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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 27 October 2007
Whopper plane flies out over Marrickville ..... softly, quietly
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: local news




Sent: Friday, October 26, 2007 9:08 PM

Subject: The super jumbo leaves over Marrickville - quietly!

Sitting on an outdoor work bench at 6 pm munching an apple, enjoying the puddles, musing over the recent lightning, a young woman's smile etc - as you do - when a leviathan heaves into view barely 200 metres above Marrickville headed north west. They usually get a two finger salute that low.  "Singapore Airlines". Hang on a sec. It's the monster spawn that was wrapped around my breakfast copy of the Sydney Morning Herald but is now plunging through the cloud mist like a white whale. The noise pummeled inner west will definitely approve. It challenges the senses to see such a whopper with friendly decibel level deep in the airport corridor. The next Boeing only 2/3 the size was double the racket. The one after looked even smaller being higher yet 3 times the thunder (!?). A helicopter hovers nearby as a I write and it's way more noisy too. Hang on, its very close. It's a got a spotlight making slow laps tracking someone. Just another day in the gritty burb.

Posted by editor at 8:27 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 27 October 2007 8:32 AM NZT
Thursday, 25 October 2007
Games up for humans without a big change in programming on nature extinction
Mood:  lazy
Topic: ecology

Scientist Allen Greer is a candle in the dark in the Education supplement in The Australian today in a long full page feature explaining the "anxiety" and "despair" in the dismal science of biology (speaking as a trained ecologist once):

Conservation has to be our nature | The Australian

We have read Allen Greer's public stuff for years and think he deserves a medal, or a hemp brocade perhaps.

He provides real courage in a public discourse that is scared of its moral shadow. But it's not just tragic professional science fearful of ecology as an intrinsic value.

Even the impertinent (snot nose?) Green Party - exemplified by this ambitious candidate in the local press (staffer for cfmeu trained [pdf] Senator Kerry Nettle) - are quick to sneer at "lentil eating hippies" presumably such as Greer above (?), or this 43 year old writer with a commercial law and zoology degree (?):

Don't forget your 'green' origins and betters indeed. Of course when we helped pioneer the NSW Green Party in 1994 we were just twiddling our thumbs when this candidate was .... a happy go lucky 10 year old. And when we lapsed our membership in 2000 it was because the ALP and cfmeu were so green and there was nothing for the Green Party left to do on the environmental side of things ....

Committed environmentalism of 'real greens' is thus a fairly marginal philosophy amongst the IR, minority (gay) rights, refugee, pensioner, health budget, war protest, teacher's union, public ownership, agenda in the official Green Party particularly in NSW, not to mention their fair share of spivs and grifters. We hasten to add these are all worthy concerns per se, yet we can't help thinking perhaps a 5 metre sea rise might resolve all these via the biggest human rights issue ever?

Yes there is the pulp mill in Tas that Senator Nettle has been picketing the Howard Govt over at the Phillip St Sydney CBD offices (when woodchipping of forest has been a taboo in NSW and not just in the Sydney Morning Herald), but it's mostly rival economics and Tamar amenity, with critters and trees an after thought, temporary election populism with a longevity of .... oh say till Nov 24? George Newhouse the ALP Candidate in Wentworth accepts the pulp mill and the seemingly unconditional confused (?) local Green Party preferences a full 2 months out from the vote. If Danielle Ecuyer's independent anti pulp mill candidacy didn't exist it would have been necessary to invent her.

Funny too how the ALP friendly ACF has no problem working with the ALP aligned Climate Institute but have to be at arms length from Ecuyer's political candidacy ...which could just split the ALP vote in Wentworth.

The Australian is instructive and worth extracting for the record here, (oh Don, we do like you but you are so nailed):

No politics, please

THE Australian Conservation Foundation has cut its links with the Women for Change Alliance because of Danielle Ecuyer's dalliance with federal politics. Ecuyer has decided to stand as an independent against her former partner and Labor candidate George Newhouse in Wentworth, the Sydney seat held by Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Ecuyer founded WCA last year. On Monday Strewth reported that the ACF and WCA were to co-host a $60 a head party with organic wines and nibbles next Wednesday to celebrate "stylish and sustainable living". Yesterday, ACF executive director Don Henry said his organisation was a non-partisan charity that was not involved in fundraising activities for any candidate or political party. "Late last week, ACF made the decision to conduct these events without the participation of WCA, as it became clear Ms Ecuyer may stand for election in the seat of Wentworth," Henry said. He said the events were only intended to raise awareness of environmental issues among the citizens of Woollahra.

At least the Greens are colour coded and thus hand cuffed to the environment one way or the other as per Nettle's return to the Green Party's roots outside Howard's offic, chained to it by their name and one of 4 principles in their original mission . All the other parties are grey, and in truth Godless vandals who wouldn't know the beauty of Creation from an Assembly of God/Hillsong Convention including 'earnest offensive Great Leader' aka Halo Kid aka farmer boy.


In an eerie coincidence see this parallel story in the Sydney Morning Herald just the latest tombstone in The Cheap Talk Cemetry on the road to ecological destruction (?):

Population pressure takes Earth to its limits - Environment - smh ...

Which reminds us of that great 'champion' of the environment for the local ALP Shadow Minister Anthony Albanese:


ALP local groupie MLC and Marrickville Cr Penny Sharp is in the other local press (The Glebe Letters 25/10/07) referring to the "hypocrisy and ruthlessness" of the Greens in a cute form of projection from MP Sharp by name, sharp by rhetoric.

This is head shaking 'takes one to know one' stuff: The ALP want to build a $5B mega tunnel with smog stacks similar to the M5 East stack nearby to service an expanded Port Botany, and exponentially grow diesel train traffic 24 hours a day, each worth 6,000 trucks in emission pollution .... in Marrickville.

And guess who is the shadow minister for "Infrastructure" with the job of soft selling this cancer promoting intensification scandal in his own Inner West for the ALP in order to ascend further up his tax payer funded greasy pole? Even as he fans with deadly accuracy the fear of nuclear reactors across Australia?

That 'champion' of the environment ... Anthony Albanese.


Just keep voting Green Party for any real hope of change not "me tooism" but remember they are all politicians. Truly biology is the dismal science and for those who know it's a recipe for clinical depression, bouts of alcoholic anaesthesia or in our case the therapy of blogging.

Posted by editor at 10:01 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 27 October 2007 8:20 AM NZT
Conservative commentariat become the story as power tectonics shift to Rudd's ALP?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007
Second chance ... David Hicks's children, 14-year-old Bonnie and 12-year-old Terry, with their mother, Jodie Sparrow.

