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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Monday, 14 May 2007
Lethal hydatid in kangaroo offal/meat via dog vector is a real worry to us, but not for industry group
Mood:  blue
Topic: ecology


This drought year about 3.6 million kangaroos will be shot in the world's biggest wildlife slaughter. It's a small fraction of the total population but we had cause to write to crikey.com.au today about a whole other side to the debate about kangaroos as a source of meat for our population. Their readers are debating climate impacts of ruminants verus kangaroos. But my concern also relates to public health: It revolves around why agriculture was invented in the first place. Keeping food animals free of parasites, with parasites being perhaps the biggest evolutionary force on ...humanity ....ever (that's right, not temperature, not predation, not food availability):

Dear Crikey

Ever since I did a zoology degree at ANU (which specialises in parasite ecology) I've been wondering about risk profile of wild game meat like kangaroo. Milo Dunphy founder of the Total Environment Centre and a keen hunter in his younger days was against kangaroo as a general food source for this very reason.

The kangaroo meat industry [in our view do not] convincingly address the inevitable, dangerous parasite load in kangaroos unlike farmed animals subject to the usual chemical treatments. Recently on talkback on abc Sydney radio an industry representative [stated] on air ... kangaroos only have worms in the gut not hydatid cysts in the meat. [It seems] hydatid is a seriously under estimated issue, which apparently has gone off the radar. Yet 80 or 90 Australians per year suffer potentially catastrophic consequences of infection via farm dogs getting at wild kangaroos and other infection pathways.

Nor does it help to refer to Indigenous consumption for thousands of years. My advice is traditional folks of the central desert cook the kangaroo meat almost to charcoal to feel safe about eating it. Not exactly your gourmet experience. And we shoot for a much longer life span today.

This report from ABC Landline in 2005, Tapeworm continues to thrive in wild dog population, Reporter: Joanne Shoebridge, First Published: 23/10/2005, http://www.abc.net.au/landline/content/2005/s1486396.htm is a very frightening traverse of hydatid parasites in wild dogs and farm dogs feeding on kangaroo and wallaby carcass, the same kangaroos shot for supermarkets. Crunching into a hydatid in a kangaroo steak could the worst dining experience of your whole life.

The industry says they do inspections under the regulations but the point is farming and chemical treatment to avoid parasites is a far superior prophylactic for high volume food supply which is just not possible in wild kangaroo.

Here is a mild extract of Landline, and think carefully about eating wild meat:

JOANNE SHOEBRIDGE: When he does catch a wild dog, Mark Goullet euthanases them and sends their intestines to the Canberra laboratory of Dr David Jenkins. So far, two in every five dogs tested have been heavily infected with hydatids.

DR DAVID JENKINS: "We are interested from the point of view of, "Are they spreading hydatids in these urban areas?" And the short answer is, "Yes, they are." This is the gut of the dingo or the wild dog in which we're hoping to find tapeworms. And the tapeworms produce the eggs, which then get eaten by a sheep, and each of these cysts represent an egg that the sheep has eaten.

JOANNE SHOEBRIDGE: So you don't get cysts in dogs, you do get cysts in animals like sheep.

DR DAVID JENKINS: That's right. No cysts in dogs. Cysts in sheep, kangaroos, wallabies, but really importantly, this is exactly what happens in people. They don't normally get as many cysts as this, but they will be much, much bigger - maybe 1, 2, 3 litres capacity.

JOANNE SHOEBRIDGE: These dogs, too, are riddled with tapeworms. Hydatid disease is no longer notifiable in most states, which means health authorities have few statistics. David Jenkins has to resort to trawling through the records of individual hospitals to track the incidence of hydatids, which is often poorly diagnosed and recorded.

JOANNE SHOEBRIDGE: Do you think this is a disease that has largely slipped off the radar?

DR DAVID JENKINS: Oh, I'm absolutely sure of it, and not just in the medical profession, in the veterinary profession as well. We get 80 to 100 new cases a year, which in the scheme of things, is not a lot of patients, but nevertheless, for those people who are infected, it can be catastrophic. They can lose a lung, they can lose a whole lobe of the liver. It can take several years to get a diagnosis if the doctor is not really switched on to looking for hydatids, the patient can get progressively more unwell. "

And it doesn't stop there. The prevalence of wild dogs seems to be growing and the exposure of bushwalkers to attack and infection by hydatid that way via bites is also a real one: 7.30 Report - 16/04/2002: Wild dogs eat graziers out of business

Tom McLoughlin, ecology action sydney


[Extract of Crikey ezine 14th May 2007 here:]

Kangaroos, methane, etc:

Tim Thomas writes: Geoff Russell's comments contained several errors (Friday, comments). Kangaroos are more efficient at producing meat than sheep. True, kangaroos are not ruminants, but nevertheless efficiently ferment cellulose in their foregut. Some but, not all kangaroo species, are less efficient than sheep in processing dry feed, but make up for this by having a much lower basal metabolic rate as discussed here. In addition, kangaroos have a higher muscle to body weight ratio than sheep, discussed here, and although farming kangaroos is impractical, and in my opinion undesirable, that is not the question. If (wild) kangaroo meat is available in your supermarket, as it is in mine, then eating it lowers your contribution to atmospheric greenhouse gases. Roo shooting might not be much fun but then farming is also full of tough, unpleasant work. There is nothing more boring than preparing the ground for broad acre cropping, which includes the risk of lung damage from dust as well as exposure to a variety of chemicals, among other dangers. On all counts replacing, at least partially, ruminant meat with macropod meat would be environmentally beneficial. As to the efficiency of ruminant digestion it is interesting to note that the production of methane represents a loss of about 25% of the energy present in the animal's feed.

[Friday 11th May 07 crikey ezine]Kangaroos and methane:

Animal Liberation committee member Geoff Russell writes: Andrew Dempster (yesterday, comments) asks if kangaroos produce methane, and if not, why we can't use them instead of sheep and cattle. Kangaroos don't produce methane because of some tricky digestive processes. But they aren't very efficient in producing meat. Ruminants ruminate! This enables them to extract more energy from good pasture than kangaroos which pass food through quickly and relatively inefficiently. The kangaroo digestive mechanism is better on bad pasture, they take in and process a lot of food, while sheep and cattle face a digestive bottleneck. See Knox's "Biology" (the standard University biology text) for more detail. The bottom line here is that kangaroos aren't efficient meat producers, they don't herd, they fight, they jump fences, the mob structure isn't good for farming, and no farmer wants to give up cushy evenings watching Big Brother to go out and shoot kangaroos which is a tough, back breaking and thoroughly unpleasant job. The current kangaroo industry can't get enough shooters to even meet its current quotas which produces very little meat. Read Jared Diamond's "Guns Germs and Steel". He explains in detail why so few wild animal species have been domesticated over the millenia - it isn't for lack of trying. And if you can't domesticate them, you have to hunt them. Hunting wild animals has never and can never support large populations. Again, see Diamond for more details.

