Mayne worked for a number of media outlets and as a media adviser to then Premier of Victoria Jeff Kennett, but fell out with his former boss and started the website jeffed.com devoted to complaints about him in September 1999 to support his abortive candidacy in the 1999 election.
He is best known for founding Crikey.com.au, an online independent news service. The combination of gossip and anti-establishment reporting got Mayne into legal (and consequent financial) trouble several times. Despite considerable financial pressures, Mayne persisted and Crikey gradually attracted subscribers and a fair degree of notoriety. It was announced on 1 February 2005 that Crikey had been sold for A$1 million to another independent media operator, Private Media Partners.
Mayne continues to write for Crikey and was a regular business commentator on ABC Radio. Mayne also regularly runs for elections to the board of directors of various Australian public companies to draw attention to issues concerning good corporate governance. He is also a trenchant critic of what he perceives as excessive conflicts of interest in corporate and political Australia.
In 1999, Stephen Mayne resigned from his job at The Australian Financial Review in order to run against then Premier Jeff Kennett as an independent, protest candidate. After moving to Melbourne and making preparations for the campaign, he discovered he was unable to run because he was not entitled to be enrolled and was not actually enrolled. Years later he tearfully told the ABC's Talking Heads that his father disowned him at this point, telling him not to return until he had got a job.
Mayne later ran as an independent candidate in a subsequent Burwood by-election, caused by Jeff Kennett's immediate resignation from politics straight after his 1999 State election loss. Mayne attracted a primary vote of 1975 votes (6.63%), and Bob Stensholt of the ALP won the seat with a 3.63% margin.
He later came to be central to the formation of the People Power party and became its largest financial supporter. The Age reported that he "would play a key role in recruiting, organising and funding the People Power campaign."
In 2001, he ran for Lord Mayor of Melbourne, losing to John So.
In 2006, he ran as the lead Southern Metropolitan Upper House candidate for the People Power party.
However, after a poor election showing, People Power folded amid much acrimony and Mayne resolved only to operate independently in future elections.
In October 2012 he was elected to Melbourne City Council where he currently serves as chair of the Finance and Governance Committee and deputy chair of the Planning committee.
Mayne came fourth of sixteen candidates with 4.7 percent of the vote as an independent at the 2012 Melbourne state by-election. He recommended preferences to the Greens, however Labor retained the seat with a 51.5 percent two-candidate preferred vote.
Walkley Awards incident
As Stephen Mayne prepared to present an award to Morgan Mellish of The Australian Financial Review, a "red-faced" and "seemingly intoxicated" Milne lurched onto the stage and began a diatribe of verbal abuse. On national television, Milne then lunged at Mayne, pushing him off the stage, and screaming at Mayne that he was "a disgrace".
"I could see from his sort of wild eyes, and his red face, that he was clearly very drunk, and I thought, you know, heck, this is going to be out of control," said Mayne, who suffered a sore ankle from the altercation. "And next thing I know, I'd been shoved off the stage and I was hurtling through the air, in a four-foot drop onto the floor."
Milne tried to run at Mayne a second time before being restrained by security guards, who frogmarched the dishevelled Canberra veteran out the door. Mr Mayne then gathered himself at the microphone, quipping,"That is the former Sunday Telegraph political correspondent Glenn Milne, sponsored by Fosters."
Mayne is married to Paula Piccinini, a barrister and occasional contributor to Crikey, and has a young family. His sister-in-law, Patricia Piccinini, is one of Australia's best-known contemporary artists. His grandfather was the World War I veteran and British centenarian Philip Mayne.
- Hogan, Jesse (2 February 2005). "Crikey! Mayne sells for m". The Age (Melbourne).
- "The Mayne Report". The Mayne Report. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- VEC: Burwood District Burwood District By-Election 1999[dead link]
- "Capital Circle". The Australian. 1 November 2007.
- Mackowski, Belinda (2008-11-30). "Crikey! Walkley Award-winning journalist Stephen Mayne wins council spot in Manningham". Leader-news.whereilive.com.au. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- "Legislative Council Results - Northern Metropolitan Region - 2010 Victorian Election". Abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- Shtargot, Sasha (2006-12-01). "Crikey! News Limited journalist makes a night of it". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
- "Milne's Mayne event". The Australian. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2007-07-20.[dead link]
- "Glenn Milne apologises for Walkleys outburst". ABC 'The World Today'. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Award for best TV biff". The Daily Telegraph. 2006-12-02. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Embarrassments: Gotcha! Live and dangerous". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2007-07-20.
- "Milne apologises for Walkley outburst". NineMSN. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2007-07-20.