Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Meet The Press Live Blog

Today's Guest: NSW Premier Bob Carr
Host: Greg Turnbull.
Panel: Julia Coliaguiri, 2UE; Paul Mullins, Channel 10 News

Part One

(before we launch into this: Mark Latham's cancelled his membership of the Labor Party? Bomph - whoah. That's shocked me quite a lot. It shouldn't, but it does).

Here he is, in full flight - it's as if he never quit. Still referring to himself in the third person. `No tie, casual jacket - no job, see!'. My God, he's relaxed. He's so bloody happy and relaxed (well, who wouldn't be?), shaking away intimations of Federal aspirations as if they were crumbs on his lap. He has the story of his legacy worked out well by now; the `I never intended to implement a Kennett style reform programme' etc etc.

Part Two
Interesting that while Carr is dismissing the idea of Iemma being imposed upon the caucus by the party machine, he is already speaking in the past tense ... ouch. I hope I never get described as a `viable and good candidate', as Carr has described Carl Scully. Talk about damning with faint praise.

Here comes the Federal question. Interesting also that Carr has dismissed the idea of a presidential `beauty pageant' style nomination system occurring in Australia given the previous question about the party machine and how they do or don't put their selection up.

Carr is absolutely right when he says that there is great potential in the industrial relations debate. But he doesn't look so very certain when he denies the idea of removing the power of the caucus to appoint a frontbench in order to get rid of `dead wood'. He's on further shaky ground dismissing the idea of `powerbrokers' (even the panels giggling). Wouldn't it be funny if he just said `Fuck it - I'm outta here anyway. Yep, it's all based on whoever Joe Tripodi's screwed this week. Next question.'

Part Three
Whoa, there's a curly one from Julia Coliaguiri: what does Carr think of the war in Iraq. And a damn good answer, too. `Carefully and diplomatically structured' could be as apt a description for his response as for his idea for a pullout strategy.

Phoar, another curly one - bringing in John Faulkner's extremely ascerbic assessment of NSW Labor. Whoops, that crumb was a little too heavy to just shake away. No great answer there. The the question of why a politically passionate 15 year old from Maroubra would join the ALP is a very pertinent one.

I would say `And thus goes Bob Carr on a relatively-on-time train into the sunset ... yet I know he'll be back again on the Sunday Programme in only two hours' time :)

Inevitable, really ...

It's a bit like being the guy who waits around outside one of those claw machines at `Timezone', watching some poor sod spend every cent he has in 20c coins to get a fluffy bunny into perfect grabbing distance, only to come round the corner and win it yourself for 40c.

As backbenchers quoted in yesterday's rather unhappy article about Carl Scully's decade-long push for the NSW Labor leadership, said, "You sneeze and Carl's there with a tissue.", yet all Morris Iemma needed to do is flick the unpopular vendor tax and possibly the pokie tax.

The property vultures are going to LOVE this. Nitwits like 2UE's John Edwards, whose job is to talk the property market up so they don't end up in the poor house themselves, and don't care what sort of Generation Xers or Yers get trampled in the stampede, are going to LEEEERVE it.

The fact of the matter is, before the property taxes were introduced, housing affordability was at its lowest point on record. Young people didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of buying a house. These taxes rebalanced the market away from investors - who buy houses to rent them to young people - towards young first home buyers. Nobody can argue this is a bad thing.

Nobody, that is, except a voracious industry that profits from a high, constant turnover of real estate rather than young couples buying one house and living in it for 30 years.

And who's got the louder, shriller voice to lobby the government? I wonder.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hack to Reality

The Sydney Morning Herald have an interesting article today expanding on a recent Media Watch expose on property fantastist Cindy Martin.

Acts of outright fraud such as hers are rare - though growing, as the article points out - but one thing that puzzles me is the ease with which newspapers can get away with printing things that patently did not come out of a person's mouth. Last year, the Daily Telegraph was caught putting the words of the owner of an Oporto's chicken franchise into the mouth of Clover Moore. Just yesterday, the P&C Federation's David Giblin, categorically denied ever having told the Sydney Morning Herald that he believed `kids are indoctrinated by a multinational junk food company' when they are forced to sell their products at school fundraisers (see the article here).

If Dave Giblin's telling the truth, let's hope the Herald prints a retraction pronto. If he isn't, it casts a serious shadow over his own credibility (and frankly, stepping back and allowing schools to force schoolkids to become junior ambassadors for a reknown ambush marketer like Krispy Kreme Donuts is a bad position for the P&C Federation to take).

Friday, July 29, 2005

NnnnooooOOOOOOOO !!!

Because The Daily Flute is, incomprehensibly, blocked by my work's firewall, this dreadful suggestion will have to be made on my own blog.

There's a rumour that Michael Costa's done a deal to become NSW Treasurer.

*stunned silence*.

The War On Terrorism: OVER

The Bush Administration has abandoned the term The Global War on Terrorism as Americans become increasingly pessimistic about said war. It is now called (drumroll) ...

The Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism


Focus groups across the world have applauded the new name and are now hard at work at further abstracting the term into an attractive sounding acronym or suchlike.

See ... you can lose a war. But a struggle ...

Official: Premier Iemma

Carl Scully has just confirmed he is pulling out of the race. Therefore, Morris Iemma is - John Watkins notwithstanding - the new Premier of NSW.

Hmmmm .... Premier Iemma. Premier Iemma. Premier Iemma ...

Carl Scully to Throw in the Towel?

2GB is currently reporting that Carl Scully is about to hold a press conference and has some `big news'. Could he be about to throw in the towel? Stay tuned ...

Carl Scully: Dotty?

At first glance, this one sounded so weird you had to wonder if it came out of the opposition camp ... Carl Scully's office has reportedly offered his childhood finger paintings to the media for perusal.

Why? Because someone leaked an ethically wonky paper he wrote in 1992 to caucus members in an effort to discredit him. Scully's response was to offer his finger paintings and year 9 geography assignment, seeing them as equally relevant (come on ... in 1992 a lot of us were saying Vanilla Ice was onto a good thing).

