Am­ber Har­ri­son, Tim Worner and Jeff Ken­nett. Kerry Stokes and Sheila McGre­gor. Kylie Winkworth and Louise Her­ron. Don­ald Trump.

The Saturday Paper - - Contents - Richard Ack­land

Pub­lish­ers and broad­cast­ers around the na­tion were de­lighted this week to get a mis­sive from lawyers for Seven West Me­dia, warn­ing them off go­ing any­where near Am­ber Har­ri­son, the woman who has so up­set the Seven Net­work and its unim­peach­able boss, Tim “Woop­sie” Worner.

Seven’s cur­rent af­fairs sleuths made such a name for them­selves dish­ing the dirt and un­cov­er­ing the se­cret lives of vic­tims that it makes for a spe­cial treat to have the com­pany in­sist that ev­ery­one else keep off the patch.

Lawyers from the TV com­pany’s law shop said they have ob­tained an in­terim in­junc­tion that pre­vents Ms Har­ri­son from: “dis­clos­ing, copy­ing or re­pro­duc­ing any con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion be­long [sic] to Seven”.

This in­cludes text mes­sages, email com­mu­ni­ca­tions, pho­to­graphs and “all other forms of elec­tronic and phys­i­cal doc­u­ments and com­mu­ni­ca­tions...”

It gets bet­ter, or worse. Am­ber is pre­vented from “giv­ing any in­ter­views to any medium or me­dia, or from mak­ing, au­tho­ris­ing, procur­ing any pub­lic state­ment, pub­li­ca­tion, off the record com­ment, back­ground in­for­ma­tion, pub­li­ca­tions, press re­leases, or from par­tic­i­pat­ing in so­cial me­dia, about Seven...”

Im­por­tantly, she can’t make

“any ad­verse state­ment about, pub­licly dis­parag­ing or oth­er­wise bring­ing into dis­re­pute” Seven, Woop­sie or other em­ploy­ees or of­fi­cers of the com­pany.

“In the event that your or­gan­i­sa­tion is con­sid­er­ing pub­lish­ing or oth­er­wise deal­ing with of [sic] any in­for­ma­tion (di­rectly or oth­er­wise) by Ms Har­ri­son, we rec­om­mend that you con­sider the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of frus­trat­ing or nul­li­fy­ing the or­der,” writes lawyer Ru­veni Kelle­her.

While Am­ber is pre­vented from dish­ing it out, Seven isn’t. At Wed­nes­day’s event to un­veil the lat­est com­pany re­sults, chair­man Kerry Stokes as good as ac­cused Am­ber of steal­ing money, while Seven di­rec­tor and de­pres­sion cam­paigner Jeff Ken­nett went to town on her in the press. “Enough is enough,” de­clared Jeff as he poured boil­ing oil down on Har­ri­son’s head from the Seven bat­tle­ments.

In­vari­ably, there’s a spe­cial level of re­spect for big cor­po­rate go­ril­las with ser­ried ranks of hired guns who try to crush maid­ens in their maw.

Acts of Worner

While the le­gal let­ter brings clunky con­struc­tion to fresh heights, it is also ap­par­ent that Chair­man Stokes has been to the Dame Edna school of lan­guage re­fine­ment.

From Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing we find this from Kerry, mak­ing con­sol­ing sounds about Woop­sie:

“At the end of the day it has been stress­ful for he and his fam­ily. Of course it has.”

He got testy when asked about

di­rec­tor Sheila McGre­gor’s de­par­ture. “The rea­son re­mains be­tween her and I.”

And there was his spe­cial tribute to Whoops: “We ap­pre­ci­ate a great deal the dili­gence he has put in un­der the cir­cum­stances and how he has driven the com­pany to where it is at the mo­ment.”

Yes, with prof­its down 90 per cent and the share price gal­lop­ing south.

Na­tional toaster threat ad­vi­sory

Last week Gil­lian Tett of the Fi­nan­cial Times re­ferred to a study by the Wash­ing­ton-based Cato In­sti­tute on the sta­tis­ti­cal prob­a­bil­ity of refugees com­mit­ting terror at­tacks.

The find­ings are sober­ing, de­spite the in­tox­i­cat­ing ef­forts of Don­ald Trump’s peo­ple. Ap­par­ently, only three refugees have com­mit­ted fa­tal terror at­tacks on United States soil since 1975. Three in 42 years, and all three were Cubans who came to the US be­fore the Refugee Act of 1980 tight­ened things up.

In those four decades the data in­di­cates that the prospect of dying in a terror at­tack at the hands of a refugee of any re­li­gion is one in 3.64 bil­lion, in any given year.

This is tiny com­pared with gun vi­o­lence, which kills more than 13,000 Amer­i­cans a year (ex­clud­ing sui­cides).

You have more chance of be­ing killed on home soil by an elec­tric toaster on crum­pet set­ting fall­ing into your bath­wa­ter than you do by a ter­ror­ist refugee.

Since 1975, there have been no terror-re­lated killings of Amer­i­cans on US soil com­mit­ted by na­tion­als of any of the seven coun­tries in Trump’s ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

The pres­i­dent an­a­lysed the risk in his own spe­cial way, tweet­ing: “Just can­not be­lieve a judge would put our coun­try in such peril ... Peo­ple pour­ing in. Bad!”

