Ian McLachlan never made the front pages during his political career like he’s done this week – and he was supposed to be a supporter of John Howard.

So what’s behind the timing of Sunday’s confirmation-of-deal-notes to Glenn Milne? Could it be that the chairman of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) wants to be seen as a major political player at the World Merino Conference which starts in Perth tomorrow.

Have a look at the program and you’ll see that Ian McLachlan AO has a 15-minute spot on Thursday afternoon titled “Influencing the Influencers”. Who better to give such a talk than a kingmaker of conservative prime ministerial succession deals. All those hundreds of international delegates gathering at Burswood casino will be most impressed.

The only problem that McLachlan now faces is the small matter of the Prime Minister having his photo on a dart board in his office. Does that mean an attempt by AWI’s sister company Woolmark to push a multi-million dollar pension liability onto the public purse might now be something of a dead duck?

Glenn Milne has done well with his seriously good scoop but it is baloney to suggest that McLachlan has sat tight on this information. Several other former Ministers have been informed and some corporate boardrooms are even claiming to have heard McLachlan talk about it.

And if obscure Liberal Party backbenchers like Alex Somlyay are even claiming to have read the notes, surely we’re talking several dozen people who are aware of it. If so, why on earth has it taken so long for someone to put the meeting, the presence of McLachlan and his note-taking on the record before now?

It’s all very well for people like Paul Kelly to claim this story is not new, but where did he actually report the detail? McLachlan has clearly been itching to get this into the open for up to three years and, just like everybody else, we missed it as well.

Peter Fray

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