christopher pyne
Christopher Pyne (Image: AAP/Lukas Coch)

The Murdoch women turn on Donald Trump, interesting praise for Dyson Heydon and Christopher Pyne cannot stand disloyalty. Plus other tips and murmurs from the Crikey bunker.

Legal notes The Dyson Heydon scandal raises questions of who knew what, and when. This speech, delivered to St Paul’s College in September last year by New South Wales Court of Appeal president Andrew Scott Bell, caught our eye.

[Heydon’s] was, and remains, a prodigious and prolific career, as a scholar, teacher, advocate, judge and royal commissioner. His most recent book, Heydon on Contract, which I will have the honour of launching this coming Thursday … is a work of quite extraordinary erudition.

By this time the investigation into the “open secret” of Heydon’s behavior was well underway. It’s interesting that word had not filtered upwards to senior judicial ranks or, if it had, senior figures were still willing to accentuate the positive.

Trump watch Are the Murdochs turning on Donald Trump?

Kathryn Murdoch — who, with her husband James has been vocal in distancing herself from Murdoch media’s conservatism — donated $1 million to the Democrats in May.

Meanwhile, Rupert’s wife Jerry Hall donated $500 to Joe Biden’s campaign, which, all things considered, is pretty modest.

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail A tipster got in contact to share a strange, rambling hoax email being sent to Eden-Monaro voters, a week out from the vote. Claiming to be from Labor candidate Kristy McBain’s campaign manager, it says McBain has quit, and “confesses” all manner of things, including being part of a plot to frame Cardinal George Pell. It concludes:

Can you help us to remove Kristy McBain’s posters. In addition to that, since the voting card had been printed and early polling is underway … please put [Liberal candidate Fiona] Kotvojs in front of McBain or your card will be invalid.

State of the election From byelection to buy election — after dropping $60 million on getting the Coalition elected last year, Clive Palmer is apparently back in the market. A Queensland tipster got in contact to tell us Palmer has bombarded their TV screens lately:

Last night during Paramedics on Channel 9 Brisbane a Clive Palmer ad was run (I think) four times. It was a rant about how we fought in two world wars to resist a dictatorship, yet were now being locked down at home, our businesses being ruined and our tourism industry was being wrecked … It was amusing, in a maddening way.

Pyne for the fjords Christopher Pyne has a new book out tomorrow, an except of which ran in The Weekend Australian. One section, concerning leaking, caught our eye:

I’ve always thought it extraordinary how colleagues … despite knowing that leaking from the party meeting is verboten, take out their mobile phone and text a message to a journalist without any sense of ­conscience. I imagine they are the same calibre of person who thinks it’s clever to short-change an unsuspecting customer, or swerve to hit a small creature crossing the road. Low people.

We endorse Pyne’s moral stance that leaking is for “low people”. The normally loquacious, eloquent, even verbose South Australian was, in his days in parliament, famous for clamming up whenever a journalist appeared, keeping shtum about what was going on inside the party and its leadership groups, and never engaging in the unseemly practice of sharing information from within the secret fora of his party with the reptiles of the press, other than out in broad daylight.

Yep, if anyone can castigate colander-like colleagues, it’s Christopher “on the record” Pyne.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW