Today might well be the
first day of the rest of Steve Vizard’s life and already doors are
banging in his face – although it should be said not all that many were
open before the current scandals enveloped him. Newspapers, TV
reporters and commentators are remiss in describing the inside trader
as an “establishment figure” – he wasn’t and isn’t. And while on the
subject, his mate Ron Walker isn’t either.

The Melbourne
establishment is a collection of people whose families came to
Melbourne in the early 1800s and in the main were of little consequence
then – some say their descendants still fit that bill. The current crop
bear surnames such as Darling, Guest, Brookes, Creswick, Baillieu,
Bayles (John Elliot’s second wife was Amanda Bayles), Myer (their
Jewish background, which for so long was a barrier to entry, has long
been forgotten), Murdoch (Rupert hates the description), Grimwade,
McKinnon, Gibbs, Goode, and Sargood, to name a few.

The men
were educated at Melbourne or Geelong Grammar and in some instances
rounded off at Oxford – Malcolm Fraser and Rupert certainly were. They
are members of the Melbourne Club – Vizard and Walker are not, and, to
the great discredit of the Club, the Myer men were blackballed a few
decades ago. A few years ago Tony Beddison, who is or has been chairman
of everything that moves in Melbourne – he has replaced Vizard as
chairman of the World Swimming Championships Corporation, and sits on
the advisory board of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation with Vizard,
Eddie McGuire and Neil Mitchell – was also refused Club membership.

Vizard’s
family deserves better than what Steve has served up to them and his
wife will get sympathy from the other Melbourne Grammar mums when she
collects the kids after school – what happens at the hairdressers will
be another story. Steve apologised to his family, as well he might. In
Sydney he would have got away with it and all the sins would have been
swept under the carpet in no time – not so in Melbourne. For at least
two generations hence, the bearers of the Vizard name will rekindle
memories of today’s judgment. But that’s Melbourne – well the Melbourne
Steve aspired to, and which, at the close of the day, he didn’t have a
hope of entering.

Peter Fray

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