As always, Crikey readers write entertaining letters and here is a taste of them.

The Della Bosca saga continues in New South Wales where the Ugly Right is consolidating its grip. Carr is telling his friends that he has implemented the Coaldrake Formula without the backlash – re-inforce base values (even where they conflict with your own values) and under that umbrella put your friends into key media and lobby groups, neutralise Parliamentary review processes, politicise the public service by appointing mates to departments and review agencies; and make the police service an active arm of government. Coaldrake documented the Queensland or Joh way of “working the system” 15 years ago and nothing has changed in NSW – while maybe it is changing in Queensland.

Della has arranged for subscriptions from the development industry to be channelled to him in order to undercut the dud and disinterested Leftie in the Urban Affairs portfolio. Refshauge was put there to complement the wallpaper and placate the greenies while the real decisions were being made by Carr and Della. The Uglies who stacked branches for the Right now lead the Urban Task Force while the Property Council has been given pride of place at the consultation table. The Urban Task Force subscriptions are not publicly accounted for and while the Libs initially accused Carr in Parliament of creating it for this purpose they have been told to shut up by their main contributors in the development industry, Meriton, Mirvac, Macquarie and Bradman. They are happy to have enhanced access to the real power brokers, Carr and Della.

Cheers, NSW Insider

Crikey : This is one of the most insightful emails we’ve ever received. Read it again and then ask yourself if the media, the opposition and the public service are doing their job in reporting what is really going on in the heartland of the ruthless NSW Right.

Tales of woe from the Lion pub


Been a CUB drinker since before I was allowed to be. My local, Governor Hotham, is now a Lion Nathan hotel. Service has gone down, the old owner used to do 1500 meals on a Friday and Saturday night, now I think they would be lucky to do 500. Lion Nathan made the old owner an offer he couldn’t refuse, and a week later he was gone. Quick turn around.

They must have got sick of people driving out of the bottle shop, because they now sell a select range of CUB there. Although you can’t see it and have to ask for it specifically. The dude in the bottle shop told me “We have it (vic), but we have to have it out of site, and can only sell it to people who ask for it, we don’t let on that we have it and we can’t sell it inside”.

And they now charge a dollar for using their EFTPOS machine. Robbery!

You better add the Glenferrie Hotel to that list, as it too has been ‘re-born’ in Toohey’s new livery.

Cheers, Grant P!

Crikey : This is exactly the sort of tale we want to hear about from the field. The Genferrie might be one of the 250 pubs where they’ve just bought pourage rights but I’ll check with our industry deep throats on this one.

Bag Elliott in banners at the game


I’m a big Carlton supporter and it always pleases me to see expressions of disgust about “Technical Jack” and his destructive and insulting incumbency at the CFC. It’s encouraging to know there are others who feel the same about things as you do. If there are enough of us, maybe we can start a popular movement from the terraces at Princes Park. Take a banner along to the home games and unfurl it for TV cameras – something like “ELLIOT: YOU’RE A DISGRACE AND YOU HAVE TO GO” could generate some momentum in the bleachers and give heart to those thinking about a tilt at Jack’s crown. Go Blues!


Crikey : Well said TW. Couldn’t agree more. The whole AFL suffers a credibility problem as long as discredited types like Big Jack hang around like a bad smell.

Media drops the ball on One Nation returns

Why the hell none of the media clever dicks had a look at the Annual Return first issued by the One Nation and given to the AEC (about 6 months late).

I’ve seen it (anyone could have asked to see it at the AEC )… it looks like someone prepared it after 8 stubbies of VB and could not give a stuff. And you do not have to be an auditor to recognise there are a few (like 200) questions to ask. What the hell the AEC was up to by accepting it God only knows.

Michael D

Crikey : And now these spivs are back in the race for WA and QLD. Let’s hope they get blown away once and for all.

It’s raining new BMWs

Dear Crikey

Free enterprise is the provider of great perks and privileges if the brand spanking new BMW driven by free agent, Jeff Kennett is anything to go by.