Dr Peter Wood writes: In response to Andrew Dempster's question, kangaroos produce a negligible amount of methane: Kempton et al, Methane production and digestibility measurements in the grey kangaroo and sheep. Aust J Biol Sci. 1976 Jul; 29(3): pp 209-14. (Abstract here).

Postscript #1. This important public health debate goes on in the pages of crikey.com.au ezine below, with clarification here of the life cycle indirect danger of hydatid via dog vectors, but also other systems risk of wild versus agricultural meat supply:

I'm indebted to James Thomspon [extracted below] for his sledge even though he mispells my name (Comments 16th May 2007) and partly grovel now re : "Eating red [kangaroo] meat does not result in hydatid infection."  I am no vet or medical man as such and it shows now half folding my tent on this one.  I had forgotten the dual life cycle of the creepy parasite from all those years ago in the lecture room. This diagram here Echinococcosis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, or here Echinococcus -- Encylopedic Reference of Parasitology shows the hydatid cyst in the kangaroo whether offal or meat is infectious to the 'definitive' dog stage of the life cycle, but not intermediate host like kangas or humans.The South Australian government web site also makes it clear "People cannot be infected by eating Hydatid cysts in infected offal & Humans cannot infect humans [sic]" Hydatid disease (SA) [pdf]. 

Even so presence of hydatid is enough for sheep carcass to be rejected from an abattoir in WA 2006 presumably for hygiene/marketing reasons ESPERANCE REGIONAL OFFICE AGMEMO  and I still doubt eating one would be much fun if not dangerous directly. It would be extremely dangerous if the pet bow wow ate it with resultant hydatid eggs in the poo then into your domestic environment (garden soil, dog hair, dog licks might be a worry too). And the concern over quality control of meat on farm versus off farm (domestic v wild) is still not over: Anecdotally pet owners are cautious with "wormy" kangaroo meat: Dogz Online and EDBA Forums > Kangaroo Meat, and animal rights people still argue with some logic of other potential contaminants in off farm or wild animal situations here in NSW Parliament re chemical sprays Kangaroo Meat Contamination - 10/10/2000 - QWN.

So I stand by the more general concern agricultural controls lessen risk compared with wild animal meat. For instance in meeting the sledge we found this submission [bold added] of Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg Dept of Zoology, Qld Uni for Environment Australia, August 1999 for the federal govt Overview of background information for kangaroo management - Chapter 7

"Andrew (1988) reviewed the issue of kangaroo meat and public health, including the records of inspections between 1980 and 1987 made of carcasses by Australian Quarantine Inspection Service officers at export game meat establishments (this pre-dated the change of legislation in New South Wales in 1993). There were records for 204,052 red, eastern and western grey carcasses of which 196,104 were passed as fit for human consumption. Of the 7,948 rejected, 81% were rejected for reasons not associated with parasites or pathology, mainly poor handling, particularly inadequate refrigeration. Of the rest, only 1,452 were rejected because of a parasite, and that was for a nematode, Pelicitus roemeri, which is quite harmless, anyway, to humans, but is unsightly.... it is uncommon, but can infect the muscles of the lower leg.."

Elsewhere the authors note people often prefer to cook kangaroo rare.

We understand 3.6 m kangaroos are being 'culled' this drought year (usually 5 or 6 million per year). That's alot of dead kangaroo with no records. Nor is a study of 20 years ago, referred to in 1999 by govt, sufficiently recent for public confidence in 2007. The onus is on the industry not the other way round.

Tom McLoughlin, ecology action

James Thompson writes: Tom MacLouglin (yesterday, comments) has either misunderstood the mode of transmission of hydatids or he is deliberately attempting to mislead the public over the risk of eating kangaroo and other red meat. I agree that hydatid cysts are a potentially serious parasitic disease of humans. However, humans are at risk from the ingestion of hydatid tapeworm eggs, laid by tapeworms living in the gut of farm dogs, dingoes or foxes that had fed on cattle, sheep or kangaroos. To avoid human infection with hydatids, after handling dogs wash your hands before eating and worm your dogs regularly. Eating red meat does not result in hydatid infection. Tom should have paid more attention during his zoology degree.

Posted by editor at 10:03 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 6 August 2007 11:56 PM NZT
Squawking, clawing senior journos' failure to declare their AWA financial conflict of interest
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media


Recently big media proprietors, and ABC public broadcaster, were attacking the federal government for allowing Australia's democracy to fall way down the league tables in terms of free speech.

And they do have a strong case about the need to shield journalists and their sources doing their public duty of reporting the news.

But here is a glaring abuse of power by many of these selfish journalists from the cover of their Big Media pay contracts such as Laurie Oaks at 9

Interview: Julia Gillard

and Dennis Shanahan

Rug pulled from under Rudd's feet | Dennis Shanahan | The Australian

, Paul Kelly at Murdoch's The Australian

Insiders - 06/05/2007: Paul Kelly on the week in politics ...

, and just about every other gun commentator on upwards of $150K - $250K per annum under their own highly exclusive AWA.

For the last 2 weeks we have seen a brutally biased attack by these malicous galahs with their vandalistic claws tearing at collective bargaining. These are indoctrinated practitioners of extreme for profit big media. These commentators high on the pay hierarchy have all done deals for AWAs that lower mortals will never have.

But none of these "journalists" declare their personal, direct financial interest when they report on this aspect of industrial relations in any of the major papers or lead commercial tv bulletins.

It's systemic corruption in the media industry.


It is a glaring failure of journalistic ethics. How much are they getting paid under their AWA? If it's a huge amount compared to the millions of other Australian workers on an average of $50K pa, they are clearly biased toward AWAs. 

What's more, in order to stay at that obscene pay rate they are conflicted to promote the preferred position of their corporations supporting AWAs not to mention their major advertiser client corporations.

