Media briefs after a restful weekend
Topic: aust govt
1. Imre and the Sunday press cover the $15B NSW power privatisation genuinely hanging in the balance. We think the sale is motivated by the wrong reasons - avoid the legacies of bad governance by pump priming cash injection into the political economy via asset sales, leaving the same bad governance when the money is gone. Stories here:
Power privatisation stand-off down to the wire | The Australian
Sparks fly in struggle over private power
We remain suspicious this impending spectacle of an internal ALP meltdown over wanton public asset fire sale was the PR imperative of a national summit diversion yesterday by PM Rudd. Because the sale income will crank the $5B truck tunnel etc in Sydney and allow Rudd to claim action on holy "infrastructure" even if it destroys city wide amenity and health.
1.A Riley Diary on 7 last Sunday back ahead of the other Sunday Talkie shows with summary here:
Amusing mobile phone stuff up by now ex-Speaker Hawker at new federal MP orientation.
Satire on Rudd highly repetitive “core” political business promises, re inflation, industrial relations?, infrastructure, climate barely sneaked in, whales no mention
Twee Mr Smith goes to Washington
compared to ALP Stephen Smith foreign Affairs:
[Noteworthy that Cond Rice has balance of power advantage versus neo con hawks re invasion of Iran. Watched the Pentagon Papers with James Spader 2003 and it’s a doozy complete with Life of Gandhi book image.]
[Compare Tim Robbins far more cutting view of US politics in Bob Roberts than Frank Capra's approach - gets a sledge from Gore Vidal in DVD special feature.]
Cute use of black and white footage past to present.
Q&A refers to Treasurers Red Book very important information.
Sorry to Indigenous People big symbolism first actions tend to define govt. ‘Good moment for the country’, ‘long overdue’.
2. Mick Keelty, Australian Federal Police chief gets a bollocking all over the place in the wake of barrister Keim for Mr Haneef being cleared of professional misconduct. Only conservative stalwart Gerard Henderson has a kind and predictably selective word to say. Keelty's bad press seems mainly to have turned on history of political leaking allegedly by, or for, the AFP in the past including the Haneef case. The press see this as a matter of standing up to such bullying tactics to provide political space for a valid defence case: Here's one only broadsheet coverage
Out in the open | The Australian
We do wonder to what extent the AFP are being smeared for the actions of sections of the Qld police leaking to their journo contacts at Brisbane based Courier Mail as allies of the then Howard Govt. Regardless, Keelty is still wearing it. We do have sympathy for the view based on legal theory that neither side of a big serious terrorism ie criminal law, case should indulge in deceptive narrow leaking which could well contaminate the jury/judicial process. This is distinct from fair neutral reportage keeping the legal system open, justice seen to be done, quite separate one hopes from sly spin and shouting headlines as happened with Haneef.
The main charge against the AFP chief by such as leading Victorian defence lawyer Rob Stary is one of hypocrisy and it does resonate for reasons that will follow:
In other words, the case against Haneef was already being spun against him off the record by government officials. Only then did Keim decide to respond with counter-leaks.
Melbourne lawyer Robert Stary, who has represented a range of terrorism suspects, says Keelty's comments were "breathtakingly hypocritical".
"The usual practice of the AFP in the arrest of any terror suspect in this country is to firstly issue a press release sprinkled with allegations that are either embellished, exaggerated or distorted," Stary wrote in a letter to The Age newspaper. "Often the charges and evidence presented before the court do not reflect those details distributed through the media."
Keelty's criticism of Keim's ethics rings hollow when he has remained silent about those government-sourced leaks that are aimed at working to the AFP's advantage.
Beyond this, Keelty is also media savvy and not shy about engaging in his own modes of spin. He speaks regularly off the record to editors and to certain senior journalists to promote his point of view.
So Keim is justified in saving his client. Editor of legal mag Justinian, Richard Ackland would likely agree as per this disapproving tone:
Look out, reptiles, here come Keelty's size 12s - Opinion - smh.com.au
But we also say our legal system is left quite tatty for open slather leaks which is surely the Big Media self interested agenda. To this narrow extent we agree with Keelty - trial by media by untrained journalistic goof balls is not a safe way forward, Ackland etc excepted.
That being said we add our experience: At a Supreme Court matter over APEC freedom to protest we happened to chat to a barrister bystander. He attended a conference with Keelty as speaker and reported to me comments attributed to Keelty something like: 'I've had discussions with judges
'You don't know what these people [terrorists] are like, what they are capable of. We've not seen anything like this before. We have to change our usual legal approach to meet the threat.'