You have to feel sorry for Scully. You have to feel sorry for everyone, in fact. Craig Knowles ruled himself out by having too many shandies and driving home. Scully, who has been gunning for the leadership for years and, who knows, might have done a good job of it, is out of luck given the endless barbs the Opposition would throw at a premier whose last job was to make sure NSW's trains come on time (and, as in so many cases, it's the minister who comes in with the Spray and Wipe who largely gets blamed for the pile of mess). Andrew Refshauge, as he so bluntly put it when initially asked, has `factional issues', despite having wide public support. In other words - Sussex St doesn't like Lefties. And even despite this, leftie John Watkins is apparently considering running - or, in a rather nasty twist, trying to pull the rug from under Refshauge.

And amidst all of this, there's Morris Iemma. The question everyone seems to be asking is: who? (in answer to the other one: it's pronounced `Yemma'). Despite being unkindly described by Scully's team as `Barry Unsworth without the cardie', I have to say that My Sources know Iemma to be a genuinely nice, straight-down-the-line, pleasant-bloke-to-have-a-barbecue-with kind of guy. He's no Carr, but neither was Carr when he started out.

As Carmel Tebbutt put it this morning on ABC 702, all will be revealed ...

He did it his way ...

Word just in on this year's ASEAN song. Picture it, will you? Alexander Downer, in a white tuxedo, singing `It's Now Or Never', as a tribute to Australia's decision to sign the Treaty of Amity and Co-Operation, in a style somewhere between Elvis and Frank Sinatra, backed by a chorus of warbling female diplomats in feather boas.

Dear God ... it's all too awful to imagine ...

Media `Diversity'?

Although I have blackbanned Crikey from my links (face it people - just because someone like Christian Kerr's net-based doesn't make him any more credible, `indie' or grassroots, or any less right wing, biased or moronic than anyone you care to read in the mainstream media), they've currently got an intriguing story on the Minister for Hairdos, Helen Coonan's curious plans for Australian media `diversity', in which five major media companies must exist in all capital cities - even those which currently have more than five.

And goodbye, Bob Starr ...

I've become a bit of a critic of Mike Carlton's once-brilliant Friday News Review recently (Alan Jones likes boys! HA HA HA! Kim Beazley likes donuts! HA HA HA! And just in case you forgot, Alan Jones likes ...), but the farewell to Premier Bob Starr was an absolute cracker, as was Police Minister Carl Silly's `call for a report to assess the Sparkle situation' ... I wonder if cartoonists lobby the Labor caucus to pick the candidate with the most interesting face?

Meanwhile, the Herald reports that Clubs NSW are fuming (in the one small corner of clubs in which they can still legally fume) after printing 8,000 Carr-branded posters protesting the poker machine tax.

Well, heck - they made a gamble ... *da boom-TISH!*

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sour Grapes From The Libs

John Howard is a man who knows to give some glib statement of faint praise at historic junctures, and after briefly choking out such (he appeared to be in pain), his reaction to Bob Carr's resignation has been pretty catty and nonconcilatory. John Brogden's reaction (summed up in the Sydney Morning Herald as Brogden: I So Would Have Beaten Him In 2007) is less surprising, though the Liberal staffers who are reportedly `doing handsprings' around Parliament House might be wise to look at the swing it would require to get them in power before getting too excited.

Meanwhile, a Sydney Morning Herald website poll that has already had nearly 10,000 votes is yielding some interesting results, with the only major front bencher to have already ruled himself out leading by a fair whack (whoever came up with the options had a couple of odd ideas themselves). In fact, the three names I'm hearing coming up constantly on talkback - Bob Debus, John Watkins, and Andrew Refshauge - are all from the Left faction. Listen up, Sussex Street!

Craig Knowles - 9%
Carl Scully - 13%
Morris Iemma - 11%
Andrew Refshauge - 21%
Frank Sartor - 15%
Carmel Tebbutt - 7%
John Watkins - 12%
Reba Meagher - 8%

Total Votes: 9463

Bye Bye, Bobby Carr

Oh the shame, the shame of it. That one of the biggest political stories of the year should break while I'm away from my computer, with no other connection to the outside world than a mobile phone beeping near-lifelessly in my bag!

The news broke shortly after 11am - I saw it during this morning's Channel 9 news - which, I might add, did not see fit to broadcast Carr's entire resignation speech (sure, he was going on about wandering in the sunshine with Helena - you could see some cigar chomping Packerite going `bugger me if he starts going on about bloody Marcus Aurelius - cross to the farken sport report) despite rushing in helicopters to film snails that happened to be slithering up the wall of the Opera House while Bec Cartwright and Lleyton Hewitt were getting married inside.

I rarely use the hackneyed phrase intentionally, but tributes are literally pouring in as I type - Steve Price has Andrew Refshauge on 2UE (who, intriguingly and disappointingly, has apparently counted himself out of the leadership race), and 702's Richard Glover has former Premier Neville Wran. Price has gone so far - and with some legitimacy - to suggest Carr's political skill will one day be regarded as legendary. Carr's skill in handling the media cannot be doubted (he shall be remembered forevermore as his alter ego in Mike Carlton's Friday News Review, `Bob Starr'). Whether he strictly stuck to Labor ideals can. Despite the recent troubles in NSW, his time as premier will ultimately been seen as an extremely significant epoch. It is easy to forget Carr's unassailable popularity until only eighteen or so months ago, something even the most conservative of critics are conceding.

Meanwhile, despute Carl Scully being tipped to succeed Carr (groan - as Steve Price points out, as part of a surprisingly laudatory summary of Carr's career, a selection that will be a hard sell if the factions anoint him), the far more endearing method of 702's James Valentine's snap competition, Macquarie St Idol puts Morris Iemma as favourite for the top job, followed by John Watkins, Andrew Refshauge, and Carmel Tebbutt and Frank Sartor tying for fourth.

Of course, we're neglecting the most important question of all here: what music will they play on the evening news? I clearly remember Nick `Kermit' Greiner's resignation being accompanied by `The Rainbow Connection'. 2GB's Chris Smith has started the bidding with John Denver's Leaving On A Jet Plane (sceptical me, was it a masterful and typical `I swear I'm not promoting Channel 9 despite working for them and mentioning them every ten minutes' way of promoting 2GB's current competition to win a flight on - ahem - a jet plane, AND the new John Denver Greatest Hits album???). But I'd like to offer this suggestion, from Noel Coward's `I've Been To A Marvellous Party' ...

