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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 23 August 2007
Liberal Party's $1M draw back: Greens
Mood:  celebratory
Topic: health
Liberals should stop taking donations from big tobacco


If the Liberal Party wants to be taken seriously when discussing the
health risks of smoking, they should donate the over $1 million dollars
they've received from Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco to
cancer research, Greens Senator for New South Wales Kerry Nettle said
today outside a Liberal party fundraiser hosted by the Federal Minister
for Ageing, Christopher Pyne in Sydney.

"Christopher Pyne cannot deliver an effective 'quit smoking' message
while his party continues to accept donations from big tobacco
companies," Senator Nettle said.

"Smoking is the single greatest cause of death and disease in Australia.
According to the 2001 National Drug Strategy Household Survey  tobacco
use caused 19,000 deaths and 142,500 hospital episodes were attributed
to tobacco smoking.

"Australian Electoral Commission data shows that between 1998 & 2006 the
Liberal Party has received $697,065.00 from British American Tobacco and
$337,340.00 from Philip Morris.

"The Liberal Party should donate the over $1 million dollars they've
received from tobacco companies to cancer research," Senator Nettle

"There is growing public disquiet about the millions of dollars
political parties receive to run their election campaigns particularly
tobacco companies.

"Today's $1200 a head lunch hosted by Christopher Pyne excludes all but
the top end of town from gaining access to the Howard Government",
Senator Nettle said.

Contact: Kristian Bolwell 0411638320

Posted by editor at 6:03 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 6:35 PM NZT
BHP-Billiton on corporate welfare in South Australia: Greens
Mood:  irritated
Topic: corporates

Media Release
23rd August 2007

16.7 Billion reasons to scrap BHP Billiton special deal

Greens MLC Mark Parnell has called once again for BHP Billiton to give
up its special exemptions from state law on the back of yesterday's
extraordinary record profit announcement of $16.7 Billion.

"Why should a company that earns a staggering $16.7 Billion a year get
special deals from the people of South Australia that mean they save
money by avoiding state laws?            

"The time for special exemptions for BHP Billiton is well and truly
over.  They clearly can afford to pay their own way," he said.

Mark Parnell has a Bill before State Parliament, the Roxby Downs
(Indenture Ratification) (Application of Acts) Amendment Bill 2007 that
will remove special exemptions from the Aboriginal Heritage Act, the
Environmental Protection Act, the Freedom of Information Act and the
Natural Resources Management Act. 

"Every other developer needs to follow these laws - why does BHP
Billiton continue to get a free ride?  It's bizarre that one of the
richest companies in the world gets an easier ride when it comes to
complying with state laws than other miners and developers.

"I urge BHP Billiton to voluntarily give up these special exemptions,
and if they don't, I expect the Parliament to support my Bill to take
them away," Mr Parnell said.

For further comment contact Craig Wilkins on 0434 007 893


Greenpeace in Crikey.com.au today write

7. Nice profit BHP, shame about the environment

Greenpeace energy campaigner Ben Pearson writes:

So BHP has made another bumper profit. Just released figures report a record earnings result of $US13.4 billion, $16.7 million, driven by strong sales of commodities including petroluem products and coal. The press coverage of this has largely been uncritical; a doff of the hat to Chip Goodyear, and a general feeling of contentment that BHP, and Australia, can continue to ride the unprecedented commodities boom.


What is missing is an analysis of what BHP’s profits mean from a climate perspective.

BHP makes money by digging up and exporting commodities like coal. Its 23 coal mines worldwide produce nearly 150 million tonnes of coal a year, and it has major expansion plans in Australia. When that coal is burnt it creates greenhouse gases that fuel climate change, the costs of which will be huge if left unchecked. Australia, in particular, will be vulnerable as a hot, dry continent, and key industries like agriculture and tourism will be devastated.

In essence, therefore, BHP’s record profits now are being made by producing and exporting products which will threaten our economic wellbeing in the future. Yet the coverage of BHP’s profits fails to make this connection and fails to ask a very basic question: if climate change is such a threat, then why is it good that BHP continues to mine and export even more coal and other climate-changing products?


The answer from BHP would inevitably be "we’re investing in clean coal". Rubbish. BHP is spending about $360 million on clean coal over five years, a miserly amount compared to their profits. The expenditure is designed to create the appearance of caring about climate change so it can continue to profit from fuelling it.


Ultimately, reportage of BHP’s profits is just another manifestation of Australia’s current holiday from history. We happily ride the commodities boom while ignoring the inevitable, and severe, consequences of our quarry mentality, and economy. Future generations will look back at us in the same way we look back at Easter Island communities and ask "what were they thinking when they chopped down the last tree?"

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.

Posted by editor at 3:49 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 3:53 PM NZT
Akerman's Heiner foray raises questions of bipartisan failure on child protection
Mood:  sharp
Topic: election Oz 2007

Piers Akerman reckons he is onto something with two significant columns in 4 days on the scandal of child abuse in a Qld institution from back to 1990, as pictured here bottom left today's Sydney Daily Telegraph.


Rudd may well be in the clear according to protestions of the ALP regarding improper shredding of old Inquiry documents, or not. Certainly Rudd is busy condemning abuse by economic slave merchants treating children as utilitarian widgets in a business/religious cult here: Brethren still a cult in Rudd's book And for that we are very glad. 

To us there seems to be just as much to be sad and sorry about regarding injustice and abuse of children on the Coalition side of politics through unspent Aboriginal welfare budget in a series running in the Herald (top left). We know of the broken election promise to fund the Cape York Land Use Agreement as one egregious example by Howard in 1996 (a promise made and broken again in 1998 by Minister Robert Hill).

Then there are questions alleging sinister behaviour in society generally (front page story Herald top right).

And perhaps the biggest child welfare issue of all is threat to a healthy environment which News Ltd are tuning into as per bottom right hand side full pager above in the press today too, as well as the former investment banker mother, climate change activist on abc talk back this morning.

