his resignation as chairman of NRMA Insurance at
5pm on a Sunday so that no columnist would be able to get there and
analyse it properly.

– Southern Cross Broadcasting told
the ASX it was withdrawing a proposed increase in directors retirement
benefits late one Friday evening and everyone in the press missed it.


Former NSW Attorney General Jeff Shaw tabled the 1997-98 WorkCover
annual report showing an $800 million loss at 4pm on Christmas Eve –
almost 6 months after the end of the financial year.


The release of FOI material on the appointment of Nick Voinov, son of
Romanian IOC delegate, to a job with the NSW State Rail Authority –
after many delays and many excuses – at 4.30pm the day before the
winner of the Olympic Bid was announced. So that no one would care
either way.

– The ACCC announced they were dropping
an investigation of NAB on Easter Thursday in 2001 as
they shunted it over to the Reserve Bank.

– The
Kennett government announced the controversial sale of the Grain
Elevators Board to a farmer-backed consortium on the same day as the
state-budget which dominated the coverage.

– CS First
Boston only sent press releases to the Financial Review and the Sydney
Morning Herald in 1996 when it decided to close down its Melbourne
metals desk. And this from a firm that made more than $100 million
selling off the state’s energy assets.

Feedback and additions to [email protected]. Anyone who comes up with three genuine additions to this list gets a free Crikey subscription worth $77 a year.

Peter Fray

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