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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 10 December 2008
JBD Chief Exec: 'Pratt and Rivkin not singled out as Jews', SMH controlled timing of Facebook story
Mood:  chatty
Topic: corporates
The correspondence below is very categorical and informative and we take it on face value as true. We are still interested in the timing of the page 1 story run by the SMH's education journalist Anna Patty: Because it's the kind of story with quite flexible timing at the discretion of the newspaper. It just happened to run and arguably swamp the not guilty plea in a huge price fixing case against Richard Pratt. 
For instance ABC TV prime time news in Sydney didn't report the Pratt story at all. And notice the Pratt PR operatives of the highest calibre, husband of a ex high profile senator: The Australian at p7 right hand column carries this:
[including, bold added]
"Asked whether he had considered that the settlement deal would allow the ACCC to bring a criminal prosecution against Mr Pratt, Mr Cassidy replied: "No".

Mr Cassidy also said he was unaware the statement of agreed facts contained a clause stating that it could be used as evidence only in the civil case and did not constitute a general admission.

Mr Richter asked Mr Cassidy why, at a meeting to discuss the possibility of criminal charges, he didn't say: "Hang about, we promised not to use this".

"I didn't become aware of that promise not to use it until the investigation into Mr Pratt," Mr Cassidy said.

The ACCC chief did not explain how the commission justified using the statement against Mr Pratt despite having undertaken not to do so.

The court was also told that public relations maven Ian Smith, executive chairman of Gavin Anderson & Co, was used as a go-between in negotiations between the ACCC and the Pratt camp on the terms of the settlement deal, but Mr Cassidy denied he was used as an intermediary. "

We spoke briefly to Ms Patty yesterday by phone but she was in a meeting. We will try again in due course. Where did she get the story we do wonder, not that we expect to be told of her source.

[5.15 pm 10 Dec 08: Anna Patty states by phone that she was tipped off by someone in the education sector and didn't know anything about the Dick Pratt case. In response to the coincidental convergence of the two stories: If there was any agenda in the tip off she couldn't say either way. She just thought her Facebook expose was a good story.]


----- Original Message -----
From: Vic Alhadeff
To: SAM editor Cc: Principal's Assistant Scots College
Sent: Wednesday, December 10, 2008 4:25 PM
Subject: RE: questions with notice re meta analysis of today's media re scandal story smh etc

Dear Tom 

Thanks for the positive feedback to our position against prejudice. There is no connection between the Facebook and the Richard Pratt stories; one is a story about antisemitic racism and the other a story about the prosecution of a person who happens to be Jewish, but whose identity has no bearing on his activities.

Furthermore, we do not subscribe to the notion that Mr Rivkin or Mr Pratt were singled out for prosecution because they were Jewish.

 Vic Alhadeff

Chief Executive Officer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies


To answer your questions:

1. Are you aware Dick Pratt pleaded guilty to civil breaches of the corporations law last year and has now been charged with criminal offences?


 2. Are you aware Pratt pleaded not guilty to the criminal offences today as per abc radio news we heard earlier?


 3. Are you aware that Jewish members of the business community in Melbourne in particular were concerned earlier this year that ACCC's failure to drop the criminal charges even after a $40 million fine for civil breaches might be motivated by discrimination?

 I have heard many reactions to the issue.

 4. Do you think the Scots' students allegedly involved in the offensive website might have got prejudiced attitudes from their business parents here in Sydney?

 Prejudice can stem from many sources – peers, family members, social circles. The usual common denominator is ignorance.

5. Is billionaire business man Dick Pratt a donor to the JBD or related groups in the past? How much? 

Not to the JBD. I cannot speak for other organisations.

6. Is it a coincidence that these two stories are running today namely Scot's College website and Dick Pratt not guilty plea to criminal breaches of the corporations law?

Yes. There is no connection between the two.

7. Is the JBD or similar/related groups innocently seeking to make the point of prejudice existing against the Jewish community in some parts of the upper echeleons of society, as expressed by their adolescent children? That indeed "racism is unacceptable"

No; we point out prejudice wherever it exists and in whatever echelons of society it exists. This is merely the latest example.

8. Did the NSW JBD or related groups 'get the story up' regarding (alleged) Scots student scandal website? 

It is our policy to report and expose racism whenever it occurs and is brought to our attention. In this case, we were approached by the media to respond to the issue; we did not take the issue to the media.

9. Is there any intention of the JBD or other groups that you may know of to influence the public's view of the Pratt criminal case, or indeed the court itself?

Absolutely not.