Posted by editor at 12:51 PM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 2:08 PM NZT
Howard takes out tree insurance on Malevolent Turnbull via Heff and Cousins?
Mood:  hug me
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: Front page of The Australian today 23rd August 2007. And more here  PM's silence more grist to the mill " JOHN Howard has refused to intervene in the public brawl between confidant Geoffrey Cousins and Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull." Just because I like him won't stop me burying him, Mill may cost state jobs and $3.3bn, Issue set to explode


[Email correspondence follows to local NSW ChipStop network follows]

Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:50 PM

Subject: Australian front page coverage Cousins goes Turnbull and is winning the PR so far re Wentworth ding dong smacking

This image [below, 22nd August 07] on front Australian website says alot. Mal Turnbull has a reputation as an enfant terrible earlier in his life that even Kerry Packer felt a little nervous around when he lost his temper (which is saying something with KP known to throw cricket balls at full force across the room). Since those days Mal reckons 'personal attacks only diminishes oneself' but he may be projecting his own real fear of losing the seat of Wentworth with hourly bulletins today having Mal attacking Cousins as "bullying" (irony) and not 'worthy of being on a public company' (Telstra no less) and but Geof Cousins cutting through about not being silenced in a democracy (eg adverts in Wentworth Courier), and calling Mal's criticism "feeble". Yep this is a first class blue blood business breakdown and there's no saying who will win. Turnbull put $600,000 into taking Wentworth in 2003 and doesn't strike me as a guy who throws away his money for nothing - indeed eye on the prize as PM one imagines (and smart - donated $40K personal money to burns unit charity of Mid Year Ball close to heart of Canberra Press Gallery after death and injury in Indonesia). Only Howard has parked Mal in the Environment portfolio for the very fact its an intractable basket case in a Coalition resource driven govt. That's Howard's insurance against overarching ambition, and Cousins is Howard's mate on Telstra Board. Howard was mentioned on radio earlier as praising Cousins as a good bloke, so no respite for Mal (evolent) there (ha ha).
Also Heffernan, a Howard boundary rider on agri industry politiks and cross checker on National Party boondoggles, last Friday on parliamentary broadcast was waxing lyrical about the toxic pollution from the Tamar Valley pulp mill, like throwing a bone to the greenies - but again I would take all that with a grain of salt on behalf of both Howard and Heffernan - both known as cynical pocket pissers, by which I mean only moved by real politik to speak up for the environment with no real belief their whole career.
Amazing what a close election will do to focus the pollies on real environmental policy. (Illustrating how the NSW green movement lost the plot letting the Carr ALP get such a big margin especially in state election 2003. But that's just my opinion ...).
Here is the Australian coverage today (it also ran ABC World Today show as well here 22nd August 2007 http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/default.htm)

[The Australian] Federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull, pictured here today at a National Infrastucture Conference. Picture: Graham Crouch More

A FORMER senior adviser to John Howard will personally campaign against Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his marginal seat.

Matthew Denholm | August 22, 2007

A LEADING businessman and former senior adviser to John Howard will personally campaign against federal Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull in his marginal Sydney seat in a bid to reverse federal approval for a Tasmanian pulp mill.


Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 5:44 PM
Subject: Crikey' s Stephen Mayne sees a genuine green streak in Geof Cousins too, lays off hostile motion to Telstra Re: [chipstop] Australian front page
Geoffrey Cousins, all is forgiven Date: Wednesday, 22 August 2007
Stephen Mayne writes:

For a supposedly close mate of the Prime Minister, Telstra director Geoffrey Cousins appears to have joined his colleagues in going native although in his case the issue is Malcolm Turnbull’s approval of the Gunns pulp mill.

As part of a bigger push into shareholder activism, I was literally about to hit the button on a campaign to gather 100 signatures from Telstra shareholders to put up a resolution seeking to remove Cousins from the board at the AGM in Sydney on 7 November.

The deadline was 6 September and the plan was potentially a Machiavellian beauty based on the hope that the Telstra board would maintain its opposition to Cousins, such that he would have been turfed off the board just days before or after the federal election.

Given that Telstra is at war with the government, the assumption was that his close Cousins association with John Howard would make him unpopular with his board colleagues.

Alas, the opposite seems to be the case. The mail coming out of the Telstra boardroom is that they are all getting along very well and now we’ve got Cousins declaring war on both the Lennon Labor Government in Tasmania and federal environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Australian splashed today with revelations that Cousins will try to unseat Turnbull from his marginal seat of Wentworth.

At one level, this could be interpreted as Cousins establishing his anti-government credentials to save his skin on the Telstra board. It has certainly ended my removal resolution.

The government forced Cousins onto the board last year by voting its 51% stake in favour just days before it sold down to 17%. A resolution to remove him, if backed by the board, would have been a fascinating test of the Future Fund’s independence right in the middle of an election campaign.

At last year’s AGM, Cousins needed the government’s 6.446 billion votes to get elected because he faced an unprecedented against vote from institutions of 1.73 billion shares. I was the best performed outside candidate with 186 million votes in favour and Cousins was only supported by 240 million shares before the government saved the day.

However, Cousins does have a long history of trashing relationships in pursuit of good corporate governance. A 20 year friendship with Nick Whitlam didn’t stop him from turning crown witness against him over some NRMA proxy voting and he also railed against the practices of Crown Casino developer Hudson Conway when he was put onto that board by Kerry Packer.

Maybe the guy really is a genuine campaigner for good corporate practice who also has a strong green streak from his experiences bushwalking in Tasmania.

Send your tips to boss@crikey.com.au or submit them anonymously here.


Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:29 PM
Subject: Gunns to to control Auspine softwood sector on mainland for anti competitive horizontal integration of native forest, plantation

I think that point about breaking the internal corss subsidy within the govt balance sheet from logging of profitable plantation to unprofitable native forest just got more compelling as a result of the private sector finances moving to integrate the native forest and plantation sector, which means there will be even more anti competitive practices between the two sides of the logger operations, in other words more clearing for more new plantation. Quite logical brutal business practice by Gunns. But then that's just my opinion.....based on the NSW Public Accounts Committee reporting to the NSW Parliament in 1990

Gunns' slingers to take 50.1pc stake | The Australian 

Andrew McGarry and Pia Akerman | August 22, 2007

FORESTRY company Gunns is seen as the Tasmanian tough guy of timber, the company that never backs down from a fight.

