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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Sunday, 31 August 2008
Sunday tv political talkies: Rudd's authority as PM under "challenge"
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt

[under construction, pics to follow]



Author’s general introductory note


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.


For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.


Media backgrounders


[this segement under construction]


Business Sunday good interview  today on coal seam gas and general energy market on carbon constrained sector of the future including gas fired base load infrastructure. Guy is from QGC, which might be the one Hedley Thomas now works for: Richard Cottee. For example until Chinese economy comes back to 6% annual growth thinks suppliers of oil and gas will have trouble keeping up with demand overall and prices will trend up for both.


Lisa Carty breaks the strike in Fairfax with a feature story about so called lefty Meredith Burgmann – who by definition helps her with the strike breaking. How truly revealing of sell out Meredith and her journalism mates.



10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am



Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


Press round up significantly ignores Fairfax press front pagers.


Dep PM Gillard about education shake ups. Voice like power drill set to slow bore (!). Looking fitter – exercise regime, cheekbones a bit more defined, and tanned from a winter jaunt to the northern hemisphere?


Fairfax strike – concern? Reads a lot worried about quality and diversity. Anything that would lead to the quality or diversity in our media market is a worry. Never a dispute not solved by talking – rule to remember with Industrial Relations hat on.


MEAA say management no talk just dumped on them – bad faith on their part? Howard model was a no talk model – changes will include a legal rule that good faith discussions have to be discussed.


Out take to first adbreak – Treasurer Swan descending to sledges in Q time. Is this good politics really? Political advert in break – missed it damn and blast.


Panel Gemma Daley Bloomberg – short pithy questions eg on slow IR introduction, Brian Toohey – Obrien-esque type question, not as good or useful question but serious policy area on education shake up. Toohey pushes the line on modeling merit.


Out take 2nd adbreak cartoon about Costello boosting his MUP published book out soon spoof on Australian Idol.


Senator Russell Trood , tough fit looking big old guy, Opposition Foreign Affairs Committee of some kind, Qld Liberals which puts him in the moderate camps. Talks a good game – mild, persuasive personal style. Journos warm to him – this guy is a bit of a gem. Understated wit about leadership issues for Costello. Hit the time barrier just as they were starting warm up and chats continue in the fade out to credits. This guy Trood should get more profile by the Big Media.



Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am


Heee’s back. As are federal mps. Everywhere Rudd man or is that Dud man according to the Opposition. Barnaby runs the satire for PM actually in Australia. New trick Ruddometer – “challenges” x 22 at the national press club.


Good return piece funny punchline PM in mad baseball cap. Agenda this week chats with Andrew and Sam – agrees “huge challenges” re economy, domestic controls. “Australia not an island”. Worst downturn in Europe since 2nd world war.





9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am


LO has Minister Albanese  - missed the start from 8.40am. Some kind of consultation process, discussion paper from Rod Edington, tame business leader in Rudd coterie.


LO looking pretty healthy, keep going Grand Old Man.


NSW power issue, Q any less secure or reliable in the future for lack of privatization. AA says reduced model includes land for new plants. Surprised Liberals opposed? Says national electricity market means not as important anymore to be publicly owned [so called national market, not really]. Says cliché of Liberals always supported implies not out of conviction.


Re Costa going? No individual is greater than the Party. Wants unity and move away from recriminations.


How alarmed about Qantas oxygen tank explosion? Praises staff but yes could happen again.


Cross back to Michael Usher at 8.49am who  introduces health benefits of red wine (vale quality Sunday show investigative journalism).






Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Miss lead in footage attacking Govt on something, Barry Cassidy refers to me tooism of Opposition on range of domestic policies finding it hard to attack Govt on anything. More ructions with unions, state alp govt and within his own party.


Press roundup - Panel Karen Middleton polls down to wire in WA. Bolt on Costello book - $55 per copy, 50K copies print run. Latham book 20K print run, 50K all up in the end. Milne on Baird as leadership contender in NSW says Opposition made themselves the issue. [don’t buy it myself].


Studio guest is Tony Abbott – refers to [nightwatchman] Nelson doing a good job, Costello is good talent should stay. Witty reference to praising all leadership contenders.


Lots of moral double talk about state of indigenous affairs, then dares to talk about “difficult road” and “high road” to progress in Iraq. Unreconstructed over invasion. Not many Australian politicians who can share credit for a million dead innocent people as the Coalition MPs under Howard are here. It takes more than 3 weeks in remote Nth Queensland community to reolve that moral guilt. Cheap talk Tony.


Everyperson segment hairdressers.