We wrote about this fairly contemporaneous back in Sept 07:
Big Mick Kelty lobbying the judges out of court 2 years back?
You will notice the reference to passing the card of our barrister source to David Marr (see further below)
If truly out of Keelty's own mouth, on one view it suggests he's been seeking special treatment from the judges outside what's allowed by the legal norms of evidence or parliament. This might play under Howard PM never one much for the rule of law hobbling govt but many including in the ALP Govt probably have a higher opinion of the separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.
We have relayed this experience direct to prominent solicitor Adam Houda based on the concern for integrity of our legal system and his part in that process.
On another view Keelty was simply advocating his cause in open conference mode. But in private conversations away from the public eye? Did it happen? Over to you Mr Keelty.
On another tack top quality writer David Marr submits this last weekend "Top cop, bad time" in Sydney Morning Herald p23. It's offline which is a bit startling in itself. Of significance is:
"High ranking officers talk of colleagues too eager to agree with Keelty, too keen to tell him what he wants to hear".
We call this the daisy cutter hierarchical model of doing things under such as PM Howard.
3. The 'Part 3A Planning Act etc' institutionalised dictatorship of 'Mussolini Sartor' seeking to pump prime any form of ecoomic activity to similarly cover up poor governance of the NSW ALP is gathering a real head of steam. We have a good traverse of this generally unsatisfactory system in the initial sections of our submission to government recently on a very specific developement:
Thursday, 31 January 2008
Not surprisingly People quite like the amenity of their neighbourhoods and their democracy including at Local Govt level and the backlash is on with the assembled mayors here:
Mayors launch $500m revolt against Sheriff Sartor - National - smh ...
Councils are nearing melting point - Opinion - smh.com.au (go Genia!) 1 Feb 2008
State tried to pass on contamination costs - National - smh.com.au 2 Feb 08
with another echo in the burb press here (a clownish NSW governance?):
and here targetting MP for Balmain Verity Firth, no slouch in the PR spin game herself (front page of card at top above, overleaf below):
and the govt backlash on the backlash
Sartor threatens to name council hoarders in infrastructure funds ... 2-3 Feb 2008
4. The old dirty game of the ALP patronage machine discipline and support in equal measures depending on green lighting of the destruction of the environment, by the very environmentalists entrusted to protect same, is exemplified here with the rehabilitation of Peter Garrett's ministerial career: It's no accident this has happened in the wake of rubber stamping the dredging of Port Phillip Bay subject of major legal challenge, silence on dredging damage to come at Botany Bay in his own electorate and this:
Garrett gives go-ahead to Gunns to clear land for mill
AM - Garrett back in court over Port Phillip dredging
and SAM report here:
Saturday, 26 January 2008
The career reward is here for these displays of loyalty to the ALP gangsters:
Garrett powers back to climate change action
Don't think we don't know Peter Garrett selling out our environment for your own career advancement. We have exposed Jeff Angel as an ALP trusty in NSW and you won't get anything less. Your choice and your betrayal. You could have joined the Green Party and made a real difference along the party political spectrum. But your ego was too great.
It would be too much to expect Garrett taking any stand against this threat to Blue Whales, the holy grail of conservation of species:
Oil survey explosions a threat to sick whales - Whale watch - Specials
Just as the ALP are ineffective on this:
Sea Shepherd ship out of fuel in whaling chase - ABC News ...
Japan vows to continue whaling, despite Greenpeace chase - ABC ...
Garrett is a PR champion no doubt as per a a little grab in the Strewth column 31 Jan 2008 about UNESCO listing of convict sites. But the question is whether he is a moral and real politik weakling wholly owned subsidiary of the ALP. There is little doubt in this writer's mind he's in a gilded cage, and must be read down accordingly.
5. Last and definitely not least, in fact probably presaging the end of the world as we know it either ecologically, and or culturally:
By 2015, China will need half world's resources The Australian 2 Feb 08 p9 inside the careers section
The article quotes Rio Tinto , which is quite revealing given the Stephen Mayne soliliquy this morning just now on 702 radio with jockey Cameron re Rio Tinto 10% shareholding annexed by Chinese giant ChinAlco covertly through the London Stock Exchange. This puts rather a whole new perspective on some sad and ugly local happenings in inner Sydney, just when police and us here at SAM were congratulating ourselves how calm the Australia Day weekend was:
PM - 'Sacrilegious' temple fire rocks Chinese New Year celebrations
Posted by editor
at 7:27 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 6 February 2008 8:02 AM EADT