Keep seeking the truth, anomynous

Crikey : Sadly, Steve Bracks failed to even vaguely have a look at Jeffrey’s financial after 7 years in office. Sounds a bit like Bob Hawke’s new BMW that he came all the way down from Sydney to pick up from Melbourne’s Doncaster Motors in 1994! And who owned this dealership? Trucker Lindsay Fox, former ANZ chief Will Bailey and once failed developer Izzy Herzog. I wonder how much Hawkie and Jeff both paid for their shining new imports.

Stop grovelling to Indonesia


I am growing increasingly irritated by the articles regularly appearing in our major dailies regarding President Wahids’ proposed visit to Australia. These pieces seem to be written on a constant theme of why aren’t we grovelling harder to get him over here. They also seem to borrow from the Keating foreign policy mindset ie that if we suck up to these despots hard enough they will be nice to us and make us look presidential. No such luck, how about a little revisionism here. We are not the country with three rebelling provinces (East Timor, Aceh, Papua) and a military regime that openly condones terror, murder, brutality and religious violence, especially in maintaining said colonies. We are a positive forward-looking nation, with a regional presence and they need us to lift their international credibility and profile as a “democracy” far more than we need them or a visit from their president to assert our station in Asia. Let’s stop pandering to a bygone era and have a bit of balance in reporting this stuff, the negatives are being overplayed.

Sam E

Crikey : Indonesia?? Where’s that. Seriously, you make a good point. We should quit the grovelling and start acting like a regional deputy sheriff that is best mate’s with the new US Prez.

Murdoch tabloid flies crap Kieran for Ryan kite

Dear Stephen,

a piece of info and also a brickbat for you. Regarding looking for a prominent person to run in Ryan, The Sunday Mail reported on Chrissie Eve that Kieren Perkins was looking at running for pre-selection. At first I thought it was fanciful, but as a YL both living in Ryan and entitled to vote in the pre-selection & not impressed by either Johnson or heir-apparent Boland, I have to say he may well get my vote.

THe brickbat: I am no apologist for the QLD Libs, I have big problems with the way things are going in this Party right now, but the Liberal Party’s performance in Woodridge and Gibbs’ former seats was HARDLY a surprise, even if the former ALP Member for Woodridge WAS a paedophile & a phantom. The ding-bats of Woodridge would vote Labor if Jack-the-Ripper was the candidate. The only person who was stupid enough to make an issue out of the usual Labor white-wash in the slums of Queensland was Santo “El Duce” Santoro, who was rightly sent to the back-bench for his troubles.

Still keen on your new Party,


Yankee gun toters funded Oz equivalents

re Hilary’s article re the Sporting Shooters Association and donations to One Nation.

I have no proof, however, I was advised by a member of the US National Rifleman’s Association that they fund a number of gun lobby groups in OZ. The rationale being that anti-gun legislation anywhere in the western world is seen to pose a threat to the NRA interests. My understanding is that at one stage the NRA was pumping in about $1M (US).

Sorry, I have no corroborating evidence.


Crikey : Nothing would surprise with the NRA and let’s hope One Nation and their gun-toting voters get blown out of the water in WA and QLD.

“Pollie” drives me crackers

Crikey! And I thought these ex Parliamentarian consigned themselves to lives of penury after opting for years of selfless public service. Yeh, right.

Just a request for you Longfella. The term Pollie is a particularly irritating one, denoting as it does, affection for the recipient. These interfering, “we know what’s good for the rest of you” elements in the community deserve no such endearment. Could you please come up with another sobriquet. A good one would find you earning more stipes in Australian journalistic history.

Keep up the windmill tilting.

The Groveller

Crikey : Anyone got any suggestions. The only problem with this “bag ’em all” approach is that you have to like politicians if you like democracy. You can’t have one without the other.

Japs send Dogs to the dogs – they’ll lose this Vic beer war


Q: What does Lion Nathan and Spain have in common? A: Their beer sucks sh*t.