Chat about WA election vibes, education shake up vibes. Chat about talent and character of Rudd as PM who ‘hits the ground reviewing’ not running.


Paul Kelly soliloquy – agrees Rudd’s “authority” is under attack and he needs some wins.


Chat about US politics. Chat about Costello leadership form. Milne reckons Howard will be vindicated if he squibs again. That’s a very telling point and almost guarantees a Costello ascension.


Amusing footage of Gillard as deputy PM on Costello menu – spineless prawns, chicken main, jelly dessert.


Mike Bowers talking pictures with Bruce Petty with


Rowe cartoon building on the wall of screens (from Dark Knight?]. The guy is a visual genius.


Condescending gush from panel about Nelson “tenacious” – Nightwatchmen Man.


Blooper by PM Rudd re ‘Australia not an island’ deliberately taken out of context by gotcha big media playing shallow games again, softening blooper by Greens Senator Hansen Young from SA – but she does have an excellent voice, time to sharpen up that agile mind with discipline and focus.


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


Posted by editor at 12:16 PM NZT
Saturday, 30 August 2008
Memo advertisers on signs of journo strike in today's Sydney Morning Herald 30 August 2008
Mood:  blue
Topic: big media

It's the second day of a 3 day strike by Sydney's Fairfax journalists.

The weekend edition which is normally a chunky paper by anyone's measure has just as many adverts as one might expect judging by the weight.

But the signs of the venerable SMH evolving into a glorified Trading Post are there.

Advertisers might need to consider some departures less obvious to the untrained eye explaining the rather limited reading fodder in this weekend's edition:

1. The lead section of the broadsheet starting at page 1 is devoid of current material from local staff writers. The lead is the Barak Obama ascension in US politics which ordinarily would be a top story regardless - by Herald correspondents overseas. Otherwise look to every local story and it's the newswire cookie cutter AAP authorship - even when there is a byline.

For what is known as the A1 advertiser demographic - cashed up professionals who also listen/watch the ABC etc - they will be noticing the loss of an edge in the content as this reader does. More seriously they will increasingly realise they will need to go to The Australian, Crikey.com.au, various other serious political, business sources not just out of preference but out of political economic survival - one must know who and what is going on around one in the inevitable power dynamics of society.  Nor does one have to agree with the slant of the journo or paper as long as it is timely and sufficiently probitive to be tempted elsewhere.

2. Page 1 story "How Iemma kept Labor in the dark" with spill over to page 4 literally has no byline. It could be written by the CEO for all we know. The same story points to "Editorial - Page 26" .... but there is none relating to this topic. There is however on page 27 a free political rhetoric by Premier Iemma, which is so boring and tedious as to be meaningless: If Iemma says 'let's be clear' or 'it's clear' one more time then we can be sure it's not clear at all.

3. Unlike the Daily Telegraph which ironically takes the same editorial line as the SMH on keeping/selling public energy assets the News Corp paper actually runs the majority opposition of the public in the letters page. At the SMH today they somehow conspire to mostly ignore the 60-80% who oppose the sell off. Talk about overt bias.

4. Following point 1, the brave posture on p2 "Papers unaffected by Fairfax strike" is courageous indeed. Affected - yes, slow yet real  impact would be our prediction. It's true the adverts have their skeleton to hangoff but the lungs are collapsing and the heart is racing toward cardiac arrest.

5. Most of the top writers are missing from the paper. Gittins as business editor, Ramsey, Carlton, Wilkinson are absent as well as regular reporters in their specialist areas so they lift a book extract instead in the case of Edmund Tadros.

6. The paper also covers with pre filed stories which lack a timing imperative from people like Richard Glover, Elizabeth Farrelly and Paola Totaro but one imagines these will be unlikely to file to break this or any future strike. Miranda Devine has a story but whether a strike breaker is unclear. It's lucky genuine experts in US politics like Bruce Wolpe in senior management are available to pad out content during this latest hot US election cycle.

6A. The paper also covers with tv adverts on Sydney commercial tv Friday night for free CD 100 years of photography with the weekend edition, a bribe to keep up circulation, must cost a bit?

7. Those who particularly like the Mike Carlton gossip will be satiated by the right wing violence fantasies implicit in the tough guy (pig shooters, bank robber) stories in Good Weekend colour supplement. Yes we did read them with guilty pleasure but only because it was the only thing left.

Much more general media background in Sunday Political Talkies piece tomorrow (and days following if we are slow to complete that segment as usual).