It was the most fabulous excitement
I've never seen such a carry-on!
Obviously, it couldn't happen
Anywhere else but on the Riviera...
It was most peculiar?
You know, people's behaviour
Away from Belgravia
Would make you aghast!
So much variety,
Watching society
Scampering past...
You know, if you have any mind at all,
Gibbon's divine "Decline And Fall"?
Well, it sounds pretty flimsy
No more than a whimsy...
By way of contrast,
On Wednesday last

I went to a marvellous party
We didn't sit down 'til ten
You know, young Bobby Carr
Did a stunt at the bar
With a lot of extraordinary men!
And then Freda arrived with a turtle,
(Which shattered us all to the core)
And then the duchess passed out at a quarter to three
And suddenly Cyril cried "Fiddle-de-dee!",
Then he ripped off his trousers
And jumped in the sea!
And I couldn't have liked it more!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Ray Hadley: Clueless

OK, if nothing else - here's proof that Ray Hadley doesn't listen to either Chris Smith or Philip Clark.

The previously mentioned Amjad Mehboob of the Federation of Islamic Councils has been doing the radio rounds this morning, emphasising (as I posted earlier), the rough treatment Muslims have gotten on talkback radio recently - particularly yesterday, as a result of 42 Minutes' latest sensationalist blather about the visiting Muslim cleric Sheikh Khalid Yasin.

As Alexander Downer well knows, Ray Hadley is a lunatic attention seeking bully. What we didn't know is that he's also delusional

According to Ray Hadley, there hasn't been any talkback picking on Muslims in the past week. Not a jot. Not a quiver. Not a nasty word. Not on 2GB. Not in my backyard!

So what's the logical conclusion? This Islamic fruitcake Mehboob chappie LIED to the Sydney Morning Herald !!!

Ray Hadley - do you KNOW what defamation is?

I'm with you, Amjad

Amjad Mehboob of the Federation of Islamic Councils has sent a letter to 200 Muslim leaders across Australia, urging them to help spread the word on their opposition to terrorist attacks, and complaining that there has increasingly been a `free for all' against Muslims on talkback radio.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Interestingly, listening to 2GB I get the impression that Head Office may even have been asked a few of them to rein themselves in a bit and give the illusion of balance (not our Piers over at 2UE of course ... crikey, even Mike Carton, the so called lefty saviour of morning radio - HA - was asking every Muslim leader to `sign a pledge stating their exact position' this morning. Give us a bloody break. How about going up into Far North Queensland and doing the same for every hick who thinks the Port Arthur massacre was faked?)

Monday, July 25, 2005

Latest at ABC 702 ...

WHOOOHOOOO !!! James Valentine is staying on afternoons, where everyone in the whole wide world knew he belonged. This, according to today's Sydney Morning Herald, was by `mutual agreement', and fair enough. There was just no room for James to shine amidst all those bloody traffic reports and things.

Interestingly, the in-house frontrunners are apparently weekend host Simon Marnie and his current replacement on the weekend shift, Sarah McDonald. I've been predicting McDonald for a long time - like Catterns, a Triple J alumni who's paid her cultural dues (interestingly, must the same could be said for the lineup of the new DMG station for which Catterns was poached - former JJJ host Francis Leach will apparently also be doing a shift. Will this station be for those old farts that Triple J keep saying they want nothing to do with, but who still have fond memories of the Maynard F# Crabbes and Helen Razor/Mikey Robbins days???)

If Marnie does leave weekends, it'll be a seismic shift for his weekend show, which has been running for a good many years now (and has already seen a large, and very sad, change this year with the death of Les Miller, co-host of the popular `Weekend Woodies' segment). Marnie's enormously appealing, especially in the roll-over-listen-to-radio-in-bed shift he's on, but can he take on the Joneses and Carltons?

One thing's for sure - ABC better remember to take Catterns' voice off the emergency tape they play when there's a transmission problem, quick smart. It was still in place as of the 2 o'clock news on Sunday, and the DMG station is launching in a matter of weeks.

Pot to Kettle - You're Black

You have to hand it to Today Tonight ... they're about as shameless as Peter Beattie in a world series handshaking contest. I know Naomi Robson is the queen of the poker face, but to be able to get on there and present a segment putting the boot into `New Idea' for scandalously paying Simone Warne $50,000 to tell her story and not have a bit of a chuckle ...

In nicer news ...

Julia Gillard kicked ass on Richard Glover's Monday Political Forum today. Where's she been, anyway. God, we need more of her.

Piers Outdoes Himself

Riddle me this, Batman. How is it that Sheik Mohammed Omran can be crucified left right and centre for saying he doesn't think Osama bin Laden had anything to do with the September 11th attacks, while Ack Ack can claim to have a `sound' theory proving that Saddam Hussein was behind the first attack on the World Trade Centre and we don't hear a peep? Will Ray Martin have him on A Current Affair tonight? Eughhh, there's a disgusting thing to imagine ...
Today's Steve Price show, approximately 5:30pm ...

Pricie's Talking Point is `Would you give up some of your civil liberties to make Sydney safer? Would you back a shoot to kill policy?'
Akerman says he was living in Washington when the World Trade Centre was attacked the first time, adding he has a `tidy' theory proving the attack was `directly related to Saddam Hussein' (conspiracy theorists, kids, CIA - here it is, get out your note books!) - the bombers went to Iraq afterwards.

It's that easy, kids! Did you know that the WMDs were there too, but Hussein accidentally left them in a bunker in Pyongyang? Whoopsy! It gets better!
Akerman says the young man who was shot by London police, who thought he was a suicide bomber `put himself at risk' by acting strangely in the first place'.

I would say `mandate to assassinate Piers Akerman ... growing ...' but I could be struck down and deported somewhere under these dinky new anti-terrorism incitement laws ... but the best is yet to come ...
Price says it is good to hear the opinions of people like (radical Muslim clerics) Sheik Yassin and Sheik Omran in order to form a rounded opinion. Akerman agrees, but thinks Yassin should not be let in to put his views to impressionable Muslim youths, especially as `the Islamic community is the least educated in Australia at the moment'.

