Does Rupert Murdoch revel in his ability
to make and break governments? That’s one conclusion you can reach from
two new additions to his Australian schedule we can reveal from last
week.

Firstly, where did the Sun King dine last week with a key coterie of editorial heavyweights from The Australian?
Machiavelli’s, of course, the same Sydney restaurant where News Corp
held its celebratory dinner after shareholders were hoodwinked into
approving the reincorporation to America last October.

A News
Ltd tipper has advised that the attendees included Greg Sheridan, Paul
Kelly, John Hartigan, Chris Mitchell and Paul Whittaker. The bolter
here is Whittaker, the very tabloid chief of staff at The Australian, who is close to Mitchell and being groomed for something.

We emailed Mitchell for confirmation and he replied: “It was just a
meet and greet, and Rupert asked to bring a younger member of The Australian team.”

If this was a dinner for The Australian, it has to be asked where was editor Michael Stutchbury? Stutch is rumoured to be on the outer and TheAustralian’s Europe correspondent Peter Wilson, who just missed landing the top job at The Age in 2004, is tipped in some quarters to be poised to take over.

After
participating in News Corp’s September quarter earnings conference call
up until 10am on Friday morning, Rupert then made what must have been a
nostalgic trip to Canberra on the 30th anniversary of The Dismissal.

Two
different Crikey spies have emailed to say they saw Rupert at Old
Parliament House last Friday. He was in the popular bar, Cafe in the
House, enjoying a drink until about 7.15pm, when he presumably headed
off for dinner somewhere.

As Mark Day noted in this interesting column two weeks ago, The Australian
almost didn’t survive the post-Whitlam years, such was the community
venom against Murdoch for undermining Gough’s government and then
backing his sacking by Sir John Kerr.

Rupert must have reflected
on those days as he walked around Old Parliament House, but which
politicians did he catch up with while in Canberra? Keep the excellent
tips coming to [email protected], including newsroom talk about how
the Sun King dealt with his various nervous editors.