Posted by editor at 5:30 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 31 August 2008 10:54 AM NZT
Wednesday, 27 August 2008
NSW Liberal MPs to revisit $1B privatisation of public plantations, as per Public Accounts Committee?
Mood:  bright
Topic: nsw govt

Like all media big, small and micro as here we have been covering the NSW public energy assets debate:

Wednesday, 9 January 2008
We noticed this on the weekend from PIAC:


If the Liberal Party like the National Party oppose the fire sale of this natural monopoly, in a financial farce like the 1994 State Bank asset sale turned out to be, then here is another opportunity that does genuinely deserve asset privatisation outside normal govt responsibility:

We continue to suggest that wiser financial path forward for this ALP-Iemma Govt is to follow the bipartisan Public Account Committee report of 1991 to separate out the finances of the plantation versus native forest sector. Then sell the former for about $1 billion as a big boost to the public revenue for infrastructure and breaking a loss making native forest industry on the public teat to the tune of we estimate $100M per year either as

1. locked up capital in an essentially private sector activity or

2. lost revenue squandered on native forest subsidies for free roading, bureaucracy etc

Referencing for this submission is here:

Friday, 4 January 2008

Posted by editor at 11:29 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 5:55 PM NZT
Tuesday, 26 August 2008
Shadow around political mates of candidate Burgmann getting darker?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt

We read with interest another of Meredith Burgman's embarrassed political mates:

We posted previously about jet setting Meredith Burgmann's credentials in the 21C here:

Thursday, 13 March 2008
Friday, 14 March 2008
How could ex MP Burgmann have supported Joh style Part 3A repeal of green laws in NSW Planning Act?
Mood:  down
Topic: nsw govt
And here is another problem with one of Burgmann's mates, co-author Yvette Andrews: 
Saturday, 16 February 2008
This particular scandal was updated with no essential change in the failure to undertake a competitive job selection process for a Labor mate at 'Australia's biggest community centre':
Tuesday, 8 July 2008
More grist here:
Thursday, 3 April 2008
Saturday, 26 April 2008
Notice too the rumours around Addison Rd Centre that Andrews was actually fishing for a job with the same Senator John Faulkner above but got stranded, not least from complaints by this writer, at the ARC rather than face scrutiny before a Senate Estimates Committee. Oh the irony of it all.
Our sad conclusion is that the ALP Left have been beaten down and exploited by the ALP Right - spivs like Master of Conflicted Self Interest Paul Keating - for so long that they have ended up copying the same sleazy self interest modus operandi. Becoming what they hate. 
Those with any integrity left should probably consider splitting from a broken ALP Parliamentary Party under a new labour umbrella and go into coalition with the Green Party. And leave the sleaze behind. It's the next logical step in the evolution of Australian politics in the ecological 21C.

Posted by editor at 2:13 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 August 2008 3:52 PM NZT
NSW Shadow Minister in 2006 calls for Bill on excessive water use at Peats Ridge
Mood:  bright
Topic: local news



SAM micro news has been advising and publishing on the bottled water plant at Peats Ridge where Coca Cola Amatil have their operations. CCA are in the Land & Environment Court Sept 3rd and 4th, starting with an inspection at 9.30am at Euloo Rd Peats Ridge and then back in Sydney at the court in Macquarie St.

We came across this interesting letter in the files recently about Parliamentary intervention to protect the water resource there as severe water shortages took hold and CCA's bottle water use became ever more controversial.

Notice the reference to sand mining. ERM in their report on a sand mine at Maroota in 1997 found PF Formations use about 300ML per yer. At Mangrove Mountain including Peats Ridge there are said to be about 40 quarries. That adds up to alot of quite likely unlicensed water use up there. No wonder CCA feel like the tip of the iceberg. They are in a hopelessly unsustainable over allocation - just like the much bigger disaster of the Murray Darling System.

And despite what denialists like Tim Blair write about in the Sydney Daily Telegraph today cherry picking localised rainfall events, the long term forecast by the experts doesn't look good. Here is the CSIRO here:

 An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events PDF Icon PDF [2.5mb] 
The minister's press release is attached summarising same.
Droughts to be more severe and occur more often in the future

6 July 2008

Australia could experience drought twice as often and the events will be twice as severe within 20 to 30 years, according to a new Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO report.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today released the report commissioned by the Rudd Government as part of a review of national drought policy.

The overall review, announced in April, will help prepare farmers, rural communities and Australia’s primary industries for the challenges of climate change.

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO climatic report on future drought events – the first of its kind in Australia – will be considered as part of the drought policy review.