Stunned silence. GOD I wish David Marr was here. We could lay into him in an alleyway ...

But, to end on a light note ...
Price says some of his Muslim callers claim that Akerman is prejudiced towards them. Akerman does not refute this (`Oh, now why would THAT be' I believe was the quote), but says he has been to Islamic countries many times, has moderate Muslim friends, and is `only interested in truth', not propaganda. (excuse me ... HAHAHAHAAHAA). He says anyone who disagrees with him obviously has something to hide.

Ooops! Sorry - that was the one-of-the-most-idiotic-things-I've-had-the-misfortune-to-hear-on-radio bit. THIS was the light note ...
Akerman decries Yassin's `absolute bile' and his `message of hate and terror, and intolerance'.

See, if you change `Akerman' and `Yassin' ... aw ... guess it's not that light after all.


Sunday, July 24, 2005


David Marr just said a swear on Insiders !!!

It was at Andrew Bolt, so it was well worth it. I wish they would just give them nerf bats and let them go at it.

In other news, would you let this scary looking man sell you a point of view?

I am so easily amused :D

Meet The Press Live Blog Part 2

Today's Guest: Prime Minister John Howard, Interviewed by Paul Buongiorno

And here's the big kicker: IR. And here comes the big kickers: jargon, jargon and more jargon.

I'll just pause amidst this jargon (`ever-receding finishing line ... that's a new one ... good thing they didn't get that mixed up with the Iraq ones) to grudgingly admit that that's a very spiffy suit Howard's wearing today.

Wow, I never thought I'd hear Howard aspiring to turn Australia into a clone of the former socialist republic of West Germany ...

Now Buongiorno brings up Queensland's possible High Court challenge to the reforms. Phew, Howard whacks that one out of the paddock like a wrong 'un, he doesn't like that! The policy, don't you know, is an `announced intention'. Is there room to move, then? Or do they call it `wiggle room'?

Buongiorno also makes a good point, that Howard's much-vaunted meeting with Alan Greenspan went relatively unreported. Is it, as Buongiorno is implying, because the news he had on the economy is not good (loathed phrase) `going forward'?

Ah, here's another interesting one - the signing of the ASEAN Treaty. Apparently, Georgie was all cool with it, it was fine, it was good ... hehee ... some little computer nerd somewhere is already sampling Howard saying `George W. Bush expressed pleasure of the closeness of our ...' into a dance track as we speak. :)

Meet The Press - Live Blog

Today's GuestPrime Minister John Howard, interviewed by Paul Buongiorno

Part One
What's with that little non-committal `hmmm' sound he makes? Don Watson could write a book on that ...

Scary to think that world leaders themselves sit around watching major emergencies on cable TV like the rest of us and perceive emergency events through the prism of the media.

Ooh goodie, an exclusive poll! Meet The Press is good for these. Here we go - the question this week is `Did the war in Iraq make Australia a bigger terrorist target?' 51% Yes, 38%, Maybe 5% Decreases the Threat. Ohh, here comes the Hmm again! We must find a name for the Hmm!

The public `in a commonsense way' apparently know when we have `finished the job' in Iraq. We all seemed fairly clear on the fact that it should never have started in those rather large protests ...

OOOHHH goodie! More exclusive polls coming up! Whee! There's no better day than Sunday than a media/politics junkie!

Part Two
Here we go - `Should the powers of ASIO be increased' ... ergh ... 62% Yes, 29% No. Hm. Stay tuned for small video cameras in your cornflakes.

Oh, here comes Terrorism For Dummies: terrorists = crazy perverted evil beings with no rational purpose behind the political statement of blowing themselves up. Maintaining that belief is a very good way of inspiring young men of getting the shits to keep blowing themselves up.

Hehee ... Buongiorno just said `Firebrand peaches' instead of `firebrand preachers'. I love the idea of Firebrand Peaches. I might get that on a T-shirt.

Oh, here comes that STUPID National ID card. Here's a tip - when Howard doesn't want to answer a question, he starts the next question `Now, can I just say ...'. It's almost as much fun to look out for as the way his shoulder twitches when he's in a bad spot.

HAHAHAHAA - Mark Knight, you're a BLOODY legend mate ... :D Damn the Sun-Herald for not putting links to your brilliant cartoons on their website!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

M-M-M-M it's what time?

Keep an eye out for a rather interesting (non-branded) TV advertisement currently hyping the benefits of the humble Gala apple. Sure, and apple a day and all that, but why?

Look closely. Does the format appear similar to a certain golden arched corporate entity who's attempting to appease the Australian farmers it's mightily pissed off by abandoning for the supply of their veggies in favour of their cheaper cross-Tasman rivals?

Funny that.

For once, no photo op

Notwithstanding the fact that if I was badly injured in hospital, the last thing I'd want is the Prime Miniature shuffling in for a photo op, surely John Howard is being rather disingenuous when he says he can't possibly clear time in his busy schedule to visit the survivors of the horrific accident in Germany which left one member of the Australian Women's Cycling Team dead and two others critically injured, given that this `busy schedule' comprises nothing more than buggerizing around at Lords watching cricket with the dullest PM in the history of the UK, John Major?

Ah, but if they were cricketers ...

"The ABC was long the home of innovation and drama, but now there's no bloody money."

Read here about the slow atrophy of the ABC. As a survivor who fell overboard several cost cuts ago, let me say that this isn't half of it, and it's profoundly depressing.

Shanahan Picked Up by 2GB

Looks like former 2KY news anchor Peter Shanahan has been picked up by 2GB - I've just heard him doing the sports report. A very canny move on their part (perhaps since taking on Malcolm T. Elliott they've been considering their purchases more carefully).

Makes you wonder why that jaw droppingly talentless airhead Chris Smith felt it necessary to make snide remarks about him. Ah - think I've just answered my own question.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Who woulda thunk it?

Who would have thought Miranda Devine's daddy, Frank Devine (who once famously alleged that the ABC deliberately refuses to have its TV news transcribed to avoid `evidence' of its big fat lefty bias, 1984-style), would suggest in today's Australian (don't get the impression I'm a regular reader - a copy fell on my desk and I read it) that Mark Latham might make a bonzer career for himself as a writer, or in talkback radio (possibly for the `fading' 2UE)?

