Let’s see now. A Murdoch whistleblower called Bruce Dover reveals the nefarious inside dealings of Rupert Murdoch with the Chinese dictators over an extended period and the world’s most powerful media empire fails to report it. So much for a free press!

And what does that well-known Sinophile Kevin Rudd do? He puts News Ltd executive chairman John Hartigan in charge of “governance” at the big 2020 summit and then appoints the damaged News Corp senior independent director, Sir Rod Eddington, as chairman of Infrastructure Australia.

What is going on here?

Bernard Keane was spot on yesterday in describing Hartigan’s appointment as “Rudd’s unsubtle idea of irony.”

Eddington is effectively Hartigan’s Australian-based boss. Yet as one of the two remaining directors on Allco Finance Group’s related party transactions committee, he presumably approved the $5 million loan to the Allco Principals Trust on January 9 – the very same day it breached that $2 billion market capitalisation banking covenant and failed to inform the market.

The Rudd Government should be boosting ASIC’s funding to deal with the coming blizzard of litigation relating to Allco’s impending collapse and the billions of superannuation funds that have been lost on paper across the empire so far. Sir Rod has even failed the Labor Party which has dropped about $600,000 on its Allco Finance Group shares over the past year.

Alas, Rudd’s rumcorp thinks it’s appropriate to keep embracing Sir Rod, who is still some sort of doyen if you believe The Australian’s splash and accompanying Steve Creedy comment piece today.

There were two pieces in Crikey yesterday related to News Corp’s failure to publish a review of Bruce Dover’s fascinating new book, Rupert’s adventures in China.

Who would have thought the mighty Far Eastern Economic Review, now a Murdoch publication courtesy of the Dow Jones takeover, would so quickly yield to the “anticipatory compliance” culture revealed by Dover and dump the Eric Ellis review.

The Murdoch press have also failed to report the forthcoming $US1 billion pay-TV piracy battle with Charlie Ergen’s EchoStar in which News Corp’s NDS division is accused of some extraordinarily dodgy corporate tactics.

As News Corp’s senior independent director, it is incumbent on Sir Rod to help set company-wide standards on corporate governance. Given the enormous battle over the editorial integrity of The Wall Street Journal purchase, the board should be encouraging negative stories on News Corp to prove a point.

Sir Rod should also be leading a special board sub-committee examining the pay-TV piracy claims.

Alas, none of this is happening and instead Sir Rod is Down Under helping blow billions at Allco whilst accepting more gigs from the Rudd Government. Crazy stuff.

Go here for yesterday’s discussion about Sir Rod on 774 ABC Melbourne.

Peter Fray

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