The company's latest stoush, a $332 million takeover offer for South Australian-based softwood plantation producer Auspine, is not yet over, but later today Gunns is expected to cross the 50.1 per cent shareholding threshold to take a controlling interest. .......


Meanwhile local solicitor Alex Tees is promoting this platform as a likely independent candidate in Wentworth (Tees is our legal sponsor/principal in our pro bono legal work but this platform is all Tees' own work, no responsibility though we did mention Tas forests)



Community Independent Residents such as myself will be instituting the following agenda priorities for the forthcoming election;


In the next few weeks/months a series of public meetings will be called and held to set up an Exploratory Campaign Committee with a view to promoting an Independent campaign and or candidates in the Forthcoming Federal Election for the Federal Seat of Wentworth.


"This may appeal to ordinary local residents  and For those who are not members of BIG POLITICAL PARTIES , BIG TRADE UNIONS OR BIG BUSINESS"


Draft Policy Issues for Discussion


1. A Policy to guarantee everyone who is capable of a job ; with Government if necessary, particularly in these economic boom times to subsidize mobility of job seekers on 100% basis, subsidize jobs with Local Govt, Community organizations and other employers. Such

policy will involve the abolition of unemployment benefits and its replacement with guaranteed net wage of at least that set by the Fair Pay Commission.


2.a) Control of all Health/Education services by the Commonwealth with the Commonwealth to pay for the same ; with same to be paid for by the Commonwealth/Federal Government.ONE NATIONAL EDUCATION AND HEALTH SYSTEM = MASSIVE COST SAVINGS – NO DUPLICATION OF BUREAUCRACY

b) One single National registration system for all Trades and Professions with Common standards = more massive savings for Government and Business.


3. A Further closer integration of all Police Services both Federal and State into one co-operative command ; abolishing all duplicated responsibilities in Policing and law enforcement that currently exists between Federal/State bodies.Further and extra funding for all Police and a National Training system for Police to be set up.


4. The closure of Villawood detention centre and those at Port Hedland/and Victoria and its/their replacement with a scheme where necessary of home detention and a smaller more humane immigration detention centre. No more former criminals or criminal deportees

to be put in such centres with ordinary immigration detainees and no children ever to held in immigration detention.


5. A Proper National environmental audit with particular emphasis on further prevention of land clearance and preservation of natural rain forests.


6. Further Continued Assistance and intervention in support of all Aboriginal Communities in strict consultation with such communities to prevent child abuse in ALL States/Territories with LONG TERM extra resources and funds for doctors, accommodation

and education.


7. Continued National control of the national Communications/telephone and internet network and better government funding of same in all areas of Australia.


8. Enhanced funding and a massive expansion of Defence Reserve Forces to be recruited and trained on a regional basis ; with emphasis on civil defence and natural disasters ; while bolstering national and regional defence preparedness with maximum flexibility etc.


9. Increased Funding and resources for Defence Forces to train local Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.


10. Massive increase in Commonwealth funding for alternative energy sources other than Oil/Petrol ; to Solar, wind, tidal and Oil substitute fuels ; massive increase in funding for Public Transport and Railways with the Commonwealth to take control of one

National Uniform Rail system.


11. A Fair and Equitable National Industrial Relations System that governs all employees ; not the current Federal State Government sponsored mess with multiple coverage and uncertainty for employees and employers in every jurisdiction in Australia.


12. GST ADMINISTRTION COSTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS ARE STILL TOO ONEROUS AND SHOULD BE SUBSIDIZED AND PAID FOR BY GOVERNMENT NOT Small Business ... a GST Stamp system could be introduced whereby users of small business services purchase GST stamps from the

Government and then hand them over physically or electronically to Small Businesses thereby meaning Small Businesses no longer collect Taxes for the government or administer its tax system for it...........

“The cost of administering the GST system should be borne by the Government NOT SMALL BUSINESS “ ( as it is at the moment)


All the above will achieve massive costs savings and significant investment for the future of all Australians for the future.


A public meeting will shortly be held in Wentworth in the next few months to Form a Campaign Committee to promote the above policies.


Further Information :


Alex Tees




A.A.W. Tees


Office :@ ANZIA, Su 3a, Lvl 6 , 303 Pitt St Sydney 2000 ,Australia

Tel  9281 3230/821 10233 ,Email atees@bigpond.com After Hours (02) 820 73122 &

9387 4836/0409813622 ,Mobile (040) 981 3622


Fax (02) 9262 7644 , Intnl After hours 612 820 73122


Web sites: www.legalexchange.com.au, www.cpppcltrust.com

Posted by editor at 11:48 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 3:47 PM NZT
Media Watch's Tim Palmer & co should hold fast, impertinent The Oz still more bullypit than quality
Mood:  sharp
Topic: big media

Picture: Media Watch asleep on the job? Au contraire - The Australian as moral wolf in stylish 100% woollen clothing, reliant on the shill of industry, just as likely.


A judicious and honest consideration of the attack by The Australian editorial today on humble 15 minute ABC Media Watch of 20th August 2007 including:


-         long long ‘doth protest too much’ haughty editorial - Old tricks back at Media Watch - echoing the recent slumming editorial effort against accurate criticism by psephologist bloggers of  their Dennis Shanahan re Newspoll interpretation

-         skinny column by veteran hack David Salter – the only intrinsically convincing article re journalistic career cowardice in the face of a Treasurer's edict Watchdog must bite all hands equally

-         talented but flighty, opportunistic Caroline Overington in their Media supplement Ripping yarns not on the ABC more a plea for a longer more resourced MW than anything


and maybe more (?), must take into account ‘tis the season of electoral emotional violence and ambition'. In the case of relatively new editor of the Oz the ambition s to become the quality broadsheet in Australia with all the cut and thrust and blood that implies, not least poaching staff from the Fin Review, cosying up with Opposition Leader Rudd, and not brooking any criticism no matter how sound.