It's as simple and grubby as that. Corrupt big media.

And if not corrupt, declare the existence and size of your AWA with your corporate media outlet in all your articles about AWA's.

That would be a good contribution toward democracy.


Postscript #1

Mining industry is bluffing on AWAs

Senator Rachel Siewert today urged Kevin Rudd not to be bluffed by the
WA mining industry.

"Quite frankly, what the WA mining lobby has been saying about AWAs
underpinning the mining boom is nonsense. The boom was up and running
well before Work Choices was in place," said Senator Siewert.

"The resources sector is facing a serious shortage of skilled workers,
and are having to offer huge wages to pull people out of other sectors
of the economy. It is ludicrous to think that an award safety net and
collective bargaining could undermine the boom as the mining sector

"The mining industry are simply throwing their weight around. They have
the WA state government under their thumb and think they can push around
the whole nation."

"Mr Rudd needs to think about the long-term future of Australia and its
workers, not pander to any one section of the economy for short-term

For more information or comment call
Chris Twomey on 0407 725 025



Senator Rachel Siewert
Australian Greens spokesperson on Industrial Relations

Monday 14th May 2007


Postscript #2

Sent: [Received Wednesday 16 May 2007 9.16 am]
Subject: Urgent action needed to ensure Kevin Rudd stays strong on IR

Dear ASU member,

Over the last two weeks we have seen a massive campaign by big business to pressure the ALP to water down their commitment to rip up Workchoices.
Mining companies who are making super profits are leading the pressure campaign to get Rudd to back down on AWAs. Let's remember, 98% of people on
AWAs are low paid workers who have lost penalty rates, overtime and leave for little or no pay increase. AWAs are a way of not just reducing wages, but of
stopping workers from increasing their bargaining power by forcing them to "negotiate" on their own.

The public of Australia are overwhelming opposed to Workchoices and expect the ALP to commit to abolishing it to restore all the rights that the Howard
Government has taken away.

We need to act now to send Kevin Rudd an overwhelming message that the people who matter on polling day want him to take a strong stand to restore
their rights.

Email Kevin Rudd now and let him know that workers of Australia are depending on him to stand up to
big business and do what is right. No backing down!

Complete this
ASU online survey to let us know what you think.

Please send this email onto others.

Yours in union,

Sally McManus
Branch Secretary
Australian Services Union
NSW & ACT (Services) Branch

Posted by editor at 12:17 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 17 May 2007 1:33 PM NZT
Ruddy son in law to campaign for Maxine McKew in Bennelong?
Mood:  amorous
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Actor Dule Hill at top right was a standout character in the West Wing tv series for  the racially charged North American society it was made for.



Is the real life Australian equivalent of Charlie Young going to help take Bennelong off PM John Howard?


Charlie who? Charlie Young is a character from the West Wing tv series played by Afro American Dule Hill. And not just any coffee coloured gentleman but a dark skinned man. Distinctly racial casting choice. A very fine actor. A dramatic juxtaposition who in the script loves in the biblical sense the President’s youngest white bread daughter.


It’s pretty racy stuff right?


But what’s that got to do with Bennelong?


Ruddy’s daughter just got married. If I’m not mistaken her husband is an Asian Australian chap. Who knows, he may end up being like that 3rd richest dual Australian citizen solar energy entrepreneur like Dr. Zhengrong Shi of Suntech (featured on SBS Dateline in a story called 'The Sun King' back in March  CNN here,  local Sydney Morning Herald and Labor eHerald) or some other world beater. But it's also clear as day the daughter is a living example of cross cultural sophistication including in life choices. Like her dad.


We are reminded of a highly flattering feature story about Rudd’s working life in China for Foreign Affairs that ran in the Sydney Morning Herald recently: Rudd's long march to Asia's heart - National - smh.com.au by a smart writer there Hamish McDonald with Mary-Anne Toy..


These are the most sensitive cultural matters. It’s life as melting pot for real.


It’s the Charlie Young factor. In Sydney, and likely all of Australia, this plays very well in the Asian Australian community. Sydney is the home of the Unity Party represented till recently by an Upper House Dr Peter Wong in NSW Parliament.


It’s where the local edition of the Epoch Times is published with an emphasis on South East Asian coverage as well as general news, and strong slant against the Chinese dictatorship government.


All this is a sensitive mix of cultural and racial undertones but with 6 months to run in a grinding election campaign every area of right, left, bigot and enlightened social policy will be flushed out. We say better to have it out in the sunlight amongst the grown ups.


From our media watching we noticed a real under emphasis in the presentation of the good bride’s new husband. But the Asian Australian community in Bennelong must have noticed surely, or will do so. In this sense they are likely to shift their vote to the ALP as a more tolerant leadership for harmony and multiculturalism to the detriment of John Howard.


On the other hand the ultra right ‘One Nation’ type 5 % dedicated racist vote is out there and do play a role in Australia more generally, also counterbalanced by the Asian Australian Bennelong factor too.


All of this becomes very relevant demographics given the outstanding very early polling results in favour of candidate McKew as reported in the press yesterday as here: McKew would win Bennelong: poll - National - smh.com.au


and here


McKew needs 'miracle' to beat Howard in Bennelong. 13/05/2007. ABC ...


Meanwhile John Howard is going down scale talking about school bullies from the height of his Prime Ministerial office. That's a little weird. And he sounds like a shouting sergeant major on the radio just now.


At this rate the election campaign may yet turn to a macabre procession for 'honest' John. No post budget polling bounce, no ecological credibility, captured by white supremacist leanings a la Alan Jones et al. It could get very grim indeed.


# For our review of the West Wing tv series based on a marathon sitting of the first 5 series, go here and scroll down to 4th January 2007 (one of the first stories on Sydney Alternative Media micro news website aka SAM.)

Posted by editor at 10:48 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007 3:24 PM NZT
Sunday, 13 May 2007
Sunday political talkies: 6 month election marathon begins in earnest
Mood:  energetic
Topic: election Oz 2007



Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):



This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. ]




Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208




“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”




Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.




For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.





Media backgrounder #1:




TV shows – kids shows very very green. Totally wild on 10 has Wilderness Society kids author. On 9 there was another one about paper recycling.




Then flicking back to Business Sunday its about business going green in sheet metal and printing all about natural capitalism of eliminating waste. It’s good thinking and good profit.




#2 Farewell Alex Mitchell, you are a champ.