Picture, lifted from SMH via Ch9 dated May 28 2007, captioned as "Second chance ... David Hicks's children, 14-year-old Bonnie and 12-year-old Terry, with their mother, Jodie Sparrow. Photo: Channel Nine"

Yesterday we wrote of the re-inflation of the Hicks 5 year 'incarceration without trial' scandal coincidentally timed just after a gruesome mass murder in Pakistan (and refer gripping SBS Mark Davis report on Dateline last night) well known for Taliban nasty sympathies.

(Perhaps of greatest worry for such as Benazir Bhutto's credentials as a political leader is that she could imagine a 15 hour ride through 2 million supporters over about 20km could in any way be a secure journey. How irresponsible is that? But Bhutto is not the only irresponsible or reckless pollie playing with lives for careers.)

There is a fascinating internal big/new media power game underlying this Hicks echo of the Pakistan atrocity story. Imre Salusinzsky hints at one aspect in his column yesterday in The Australian - Print warriors turning on themselves | The Australian

Imre is a very bright and whimsical fellow. His piece refers to prominent commentators Andrew Bolt, Gerard Henderson, Janet Albrechtsen, Piers Akerman, Dennis Shanahan, Michelle Grattan:

"What appears to be upsetting the commentators is that the polls have not followed their past course over the last nine months before the election by shifting in the Coalition's favour. Uncertain, they have become more polarised about how the Coalition should mount a rescue operation.

This schism has had a definite geographical flavour too as Sydneysiders such as Henderson and Akerman have stuck with Howard, the hometown Prime Minister, while Bolt and Grattan have backed Melbourne-based Costello.

Henderson added to the geographical divide on Lateline when he attacked Melbourne's The Age for being openly hostile to Howard. "

Ho hum, the professional media obsessing about themselves again? Well maybe but there is another more malevolent front in this jostling of  guppies swimming into the gills of whichever Big Politician they think will win. There is the issue of proper news work.

For instance yesterday Imre's own newspaper made a grotesque and clearly defamatory attack on Channel 9's Ray Martin who presented and defends the worm device during the recent Leaders Debate as here:







The editorial is even more sincere in its personal attack on that nice Ray Martin:

"In May, journalist Ray Martin said he was outraged that "unlike Tony Blair and the Brits, we didn't insist that our terrorist suspects - (Mamdouh) Habib and Hicks - be brought home and released". Now, Getup executive director Brett Solomon is complaining about political interference and demanding a judicial inquiry. .... It is time for Hicks's cheer squad to face up to his ugly crimes and recognise that enough public money has been spent on delivering justice to a man who was dedicated to violently overthrowing our system of justice."

It's one thing to jostle and sledge eachother in private but publish defamation against professional rivals in a national newspaper? That suggests willful malice. So what's the underlying motive for this spite? Is it just the normal jockeying for the sinecures of reflected power well described as "the drip" whereby favoured journos get a good story feed from the winners, or something more?

Here is our sad theory:

News Ltd ie The Australian are dead scared having barracked for the Iraq War for many years of being responsible for a suicide bomber retaliation here in Australia, as well as the worst foreign affairs blunder in our history. When the ALP's short lived leader Simon Crean stood against the Iraq War in 2002 and stood fast in its criticism of our US ally, The Australian condemned the ALP and Crean in many ways crueled his own career while the Bush and Howard regimes were ascendant. But now they are on the nose. 

In this sense The Australian is severely burdened now both with dogmatic support for a failed war in terms of guilt and shame but also fear of retribution on Australians here somehow as per the atrocity in Pakistan .

Seemingly to displace that shame and fear they run a beat up about David Hicks the stereotyped trainee terrorist on page 1 no less yesterday .....

Report: Cheney 'struck Hicks deal' with PM

PM denies striking Hicks deal THE Prime Minister today denied striking any deal with the US over the release of former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks. 

The focus of the story is fairly weird: The govt trenchantly denies subversion of an already joke 'US legal process' bitterly alleged by a military prosecutor who has resigned in disgust. The Australian runs an editorial attacking Brett Solomon of Get Up for repeating a call for a judicial inquiry into 'the whole' Hicks affair. Solomon no doubt was instrumental in lobbying for Hicks return to Australia:                         


Amid fresh allegations today of direct political interference in the plea deal that saw David Hicks home and jailed until just after the federal election, GetUp has reissued its call for a proper judicial inquiry into the Government’s handling of the David Hicks case.

Date: October 23rd 2007
Author: The GetUp team

Kevin Rudd similarly is reported seeking clarification. The Greens too are worried about an oppressive control order after 5 years:


Tuesday, October 23 2007

Ruddock should leave Hicks alone: Greens

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock should rule out allowing the Australian
Federal Police to apply for a control order against soon to be released
David Hicks, Greens Senate candidate Sarah Hanson-Young said today.

"Phillip Ruddock should do the right thing by calling off the Australian
Federal Police," Mrs Hanson-Young said.

"Now that the Government is in caretaker mode, it has a responsibility
to consult the ALP about this key human rights decision. I hope the ALP
would not consent to this control order going ahead.

"Phillip Ruddock's indifference to David Hicks' imprisonment in
Guantanamo Bay for five years was a disgrace.

"During this time the South Australian community campaigned for David
Hicks to have a fair trial. This didn't happen.

"Now he's done his time -- so let's leave him alone.

"David Hicks simply wants to get on with his life and continue his
studies. The Greens believe he should be left alone by security
officials and supported in his rehabilitation," said Mrs Hanson-Young.

Contact: Communications Officer Gemma Clark on 0431 134 781*/


Who really doubts the Howard govt cynically adjusted his position on Hicks as the real politik breeze changed from against the Gitmo detainee 2003-2005, then for his return 2006-2007. As Get Up implies the US 'legal process' was always pretty dodgy. The Australian seems to be arguing in its editorial in the shadow of the Pakistan atrocity 'don't you dare demand a legal review of process or we will re run a smear on David Hicks (again), and we might just smear him again anyway'.

We understand PM John Howard was curiously very late to the cause unlike the pro war UK's Prime Minister Tony Blair, in many ways the common law country that sets the standard on such things as habeas corpus

But a page 1 story? And an editorial on 24th Oct 2007? We detect a paranoid bluster by The Australian against it's new and big media rivals, in particular Get Up, and 9.

9 famously gave comfort to Hicks family on his return to Australia as per the picture above of May 2007, and lately embarrassed pro Iraq War Howard with their worm device last Sunday at the Leaders Debate. In short 9 is becoming a very big pain in the *rse for the Govt and the 'Govt Gazette'.

The Oz editorial with link above brushes over the merits of a judicial inquiry of an unconstitutional 'military commission' rejected by the US Supreme Court yet supported by Howard for a long time. The Pakistan atrocity seems to be the latest politik figleaf for this very strange legal process in the Hicks case over 5 years.