(Nor is it any coincidence in this stage of the political cycle as nerves fray and excitement reins, Mary Kostakidis is locking horns with dumb bosses at SBS, or ABC have axed the influential natural history unit in this election killing season.)


First, by coincidence we ‘watched’ MW last night on the web, having slept early last Monday night. Big tick to the ABC for their web service there.


Second, we found the line up worthy and competent. True, big sensationalist stories might be the preference of the narcissistic sector but if this writer’s tastes are anything like the usual audience we care at least as much about safe medical drugs coverage, drink driving in society, commercialism masquerading as news, credits ruining our family movie enjoyment and honest reporting of climate change. Sure we want a moderate coverage of ‘pop star’ journalists but keep it in perspective.


Third, on the content of the last story offending The Oz, fifth in the line up, this turns on cunning Matthew Warren an industry hack now ‘environment reporter’ exploiting the well known conservative diplomacy of the UN IPCC paralysed by nth degree consensus to claim Howard’s delay on climate change action is being ‘responsible’. Yet virtually everyone knows the high quality science predicts worse, not less, dangerous impacts not least sea rise, and that the IPCC is hobbled by needing to keep all vested govt interests in the tent. The Australian is being too cute by half arguing Warren, their paper with huge fossil fool advertising supplements, or economic dry denialist industry readership demographic is in any way objective. That’s a Shakespearean farce – hence the 'doth protest too much' projection of their own paper's bias well ventilated by MW in maybe a 3 minute item last in the line up. [On reflection 24.8.07 we agree with Warren's possibly main gist that ALP and Coalition are more similar than different on real practical policy settings, if that in fact is his main point, while disagreeing with his dubious positioning of IPCC chair as pro Howard.]


Fourth, when Salter argues the journo’s at the Water’s Edge should be front and centre in the MW show for failing to report an 'on the record' backgrounding at a dinner about leadership tensions, and then off the record ‘retrospective virginity’ (great line) well yes. But there is plenty of time for a considered view from MW after the dust settles. Nothing turns on rushing in now. No doubt a blogger like this one, who would never get invited to such a dinner, would have published by dessert with no chance for on to off . Salter we say is surely right – this aspect needs a lot more attention not least the operation of 'the drip' to ruin immediate coverage but also we say better to wait for a good solidly researched effort. Including interview with Brissenden (or Daley or Wright) on why they folded, in the chair making his inevitable mea culpa for belated acceptance of the Treasurer's confidence. Just get the grovel confession out Michael, it worked for Kev. Another aspect - re a confidence belatedly accepted then splashing it 2 years later - has been thrashed to death by all other Big Media, so MW could have rehashed but we agree why bother except maybe as a footnote.


Fifth, Overington is no paragon of moral judgement, notwithstanding the AWB outrage she nailed to her great credit. Stuck at The Oz to do their corporate vested interest as above, having tried and failed (?) to get into the ABC, the planks of her argument are not really so strong in the self defined inhouse media bible:


-         we have addressed the Waters Edge which is Salter’s not her point really.

-         The HMAS Sydney wreck that never was – not really false reporting at all, mistaken identity duly clarified, based on views of amateur searchers. It was a big story but a small mistake and all been cured and a small lesson in hedging your bets with a judicious question mark in headlines. Who is hurt by the error? No one, would be our guess.

-         The so called ‘Rudd strip club story’ – well it's still being clarified and embellished with World Today abc carrying the boss of Scores debunking the factual matrix only 2 days ago – after Media Watch’s schedule. In other words the jury and the evidence was still out and excellent editorial decision to hold off on the story at MW, AND for the Herald to not run the story at all. It was bogus. Indeed the real story is how Col Allan leads quality politicians into moral hazard to destroy honourable independent politics. But you won’t read that in The Australian owned by News Ltd.


The Australian with an obvious axe to grind should take it's medicine on misreporting IPCC political endorsement of Howard in an election year via Warren spinning a hobbled, hapless IPCC chief, and stop please stop whining.


Otherwise let's see editor Paul Whittacker publish on the front page that owner Rupert is a fool for also being worried about general delay on climate change policy. I don't think so.


Postscript #1


Low on the inside page of The Media supplement Matthew Warren (and editor Whittaker extract in paper version) of the Oz argue in Storm over IPCC chairman's comments with great sophistry about 'lack of global consensus on urgent strict targets to fight climate change', quoting variability of government positions across the globe. BUT this ignores the firm majority consensus amongst most best scientists inlcuding in the IPCC who do (often despite their governments) want such targets and call for endorsement of Kyoto Protocol which inevitably leads to ... strict emission targets. So its mostly splitting hairs. Only trouble is the Kyoto framework is constantly being sabotaged by Howard and his barrackers in Australia (like Warren, Whittacker), and the USA under GW Bush ... because it leads to strict targets.


Warren, like Gittins at the Herald, can argue cogently there is little practical difference between Coalition and ALP on real climate change policy, and maybe that's his real point anyway positioning Dr Pachauri as Chair of the IPCC, but that's not science or ecological reality, that's duopoly establishment privilege and denial, and certainly not the role of Media Watch.


Also it seems the ABC has shifted some ground on the Water's Edge imbroglio as reported (with glee?) by The Australian here:  ABC places ethics debate on record with no doubt some official grovel there as a concession to critics. But let's not get too coy here - getting a story on leadership tensions provided on anonymous background, then running it in defiance of a request to bury it would be brave and right but also cruel any juicy access. That's the ABC's hard road to hoe, but the commercials surely don't have such scruples and would just balance up value of an immediate story versus value of the drip in future. In this way Brissenden is on a higher relative tax payer funded standard and deserves due sympathy for that heavier burden as a leader in his field, not a follower. It does him credit he feels the ethical pressure now obvious in his interviews. In short a due grovel by a quality journo, no one is perfect, and move on. Scruples should be a virtue not a paralysing obsession. My conclusion, Brissenden probably cured the pre emptive buckle (belatedly, improperly accepting the Treasurer's confidence) by running the story 2 years later and indeed better late than never. Bravo.