10. Are you aware that the courts receive clips of articles of all related matters in the press via such service providers as Media Monitors? Indeed on the flipside does the JBD continue to receive clippings from MM as they did in 1999-2001?

Yes. Yes. 

From: SAM editor Sent: Tuesday, 9 December 2008 1:24 PM
To: Vic Alhadeff
Cc: Assistant Principal Scots College
Subject: questions with notice re meta analysis of today's media re scandal story smh etc

 Dear Vic,

While always agreeing with your strong stand against prejudice that we wholeheartedly agree with, there is an interesting convergence of news cycle today regarding prominent Jewish business identity and philanthropist Dick Pratt in alot of trouble for allegations of criminal corporate behaviour.

I am submitting these questions in good faith, as per many other 'story behind the story' lines of inquiry in our website on diverse topics. Feel free to reject or repudiate the inferences. However the coincidence in timing is there and the questions are in the public interest, also speaking as a (rusty) corporate lawyer.

 Tuesday, 9 December 2008


By way of comparison, I worked for an independent (radical) secular Jewish guy Lawrence Gibbons (City Hub, Bondi View, Sydney City News) 2001-2007 who suggested to me in all seriousness that when Rene Rivkin was being pursued over Offset Alpine fraud and share trading issues and later personal meltdown "that it was only because he was Jewish". The claim being that plenty of fraudsters cheat on the sharemarket but prosecutions were selective.

Anyway I scoffed at the suggestion while really having no proof one way or the other about any such conjecture. It did seem to me a little paranoid but who really can judge these things. On the other hand there can be little or no doubt that website by the students was offensive and has to be confronted and exposed. No debate about that.

Yours truly

 Tom McLoughlin, editor/owner www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

 tel. 0410 558838.

CC Principal assistant Scot's College


Postscript 11 Dec 2008

ACCC delayed perjury charges against Pratt | The Australian 11 Dec 2008 ... Mr Pratt's legal team has accused the ACCC of conducting a campaign against Mr Pratt to trick him into signing a document,

Posted by editor at 5:23 PM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 11 December 2008 5:51 AM EADT
Tuesday, 9 December 2008
JBD condemns offensive student website as Dick Pratt pleads not guilty to business crimes
Mood:  not sure
Topic: legal

We are writing to the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies to ask some questions about the interesting timing of the scandal story running front of the Sydney broadsheet today. References behind the following questions to follow asap:

1. Are you aware Dick Pratt pleaded guilty to civil breaches of the corporations law last year and has now been charged with criminal offences?:

22 Dec 2005 PM - Pratt case crucial for ACCC

Crikey - $40 million = small beer for Australia's third richest ... 10 Oct 2007 ... Pratt the winner: $36 million just a drop in the bucket · Dick Pratt takes money from ordinary Aussies -- so where is the uproar? ...

Crikey - Pratt’s insults not quite disguised as an apology - Pratt ... 9 Oct 2007 ... Briefly Business: iPod index, Pratt pleads sainthood, eBay ... The question raised by Dick Pratt’s letter to Visy customers: is it primarily ...

It's time we gave our watchdogs fangs | The Australian 15 Dec 2007

Crikey - Could billionaire Dick Pratt really go to jail? - Could ...20 Jun 2008

2. Are you aware Pratt pleaded not guilty to the criminal offences today as per abc radio news we heard earlier?


Richard Pratt has pleaded not guilty, (ABC: Timothy Marshall)

3. Are you aware that Jewish members of the business community in Melbourne in particular were concerned earlier this year that ACCC's failure to drop the criminal charges even after a $40 million fine for civil breaches might be motivated by discrimination?

24 June 2008 Melbourne establishment comes out boxing | smh.com.au By Ian Verrender

Spare a thought for poor old Dick Pratt. It's difficult to imagine what's worse: facing criminal charges of lying under oath or having John Elliott for ...

"....It may have escaped the minds of certain Bleak City academics, who were scathing of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission boss, Graeme Samuel, but Pratt already would be behind bars had his offences been committed in the United States or most other OECD countries. Australia is one of the few Western countries that does not impose a mandatory jail sentence for market rigging.

Samuel is right to pursue Pratt to the limit of the law. Failure to do so would be a travesty of justice and would reflect badly on Samuel, just as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission's soft treatment of Steve Vizard rightly earned it the scorn of the wider community.

But the cheer squad has been marshalled, with an avalanche of letters to newspapers bemoaning the harsh treatment being meted out Pratt. ..."

4. Do you think the Scots' students allegedly involved in the offensive website might have got prejudiced attitudes from their business parents here in Sydney?

