Keeping track of Steve Vizard’s property
dealings over the years is a tough ask, but one saving grace for
Victorian taxpayers is that he’s paid millions in stamp duty. The Age had the best crack at listing all the property deals in this piece on 5 July.

Let’s try adding every other holding that we know of so far:

  • Landale Rd, Toorak: mansion bought for $5.4 million and sold
    for $6.4 million on the same day in March 2003 as the Smorgon’s
    effectively sold their home to IOOF CEO Ron Dewhurst with Vizard
    clipping the ticket for $1 million along the way.
  • Orrong Rd, Toorak: mansion and current home bought for $5.2 million in 2002.
  • Roxby Park: historic 1,247 hectare homestead west of Geelong which was sold for $5.51 million in 2003.
  • Fitzroy St, St Kilda: believed to own an office building, according to The Age.
  • Port Douglas: bought the best and most easterly
    cliff-top mansion overlooking Four Mile Beach for almost $1 million in
    1995 and sold it for more than $3 million in 2001.
  • Portsea: owns a lovely beach front mansion off Back Beach Rd.
  • Clarendon St, East Melbourne: runs the Vizard Foundation from two neighbouring red-brick terraces.
  • Surf Coast: owns two blocks of land west of Melbourne.

In August 1995, when Vizard was asked by The Sunday Age’s
Stephen Dabkowski where he would be in ten years, he replied: “I’ve got
a place in Port Douglas and I must say if I’m not actually there I’d
like to be hovering around that sort of latitude.” Another quote from
that Vizard interview is also instructive:

Q. What was the best business deal you’ve ever done?

A. The best business deal I’ve ever done is the one I’m about to do, it’s the next one.

And the lad certainly knows how to talk himself up, if you believe this line from an October 1995 profile in the Sunday Herald Sun:
“He was a comfortably anonymous lawyer who said he had been in line for
the job as managing director of CRA when the Seven Network offered him
and partner Andrew Knight the chance to make Fast Forward in 1989.”

must have been news to John Ralph, who was managing director of CRA
from 1983 until 1994. Was the board really considering ousting him for
an anonymous 33-year-old in-house lawyer? It’s about as believable as
Vizard’s charity buying the Port Douglas property for tax reasons.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey