A media furore would still probably have erupted had ASIC and Steve Vizard been upfront, expansive and available from the outset – but would wehave had an avalanche of stories for two weeks?
There was loads to digest over the weekend. Both Business Sunday andInside Business devoted time to the Vizard story on Sunday. Nine’s Adam Shand did one of the most comprehensive profiles on Vizard two years ago for The AFR, so he was well equipped to pull it together for Business Sunday, although his forthcoming piece on Macquarie Bank’s Tasmanian gold dealings didn’t make it to air this week.
Alan Kohler has been getting more aggressive in his commentary, but his Inside Businesseditorial was quite feral: “How did Steve Vizard even get on to the Telstra board or the Victorian Major Events Committee given all the things that are now being said about him? At the very least, Steve Vizard must be charged with perjury, having previously denied in court what he now admits.”
Kohler went on to say: “Business people are competing to say – off the record, of course – the rudest things about Vizard: that he’s never, ever been any good. If anyone at all turns up in court this week to give a character reference, it will be amazing, not to say courageous.”
Of course Vizard will find people to talk about his character. The Herald Sun this morning reports that National Gallery of Victoria director Gerard Vaughan is considering doing exactly that.
Given the deals that Vizard’s former Toorak neighbour Eddie McGuire did with him over the years, don’t be surprised if Eddie Everywhere is standing up and being counted on Thursday as he’s tribally loyal to family and friends. The various recipients of Vizard’s so-called charitable endeavours will probably also step up to the plate, although don’t expect any of the 28 Telstra directors over the past decade to endorse his corporate behaviour.
Character referees don’t usually get savaged, although the likes of Steve Bracks, Robert Doyle and Ron Walker are certainly regretting being so publicly supportive when the ASIC deal first emerged.
The Age’s corporate sleuth David Elias had another good piece on Vizard this morning looking at the winding up of Sportsview. The Age’s former managing director Stuart Simson keeps getting mentioned in dispatches, even though it was Vizard’s Virtual Communities operation which first snapped up the ten-year internet rights to those AFL clubs and Simson only joined later to actually run the sites.
The Age’s Malcolm Maiden had probably the best column today asking what exactly Vizard was sorry about, while The Australian preferred two straight news reports from Blair Speedy, who was at Melbourne airport on Saturday night.
The SMH has arguably been tougher on Vizard than The Age and Christine Lacy was today speculating in her CBD gossip column that he could be stripped of his gong or follow Rodney Adler’s lead and hand back the AM. Indeed, it’s one of the many fallouts that the funny man must now confront.
Meanwhile, celebrity bookmaker Simon Beasley and his family were indeed holidaying in Europe with the Vizard family, who won’t be back until next weekend, thereby avoiding what will be another intense week of scrutiny.