Even the media analysis jarrs: Henderson sledges Ray Martin and 9 -  happily echoed in The Australian in Cut & Paste yesterday - claiming a weak news effort by 9. This was arguably true 6 months back but Laurie Oakes is looking fitter than in years, and fiesty. He is cutting swathes through the pomposity of the Press Council over the worm controversy. And catching a Howard gaffe "1916" not 2016 yesterday in the election round up on their tv prime time news, 1st story.

Similarly Ray Martin at 9 got the tv ratings last Sunday night as a presenter of the Leaders Debate and the general consensus of the public is the worm was useful. Their Sunday morning flagship Sunday political talky show is doing well (we notice this corroboration after posting here) in The Oz's own Media section, as is 60 Minutes with its usual tabloid fodder.

The Australian looks to be lashing out now, as the similarly pro Iraq War Coalition Govt meets its fate this election. It looks like Get Up have hit a very raw nerve with both the shrinking Howard/Downer Govt and with The Australian. The Australian is attacking as a form of defence just as they squeal and protest too much when Media Watch correctly embarrass them.

So as a lawyer we say, sure why not, bring on the judicial inquiry into the political backflip by the Howard Govt to get Hicks out of a long soul destroying 5 years in Gitmo after being quite comfortable to see him rot, contrary to the rule of law. But it likely must be after this election to avoid smears as pro terrorist as the The Australian implies in an ugly way.

Like many things such a judicial inquiry no doubt will follow the event of the election.

[ Or maybe not, with more detail here in the following days press sort of clarifying whether the Hicks or Haneef scandals will or won't be picked over when or if a new incoming ALP Govt takes office

- Haneef inquiry not a sure bet as Labor backs off on scrutiny - smh ...

while Richard Ackland as editor of Justinian legal magazine has no doubt the Hicks matter was dodgy: If it looks and smells like a corrupted legal process … - Opinion]

Posted by editor at 7:26 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 26 October 2007 3:14 PM NZT
Wednesday, 24 October 2007
The 'Govt Gazette' re inflates Hicks national security bogey, looking to get square with 9?
Mood:  irritated
Topic: election Oz 2007

Everywhere we look we see cartoonists with bombs in their graphics. Warren in the Sydney Daily Telegraph today main cartoon.


Nicholson top page 1 of The Australian. All about unrelated matters yet somehow echoing in a subliminal way the suicide bombing last Friday in Pakistan with horrific visuals on our tv screens.

People across Australia could not help be affected by the evil violence surely: 'That's exactly what we don't want for our country' might have been the collective reaction. Certainly it was this writer's.

So if you do a little thought experiment - as we like to do - you get to thinking: If I were a pro Iraq war, national security hard line pollie [or even big media outlet?] getting desperately behind in the polls during this election phase, how might I best .... choose your word ....inform/leverage/spin/exploit this grim mass murder to best advantage with voters, and indeed folks in focus groups?

Well I would be cooking up law and order concerns about potential terrorists that my side were most 'experienced' and 'pro active' in dealing with distinct from those bleeding heart ALP or Green mob. Indeed the admirable ABC political analyst Chris Uhlmann in the recent Leaders Debate asked exactly this related question to John Howard, words to the effect of:

'Is Australia safer today from terrorism than when we invaded Iraq 5 years ago?'

Howard fudged an answer about Bali bombed in 2002 some 6 months before the Iraq invasion in March 2003. Fudged we say because Howard had already effectively decided to go all the way with the USA much earlier in 2002 so it was a limited view of history. We wonder further if the bombers in Bali were doing their brainless ugly best to warn Australia off (?) in the only way they believed in, fully understanding Howard was in lock step with Bush regardless. Or maybe it was always a target as Howard says.

Having travelled through Bali in early July 2002 and a potential victim we did alot of reflecting about this.

The explanations by Howard always assume that terrorists don't play real politik, but every thinking observer knows they do only with no civilised rules, which means they react to Howard's policies on access to oil, soveriegnty and the rest. 

Sure enough in the wake of the chilling outrage in Pakistan last week we suddenly hear more about David Hicks a stereotypical ostensible trainee terrorist:

THE Prime Minister today denied striking any deal with the US over the release of former Guantanamo Bay inmate David Hicks.

Look carefully at the sourcing of the story. A prosecutor in the USA says he fears political interference in the release of David Hicks back to a gaol in Australia as published in Harpers. Well derr. That's exactly what the political activists in Australia were seeking. Then the Coalition are reported as outraged at being criticised for making political overtures outside the US legal process.

Wait a minute - no one is complaining about the Howard/Downer political lobbying anyway. Are the Govt arguing with themselves? Is Howard PM arguing with a prosecutor in the USA in the middle of an election? Why bother? Why is Downer complaining about criticism that doesn't exist here, excepting from some angsty prosecutor pursuing an off again, on again Military Commssion quasi star chamber in the W Bush regime? Is it another stupid Rovian frolic?

It smells very much like either The Oz or Downer/Howard et al want to raise Hicks back up into the public's mind after the broad visual coverage of the Pakistan outrage tragetting that nice Benazir Bhutto, and manufacture confected outrage at the Left for their 'support' for 'highly suspect' Hicks.

Very cynical timing that, just as Trioli quite accurately pointed out on abc radio earlier today - the Howard Govt were all on a callously brutal script up until about mid 2006 ie  that Hicks could rot in Gitmo forever for all they cared. But the tide was turning. At sometime late 2006/early 2007 Howard's rhetoric turned on a 20c piece. Suddenly the Coalition Ministers, not least PM Howard, were concerned about "the delay".

Was it the Abu Grahib scandal? Was it Rudd increased polling? Was it the AWB scandal? Was it the demonstrable failures in Iraq of endless duration and cost in blood and money? Was it the demonstrable falsity of WMD. Was it focus groups getting the sh*ts with Hicks' five year sojourn in chokey without trial? Was it 'unAustralian'? All of the above?

Whatever it was, the political shift was stark after endless support for getting a USA military commission process up and running (with Supreme Court challenges and restarts taking years). Then suddenly the tune reversed in the govt here. Howard wanted Hicks back. Hicks was an embarrassment in Gitmo. Perhaps in the wake of the Pakistan bombing we are seeing that the feds, who were careful to keep some legal hooks in Hicks,  and/or The Australian who always condemned Hicks,  can now see him as useful in the national security scaremongering stakes again? If Hicks didn't exist it would be necessary to invent him for a Coalition national security scare monger grandstanding PR strategy.

And a control order on hapless Hicks is probably just the ticket with Commissioner Mick Keelty playing coy, neither confirming or denying.

How cynical it would be to use the miserable slaughter in Pakistan and indeed in Iraq for opportunistic domestic political adavantage. Also to use the miserable and fairly pitiful David Hicks in another PR choreography. As if tackling terrorism was some silly shallow media game. Au contraire it's a deadly serious matter of carefully calibratred foreign and domestic policy based on real evidence and factual intelligence, not ham fisted ideology. In short national security should not be the plaything of desperate politicians losing in the polls. But is it just the flailing pollies?


