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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 18 November 2007
Sunday political talkies: Rupert/Hartigan let loose their editors' discretion in the last week
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: election Oz 2007



Picture: Sculpture by the Sea, ends today Sunday November 18th 2007. The electorate is  not so much blinded as blue like the giant blue man here about dangerous climate change threat looking one way while the govt and big business represented by the pleasure cruiser (with follower) steams ahead 'the wrong way'. Blue as in depressing.





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

 - Incredible theme of dangerous climate change concern, perhaps metaphorically symbolised by the Sculpture by the sea above, blue man and people looking one way, the turbo liesure cruiser and follower going the 'wrong way' on energy policy:

- Fabulous half page colour advert in The Australian shown in penultimate post, paid for by The Wilderness Society.


- Fair bit on regional rorts on quality media as per National Audit Office


- Cricket national radio coverage will have zoned out alot of the voting public reprising a Garrett quote - sport is the opiate of the masses while big companies rip the guts out of the planet. Howard knows that too, ever the sportsman and big company sell out.

- national launch speeches on abc tv prime time. Didn't bother watching either as tedious rhetoric. Both did "well" by press reaction but the ALP is defending a structural lead.


- commentators note Insiders pissed with Rudd 'who prefers Rove' or is it posturing so Rudd turns up?


- Marian Wilkinson, serious, talented, sticks by George Newhouse campaign last Friday in Sydney Morning Herald noting ALP "doubling" efforts.


- lots of attack adverts on unions on commercial free to air. Also noticed a few flyers in Wentworth beachside suburbs - Labor 'can't manage money' vibe based on States debt but ignores reality of Commonwealth disproportionate financial resource.


- Last quarter of football match metaphor of Rudd and to don't let up at all.


Picture: Rudd supporters coincidentally (really) drop by our information stall about forests, raising the implication with the polls in the major Sunday press next day favouring their side, that the public are indeed thinking of Kevin 'the cuddly koala' this weekend, but will they next weekend when it counts? And given ALP support for the pulp mill, is it even justified the weekend before? ALP too slick for their own good?







10 Meet the Press


Steven Smith looked hard worked. Good line about Howard experience led to climate Iraq water non policies.


Tuned out on other work for rest of it, but mostly standard rhetoric.


Nicholson animation about excessive bidding on Kirribili House thow in Harbour Bridge con artistry. Funny, sad all in one.


Get Up advert about fearmonngering in empty box.


Second half with panel Steve Lewis, Jennifer Hewitt both of News Ltd, tabloid, broadsheet respectively both sharp and tough.




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



Myspace web address: www.myspace.com/meetthepeople




7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -


 Missed start but Gene Wilder side kick afro american comedy artist buying votes theme like Nicholson animation on MTP. Funny. Long Q & A with Mark Riley but deferred to 9 early coverage of politics especially Greenwood feature on Rupert Murdoch interview.


New attack ad re Howard on diverse stuff "won't" but "will" build reactors at 9.15 am.








Insiders 2



Laurie Oakes on 9 with treasurer set against intro by Cassidy:  Final show before election: ALP looking at historic lead.


Grumpy BC notes Julia Gillard as stand in, Rudd won't appear first leader in 3 elections.


Gillard against Treasurer on 9 in the ratings at 9.10 am. Looking very goomed and hard worked too.


Gillard uses union slang - "chop out" ie to help a MUA campaign back in waterfront days of lawyer Josh Borshman, a good friend.


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





Sunday 9


 Pre 9 am Peter Van Onselan (spelling wrong) and quick talker ALP snot nose like out of West Wing from Qld on political panel.


 Ross Greenwood has brief footage of Rupert Murdoch in Australia saying Australian's too highly taxed (which is why we are actually fairer and more stable you nitwit), both sides of politics are making people too dependent on the state which means less aspirational , and commercially no difference obvious between ALP and Coalition, which in itself damages Howard's case really.


Longer sit down with John Hartigan of News Ltd. - look to their website for transcript probably - upshot is that nationally News Ltd will play it 'straight' - no leaning on editors who will exercise their own readership discretion. That is agnostic.


Given that News Ltd is notoriously conservative this shows that Rudd is very conservative and also that Howard has lots of traditional advantage and thus the green light to News Ltd papers to editorialise for Rudd.

Laurie Oakes on 9 with treasurer set against intro by Cassidy.  Peter Costello looking upbeat, maybe lost a bit of weight too. 


Gillard against Treasurer on 9 in the ratings at 9.10 am.


Oakes bowls up toughie about hospitals boards not in the Govt costings. PC sledges Rudd not following schedule of Budget Honesty - is it true?


Laurie gets very riled about differentials on Julia Gillard as union lawyer when PC was a bosses lawyer.


Feature on flight safety in south east asia


Feature about corruption implied in Victorian Police involing "people's lives".






Posted by editor at 8:45 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007 7:43 AM EADT
Uh oh, email facility goes dodo as summer heat suggests bushfire politics
Mood:  hug me
Topic: independent media


Picture: Oxford St Paddington, heart of Wentworth electorate 7 hours yesterday, opposite the busy Saturday market set up in front of St George Bank, not trading perhaps due to the recent interest rate hike? 



We were out yesterday doing what we do (Christian Kerr calls it “skulduggery”) and on return found there were no invitations in our email for “growth” of a wedding tackle kind, or “Want to u love” from cosmopolitan types. No spam, no nuthin. Not even the 15 Green Party media releases you might expect with 6 days to go until the election. Mmm.


