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More great letters from the Crikey readership, especially on the wild politics out west.

Dear Crikey,

I recall a few years ago a Russian election, where the Government, on the advice of US “experts”, tackled the Vlad Zhironovski (sic) problem, by ridiculing him. The resulting free publicity gave crazy Vlad the sort of poll result we saw on Saturday night.

So am I saying ignore One Notion and they will go away? No, because Pauline and her camp followers will never go away until we reach a Star Trek type society (and remember that took WWIII to achieve)

What I am saying is that the major political parties should stop giving Hanson free publicity.

What difference does it make if One Notion are placed 8th or 9th on the ballot paper? Many Australians care nothing for the issues. What they see is the major parties colluding/conspiring against One Notion. Why are they doing it? asks your average punter. Politicians can’t be trusted, so if they all hate One Notion, then One Notion must have something going for them.

The fact that One Notion have not released any policies for the Qld poll is irrelevant to the average punter. On the contrary, they may see this as a positive. You can’t break promises if you haven’t made any.

What the major parties should do is treat One Notion like any other minor party. Ignore them as much as possible, don’t do pref deals, but don’t make an issue of where they are on the ballot paper. If it is convenient to go straight down the ballot paper in allocating prefs, and if doing so means putting One Notion above the libs, or ALP, whoever, then do it. To go out of the way to put One Notion last merely gives them more attention. At the end of the day, where the major parties allocate their prefs is largely irrelevant anyway.

regards, Russell

Crikey : Points very well made Russell. The other key factor here is that Australia does not have a right-leaning small party. The Dems and Greens are both on the left and Hanson is exploiting the huge vacuum on the right despite her nonsensical and racist policies.


It’s a malapportionment not a gerrymander

Your analysis of the WA election was excellent. Just one very technical note. You’ve confused the term gerrymander with malapportionment. The WA upper house suffers from a case of malapportionment not gerrymander. Gerrymander is when electoral boundaries are fiddled to give particular parties advantage, despite the electorate numbers still being the same (ie hiving a Labor area off into say three Liberal seats to minimise the voting power of that Labor area). Malapportionment occurs when some seats are given greater voting value (numbers) than other seats, as in WA. The effects can be the same but the method is different!

Peter

Crikey : But gerrymander is a much sexier and better understood expression thanks to Joh. Beazley was calling it a gerrymander today. Whatever you call it, it is a hell of a rort. Upper house seats give rural candidates one third the number of constituents as in the city.


Start you own party Crikey

G’day Stephen.

I saw you speaking to Kerry O’Brien a few months ago. You said that you would be interested in standing for parliament in the next federal election. Are you? There a thousands of people who are looking for someone who believes in social justice for all – not the bloody elites who have benefited by little Johnny Howard’s policies. Beazley is no better. Globalisation and free trade policies are destroying Australians. There is only one option it seems. That is to vote for One Nation. I cannot stand them or Pauline Hanson but what is the alternative. The independents give preference to either labor or liberal. They are a wasted vote. Meg Lees sold her supporters out by jumping into political bed with the liberals when her support for the GST allowed it to pass through parliament. So what are you going to do mate. I’ll give you support. Get up off your bum and give it ago. Now. Don’t dilly-dally. I mean it.

Name withheld

Crikey: If Melbourne IT will ever register the domain name of the party, we’ll be launching soon. The plan is to run hard in the Senate across the country on a shareholder, consumer, ethical platform that provides a genuine slightly to the right alternative to Hanson. However, we’ll be supporting free trade and globalisation. The $A does not need to plunge below US50c any time soon.


Leave Beattie alone on preferences

Dear Crikey,

Just a quick note of feedback for you.

Until now I have always enjoyed your editorials for their wit and accuracy. However I was disgusted with the article released today (12 Feb) on the preference decision by Premier Peter Beattie in Qld. The editorial reports that the decision by the ALP to advocate a “just vote one” decision is some kind of cynical attempt to ensure that One Nation candidates win seats from the Coalition.