We detect yet another angle on the reprise of the great 'Give Hicks a public kicking' story. It was network 9 that broke from the fairly unified  discipline of the conservative media in condemning Hicks by giving the Hicks family his media oxygen on 60 Minutes earlier this year. Yet again it was 9 via Laurie Oakes this week who embarrassed Glenn Milne of The Oz and their Press Council who had the most to lose over the embarrassing Leaders Debate worm affair with Oakes referring to "log rollers and real estate agents" suppressing media freedom. Those are cutting words. Are we seeing a bit of referred Big Media internal biffo going on here at the expense of Hicks, soon after the battle of the worm, in an emerging power struggle between News Ltd and PBL, respective owners of the Oz and channel 9? Mmmm. That's interesting. My money is on Oakes over Milne but it could get very rough indeed.

Elections are dangerous affairs often and not just for the pollie careers.

Posted by editor at 2:24 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007 7:14 PM NZT
Coalition on a hiding but still pitching hard
Mood:  energetic
Topic: election Oz 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007.

 Picture: Moir cartoon SMH today, a sign of major crisis with both Turnbull and 'scientist' Ziggy seeking to hose down any idea of Australia going nuclear reactor if the Coalition wins and on the front page of the press here too. This is as dishonest a denial as John Howard in 1996 that there won't be any uranium mine in Kakadu National Park - then Jabiluka protests dominated the environmental movement from 1997-1999 including this writer doing legal work in Darwin and Jabiru not least 400 case histories. I suppose that was all a figment?


Our election observations this Wednesday morning:

- We must agree with Michelle Grattan yesterday on Fran Kelly Radio National, that since Newspoll with 18 point gap early Tuesday 23rd Oct both Minister Tony Abbott and Treasurer Peter Costello seem to be in denial at the reality of the electorate's repudiation of their last term of office. In particular Abbott on the abc news show was sounding like the boyfriend who's getting dumped by a diplomatic and bored girlfriend: 'we aren't feeling a rejection out in the electorate' says Abbott. That's diplomacy Tony, not love.  Their colleague Andrew Robb seems more accepting but seeks to mitigate the huge gap in the polls as a natural tendency for people to consider an alternative after a long relationship with the Coalition under Howard. He even may have used the term "stale" on the AM show.

 - Costello on 7.30 last night Tues 23rd and all this week has been chorusing a demonstrably fake line with such as Piers Akerman: It's a "funny" kind of tv worm device to give a bad reading before a person has even spoken ie to approve of Rudd and reject Howard and more so when Costello is named, as per the recent debate. Well it is called teleVISION for a reason: Just like a toddler smiles at the vision of a loving mother with not a word spoken, the worm reflects non verbal messages and that's a fact that smart Costello is disingenuous to ignore. Apparently John Laws, the golden tonsils says Rudd always looks like he's just emerged from a bath - meaning squeaky clean. It's true enough, he's blessed with a milky bar kid visage, which lends to the halo gibes too.

Costello in The Debate audience then next night on 7.30 actually referred to "two worms debating" which seemed to us quite Freudian - in effect calling both Howard and Rudd economic worms for squandering his budget hard work on tax cuts to win an election, which should have gone into national investments. On reflection Costello was probably referring to the worm graphic on the front pages of the press high for Rudd, low for Howard.

- Sol Lebovic is still touting how close or soft the ALP vote is despite flat lining big gap of 10 to 12 points. Is he drumming up business for his old mates in Newspoll, including his subtle niggle that polls are "not predictive". Yeah Sol, but a trend sure is. There is scepticism from other pollsters we notice. Even Robb agrees there is a fair dinkum big gap.

- The trend as per the Brent/Mumble thesis is a rusted on 1996 change of govt to try out the alternative under Rudd. The massive tax cuts package did make a bounce but then straight back in a highly elastic democratic correction, as soon as the ALP matched with a plausible tax package of their own.

- Laurie Oakes hilarious reference to "log rollers" and "real estate agents" in the 'Press Council' folding to dictatorial pressure of the Howard Govt to reject the editorial worm device in the debate, and the controversy afterwards, feeds into the notion Howard is indeed a 'Right' PM, and indeed far too Right wing, with a broad perception now of being mates with the extreme Exclusive Brethren, and sanitising of the grotesque Iraq war miserable slaughter ('the surge is going well'), and ideological IR policies. Such a zealot can't be trusted is the subliminal message.

- Peter Costello was on Alan Jones 2GB kicking off a great PR exertion yesterday and even this pro Coalition conservative radio jock sounded unconvinced: Costello argued 'we won't be there for the ALP to copy our tax policies if we are voted out'. Trouble with this line is, Swan prodded the flat tax change policy back in 2005 apparently, from Opposition, proving that a Coalition Opposition doing its job next time will have just as many opportunities to influence debate and be 'copied' as Swan says Costello took 'two thirds of his ideas'.

- We notice via abc Howard like his spasm in the debate is starting to crack with mangled grammar every so often. In itself a misdemeanour of performance but in Howard a shocking change in usually faultless articulation from a man who has spent 50 years living on his voice.

- Another slightly weird development is top barrister Tom Hughes and a former Coalition Attorney General apparently sledging Kevin Rudd in yesterday's Daily Telegraph without mentioning he is the father of Malcolm Turnbull's wife in a tough contest.

- Indy Dannielle Ecuyer in seat of Wentworth as here, and full page story in Sydney Daily Telegraph today 


Ex-lover turns against Labor star THE Wentworth soap opera has taken a new, dramatic twist, with attractive banker Danielle Ecuyer announcing she will run against her ex, Labor's George Newhouse.

is looking (being the operative word) and sounding like a competent and solid thinker and talker in diverse media, front of Wentworth Courier we are told, SMH, abc radio, tv etc with real ideals on climate change and 'solid' capitalist banking background. Though she almost certainly won't have the machine to get the vote in, she does look the material for a suitable independent MP. It's very unrealistic but we appreciate her commitment by running and we will be very surprised if she doesn't get her deposit back in the seat of Wentworth, and she may indeed decide the winner with her preferences.

- And speaking of climate change the spiv John Connor for the ALP aligned Climate Change Institute surprised by correctly marking the ALP as in the 40% range on climate policy, with the Coalition a woeful 20% range. That suggests some real integrity in analysis not just apologia for pro coal ALP.

- Having said all this the Coalition are working the system for all they are worth still - a $4B package on pensioner care apparently, and a $500 utility bonus for pensioners - all in all pitch to 3 million Australians, or something like that. You can't say this Govt have lost their nerve or have imploded. The polling is a bone crunching bruising blow to their credibility but they are keeping their slim chance of victory alive if an unusual circumstance arises. And as Rudd wisely notes polls go up and down, and 4 weeks to go is a long time in world affairs. Just ask the relatives of those 140 murderered Pakistanis on the return to the election fray of Benazir Bhutto to that country. When we saw that on the news we asked ourselves the chilling question, how long before it happens here? And therein is the real politik opportunity for a hard right government to grandstand their law and order agenda.