Sydney Morning Herald story here:

Student Facebook scandal

11:47am | Principals of elite Sydney schools vow to deal with pupils who posted anti-Semitic slurs on Facebook. | Student shame

5. Is billionaire business man Dick Pratt a donor to the JBD or related groups in the past? How much? 

6. Is it a coincidence that these two stories are running today namely Scot's College website and Dick Pratt not guilty plea to criminal breaches of the corporations law?

7. Is the JBD or similar/related groups innocently seeking to make the point of prejudice existing against the Jewish community in some parts of the upper echeleons of society, as expressed by their adolescent children? That indeed "racism is unacceptable"


8. Did the NSW JBD or related groups 'get the story up' regarding (alleged) Scots student scandal website? 

9. Is there any intention of the JBD or other groups that you may know of to influence the public's view of the Pratt criminal case, or indeed the court itself?

10. Are you aware that the courts receive clips of articles of all related matters in the press via such service providers as Media Monitors? Indeed on the flipside does the JBD continue to receive clippings from MM as they did in 1999-2001?


On a personal note SAM's editor loves Jewish folks and socialises and supports and indeed works for several of such in Sydney society.


Postscript #1 13 December 2008

 There is an extra aspect to the big media coverage that we didn't appreciate at the time of writing this above. We feel obliged both for fairness and balance to add: Either geniunely or again as a PR gambit or both, billionaire Mr Pratt has been presented as suffering prostrate cancer and having a spine operation as well related to the treatment. This appeared on crikey ezine about 2 weeks back we recall, and again in the press early this week - that we read late this week:

9 December 2008 Ill health throws doubt on Dick Pratt case | The Australian

All of this is in the balance along with Alan Bond getting an easier run because of his health when he crashed and went to gaol for 4 years. We will post separately on this transcript from Denton's Enough Rope interview with Bond.

Here's a tough appraisal of Dick Pratt:

8 Oct 2008 Crikey - Pratt 2: proof that the rich are indeed different - Pratt ...

12 Dec 2008 Richard Pratt denied cartel scam to John Howard | The Australian

Posted by editor at 11:54 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 13 December 2008 9:22 AM EADT
Sunday, 7 December 2008
Sunday political talkies: Party season prelude to recession for real
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt


 Picture: Refer Inside Business below.

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 (tba)


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am

No show.

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


Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am


Footage of wind up of Parliament. Stuck to satire about Batman and Robin and Catwoman regarding dep treasurer Julie Bishop. Omitted the meltdown Thursday night in the Senate with split in the Coalition., as per front page of The Australian this weekend.


Emphasises feel good over Christmas good wishes by MPs


Riley Diary clashes with Laurie Oakes on 9 with Barnaby Joyce doing a forensic Q & A on this last point. Winds up


8.50am union advert runs.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am


Ross Greenwood gives wrap economic downturn in USA very serious.

Forensic Q & A of Nationals leader in Senate Barnaby Joyce as per front page of The Australian yesterday. Backed into a corner with LO suggesting BJ is calling Andrew Robb a “liar”. Disagrees or retracts, rather not correct.


Concerns infrastructure fund for regional Australia. No doubt with ascendant ALP there is structural pressure on redneck Nationals.


Speculative question of Joyce moving to lower seat of Maranoa. Not on the cards he says. Hypothetical. 


Has been chatting with Malcolm Turnbull yesterday in Oxford St near St Vincents.  Strongly believes in Senate as review while lower house is follow the leader. Not dissenting against anyone, sticking to constitutional functions of Senate.


Confirms was offered a front bench position by Malcolm Turnbull in coffee shop discussion yesterday. [Deliberately public tactic by Liberal leader to sideline The Oz front page story.]




Insiders 2: 9- 10am


Great intro into wacky last week. Thrills and spills “emblematic of last weeks of the past 20 years”.


Grattan story today Milne comments re Barnaby Joyce going onto front bench, maybe downstairs.


Panel includes Annabel Crabb (Fairfax heir apparent to Alan Ramsey), Malcolm Farr, Glenn Milne (latter two News Corp fairly moderate).


Paul Kelly soliloquy, all about jobs jobs jobs in 2009 given bad economic news. Policy cracks like deposit guarantee, emissions trading scheme, partial deregulation of labour market. Formidable Rudd Gillard, Turnbull looks good, challenge is his own side.


Everyperson humorous segment with 40 year olds all over the place politically.


Rudd preferred PM 69 to 14 v Gillard, who beats Mal Turnbull or close.


Praise for Harry Jenkins as speaker.  Reg in Talking Pictures showing fantastic one liners straight man delivery.


Matt Price political moments with Nelson revealing the inner freak as usual. Show signs off for the year.


