Gee I love it when “anon” whips in a missive while I’m
on holidays overseas. It’s a great tactic to have a go at someone when
they’re not around to respond… a real measure of the person. But the
Crikey grapevine extends to the wilds of north-western Canada, so let
me set the record straight.

Half a million a year in speaking
fees… I wish. What “anon” failed to point out is that up until this
year anything earned from speaking fees went to my employer Palamedia,
for the benefit of all staff and all shareholders. I wonder how many
others have done that?

I have been paid a straight salary from
Palamedia which is on the public record in annual reports. Since the
start of the year, my new employment agreement
with Palamedia is
that any speaking fees now come to me which is no big deal as I don’t
do that many any more as my media commitments and age take their toll.

not represented by any of the major speaking bureaus as I don’t go
looking for engagements, although I understand they make occasional
enquiries to my representative who liaises with me. What “anon” also
failed to point out is that the vast majority of my speaking
engagements are pro-bono for charity and community groups.

item prompted me to check the Palm Pilot (no I don’t endorse them) over
the last year to find that I’ve done 53 charity/community engagements
pro-bono… many after hours and on weekends. I see this as a personal
commitment to the community and part of the responsibility of being in
the media. I reckon to talk about it is big noting yourself… but it’s
something the “anons” of the world ignore… should these events also
be disclosed.

As far as a conflict of interest is concerned.
No-one is more protective of their reputation than me. I have strict
criteria of the work I will accept. I only speak as an independent
commentator about issues I choose to talk about.

Koch sent this in from the “wilds of north-western Canada” last
Wednesday after the story ran. We apologise for the delay in publishing