- Sure enough in the desperation of the polling the Coalition have reverted to some old standbys being the $4Billion 'grey card' but here in NSW also the law and order tub thump which they flogged to no avail in the NSW March state election. The front page of the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Warren Cartoon sum it up:


And now someone, presumably Ruddock as Federal AG appears via media probing of AFP Commissioner Keelty to have started to leverage this major gruesome exposure of mass murder by raising the David Hicks ostensible terrorist bogey again as possibly subject to a control order on his release. Will the Left/Green mob wedge themselves by throwing themselves headlong into thrashing outrage at more cruel legal meddling on the Hicks case to be seen as mates with an alleged terror trainee? That's just what Ruddock and Downer are counting on. The trap is set.

- In this respect of managing new circumstances, and emerging in the news cycle on a far less melodramatic but still very electorally sensitive note, is the widespread fear of an interest rate hike which does seem quite possible according to various economic boffins. Costello is positioning that no rate rise is justified as if to heavy the independent Reserve Bank. But he's a politician and he would say that because he needs those marginal seats like a drunk needs his next drink after splurging $34 BILLION on tax cuts.

Posted by editor at 8:24 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 25 October 2007 7:21 AM NZT
Monday, 22 October 2007
'Right' PM machine tried to squash the worm? Opposition should beware early 2nd quarter culture of defeat
Mood:  spacey
Topic: election Oz 2007


As we published our Sunday Talkies of political tv shows yesterday we had to decide on a graphic. At about 10 am we grabbed a screen print of the Sixty Minutes website with the worm device very prominent. And it was foreshadowed in the prefacing Sunday 9 show too which gave us the tip.

When we watched last night we enjoyed 9 more than abc 2, and we did watch the worm, having already heard most of the policy debate already, to see how the studio audience of presumably average folks (?) might be reacting.

Having fallen asleep at one point we were wide awake at the wind up as Ray Martin made some pointed comments about "so much for free speech" when their coverage was apparently cut.

Now the commercial, legal, real politik bun fight is on for all. It's second lead story on World Today show as we write.

As always we sharpened our elbows a bit and called the abc 702 Trioli talkback at 9.15 am to say:

1. The 60 Minutes website early Sunday made it clear the worm was on and thus no ambush marketing as such, and

2. 9 clearly has a legal right (yes we are a solicitor with a practising certificate unlike Glenn Milne on 702 radio around 10.10 am this morning) to take material and repackage with a worm, just like our time years back at Media Monitors with press clips or sound/video grabs for sale.

We spoke to a press gallery journo earlier today too to add that Glenn Milne for the Press Council saying there was an offer with conditions by letter, which 9 by its action of taking the tv feed evidenced an acceptance of that contractual agreement (to not show the worm), is a quite dubious legal characterisation to our ear.

9 rep Westacott and others on abc radio are adamant there was no agreement, and we prefer that view because receiving a letter is equivocal evidence and not a course of conduct demonstrating agreement about much. Nor should Milne rely too much on law student days (refer Legal Practitioners Act 2004 (NSW)) to offer "city lawyer" opinions on air. Journalists ought not offer legal advice, even if obviously not 'holding themselves out as lawyers' as such.

On the other hand we do have sympathy for Milne's predicament - the Coalition won't support a debate at all if the worm is such an obvious punisher in front of a narrowly selected studio audience. This puts the Press Council in a no win position - forced to compromise our democratic free media to get a controlled product in any form. In this way however Milne is on weak ground to say 9 compromised future debates and should have taken the high moral ground on journalistic principles and refused compromised coverage altogether. Trouble for Milne is the same logic applies the Press Council to refuse hosting such an artificially conditional format as well. And presumably 9 would also have democratic obligations to a loyal audience who would only have watched their show, worm or not, so what's good for 9 is good for the Press Council in terms of pulling their weight.

The moral argument is thus a house of cards and Senator Brown of the Greens is right, as is 9, to ignore such fraught blandishments and legal try ons of the Press Council as cipher (?) for the PM's office. On the other hand the case for a Debates Commission as suggested by Milne to spare the Press Council from censorious pressure has great merit. Here is Brown here:

[media release]

Monday, 22 October 2007

Worm Inquiry: Greens

The Greens will pursue a senate inquiry into efforts by the Prime
Minister's minders to halt national coverage of leaders' debate last
night because of the worm being used by Channel Nine.

"The cutting of the direct feed of the debate to Channel Nine is not
acceptable. This is Australia, not Burma," Greens Leader Bob Brown said
in Canberra today.

"The Prime Minister's dictate that the worm be banned and the ruthless
follow-up attempt to cut Channel Nine's transmission is unprecedented in
Australian democratic tradition. A post-election senate inquiry to find
out how the Prime Minister's office pressured the National Press Club
and or ABC, and to come up with a format to prevent a recurrence of such
influence by an incumbent Prime Minister is essential," Senator Brown

"At the Greens' People's Forum in the Parliament House Theatrette last
night, a full house used the worm technology with no interference.
Unlike the controlled Great Hall event, the audience participated: after
journalists' question sessions, the audience questioned the Greens
Senators and further questions were taken from internet participants.
Then the audience 'wormed' the Howard-Rudd debate with Rudd a huge
winner. But by the conclusion, the Greens' support from the audience had
risen from 69% to 80%."

"A great night," Senator Brown said.

Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603

Visit Bob's new myspace site at:


The Milne legal analysis is thus weak as above subject to this: We offer a another preliminary view - 'tortious interference in contractual relations' by 9?: That is

1. contract with abc, Sky, Press Council, Liberal Party, ALP (they deny such an agreed term) to a worm free format as a condition of participation and broadcast feed;

2. 9 by grabbing the feed - and applying the worm device of audience reaction to get higher ratings  (in the long long 90 minute broadcast which is much lower ratings than comparable coverage) - absent any contract obligations with themselves, or intellectual property concerns, might be said to be effectively interfering in the contractual terms of those who definitely did agree to the worm free pre condition?

This legal aspect based on a obscure tort 'legal cause of action'  ie to prevent rivals deliberately going around deliberately stuffing up other peoples business contracts might be quite a hard road to hoe for the Press Council - because of the obvious public interest in 9's editorial right to free media not least for free market reasons, and in an election. Constitutional rights to political discourse spring to mind. 9 for instance might argue they didn't try to upset worm free coverage of their rivals' audiences abc, Sky, other. They simply wanted their audience to have the choice of the worm. In other words a free market. We don't recall judges being very socialist in constraining the media market or even willing to sanction brutal competition (the C7 litigation being the latest laissez faire example of free for all amongst tough business folks).