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

Inside Business – 2 at 10am


Excessive greed, excess and  bad regulation. But what caused the GFC in fact, asks Alan Kohler.


Hamish Douglass Magellan Financial Group – collapse of Lehman Brothers  caused banking across the globe to meltdown in this way: 3 days later oldest commercial paper fund held $800M of Lehman’s Bros written down to $1. Dominos fell across the world after that requiring security for $5 trillion in commercial paper. [Didn’t quite get this is the real explanation. This is a must watch by video or whatever down the track.]


Alan Oster, chief economist National Australia Bank, negative GDP for Dec quarter.


Kohler says difference this time, will govt pump priming work? Oster – not in major economies. They are gone. Australia mild downturn. AK – interest rates globally? AO – yes all going to zero.


HD – mining 7.5 to 10% of our revenue, but China is not the only destination either.  Hedge funds, insurance industry, banks.


Alan Kohler talking point – historic, frightening year gone. 2009 will be in recession and don’t listen to the politicians. Lehmann Brothers caused the dominoes to fall. Unemployment is the last indicator, sharemarket is the first.



Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/


Posted by editor at 11:20 AM EADT
Saturday, 6 December 2008
Constant forest defender Bruce Dover at rest after 8 years battle with bitou bush
Mood:  special
Topic: ecology



Bruce Dover environmentalist, died of mesothelioma last Sunday after a short devastating illness. He was surrounded by love in his last 2 months. He got the poison in his lungs decades ago working in a glass factory. A good life taken early in his sixties, a family guy with 4 sons and various grandchildren.  
An outdoors man who loved his forests  

.......and tried his best to close the Eden chipmill for 20 years.


He spent the last 8 years killing noxious bitou bush in Botany Bay National Park where his ashes now lie as of yesterday.

His sons, half brothers from 14 to 20 something, are shown below after the friends and family have started walking back to the carpark. Earlier they posed for a picture but this one shows them in their private thoughts in a sense still looking up to their beloved dad:


More images of Bruce's environmental activism follow including letter from Minister Peter Garrett


, pics taken by Bruce of the Japanese Ambassador in Canberra


, of the director of The Wilderness Society Alec Marr on the road outside the chipmill.


Of outdoor exploits and beloved family.

Rest in peace Bruce Dover, founding member of the ACF Forest Campaign Group in Sydney since the mid 1980ies.


Sent: Monday, December 01, 2008 12:52 PM
Subject: a constanst forest activist Re: [chipstop] vale Bruce

oh that's really sad news. I saw Bruce in the old ACF office, the early George St one before moving to another George St office. It was 1992. There was Bruce and Margaret Barnes and James Woodford came from TEC to give a "SEFA" briefing.
Bruce was a dedicated forests man - how true. He did stalls from memory during the SEF protection bill in 92-93 but also The Wilderness nominations 92-94 generating 26,000 or so submissions. We did some combined stalls TWS/ACF. A record effort, relating to some 750K hectares of intact forest some park, much of it not. He got out amongst the mainstream where it really mattered. 
This action generated momentum along with many other strands of activism, including blockades (Simon Benson for Daily Telegraph at the Eden chipper march 95, NEFA rolling blockades), helped change the govt in 1995 in a tough close green election. It's a real politik lesson that the Big Parties even today still remember.
They will also consider that lesson in the lead up to a close 2011 election (?) not least Rees a product of the 90ies activism. Nick Greiner was quoted in the press last weekend urging the NSW Coaliton to be greenish.
Again from memory he helped with the 2 big Sydney Town Hall meetings in the late 90ies. He was a rock and I really respected him for his constancy.
God bless you Bruce. What a star for our environment.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, November 30, 2008 12:51 PM
Subject: [chipstop] vale Bruce

Hi greenies.

Some very sad news - our old friend and colleague Bruce Dover from the ACF Forest Campaign Group in Sydney Bruce lost his battle with mesothelioma this morning.

Longer term campaigners will remember Bruce for his prominent role in the Walk Against Woodchips (x2), the charcoal campaign, Forests for Water Roadshow, Threatened Species roadshow and many other forest campaigns.

When a few of us occupied the chipmill office a few years ago, it was Bruce in the guise of a camera toting “tourist” who recorded the event on film as we were thrown out. His photo of Keith airborn in mid flight exiting the office is still one of our most prized possessions.

Bruce loved nature and never wavered in his commitment to end woodchipping. He told me a couple of weeks ago that  his biggest regret .... is that woodchipping goes on, in spite of all our efforts.

Yes we can end it!


