Lawrence steps up before stepping down. It seems Jeff Lawrence has saved his best for last. The outgoing boss of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, whose been critisised for keeping a low-profile during his time as secretary, has finally shown his hand in calling for the Health Services Union to be suspended from the council — even before Fair Work Australia has publicly released its findings regarding allegations of misconduct within the union.

“What we need to do is to give a clear signal about this, in an encouragement to people to deal with these issues,” Lawrence told ABC Radio today, prior to a meeting of the ACTU executive to discuss the suspension.

Lawrence is due to be replaced by Dave Oliver in May, who has already outlined an ambitious war strategy for mobilising the council, and declared that under his tenure the ACTU will be more “high profile”.

Clive Palmer a lawyers’ picnic. Clive Palmer’s self-described unblemished legal record (although his definition of a “win” is debatable) can only be the work of some decent legal talent.

Industry mag Lawyers Weekly’s got the inside word on the line-up of lawyers and law firms the billionaire’s got on speed-dial, and it includes Murray Wheater, a partner at Ashurst (or Blake Dawson prior to the firm’s international merger) and long-term friend Tony Hickey of Hickey Lawyers, whose help in the early stages of Palmer’s recent settlement with Hyatt was followed up by HopgoodGanim’s Liam Prescott and Jon Erbacher. Clayton Utz, Freehills and Clifford Chance also feature on the list.

Still flogging a dead horse. We’re glad The Australian Financial Review remembered a very important anniversary today: it’s been 80 years since Australian newspapers carried the no-explanation-required headline: “HE’S DEAD”.

Phar Lap died suddenly in California on 5 April 1932, and so ended an era in which Australians united behind the success of the big beauty as a distraction from economic hardship.

Lucky for Phar Lap, he’s got Mark Latham on the case remembering the horse’s power to bring Australians together. Latham writes in the AFR today that “there will only ever be one Phar Lap” and bemoans the fact  the nation no longer rallies in unison behind such heroes, or even behind similar cultural interests. Guess we all just moved on.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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