“WTF?” we thought, not again after yesterday’s blank Blog greeted us as bare as a baby’s backside. We got the website front page back after a snotty blog post (RSS feed to malcontent?) and some judicious queries to the Lycos folks over in the USA (server upgrade glitch?).


We had over 400 page views yesterday. That’s unusually high in fact.


Funny how the clunks, glitches, airbrush gremlins all happen one weekend before the election on a community media micro news website. Mmm.




Our last email before before we lost transmission of any electoral significance was this:


Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 12:29 PM

Subject: Re: [chipstop] Woodchip company power plant may supply Eden area


The politics of this relate to the season - summer season. It's mid November. We all know what's coming. When the bush burns SEFE will point to that 'lost opportunity' literally 'up in smoke'.

It's mad enough to work for a stupid ALP state or federal take your pick. No one seems to get that it's this exact kind of logging that has dried out whole landscapes inviting huge bushfires through lost humid climates under the canopy (or what's left of it), let alone destroyed water supply.

More here:

bushfire science

It might also be a PR trap for the greens etc. As soon as you complain they will say ... you prefer to see it burn in a bushfire. Cheap but redneck effective among quite a few voters.

And who knows who will light a fire between now and 24th November voting day!

Remember on the mega fires in California the mailbag to Australian 60 Minutes follwoing week about 3 weeks ago, was all about not climate change which was the actual premise of the story ....but greenies stopping logging to stop such big fires. That is the logger industry got all over it with their letters in denial. Peter Harvey was sceptical but he read out the feedback all the same.

So my strong recommendation is to shift focus - Go for woodchipping causes mega bushfires angle. Or go for climate change causes mega fires, and saving forests is the best way for carbon storage and strong bushfire prevention resources. You could use the diagrams on the web link there about destroyed humidity. Or at the least think very carefully about the PR dynamic.

Cochrane was surely enough boosting a redneck agenda on World Today re horses in Kosciuszko NP yesterday here (for similar reasons - its the election season):

Critics fear brumby removal plan threatens Kosciuszko tradition

The brumby is part of Australia's high country history, inspiring poems and legends. But growing numbers of the wild horses have forced the National Parks and Wildlife Service to come up with a new plan to control them in the Kosciuszko National Park. Some are opposed to the plan, believing the service's aim is to eventually rid the park of the horses altogether.

Yours truly, Tom McLoughlin.

----- Original Message -----


Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 11:15 AM

Subject: [chipstop] Woodchip company power plant may supply Eden area


Hi greenies
This is
The chipmill has been putting out hints for some time now that they are heading this way. They see the writing on the wall for woodchips (largely due to exchange rate problems, not environmental; Aus woodchips are priced in $A)  and they see their future burning forests and calling in clean, renewable, green energy.
They look like they are getting their foot in the door with pine, but that will get them their infrastructure and their markets stitched up and next step native forests. It is quite disastrous. We have seen this coming but nobody has taken it seriously. I fear it has even been encouraged by some clean energy campaigners, so that makes it harder.

Woodchip company power plant may supply Eden area

ABC Regional
Posted November 16, 2007 08:34:00
Updated November 16, 2007 08:33:00

The New South Wales far south coast's woodchip plant could soon become an important producer of electricity for the region.

South-East Fibre Exports has outlined plans to build a multi-million dollar generating plant at its mill near Eden, using waste products from its chipping operations.

The plant will run in conjunction with a new softwood chipping line soon to be installed.

The company's spokesman, Vince Phillips, says the electricity plant will not only power the mill, but also the surrounding districts.

"We think we can produce something like four megawatts of power here and we need about half that, so we would think the other half would go back into the grid," he said.

"From what understand about what happens in Eden, that would make a pretty significant dent in the general day-to-day power consumption of the Eden township areas.

"We'd certainly be hoping it goes back into Eden.

"We've been in Eden 40 years and it would be a great thing if Eden and us ... went into partnership on this."

electricity-energy-and-utilities, forests, bega-2550, eden-2551



We think the gremlin issue is unconnected but who really knows. Here are the critical diagrams showing how the unrestrained woodchipping turns our wonderful natural heritage into mega fire prone land scapes, and yes including in wet old Tasmania eventually: 




Which reminds us of this wet old growth forest pictured in The Australian half pager yesterday. Humbling isn't it? This is the forest the woodchippers have excelled in killing, along with the water cycle and humid canopy this last 40 years hand in glove with the major parties, ALP and Coalition. Disgusting isn't it?

It's this mentality that leads younger generations like our mate Dylan from Turrella's Mekanarchy (also seen in the SMH recently) to make apocalyptic sculptures like this at 'Sculpture by the Sea' (last day today 18th Nov 07):

And for the world's thinking people to notice how Kyoto has been junked by the institutions of power in Australia and the USA. What hope is there really? Not much is our depressing view.




Posted by editor at 6:32 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 18 November 2007 7:03 AM EADT
Friday, 16 November 2007
Wentworth: Local Greens ideological alliance with the ALP may still be best default outcome for our ecology
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

Who can say whether the Greens have done the right thing tactically or in principle as regards the alleged split with their national parliamentary leader Bob Brown in the press today (front page no less Sydney Morning Herald)?:

Greens caught up in the Newhouse net

Trouble ... George Newhouse's nomination may be invalid. THE Greens have split over the controversy surrounding the Labor candidate for Wentworth, George Newhouse, as they fight off accusations of hypocrisy and betrayal.

