Crikey readers talk political donations, what’s behind George Brandis’ conservatism, and how we can help cyclists.
A media tart?
Gerard Henderson writes: Re. “Who you gonna call? Meet Australia’s biggest media tart” (yesterday). According to Myriam Robin, I am one of Australia’s top 20 “media tarts” who will take a journalist’s call “and hurry down to [a] studio when something breaks”. Robin’s story directs Crikey readers to an iSentia list that declares that I did “545 interviews” between November 2013 and March 2014.
I do very few electronic media appearances. Over the past six years (not six months) my appearances on the main TV and radio outlets are as follows: Lateline (1), Q&A (2), The Drum (zero), Radio National Breakfast (1), ABC 702 (1), ABC 774 (2), Paul Murray Live (zero), The Contrarians (zero) and AM/The World Today/PM (about 10). The only programs on which I appear regularly are Insiders (about six to seven times a year), The Bolt Report (about four appearances since the program commenced) and Australian Agenda (twice this year).
If Robin had bothered to contact me before writing her lead story in Crikey yesterday, I would have told her that the total number of interviews I did in the six-month period between November 2013 and March 2014 would have totalled to no more than a dozen.
I also would have asked why Crikey did not submit the names of such luvvies as David Marr, Clive Hamilton and Anne Summers to iSentia for assessment as “media tarts”. David Marr, for example, does many, many more media appearances than I do. If I am a media tart, then David is the King of Media Tarts.
I am surprised that Crikey, which lectures-at-large about media standards, runs such intellectually shoddy analysis as appeared in Myriam Robin’s piece yesterday. Also iSentia should be able to do better than the lightweight material it prepared for Crikey’s ”Media Tarts” exclusive.
Heather Witham, manager of government relations and policy at Aged and Community Services Australia, writes: Re. “Bonds not a guarantee” (yesterday). I would like to advise a clarification. Mentone Gardens was not an accredited nursing home (it was a supported residential service under the Victorian government legislation — and very unusual) and operated outside of the Commonwealth Aged Care Act, so would not have been covered by the Aged Care (Bond Security) Act 2006.
All accredited nursing home residents would have their Accommodation Bonds repaid by the Commonwealth Government as per the Bond Security Act if in the rare event this was required. Most aged care facilities in Australia are covered by this act:
“The Aged Care (Bond Security) Act 2006 (the Bond Security Act) was established to protect accommodation bonds paid to approved providers by providing a safety net that allowed the Commonwealth to refund residents in the event that their approved provider defaulted on its refund obligations because of insolvency or bankruptcy. The protection is provided to accommodation bonds, as defined in the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act), which are subject to a range of regulatory obligations, including prudential requirements, established in the Act.”
Money in politics
Valerie Craig writes: Re. “Turn off the telly and let the sunlight in on political donations” (yesterday). There is no doubt that arranging for personal enrichment from the taxpayer, like Obeid et al, is corruption and should be punished accordingly. However, many of the donations to the Liberal Party are not in the public interest but are an effort to strike at the foundations of our democracy by persuading an elected government to favour the donors over the wellbeing of the general electorate, as the current ICAC inquiry is revealing. Surely trying to manipulate our democracy using private means is as corrupt as gaining personal enrichment against the public interest.
Dominic Nagle writes: Re. “Who — and what country — is driving Brandis’ conservative shift?” (yesterday). Paul O’Sullivan was a colleague (private secretary) on the staff of Joe Riordan, minister for housing in the Whitlam government, though I wasn’t all that impressed by the level of his political nous. In those days, of course, he was an ALP supporter from a good Labor family in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. I observe generally that political views often change as the salary rises. Ah well.