Rupert ‘warming the seat for Lachlan’. Did Mark Day make a major News Limited corporate announcement in his column in The Australian today? He writes:

“It is today widely understood that Rupert Murdoch would like his son to return to the business. When Williams was appointed chief executive, Rupert took the chairmanship of News Limited, leading to speculation he was about to take a greater interest in Australian affairs. I do not believe this is so. He is merely keeping the seat warm for Lachlan …

“The expected return of Lachlan Murdoch raises some eyebrows among Williams watchers. They say Williams would not be comfortable with someone looking over his shoulder, but there is little doubt that Williams took the job knowing what was planned. It is said Lachlan was the architect of Williams’s appointment.”

Expected return? Who expects it? Presumably that revealing insight wouldn’t have been published if it was off the mark. And it wouldn’t be the first time Day — a long-time News Limited servant and favourite at Holt Street — cut close to the bone. We put in a call to corporate spinners at the company but didn’t hear back.

Dear children, CC: newspaper reporter. Speaking of strategic leaks, who was it from Gina Rinehart’s camp that sent a letter threatening to withdraw ransom insurance from her children to the media yesterday? As The AFR reports:

“Australia’s richest person made the demand in a letter sent by her lawyers to her children late on Friday, after sensational details in the case were exposed in court on Thursday.

“The letter, obtained by The Australian Financial Review, says the children have until 10am today to agree to the request.”

It’s hard to believe such a leak would happen without Rinehart’s approval. For a family trying desperately hard to suppress information about this case, it seemed to us a remarkable turn of events …

Rudd v Gillard: but when? Two anonymous tips on the Labor leadership, both predicting a spill within two weeks. Read into that what you will.

MP’s ‘don’t you know who I am’ in enemy camp. Which “silky” (the tipster’s words) Labor MP went into a Liberal-held seat on Australia Day and insisted to the organisers that he must hand out citizenship certificates as he is “a senior member of the government” and that the long-standing and well-respected local Liberal member should stay in the background? We’re told the mayor and fellow councillors, not to mention the MP himself, were left shaking their heads at the level of petulance.

Pink batts clean-up a costly exercise. The Department of Climate Change has been paying millions of dollars to contracted providers for ceiling inspections and repairs under the failed pink batts program. But, we’re told, the contract conditions have not been met. Expect to hear more about this soon.

Peter Fray

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