Posted by editor at 9:32 AM NZT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 11:07 AM NZT
Wednesday, 22 August 2007
SBS loses its way on quality control, just ask Sniff and Stiff prime time news hour and their cure for er*ctile problems
Mood:  sad
Topic: big media

We noticed this advert at about 6.50 pm two nights ago on SBS news hour before switching over to the 7 pm abc prime time news:

Lower picture above shows image from front page of the Sydney Morning Herald today re 20 year veteran high brow journalist Mary Kostakidis who looks to be chucking the SBS for pathetic media standards.

The pathetic choice of advertising placement during their quality news hour as per this YouTube featuring Sniff and Stiff  seems to bear out her general concerns.

Meanwhile over at the bigger public broadcaster ABC the Natural History Unit has been axed: Crikey - Media & Arts - The ABC's Natural History unit becomes history

Truly the barbarians are inside the public broadcasters in the last days of the desperate Howard Govt consistently 10 points behind in the polls, and likely now relying on 'feral protesters', and huge pork barrel politiking to generate polling popularity of any kind.

Now we have just noticed the intrepid Errol Simper in The Australian here, who seems to see through the Big Media like 'water running down my drain' to quote one of Bob Dylan's stingers: Network to blame for anchor's loss

Postscript #1 24 Aug 2007

In his opinion piece in the Media supplement in The Oz, Quentin Dempster also notes the above Sniff and Stiff juxtaposition with the SBS News Hour. (It appears to be offline, under the heading The great debate Should SBS be more commercial) within this larger story Come back Mary, pleads boss | The Australian

Posted by editor at 1:36 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007 10:35 AM NZT
Kids shouldn't protest 1/2 million deaths in Iraq to 'stop Bush', according to Premier Iemma
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: peace
Adrian D’Hage (Click for larger image.)

Picture: Career soldier and Olympics security expert Adrian D’Hage spoke on ABC Conversation Hour recently

Yesterday's Conversation Hour guest with Richard Fidler was very profound. We believe the interview is a stark contrast with Premier Morris Iemma's grandstanding over APEC protesters on prime time tv news and here in the Big Press:

Don't recruit students: Iemma Morris Iemma warns "feral" APEC protesters against recruiting school students. Your say: APEC, protests and schoolkidsFull APEC coverage

And there is this provocative front pager from the dodgy editorialists at the News Ltd Telegraph, perhaps covering their tracks for their disgrace now over a deceptive 'Rudd Strip Club' story, certainly underlining how dumb the choice of Sydney as the APEC venue really is:

Premier Iemma is under the spotlight over all this likely disruption too over whether he supports the Iraq war folly or the protesters against? What does avowed Christian 'do unto others' Morris Iemma stand for at all? Is he a joke on democracy itself?

In February 2003 an entirely peaceful rally of some 250-500K Sydney siders protested the impending Iraq war including this writer, and not just in Australia: 

PM Howard called this profound opposition "a mob" and arrogantly went ahead anyway. The mob were invariably right, and Bush and Howard WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. Not least the extremism of the USA military industrial complex and world famous arrogance and the cultural bigotry of that country's military.

The reason we have separated smaller capital cities in so many countries including Canberra is so that large per se rallies and protests, that are small in proportion to total population, cannot mass in a major city and hijack democracy in the seat of govt. So has Howard deliberately sought to undo that sound democratic norm for his own cynical divisive electoral purposes after 2003 by moving the visiting pollies en masse to Sydney? To provocatively leverage 'the mob' who oppose him to his own Karl Rove divisive purposes?

He is certainly cynical enough to have thought it.

A contrasting approach by Australian career soldier D'Hage could not be greater: A decorated Vietnam veteran, successful security chief for the Sydney Olympics, this bloke D'Hage in the link below condemns Sydney as choice of APEC venue, and notes the credible expert estimates of disastrous loss of life in Iraq due to the appalling US President George Bush and his cronies, including John Howard PM of Australia.

These are not the words of your typical bleeding heart anti war or Bush critic, let alone hard left Resistance organisation:

Security expert and author Adrian D'Hage [21/08/2007]
Adrian D'Hage is a man of many parts. First, there's the military man: Adrian was a platoon commander in Vietnam where he was awarded the Military Cross. He became a Brigadier, but doesn't believe he was every a very conventional member of the military.   [
more ]

Most of the public in their heart, including we say, Premier Morris Iemma, Police Minister Campbell,  Deputy Premier Watkins and Education Minister Della Bosca know an APEC junket in Sydney is a Howard wank hence this independent press cutting visual satire earlier this month:

More useful background here (via the topics list 'oz election 07' at right, then scroll to the date entry)

Tuesday, 26 June 2007
APEC Sept 2007: Civil society groups sleep walking into a law and order federal election trap
Mood:  rushed
Topic: election Oz 2007

Postscript #1 23rd August 2007

Seems the ALP are getting  quite busy on APEC now at higher federal levels of their machine. Rudd is meeting pro war President Bush where Rudd's fence sitting on the Iraq issue in 2003 will hold him in good stead compared with the categorical opposition of former leaders Crean and Latham.

And Keating is in the rival broadsheet promoting a new script for APEC itself in his big picture way regarding assisting China into a modern democratic form which does seem to carry some oomph too. All big asks given these flyers around the place:


Posted by editor at 9:23 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007 2:05 PM NZT
Tuesday, 21 August 2007
Naked journo power envy drives Milne's 'Rudd strip club' story, sincere Ramsey sledge?
Mood:  energetic
Topic: big media

In the Latham Diaries on p254 big Mark cries over attacks on his Mum ('by his ex wife on the radio') in a meeting with Kevin Rudd over policy. That’s some trust to cry in front of a colleague.


In the same Diaries at page 364-5 Latham brutally insults Rudd for crying over the death of his mother (the day before federal election Oct 8th 2004) allegedly while lobbying him for a job in the shadow ministry. 


