Is Toll
Holdings, the failed predator of Patrick Corporation and Chris Corrigan, trying
to kill the messenger? No, not
the ACCC, but its PR advisers, Cannings, now part of
the John Singleton media empire. Cannings is being blamed for all the poor publicity that seems to have started when reality
hit the Paul Little-run mob in its dealings with the ACCC.

It’s not what Toll says Cannings did – it’s that they did nothing, in
the eyes of the Toll board and senior management group. But then some
in the media would argue that Cannings wasn’t allowed to do very much
due to the tightly-controlled nature of the bid and its oversight by a
bunch of truckies who thought they were takeover experts. The truckies
were taken completely by surprise by the ACCC opposition to the bid,
and yet if they had been listening, they would have picked up some of
the warnings.

Meanwhile Chris Corrigan and his in-house gang have been
running rings around Toll through
skilful briefings of the media over Pacific National, Virgin Blue, the ACCC
problems and anything else that would get up the nose of the Tollites. So now
Toll is ringing around corporate relations groups in a very discreet beauty
parade of PR spinners to see if one can be found to replace Cannings.

But Toll’s
PR problems reside in the boardroom and executive suite of the company and nowhere else.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey