Col Allan Likes To Party

0823allan.jpgAs we mentioned a few days ago, New York Post EIC Col Allan took the leader of the Australian opposition party to Scores several years ago. The story broke in Rupert Murdoch‘s Sydney Sunday Telegraph and is turning into one of the biggest Aussie political scandals in years. It’s also causing lots of reminiscing about Allan’s hard partying ways.

But our favorite is this story from Paul Murray, editor of Perth’s The West Australian. It’s just kind of amazing in its own sleazy way:

Back in the late-90s, a group of Australian newspaper editors was invited by the taxpayer-funded Australia-Indonesia Institute to visit Jakarta. I was one of them – and so was Col Allan, who at that time had not moved on to the giddy heights of New York and was very successfully editing Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.

We had a series of meetings with Indonesian editors to discuss press freedom issues and got to interview then-president B. J. Habibie and East Timorese freedom fighter Xanana Gusmao in Cipinang prison.

Late in the visit we were hosted at a cocktail party in the Australian Embassy and then went out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant.

Allan – an engaging and larger-than-life personality – and another News Ltd editor took off to a nearby bar with two diplomats and invited us to follow.

About half an hour later, in company with a Fairfax editor, I arrived at what looked a bit like a Northbridge nightclub before the band and the crowd had turned up.

Col Allan’s group was sitting in the middle of the room on stools at a high table and scattered around lounges in the darker corners were collections of young women.

We had a couple of beers – having had a fair bit to drink at the two earlier functions – before a posse of women sidled over from one of the corners and surrounded our group.

The ring leader coseyed up to Allan and asked if we would like to buy them a drink.

There followed a bit of ribald banter about what a drink actually bought you in that bar.

Sensing a situation that could only cause trouble down the track, my Fairfax mate and I downed our drinks and found a taxi back to the hotel.

Which is exactly what Kevin Rudd should have done when it was clear that Col Allan was taking him to a fairly notorious New York strip club.

Good times, Paul. Good times.