We submit what this affair does reveal though is 'the Right' PM Howard's team doing its best in a dictatorial way to control media whatever the free media principle. But they have hit a wall with 9 in its post Kerry Packer personna, like David Penberthy as editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, his boss Rupert Murdoch, and the Right to Know Coalition of Big Media here (eg Hartigan at Andrew Olle lecture 2007) are saying - all bets are off, we love our democracy too much to cop any more of this special dealing for the Howard Coalition Govt, at heart we are free media people and on this rock we stand.

And amen to that too as essential discipline on Big Brother government 11 years now under John Howard.


We get the vibe that the ALP are very happy this Monday because simply their man Kevin Rudd won the debate that few voters care about (as per the Bill Leak cartoon above) but helpful to their own morale and professional pride so to them personally it makes alot of difference.

We say in a brutal way this is shallow egotism by ALP aparatchiks in case of an honourable loss at the end, compared to even stevens after one big week of a 6 week bone jarring clash where one can expect to be very weary with arms and legs virtually shaking with fatigue and all arteries and veins engorged from the effort (if the ALP machine is serious).

We see this much like a grand final after the first quarter, with the Howard team winning the toss, kicking with the wind, taking a quick 4 goal lead (tax package), and through serious endeavour and guts the ALP reducing the lead to a few points either way.

The 2nd quarter has begin with the ALP similarly getting some early goals with the wind (Rudd's win like Latham 2004 in the Leaders Debate but not vote changing as such). All this means the bruising fearsome 3rd championship quarter is yet to come. Who will cramp up? Who will tear an anterior cruciate ligament? Who will play above themselves and bloom even beyond their own self knowledge or expectations, kick straight in front of goal for a change, take the screamers, and ruin the star power of their opposition? What if the wind changes mid game (eg invasion of Iran?, Kurdish uprising in Turkey, implosion by such as Michael OConnor on the national executive of the ALP for past union thuggery, etc?). The possibilities are endless really.

Sure the ALP team mates on field, and non aligned crowd in the stands are roaring encouragement, bouyed by the positive vibe against the traditional election league leaders.

Only trouble is none of this is probitive of who will actually win.

This is the prescription we suggest as the guy at the back of the high stand on a cheap ticket to the game via a micro news blog:

Like Geelong in the AFL - the goal of the Opposition Parties is to take every goal, every opportunity and to be clinical in maximising every shot at goal into a 6 pointer. The amplified lead now is the victory later. When lining up make sure you kick 30 metres past the goal line, not 10 metres. Be emphatic. Be energetic. Fight on for every half chance to make your own luck. Dominate.

Because winning the game is not going to be random luck. The culture for a safe win is excessive success preceding. No rests, no breathers. No resting on laurels, no downtime, exploit all unforced errors and half chances, daring to believe in the election victory and spurning with contempt any culture of defeatist symbolic gestures beloved of loser victims everywhere who catch a temporary lucky break and fold when tested.



If you need a reality check from the West Wing style posturing try watching Shaun Micallef on Newstopia eg last night at 10pm SBS free to air but also webcast. Talk about kick the ankles of  serious politics and media industry in their comfort zone. Laugh? It was fast, and delicious. 


Let's see what the 3rd quarter brings about week 4 of this historic election. They call it the chamionship quarter because it usually decides the game.

Posted by editor at 2:59 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 25 October 2007 8:46 PM NZT
Sunday, 21 October 2007
Sunday talkie shows: Combantrin for John worms, Wayne Swan 2005 positioned recent Costello tax play
Mood:  party time!
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


[under construction]


- Crime frontages in the press as per much of this week crueling the govt PR message on economy and tax but still punching through to a small degree, the high water mark?


- Rudd very likely to win the debate on visuals alone.


- SMH web page reformulation is whacko, not loading last 3 days.


- Ramsey continues to play his role with own prose instead of playing the 'ageing frustrated editor too big for the game of reporting' which is not his job title, for better or worse. If you want to be an editor Alan, start your own media company.


- Background Briefing investigative journalism clash with Sunday Talkies repeats here.


- David Penberthy lives Rupert's dictum - listen to the editor/journalists - I'm agnostic. Penberthy signals early no free rides or favourites. Margaret Simmons at Crikey says she agrees. If anything the broadsheets are doing more spin.


- Akerman deleted from Saturday edition of Sydney Telegraph with Gary Linnel lead story fairly friendly to Rudd re Penrith based battlers, appears in Sydney SunTelegraph but shallow negative carping almost as if he doesn't have faith in Howard anymore - a man with daughters who can't come at the execrable Exclusive Brethren that Howard staunchly defends. Even Akerman has some standards of public morality regarding business/cult slavery of girls?


- Shari Markson honourable mentions for insightful knowing reports of major party personnel last Sunday and this Sunday Telegraph.


- notable themes - Rudd as Robin Hood friendly with tax cuts and lap tops.


- Ride t o work day got a fair to good coverage in Sydney both paid and free media.


- NSW ALP bleeding constantly on health services.


- Maxine McKew in Been A Long Time, visuals in press today and abc tv last night (missed 7 and 9) were good neutralisers of John Howard on his home turf at Granny Smith festival,


- sleeping giant of carers with own micro party but 1M plus sympathetic supporters


- fossil fool stooge media still running their agenda especially the Daily Telegraph Wednesday and Saturday opinion pages.


[to be continued, links etc]





10 Meet the Press


Footage of big tax launch, Rudd response with lap top as ‘toolbox’.


Notes crime story press frontage. (Sydney) Sun Herald (?)  reports [strong] Rudd sacking Qld ‘thug’. Only one debate makes tricky. South Africa rugby story.


Talent is Deputy Opp Julia Gillard, looks to have been working hard. Her voice is a little sharp and whiney which might be tiredness but comes across as cutting glass. Similar to those satellite phone crosses onto abc radio being scratchy.


Answers are very strong logic and lawyerly. Quite clearly a serious intellect.  Loyal.


PB interrupts flow of rhetoric as a bit dry. Is she humourless in this interview, and is that the achiles heel.


Gavin OConnor (related to Michael Oconnor union thug!?) sledges ALP. Notes GO supports Kevin Rudd for PM.


Poor old Mal Turnbull spins some kids out of seat not too serious, unintentional, but a damn fine metaphor for failure of Coalition on climate change future … for kids.


First adbreak IR pro union ad re Cochlear, very profitable medical company. Shares info service then 3rd advert is the very funny jarring Get Up attack satire on Govt climate change policy.


Panel: Maria Hawthorne AAP, Brad Norrington now at The Australian.


Anti business adverts of unionists. – Costello footage attacking Socialist Forum remnants of the CP.Debating Society response merged with Fabian Society. Intellectual activity. Costello projecting his own ideological character by identifying her history. Likely balances out, and also likely true.