Again that’s some trust. Latham almost certainly misinterprets the grief as callous ambition when the potential demise of a golden son’s career is surely exactly the main concern of every great mother. Hence the intertwined psychology of career with child-parent solidarity and tears: Endeavour to glorify their mother or conversely failure causing dishonour, at least in their minds.


Our view Latham and Rudd might have a bit more in common on the emotional level than either want to admit. Indeed Latham describes Rudd as “a crazy bastard” at p256, an epithet since directed at himself by the Big Media.


But the Big Media have some psychological vulnerabilities of their own to ponder this last week.


Insightful media analyst Margaret Simmons on Crikey yesterday asks where is the story really in a strip club visit 4 years ago …. led by the nose there by one notorious yet powerful sink pisser Col Allan, formerly editor of cartoon book Sydney Daily Telegraph?


The seeds of Rudd at sleazy Scores story surely arises like a rusty sword out of the waters of Lake Burley Griffin, or the Waters Edge restaurant to be exact, another warty story itself 2 years old.


3 power journos Daley, Brissenden, Wright, and by definition not Milne or Ramsey are treated to a lengthy chat on/off the record by Treasurer Costello. Ramsey illustrates how cosy it all is with Mrs Wright owning the place, Mrs Brissenden (Taylor) corroborating etc etc.


But Ramsey makes it quite clear his pique at not being invited  with terms like “all that journalistic chest hair”, “Oh please”, “bored by the story” “dreadfully incestuous hothouse of huge, clashing egos” and deliciously “Don’t ever think it’s just the politicians”.


Well sure Alan but you still weren’t there, and just as well otherwise we might not have got such a cracking article Not-so-meaty returns, never mind happy - Opinion - smh.com.au last Saturday. Nor Glen Milne who got his equaliser next day with Kevin Rudd hits a strip club | The Daily Telegraph


That’s envy, and relevance deprivation syndrome within the Canberra Press Gallery.


We suspect as an indulgence to pop psychology that Rudd’s desperate attempt to unwind and lapse of judgement in New York 2003 relates in some Freudian way to the impending loss of the first, most profound woman in his life  – his mother. A big adjustment in anyone’s life. The male id and all that.


But all we get from Big Politics and Big Media is the increasingly naked reputations of all the power players – envious journos, grasping leaders (some pictured present and past) of major duopoly parties, and probably this wannabe blogger here.


Meanwhile Morris Iemma is busy grandstanding on police water cannon to steal oxygen from this story of a nakedly corrupt meeting with a Macau gambling gangster as here or cancer causing ventilation stacks from another multi $billion corrupt tollway tunnel.


Naked power money mum and sex. What else is there? 


Well as Akerman cunningly identifies with a recent piece on the scandalous Heiner affair back to 1990 - the fact that the famously effective Fitgerald Inquiry was shut down before it got to do over the ALP .... like it did over Joh's corrupt National Party. Lawyers picnic, or essential house cleaning of the ship of state? Almost certainly the latter - just ask Morris and his Macau mate, or his senior staffer Mike Kaiser ex Qld ALP and convicted electoral fraudster.


Or maybe this very real national security concern, and it's not APEC from the Sydney Daily Telegraph a month or two ago (date tbc):


Postscript #1 22nd August 2007

A. And the so called strip club front page shrieker last Sunday has turned to dust with references in the big media business (eg Sky News on abc radio) that its a 'one day wonder' (after 48 hours it might be noted). Indeed The World Today has direct interview with the boss of Scores 'Gentelman's Club' who was present 4 years back, saying Rudd didn't want to be there, didn't finish his beer and as soon as he realised the kind of place said "this won't do", but also the others Aussies "were fawning over him". That's quite a vindication for Rudd, and quite a devastating blow to the credibility of the story promoters overt and covert. There will be quite a deal of political accounting for this pathetic beat up - one can judge by the huge election spend flagged by Howard within 36 hours (since reinforced on 7.30 here) of Rudd meeting the challenge in his face to face with Laurie Oakes on Ch9 Sunday talkies. Gutsy effort Kevin. Which timing by the way suggests a certain tag team choreography and intent over who promoted the strip club story - the political equivalent of a punch to the solar plexis and then right cross on the chin of the increasingly rock jawed alternative prime minister Rudd.

B. The other intriguing political echo is our reflection in the main story above of corrupt tendencies of the Iemma ALP govt re Stanley Ho/2nd casino (as per SMH), and polluting tunnel agendas, which just might have caused this blow for improved integrity of governance via Justice Paul Stein (a heroic environemntal lawyer) via Minister Koperberg - about 10 years late but still thank heaven for small mercies.

C. And lastly, Iemma should have a little think about whether he is for or against the Iraq war as lame duck Bush attends Sydney's APEC and citizens protest agaisnt him .... not least the former senior army officer, Olympic security chief, and now theological type who condemns choice of Sydney as the venue yesterday on ABC radio, and notes 1/2 million deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003:


Security expert and author Adrian D'Hage [21/08/2007]
Adrian D'Hage is a man of many parts. First, there's the military man: Adrian was a platoon commander in Vietnam where he was awarded the Military Cross. He became a Brigadier, but doesn't believe he was every a very conventional member of the military.   [
more ]

Posted by editor at 9:23 AM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 22 August 2007 9:58 AM NZT
Sunday, 19 August 2007
Sunday free to air tv political talkies: It could be a hell of alot worse, Rudd senior died in a car crash when he cut loose
Mood:  chatty
Topic: election Oz 2007

Author’s general introductory note (skip this if you know this regular weekly column):

This is not a well packaged story. It’s a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media.



Indeed it’s the tv version monitoring task similar to what Nelson Mandela refers to here in his book Long Walk to Freedom (1994, Abacus) written in Robben Island prison (where he was meant to die like other African resister chiefs of history in the 19C), at page 208





“..newspapers are only a shadow of reality; their information is important to a freedom fighter not because it reveals the truth, but because it discloses the biases and perceptions of both those who produce the paper and those who read it.”