The fact that you conveniently neglected to highlight was that the decision was made necessary by the fact in many of its marginal seats, the ALP candidate will be opposed by all other candidates – particularly where there are National, PHON and City -Country Alliance candidates – and who will all be directing preferences to each other – and not Labor.

In this environment – Labor has no option but to stem the flow of preferences from various conservative candidates to ensure that their preferences are exhausted giving Labor the best chance of winning and keep the right-wing parties out of the parliament as much as possible.

Labor’s vote 1 strategy also ensures that its own preferences will not go to any PHON or CCA candidates.

Had they advocated a preferencing option and this meant that additional coalition candidates were elected – such a situation would still have given little stability to Qld as the Coalition has had to move further right to try and recapture its lost vote, – making it just as redneck and irresponsible in its policy stances as the CCA and PHON. How else could you explain the Coaliton’s new policies on matters such as the introduction of mandatory sentencing, and its scare tactics in areas such as drug and crime policy.

As I see it, Labor has no option but to adopt a strategy which will ensure it’s recapture of a majority in the Parliament and rule in its own right without being hindered by the gun nuts on the other side.

I hope this will enlighten you a little on the situation in Qld. Perhaps you will think carefully before requesting that the media “right this wrong” (in letting the ALP get away with there decision) in the last week of the campaign. You run the risk of advocating that the media encourage a backlash against Labor and ensure that a Coalition of the Libs, Nats and red neck minor parties will be formed.

Good one guys.

Chris, student, 22.

Crikey: Frankly Chris, I reckon Labor should be out on their arse in Queensland for institutional corruption. The Nats weren’t too bad last time and should be given another go given what your blokes have been exposed doing. If the Libs can put One Nation last then so should Labor. Lumping all the conservatives in the same category is bollocks. Which Labor candidate are you handing out for on Saturday?


Web coverage on WA poll a disgrace

Stephen,

You probably didn’t have time to look at some of the media web coverage of the WA election, but I was up at 4.00am (Sydney Time) this Sunday morning and decided to check it out the web.

I found the WA electoral commission site was off, or down, so I trawled through some of the media sites. The results were not impressive:

1. The Western Australian (www.thewest.com.au) election story started “ELECTION tensions boiled over on the eve of today’s cliffhanger vote…”. This was not encouraging and before writing this e-mail I checked it again (at 6.20 pm Sunday) to find it still hasn’t changed!

2. The ABC had the best 4am coverage with rolling reports through the evening, but all of them filed well before 10pm WA time and no break down of the polling or at least no obvious link to the detailed results. At 6pm it had been updated.

3. The Fairfax F2 page had no mention of the WA election at 4 am, at 6pm the only mention of it is in the AFR section towards the bottom. Apart from the AFR links, the F2 page doesn’t seem to have been updated all weekend.

4. The SMH, which includes the Sun-Herald, had no up to date story at 4am but had a lead at 6pm. Ditto The Age.

5. News.com.au had a single report on the home page at 4am and at 6pm had a whole page of reports and analysis. I think it has the best coverage of the lot.

6. Just to prove I’m not a Murdoch screech-owl, check out the Sunday Telegraph’s web page. At 4am and 6pm it is a week out of date. The dumb thing is I trolled through it for ten minutes before I realised I was looking at last week’s news. I think this shows just how deep the luddite streak is at News.

The point of all of this is that it illustrates just how badly our media organisations are handling the Web. In fact the contempt of the Westie towards the medium is breathtaking. Elections are a perfect event for the Web, as we saw in the US presidential election. If our news organisations cannot get this right, or even bother to try, with all their resources and budgets then I can’t see how they will ever find the right way to leverage the web into their businesses.

Good luck with the defo actions, look forward to the next update.

Regards, Paul Wallbank

Crikey : I couldn’t agree more Paul. I sat up between midnight and 4am listening to the excellent Newsradio broadcast hosted by ABC Perth’s Liam Bartlett and trawling the ABC’s informative website. The West Australian and The Sunday Times were absolutely pathetic. But it gets worse. Neither The Sunday Age or The Sunday Herald Sun gave the story anything near the prominence or depth it deserved. Doesn’t anyone work back and update papers or websites when the big yarns break these days.


