“Well it certainly wasn’t me.” So said Gerard Noonan, candidate for the Fairfax Board, when I finally got through to him a few moments ago and asked whether he had done anything to nudge the industry regulator into reviewing the position of conflicted Fairfax board member, David Evans.
I had been trying to contact Noonan for comment on my story in the Crikey email today about the revelation that the Australian Communications and Media Authority is reviewing the fact that leading independent Fairfax Board member Evans has an apparent problem with the Broadcasting Services Act, in that he is a director of two comapanies that control radio stations in the same markets.
The question is why it has taken ACMA so long to act, when this has been the case for at least two years.
Noonan and I failed to connect before my deadline for the Crikey email, but when we did talk he made two points: first, that it was extraordinarily sloppy, not only for ACMA but also for the Boards of both Fairfax Media and Village Roadshow, to let this situation persist for so long. What were they thinking? It hardly implies respect for the law.
Second, says Noonan, Evans is the only Fairfax Media board member who can be said to have media experience. If he is forced to step down – what then?
As for Noonan’s claims to be gaining the support of superannuation funds for his Board bid, he admits it is difficult to know how, and whether, this will translate into votes on the day, given that these funds often hold their shares at arm’s length.
But, he insists, there could be an upset on the day of the AGM – which, by the way, is next Tuesday.
Noonan says he is looking forward to it.