Thanks for the pubs list – I can now safely avoid Lion Nathan beer. The Dogs bar in st kilda has gone downhill since they were bought out.

Cheers n’ Beers (Coldies and VB ones of course!)

Tim Richards

Crikey : Making all these Vic pubs a VB free zone is high risk stuff from Lion Nathan. But the trendies in St Kilda at the Dogs bar should be less rusted on then drinkers at some of the other venues they’ve bought.

What about an award for Pratt

Stephen, I reckon you overlooked – particularly being a Victorian and all – the “Adulterous liason of the year” award. You could present the prize in a large carboard box perhaps?

Paul (a subscriber)

Crikey : Indeed, this one is world-scale for the fact that Dick has successfully and complicity run the two families.

AFR in for some awards


Re these awards, how about one for the AFR’s Finance Desk – Stand up Morgan Mellish and Anne Hyland.

The first goes to Anne Hyland and her report on annual Mergers and Acquisitions League Tables. Not big news except in the banking sector globally a lot of egos hang out. The AFR this year decided to go against global trends/standards and gave its award to one bank in one category despite the fact that an accompanying Wall St Journal article, used the measure rejected by the AFR – How about consistency or stop pissing in the right kinds of pockets. Or is the AFR now the leading global finance paper.

The second goes to Morgan who took an unsubstantiated world story, threw in some local quotes, and ran the story such that no-one could understand what was going on. (AFR Friday 19 Jan). The local quotes contradicted the rest of the story. Looks like Morgan has gone back to his old GIO/AMP egg beater days, but then has he ever left the mixmaster behind.

Happy to discuss but please no contributor names.

Crikey : Can’t remember these articles myself but happy to hear from Anne and Morgan for their point of view.

Head to tale acrobatics award goes to Andrew Bolt

Most amazing display of a journo with their head up their arse on a consistent basis: and the undisputed winner is Hun Nazi Andrew Bolt. Any arguments?

Anon. (Because I’ve already offended and received self-loving mutterings from the cretin)

Crikey : C’mon Bolt isn’t that bad. And how can he be a Nazi if he worked for Labor Minister Bob Collins a few years back. (Disclosure: Bolt accommodated Crikey during the Hong Kong handover in 1996 and attended our post-wedding cocktail party in October. But that doesn’t mean we agree with half the things he writes.)

Expose these bloody online pollsters

G’day Stephen and crew,

Congrats on keeping the bastards honest by way of …. it’s still the best read on the web in Aussie.

As a regular visitor to the Aussie news sites on the web, I have noticed a proliferation of these bloody polls they seem to like so much. They stick up a topic and ask the reader for a yes/no vote and once cast, up pops a screen with results.

Now my question is this: What happens to the results of these mongrel things? Do the doyens of the news media actually pass them on to someone who can affect change, or do they just sit on them and give themselves a pat on the back for writing a story that “perhaps” got people to take the time to cast a vote?

Despite several attempts to contact the “source” none have had the decency to return an explanatory e-mail. That really makes me curious.

Public opinion, as you are well aware Stephen, can sway Government and other policies which affect the average Australian in the street. However, my healthy dose of cynicism really has me questioning the purpose of these polls. If no shiny arse in a ministerial office, or elsewhere, gets the poll results, then what is the bloody point? Or is it just another case of setting Rupe and Kezza up as some sort of tin gods who appear (and I do mean appear) to take an interest in what Joe Average thinks.

Hope you can shed some light on the reality behind this one, but in the meantime, keep up the great work.

David Kalmund

Crikey : Sadly, I can’t help on this one David. Normally they would use these polls to generate editorial content and to give their readers a sense of involvement.

Attacks on One Nation a disgrace out West

Dear Crikey

I have just discovered your website, and read your articles about the WA state election. It seems to me that both sides of politics differ little. Both have had decades to perform and both have failed miserably.