Just substitute ‘Sunday tv political talkie shows’ for "newspapers" in the quote above.





For actual transcripts go to web sites quoted below except with Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don’t really give you the image content value.






Media backgrounder: [this segment under construction]




See prequel re Rudd, an Australian in New York in lurid detail, and following segments. In lieu of that imagery this old classic from Bill Leak at The Australian


See yesterday’s sledge post by us in return to Duffy and Tim Blair nitpicking temperature measurements in the absence of high level scientific expert analysis




- too many 'APEC police action and/or bloody annoying disruption to fine Sydney citizenry stories' to mention, mostly adverse such that the organisers have been forced to full page advert promo


- This clip bottom page 3 (from memory) 14th August 07


-         Why is there no Big Art opera with “something to say” in the sense Bob Dylan was hungrily consumed in the 1960ies as per all the retrospectives this last week. The Opera on Rwanda genocide, on Tasmanian corruption destroying our forest, on climate change destroying our future, on the Iraq war. Why is opera after Don Giovani so irrelevant, and other reactions to this insert


, as well as promotions for 'Children in the concert hall' on abc radio to help with the recruitment to the Royal (stuck up, corporate sponsored) arts.


- Plan for N-plant "to build a $2.5 billion nuclear enrichment plant in Australia" - postage stamp in Sydney Daily Telegraph p18 12, 2007.


- With all the dual use uranium deals with India – Uranium cleared for India p1 lead 15/8/07 The Australian -  and Russia, this oldie popped up p11 May 10 07 Hugh White “Another nuclear arms race is in the offing”. Rudd’s ALP gets it. Coalition’s Howard too – only he wants it. For instance notice this on the World Today 17/8/07 Russia next for Australian yellowcake and this sop Russia satisfying domestic energy needs, says analyst .

And if you believe the govt soft shoe shuffle as they all run scared with the USA of the Chinese dictatorship straddling Asia, well then you haven’t been reading Beijing’s horror human rights record, let alone death rate from pollution (about 450,000 per year apparently). So nuke weapon containment of China is on. And add to this the broader the sales market from Australia the more likely customers will support Howard’s Australia obtaining nuclear weapons in the future in an orgy of pro nuke mutualism of haves and have nots. That’s the nasty way geo politics works and that’s Howard’s demonstrated ruthless style. The politics is pretty clear with the price of uranium going south now too - Resource that radiates fear 11/8/07 Sydney Daily Telegraph.


- Germany thinks big as it taps in to the sun p22 SMH 11-12 August 2007



- an oldie, image of a melting road – that’s what a tanker of petrol does not least risk planning for APEC. Ouch from May 1st 2007 The Australian p9

- another oldie – front page  The Australian by Imre Salusinszky  26/3/07 Satisfied Carr emerges to claim his due, but that’s not how its played out with “Business Consultant” Bob Carr slumming it on ABC RN design show Saturday morning (18/8/07) laughably advising on “good cities” i.e Paris, Manahattan, London and quoting secular saint J K Galbraith the great political economist like others might grab a figleaf amongst the tollways BC gave Sydney. At least he sounded more humble and subdued and less dandy.


- The original story by Imre at The Oz predicting the feds beat up the States election agenda back on May 12-13 07 at p31 Feds bent upon waving a red rag



- Tim Flannery does book review High and Dry: John Howard, climate change and the selling of Australia's future by Guy Pearse smh spectrum 11th August 07


- We won't preference the ALP, Senator Bob Brown p12 27/7/07 The Australian


- Sustainability theme ex ALP Env Minister Barry Cohen Dangers in growth for growth's sake .... and Seniors shun materialism to help save the planet  by Glenn Milne both August 6 p16 The Australian


- Litigation heating is heating up over climate change p34 11-12/8/07 Weekend Australian


- Rush for cyberspace has traps for new players Michelle Grattan August 12 2007 p31







10 Meet the Press 8-8.30 am


Costello fronts early 2nd string (but still good) MTP. Shows he’s boosting his profile. Bongiorno inevitably leads with Sunday Tele earlier post re Rudd at a strip club in NYC and Costello plays a very very dead pan face and bat. No smirk at all. But has to crack up at the

 supplementary – has he ever been to the strip club in question? Bonge was already sparkle of eye and glint of smile before he even started and so the two of them have a good chortle at Rudd’s embarrassment.


[So the issue for Rudd is holding his gravitas as an alternative PM despite his humanity. And there’s another thing about the scenario – he might just have been a bit lonely especially amongst the chilly ALP rivals way over there surrounded by 20 million yanks.]


Most of the interview lost in earnest dry economics about something (??)


Outtake Gareth Evans experienced – PM makes hay on Rudd implicit less experienced though pushing 50, family mostly grown, rich, senior role in Qld Govt etc. Fair sledge especially in context of funny strip story.


1st adbreak


Panel Alison Carabine (Canberra Times?) admirable control of the Cheshire cat too, Steve Burrel SMH.


Again earnest talk about housing etc. But it’s just dead time given the scoop story above.


Costello looking a bit healthier and appealing than usual visually speaking.


Grab from Res Bank chief need for infrastructure – Costello says States undoing their fiscal discipline.


Out take – gross Nicholson animation very unflattering to PM Howard re dismal polls.


2nd adbreak


Teachers Federation advert for the benefit of the wonks at this time?


Journalism ethics story re dinner with Costello 2 years ago. 3 versus 1. Agrees with most commentators implicit criticism of journos leaking off the record once confidence accepted. Costello showed at one point an unvarnished transparent steel I’ve not seen before that Rudd and Howard both have, except perhaps the parliamentary speech “it takes bravery”. He is growing as a politician in the classical sense of mediating the polity.


Beattie gone too far punishing any referendum on council inefficiency. Cheap points to Costello so still immature games. [real issues of white shoe developer brigade but should be sorted fairly.]




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





7 Weekend Sunrise, 8.35-40 am Riley Diary  -








Satire around Peter Costello’s 50th Birthday, journalists dinner and the like. Quite good overshadowed by Milne funny strip story.