We have thought deeply about this as it's this writer's vocational core business of ecology action. We decided it would take the wisdom of Solomon which we don't have but do aspire to, to know if it's a wise approach. 

Thus we have decided to remain agnostic about this state of affairs in the Eastern Suburbs Greens known to us for over 7 years after breaking the story here on SAM months back about the strangely very, very early preference deal to George Newhouse of pro pulp mill brand ALP: 

Greens in Wentworth release their preferences very early (14th August 07)

Strange because it crueled any negotiation power over policy like opposition to the pulp mill when it counted pre approval. And isn't that what elections are supposed to be about? Policy?

This writer has an informed opinion having been the Greens candidate in Wentworth in 1998 with a humble 5% vote - at least we got the parties roughly $500 or so bond back. We are now non aligned a good 7 years now when our membership lapsed (knowingly) in 2000.

We remain agnostic because time will tell whether the green (ie ecological action) in Green will best be served by a Newhouse victory. Factors to weigh up in the moral calculation from a vocational green community media activist perspective include:

1. In our judgement Howard has a covert agenda for nuclear weapons, not just reactors. It works like this - USA pressures Iran, and maybe even invades one day. Iran may or may not declare nuclear weapon capacity. North Korea already has them. The USA seeks to boost its military industrial complex in the JK Galbraith sense by turning Australia into a link not only in it's Star Wars 'defence shield' (which doubles as a first strike pre emption device) but also with nuke weapons on 'aircraft carrier Australia'.

This is a recipe for a nuclear apocalypse via weapons proliferation, goodbye ecology, with Australia under ideological hawk Howard playing a serious role in the end of the world in shorter rather than longer term.

2. On another serious ecological policy problem Newhouse "accepts" the criminal pulp mill in Tasmania. This was always going to be the case under the pro logger/woodchipper CFMEU controlled national executive ALP policy on natural heritage me toosim of Howard. That's the price to be an endorsed candidate (Mayor Pearce now MP paid same to get endorsement for seat of Coogee after the Olympic stadium on Bondi Beach Affair of 2000). We know George having spent possibly as much time with him at interminable Council meetings for 4 years as maybe he did with his family. We know enough of his character that in his heart he supported closure of the very controversial dioxin producing Waterloo Incinerator. We noted when and when he didn't vote, how soft or sharp. He is of a certain younger generation and greener tinge but the NSW ALP is not.

3. The role of the leftish/centre ALP branches like Waverley is to deliver progressive votes to the dinosaur Big Business Right of the ALP party that could never hope to get them in a naturally indepedent milieu (like State seat of Manly for so many years). This is why George and his professonal friends in the Eastern Suburbs Greens are dupes of that cyncial vandalistic ALP machine by throwing in their lot with Sussex St, when they could take the truly independent road and build a true community voice. That was how I did my politics for 4 years there as Chair of the Environment Committee, ex officio co director of the Incinerator I helped close, member of the Finance Committee, and Bondi Beach Ward councillor, and also how I ended up with the numbers to be the Mayor that George did in fact become. We preferred to retire than be so harnessed, preferring freedom from Party and Local Govt hackles. Those interminable meetings. It was that rock the Greens built on with the tripling of Green Party councillor representation in Sept 1999 elections. I was the pioneer which was built in turn on my work with The Wilderness Society 92-95. But these Greens haven't learned the value of fair dinkum independence as one can read front page of the Herald today.

4. So on domestic ecological policy Newhouse is crueled and captured but trending to green personally. On covert policy he at least is no Howard barracker for nuke weapons proliferation or Iraq wars.

5. Will Wentworth help decide the government? It might but unlikely. But an early preference approval can also play a role in building momentum for a broader campaign of removal of the Howard led govt. And it's perhaps this cranking of the early momentum with the 'moral' vote of approval for Newhouse as brand ALP so far out that was important in regime change in Australia. We think the motives of the Eastern Suburbs Greens (including Rhiannon and Kaye MP as their local group) are likely ideological and narrow socialist (like faith in public ownership of everything it seems) rather than ecological in calculation. But the preferencing of Newhouse so early might well be the right one by default for the ecology.

However it would be quite foolish to think that local Green Party group are deeply motivated by ecological concerns. We didn't observe that in 6 years membership after 3 years with The Wilderness Society, the last 2 as State Campaign Coordinator leading to the election of the Carr Govt in March 1995.

To such people climate change, like forest to Carr back then, were an expedient wedge of the Liberals from the Nationals Coalition. But history tells us neither the ALP or some opportunists in the Green Party are commited to ecological sustainability. They are committed to their own political career first and foremost. That's the brutal truth, and that's why this writer got out. To save our sanity upon realising Green was not really green in 2000 in NSW.

Now it's mostly a moot point because climate change is such a scary reality everyone is coming back to the real green position of "ecology action" just as the national Green party slogan is "Green Action" pictured above. Gotta love that.


