Why so modest, Stephen? You quote me as writing in April last year when the News Corp shift to the US was proposed:

“It’s a great and exciting day for Rupert Murdoch and all
the family – the culmination of one 50-year journey and the start of
another. It’s a huge day for all the shareholders in The News
Corporation. It’s also an important day for Australia, for all
Australians, securing one of our two key links to the dynamic growth
industries of the 21st century.”

It’s of a keeping
with all your other gratuitous, continual, dishonest smears of me.
Which I now resist responding to, as you self-evidently get some sort
of bizarre satisfaction when given this sort of oxygen.

Exactly
why that quote, which says nothing about the News Corp share price, is
supposed to show how silly I look given that the News Corp share price
has subsequently gone down, is obvious only in the deep recesses of
your fevered brain. Why didn’t you share with your readers what YOU
wrote on the very same day:

“Rupert Murdoch has this morning been vindicated in his
plan to take News Corp to America after the company’s preferred
non-voting stock soared 77c to $11.68 and the ordinary stock gained a
more modest 17c to $12.33.”

After all, YOU’VE always
been obsessed with the daily ups and downs of share prices. YOU were
the one trading away with Jeff Kennett when he was premier and you were
press secretary, on public property; lining up with him to get
preferred allocations from brokers in new money-for-jam floats.

Until what exactly? Oh yes, until you decided how immoral his behaviour was, and pursuit of purity became your life’s work.

Stephen Mayne responds:

I
would be more than happy to admit being wrong on a News Corp share
price prediction, but all I did was report a market move. Like the rest
of the market, I was impressed with News Corp’s claims it could double
dip by remaining in the Australian index whilst joining Wall Street’s
S&P 500. Sadly, Rupert hadn’t done his research on this and he was
kicked out of the Australian indices, thereby causing much greater
institutional selling when these facts became known. The voting shares
have also not been included in the American index because only the more
common non-voting shares made the grade.

I also didn’t know that
Rupert would take Delaware’s corporate governance low road and
introduce the notorious poison pill, something which has clearly
depressed the share price. However, unlike Terry “His Master’s Voice”
McCrann, I never said something that was clearly bad for Australia – a
major company relocating elsewhere – was a wonderful thing.

As
for the claim about profiting with Jeff Kennett, that is just plain
wrong. Kennett received preferential share allocations in garden
products company Yates and a Chinese company called Guangdong. I was
peripherally involved in the process but got no shares in those floats
and raised my concern about Kennett’s conduct with his closest adviser,
Alister Drysdale, directly after these deals were done.

I
believe the corruption of floats and placements is an untold scandal in
Australia and my whistleblowing job on Jeff Kennett was one of the rare
times it has been publicly debated. The worst thing I did on this score
was revealed in Crikey on July 20 this year ,but Jeff Kennett had no
involvement in or knowledge of either investment. It was as follows:

However, there were a couple of occasions when I used
“connections” to queue jump on to the priority list. The first was the
Seven Network float when I lent $14,000 to a television reporter to buy
7,000 shares at $2 each as a staff member. Staff usually get preference
in floats and the shares were then transferred into my name and I gave
the political correspondent a $500 commission on my estimated $4,000
paper profit.

The other one was the float of advertising and
media company Shomega in 1993 after the Sidwell family’s business had
just bought Disctronics off the Victorian Government’s failed merchant
bank Tricontinental for about $50 million.

The underwriter was
Hambros Corporate Advisory and its director David Williams told me he
thought the $1 shares would come on at $1.50. Jeff Kennett’s
advertising director Peter Bennett had some connections with the
business and told me how to get an allocation of shares from the
“priority list.”

I duly wrote out a cheque for about $15,000 and
took a taxi down to Port Melbourne to drop it off personally with the
person handling the mates. I was Peter Bennett’s mate and, lo and
behold, I got the full whack and they debuted at $1.27, giving me a
paper profit of $4,005.

If Terry McCrann wants to talk
about ethics he should start disclosing the hundreds of thousands of
dollars that he has been paid as a speaker over the years. Who knows if
there’s been any cash affecting his comment but when someone pays you
$5000 to attend their conference – surely you would be less likely to
criticise them in your widely read column. If shock jocks have to
disclose their sponsors, powerful newspaper columnists should reveal
their secret side deals too.