Posted by editor at 11:46 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 6 December 2008 1:46 PM EADT
Annabel Crabb the heir apparent
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: big media

Alan Ramsey is a cornerstone of the Fairfax press business. He is a must read because of his corporate federal political memory and a host of other qualities. He can be a bit of a "lounge bar bore" as Kerr and Mayne (both then at crikey.com.au) cruelly - and jealously - argued a few years back .... until recovered self confessed alco Kerr got on the same treadmill at The Oz broadsheet, and well done there CK.

Crabb has got what it takes. Whether she gets the gig we have no idea. Whether she wants it is another big one. Looking at crusty Ramsey she would have to be searching her soul about locking in a certain future.

What brings SAM's owner editor to this judgement I hear you ask, just as we predicted Deborah Cameron would succeed in the crunch job after Trioli at ABC 702 radio? AC is clearly smart and writes well with an appealing dry wit. But that's not nearly sufficient. She's really very honest and strong and that brings gravitas. A keystone has to have gravitas. Hair style has nothing to do with it as follows:

1. Last Saturday 29 Nov column AC declares a brazen attempt by the Deputy PM Gillard to duchess her with a personal call about 'Tim's hair care product'. All so innocent - not. But only the beady eyed and cynical would understand the need to declare. Even better if she had refused the gifts outright. But AC reveals she accepted the trivial gifts - the real import was the deputy PM making the call not the value or source of the shampoo. The attempt to blurr the lines of separations of 2nd (executive) and 4th (press) estates, infamous revolving door.

2. On Meet the Press 10 next morning, we watch with jaded eye as AC defers to News Corp colleague to ask "the question" about Tim Mathieson over alleged nepotism for an honourary health ambassadorship role. This looks tragic we think. The duchessing has taken it's course as per 1 above. But then Crabb breaks out of the gilded cage with the spirit of a real pillar of the 4th estate so essential in our democracy: A crunching question on the real issue de jour - failure to properly manage money in a time of economic strife with computers in schools roll out double the cost announced at election time.

Nor was it a simple question. It took maybe 30 seconds to a minute to ask. And Gillard didn't answer it because she had no answer really. And it showed. The natural order was re-established. Accountability was reinforced. Faux sisterhood was subordinated to the business of democracy and professional arms length.

Step on up Annabel Crabb, your country needs your service and as they say on the West Wing, where's the choice in that? You are a little fresh by comparison, and we think you made a minor factual mistake in today's column (Bidgood really did mispeak by leaving out a second "not" in his mangled double negative pommie defense of mate PM Rudd), but these are indeed trivial, amplifying the greater reality. Our imperfections colour the jewell and provide the space to grow into the role.

As No Drama Obama has revealed, you feel like 'this is what I should be doing'. SAM can tell which is our blessing and our curse.

And Old Ramsey? You will be missed Dude, you will be missed. Well played, that's some innings Dude. It's all one can ask for in this veil.

Posted by editor at 10:37 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 6 December 2008 11:36 AM EADT
Friday, 5 December 2008
Bidgood MP did good on Aminov protest photos, no risk
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: big media
MP apologises to petrol protestor
Pictures above and below from Sydney Daily Telegraph: Immolation prevented ... AFP officers douse Marat Aminov with water.
There have been some interesting developments over the "controversial" Aminov protest pictures sold to the Sydney Daily Telegraph for charity.

The photo was of police well in control of the situation. Indeed the picture may have headed off an actual suicide bid by leading to the coverage the protester so desperately wanted. Who really knows?

We covered this issue in our penultimate post around PM Office control games, rival big media punishment tactics, and the role of every citizen to do community media.


We have contributed to a Crikey.com.au string by media expert Margaret Simmons along these lines:


Ailie Bruins
Thursday, 4 December 2008 3:12:22 PM
An MP takes a photo of a protester and it is used by a newspaper. The message of the protester is lost in the beat up about the MP.

What was the man protesting about? What drove him to such lengths that he tried to set himself alight outside parliament?

The story that the MP has committed some heinous transgression smacks of spin and media management.

Perhaps the MP’s biggest sin was that he excluded Fairfax . Or, was it because he circumvented the middleman in the modern ‘news’ cycle — the public relations / media professionals. So PR flexed its mighty muscles and the MP copped it.


Tom McLoughlin
Thursday, 4 December 2008 3:46:52 PM
Well said Ailie. After hearing AM but before looking at the Sydney press I made it my business to address this story in the framework of CENSORSHIP of community media and that's what it is really about.