We recall some cracking Naked Eye vignettes from Mitchell this last year or so. His call for VP Dick Cheney to be arrested as a war criminal in the Big Media no less. Wow.




His sledge today of the PM today disjunction over South Africa of yesteryear and Zimbabwe. True enough if unfortunate politicking as lives unravel in that latter country with life expectancy crashing. How very very cruel.




Then his comments in his column somewhere but also abc radio (now there is a medium for Big Alex in future, while he goes on diet as well) about jaded jaundiced local MP’s who get crushed by the factional party machine. Indeed, a real soul destroyer.




We were reminded of this quite accurate observation of Big Party sleaze by footage on Stateline last Friday night of bright and bushy Independent MP for Northern Tablelands (Armidale etc) Mr Torbay the new Boss of the Bearpit  of NSW Parliament  and son of immigrants from Lebanon. What a success story. And a real echo of Morris Iemma’s own life story and political career – who if he’d grown up in regional NSW, not the western suburbs of Sydney, would surely have been … Mr Torbay. Torbay presents as a younger peppy Clover Moore, or an energetic Mickey Mouse type figure with that black crop of hair. Judging from his homepage concerns about dental treatment for his people Torbay is popular for a reason, and no cartoon.

Another cracking comment was a few weeks back Iemma using Bret Walker SC in a PR inquiry into Ferry fatalities without review the actual fatalities. That's sleazy.


We noticed Alex has 5239 stories compared to our blog micro news this last 4 months of …232. Groan. Hope we don’t get jaded this next 35 years plus of blogging to catch up with veteran Alex.


#3 Trouble at mill - revealing lead story in The Australian Premier 'misleading' on mill benefits, with colour pic on front page and text, and cover story of colour supplement makes three bites at this issue, and substantiates the go big of Big Media proprieters to protect free speech and democracy as we know it reported in all Big Media on themselves, indicatively here:  

Media unites for free speech | The Daily Telegraph, United effort to save free speech | Media | The Australian, PM - Aust media condemn government controls, Media rally to fight threats to free speech - National - smh.com.au



Which calls up this oh so sharp letter by one "Dallas J Fraser, Gold Coast Qld" in this weekends colour mag from The Australian:


"Try as I might to approach "Scott of the ABC" with an open mind, my thoughts went back to the politicisation of the ABC over recent years, and appointments by the Prime Minister of the likes of Mark Scott who have come from a very select gene pool. Like many Australians, I grew up with Auntie and have always found her a reassuring influence. I hope my view of Scott is unfounded, however I get an uneasy feeling that his appointment has more to do with politics than the healthy evolution of our ABC"


One wonders if that is the Dallas wife of ex PM Malcolm Fraser. Also one wonders if the Big Media bosses are feeling a deal of existential angst having barracked so hard for removal of the NSW ALP, only to be repudiated by the electorate here March 07, and thus seeking a new Old Media raison detre by claiming the high moral ground on defence of democracy itself if not choosing state govt?


It was indeed an important message from them, and we prefer to take it on face value, but say it would be even more credible when they start complaining at a new media rival like say crikey.com.au being locked out of the Budget by Treasurer Costello, or this writer evicted from Sydney Uni Campus for reporting an anti govt rally recently.


We look forward to coverage of either story but won't hold our breath.


Getting back to the Tas pulp mill ecological atrocity, to underline how democracy is getting shaky there the Australian Financial Review (subscribers) p6 10 May 07 has this, opening line:


"A community group fighting Gunn's $1.5 billion Tasmanian pulp mill has refused to lodge a submission with the federal government's assessment process, fearing the forestry company might use  any adverse comments as the basis for legal action."


Broken democracy anyone?



10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am




Features Sunday Telegraph front pager – PM Howard in trouble in his own seat of Bennelong (Murdoch Press), via Galaxy poll. Ouch.




Therese Rein Rudd wife putting Origin Energy shares in blind trust – must do this. Story in Herald Sun (Murdoch press).




Galaxy poll after budget shows PM in trouble still. No poll bounce as Howard conceded late Friday night.




Denies pork barrelling and boondoggelling (falls into trap of denials).


Film of Senator Brown, Greens failure of budget on climate change. Bonge refers to Democrats media release on fossil fools subsidies.


Vaile defensive: Transport fuels.




Vaile – “cyclical changes in our climate” – been there before, be there in the future. Real denial talk.




1st ad break NSW Teachers public primary education, friendly to ALP cause.




Panel is heavy thinkers Fran Kelly abc radio national breakfast and Clinton Porteus back from South America, ex ABC,with Courier Mail.


Vaile duly respectful of these two veterans.




Qantas exposed after take over [vagued out here, refer transcript], fairly boring tone from the Nats ‘leader’ chief RARA ‘accountant’.




Uni cap on full fee paying students – Barnaby Joyce wedging Govt similar to ALP support cap. Weakens Howard line against ALP.




Age viability Ron Boswell Nat senator at 66, for 6 years more? Hot question. Boswell looks fat and unhealthy to me.  Kelly asks why talent not being fostered quality candidate jumped ship. Says happens in all parties with a smile [that’s a bit close to home vis a vis this writer and Greens Party here].




Nicholson cartooning is very apt. Big spend, Rudd still wins affection with small ice cream from voters. That’s out take out too in the last few SAM posts this week.




Ad break 2, shortened public education advert as before. Yep it’s a long election slog for all of us.




Clive Hamilton – author of new-ish book Scorcher. Credible with academics, good researcher but with an edge and agenda, former RAC chief of researcher 1990-93 under Hawke, Keating (axed), still ALP aligned.




Lead question re Hawke/PM both similar – big quarry syndrome. Hawke more excuse science less frightening in the 1980ies.


Porteus - $740M budget, $200M international tree fund. Impressed? Negative, says political timing not affect tax cuts PR.




Hamilton refuses to take invitation of some credit – on forests says hopelessly discredited approach, very dismissive. “Worse than nothing” [Not quite objective is the clear implication of Porteus gist. Hamilton hangs tough versus other “green leaders” overtly.]




Don’t have 10 years as per IPCC and NASA. Very alarming.



Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress









7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary




The old favourite – Groundhog Day – friendly Treasurer mates with Mark Riley. Also signed copy budget speech to Kochie, after Rudd Sunrise affair is a bit of a rapproachment.




Notes high election sloganeering at the Press Club, predicts sandwich boards on MP’s. [virtually true with PM in Bennelong yesterday].


