Oh dear. Have
I got Paul Kelly’s The Unmaking of Gough mixed up with Laurie Oakes’ Crash
Through or Crash: The Unmaking of a Prime Minister
and wrongly credited the story of the
Iraqi donation scandal?

As
a subscriber reminds us, the Sphere snatched the scoop – and sends through a fascinating
extract from his book:

On Tuesday February 24, the pieces fell into
place when I confirmed the attempts to raise money for Labor’s campaign from
Arab sources. That night I wrote the story for the Melbourne Sun and other morning papers in
the Herald and Weekly Times Ltd chain. Somehow, at about 11pm, Murdoch learned of what I had
written.

The first editions of The Australian and the
Sydney Daily Telegraph were already rolling off the presses when Murdoch called
from London and ordered editors to wait for an important
story. The presses were stopped, and some time later copy on the Iraqi money
issue – written by Murdoch himself – arrived from London by telex. The front pages of both
papers had to be hurriedly remade. Murdoch confirmed nine days later “The story
in The Australian and The Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, February 25, was written
at a moments notice when we learned that the Melbourne Sun was publishing a story of the
Arab promise of money to cover the ALP deficit.” Production of the News Ltd
papers that night was nearly two hours behind schedule.

Peter Fray

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