"Insensitive, inappropriate"? For taking a picture invited by the protest to promote his own profile. Get real. Of course it was okay to take pictures. Then was it wrong to ask for money? Well there is no doubt someone was going to buy his intellectual property in the Big Media. And that's what it was - intellectual property. So it was only a question of price and who should ethically benefit.

On principle I don't think there is any objection to him profiting from his own work EXCEPT that he was in harness as an MP and therefore on our tab. So he was wise to donate it to charity. If he had been out of hours, or on holidays it would have been fine.

I reported the basic claims of the Aminov's on my blog on 19 October ....2007, with a picture via, from memory, an email from Jamal Daoud, who is quoted in the news this week. 14 months ago. It's here again today www.sydneyalternativemedia.com/blog

That's how pathetic the govt department DIAC have been. But the attempt to sanction Bidgood (who 'did good' amplifying the humanitarian protest as any decent photographer, blogger, indy media, or agitator would have), sanction by the PM's office is all about fear of the policy and politics of refugees, detention and stateless people.

To dress it up as wrong is pure ALP machine stock standard emotional violence in the name of playing the angles. In my humble opinion the rest is sophistry and internal Big Media rivalry.

I rang Bidgood's phone about 9.30 a.m. and left a message as above as they were in hiding. I can just imagine the staffer listening as the calls came in. I also left a message at the Telegraph's editorial desk., and Senator Hanson Young, Greens. And the Bidgood angle of the story has been killed stone dead, amen whether by coincidence or Big Govt shame.


Tom #2
Thursday, 4 December 2008 3:59:32 PM
In fact only recently the Big Media in their maddening hypocrisy praised the "beautiful" snapshots taken by a bevvy of MP's from Bob Brown/Greens to the MP for Wannon David Hawker (which covers my old home town of Warrnambool). Some pics good, some pics bad? What a load of nonsense. We are all media practitioners now - get used to it Big Media and show due respect while you're at it.

They really get my goat with their holier than thou exclusive role and airs and graces. Too dumb to do law or medicine more like it:

"Pollies on other side of the camera" Sydney Sun Herald, Kerry-Anne Walsh
November 16, 2008


Tom #3
Thursday, 4 December 2008 4:10:08 PM
... and then there was the poltiical cartoonists on the tv the other day with their exhibition of superb works - http://www.nma.gov.au/media/media_releases_index/political_cartooning_exhibition_wraps_up_2008/

Guess what - first prize is $1,000

Conclusion: Anyone can create an image and profit from it, cash or in kind (often worth alot more in career terms). Some even do it while moonlighting.


Thursday, 4 December 2008 4:17:15 PM

It's not illegal. It's not unethical. It's not immoral.
The protester sought it.

The media constantly asks us to submit our photos.

Is there a list of people that are not allowed to submit their photos?


Tom #4
Thursday, 4 December 2008 4:21:22 PM
My last word on this I swear - the cops were there obviously doing the security as per their expertise. For Joe Hockey or anyone (like those dunces Cato and Timbo on spindoctors abc sydney this morning) to say the MP shouldn't record a serious political statement/action is just bizarre. That would really be wrong. That would be an attempt to censor the MP's free speech via his photo image. In the USA they would be howling about PM's Office trying to breach the constitutional rights of his MP.

It's only a matter of charging for the image and who benefits and he's answered that - just like gifts declared and donated to the local orphanage. Talk about silly season kicking in on cue.
Tom McLoughlin
Friday, 5 December 2008 5:15:13 AM
Not so fast Jenny. The MP lacks real politik judgement would be my guess as a "novice" but the question is here did he lack moral judgement? I am totally unconvinced as a 15 year non profit campaigner for community media. I say it was a duty for him to take those pictures. That was the point of the protest. You admit yourself it got the story up and frankly I will be VERY surprised if the Aminov Family are not sorted within a month now.

He got beaten up by the ALP machine running scared of adverse coverage from one sector of the media running tattle tail to the PM's office over the "money" who panicked and forced a grovel statement. That is a media sector who got shut out of access to the image. They took revenge. If he'd shared it equally and even required a donation to charity by all of them none of this would have blown up in my guesstimation.

Last evening the aggrieved sector of the Big Media such as Chris Uhlmann [and we say this despite Walkley award, as well as a good streak of sanctimony as an ex seminarian/ACT independent candidate], on abc tv prime time news again went the biff: Tones dripping with condemnation 'for taking a photo', as if. Karen Middleton of SBS similarly went the biff about 'taking a picture'. Censorship? Right to know? They used the MP's grovel statement as moral 'proof' but it isn't. They levered early MP doorstops who were gulled by biased rival press that morning. It's proof of real politik censorship from his own boss/media rivals.