One of their most shameful performances has been their attacks on the “new kid on the block”, namely Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. They adopted the mantra to “put One Nation last” in their preferences – what that meant was that National Party and Liberal Party voters in fact elected Labor and Democrat candidates who got their leftover preference votes, and vice versa.

Few voters are aware that that happened – certainly many Liberal voters I have spoken to are horrified that their votes went to elect Labor; and vice versa. The ordinary voters are unaware that that is the logical consequence of putting One Nation last!

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation got over 1 million votes in the Senate at the Oct 1998 Federal election, normally sufficient to elect FOUR senators, but due to the hysterical “put One Nation last” policy the party got only one senator elected. Pauline Hanson’s One Nation got far more primary votes than the National party and far more votes than the Democrats – in fact got almost as many votes as the Democrats and Nationals combined, and they got 4 and 1 Senator elected respectively.

It seems to me that a vote for One Nation is a vote for Australia and to protest at the way both sides of politics have sold us out to overseas financial interests.

One Nation preferences will decide the outcome – If Premier Court does not do a preference deal with One Nation then he has no chance of winning. Maybe Prime Minister Howard, who is insisting that Liberals should not do any preference deals with One Nation, is prepared to sacrifice WA to Labor to create a Labor bogey as he goes towards the Federal election, most likely on 4th November?

I hope your website will give Pauline Hanson’s One Nation a fair mention and a fair go.

Regards, Lex Stewart

Crikey : Sorry Lex, I can only recommend voters put these One Nation cretins last. The Lib and Nats got pole-axed in Brisbane last time for doing a preference deal with ON so no-one will touch them now and nor should they. I’m all for more political competition and am toying with setting something up to have a go at the Senate later in the year. But ON is not the answer.

Dotcoms slashing staff everwhere

EmailCash owner Mr. Bob Cheng has shed more than 50 per cent of his staff at EmailCash on the 2nd of January 2001, he has plans to sell its core business after supposedly finding a buyer for EmailCash with revenue projection from $9 million to $12 million. But can he be believed?

The young Managing Director is said to have given various stories to the dismissed staff members, that EmailCash has excess cash in hand, EmailCash has no cash in hand due to Stock Exchange problems in Taiwan or that Mr Cheng is a heavy gambler. Which of these stories are people to believe, if there is dishonesty in the company from where does it stem?

Highly targeted online direct marketing is growing rapidly based on research and market information, and what is Mr Cheng doing? – He’s selling the business, looking at the situation other people have identified a lack of guidance and business maturity from Mr Cheng, it is totally unrealistic that EmailCash will meet its revenue forecasts without any key staff in the sales area. In other people’s belief, who in their right mind would buy EmailCash as it now stands?

Mr Cheng may have breached many industrial relation regulations including the dismissal of staff without due warning / counselling, cleared desks of personal effects and not paid holiday leave entitlements to staff. These are the serious offences of which there are others, which will be handled by the proper authorities in due course

Crikey : Hmmm, some heavy stuff here. Be interested to hear Mr Cheng’s side of the story.

Tassie media drop the ball

Here’s an example of the failing of the Tasmanian media. Treasurer David Crean (Simon’s brother) holds a presser as acting Tasmanian Police Minister saying the Government will trial personal locator beacons for bushwalkers visiting the State’s more challenging trails. Not one question from the assembled throng about whether Dr Crean believed such a device may have saved another of his brothers from death many years ago in the mainland highlands.

The journalists had to be inadvertently informed of this fact later in the day by a LIBERAL staffer!

It seems none of them knew about this. Why is it considered forgiveable to be ignorant of such an important matter simply because it occurred at a time before they were working as “journalists”. This is no doubt the excuse that the eight or more unthinking “journos” would use when explaining their failure to give any meaningful context to the yarn. Whatever happened to corporate memory on the part of their more experienced chiefs of staff or news editors.

Apparently not even the Government minders had thought of mentioning it. Maybe even they didn’t know!

Predictably, this poor excuse for a pack ALSO failed to question Dr Crean on why the Bacon Government had a change of mind on the personal locator beacons after they initially rejected the proposal from the Liberals back on Boxing Day.

