Beating up on executive pay is a no brainer for the tabloid media and Australia’s biggest-selling paper, the Herald Sun, came up with a ripper splash yesterday as it linked an electricity pricing decision by a federal government regulator to the salary packages of the AGL and Origin Energy CEOs.

The hypocrisy of such a line by the Murdoch press is stunning, so the following letter was submitted yesterday:

It is a bit rich of the Herald Sun to attack the $5 million pay packets of power company bosses at AGL and Origin Energy when the paper is published by News Corp whose executive chairman Rupert Murdoch was paid $US16.8m in 2009-10. And News Corp CEO Chase Carey received a $US10 million sign-on fee just for starting the job. These things need to be kept in perspective and I trust this comment won’t be censored.

For some baffling reason, the letter didn’t make it into today’s paper.

The reason for that last line about censorship was that Herald Sun editor Simon Pristel was confronted by 774 ABC Melbourne morning host Jon Faine on Wednesday as to whether the paper was refusing to cover the possibilities in the Victorian upper house because of its long-standing ban on mentioning its former business editor.

Even The AFR, which has also imposed a ban of sorts over the past 11 years, recognised that the real potential of exclusively holding the balance of power in the Victorian upper house was a story worth reporting.

The piece by The AFR’s Matthew Dunckley on Wednesday finished off with a quote expressing concern that Ted Baillieu’s proposed abolition of the Office of the Police Integrity was merely “responding to an outrageous campaign by the Murdoch press”.

Of course, it is quite premature to start pontificating about various policy positions when tens of thousands of votes are still to be counted in the Northern Metropolitan region.

Indeed, this recent thread on Crikey’s pollbludger blog points out that yesterday’s first batch of absentee votes counted suggest it could be tough to stay ahead of the second Green and pick up all those other preferences.

But hey, we won’t know for sure until December 14 if the road ahead is as a powerful kingmaker or feather duster.

One Baillieu cabinet minister put the fear of God into me two nights ago, talking about how “huuuuge” the workload and responsibility would be if a few hundred ballots in an electorate with 452,215 registered voters go the right way.

For now, we live the dream so it’s full-steam ahead with analysis of Baillieu’s  policy positions and reflections on what the last Victorian coalition government actually did.

Jeff Kennett’s greatest achievement was arguably the $30 billion break-up and sale of the state’s electricity and gas assets as globally pioneering competitive energy markets were created.

The largely foreign buyers ended up losing billions but they drove efficiencies through the system that have delivered the lowest price rises of any states in recent years.

All of this is largely forgotten in a media hysteria over electricity price rises, which, if you listen to Faine’s program, yearns for public ownership of power utilities run by poorly paid grey men in cardigans like the days of the old State Electricity Commission of Victoria.

The Herald Sun even editorialised against the power price rises yesterday, opening up as follows:

“We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take this any more! That’s what Victorians should be saying after being told their electricity bills are going up again.”

There was also this predictable editorial rant against CEO bonuses:

“The new power prices are particularly offensive when struggling families learn that power company CEOs have received $1 million-plus bonuses on their already massive salary packages.”

While it was the CEOs of AGL and Origin who were named, the editorial specifically pointed out that “TRUenergy, the other big power retailer, put up its prices in May”.

And who is a director of TRUenergy’s Hong Kong-based parent company, China Light & Power. Step forward Sir Roderick Ian Eddington, who also doubles as the lead independent director of News Corp and member of the remuneration committee that can’t see anything wrong with Rupert Murdoch’s $US16.8 million pay packet.

Unlike the strongly performing AGL and Origin, News Corp shares have plunged from $24 to $16 over the past three years without any meaningful dividend payments.

Sadly, you’ll never read about that in a News Corp editorial, let alone be told the size of Rupert’s obscene salary package.