With Julia Gillard taking a beating over Labor’s industrial relations policy, it appears Sir Rod Eddington, recently appointed to Labor’s business advisory council to build bridges between the party and business, has been missing in action. So, if he hasn’t been advising Labor, what’s he been doing? Here is Sir Rod’s diary for the last four weeks.
1 May: Sir Rod admits he was not consulted on the Labor’s controversial IR platform.
1 May: Kevin Rudd says the plan to build a tunnel linking Melbourne’s east with its west under it’s inner-city strongholds of Fitzroy, Collingwood, and Carlton should be scrapped because it will push voters to the Greens (never mind Melbourne’s transport needs). Sir Rod is heading an inquiry into the tunnel, but is yet to comment on Labor’s call to ditch the plan.
26 April: As the finishing touches are being put to Labor’s IR plan, Sir Rod “is in Western Australia with the board of mining giant Rio Tinto, touring its operations,” reports The Australian. Meanwhile, Rudd courts business leaders, stockbrokers and assorted corporates at a gala dinner in Sydney.
21 April: Sir Rod surfaces in the UK, claiming he is not against high-speed rail lines being introduced in Britain, “but was opposed to the ultra-high-speed Maglev line –where the train is propelled via electromagnetic force — on cost and technology grounds.” Sir Rod last year headed a Government-backed inquiry into a high-speed line between England and Scotland.
16 April: The UK Government’s special adviser on transport, Sir Rod, tells the House of Commons Transport Committee that a widespread introduction of road pricing will take 10years. “Sir Rod, formerly British Airways chief executive, was giving evidence to the committee following his report to the Government…” The Guardian reports.
10 April: Gerard Henderson reminds readers of the SMH that Sir Rod, the new chair of Labor’s business advisory council, is the same Sir Rod “who told a Liberal Party dinner in March last year that the way the Prime Minister had led his team over the previous decade ‘is something that all of us in the business community admire’. He went on to wish Howard ‘continued success in the years to come’.”
7 April: Sir Rod, head of Victoria’s Major Event’s Company, says: “We are going to have to be smarter about what we pursue. You need to ask yourself, is it good value for money?” alluding to the FINA World Swimming Championships and the Grand Prix. Victorian Government ministers cough and look in the other direction.
6 April: “Melbourne has an enviable calendar of sporting and cultural events and these are carefully planned,” boasts Sir Rod after Melbourne wins the 2011 Presidents World Cup golf tournament.
Have you bumped into Sir Rod in the last month? Tell us when and where – [email protected]