Insiders 2


Peter Beattie retreats on referendums, agrees to them on the show. Long interview – making political space even in terms of a few hours to get his act together, emotional poise.


Panel – Annabelle Crabb – becoming a really classy writer quite young still, respect of other journos by the looks. Price and Milne with the cracking story.


Panel discussion – Milne argues lead story goes to character and there is alleged improper touching of a stripper.


Reference to 1000 Tamil voters in Bennelong. Howard praises ethnic tolerance re his own electorate – must be seen as self serving.


Barbara Bennett IR attack person for Coalition Govt is being paid $500K salary.


IR anti union attack advert is brutal and probably effective.


Missed the rest switch to Laurie Oakes.



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



Sunday 9


Comperes crank the very seedy dangerous record of Scores in NYC from gangsters to rip off merchants and dirty money.


Feature on rail safety in Victoria. Big story – hard to track with 2 parallel – feed into federal attack on states probably.


Laurie Oaks with Kevin Rudd is the story/interview of the day.


The grovel proceeds, full responsibility. “Cop a belting from the community. No recollection of improper touching a dancer. New York Post editor who took them to Scores for a drink, Col Allen says he acted as a perfect gentleman. Told his wife and acted like a goose. [Allen notorious ex Sydney Daily Telegraph – story of pissing in the sink in an editorial meeting, famous drinker, never to be trusted would be this writer’s view about any moral issue.]


Only 2 occasions can recall 2 “blowouts” regarding drunkenness. LO notes he is not a big drinker. Planted by the govt?


Leaves to journos to work out. 4 years old so a puzzle.


LO notes Milne famous drunken indiscretion at Walkleys.


Christianity character? Never claimed moral perfection.


Gave speech of US-Australia leadership dialogue last night as well as field this character attack – [Empire head patting group] – founded 15 years ago by someone called Phil Scanlon (worth a research). Keen to avoid US post Vietnam isolationism. [Completely mis describes USA jackboot in South American continent as ruthless and arrogant as the USA has ever been over the period of the cold war to say 1990].


Looking a bit tired and laboured but competent and mild, no doubt the emotional impact of facing up to this LO interview and surviving the hardest topic. Gathers some second wind and spark within a minute. Almost see the colour back in his face – back on front foot with his rhetoric on interest rates etc. Quite the impressive reboot all on the screen. Talking a hundred miles an hour – sugar in the blood again.


Economic equivalent of the Tampa in financial turmoil discussed.


Interest rates – responsibily do whatever we can to as low as possible responsibly. Not irresponsible claims. 17% 1989 under ALP versus 23% in 1982 – quite a counter attack as per Paul Keating advice.


Low doc home loans back federal intervention of the govt. “Positive, ASIC powers etc, proper robust regulation.


Ports takeover – extra question said it was last one – support? Treasury not involved in federal govt proposals on this – refers to Crosby Textor research – state attack tactic. Get black and white policy.


One more question (again) – how NY adventure affect him in the polls – take a belting in the opinion polls – up to the people.


Poll question re Costello truthful re dinner with journos? 


Q and A with LO follow up it seems. Govt definitely groomed the story says LO.


General view like Mark Riley, Matt Price gist of humanness, not a nerd, Beattie blood in his veins.







Posted by editor at 10:41 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 19 August 2007 12:28 PM NZT
Uh oh Rudd vote goes up after NY strip club scandal from Sept 2003
Mood:  cool
Topic: election Oz 2007

Well I'll be horn swoggled as the yankees would say. The Big Meeja have switched to vaudeville at Ruddy's expense, from a Costello barracker in the Press Gallery no less, feral News Ltd journo Glenn Milne in today's Sunday Telegraph who ever regards his role as a player not just reporter:


But here's the kicker - Rudd's vote will actually go up. Eh, how so?

There's one thing about the Christian evangelical vote - it's all about redemption of the sinner. So as long as Kevvy the Silly Lad can grovel and confess and plead human frailty and isolated lapse of judgement, well then he's one of us brothers and sisters in Christ. Even my old man DLP and father of 9 used to watch Alvin Purple, I could hear him chortling across the hall as I drifted off to sleep suffering serious envy.

On the other hand the red neck hard drinking hard working blokes in the back blocks will give a sigh of relief, thank heavens (there is the religion aspect again) he has actually got red blood in his veins. Drinks and likes women. Therese (his loyal wife) get him in the dog house, woof.

The ALP proper will see the ghost of reformed hard drinking Bob Hawke who won his big election star turn in 1983.

The Costello backers will see Rudd's polling go up and get the leadership yet, in a draft from aging sinking but wily battling PM John Howard? Greater good and all that.

The balance of the Right of politics will shake their head knowingly about those free thinking lascivous Democrat towns like New York (the blue (!) ones, or is that red on their electoral maps?).

As for the rest of mainstream society. Well, we all think about such places even if we haven't been there on a 'fact finding tour' as the parliamentary jargon goes.

So we will all have a damn good laugh at his expense but not in a censorious way which is against our Convict heritage of calling a spade a shovel. Sex is another management issue in Australia, not an impeachment crusade. Just as long as he didn't do anything or catch anything to hurt anyone including himself or his sainted wife.

We always said grog was a real problem in society so mitigate your folly Ruddy and do something about the grotesque influence of those clubs & pub lobbyists as per front page of the Sydney Fairfax press same day (story about $150M alcohol driven project for Sydney's CBD).

And for God sake win the election, sooner rather than later too, we are all getting bored senseless (as per Mike Carlton column), and as Max Walsh formerly of The Bulletin stated on Breakfast RN with Doogue yesterday, the polls have stabilised for the ALP. Which probably explains the lurid attack story. Or maybe it comes from malcontented ALP types of the Lathamesque pursuasion annoyed by Rudd's success - a bit of tickle up as the burly crew coiffured one might say.

Our traverse of Sunday political free to air tv talkies later today should be a quite a doozy. Never done a prequel before either.

Posted by editor at 8:26 AM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 19 August 2007 11:31 AM NZT

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