The board and management of the Melbourne Press Club sadly inform you of the passing of Patrick J Hayes on the Wednesday 20th October, 2021. A Melbourne journalist (and later "On The Road" magazine publisher), who was president of the Melbourne Press Club from March 1986 to March 1989, as detailed:
"Pat Hayes took over from Col Brennan and he had a record presidential term of more than three years. He was there from March 1986 until 1989. "There was a two-year rule for presidents," said Pat, "but somehow I managed to break it. They couldn't get anyone else to do the job."
Pat was a willing volunteer for jobs that were not always popular. He was a member of the State executive of the AJA from 1986 to 1991 and a member of the federal executive from 1987 to 1991. There is a famous photograph of Pat on the front page of The Journalist. It depicts a couple of burly policemen dragging him away from the front door of The Herald office in Flinders Street. The year was 1989 and he was protesting against staff redundancies.
Pat started work on the Horsham Times. He edited his own motoring magazine and when he became president he was letters editor of The Age.
As letters poured in from all over he discovered that he was in a wonderful position to find out what was going on right throughout the community. He discovered further that journalism was becoming increasingly compartmentalised. You could be in your own little compartment and not really know what was going on anywhere else.
Furthermore, journos were not in the pubs so much any more and they were not communicating with each other. Pat thought it was the job of the Press Club to bridge this gap.
So he made it his aim to change the style of guest speakers. He didn't want speakers who would just entertain or provide a laugh; he wanted them to be relevant and on top of the news.
He brought along Sir John Norris QC who conducted the 1980-81 inquiry into media ownership; Robert Hughes, author and art critic; Jim McClelland, who raged against the secrecy over the atomic test at Maralinga; David Hill, chairman of the ABC; Ian Sinclair of the National Party; Kel Glare, police chief commissioner; Ian McPhee on the future of "wets" in the Liberal Party; Bill Hayden, Governor-General and, particularly fascinating, Michael Gill, 34 year old financial journalist.
Gill with amazing courage had launched Business Daily in a head-on clash with the Fairfax daily Financial Review. Gill and 35 of his staff owned 60 per cent of the capital.
The lunch was at the old one-time temperance hotel, The Victoria, in Little Collins Street. Pat remembers the occasion with astonishment.
The club had no inkling of what was about to happen. It was the classic kiss of death as applied to Gough Whitlam, because almost as Gill was speaking Business Daily, an excellent journal, folded never to appear again.
In March 1989 Sally White followed Pat Hayes as president. "
The Melbourne Press Club conveys our deepest sympathies and condolences to family and friends.