An outstanding satire today.




Q and A. Notes Bennelong poll as per 10 above, economy against govt ?! Real possibility of Costello winning PM, Howard losing seat. Good week for govt, translates in polling much more dubious [as per Kerr at Crikey]. Polling will come back but how far?




New female compere has insight, compares Riley Diary to Hollywood melodrama – true.




Adbreak at 8.50 am public education advert again but this time secondary school subject matter. That’s serious money.


Presumably it will run on 9 also.







Sunday 9




Feature on Gordon Brown of the UK later in the show

Picture: Laurie Oaks has a loose fitting suit jacket today. He may have taken our hint at diet lifestyle etc made at the Federal Govt Sydney offices in Phillip St mid 2006 (the Costello non challenge) when we fawned but then eyeballed the Barrel with "How long are you going to keep going?". He said 'another 25 years' flippantly, as we shook hands, amused by our impertinence. His sidekick got shirty and I would say alarmed at the question. Steve Lewis grabbed the aggressor's attention, thanks Steve. Now it's clear Big Laurie is more of a Medium now, and good luck to the old warhorse with that sustainability agenda.

Story on Carl Williams organized crime killer or be killed. Big feature story in fact.


Important interview with Oaks/Gillard. Catch cry is “flexibility”, ongoing negotiation with mining industry, and “deception” of govt. Fractitious vibe with the somewhat skinnier Oakbarrel on a trend of better lifestyle – looking a bit stressed with it.


Keeps interrupting her for not answering the way he wants. Revealing Ch9 on the slide looking defensive?


Gillard also looking under a bit of pressure and embattled but that’s okay, she should be working hard.


Tony Blair took on the unions theme also from Insiders, Gillard says they have a distinct policy, balance right. Substantive but not exhaustive IR policy.


Oaks is virtually playing a bulldozer for his corporate employer to entrench AWAs. Sad stuff really. Gillard keeps coming back to balance. Turning into an enough rope exercise.


‘Still ways of getting flexibility without statutary individual contracts.’










Insiders 2




Long interview with PM, Zimbabwe issue high ground regardless of South Africa or the past (got that right PM in terms of lives now). Nothing really new in the interview, restating positions mainly free media profile. Galaxy poll etc as per 10 and 7 above.


Everyperson focus on two adult women mother and daughter.


Panel is Misha, Meglo and Akerman.


Paul Kelly soliloquy for ‘quality’ Murdoch Press. Never been a bigger budget. Clever  budget. Rehashing the above or previous SAM analysis. Economy is now a job creating machine. World economy is strong, commodity boom in place. Govt will argue don’t risk it. Complacency of voters not so much.


Advert – ALP for Rudd everyone is an economic conservative. Most important message in the election. Can’t spend more, more responsible. Safe pair of hands. Neutralising economy as an issue. If Rudd can neutralize this, then Rudd in very good position to win the election. Not so much the polls, who is the best economic manager.


Had to come up with something in Reply speech. Did so. Firm. Not a good week but got there with the Reply. Got to fix IR now.


Chatter on panel. Problem is lower end of wage market AWA no disadvantage test. 100K sells well says Meglogenis roughly double average annual income. Akerman as PM loyalist for his own career turns to Qld, research reckons Indigenous want flexibility on $60K. Only a niche, answers Cassidy.


Emerging consensus on the panel, less vexatious Akerman determined contraire.


Accurate discussion of role of fatigue as a main issue now. Discipline of Rudd’s office serious question. [they have to train and manage, cut the booze etc]



Replayed at 11.10 am on radio PNN 630 AM band.


Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/


Posted by editor at 11:13 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007 10:21 AM NZT
Saturday, 12 May 2007
Tim Blair you're surrounded, might as well join us?
Mood:  happy
Topic: big media

Above at left, last Thursday's front pager declaration from the Murdoch press Daily Telegraph the empire is going carbon neutral.

We mentioned this to David Marr at a Fairfax rally (shameless name dropping) the same day who was moved to mock compassion for such determined sceptics as Andrew Bolt at the Herald Sun in Melbourne also in the News Ltd stable.

The resident critic of climate change at the Daily Telegraph above at right is Tim Blair. And he has written a creative very amusing article in reaction today above at right - yes all that blacking out and crossed headline is all his own work as published today.

As for the left hand story above by one of his Big Media colleagues there, it's written by one Saffron Howden, quite the sophisticate, we met once as a journalism student (her, not this writer) to brief on sand mining impacts at Maroota north west of Sydney.

Her mother Jocelyn ... and read this slowly Tim Boy.... works for a Green MP here in NSW state parliament.

So there you go, Tim. Times change. We're all greenies now, more or less. Really.

Don't worry about Mike Carlton sledging today in the Sydney Morning Herald Hot air becomes cool breeze

It's 3 degrees of separation: My own brother works for the Dept of Prime Minister and Cabinet somewhere - he has several kids to support and so wisely keeps a long distance from this black sheep.

I was a corporate lawyer 17 years ago myself.

So where to from here? I have no idea but it's going to be different. You know it is too.

And don't say it's going to be hard to adjust. You know most journalists don't actually believe in anything, except the next gotcha, spiffy headline or angle.

Have a green one.

Postscript #1: Full page advert p95, May 13 2007 Sunday Telegraph sister newspaper of Tim Blair press on Saturday.


Posted by editor at 7:07 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 15 May 2007 11:52 AM NZT
Friday, 11 May 2007
Shadow Minister Goward PR opportunism?: Claims of sexism can be a political sword as well as a shield
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: nsw govt

Picture: When is a claim of sexism a genuine shield for protection of innocents and when is it a ruthless sword to harm political rivals? This graphic comes in part from the Sydney Morning Herald 12th May 07 a day after our 'sword and shield'  headline above (quite a coincidence). We have added at left the face of  Kelly Hoare MP (ALP), who copped a front pager revealing an embarrassing sexual harrassment claim against her, probably friendly fire revenge for public dissension from Party election tactics (her job given to Greg Combet). At right is Prue Goward MP (Lib), who has accused NSW Parliament in general of sexism, and incidentally is on record as a determined critic of Green and Independent MPs. (We wrote our piece before seeing the Big Media incredulous, broad press reaction to Goward eg indicative The Australian Lidia Chan: If you can't stand the heat, get out | Opinion | The .... Ouch.)





