The Latham Diaries are littered with references to the
subservient positions that Labor has taken over the years with
Australia’s two richest and most powerful families, the Murdochs and
Packers. Here are just three:

Tuesday, 6 June, 1995

The Super League controversy has broken out and Steve Martin organises
a meeting in his office to sort out a Labor position with Michael Lee.
Footy fans Paul Elliott, Gary Punch, Michael Forshaw, Arch Bevis and I
also attend. Basically, Lee is as weak as water.

The anti-siphon laws were supposed to provide an assurance of
free-to-air rubgy league, but Lee reckons they are vulnerable to court
challenge, putting the blame on their author, Graham Richardson. Lee’s
goal is to ‘Keep the number of communications laws to a minimum – the
Government loses a minister for every piece of communications
legislation in the Senate’.

He is too weak to take on the big media players, saying that, ‘In the
lead-up to an election, we would be mad to touch Murdoch or Packer’. So
Murdoch can screw over the great working-class game of rugby league and
there is nothing a Labor Government will do to stop it. Lee is afraid
of putting a foot forward for fear of putting a foot wrong. Throughout
the meeting he looks like a rabbit in the headlights.

Monday, 1 November, 2003

Arbib reckons that Oakes was consistently against us during the
campaign: “He was the worst every night, so you must have a problem
with Packer. You need to go and see the big media people every now and
then and kiss their a*ses. Carr does it all the time, it works
wonders”. Yes, if you don’t mind having sh*t on your lips.

Peter Fray

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