Interestingly, the rumour about getting Latham behind the mike has been doing the rounds for some time. Theoretically, it could be an intriguing gig for him - a sort of neverending Town Hall meeting - but frankly, if formal politics disillusioned him about the true nature of pluralism, talkback radio would shit him to tears. Listeners would find it near impossible to divide Latham the former leader from Latham the disembodied deus ex machina on the radio. Radio requires a certain sort of anonymoty - get John Laws from behind that golden microphone (as on Andrew Denton's `Enough Rope'), and he's a pussycat.

This could also be a problem should he become a columnist. How many people mention Bill Clinton and think of his attempts to reform the US health system, rather than Monica Lewinsky? Very, very few, and it's a terrible shame. I sung in choirs as a child, and the conductor always told us that the crowd only ever goes away remembering the first song you sung and the last one. Such is life, too.

Time, of course, will tell. It would be great to see Latham back in any form.

Bad cold puts Gordon Nuttall in the sick bay

Peter Beattie has dumped Queensland (sorry, mustn't forget - `embattled') Queensland Health Minister Gordon Nuttall, following the problems in the Queensland (sorry, mustn't forget - `troubled') Queensland health system, and preceding a cabinet reshuffle that will be announced mid next week.

The real question on everyone's lips: will Beattie shuffle himself out of the cabinet?

Here's my hot tip. Beattie has recently been announced as this year's guest at the iconic ALP event `The Light On the Hill', held each year in Bathurst to honour Ben Chifley (guests of recent years include Kevin Rudd and Mark Latham, only months before attaining the Labor leadership).

What better time and place to announce a move to Canberra? Stay tuned.

Fear and Loathing in the Office of Workplace Relations

Dear, dear. Who would have thought this mild mannered looking chap, who's made the Great Leap Forward in industrial relations reform sound about as much fun as stepping in a puddle of warm vomit, could preside over such taskmasters?
The Australian reports:
The minister in charge of John Howard's workplace reforms has been drawn into allegations of bullying in his own office with the resignation of a female adviser. Felicity Dargan left her position as a policy adviser to Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews after claiming that up to four office staff bullied her for more than a year. It's understood she was deeply upset by remarks relating to her work, made to her by office colleagues. After raising the bullying issue with Andrews, Dargan spent the last month of her employment at home on full pay working on a "special project", at the conclusion of which she left and took up a job as chief-of-staff to new Family First Party senator Steven Fielding. A happy ending?

Particularly interesting, given the fact that Fielding has stated his strong opposition to many elements of the IR reforms, particularly the possibility that cash-strapped families could be coerced ... er, could `negotiate' giving up 2 weeks' leave.

Thursday, July 21, 2005


The reaction to yet another DIMIA bungle - the release of two children wrongfully detained after being rushed, SWOT team style, from their schoolrooms and into detention (revealed, as all good DIMIA bungles are, by the indefatiguable Lateline - whose uncovering of the Vivian Solon scandal must surely be a shoe-in for this year's Walkleys) has been somewhat here-and-there. The ongoing Howard junket, the new anti-terror campaign on the NSW State Transit system, and of course, the bogan wedding of the year, Bec Cartwright and Lleyton Hewitt's `love all-match', have made it a diffuse news day.

However, the Sydney Morning Herald's current poll, asking `Who Do You Blame Most For Children in Detention?', yields interesting results (as of 4:45pm, and with 359 votes):

Who do you blame most?
Vanstone - 12%
Howard - 48%
Ruddock - 15%
Senior staff DIMIA - 23%

Vote here and view the ongoing results here.

IR: The Spin

As much as I detest the concept of spin, and spin-doctors (and especially the increasing acceptance of such as a legitimate branch of the media), the Spin Doctors segment on Sally Loane's ABC 702 show can sometimes be an enlightening listen.

Today, guests Bruce Hawker (of Hawker Britton, best known for its work with the ALP) and Sue Cato (of Cato Counsel) discussed the battle of the campaigns on industrial relations reforms - also, peripherally, the topic of discussion at last night's Fabian Society forum, at which the ACTU's Greg Combet and Australian Industry Group's Heather Ridout were guest speakers (and former journalist Peter Lewis, now consultant to the ACTU's campaign, was chair).

It's a popular misconception that the success of the union movement's argument lies almost solely on the ACTU's series of TV advertisements. While undoubtedly effective, there has been far more to it than this. While Ms Cato argued that it would be the government who would get the upper hand media-wise - armed as they are with Andrew Robb (progenitor of the famous `chains' GST ad campaign) and an estimated $20m of taxpayer's money - what the government does not have is an army of union members and other concerned people who will continue promotion through such things as public events, media agitation, and information handouts. It is a battle that all concerned acknowledge will take years, but could also be one of the most important in recent political history.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Welcome Back James

James Valentine is back on ABC 702 afternoons, and having a thorougly rational and necessary discussion about whether the media beat up the Schapelle Corby trial, or whether public interest in the issue necessitated the intense focus on Corby.

Barrie Cassidy aptly described the time immediately before and after the Corby verdict as `the week Australia lost its mind'. The widespread apathy about the topic today strongly suggests that media grandstanding played a major part in this hysteria. Yes, massive passions were demonstrated over this time. People went just short of pledging their lives for Schapelle. Where are they now?

A political scientist (despite my expensive degree, I can't recall his name), divided public expression into three categories: opinions (highly changeable, transitory positions on current events); beliefs (more deep seated positions on wider issues); and values (fundamental positions that are harder to change).

As Valetine has said just now, `Talkback is an indicator of nothing'. I think I'll have that printed on a t-shirt.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Racism and 2GB

2GB's the station I love to hate. Each presenter has his own flavour of hatefulness (I say `he' because they tend to be blokes, though former NSW Liberal leader Kerry Chikarovski was trialed over the holidays - astounding in some ways, but in others ... meh, at least they're admitting their bias). The snotty officiousness of Alan Jones, the foam-spittled gobble of Ray Hadley, the sexist, uninformed drivel of Chris Smith ...