Ms Goward is smart, tough, middle aged, waddles a bit like a goose, or Julia Gillard, depending on your point of view, and this writer may be a condescending ratbag, again depending on your point of view.


But here’s the thing about Shadow Minister Goward’s foray into gender politics leveraging her undoubted, demonstrated expertise as a former Sex Discrimination Commissioner:Bearpit sexist, says new MP Goward.  

She is shadow minister for women with conspicuously missing image on her parliamentary web page AND opposition spokes on the Environment. But in this latter responsibility she is snookered. The Nats won’t give her space to move on land clearing, coal mining and a thousand other resource based dig it up, cut it down, shoot it, policy areas.


So being ambitious she is moving on the other portfolio responsibility, tactically wise. But where is the demonstrated proof of sexist behaviour in this new parliament for her to rail against, as opposed to gain handy profile front of the Herald?


There are examples of men behaving badly in the previous parliament who suffered accountability – Peter Black drunk and maybe getting grabby. Lost his reputation, then lost his seat. Could have been more greatly criticised by Premier Iemma rather than campaign for the grub as “a colourful” character in his seat pre election. But the evidence of systemic sexism seems arguable – he got what he deserved in the end – the door.


What about Andrew Fraser going the throttle on Tripodi – is this sexism? Or simply violence between males? I don’t see the sexism in it, blokey for sure. Nasty for sure. Wrong definitely.


There is the sensitive allegations of criminal domestic violence against Gibson. But its some 17 years ago now. And he lost any chance of promotion to Cabinet and effectively has suffered very serious damage to his reputation. The ‘victim’ did get into Cabinet and has gone ahead in her life it seems.


What about the allegations of Tripodi sexually harassing a democrat staffer some years back? She got a lot of sympathy, he got a broad condemnation, and a taint that he has never shaken really, and she decided not to pursue it for better or worse. If she had likely he would be a dead cat by now.


So Kerry ‘give a chick a chance’ Chikarovski with her electioneering slogan no less goes on public radio yesterday morning saying its improved a lot over the years and ironically that women shouldn’t play boys games. Alex Mitchell on 702 radio says similar of ALP women this morning over Tripodi defence. But maybe Liberal Women should not use sexism for opportunistic profile building either?


SAM’s editor has suffered sexual harassment in our career even as a male (but very rarely), and can sympathise with a com car driver being propositioned and then potentially victimised for not reciprocating in the sad Kelly Hoare MP matter. Because saying “no” has professional consequences. Just as saying “yes” does too becoming someone’s toy.


What is being lost here is that accusations of sexism can function as an important shield for real victims, and a sword for political careerism: An accusation is explosive ammunition and very damaging to the target, and this is well understood by the sisterhood and the brothers in the political community. The question becomes is it fair, is it credible, and are there honest motives. We are talking about politicians with their hands in the public’s tax revenue here, and grasping for power and profile so it's worth looking and asking again.


Take for instance former minister Carmel Tebbutt who stood down from the NSW cabinet on election night. Morris Iemma as Premier, the big media and all her colleagues might have reacted in a sexist way saying she was letting down the team, or failing her public duty, or not up to the job of a minister. (We took the view she was pre emptively buckling on a policy issue of the mooted Marrickville Truck Tunnel.) But none of that. Iemma said he was sorry to see her go and respected her decision to take her family responsibilities seriously. That surely is the improvement Kerry Chikarovski was referring to, a tone set from the top.


This positive culture needs to be encouraged, so we say beware corrosive gender friction for it's own sake. It leads to terrible social and policy paralysis and is not good for government or anyone else. Bring on accountability and equal opportunity and indeed affirmative action within reason, and remember gender politics can be another battle front in the bear pit.


The question in this writer’s mind is, was Shadow Minister Goward fair dinkum when she said she didn’t want her speech reported? That doesn’t ring true. She is shadow minister giving a speech. And an expert in modern media and how to play the game. That sounds too cute to me.


What it sounds like is building political capital. We had to wonder when her own daughter described her as a bit of a “battle axe” on ABC TV news last night. One thing is for sure Ms Goward should attend to her profile on the parliamentary website – that’s one thing she can control surely.

Posted by editor at 3:18 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 13 May 2007 10:10 AM NZT
Rudd budget reply: First they laugh at you, then they listen, then they hate you, then you win
Mood:  chatty
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture 1 of 4: First they laugh at you 4min 46 sec ABC video on demand. Govt Ministers evidence an assured perhaps scornful hilarity as the Rudd speech ploughs on presumably fortfied by their huge $70 billion budget spend on voters providing the real politik context the challenger must overcome direct or indirect.


Picture 2 of 4: Then they listen to you 14min 52 sec ABC video on demand. Government front and back bench are all ears, showing Rudd is cutting through even to his worst critics.


Picture 3 of 4: Then they hate you 16min 40 sec ABC video on demand. A real ouch moment for Ministers Vaile, Costello,  McGauran and PM Howard at this point with Rudd omparing their 3 technical schools with his rollout for some 2,500 trade facilities in all high schools.


Picture 4 of 4: Then you win, 27 min 04 sec ABC video on demand: Wayne Swan conspicuously what ... happy, satisfied, confident at the performance of his leader Rudd? Well maybe but it's finally come to us, he's actually proud of his Queensland colleague's gutsy effort. Fair enough.

Comment: The camera doesn't lie. The intellectual dynamic is shown in the images above. Costello pledged very many billions coming from a very low polling base. Rudd has pledged only a few billions coming from a very high polling base and a good 6 months until an election in October after the APEC meeting in Sydney in September 07.

Rudd has the measure of the Howard government, and thus the PM is sounding like an Opposition in the news cycle today.

Greenpeace are unhappy with lack of solid climate change policy but this ignores the timetable reality over this election period 

- set by Costello's weak performance on climate change on Budget Night while flagging it's coming, and

- Rudd's symbolic words of assurance also holding it back for the voters closer to the election.

And on the speaking style of Rudd: Fast, strong with an emotional undertone of conviction (I recognise from my own local councilor battles):

This is a guy who can focus when the pressure is on (undoubtedly as per interview/policy glitches over the two preceding days) and can capably ignore the noise of the political rivals. That's the emotional message that Rudd demonstrated subliminally to Australia with his budget speech in reply. It is why Wayne Swan was smiling at the substance of the performance.