BN goes into the real detail of the SF as part of the Labor Party left. She sounds disingenuous to me, a factional splinter, but just as convincing that it long gone history, she is a self interested power politician. Irrelevant she says but she laughs a little nervously.


MH asks a tough question re satirical pro union question to roll Kevin Rudd. Refers to Bob Hawke.


BN – Shane Guley case shows too much union influence on the ALP. Govt has a case. JG argues still a good balance.


Myspace question re WorkPlace Agreements might discourage overseas workers coming to Australia.


Joe Hockey declined to appear with Julia Gillard.


Nicholson animation about mee tooism tactics – very amusing but also revealing Rudd in a brutal ruthless light willing to do anything – just like Howard [echoes coming through of don’t like any of them sentiment we read and hear.]


Greens advert with Bob Brown, very good with online debate www.greenaction.org.au (echoes my private network foundation name “ecologyactionsydney” at http:///cpppcltrust.com/ecologyactionsydney


2nd talent is Lyn Allison, good advert with young relative of Don Chipp for Aus Democrats.


MH – which tax package? Real issue is bracket creep and don’t index, churn point at elections well made re thresholds. Better services investment point.


BN – balance of power question, moderate answer negotiate influence. LA looking elder statesperson like and appealing, as does Bob Brown. What a pity they aren’t PM and deputy.


Real place for our party, Greens not interested in negotiating. Look at our record. Not extremist, real solutions.


PB on access to debate – very leading and valid question – LA sounds good and asset value to our democracy, points out debate will ignore climate and some other matters and obsess about tax.


Out take has serious journos seriously chatting with Lyn Allison. Almost makes me want to join their party – willing to negotiate with the Government is a good point. Which means they are capable of listening to diverse views and synthesise which is not a very good trait of the pioneering Greens thought they balance this with guts and grassroots action and idealism.



Transcript in due course www.ten.com.au/meetthepress , www.myspace.com/meetthepeople





7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -



Good original footage of the campaign trail, Wacky Races cartoon theme. Cute footage toe to toe friendly joshing with Peter Costello and Mark Riley. Worm jokes. Dog jokes, Mutley.


Amusing segue to Q&A. 4 items of gravity … health education climate change and work choices.


Awarded 1st week to the coalition. Rudd pulled back ground with own tax policy. Next 5 weeks health education climate change and work choices.


“All for democracy, we are not getting that” is the profound spontaneous quote of classy Mark Riley. A man with some real guts.






7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -

Good original footage of the campaign trail, Wacky Races cartoon theme. Cute footage toe to toe friendly joshing with Peter Costello and Mark Riley. Worm jokes. Dog jokes, Mutley.

Amusing segue to Q&A. 4 items of gravity … health education climate change and work choices.

Awarded 1st week to the coalition. Rudd pulled back ground with own tax policy. Next 5 weeks health education climate change and work choices.

“All for democracy, we are not getting that” is the profound spontaneous quote of classy Mark Riley. A man with some real guts.



Insiders 2


Tax intro, Govt small improve in polls. Costello is talent – 91% identical copy by ALP. Can complain difference. Left out key reform elements.


Says when PC and Howard not there, who will they copy? Eye glazing threshold and distributional table information. Technical argument – about how the machine works best.


Costello clownish ridicule and glass eye with tired mask – not very credible leadership image. More vaudeville characterization – no wonder he is not preferred – seeing national politics as a game when peoples lives are in the balance. Sad stuff really. At least the ALP economics team are honest tryers who will learn and improve, not gotcha merchants?


Costello is sounding sulky. Cassidy debates, and cut in on each other.


Interest rates – Costello claims virtue of independent structure, won’t speculate re rise 3 weeks out.


Unions role essentially over? No, be voluntary. 50% unionization under Hawke, 15% now in private sector.


Union history of front bench of ALP. Errors in govt advert shows ideology of the attack?


Long long interview but still quite good tv, Costello fudges Dick Pratt corporate criminal as president of Carlton football club.


Panel of heavy politik reporters Fran Kelly, Mal Farr, Andrew Bolt.




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


Sunday 9


Advert – worm returns on 60 Minutes. Yeah.


Qld marginals feature to come.


Interview Laurie Oakes with Shadow Treasurer Wayne Swan. Union member never an official.


Great interview really, some needle but mostly collaborative tone in the sense of getting the information across like


-         2005 policy to flatten tax structure so 2/3 of Costello tax package last Monday was ‘copy’ but wisely WS won’t get into school yard squabble.

-         Not a fist full of dollars like the govt to make incentive [but airbrushes the real politik of imperative to avoid winners/losers upward envy attack as per schools funding debate in 2004]

-         Goes quite smoothly on diverse aspects, but Swan still presents overloaded rhetoric. Need to take seriously he is Australian Treasurer with gravitas and distinguish with Costello ideological rubbish, yet maintain that fast minded capacity for riposte. Only stick to substance not cheap rhetoric – stable, steady, logical is the vibe people need in treasury.

-         Head to head with Paul Kelly on Insiders, and Andrew OKeefe on 7 on the Kokoda Track (found very nostalgic and moving “carnival of green” exactly right poetry there AK).


Feature on ‘deep/forgotten North’ rare 3 cornered contest in Leichhardt.. Untenable for Katter to stay in a major party “as a human being”.Talk about combantrin de worming approach.


Ethanol politiks – environmentally arguable as per that West Wing episode, Brazil being doing it for 30 years, as well as destruction of the Amazon.


 - Second feature on seat of Moreton in Brisbane with Liberal Gary Hardgrave. Conservative vox pops. Undercurrent of Hansonism re West African refugee restriction.


- Seat of Blair. Transport issues. Goodna bypass unity ticket with State Liberals.


- damning vox pops in Mal Brough's seat but loyal to him, not Howard. How resolute to vote for Kevin in these other seats?







Posted by editor at 10:35 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 21 October 2007 12:36 PM NZT
Saturday, 20 October 2007
Granny Smith pioneer orchardist, Olive at 108 on the web, or Exclusive Brethren style brain dead women?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: election Oz 2007


John Howard is doing grassroots electioneering at the Granny Smith Festival based around the Field of Mars, now known as Marsfield/Eastwood area of Northern Sydney.

This writer has distant relatives from the Eric McLoughlin side of the family based in Eastwood so we wonder about attending. But duty calls in the Blue Mountains this temperate Saturday, forecast for 23 degrees on the coast.

But what most alarms us is the family and social dimension celebrating a famous Granny Smith variety of apple and female agriculturalist pioneer Maria Ann Sherwood, in the area, led by PM John Howard who also just happens to support the ultra right wing stifling oppressive Exclusive Brethren.

Here is a description of Granny Smith from Ryde Local Council website:

"He interviewed local fruit-grower Edwin Small who recalled that in 1868 he and his father had been invited by Maria to examine a seedling apple growing by a creek on her farm. She explained that the seedling had developed from the remains of some French crab apples grown in Tasmania. The Granny Smith is today recognised as a fixed mutation or 'sport'."