Pour­ing in to plot an­other Bowl­ing Green mas­sacre, the non-ex­is­tent hor­ror Repub­li­cans ac­cused the me­dia of not re­port­ing.

Opera cake stall

Soon Syd­ney will be sinking be­neath the weight of func­tion cen­tres al­lur­ingly lo­cated at ma­jor arts venues.

The yarts com­mu­nity is in­can­des­cent with fury about Opera House plans for a func­tion cen­tre and the con­ver­sion of a bal­let re­hearsal room into a kitchen.

Her­itage ex­pert Kylie Winkworth told The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald that the Opera House was be­ing turned into a food, bev­er­age and re­tail des­ti­na­tion, with big­ger bars and big­ger spa­ces for hire.

The im­age is of a sort of har­bour­side West­field cen­tre. Cor­po­rate “sleep­overs” at the Opera House are still be­ing bed­ded down. Who knows – you might be lucky enough to find your­self kip­ping next to Woop­sie Worner.

Just so you know who’s in charge, the trustees of what was once a build­ing ded­i­cated to the per­form­ing arts are Ni­cholas Moore (Mac­quarie Bank); He­len Coo­nan (a di­rec­tor of Crown Re­sorts); Matthew Fuller (di­rec­tor of the Taronga West­ern Plains Zoo); Brenna Hob­son (theatre pro­ducer and man­ager); Chris Knoblanche (ex-Cit­i­group, and bou­tique in­vest­ment bank Cal­iburn); Deb­o­rah Mail­man (ac­tor); Peter Ma­son (pro­fes­sional com­pany di­rec­tor); Cather­ine Pow­ell (Walt Dis­ney Aus­tralia); Jil­lian Se­gal (ex-law firm part­ner and ASX di­rec­tor); and Phillip Wolan­ski (prop­erty de­vel­oper).

The CEO is Louise Her­ron, with a ca­reer in law and in­vest­ment banking. Start writ­ing to them all now, ex­press­ing your ex­cite­ment at their dire plans.

Not to be out­done, the State

Li­brary of New South Wales will soon be in com­pe­ti­tion, with a bar and func­tion cen­tre on the roof of the mag­nif­i­cent old build­ing fac­ing Shake­speare Place.

In time, the Art Gallery of NSW will also of­fer even more splen­did venues for quaffing and schmooz­ing once its ex­ten­sions come on stream. And there’s the Botanic Gar­dens, with its rolling lawns dot­ted with mar­quees pump­ing out doof mu­sic.

Trum­pette #9

By now some will have got their peep­ers onto Sidney Blu­men­thal’s sali­vat­ing Fe­bru­ary 16 ar­ti­cle in the Lon­don Re­view of Books, “A Short His­tory of the Trump Fam­ily”.

You’ll need a good long shower after read­ing this ap­praisal of the tin­se­len­crusted fak­ery of the US pres­i­dent. “What he rep­re­sents, above all, is the tri­umph of an un­der­world of preda­tors, hus­tlers, mob­sters, club­house politi­cians and tabloid sleaze that fes­tered in a cor­ner of New York City, a vin­di­ca­tion of his men­tor, the Mafia lawyer Roy Cohn...”

Quite a bit of acreage is given over to Cohn’s in­flu­ence on Trump, who of­fered his high­est praise to this god­fa­ther-like fig­ure – he was “a to­tal ge­nius... he bru­talised for you”.

Cohn made a name for him­self as Se­na­tor Joseph McCarthy’s chief coun­sel in the com­mu­nist witch-hunts of the 1950s. When the Red-bash­ing pe­tered out, Cohn turned his skills to the “Laven­der Scare”, a cam­paign against ho­mo­sex­u­als in gov­ern­ment jobs, even though Cohn him­self was a clos­eted gay.

Trump and Cohn met at Le Club in 1973, when the prop­erty de­vel­oper was be­ing sued for racial dis­crim­i­na­tion by the Jus­tice Depart­ment. Ac­cord­ing to Roger Stone, a Cohn pro­tégé, dirty trick­ster and “rat­fucker” for Richard Nixon’s re-election cam­paign in 1972, the Mafia lawyer would lit­er­ally dic­tate pieces for Page Six of the New York Post. After all, Ru­pert Mur­doch was also a client.

Trump learnt the tabloid trade from Cohn, who ran his law busi­ness from a town­house on 68th Street, filled with “a run­ning crew of at­trac­tive young gay men, mod­els, cigar-chomp­ing politi­cians, gangsters and jour­nal­ist hang­ers-on”. Quite the place.

Blu­men­thal claims that Cohn “fi­na­gled” a fed­eral judge­ship for Trump’s sis­ter, Maryanne Trump Barry. Gadfly, of course, makes no such claim. In 1986 Cohn was dis­barred for un­eth­i­cal be­hav­iour and a month later he died of AIDS.

Trump turned away from him when he was dying. Cohn asked whether Don­ald could find a room in one of his ho­tels for his for­mer lover and as­sis­tant, who was also dying. Trump got him a “tacky” room and sent the bills to Roy, who re­fused to pay. Trump flunkies then called around

• to evict the dying man. What a men­sch.

RICHARD ACK­LAND is the pub­lisher of Jus­tinian. He is The Satur­day Pa­per’s di­ari­s­tat-large and le­gal af­fairs ed­i­tor.

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