I groaned when I saw this week's headlines about a Lakemba's `Shelves of Shame' stoking the deadly fires of terrorism. Here we go, I thought. Talkback's gonna LOVE this.

And it has. But while Chris Smith (sending boneheaded Channel 10 news director Jason `Kiss Me Clover' Morrison to the scene of the crime) has contented himself with loudly whinging about `junior police officers' giving assembled media a `lecture' about keeping away from the bookstore in question (given that it's private property and all), it's been Drivetime host Phillip Clark whose behaviour towards Muslim callers has been the worst - and it's nothing short of atrocious.

Consider a call during yesterday's show at around 5:15 from a young Muslim man, Sam, who attempted to argue that Saddam Hussein was not an active Muslim (true) and that the war in Iraq was fought on false pretences. This meant Sam was a `sympathiser' of Hussein's and that he `would not have a clue'. A Lakemba resident, Gus (who appeared on other talkback yesterday), was accused of conspiracy for saying it is better for local residents to keep quiet than talk to the media about the controversial local bookshop.

It's not surprising that in an environment of such casual racism, the following ad can go to air:

`Have you ever experienced unprofessional, unreliable service or non-English speaking security guards? Call ****** for an obligation free quote on your business security.'

And what were Clark and his gang of idiots railing against, ostensibly? Incendiary and influential figure attempting to incite racial hatred and violent acts.

The irony.

It's difficult to know who to complain to, given the ACMA (formerly, the ABA) is so toothless, but the issue shouldn't be taken lightly. The idiocy that followed the Schapelle Corby verdict showed the deep impact the sensationalist shit-stirring of morons like Clark can have.

Bad prawn on the buffet?

MasterFoods has just announced that the target of the Snickers and Mars extortion threat was Star City Casino.


Leon Delaney, Unsung Hero of the Morn

2SM's Leon Delaney, his nutbag callers notwithstanding, can be a surprisingly good listen. Being on a low rating station can allow you to be a genuine shit-stirrer, and suggest, for example, that this business of a National ID card is only being ridden so hard to distract attention from the appalling state of the Immigration Department. Nice call (the second of David Marrs' excellent articles on the Cornelia Rau case is in the Herald today.)

Too bad about Joe Hockey calling him `Owen', a former 2SM presenter who passed away some time ago. Don't forget, this is the same minister who pushed for cross media ownership laws to be relaxed so politicians would not have to do so many interviews and would thus find it easier to stay `on message'.

Oh, the irony ...

Bad Morning for Jonesy

This morning, Alan Jones has spilled coffee on himself, and burped into the microphone, both on-air.

Perhaps he's pining for the P.M.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Kurnell: Take It With A Grain Of Salt

It's been amusing to see Sutherland Shire mayor Kevin Schreiber blustering all over the airwaves this week over the `raping and pillaging' of Kurnell, the `birthplace of European Australia', for a mooted Carr Government desalination plant.

Poor old Kurnell - it's a godforsaken place, frankly. There's a couple of plaques, a nice visitor's centre, but it's no Plymouth Rock. And while the NSW Government aren't entirely blameless, the Liberal-led Sutherland Shire Council, whose drive to redevelop anything in sight (and preferably invite John Brogden to the opening) is not only notorious, but well and truly includes Kurnell and its surrounds. Control of the council has ebbed and flowed over the years, with Schreiber and co losing and then regaining the reins from a series of Labor and Independent mayors.

Consider for example Liberal State Member for Cronulla Malcolm Kerr's Hansard huffery about a militant leftist/Wests Tigers conspiracy being held over the Sutho Council (then led by Independent mayor Tracey Sonda, a member of the anti-development Shire Watch coalition) to selfishly block a massive development planned by the Sharks Leagues Club in adjacent Wooloware Bay. As the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre said:
Q.: What's [Sutherland] Council done by sanctioning apartment building by the Sharks?

A.: A disastrous decision. Because this is a sports club, a majority of councillors who say they want to preserve Kurnell Peninsula have voted for a massive development on Woolooware Bay. It would, if allowed by State Government, set a precedent which will be cheered by every landowner from North Cronulla to Kurnell refinery – they'll cash in happily on a building bonanza that will see thousands of dwellings on Australia 's historic birthplace. Just foolishness.

The fact of the matter: yes, desalination is a silly idea. But Sutherland Shire Council getting all uppity about it? Take it with a grain of salt.

Really Satisfies?

Anyone noticed that the large bus advertisments for the new (and recently Mediawatched) News Ltd paper Mx feature a chocolate bar that look suspiciously like a Snickers?

I read Mx the other day, and I must admit, it left me feeling pretty ill.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


There's something you don't hear often - ten minutes of dead silence on 2UE, as just occurred between 1:10 and 1:20 on the George Moore & Paul B. Kidd Show.

Perhaps Danna Vale scrambled their circuit boards attempting to send through another dodgy fax? After all, if today's Insiders is to be believed, Danna's found another Captain of her Heart, the vixen, and it's aint Sir Custard, it's Sir Smirksalot!!! SHAME, Danna, SHAME!

Meet the Press Live Blog part 2

Today's guests: Shadow Immigration Minister Tony Burke
Panel:Matt Franklin, Courier Mail; Jennifer Hewett, Australian Financial Review
Tony Burke's been all over the airwaves, and doing a very creditable job of his new portfolio I might add. Interesting to hear that Indonesia are considering opposing Bill Farmer as their new ambassador. How dare they, the provincials!

And THANK YOU - OMG - Burke just said not only that Amanda Vanstone should go but that Philip Ruddock is `not fit to be a minister in this government'!!!! *little dance*!!!

`No backwards steps' is how he characterises his approach to his portfolio. Too right Tone! The line `mandatory detention should not be indefinite detention' seems to have been added to the lexicon - we'll be hearing a lot more of this phrase.

All in all, he's doing well, though there is truth in the suggestion Hewett is making that while it's clearly egregious, the Australian public may simply not find enough in the topic of long term detainees to engage their interests. How that may be changed, I'm not sure - the Cornelia Rau incident came closest, but frankly, it won't be until a good true blue Aussie lass that everyone can sympathise with gets locked up in there that anyone will give a damn. Did anyone say Schapelle Corby?