It's a quality political reply speech in an overtly political dynamic. Malcolm Farr of the Murdoch press seems to agree in his comment piece on abc radio earlier today (and maybe his press we haven't yet seen): Indeed the speech was surprising and gutsy for presenting on its own terms, rather than be spooked or driven by the big dollars at Costello's whim last Tuesday night.

This is a solid foundation for a 6 month winning Rudd election campaign, and that's not just from an ALP loyalist like Kim Beazley on abc The World Today programme today.

The camera doesn't lie, as some astute senior politicians are beginning to realise as per this image also from the Budget Reply web video below: Julia Gillard MHR (ALP) for most of the 30 minute speech is a picture of composure, head nodding or brief nattters to colleague to one side. Only once does she block her face with hand yet in a split second re composes for the camera (including web video via abc etc) surely aware right the lens is right at them all on the front bench.

(Compare our collection of images of grumpy PM from budget night in an earlier post, with John Howard pulling faces all the way through surely not realising the power of web video play, replay, and freeze frame.)

Postscript #1: The PM made an extraodinary admission at the tail end of the PM show tonight - he didn't expect a bounce in the polls. Well, after spending $70 billion on voter concerns to not get a bounce would suggest a real malaise in the appeal of this PM and or this government. Nor would the government be comforted by the front page of the Daily Telegraph, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian or Australian Financial Review which look more or less positive to Rudd who in a big trying week for the ALP is potentially still getting the last word.

Laura Tingle in the AFR has a column suggesting the huge budget spend of the govt has a short politicial shelf life. How she as a veteran reporter can be sidelining such a huge spend so early is pretty devastating talk for this govt and we think she is probably right. Not least because Howard is a well known hawk and articles by such as Prof Hugh White yesterday 10th may 2007 seeking a diplomatic role for Australia in liaison between China and the USA on arms control makes the current PM all the more unsuitable: Another nuclear arms race is in the offing

Christian Kerr a former coalition adviser with crikey.com.au argues in their ezine today that Rudd may well be cutting through to the voters over the head of the commentators. If this is true, and Howard is already playing down expectations of a poll bounce at all, he must be hoping to win a slow grinding battle over many months to come. A feint hope from our vantage point.

Posted by editor at 2:27 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007 8:26 PM NZT
Thursday, 10 May 2007
Unfair Fairfax argue staff as 300 walk off in Sydney, 100 march to the Industrial Commission
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: big media

The staff at Fairfax are "revolting" as the ambiguous old saw goes: Striking Fairfax workers risk fines says the rival Murdoch press The Australian.

We heard Gerard Noonan of Fairfax talking on ABC Trioli local radio show before 9 am, and Matthew Moore of Fairfax on the 9am news bulletin: Some talk about layoffs of 35 "production people" up to sub editors.

And David Kirk as one of the bosses is getting in front of the protest action with his own pro free speech presser middle of today, according to ABC World Today reporter Ashley Hall, transcript in due course here 10th May 2007, and reported here Media giants fight for free speech | | The Australian, and here Press unites in free speech fight | The Daily Telegraph

Curious times for micro news SAM blog reporting on Big Media protesters.

We had some fascinating converstions with some seriously senior media folks, including one from The Australian supporting the Herald staff.

Will the loss of these production people really change the political content of the paper ...sub editors do headlines, prominence, space I suppose? Answer: Absolutely - one person in senior management asked whether the journalists even write the headlines. Didn't even know the business of running newspapers.

What affect is the bleed of staff to The Australian from the Fin Review like? A tragedy came the answer.


What's the purpose of the lay offs? Various answers to this one:

- Greed. The company is very profitable but not phenomenally profitable like 10 years ago. The senior management are not moving with the times and think newspapers can profit as much they did before in a changing media world.

- accountancy madness. Don't understand the business, think people with similar job titles can do other peoples work.

We hear at the 1 pm news on abc radio that the staff have been ordered back to work and to talks later this afternoon. Mmm.

Postscript #1 at Mon 14th May 07

[bold added]

"Many old-school journalists see him as the devil incarnate, as this comment from a former employee attests: "Brian McCarthy's view of a newspaper is to fill the editorial with social pics and bland, non-threatening yarns and bland, non-threatening letters to the editor; The Sound of Music on newsprint.

"Newsrooms are staffed accordingly, mainly with kiddies from Bathurst who can't write, can't report and who think context is a coloured pencil. They roam around the country like itinerant shed hands, never engaging with communities, simply passing through them, the object a job on city television. I grew up in a community where the editor of the local paper was our collective memory. His taste and judgment reflected the sensibilities of the district. This did not mean we were shielded from life's unpleasantness; it was more how we were told, including the context. There were no screaming headlines sitting over nothingness.

"Rural Press has destroyed local journalism and, with it, the right of communities to know. Its newspapers no longer provide a trusted independent source of local stories of importance and interest. When there's a hole to fill and nothing to fill it with, editors can dive into Rural Press's feature bin and pluck out a yarn. Many of those yarns are fed straight into this bin by PR outfits.

"The name of the real game is aggregated advertising areas, a one-stop-fits-all shop for national, state and regional ad agencies. The advertising dollar drives Rural Press, nothing else, and nothing stands in its way in pursuing this goal, including journalistic integrity."

Kirk may have set the direction for Fairfax, but McCarthy is the one to watch. "

McCarthy shares narrow view as Fairfax goes frugal | Mark Day ... rival Murdoch press, Thursday 3/5/07 p18 The Australian, media section.

Posted by editor at 3:31 PM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 May 2007 10:09 AM NZT
Budget wrap: It's the money or the planet, planet loses as predicted
Mood:  down
Topic: election Oz 2007

Al Gore in the celebrated, Oscar winning An Inconvenient Truth has a priceless section where he considers a scales with bars of gold on one side and planetary survival on the other. He teases the audience by adopting the pose of Joe Punter in confusion, and who really does want the gold, but he somehow knows it’s a trick question.


And Joe would be right. As the old saying goes the root of all evil: is the love of money.


Yesterday’s budget coverage had cartoons everywhere showing Costello literally swimming in dollar bills as a metaphor for the huge sums of money in the surplus churning taxes off the People, ripped out of services. That money represents skyrocketing homelessness, premature deaths, huge air pollution impacts, a dead river system, students who never got in the door, and any number of other objective measures.


That’s not to say profitability and greeniology, as in sustainability are not compatible. They are to some degree via natural capitalism – the notion there is no “waste” in nature, and thus in business there ought be a profitable use for every by product, which in turn can become the tail that wags the dog.