No wonder Tasmanian journalists blindly buy the Bacon Government’s spin that Tasmania is the country’s economic powerhouse when everyone on the mainland considers it a basket case economy.

Regards Anonymous (although bound to be found out)

Crikey : The lack of corporate memory in news rooms is one of the biggest problems with the Australian media because so many of our best journalist never the profession for politics and PR. The big employers need to reward their experienced people better and therefore retain more corporate memory and produce a better product.

WA gerrymander a disgrace

I can’t believe that in 2001 in Australia that there are States that still don’t have one-vote, one-value! I also can’t believe that I have never even heard the media cry out about this until now, considering the years & years of bagging Qld copped over its electoral system, which wasn’t in practise that unfair anyway.

In his book, “Qld from 1915 to the mid-1980s”, Professor Ross Fitzgerald (an ALP Member) number-crunched the election results of every election from 1968 when Bjelke-Petersen became Premier, to 1984 when the book was written. He found that under no system – not one-vote, one-value, or even PR, did the ALP ever receive enough votes to form Government. He found that the gerrymander only hurt the Liberals (who were part of Joh’s Govt anyway), who would have been the major Coalition partner in the Govt under one-vote, one value. Considering the Qld Liberals’ constant in-brawling in this State, that was probably a good thing anyway.

No luck yet on digging up the name of that former B-P Minister who said he would run as an independant.

Regards, Troy R

Crikey : I was stunned to discover the West’s gerrymander and think it is appalling that Court is campaigning so hard against it. If One Nation gets a foothold in wa kiss it baby !

Why does the media bollock Bush so much?

Irwin Stelzer Jan 04 2001, The Times: ‘Why Blair has got George W so wrong

On the off-chance that the American people should install this dunce in the White House, a congratulatory telephone call, a courtesy call on the new President, exposing him to the unquestioned Blair charm, and all would be well. That bet, too, has been lost: Bush, who managed to earn a graduate degree from Harvard while Gore failed to complete two different graduate programmes, is moving with intelligence, vigour and purpose in directions that put him on a collision course with Blairite policies, and that threaten the “special relationship”. Blair is now up against it: he can no longer hunt with the hounds and run with the foxes, as events in recent days prove.

Sure, the new Pres. has been quoted as saying some dopey things. But the Age seems to be getting its knickers in a knot trying to prove he is dim.


Crikey : His dumb quotes are certainly pretty silly but the Harvard degree certainly seems to get underplayed!

Give us some guidance on Axa

O.K. Stephen, I am happy to support your Axa platform and to provide you with a proxy to exercise my modest vote, but you have not thought to indicate your recommendation for voting on the items of business.

I assume you seek a vote for election to the board but which of the other candidates would you drop off your ticket? What are your views on increased remuneration for the board and options for the executives?

My respectful suggestion is that you provide a guide as to how you might wish to see proxy forms completed.

Encouragingly yours,

Ian Alexander

Crikey : It will all be on the site by the end of Jan. Too much to do and too little time.

Give it back Schildberger

why does not ASIC make Mr Schildberger give back what he sold knowing the company was going under????

Donald A

Crikey : Well said. How can he sell 350k on market just a week before administrators are called in to Infosentials. Sure, he used the money to exercise out of the money options, but what about the poor sucker who bought the shares on market at 15c a pop?

Do Fairfax sponsor the WEF


Is there any truth to the claim on the old S11 website that Fairfax is a member of the World Economic Forum? (Look for the ‘fairfax’s the age WEF page’ link about halfway down this page:, under the ‘S11 in the Media’ sub-head). I haven’t been able to verify this claim and was wondering if you or any of your readers could. If there is any truth to it I’d be interested to know what you think the ethical implications might be/could have been for Fairfax journalists and readers during the WEF. For example, do you think that someone like Steve Harris would/should have been aware of this when editing a substantial supplement just prior to the WEF Melbourne meeting? This supplement ‘Towards the Future. WEF Asia Pacific Economic Summit 2000’ was distributed with the Age and the SMH. It looked like a genuine attempt at ‘fourth estate’ journalism but maybe it was an advertorial supplement afterall. Thanks.