Feedback and response

A long time writer, researcher, campaigner writes:

Sent: Friday, November 16, 2007 10:42 AM
Subject: Re: Wentworth

tom you use the word 'crueled' in this piece below. methinks you
might mean corralled, which essentially means herded into an enclosure.
yours in the interest of clearer communication
with respect

ps. seems newhouse's campaign might have gone off the rails for the
moment, or so he's behaving that way (having, it seems gone to
ground). i'm not sure i'd say wentworth is a defining electorate.
it'll still be the outer metro marginals, although i suspect there'll
be a few surprises: seats considered safe will likely become marginal.

[I actually meant cruelled. But thanks for the feedback. ALP definitely
corrals their endorsed candidates but in this case it would be highly
popular for Newhouse to oppose the pulp mill and he would like to I don't doubt
it, but he can't for Tas election purposes and nasty Oconnor on the national
executive. The Waverley Council and him specifically has voted symbolically
against destruction of forests. So the ALP have in fact cruelled his natural
leanings. If he was a redneck (and there have been some ALP rednecks at
Waverley (like Norman Lee RIP, father of Ben Lee) then there would be no way
to justify the Greens preference to him.

Cheers Tom.]


Postscript #1

To give Senator Kerry Nettle of The Greens her due they are punishing Turnbull in the week it counts here:

Sydney pulp mill protest at Malcolm Turnbull's office

Who: Greens Senator Kerry Nettle and Greens members and supporters

What: Sydney pulp mill protest part of day of action on pulp mill, with
protests from London to Hobart.

When: 1 PM, Saturday, November 17, 2007

Where: Office of Malcolm Turnbull, 5 Bronte Road, Bondi Junction.

For more information: Damien Lawson 0419 253 342

PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: "No Pulp Mill" triangles in front of Minister for the
Environment's office.

Help retire John Howard by volunteering to help the Greens  at
Kristian Bolwell
Office of Greens Senator for NSW Kerry Nettle
T:(02) 96902038
F:(02) 96902041


Posted by editor at 7:23 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 17 November 2007 7:05 AM EADT
Wentworth candidate Ecuyer strengthens her independent credentials
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: election Oz 2007
Direct lift from Dani Ecuyer website follows, and we note this was always the safest course given Ms Ecuyer would have been unlikely to staff all polling booths. But she is a quality candidate as is the Greens' Jarnason. Contrary to Overington's now infamous emails we think neither Turnbull or Newhouse are worth their salt when it comes to protecting our ecological future. 
November 15th, 2007
Dani Ecuyer is announcing that as a true independent, who is standing on a 'Climate Change and anti pulp mill ticket", will split preference. Ms Ecuyer says "that she was always standing to give the constituents of Wentworth a chance to make a concern or protest vote. Voters can send a strong message to the major parties that  they want immediate positive policy action on Climate Change solutions and approving the pulp mill is not acceptable, to combat Climate Change.
Ms Ecuyer has preferenced the Greens, the Democrats and the Climate Change Coalition ahead of either the major parties. She is preferencing the Greens in the Senate.
However, Ms Ecuyer says "all voters to must seriously consider that only one party has agreed to ratify Kyoto, the Labor Party. It is imperative that Australia is at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at the Bali meeting in December. Voters who make the choice and want action on Climate Change should therefore preference Labor."
Meanwhile the press today really ramps up the public alarm, including this gutsy business figure from the property sector:
Meanwhile a section of the Big Meeja (you can guess) have gone gone to vaudeville to strangle a damning story about the rorting of a $400M regional grants fund. The Herald and the Australian give it front page treatment (the latter unduly small).  But the Daily Telegraph in Sydney prefer to reprise their beat up of Mark Latham's $535K house near Camden (which fizzled because it was a patently bogus angle).
Instead they target the digs of unionist now candidate Greg Combet as here:


Posted by editor at 6:51 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007 9:00 AM EADT
Thursday, 15 November 2007
Sydney Uni finds its voice finally on complaint re freedom of community media on campus
Mood:  sharp
Topic: independent media


What a coincidence. About 2 weeks ago we were contacted by an officer of the NSW Ombudsman's office. They wanted to action my complaint of early May 2007 regarding this: 

SAM reporter harrassed, evicted 'indefinitely' from Sydney University campus for reporting student public education rally
Mood:  down
Topic: independent media

Notice the CC to "Mr Richard Fisher, General Counsel" for the University. Looks like the heat of a potential adverse finding by the NSW Ombudsman's office may well be in the offing. And so it should be.

We are wondering how to respond to VC Gavin Brown's man above. Something about a confidential settlement based on this media and legal practitioner:

- having to waste several hours packaging up material and evidence applying our legal know how on correspondence in order to have our matter considered by the Ombudsman, in order to have our public licence reinstated to attend the campus as a law abiding member of the public with a valid interest.

- And then there is the matter of the inconvenience and embarrassment of having been blacklisted for a good 6 months including several public events and exhibitions we would have liked to participate in as a comunity media practitioner and or private citizen.

- Some might say a wrongful termination of licence to attend the campus was akin to defamation of good character; and of course

- The emotional injury of being surrounded and stood over by 4 intimidating security staff who didn't like their picture being taken as they harrassed students supporting a public education rally. That's akin to an assault and I did really think they were capable of the wrongful detention they did in fact threaten to carry out.

Still we are glad to have finally achieved some engagement from the hallowed sandstone towers of Sydney's pre-eminent university.

But will the public licence to attend the campus for lawful reasons be reinstated? Will there be compensation for our injuries? Well one wonders. Perhaps Mr Richard Fisher will have a constructive opinion about that?