Such an initiative is not what you get when you brainwash female children and keep them cocooned away from modern educational technology in case they get ideas and become harder to control in a quasi slave business/religous cult.

Take for instance the remarkable 108 year old YouTube Star, Olive who embraces the modern technology denied Australian female citizens in the so called 'lawful' Exclusive Brethren, who have their base in the boundaries of the seat of Bennelong and the blessing of current PM John Howard, and implicated in electoral fraud.

That to us is appalling hypocrisy. Howard would never allow his own daugher and qualified lawyer Melanie Howard to be oppressed the way his barrackers in the Exclusive Brethren actively do.

Granny Smith may well be rolling in her grave, and Olive too would be disgusted if she could be bothered. It is exactly this kind of subtle double standard that causes colleagues and enemies alike to refer to John Howard as a cunning "rodent".

We simply say this ultra right PM is not fit to govern for actively colluding in the systemitised oppression of young Australian women in the Exclusive Brethren cult.

Much like PM Howard wants to be mates with big donor Dick Pratt while many see him as a confessed corporate criminal who should be in gaol. And just like John Howard says he is a climate change realist while actively sabotaging the Kyoto protocol, just as he delivers bucketloads of extinguishment of native title but supports reconciliation. As if.

If the Big Media allow Howard to be re elected it will be a shameful tragedy for this country.

Posted by editor at 10:45 AM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007 11:31 AM NZT
Friday, 19 October 2007
Hunger strike by the Aminovs
Mood:  sad
Topic: human rights


Our correspondent writes: Attached is a photo from the hunger strike staged by Aminovs family outside Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) yesterday. The Aminovs decided to take the matter further and will go on a day of hunger strike outside PM's house this coming Sunday. The hunger strike will start 10 am - 4 pm, outside Kiribilli house, Sunday 21 October 07.  
There demands are:
1. Speed up the process of the visa, on highly humanitarian basis Or,  Grant them humanitarian visa instead of parents visa.
2- Issue them a photo ID to enable them to move more freely and comfortably.
3- Allow them to access Medicare services (on humanitarian grounds) and other basic settlements services (English classess...).
They will be joined by few friends and other long time similar case/s.
Please come along for solidarity and to protest the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers by Howard's governement

Posted by editor at 1:53 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007 2:02 PM NZT
Thursday, 18 October 2007
Here comes the union 'bogey' half truth after asbestos, defo law reform
Mood:  mischievious
Topic: election Oz 2007
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As our letter published on crikey.com.au earlier this year pointed out, union membership may be down, but unions are like doctors who you hope will put themselves out of business for preventative good health. But as we know doctors remain in demand. In the parallel union case if we had a preventative fair industrial relations structure unions would be redundant too, yet they remain in demand and as we also know workers do still get ripped off.

Membership of 17% in unions is hardly the end of the matter. We are nominal member of the leftish Australian Services Union. We abhor the right wing logger union. We notice plenty of free riders on the historical value of unions.

But we thank God and the Australian democracy and the ACTU's former secretary now candidate Greg Combet, activist Bernie Bantam and union lawyers for forcing both sides of politics, the legal industry and parliaments state and federal to address the industrial mass murder of asbestos victims.

Asbestos that roofs some old huts at the Addison Rd Community Centre today in Marrickville, that was an immigrant centre before that, and a Vietnam War marshalling barracks before that, and a WW2 base before that. That's in most buildings built before perhaps 1980.

Left, right, brown, green, young, old, boss, and worker all exposed to the dangerous stuff, and still today but with much greater care and management. 

Rudd is already on record pointing to the asbestos precedent. We point to the silver lining of reform of national defamation laws: Opposed for quite a while by Phillip Ruddock as federal AG, forced to it by NSW AG Bob Debus, in turn forced to it by the NSW Labor Council in their targetting of James Hardie corporation, after Bob Carr's stupid govt waved through JH fraudulent offshoring through a NSW Supreme Court proceedings.

That was the union structure at their best, when things were at their worst for all Australians. 

Say it long and loud: If unions didn't exist it would be necessary to invent them. We sledge union bosses here at times, we love them too in regular measure.  

As Senator Penny Wong, who we met once in Kim Yeadon's office as Forest Minister in NSW in the mid 90ies, might have said in her otherwise smooth compelling interview with Fran Kelly just now - unionism as a smear is a deceptive half truth. We also lobbied now Shadow Minister Wong 12 years agon on unauthorised logging in the identified Deua Wilderness on the NSW South Coast in breach of the ALP 1995 election platform. She took that on board as we recall it.

A half truth, just like James Hardie are guilty as sin of industrial mass murder, but also supported by those same union enemies to trade on and as successfully as possible ... to secure that $4B welfare fund for victims.

Howard/Costello half truths are not a good way to run a country, so let's hear them praise the role of the unions on asbestos. That would be sound leadership, election phase or not. Nor is it sufficient for Costello to denounce Carr on the James Hardie corporate restructure legal trickery. Costello must denounce James Hardie in his own corporate cheer squad if he is to have credibility on other matters like the role of unionism, which to us is akin to the Aussie value of mateship only formalised. It's real moral leadership when you know it's your mates who have done wrong, and that goes for both union or business.

So how many of the Rudd election line up are from diverse walks of life too? That would be a measured characterisation, not least the leader who demands the right to appoint his cabinet, unlike previous situations.

And on the timing of this approach of the Howard Costello election team - their tax policy demand was due midday today Wednesday, a bluff turned to fluff, so they've turned literally vaudeville to mask that big climb down.

An ALP election tax policy is said to be essential to a proposed debate on pay tv, not free to air networks so far, this Sunday 21st October 07. I wonder if Rudd will send that kid from the ALP aligned Climate Institute advert to the debate on Sunday as his proxy until we get 3 fair dinkum debates in true democratic tradition? The innocent kid's accussing eyes would be some juxtaposition, and devastating tv, but hard to imagine 90 minutes worth.


But we wonder too given Howard's support for the Exclusive Brethren when he wouldn't for a minute let his own lawyer daughter Melanie be so oppressed by such as this disgusting 'sect'. Melanie who stood on the victory podium with him his whole now shrinking prime ministerial career.

It's starting to look like the big doughnut election campaign to us here, empty in the middle, a tumbleweeds kind of policy ghost town, where milky bar kid Rudd rides like an early Clint Eastwood spaghetti western into town with his shiny tax policy to find the place ...devoid of varmints of any real serious threat, already on boot hill having self destructed in the vaudeville saloon after all that fire water labelled TAX 40% proof, and UNIONS  xxx with suitable death's head.

Where's the fun in that?

Posted by editor at 9:46 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 18 October 2007 11:30 AM NZT

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