But it's time lines that count. It’s longer to be sustainable, its sooner to draw down natural resource for quick cash. And that’s what this latest federal election budget is mostly about. Quick cash. It’s the money, not the planet. Money for stupid twin speed hedge trimmers and sponge sharpeners. It’s not about the future really.


Take broadband internet. A $5B education endowment looks great but broadband is the best educator you are likely to find especially combined with an easy on the eyes flat top screen. In the last 12 months I’ve learned 

- SAM's editor can stay in touch with my affinity groups and project networks without driving all over the city, or even flying over the country or to other parts of the world, . The age of regular big meetings may hopefully thankfully be drawing to a close. Not to be replaced entirely but travel times greatly reduced. This is a very important evolution to address greenhouse emissions in the mobile energy sector, if not IT sector.

- why my Toyota Liteace is prone to over heating via innumerable south east Asian delivery drivers on user web sites;


-         how to swin the Australian Crawl with near correct stroke via expert local web site;


-         how to generate a micro news blog with some original reporting and satisfying writing exercise via a host USA site (those pesky Democrats), including freeze frame screen prints of tv images,

-         similiary I can quit my grovel job and still be seriously involved in community media work


-         that I can be paid to do web updates for the local community centre,


-     the meaning of “apocraphyl” and “sans” and a hundred other obscure words via www.dictionary.com, not to mention www.wikipedia.org


On a more trivial level I also learned


-         where all my favourite pop songs are and listened to them (You Tube, with the exception of Finding You by the Go Betweens), and that http://www.engagemedia.org/ is better for non profit groups

-         that I’m not interested in dating sites



Okay sure I’m a dedicated self learner, and motivated having already received courtesy of Whitlam and the Catholic system a decent tertiary education. But I don’t think a $5B endowment from Peter Costello is relevant to that. It was free 'HECS' from Gough Whitlam et al, and my savings from 12 months working in a boozer bottle shop at 18 years of age that did that.


The ALP are building on that history of education policy in Australia with a fast broadband plan for access to the say 70% of Australians who really need to learn their whole lives. Who really missed the boat on formal tertiary education, and many of who are befuddled and misdirected by the hogwash in the Murdoch press and the Howard Coalition. No wonder the ALP are for it, and the Coalition are against.


It’s mostly politics. The most revealing things I’ve read so far about the budget are as follows:


- people with serious dental problems who aren’t actually dying from them but still living in misery have probably got nothing, like the woman from Uralla who pulled her own tooth out indesperation.


-         in terms of expenditure, this budget is 1. defence 2. health/social services and then 3. education. Not the other way round


-     profound Crikey.com.au opening editorial yesterday on how an Opposition Leader can avoid sounding carping, instead present as gracious, and transcend his opponent with a higher message in reply. A laugh out loud moment here at SAM micro news blog.


-         Chanticleer back page of the Australian Financial Review with profound statistics in his article (subscribers) "Classic Costello: politics first" with these salutary observations:


"simply handing back windfall tax revenue .....$31.5 billion ..... As pre election budgets go some $71 billion was 78 per cent more than the $40 billion in the last pre election budget and 3.7 times the $19 billion before the prior election."



-    Imre Salusinszky in the Murdoch press (The Australian) with the line, to paraphrase 'in truth tax cuts are due to the success of Kevin Rudd as a competitive opposition leader.' How surprisingly honest of Imre.

Posted by editor at 8:05 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007 10:18 AM NZT
Wednesday, 9 May 2007
Alan Jones leans heavily on false premise of Janet Albrechtsen and her foetid imaginings on IR?
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: human rights

The other day on the 7.30 Report Greg Combet said it was internationally recognised as a human right for labour to collectively organise:

02/05/2007 - Greg Combet discusses industrial relations with Kerry O'Brien

Janet Albrechtsen as a corporate lawyer in thrawl to Big Business there at The Australian has cooked up an incredible cauldron of smear about this human right.

As an ex corporate lawyer I know its all about framing of a debate, and Albrechtsen on whom Alan Jones went to town yesterday morning on 2GB in reliance, has invented a framework right out of ...fairy land. Or perhaps a Lord of the Rings like vision of Mordor run by trolls and goblins from the union.

But like the JRR Tolkien writing method it's all about creating a fantasy and then loading it up with realistic trimmings after that, enticing the reader to forget the original premise is, and has always been, fantasy.

Thus Albrechtsen has written  twice now

 "in a workplace of 1000 workers, if 100 workers turn up to vote and 51 workers vote yes to a collective agreement, that agreement prevails. The vote of 51 workers will bind all 1000 workers". Refer Labor scheme to sell out workers to unions May 8th 2007 cross referencing an earlier story last weekend.

This is such an incredulous scenario one wonders if Albrechtsen has spent time at Mardi Grass in Nimbin: Over 100 arrested at Nimbin Mardi Grass festival. 07/05/2007. ABC ...

Let's just tease out her scenario. The union, the boss, or the workers call a general meeting to discuss their potential level of wage. Is it $25K, $40K, $70K? Will you get redundancy, holiday, sick and other pay loadings or will it all be folded into an AWA and decided that way individual by individual?

How many turn up to such a meeting? Let me guess. Not 50. Not 100. 900 would be more like it.  Money talks and bullsh*t walks. As the old saying goes self interest is always trying and workers WILL attend a meeting in droves based on their hip pocket nerve.

Alan Jones and Janet Albrechtsen have no idea, and what's more a revealingly jaundiced lack of confidence in the culture of democracy in Australia. But even if you think workers lack interest in meeting process per se, you can count on their self interest to motivate that democracy for the sake of their own pay packet. Which is why 50/1000 at a meeting to discuss their pay is a hopelessly vexatious premise.

The fact this laughable scenario has been published twice by The Australia is sad. It is also probably why a now desperate PM Howard, big budget notwithstanding, is going to lose the next federal election, bargaining fee for unions or not. In fact it seems not based on Julie Gillard's reported position front page story in the same paper The Australian a day earlier:

Gillard move likely to enrage unions - The Australian - 7 May 2007

Is it too much to hope that the squawking Parrot and the quacking duck do a bit more home work and real thinking?

Declaration: As a community media practitioner this writer is a member of the Australian Services Union on a greatly discounted rate of $5.80 a month.

Posted by editor at 11:53 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007 10:13 AM NZT

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