You can just imagine the high-pitched screeching in one of those feral 2GB editorials. It might read something like this:

This Opes Prime collapse is an absolute disgrace. Genuine battlers from Struggle Street who have done absolutely nothing wrong will only get 30c in the dollar – and all because the directors protected their favourite clients. But it gets worse. The biggest client of them all, that big-talking Sydney criminal lawyer Chris Murphy, was actually in business with these dodgy Opes directors. Talk about conflict of interest. They were madly punting on the sharemarket with borrowed funds and absolutely no controls. Murphy was even gifted a free Maserati and he’s still out there gloating that he traded $4 billion worth of Telstra in a two year period. This bloke was clearly the biggest day trader in Australia, but now all this frenetic paper shuffling – it really is nothing more than straight out gambling – has caused one of Australia’s worst financial collapses. It really is time we had a full public inquiry into the Opes collapse and Murphy should be the first witness called.

Unfortunately, Alan Jones doesn’t treat news on its merits. Muslims, unionists, Greenies and lefties might cop it regularly but when you’re a personal friend of the Parrot’s and associated with the Packer family, a special protection is afforded.

And so it is with Chris Murphy, who escaped to the Parrot’s country retreat on the weekend after Opes Prime first went under. There have been no thundering editorials demanding answers from Murphy, but instead we had the following Parrott dropping in what can only be described as a very soft feature by Chris Merritt in The Australian yesterday:

“People are hypnotised by his mind,” says Jones. It’s not an image that is easily reconciled with his public persona. “He has a wonderful knowledge of case law,” says Jones. “Australians don’t understand these people. Chris Murphy does not keep step with the ordinary mainstream Australia, and so that fosters a lot of jealousy. On the one hand he is the bloke out there supporting criminals – we are very quick to make judgments. But this is the kind of fellow who spends his day in bookshops. He will ring you up and say, ‘There’s a book I read today, you have got to have it’. He is one of the finest people I know. He has one of the biggest hearts and is one of the most loyal people.”

Murphy has long been a loyal bit-player in the Packer family’s circle of influence, but his conduct really should be treated on its merits.

Visit the Mayne Report to listen to yesterday’s two ABC Radio spots.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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