The biff was compounded as Kerry/7.30 rightly noted 'a video has turned up' further embarrassing Bidgood dated from Oct. So there's the proof. A video irrelevant to the question of mertis of taking 'the photo', cheap emotional violence. Th video ironically was good votes in the evangelical bible quoting North Qld (forget SE Oz comfort zone). And notice Uhlmann's Catholic rivalry.

Wiser heads like Annabel Crabb stood off Bidgood on cross to Richard Glover abc 702 4.45pm, and Brissenden on 7.30 said he was "controversial" to take the pic. It's all about Big Media turf protection! Did the commercials cover it on 9,10, 7? I wonder.


In the mix is this media release from The Greens:

Thursday 4 December 2008

New border protection agency must service human rights

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says the Government's new Australian
Customs and Border Protection Service must treat compassionately and
humanely people who arrive by boat to seek asylum in Australia.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the formation of the new agency
today, a day after a boat of 35 suspected asylum seekers was intercepted
off the Western Australian coast and escorted to Christmas Island for

"What kind of service will this new agency be offering to those who need
our assistance and protection?" asked Senator Hanson-Young.

"We cannot forget: it is not illegal to seek asylum. It is a right under
international law."

Senator Hanson-Young said that Australia must learn from the mistakes of
its past immigration policies.

"We have an opportunity to move forward to a more humane, compassionate
approach to the treatment of asylum seekers, and the opportunity to
rebuild Australia's international reputation," she said.

"Let's not allow ourselves to slide back to the dark days of the Howard
and Ruddock immigration regime and all that it brought: Tampa, children
overboard, the reprehensible tragedy of the SIEV-X and more than 200
cases of lawful residents being detained.

"The politics of fear must not cloud our actions on matters of human
rights and justice."

Senator Hanson-Young expressed concern at the detention on Christmas
Island of those who recently arrived on boat.

"Christmas Island's detention facilities should be closed, and we should
do away with this 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' attitude towards asylum
seekers who arrive by boat.

"All processing of claims for asylum should be done promptly and fairly
on the Australian mainland, where processes can be overseen and
community support services can be more easily accessed.

"The Greens will be closely monitoring the progress of the detainees on
Christmas Island."

Media contact: Gemma Clark on 0427 604 760

Postscript 8th December 2008:

The major party liners on abc 702 radio still push the orthodox emotional violence line against Bidgood MP, and we sent the Cameron Morning show these comments where her own colleagues disagree with their presentation:

Your own Barry Cassidy Insiders yesterday said words to the effect of 'there was no problem with him taking a photo' it was trying to sell it.


Annabel Crabb Sydney Morning Herald in her weekend column effectively said it was inconsistent of Big Media to criticise the sale of photographs of people's suffering.


Brissenden on 7.30 last Thursday refused to go further than to say it was "controversial".


My point is that - it is every citizen's duty to do citizen media of important political actions and statements and Bidgood would have been very wrong to NOT take those pictures. To avoid conveying the message of the protest would have effectively been political censorship.


The projection of Fairfax, ABC, and PM's Office of the idea Bidgood was exploiting suffering of Mr Aminov to make money while police had him under control (Cassidy's point also) is just self serving tosh. For instance the PM's office are dead scared of the refugee/immigration debate keen to shut it down if at all possible. The rival media wanted to punish an MP playing favourites with News Corp.


Having said that Bidgood should have distributed the photographs for free, or by equal donation of all commercial media to charity. Why? Because he was moonlighting from his MP duties on our time.


editor Tom McLoughlin


Posted by editor at 5:25 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 8 December 2008 1:23 PM EADT
Thursday, 4 December 2008
MP Bidgood photo snapper a hero of community media reportage on humanitarian case?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: independent media

Picture: Photo [by a supporter] sent to SAM blog micro news last year taken at Railway Square in Sydney, outside the Dept of Immigration & Citizenship (DIAC) of a long running protest over these stateless people. These are the same Aminov family in the news today.


The attacks by the PM's office and competing big media on an MP promoting the profile of a humanitarian case (duly and correctly published by the Sydney Daily Telegraph today) appear totally disingenuous if not dishonest.

 MP roasted over petrol protest pics
MP apologises to petrol protestor

KEVIN Rudd has slammed a Labor MP who took and gave out pictures of a protester who doused himself in petrol in dramatic scenes at Parliament House.

They are also an attack on community media practise. Here is the holier than thou from Fairfax today:

MP in cash for photograph scandal

PHILLIP COOREY | A Federal Labor MP has been carpeted by the Prime Minister's office after he allegedly tried to sell pictures he had just taken of a man threatening to set fire to himself outside Parliament House.