Key findings of the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO report include:

  • Under a high scenario, droughts could occur twice as often, cover twice the area and be more severe in key agricultural production areas;
  • The current definition of ‘Exceptional Circumstances’, which defines areas eligible to apply for Federal Government drought assistance, is out-of-date;
  • Temperatures currently defined as ‘exceptional’ are likely to occur, on average, once in every two years in many key agricultural production areas within the next 20 to 30 years;
  • We need better ways of getting information about climate change preparedness to farmers.

As of June, there were 74 drought-declared areas across Australia receiving Exceptional Circumstances drought support.

South Australia and the southern Murray Darling Basin region are among the worst affected regions in Australia.

Since July 2002, the Federal Government has made more than 55,000 interest rate subsidy payments for farmers and small businesses. More than 23,300 farmers and 1,500 small business operators are receiving income support.

The Rudd Government has committed more than $760 million for Exceptional Circumstances assistance in the 2008-09 financial year.

The overall drought policy review also includes two other investigations – an independent expert panel headed by AgForce Queensland president Peter Kenny look at the social impact of drought, and an economic assessment by the Productivity Commission.

The Government has guaranteed that any policy changes will not affect farmers or businesses currently receiving Exceptional Circumstances funding.

The panel will hold public forums around the country starting with Tasmania on July 17 and moving through the Northern Territory, NSW, Western Australia, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.

Reports from the social panel and the Productivity Commission investigation are expected later this year.

“This drought is infamous – the worst of its kind in a century in Australia – and farmers are still in its grip in many parts of the country,” Mr Burke said.

“We’ve already seen farmers walking off the land and rural communities struggling to stay afloat in the face of widespread stress and depression.

“Yet this report suggests this rare event could occur much more often due to climate change.

“We need to act now to ensure we are better prepared for climate change in the future.”

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO report ‘An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events’ is available at www.daff.gov.au/droughtpolicyreview or on freecall 1800 200 876.

[Which leads to  An assessment of the impact of climate change on the nature and frequency of exceptional climatic events PDF Icon PDF [2.5mb] ]


Posted by editor at 1:06 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 26 August 2008 1:34 PM NZT
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Sunday Political talkies: Federal Parliament return this week to thrash out budget
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: big media



Author’s general introductory note (skip this bit 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 and/or video feeds go to web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.



Media backgrounders  



Fiji tourism promotion folded into SunHerald hiding behind innocent children on the front cover in a dictatorship.



Nice immigrant profile of shadow minister Gladys Berejiklian in liftout SunHerald p8. By Lisa Carty usually an ALP suck.



Indeed Carty has an inspired piece on main opinion pages at p47 referring to “war chest” for unworthy Iemma Govt in “A state drunk with power” strongly echoing this:



Main feature story in weekend SMH about Costa mates network Penrith fast train project contrary to consensus of whole of govt against Costa. Strong implication of rotten govt that will squander revenue from privatised public energy assets. The sleaze is clear from Iemma referring to 99 leases as not really "a sale". As if. PIAC letter in the weekend Herald has major concerns.



Associate Prof Jake Lynch of USYD sticks it to Stephen Loosely (we noticed at the Blackwatch play months back) and Thales as arms dealers. Good one prof. Explains our image of Thales flags at Darling Harbour during APEC 2007.

Lots of 'whale talk' given popular and selective Sydney Daily Telegraph coverage when the real 'policy whales' were ignored by their Saturday front pages - the once in a generation energy industry natural monopoly fire sale to big business, and the death throes of the Murray Darling river system. Too big in fact for the front page it would seem.


NSW Parliament recall next week will cost $500K says Simon Benson in the SDT.


Important feature by Linton Besser about West Fast Rail promoted by ALP mates who did the tollways previously and now looking for the next main chance. Michael or is it Shane Easson in the story implicated in financial crash of the Southern Rail line to KSA by way of rival Eastern Distributor.


More heartbreaking coverage of Murrary River death situation - Richard Kingsford re Paroo River agri cheating. The Australian runs hard on Murray drained by north.


Business Council of Australia sublimate their hostility to climate change science at the Australia New Zealand  Climate Change and Business Conference - with many of the big business players involved. Lots of traffic both ways with miners saying weaken the ETS/CPRS and investors saying pick winners in the new low carbon economy.


We did story on abc presenter misconceived reportage of kangaroo 50 species eco tourism promoted by academic Dr David Croft.


Great Monopoly Board spoof by Sydney Daily Telegraph/Tim Blair - credit where it's due:



Funny to see Nat candidate in Lynne wear sacking as local Mayor by dodgy ALP Govt as a badge of courage.


Errol Simper sticks it to SBS special pleading for grassroots pitch for support in political funding project for hypocrisy over past lack of consultation. Go the Scribe!


