The whole Crikey adventure has involved a lot of media and speeches over the years
but these last few days have been close to the craziest period I’ve
experienced.

The first unusual event was to get a call at 5.30pm on Tuesday to
fill in for Noel Pearson who cancelled a dinner speaking engagement in
Melbourne at the last moment. The audience of 150 at the Darebin Arts
& Entertainment Centre was only told Noel was a no-show as I was being
introduced, so the 30 or so members of the Indigenous community who’d
turned up were in for a bit of a surprise.

Having had no time to prepare, I embarked on a familiar rave about
corporate behaviour, the evils of some media moguls and what sort of
political reforms were needed in Victoria, but this wasn’t good enough
for one Indigenous lady who leapt to her feet mid-speech and gave me
the mother of all bollockings for talking about stuff that was of no
interest to her community.

One of the organisers had to demand the lady stop abusing me and sit
down, but instead she just stormed out. Talk about a tough gig. There
were plenty of questions from the floor and positive feedback
afterwards so it wasn’t a complete disaster but next time you get a
request to fill in for someone at short notice on a topic you know
little about, be wary.

Thankfully, last night’s speech in Sydney to the Australia-Israel
Chamber of Commerce Young Business Forum was better received although I
probably took the “disclose, disclose, disclose” the mantra a bit too
far and some in the audience looked a little incredulous at times.

Then there has been an avalanche of media on a range of topics. It’s not often you knock back A Current Affair,
but surrendering a couple of hours to get one minute of air-time
sledging Macquarie Bank just wasn’t worth it. I also slept in on Wednesday morning and missed a
chance to talk to Mike Carlton and Peter Fitzsimons about the Millionaires Factory on 2UE’s breakfast
program but there were the usual Tuesday spots on the ABC in Tasmania, NSW and Victoria which were
dominated by Macquarie. Tune in to The National Interest on Radio National at midday on Sunday for another lengthy discussion about Macquarie.

The chequebook journalism story out of Beaconsfield also sparked a
longish chat on ABC Newcastle and a few lively grabs for The World
Today,
and even the sledges of James Hardie chairman Meredith Hellicar at the AMP AGM yesterday got picked up by AAP.

However, the favourite media appearance of the week was this AAP feature
on the immorality of Australia’s hypocritical shock-jocks. Have a read
because the AAP reporter has amassed an impressive list of shock jock
indiscretions.

The real reason for producing this item is to seek some assistance from
the Crikey Army for a live 20-minute Triple J spot with John Safran and
Father Bob McGuire on Sunday night at 10.30pm.

Safran comes up with some obscure corporate conspiracy topics and
this time he wants to explore the question of companies who align
themselves with activists or profit directly from activism. The
Body Shop is a good example and at one level Crikey has also profited
from shareholder activism over the years, but we’ll need far more than
that so all insights on this topic are welcome to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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