Crikey : This would not surprise and is an example of where global media companies – and the Fairfax board is full of globalisation-backers – can sometimes be detached from the interests of their readers. Look at the way the Herald Sun invested in Docklands and then dumped Waverley even though their readers supported Waverley.

I didn’t do it – pig’s arse

Re the story about Elliott shamelessly thanking the crowd at Princess Park for their “support” during his criminal trial.

A rabid Carlton supporter who subs at the Age, told me he was in the crowd that day and it was hilarious. While “Technical Jack” (when he got off, he madly expostulated to the press that ‘I didn’t get off on a technicality’ was speaking, the crowd was chanting “We know ya did it Jack, we know ya did it.”! Fantastic, don’t you think?

Re his trial. Why the fuck didn’t the presiding judge (Vincent I think the booby was) consider the fact that innocent men, (ie Ken Jarrett) aren’t usually in the habit of volunteering for spells of porridge. It is most unusual, wouldn’t you say?

Keep up the tilting at windmills, Longfella.

the groveller.

Crikey : Jarrett went down over a separate issue to what Elliott was charged with but the boys should have been charged over what he revealed. Jarrett was also very worried because Alan Hawkins went to jail in NZ over a deal that he was up to his eyeballs in. All very murky.

Get the shonks out of footy

Dear Crikey,

I am a Carlton fan but not necessarily a John Elliott fan. However I am sick of businessmen using football clubs for there own personal playthings. And businessmen that subsequently have been shown to be dishonest, among the “Hall of Shame” we have Alan Bond at Richmond who couldn’t even name the Richmond Coach at the time, Geoffrey Edelsten, Christopher Skase, the jury is still out on Joseph Gutnick.

Just a comment on your foray into the Richmond AGM and Tiger President Clinton Casey. Is this the same Clinton Casey that “Hinch” or “Current Affair” exposed in the late 80s or early 90s re: a shonky time share holiday resort deal? (not that I am taking the word of “Hinch” or “Current Affair” as gospel).

Lets not just concentrate efforts on John Elliott however well deserved there are others who need there credentials examined.

regards and keep up the good work,

Michael A

Crikey : Interesting stuff. Will try to find out about the time share stuff with Clinton Casey. Don’t think Gutnick has yet been found to be dishonest.

Don’t forget the Murdoch sunday


The Oz might be the only daily competition but there is also a Sunday paper in town and we enjoy serving it up to The Worst.

John Flint (The Sunday Times)

Crikey : Yes, yes. Perth has that quality Sunday tabloid as Rupert’s flagship.

Big steps for a little man

Steve Price does not get a free Volvo for his promotion of the car. He actually has to pay for it and the very expensive set of small steps installed under the drivers side floor to help him get in. It’s not fair and is actually an offence to accuse him of such things – if this was the “year of the disabled” or “mental health week” you would be coping it bigtime from all and sundry.

Geoff A.

Crikey : He’s not that short is he? And Half Price does get a free Volvo from what we can work out. He certainly plugs the shit out of Bilia Hawthorn and calls them “my generous sponsor” on air.

Harris praise hard to fathom

Your adulation of Harris is a little puzzling; could it have something to do with your vast income whilst under the man? From my perspective, Harris was always cutting back on casuals just when I was getting a few shifts here and there. To his credit however, he always answered anonymous emails criticising The Age’s friendly coverage of Kennett, even trying to justify it on occasions. Perhaps he should have been a schoolmaster.


Crikey : This is your third email we’ve published Groveller. I’ve had an up and down relationship with Harris, as with most newspaper bosses in Melbourne and Sydney. But I genuinely believe he was the best editorial chief I worked with even though he shafted me on my last pay rise at the Herald Sun.