Craig Emerson takes his former position as DG of Qld environment dept in the early 90ies - a bit out of date Craig. Stay in the 20C if you want to! Talk to something called Consilium at right wing think tank CIS.


Martin Ferguson big launch of stats on hot rocks as great souce of energy in future. Good one Martin. Get with the programme champ.


That so called health sport drink Coca Cola reported as spending some $460 million in the Beijing Games.


Farmers/organic markets are gaining traction through Sydney. 



Amusing feature in Good Weekend about willing enslavement of high waged in big law firm Allens Arthur Robinson – we did temping job there and signed a confidentiality agreement. Nooooo comment. Well just this – you can’t be a civil society participant really and work those hours and the cocooning effect of the lifestyle means you don’t really know what the social/political trends are, and I would guess the social affects of your own work. In other words it’s a studied amoral life. A Sienfeld life really.



Obama has his grey haired proxy for McCain leadership opposition.


Grattan reckons increased pressure on ALP domestically to prove their mettle.



Xenephon has the template of Torbay and Clover Moore – what I call the Mickey Mouse favourite pop culture figure i.e. black hair, pale colouring, roundish face, impish wit. Quite a successful indy schtik.



Incomparable David Rowe cartoon in SunHerald today Nelson surrounded by the Costellos in the sports stadium. Ouch.


Naked eye column refers to “female minister” losing 5 female staff in 6 months and a male staffer implicated in whatever. Following a federal story so probably that level?



Premier of WA reported as saying Western Australia should not give up the "tremendous advantage" it had in maintaining its GM-free status.



Smart beautiful Nicole Keupper gets press poster status for solar power Eureka Prize for Young Leaders in Environmental Issues - the real Stephanie Rice hero of the nation? Take note Minister Kate Ellis.  Proposal of marriage is probably out of the question.







10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am



Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


No press round up. Talent is wet blanket Lindsay Tanner. Panel is Alison Carabine 2UE, and Peter Hartcher SMH with the spread on the opinion pages yesterday.


Outtake of Opposition leader Nelson – I care I care I care. Nightwatchman Man.


NSW Teachers advert first adbreak. Pretty effective Dad doting on teenage daughter.


Focus on Gordon Brown heavy implication as successful for 10 years as Treasurer but failing PM/leader in the polls. Perhaps suggesting Costello will be the same, as we march to 4 Corners feature on Malcolm Turnbull tomorrow night.




9 Sunday newshour Oakes interview 8.40 am


Nelson as opposition leader looking pretty mild and reasonably well slept but the circles under his eyes are pretty serious now.


Q. re $17M per (gold?) medal good value, why not private funding in future? General patriotic discussion, nothing radical from Nelson about that.


On leadership 6% swing Gippsland, no ALP candidate in Mayo or Lion, actually Lynne. Fair points but not really about his leadership. Goes onto cost of living items. Slick lines about all backswing no follow through (golf metaphor? Older demographic?). Long soliloquy and Oakes lets him take all the rope he wants – turning to a full 60 seconds?


If all true why bad in the polls, Turnbull do better?


Is Costello protecting your back, why need him? Mutual support from Nelson here.


Goes to economy – long soliloquy again like a shopping list of real downturns in global situation which are quite valid. LO cut’s in this time.


LO gets to inconsistency of blocking taxes and claims of economic responsibility. Nelson ramps up history compared with now under Rudd govt. Affirms Coalition blocking strategy in next session of parliament.


Finishes the interview in fairly good shape and smiles with practiced inanity.








Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Intro suggestive of Liberal resurgence.  Change around country including NSW – matter of time.


Sceptical discussion on Joe Bidon personal style.


Panel is Annabel Crabb – looking suitably appealing “couch potato”, Dennis Atkin, Tim Blair looking older than you might expect, a fraction nervous but holding up the right wing cause being very articulate. Frisson of lefty, righty tension from the beginning regarding sharp attack dog Blair but on his best behaviour to begin with.


Satellite link to Michael Roland our ABC in Washington – Bidon is a head kicker, exemplary networks on foreign relations, good reaching white dominated states.  Clinton supporters still around in some narrow quarters.


Press roundup – price of each gold medal [pretty rough to ignore other medals for a world competition].


Cross to Senator Barnaby Joyce – runs the line Senate should be independent and feisty with things that are “wrong”. Use your head in upper house, follow the leader in lower house.


Cross to Senator Nick Xenophon re Murray Darling. Joyce agrees with inquiry to get science on the table. Carpet analogy not a garden hose joined up. Good discussion. Weeks away from farmers walk off in the lower reaches. X calls for C’th use of corporations power to get same rules across the catchment.