Racing is nowhere near as dodgy as real estate

I don’t know what Dan’s article slagging the racing industry was all about, but on this one, he is way off line. Having worked in both the racing and real estate industries, I can say categorically and without fear of contradiction, that racing is much less corrupt than Real Estate. I’m a bit pushed for time but I’ll reveal all soon.

Groveller

Crikey : Tell us more Groveller. Both are pretty dodgy but at least real estate is a necessity. Who needs the racing industry which has legitimised and glorified gambling in Australia, leading to all those poker machines, more crime, more drugs and more suicides. If all of Australia had WA’s pokies ban we’d be a much better place and if Kennett had not given Victorian racing a huge government subsidy, our gambling industries would be less well-funded.


Sign us up for party at Crikey AGM

Dear Crikey

If you are genuine about starting a political party, you should consider having application forms at your second annual AGM, or should I say FAB (FAB -First Annual Booz-up). If you need 500 to start said party, starting early (or at least ASAP) may not prove to be a strategic error.

Cheers, John Keene.

Crikey: Any political party would need to be separate from Crikey which is a commercial undertaking (at least that’s what I try telling the pregnant Mrs Crikey). Besides, we need a name and a separate website to get started but we’ll hopefully by up and running in a couple of months.


Beer battles at Melbourne uni

Dear Stephen,

Firstly, I’m both a subscriber & journalism student so obviously you rock my world.

Having been out of the country for the summer i was suffering severe withdrawals from my number one information source, but a mere 2.5 hours after logging on i feel substantially more complete.

In particular, the additional Lion Nathan/CUB articles were of great interest. Living at one of Melb Uni’s residential campuses meant that 2000 was full of whinging, arguing and protesting against the Lion Nathan takeovers.

As you can imagine, the 12 colleges consume significant quantities of amber fluid on a regular basis, but more importantly (from a marketing perspective) nurture an entrenched culture which stays with these kiddies-discovering-adulthood for life.

The Carlton pubs have always sold CUB, thus the outrage. The inter-college-council lobbied to boycott Lion Nathan pubs, but they (LN) threw so much sponsorship money at us that it became impossible. The management of the Canada Bar/Mooseheads fought valiantly for a long time against the sell-out. There were pro-CUB nights, anti Lion Nathan nights, and general pleas for patrons to write to the hotel asking the owners to resist the offer. This lasted for a good 6 months.

CUB were shitting themselves. All of a sudden they were approaching every student body asking how they could help and offering all sorts of enticing packages. For the student union, the various clubs and the colleges, the situation has actually been a bit of a blessing. Despite GST, our beer is getting cheaper and cheaper!

Interestingly, CUB in close conjunction with Melb Uni Student Union and the Inter College Council are opening up a huge new pub on campus. During the day time it caters for the general students, and at night it will provide for the college students (which brings in way more money). The pub was only given the go-ahead in Oct/Nov, so the workers are doing huge hours to have it done by o’week.

Thirdly, as a former employee at the Match Bar & Bakehouse in Bendigo, i can tell you that what Lion Nathan paid for the package (including Darby O’Gills & Tonic Bar) was ludicrous. The one Bendigo guy had made a success of the three ventures, and when he sold in Dec 1999, was laughing all the way to the bank. I’ve head all sorts of figures ranging from $3-10 mill for them all. Now, however, all three seem to be struggling.

I wrote some features for uni on this topic, and was also bewildered that the mainstream press didn’t pick it up except for some half-arsed Epicure articles. Having spoken to a few of the owners of the remaining Carlton/Brunswick/Fitzroy pubs, one good thing out of all this is that CUB are now looking after the little guys a lot more. Their reps are working with the pubs to promote that they’re stocking CUB, and subsidising deals/sponsorship so that the pubs can play it with the big boys.

Thanks for the knowledge, good work, and good luck for the Quills.

Cheers, Emma

Crikey : Great detail Emma. Keep it coming. It is incredible that the mainstream press have not caught up with this issue. We have beaten up on LN a fair bit but you should remember that CUB are now the biggest pokies pushers in Australia with more than 5000 of the evil devices across Australia in their pubs. At least LN has bought the pubs to push beer, not become an immoral gambling outfit by default.