Meet the Press live blog - Part 1

Today's guest:Vocational and Technical Education Gary Hardgrave
Panel:Matt Franklin, Courier Mail; Jennifer Hewett, Australian Financial Review

The gravel faced Hargrave isn't regularly seen on these sorts of shows - this is sure to change. Interesting how you can justify the setting up of these stupid technical colleges by ripping money out of TAFE by defining it as a `post school environment' rather than just adding school-based TAFE courses. And of course, nobody `has' to sign the individual agreements, which have not been introduced as an ideological kick in the nuts. Sure.

There is apparently a skills shortage `because the economy is so strong'. WTF ???

Boy oh boy ... someone's got to buy them a clue on industrial relations. It's just so inept. A whole lot of managerial gumble followed by `yes, we've received a few "programmed" complaints from ACTU types - but the small businessmen think the idea's bloody BONZER!'

And now the question of the day: Peter Beattie. There MUST be truth about his push for Canberra when someone's bothered to sit up all night to come up with a line like `you can see the effect of heat on teflon'.

More Jobs! Better Australia! Trust Us!

Just heard one of the new Industrial Relations Reforms Ain't They Great ads:

HILLSONG HELEN: Hi honey, why are you home early?

BATTLER BOB: (especially dumb voice) We're on strike. The government's going to cut my holidays in half!

HILLSONG HELEN: No, that's not right. I read about it in the paper. Look. It says here they won't cut four weeks' annual leave, won't cut award wages, or abolish awards!

VOICE OF GOD: The Australian government is committed to a plan to create more jobs, higher wages, and a stronger economy. For more information on the more workplace relations plan, see this weekend's newspapers. Take the time to read it, and find out the facts yourself.

Well, there it is kids - as clear as a bell! The economic case put in easy-to-understand terms, the union smear campaign comprehensively kicked in the nuts. It's easy!

1) Read the boring looking ad in the newspaper (but not the Sydney Morning Herald, as you might encounter this rather inconvenient article by Economics Editor Ross Gittins
2) Just trust us
3) Then vote for us


Saturday, July 16, 2005

THANKYOU, Alan Ramsay!

Is he the only person in the universe actually reading my blog, or is he, as usual, just saying what every decent-minded person is thinking about the latest slitherings of Howardly Custard and Ghastly Blancmange???

Bless you Alan Ramsay, and all that sail under you, proud to be known as the bleedingest hearts in the west.

Waiting for Karl Rove to resign ... waiting ... waiting ...

As Southerly Busterpointed out - shouldn't there be an avalanche of public outrage pushing for Karl Rove, George W. Bush's `brain', to resign over revelations that he leaked confidential information about CIA agents to the media, in an act that was potentially treasonous?

Outrage? Hello? Yes? (here maybe, but anywhere else ...?)

Almost as deafening as the outrage about Jeff Gannon, aka Jeff Guckert, the phony far-right `journo' who managed to scam his way to a press pass to the White House. Coincidence? I think not, and even the mainstream meeja are starting to agree.

Read White House press secretary Scott McLellan's attempts to wade out of it thisaway.

ABC 702 Latest Developments

HA! Well, I was right about one thing - Wendy Harmer IS going to breakfast, but what a complete bitch - it's not on ABC. She waltzed into the ABC, spent a week picking on Richard Glover in that BLOODY annoying voice of hers (like him or hate him, sitting around picking on the guy whose shift you're covering is just NASTY), poached producer Helen Young, and buggered off. Wham bam thankyou ma'am! (Such is life, says the ABC ...)

So, Sarah McDonald has taken Simon Marnie's shift on Saturday for `possibly' the next few weeks while Marnie does breakfast on weekdays. It sounds like a deal is being hammered out as we speak. But with who? Interesting, because I'd put down Sarah McDonald as a frontrunner to replace Angela Catterns. Hmmmmm.

And where is Jamesy? Back in the arvos where he belongs??? *swoon* :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

2KY Closes Newsroom

The sad news has just come through that Sydney racing station 2KY will be closing its news room, a move that has come as the result of new purchases by SuperNetwork (owner of 2SM, and the nascent Austereo of regional radio).

This leaves four people without a job - Michelle Zydower, Tanya White, Glenn Roach, and saddest of all, Peter Shanahan, who, having worked since 1971 must surely rate as one of the longest serving newsreaders in Sydney.

Sure, 2KY is not a `news' station, but anything that leads to a decline in media diversity is a terrible shame, and 2KY, I'm afraid you've bought a pup. 2SM's news is the crappiest on air. I'd say it sounds like they get the work experience kids in to read it, but it would be an insult to work experience kids everywhere.

The police? Bah, why bother?

According to the 2pm 2GB news, a man who found a list containing personal details of thousands of jurors, who, finding no interest from court authorities when attempting to hand it in, has instead sent it to 2GB.

Which is what you do ... as Dave Madden has found out.

ABC Tarnscirpt Srevice: Shirte

The mistakes in the ABC's transcripts recently have been pitiful - ridden with errors, from bloody obvious and basic (e.g. mis-spelling Shadow Immigration Minister Tony Burke's name in today's transcript of The World Today) to the rather more embarrassing (referring to the Qld opposition leader as `Lawrence Springboard') to this clanger today:
There was every chance that the Palmer report into the Immigration Department's shortcomings was going to be damming

Actually, I was looking for Amanda Vanstone's full quote on the Palmer Enquiry (reported in The Age today) - `It does sometimes happen that there's a series of events that all come together'

They sure do, Mandy. They sure do.

Caller of the Day

2SM, approximately 10:30am

Richard thinks it is `un-natural and unacceptable for males to be bound to monogamy', and that theocratic monogamy is designed to give women a `goody two shoes moral high ground with regard to finances and family law'. However, it `spells trouble' if women do the same thing, because women are encouraged all their lives to `go for the money'.

Where was Ghastly Blancmange?

You have to hand it to Philip Ruddock. How has this man shimmied his way through the Palmer Enquiry scot free, admitting nothing more than that he was the minister when the Vivian Alvarez matter was `commenced', and that nobody would like a failure like that `brought to their attention' (today's 2SM interview).