The fact is the Big Media don't like being gazumped on their news gathering work by the public or a commercial rival. They will seek to embarass any person, MP or public including bloggers who seeks to take up their closed shop role in a serious way - unless it's for free. The competitive sniping of the big media amongst themselves is similarly legendary.

This MP was quite within his rights to seek a fee from commercial media to donate it to charity. As if the journalists on their big fat wages shouldn't have to pay for someone doing their work for them. There is no issue of self interest here at all, only of professional jealousy.

The MP was also right to take the picture and try to amplify the media coverage of the humanitarian case by offering the pictures around.

What is 'unforgiveable' as far as Rudd's minders and office are surely concerned, is that this case is embarrassing to the government responsible for resolving the 10 year long case. It also echoes pressure coming to bear on the PM in the last several question times (eg via Sharman Stone MP), and in The Australian, about an increase of boat people and fraught policy on border protection and refugee detention:

People smugglers try again - Hon Dr Sharman Stone MP17 Nov 2008 ... This fifth boat that has been intercepted on its way to ...

Corrupt Indonesian officials put visas on sale | The Australian 3 Dec 2008

It may have been this same desperate protester who jumped into the chamber from the public gallery earlier this week, but in the normal course his protests were censored from both the radio and tv coverage.

In other words no problem with the MP taking pictures, or 'selling the picture' to benefit charity and profile an important humanitarian issue, but lack of real politik judgement about his own Govt's problems on immigration and refugee policy.

But Bidgood's moral judgement was just fine as far as we are concerned, and his engagement with popular community media practise is just fine by us. And we say that with 15 years in the non profit community media sector about a humanitarian case that has been unresolved for a good 10 years.

We have an archive picture which may be of these same protesters from outside the Immigration Dept here in Sydney also which we will publish (see above) again and refer this post back in late 2007:

Friday, 19 October 2007
Hunger strike by the Aminovs
Mood:  sad
Topic: human rights


Our correspondent writes: Attached is a photo from the hunger strike staged by Aminovs family outside Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) yesterday. The Aminovs decided to take the matter further and will go on a day of hunger strike outside PM's house this coming Sunday. The hunger strike will start 10 am - 4 pm, outside Kiribilli house, Sunday 21 October 07.  

There demands are:
1. Speed up the process of the visa, on highly humanitarian basis Or,  Grant them humanitarian visa instead of parents visa.
2- Issue them a photo ID to enable them to move more freely and comfortably.
3- Allow them to access Medicare services (on humanitarian grounds) and other basic settlements services (English classess...).
They will be joined by few friends and other long time similar case/s.
Please come along for solidarity and to protest the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers by Howard's governement

Posted by editor at 9:36 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 December 2008 11:49 AM EADT
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
Joe Stiglitz, Naomi Klein, Hernando De Soto lifting the veil on GFC, GEC
Mood:  accident prone
Topic: world

This event is dated 20 October 2008 so actually is a little stale, and should be updated with this piece November 17th 2008 we also linked to here:

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


Posted by editor at 8:45 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 December 2008 1:59 PM EADT
Local open publishing website driven off line
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: independent media

This screen print looks ominous regarding the local radical Sydney Independent Media:

Postscript 3 Dec 2008: It's back up which is all to the better in the free speech agenda. We also dropped into Perth IMC which is vibrant. Then Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane (this last one at least as far as a google) and it looks like these are dormant or gone.

Meanwhile web 2.0 rushes ahead regardless. Did the radical geeks at IMC in big cities in Australia just go and get jobs and mortgages? Join even bigger more effective Get Up! Or as they say on the grassy knoll, something got to them?

Here in Sydney the Alternative Media Group (a privately owned business) is chugging along. And micro news SAM here of course. To complete the indy alternative news list would include Crikey.com.au and New Matilda which surely qualify as minor not micro news media.

Posted by editor at 7:52 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 December 2008 1:51 PM EADT
Monday, 1 December 2008
SAM traffic counter returns to service
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: independent media

We read Tim Blair in the Saturday Telegraph, or TB as we like to say, sledging gutsy lefty Anthony Lowenstein for having only 200 hits a day on his blog. Which is largely irrelevant as he is also a mainstream freelance journalist as well.

Anyhow we noticed our traffic counter back in business from our US host server, but it looks like we might have lost a good 6 days traffic there at about 500 a day.

Yesterday was a good day:

Postscript 3rd Dec 2008: This image shows we lost 6 days of traffic metrics roughly 19 Nov to 25 Nov:



Posted by editor at 8:00 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 December 2008 2:29 PM EADT

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