Posted by editor at 1:06 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007 2:47 PM EADT
Media wrap federal election with 9 days to go
Mood:  party time!
Topic: election Oz 2007
As we prepare to do our community media reportage duty today we received Big Mal's newsletter in the seat of Wentworth where he suddenly is less Liberal blue and more green tinted:
However long experience has taught us some are greener than others. Like rival candidates Sue Jarnason,

and we believe so far despite sledging to the contrary Dani Ecuyer.

Apparently acording to Mirandia Devine the progressives including Ecuyer don't have a sense of humour anymore but we beg to differ as our collage of climate related politiking Big Meeja stories indicates: 


Body surfing candidates, fluffy polar bears, and the 'funniest' of all, guilty advertising executives urging us to go green after flogging consumerism their whole working life. Now that's funny up there with Henry Kissinger getting the Nobel Peace prize after blessing Operation Condor to kill his political rivals. 

But the truth is not very funny, in fact it's very grim. So grim the Big Media are getting it, despite their overpaid wages, and personal hyper consumption lifestyles:

Notice in The Australian yesterday a story about crashing extinctions, and also in the Sydney Morning Herald re running melt water high and deep in Antarctica threatening to slip stream massive ice floes into the ocean and clear ice (different it seems to snow pack or other frosted ice). That continent is changing. Similarly notice the story in the Daily Telegraph today (sounding worried actually) re melt allowing resource access to Antarctica … for oil, God forbid. Which itself echoes the quite mad interest in distilling oil from the huge resource of tar sands in Canada (but also mid west USA) - said to be more than all of the oil in Saudi Arabia, Venezeula and Nigeria combined to really cook us all. Again God forbid.

And then these other prominent science stories (noted via the Ecuyer website):

Marian Wilkinson from the Sydney Morning Herald reports that
"Graeme Pearman, the former head of CSIRO's atmospheric research unit, yesterday released a report showing that evidence of global warming has dramatically increased in the past 12 months."

"Greenhouse emissions are rising faster than the worst-case IPCC scenarios," Dr Pearman said.

Ms Wilkinson also  states that the 4th report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be released this weekend. "The panel's report will be released on Saturday in Spain at a meeting attended by the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and is expected to carry a dire warning that without urgent action over the next five to 10 years, the world's leaders risk climate change accelerating at dangerous levels. The head of the UN climate negotiations warned this week that failure to recognise the urgency of the warnings "would be nothing less than criminally irresponsible".

We know its unfashionable but we feel we are well on the way to a crunching endgame much like a 4WD on a hill that slips a gear or depresses the clutch at the start of the slope - slow to start but then the momentum is exponential. This is Pearman’s implication in fact in the press today. It’s a horror really.

As for the other silly, cynical press today on the Wentworth contest. M Devine waxes lyrical about ad hominem attacks being bad and shallow and then indulges in plenty of it herself. Talk about scratch and bite within the sisterhood. Inconsistent, hypocritical, just plain whining? Her own colleague Murphy contradicts her rubbish earlier in the same edition:

  • The Stump: Maybe it was something she wrote
  • The front pager in the Tele is amusing (shown above - the one with the 'Truck of Truth') but more about trivialising an oh so serious contest and principles involved. As for The Oz today, their Media Section does exactly what they accused Media Watch of doing - going soft on one of their own: Previously it was alleged MW airbrush of ABC Brissenden’s misdemeanours over Costello dinner reportage, now it’s the Media Section today with nary a mention of their own Ms Overington indiscretions reported earlier this week (see for instance Murphy above).

    Cie la vie. Take care out there, it’s a dangerous game politics, and not a game at all really.

    Posted by editor at 11:50 AM EADT
    Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007 3:21 PM EADT
    Wednesday, 14 November 2007
    'YES let's mention the ($1.7 TRILLION) war' Hans Blix to Aussie voters
    Mood:  a-ok
    Topic: election Oz 2007

     [Direct lift below from Get Up organisation website, and we notice Bret Solomon of that organisation with a profile in the back section of the recent Boss 11/07 magazine of the Australian Financial Review - no mention of Bret's connection with ex Looksmart chief Evan Thornley now an ALP MP. Cute omission that as much as we like Get Up's work. This call by Blix is timely with the inevitable financial scandal of this so far $1.7 Trillion Iraq dollar war, a predictable financial tragedy via the military industrial complex according to giant USA political economist J K Galbraith.]

    Hans Blix Writes to GetUp Members

    Posted on the campaign blog , November 11th, 2007
    Whilst Hans Blix was in Sydney recently to accept the Sydney Peace Prize he caught up with GetUp's Executive Director, Brett Solomon.

    Brett Solomon and Hans Blix


    Dear GetUp members,

    I am pleased to have the opportunity to blog on your site.

    The sooner this chapter in Iraqi history is finished the better.

    I would like to reflect on the justifications for going to war. Firstly, the Americans, Australians and others went to destroy weapons of mass destruction that simply did not exist. They went in to create democracy, and so far they have come out with anarchy. And they invaded to eliminate Al Qaeda. They were not there, but Al Qaeda certainly came there after the occupation. I cannot see any success in this intervention except in getting rid of Saddam Hussein, who was a terrible dictator and a murderer.