I've never heard a pollie who can say so much and say so little, as it were, at the end of the day, well, if you were to put it that way, when you are to put the two things side by side ... zzz

Thursday, July 14, 2005

BOATLOADS of 'em ...

It's already begun - Ghastly Blamange (Philip Ruddock) started it by oozing onto numerous hourly newses to ominously `not rule out' the possibility of a London style attack in Australia. But could there be a more Howardly comment than this (made on last night's Lateline:

JOHN HOWARD, PRIME MINISTER: We shouldn't complacently imagine that there aren't potentially suicide bombers in this country. I believe the threat is less in Australia, but we should not be complacent about this.

There, there. Vote for us and it'll be aaaall better.


The first of a continuing series on radio's LOUSIEST PROMOTIONS!

Well, the truth about Mathemagic Computer Tutor is simple: It's a pathetic attempt to appeal to the paranoia of the sort of middle class radio listeners who are whipping Little Danny out of Turdville Heights Primary and into St Snotvilles on the Hill to ensure he's taught `values' rather than being force fed evil left-wing black-armband propaganda by all those nutbag Teachers Federation types. Take this excerpt from a current ad:

Worried Mother: We've worked hard to send our children to a private school, and their results have been good. But to get into the BEST university, they have to do more!

Guy Smiley: EASY! Get your kid to cut Mathemagic Computer Tutor into lines and snort it with play lunch? Can you afford to do anything less? You bastard? Yes, you - the one who was just going to walk away and leave their child's education - nay, their life - in TATTERS, damn you!
(etc etc you get the idea ...)

OK, OK ... guilt trip accepted, parent spends fortune on crappy software. But - does it work? According to Infobreak, the company's objectives are, frankly, evil.

To communicate to parents how the investment purchase of a Mathemagic Computer Tutor software program can benefit their children's education and to generate high levels of call centre traffic. (EVIL!)

But let's go to the students themselves - the students who, if Mathemagic's ads are to believed, run home panting to do their maths homework once Mathemagic's installed on the old home PC. One member of the online community Bored Of Studies (which also reveals that the programme costs upwards of $5000) sums it up best when he/she says:

If mathamagic could do such a good job, then there would be no need for maths teachers. But i think i would rather be taught be a teacher than some gay program.

(sic, people, sic!)

Or, as another Bored of Studies visitor puts it:

arghhhhhhhhhh i wanna stab those idiots who are in the radio ad. They think that by making a person stutter and say "like" more than 3 times in a sentence would somehow convince us that its an 8 year old talking. Argh *stab stab*

Thankyou and goodnight ... Mathemagic the saviour of studentkind? HAH! Yeah right.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Any chance to put in the boot ...

From Monday's The World Today

"The Archbishop of Brisbane, 45-year-old Phillip Aspinall, is the youngest Primate ever to be elected to lead the Australian congregation.

The Federal Treasurer Peter Costello lost no time in criticising him, saying Dr Aspinall is no expert on the Federal Government's proposed industrial relations changes, while some sexual abuse campaigners say they're not confident Dr Aspinall will do enough to help sex abuse victims.

Dr Aspinall was chosen over the weekend, ahead of his main contender, the Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen. But Dr Jensen has told The World Today he actually prayed not to be elected to the Primacy, as Tanya Nolan reports.

TANYA NOLAN: His first message as Primate was to encourage unity within the Anglican Order. But the Archbishop of Brisbane also defended his right to express his views outside the Church.

PHILLIP ASPINALL: I was asked yesterday whether I agreed with Minister Andrews that the churches should butt out of this discussion, and I don't agree with that.

TANYA NOLAN: But Treasurer Peter Costello agrees with Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews that church leaders should get all the facts before they start proselytising about the merits or otherwise of the Government's industrial reforms.

PETER COSTELLO: Phillip Aspinall, it's a free country, can say what he likes. But just because he has a theological degree, doesn't mean he's an IR expert.

TANYA NOLAN: He has in fact got degrees in science, education and business administration as well.

But the Treasurer, who's addressed the popular Pentecostal Hillsong congregation as recently as last week, has been telling ABC Radio's Jon Faine that he believes Anglican leaders tend to have more weight given to their views.

PETER COSTELLO: The general view in the media is a churchman's entitled to speak on a social issue, as long as he has a left-wing perspective.

JON FAINE: Is that how you see it?

PETER COSTELLO: I think that's the view probably in the ABC, yes. But if a churchman has a view on a social perspective that happens to be conservative, well that is a danger to democracy as we know it. That's sort of the view… Hillsong can't be good because it's not supporting a left-wing view, whereas an Anglican archbishop, that is good. Uniting Church, even better."

People ... who do you trust ... This man, this man, or this one???

What's happening at ABC 702?

Was much impressed by James Valentine this morning, getting stuck into Malcolm Kerr about the desalination plant the NSW government plans to build in Kurnell. I'd doubted his mettle against Jonesy and Carlton, but here he is, a cross between David Marr and Andrew Denton, making Kerr sound like a naughty little schoolboy! Go VAL!

Will Val retain the brekkie shift? Here's my theory: the recent try-out of Wendy Harmer on Richard Glover's shift would indicate they're going with Harmer on Afternoons and staying with Jamesy on breakfast, or vice versa.

Please let it be vice versa. I'm missing Val big time in the arvos. It's been a dog's breakfast at 702 since La Catterns pushed off (If only someone would set up a station aimed at dull Eastern suburbs soccer mums that would get rid of Sally Loane ...) and the 702 B-team is notoriously blah (Steve LIEBMANN? WTF ???)

Damn I miss Kilbey's Fine Vinyl ...

Greetings & Salutations

bidddiddiiw ... bidddiddiww ... biddiddiww ... idddiddidiw

The first extended broadcast of the human voice was transmitted through the air on December 24, 1906 from Brant Rock, Massachusetts. A Canadian engineer, Reginald Fessenden, had worked for Thomas Edison in his New Jersey Laboratory, and later became a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Excerpts from the Bible were read, and sections played from Handel's `Largo' and Gounod's "O, Holy Night".

Phone technology was then insufficient for talkback.