The Liberal Party and some sections of the media are quickly discovering the pitfalls of taking a holier-than-thou approach to Kevin Rudd’s three meetings with Brian Burke in 2005.
The Weekend Australian splashed Saturday’s paper with revelations that former Environment Minister Ian Campbell met Brian Burke for 20 minutes in 2006, which scored a ridiculous resignation yesterday.
The Oz also carried this fairly tough editorial against Rudd on Saturday, declaring the Burke contact to be “a very bad blow to Mr Rudd’s credibility as a politician ready to govern the country. And it points to a flaw in his political persona.”
If meeting someone who has done their time is such a heinous crime, how on earth did Rupert Murdoch justify paying convicted junk bond fraudster Michael Milken $US27 million for advice on the $2 billion tie-up between MCI and News Corp in August 1995.
Milken wasn’t only fined $US1.1 billion, he also accepted a lifetime ban from the securities industry as part of a plea bargain that kept his porridge time down to two years.
Barely three years out of jail and knowing full well that Milken was banned, Rupert brazenly engaged him and then paid the felon $US27 million which was eventually surrendered to the SEC three years later in another plea bargain.
While Alan Jones wasn’t ever convicted of a criminal charge, he was found by the Howard Government’s own regulator to have breached the broadcasting rules on numerous occasions during the notorious cash for comment scandal in 1999-2000.
Jones was running a disgraceful racket put together by a bloke who had done time for fraud, Harry M Miller. Yet what did John Howard do the day after the final damning ABA report was released? He appeared on his program.
The PM should have banned The Parrot but instead helped rehabilitate him and continued using him for Liberal fundraisers.
Then you’ve got the august Fairfax organisation. The AFR last week demanded Alan Carpenter resign as premier and there’s been an orgy of criticism about Rudd’s meetings with Burke, including an editorial in The Sunday Age.
Let’s see, which business figure visited convicted fraudster Brian Quinn in jail on numerous occasions in the late 1990s? Ron Walker, of course. At the time Ron was Treasurer of the Liberal Party and these days he’s also the Fairfax chairman who wants to pioneer nuclear energy in Australia.
Surely a political bagman should realise that regularly visiting crooks in jail isn’t a good look. Kevin Rudd never did that.