X on fuelwatch. Joyce on fuelwatch dog of an idea from the start and got worse. Inept decision. J great line about love out the window when poverty walks in. Got to keep economy going safely.


Every person segement in climbing gym. . Looks like Tempe near my place. But they all look the same. Yep not Tempe.


Fruit pickers issue – Kaye Hull MP – Nelson panders to his critic.


Downer refers to non white workers spooked the Howard Govt. General chat.


Paul Kelly soliloquy – get’s the blessing of Pacific workers [clearly a foreign affairs decision from PM Rudd] “Rudd done the right thing here”.


Kelly on “ETS”. Can’t reconcile the constituencies for business and greens. General chat.


Funny man Tim Blair doesn’t deliver on the repartee on the political discourse. Tries some material and insights but all quite lame so far. Only really hits his stride on the monopoly board story given his good article mid week but sort of over does the volume and loses the window with even that. Still it’s only his first time, might improve.


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








Riley Diary 7, 8.35 am

Back next week as the Olympics wind up. 





Posted by editor at 12:44 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2008 6:09 PM NZT
Friday, 22 August 2008
NSW public power assets: ex MP Forsythe dumped by Libs, seeking revenge with Iemma's ALP?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

Interesting to see former moderate Liberal MP now with NSW Chamber of Commerce determined to promote the sale of NSW electricity assets as soon as possible.

No matter what the uncertain price of carbon will be in the future. No matter what dirty deals the NSW ALP are renowned for in the past. No matter the deep concerns over lack of integrity of this ALP government generally.

The sale proceeds would create a war chest for the Iemma Govt and its mendicants in the run up to the next election and provide the best revenge Patricia Forsythe could have on the Liberal Party who dumped her:

Dumped ... Patricia Forsythe.

Dumped ... Patricia Forsythe.

4 Dec 2005 Revengeful Right axes faithful Forsythe - National - smh.com.au

Is this actually her motive in harness for the NSW Chamber of Commerce?

This was Forsythe's suck job back in April 2007:

12/04/2007 - Premier Morris Iemma's announcement of a new cabinet has been welcomed by Patricia Forsythe, executive director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce.

"The new cabinet balances the need for generational change and maintaining experience," Forsythe said.

"I congratulate new cabinet members, including Matt Brown, Linda Burney, Verity Firth, Kevin Greene, Kristina Keneally, Phil Koperberg, Paul Lynch, Nathan Rees and Graham West upon their appointment.

"The NSW Government must use its convincing electoral mandate to be bold and decisive in tackling the big picture issues.

Forsythe said that the Sydney Chamber of Commerce has advocated a number of priorities for the reelected government including:

- Public transport solutions need to be the number one priority of the government. Improving transport flow by fast-trucking integrated ticketing, universal electronic tolling, and strategic infastructure projects such as the North-West rail link. Continue working towards increased service reliability, decreased travel times and easing congestion.

- Privatisations of non-essential or uncompetitive state assets to reinvest the funds into better public services and major infrastructure projects, particularly in public transport. Government should consider privatisation of assets in the areas of waste management, electricity supply, prisons, lotteries and forest plantations.

- Tourism and major events agencies need greater financial support from the state government. Tourism and major events are key components of economic development strategy and criticial to building business confidence.

- Affordable housing in Sydney is being squeezed by a combination of falling building approvals, low vacancy rates and higher interest rates. Business will suffer as a result of their employees being priced out of the Sydney property market. The NSW Government must look at strategies to boost private investment into the property market to increase the supply of affordable housing.

Compare this somewhat more robust critique of the Iemma Govt from MP John Kaye:

 A-G report undermines power sell-off timetable
Media Release: 21 August 2008
Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell must reject Treasurer Michael Costa's power sell-off legislation if he takes the Auditor-General's report seriously, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "Mr Achterstraat's report leaves little room for rushing ahead with the legislation.
"Far from giving the plans a clear tick, the report exposed serious concerns about the costs of emissions trading, the failure to consider retention in public ownership and the enforcement of a reserve price.
"The Auditor-General made it clear that there is still great uncertainty about the impacts of the emissions trading system on the sale process.
"If the Opposition passes the legislation in September then Treasurer Costa will be off the leash and could run ahead regardless of the effect of carbon costs on the sale price.
"Neither the Auditor-General nor Treasury have calculated the retention value of the assets.
"The Opposition has been dudded. It has not been given a reference point for evaluating the costs and benefits of the sale and cannot safely say that privatisation stacks up financially.
"Mr Achterstraat's recommendation that a reserve price be set for the sale sounds a grave warning for Mr O'Farrell.
"Even if a minimum sale price were set, the Iemma government is so blindly committed to the sell-off, there is no assurance it would be adhered to.
"The Opposition will lose all economic credibility if it signs off on a fire sale. AGL has indicated it would not be interested in the assets. Two other key potential purchasers are in doubt and international stock markets are in turmoil.
"The report only addressed the narrow question of the sale strategy. The Opposition has to also consider the appalling environmental consequences.
"Barry O'Farrell has one last chance to hold Michael Costa back. He should not blow it," Dr Kaye said.
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Posted by editor at 12:53 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 22 August 2008 3:28 PM NZT
Whale critter legals
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: local news
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2008 9:13 AM
Subject: respect your moral concerns but not willing on this Re: THE BABY WHALE

