Richard Pratt has acted commendably in handing back his various Aussie honours … and provoking that sort of generous sentiment is presumably the intention of the gesture. Here is a man, after all, who may yet have to navigate the complexities of poker machine licensing on behalf of his beloved Carlton football club. He needs all the good press he can get. Which takes us to Pratt’s companion in the noble Order of Australia, one Stephen William Vizard.

Hitherto we had believed that the recording of a criminal conviction was the point at which one’s honours were rightly forfeit. Richard Pratt has just lowered that bar to a position somewhat closer to the point indicated by both common sense and decency. We suggest that Mr Vizard, AO, ought now consider whether plea bargaining in respect of insider trading might not fit within this reconstructed order-giving-back regime. Just think of the good karma.


Today we take great pleasure in introducing Crikey’s new resident at the Canberra press gallery. His name is Bernard Keane.

His approved biographical note reads: “Bernard Keane tried being an historian before moving to Canberra and becoming a Commonwealth public servant in the 1990s. After stints in transport policy and as a speechwriter he moved into communications policy, where he obtained extensive experience in the dark arts of Australian media regulation. An occasional blogger, he began contributing to Crikey as David MacCormack in mid-2007.”

So there you are, think of this not so much as losing an alias as gaining a correspondent.

Peter Fray

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