    The UN and Security Council rightly refused to provide authorisation for an invasion that should not have taken place. That is to the credit of the Council. The US, UK, Australia and others by ignoring the council lost a great deal of legitimacy and it cost them quite a lot. How would we have viewed the UN Security Council today if they had authorised the war?

    We must solve conflicts by non-violent means. There was no excuse for going to war in 2003. Iraq was not threatening anybody and there was no urgency at all. The Coalition governments misled themselves and then they misled the world.

    I believe there now needs to be a timetable for withdrawal. A timetabled withdrawal is the only way to make the Iraqis feel that they own the problem themselves. Everybody understands that withdrawing all troops today could risk a civil war but ultimately the US must leave all together. To have a vague position from people even like Hillary and Obama is not productive. I am skeptical about the position of having a limited number of foreign troops remain.

    A national government in Iraq that is to govern with the support of the people can hardly have foreign troops in the country. If you have a timetable the various Iraqi groups will know that they are alone in the boat and they must steer it to a safe harbour. There is no guarantee that they will succeed. But lets not forget that the Iraqis are very capable people.

    For Australian soldiers in Iraq it is of course more than symbolic, but with 140,000 foreign troops overall, Australia’s contribution in Iraq is a symbolic one. Australian withdrawal would have no major impact on the security situation in Iraq.

    The West's involvement in the war in Iraq has made the West less safe. It has lead to encouragement of terrorism. Any attacks on civilians, like what happened to Louise Barry, is unacceptable. I think the most important thing that could be done to reduce terrorism is a settlement of the conflict in the Middle East.

    All of us can play a role in supporting the development of peace - whether you wave a flag, you put your vote somewhere or you write articles or even if you discuss it.

    It is good to have passion but it is equally important to understand reality. The Iraq war was based on a lack of understanding. They did not even want to know the reality. How can you have the right therapy if you don't have the right diagnosis?

    I encourage you to study. And it’s not that easy in a world where there is as much disinformation as there is information. We have to soak up as much information from different sources as possible.

    Many governments went ahead despite being aware of public opposition.
    In a democracy like the US, UK or Australia, it is entirely legitimate to demand that the government should pay attention to a broad opinion that is opposed to the war.

    I wish you and your campaign for a withdrawal from Iraq all the best.

    Best Wishes,
    Hans Blix


    Hans Blix was the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency from 1981-97. Blix was called back from retirement by Kofi Anan to lead the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission. The Coalition of the Willing's assertion of the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction was contradicted by Blix in the lead up to the invasion of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction have since been found and evidence of theie existence has been rejected as forgery. More information about Hans Blix can be found here.

    Posted by editor at 8:19 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007 8:38 AM EADT
    Tuesday, 13 November 2007
    The Oz has form on making 'the news' in Ecuyer imbroglio
    Mood:  silly
    Topic: election Oz 2007

    The Media Watch show last night was a real get square exercise. Two serious journos like Tim Palmer and Monica Attard were always going to take some swings on the way out of their last MW gig for 2007, and sure enough they aimed at sincere critics working for The Australian . The Oz has been quite embarrassed by MW hits over the last 12 months, while getting some good bites in return. For our money the broadsheet has mostly found itself in "doth protest too much" reaction mode in editorials as here.

    The MW thesis last night: Overington in alliance with Albrechtsen on the ABC Board (and both with The Australian newspaper) are biased pro Coalition political creatures, or at least pro Malcolm Turnbull in the seat of Wentworth contest.

    When combining the MW show with John Laws on Denton's Enough Rope following, where Laws virtually admitted

    1. The real power in Australia is The Big Media (we sort of knew that here at our humble "alternative" news blog - previously thinking it was The Law until we realised it was just shifting deck chairs);

    2. Laws evidently still doesn't get how he was corrupted by his own "power" leading to depression and Cash for Comment by pandering to his once target, the predatory banks (who still are)

    ...  it looks as if Overington (perhaps full of pride after her AWB expose Walkley accolades confronting Coalition Govt denials), has let similar power go to her head? To our eye she is caught red handed trying to make the news by urging a voter preference in Wentworth by candidate Ecuyer, echoing the 'player' style of colleague Glenn Milne also at The Oz. It's not enough to be a "reporter" it seems.

    By the way we tend to agree its valid news judgement that if candidate Ecuyer did decide to preference Turnbull it would be a front page story given the neck and neck polling, and good for Overington's career status. Preferencing Newhouse would also be newsworthy. The question is whether there was an inducement to so preference?

    The entertaining and indeed valid information in the MW episode was the email evidence of Overington's "please preference Malcolm" to justify that front page treatment. And also notable was Ecuyer's response that she was now very "wary" of such reporters. That's wise.

    This triggered a couple of memories about the record of The Oz. Firstly we recall the admission in print post Olympics in 2000 of their effective barracking to keep an ugly demountable volleyball stadium on Bondi Beach - by having a journo spruiking a petition to locals for exactly this - in the name of testing public opinion of course. Incredible breach of objectivity. Naturally locals scorned the petition.

    The more newsworthy and recent memory was this very brief response below by email from the pocket dynamo Ecuyer herself, to our unsolicited correspondence, and notice the bit in bold:

    ----- Original Message -----
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2007 9:06 PM
    Subject: re: Oz editorial today, Saffron Howden yesterday Telegraph, gossip re local cultural mafia

    Thanks Tom
     very interesting there is a lot of water to pass under the bridge, please keep me in the loop.