Hi .....

I agree it is almost certainly against the law. I called [as suggested Law Society Animal Committee representative] and spoke to
her. I think an honest response is best out of respect for your moral view
of this and possibly your religious view of preservation of life in all

Of course I've been following the saga but I've stood off the issue for some
various reasons

- I have a perspective about the proportionality of the situation - 3-5
million kangaroos (and their joeys) are killed each year, so the public
interest in this young whale is very selective

- the Daily Telegraph are keen to promote whale protection but not for very
honourable reaons if my guess is right, more as opportunity to wedge the
federal ALP and wrong foot Peter Garrett on a sensitive topic.

- nature does not contemplate surrogacy of abandoned juveniles. Every death
is food for another creature. There is no waste in nature. Even sharks are
endangered and need to eat.

- my main concern is a humane end and minimisation of suffering.

- in terms of environmental protection expenditure I couldn't justify many
months of surrogate care in comparison with no guarantee of behavioural
adaptation to the wild. Money spent there is money taken from another nature
protection issue.

So on balance I've resolved to stay off this issue. I do respect people
feeling otherwise and not accepting the line from the state govt and the
NPWS just covering their backsides. Fair enough scepticism I would say. But
it's a moral choice we all need to contemplate according to our conscience
in good faith.

Sorry I can't be of assistance and I don't object to being lobbied about it
and respect the motive behind it.

Lastly from experience all this public concern will result on something good
coming from it. That's the way of political capital - it has to find a form
of expression somehow and somewhere, and can be wonderfully surprising in
some ways - say council elections, or end to the Tas pulp mill, or a new
generation of activists or something.

Yours truly


Posted by editor at 11:33 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 22 August 2008 11:38 AM NZT
Thursday, 21 August 2008
Public electricity assets: How independent was the Auditor General's report?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: nsw govt

In the early morning radio news bulletin today Premier Iemma demanded Opposition Leader OFarrell would have to take a position once the AG released his report today. That there would be 'nowhere to hide' said Morris Iemma.

Indeed he spoke like a man who had already been told what was in the Auditor General's report?

But that couldn't be right could it as Opposition Leader OFarrell gave an interview soon after to Adam Spencer on abc 702 stating all the caveats they had depending on what was in the report.

It's possible this was all opportunistic rhetoric on Iemma's part but he sounded very certain about it all. So did the A-G give a copy to the govt ahead of the release time today?

And why is it reported as a "green light" for a sale anyway when he was on abc Glover show later in the day saying it was parliament's decision not his whether it should be sold, only that he didn't have any major objections on the govt process provided there was a reserve price - a pretty big proviso that, and separation of assets in the tenders to increase likelihood of economic use of adjacent land etc.

Meanwhile most voters know they will get screwed either by the ALP, the buyers or the Opposition in bed with big business, as they have been in the UK.

Posted by editor at 8:49 PM NZT
Hunting of kangaroos: ABC 702 presenter jumps in hole with spade... starts digging!
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media


Sydney radio listeners got a bit of a surprise this morning.

Their favourite ABC announcer Deb Cameron with ratings on an upswing - no doubt related to her kind tone and bright intellect - suddenly threw her considerable presence behind the kangaroo hunting agenda.

Then even more surprising it turns out she was prefacing a story about a report actually from a conservation group for eco tourism for kangaroos which was contrary to game shooting of big red kangaroos:

 21 Aug 2008 Tourist bonanza in roo viewing reserves - National - smh.com.au

What gives? Where did the balanced journalist go? Or was that supposed to be from the previous story? It was a confusing sort of morning drinking up the greenies at The Wilderness Society over the long running Gunns pulp mill issue, then crossing back for some redneck chaser on kangaroo hunting? Is editorial so crude?

Let's just make one thing clear - this is not a comment piece in the flippant/obnoxious Joe Hildebrand style regularly niggling at Cameron in the Saturday Telegraph when he's not exercising his sexual frustrations. This is meant to be a serious critique on how Big Media do what they do, even on our ABC.

The conservationists who have really researched this area know most Big Reds never get past 2 or 3 years of age before the huge kangaroo shooting industry get them. There are profound issues of damage to the genetic health of the whole Red kangaroo population as alpha males are never identified to procreate because they never get to the 5+ years to emerge as a breeding champion keeping the mob vigorous and strong.

That is resilient to harsh environmental factors but also such as disastrous illness like the face tumours cutting down Tasmanian Devils towards extinction. The overall population of Red Kanagaroo might still be big but we are weakening them with huge culls every year putting the whole lot at risk. All species cull per year is anywhere from 3-5 million per year depending on drought conditions.

But if you ask the kangaroo shooting and meat industry they skate over such fine details. But someone who doesn't ignore this reality is such as report author UNSW academic David Croft.

So why did the ABC 702 morning team ambush Croft with the hunting agenda in an interview based on the report on page 5 of the Sydney Morning Herald? No mention of hunting tourism there. The nearest it comes to is a proposed policy of dingo predation to increase the drama of a wildlife experience to compare with the savannah of Africa to get the eco tour dollars in.

Indeed the World Today show later same day made it clear it was a report launched by a "conservation group".

So here is the back story if our observations count for anything

- James Woodford who worked at Fairfax Sydney Morning Herald with Deborah Cameron has been on the show saying commercial use of kangaroos for domestic consumption is a sound idea. Another favourite Bob Beale also ex SMH pushes the same barrow. No in depth analysis of centuries of parasite control in domestic agricultural meat production compared to wild animals. No understanding of genetic diversity issues in the Big Red population after Tasmanian Devil's crash. And that's before we get to the welfare and rights issues of the critters that worry quite a few people.

- A renewed push last week for more kangaroo meat consumption again not really understanding the innate caution of the majority of the population against off farm wild meat. An innate common sense in fact.

- Cameron instead takes what can fairly be called a perverse and indeed shallow approach to the report called The Kangaroo Trail to fit within her own biased sources rather than sticking to the content of the reportage in the press today.

To her credit she read out the backlash reaction which we found amusing. There are some really salient points she can learn from in the politics of this issue well beyond vegetarian, animal rights/welfare issues of game hunting:

1. Her schtik is kind tone, bright intellect, and here she wants to kill the mummies of little joeys regardless of audience sensitivities. That's a jarring disjunction. And it's going to cannabalise her own ratings.

2. As one wag spindoctor Sue Cato pointed out, you can't get fuzzy about a doomed baby whale on the North Shore and promote hunting of skippy and her joeys. 2nd disjunction.

3. For those a bit sharper on the media watching it was mean and tricky to ambush David Croft with a preface that is totally skewed or even perverse interpretation of the report in the SMH and the report he is launching. A question or two maybe not the actual lead in. That's just wrong.

4. One policy of the increasingly reviled Iemma Govt is throwing open huge areas of public state forest for game hunters with absolutely no scientific backing for their thrill kill sport, and real alarm over public safety.  These shooters have nothing much in common with elite professional shooters who actually know how to conduct an efficient cull according to season and geography in combination with land use managers. (As happened with rabbits at Centennial Park.) These guys are gun freaks and and gun industry spruikers out of the USA.

 5. We wonder why exactly Deborah Cameron thinks she is better than Eleanor Hall's straight reportage on the ABC World Today here? Has the ratings gone to her head? Hope not!

All in all the Cameron's team seriously miscalculated. The signs were there earlier in the show with the diplomatic contrary reactions of scientist David Croft. When we rang the show a staffer even admitted they knew he was anti kangaroo hunting - so there is the proof it wasn't lack of research but a deliberate ambush interview. I didn't think the ABC descended down there. Sad stuff and contrary to the science he was promoting of the 50 different species.

Dingo predation is one thing, professional shooters one thing, hunting for pleasure rather than food or necessity, well ... the two major parties might have policies that support this but that still leaves about 40% of the voting public who think it's sick or misconceived.

And so this is probably another example of govt funded radio systemic bias to the policies of the only two parties who have held the treasury benches for the last 50 years plus, and where the other 40% are left roundly p*ssed off with the announcer on today's show. Our advice to the otherwise successful Deb Cameron - when you are in a hole stop digging and take a breather. You might even decide to climb out!

Posted by editor at 3:55 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 21 August 2008 7:10 PM NZT

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