    From: "ecology action australia"

    Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 1:48 PM
    To: "WomenForChangeDE"

    Subject: Oz editorial today, Saffron Howden yesterday Telegraph, gossip re local cultural mafia

    You're quite a gutsy effective campaigner, and obviously will find this unnecessarily patronising too (!), and seem to have dodged a PR bullet this time, perhaps because high profile Reba Meagher is getting the blow torch at roughly the same time (?).
    Saffron Howden is very good value, impressed with the choice (?) of journo - daughter of Jocelyn Howden loyal Green Party staffer at Parliament at some stage, Maroota sand mining campaigner 45km north west of Sydney some years back.
    My intuition would be you remain on the News Ltd/Milne/Sydney Telegraph hit list for daring to challenge Big Mal former federal treasurer of the Liberal party organisation.  Look out too for Michael O'Conner of the national CFMEU. He is a vicious ruthless player as per this backgrounder on both his organisation and Catherine Murphy head of National Association of Forests (ex Howard staffer, formerly headed up by Robert Bain who then went to AMA national office - very dangerous campaigners against forests, and committed [deleted]):
    OConner by all accounts is still very chummy with Julia Gillard too.
    Lastly and perhaps most instructively:
    When I was an elected councillor there at Waverley, late 1995 the Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200511/s1498430.htm   was assassinated by an ultra right wing Jewish extremist. I wrote a diplomatic neutral (I thought) kind of letter (being an ambitious youngish bloke) to the main synagague in Bondi Junction expressing condolences to the community and the view that all those who support peace would be shocked and saddened at this turn of events. The reaction is instructive and also why George is a bit unusual in terms of the right wing of Jewish politics there, which frankly I gave up on, much as Antony Lowenstein seems to have from his own ethnic milieu:
    (I am legal tutor as a friendly solicitor to a disabled Jewish woman over there [name withheld] by the way)
    Perhaps 6 or 12 months later I heard some feedback to my letter:  That this letter was not really appreciated at all. The conclusion I took from all this was that the majority view in Sydney's Eastern suburbs Jewish Community was quite right wing, pro settler, pro expansion in the West Bank, quite likely anti Rabin. If not supporting the assasin, nor were they openly condemning. I think this is the Joe Gutnick view of the world for instance - a successful gold miner at some point with family ties in the area. Obviously there will be a spectrum of left to right, green to brown, in any ethnic group, but it shows the right wing leverage that Sally Betts will be promoting to curry favour with Mal Turnbull and the federal party regime by seeking to tap into any veins of ultra right stuff.
    By the way you may know of a quite popular Jewish tree planting group called Jewish National Fund, might be some green synergy there, although again it is implicated in West Bank annexations possibly. 
    Sally was always the most strategically determined and maybe effective warrior for the Liberal Party from my recollection. Hence no surprise she was in the story in the Australian earlier this week.
    Another subteranean dimension of eastern suburbs politics given you have returned from far away:
    Westfield is the heart and soul of retailing now, more a regional sized facility in a sub regional location, thus over sized, but it served the purposes of one Paul Keating as covert consultant to Lowy's mob 97-99 after Keating lost the 96 election. WBJ crushed the anti ALP Double Bay financial viability which shifted to the ALP dominated Bondi Junction, which used to be half Woollahra, half Waverley. I was the one who proposed a boundary redraw which went to Dept of Local Govt and they agreed so all BJ is now Waverley. It was basic logic but it couldn't happen until the Waterloo incinerator closed in 97 due in some part to moi, because each council owned half and needed to keep the diplomatic peace. Once it closed in 1997 there was no necessity to be mates with the conservative Woollahra council anymore, so the ALP went for their best asset.
    You're the kind of emancipated corporate business woman the conservative press want to hear from in the age of Rupert pro climate change action 'give the planet the benefit of the doubt' future. They sure don't want to hear from a deep ecology radical like me. Yacht Club luncheons indeed.
    As for patronising, I detect a very condescending tone in the tail of the Oz editorial today "well meaning". Thank heavens you and others are, rich or poor.
    Yours truly
    Tom McLoughlin, editor www.sydneyalternativemedia.com
    principal ecologyactionsydney


    The SAM editor also recalls talking to Ms Overington earlier this year urging her to take a role in the scandal of land clearing by the big grain growing industry here in NSW, especially after her effective probing of the AWB. She said it was unlikely her editor would allow her to spend time on it.

    Maybe. Or maybe it was the John Laws Effect, moth to the flame of more juicy power stories? I think we can say Overington burned her wings a bit on ABC tv last night.

    And here is a bit of pro bono legal advice - a journo can't offer front page PR inducements to influence a person's voting (read preferencing) intentions in a serious election contest. That would almost definitely be a criminal offence. So did Overington offer such a PR inducement to preference Turnbull or not? Could she even deliver such a front page?

    We offer no legal opinion about that. But we can see how it's a valid matter for investigation and consideration. Better get a lawyer Ms Overington, better get a real good one.


    Postscript #1 14th Nov 07: Two significant developments summarised in the links here:

    Firstly Emperor Rupert Murdoch in a visit to Adelaide refers to "discipline" for any staff member who meddles in preferencing in one of their newspaper's name. That's the sound of ominous thunder over Caroline Overington's head there: Emails explore reporter's own preferences, then turn nasty 

    Secondly a tricky legal attack on George Newhouse to protect Turnbull losing his grip on the seat seems to be underway front page of the Sydney Morning Herald: Legal blow to Labor bid for key seat. We treat this all with a grain of salt. My view Newhouse is at least competent enough to have lodged his resignation and its more a Coalition inspired smear to create doubt, similar to profiling his marital status.

    Posted by editor at 7:41 AM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007 8:47 AM EADT
    Monday, 12 November 2007
    No Laurie Oakes for 3 days? Ch9 tv news run Coalition campaign launch no. 5 at 6pm
    Mood:  don't ask
    Topic: election Oz 2007


    Mark Riley leads channel 7, 6pm prime time tv news with the Coalition campaign launch the top story.

    Channel 9 run the Government election launch at no.5. Really. Behind sundry other worthy but likely less impacting stories. At least we thought so.

    Here's hoping veteran Laurie Oakes is okay. A break in the middle of a tough 6 week campaign? He was absent channel 9 Sunday talkie show too. His last entry on his Oakes Report is 5 days old and his penultimate entry is ominously called The stayer strategy 

    It's a mystery. Is it possible the brutal Ch7 election night promo labelling the veterans like Oakes as boring has done him in? Surely not?

    The guy is an icon. And this writer is a sincere fan.


    Postscript #1: Laurie Oakes returned to the screen in Sydney Ch9 prime time news last night 13th Nov 07 as sharp and effective as ever, with even a bit of catch up footage of the Coalition launch the day before. Thus the Planet returns to orbital rhythm with the reappearance of the 'Sphere', and looking markedly slimmer than yesteryear.


    Posted by editor at 6:17 PM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007 8:11 AM EADT
    Take a bow Big Meeja bar one declining Gillard story with whiskers
    Mood:  a-ok
    Topic: election Oz 2007

    We noticed the Sunday nightly news disdain for the Glenn Milne "Shock confession" story trawling over aspiring Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard's ill fated private life some 15 years back. We think it might also effectively trespass on her obligations of solicitor client confidentiality so she can't answer back in full.

    The Big Media seem to know it's a beat up: So much so that Danielle Ecuyer (with her own News Ltd live blog no less) via barracker, err sorry reporter, Saffron Howden, has even cheekily run a tell all story today in the shadow of the Milne shemozzle arguably to avoid a similar beat up on her in the last week over the marginal seat of Wentworth. Her News Ltd blog looks very dignified and diplomatic stuff too. The woman has brains and guts and looks (and so does the reporter). No wonder people want to marry her (3 times it seems). Now we notice Ms Ecuyer has her own website as well courtesy of a 'friendly' picture story by Caroline Overington at the Oz (offline it seems).

    This morning we wrote this on a Sydney Indymedia string and notice the reference to Cobber Grattan/Fran Kelly there in point 4:

    Julia Gillard story most likely a beat up with whiskers

    There are some fatal problems from a sceptical point of view about this attack on Gillard on the front page of the Sunday Telegraph , and I apply some media and legal experience on this:

    1. If she did anything wrong chances are she would have been totally smashed professionally in the Victorian parliament working for the ALP there over 15 years back. Didn't happen. Only splashed 2 weeks out from a federal election. The timing looks crap as far as credibility goes.

    2. She might know lots about who really did what in the AWU including Wilson but there's one sticky problem - solicitor client confidentiality. You can't just go blabbing about your client's wrong doing. Our whole legal system is based on lawyers acting for clients. AND NOT BREACHING CONFIDENTIALITY. You could be struck off for that. And by definition clients sometimes need lawyers because they (the client) break the law.

    An aspect of this is the reported house purchase by the unionist. Unions buy property as a way of doing business. Of course they do. Just like they run super funds and invest members money. Yes solicitors need to be on their toes as to being compromised and positioned by sleazy operators, but here's the thing. The more idealistic one is the more you want to believe your client is a good person too. You want to even when you are actually disappointed by them ie mugged by reality. The crucial thing is to act once you do find out, or be an accessory after the fact. Go to point 3 for the question of being an accessory

    3. Which raises a whole new aspect - if she was in on any fraud chances are she would eventually have been struck off by the Victorian Law Society and lost her practising certificate, and likely all it would take would be a critic to lodge a complaint  eg the defrauded AWU or business operator or conservative politician and God knows they have plenty of lawyers in there (at least that's the process in NSW, then the LawSoc investigate).

    4. Michelle 'cobber' Grattan who is Melbourne based and renowned as a fair commentator reckons the story won't go on, saying to Fran Kelly on Radio National this morning, in Cobber's terms "it didn't get lift off yesterday" or similar. And she is right about that. I watched all 4 tv nightly news yesterday and only saw one oblique reference on SBS with Hockey slyly raising it to back off it, though 9 and 7 clashed a bit so hard to watch both clicking between both. Indeed I think we could in rare form congratulate the Big Media for some real integrity except of course for cipher Glenn Milne who ran the trash as news.

    5. It's quite well known in the precedents of Big Politics for lawyers to have had a few spills earlier in their career. Chief Justice Sir Garfield Barwick was a declared bankrupt at one point in his career, and then went on to be Attorney General for the Coalition side of politics and then Chief Judge of the High Court. He also used to publicly argue that paying taxes was a legal but not a moral obligation, while enjoying public health services, traffic lights and all the rest.

    Posted by editor at 2:49 PM EADT
    Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007 7:58 AM EADT

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