The West’s web coverage sux

Hi mate,

As a Sandgroper now living overseas I have taken a keen interest in the WA election, so naturally I turn to the website of the local major metropolitan newspaper only to be disappointed.

I can’t believe the West has not updated its website. There is no mention of the election result and it is almost 1pm! Even the Sydney Morning Herald and the Fin Review have the results up.

cheers, MY

Crikey : Couldn’t agree more. Crikey is considering having another crack at their moribund board this year after getting only 20 per cent of the vote last year. They need a web strategy and a couple of directors who know something about media and are less than 60 years old. Steve Harris should be installed as the CEO and maybe The Worst will start to resemble a newspaper.


Get Price off the air

Why 3AW continue to have Half Price on the airwaves is beyond my belief. He has a monotonal delivery that is very uninteresting, makes the adverts he reads himself sound like obituary notices in the CPA journal, is very rude to anyone who has a contrary view, no understanding of anyone less fortunate than himself, refuses to accept any sort of criticism, and has the sense of humour of a tarantula. He is extremely unpopular not just at 3AW, but throughout radio. He has lower ratings than just about anybody else in the 3AW stable, and must cost the station thousands of dollars in lost revenue each week, because he is not even a good broadcaster.

So good luck against this self-opinionated, very little prick, whose ego is in inverse proportion to his ability, and that does not mean he is humble.

Yours in support, John Ryan

Crikey: It’s strange but I’ve been listening to the little fella since he sued us in the Supreme Court and find myself quite enjoying his show and his views. Yes he’s a rude bastard but he is quite entertaining and really beats up on his dickhead listeners. He’s a bit too right wing and his council bashing is probably commercially driven, but he’s not a bad newsman and certainly not dull. Given that we’re both Richmond supporters and media bollockers, it is a bit odd that we’re bollocking each other so much. And by the way, if I say it once, I’ll say it 100 times, Raymond Hoser was wrong to say that Price was found guilty by the ABA. He was cleared. It is true he gets a free Volvo from Bilia Hawthorn which gets plugs and outside broadcasts in as part of their overall sponsorship/advertising relationship with 3AW.


Hillary: Australia’s best commentator

Hi Crikey team,

Personally I don’t care who Hillary is in real life (Media 8 Feb.) He/She (and if it is not a piece of disinformation, a he) is the best political read in many a year. Please continue stirring both major sides of politics during this election year.

Crikey: Couldn’t agree more. I reckon Hillary should win the Quill for columnist of the year at the upcoming Melbourne Press Club awards in March but they may struggle to give it someone who can’t be identified.


Don’t forget Smithy’s Manning Clark fiasco

Allan Kidston

Crikey may like to note that the Wayne Smith (Courier-Mail) who apparently inadvertently misappropriated your thunder on the fly-in Liberal pre-selection voter in the Brisbane seat of Ryan is the very same Wayne Smith who led/continues to lead the charge for the Courier in the Manning Clark fiasco (1996, 1997, 1998, …). His performance in the original “expose” was only to be outdone by his contribution to that august journal’s repetitive and tedious exercise in self-justification at regular intervals ever since.

Regards, Northern Snout

Crikey: I thought it was Courier editor Chris Mitchell who drove the Manning Clark coverage and did himself a fair bit of damage in the process.


Target Mel Ward at Axa

Re Axa: I thought that you might have had a go at Mel Ward for his chairmanship of Brashs which went into liquidation and some unsavoury millions going to one of the perpetrators. I have voted against him and in your favour!

Follow on from Mel Ward and Brashs. He never owns up to that on his CV. I made this known to ASA but they have ignored my advice!

Michael

Crikey: I knew there was something rattling in his closet. Thanks, Michael. Have no fear this will be mentioned at the Axa AGM on Thursday. Mel was also tossed out of Telstra as MD by the Labor government in the early 90s when they opted for Frank Blount.


Dr Wooldridge takes the Marlboro freebies

Someone ask Health Minister and medical doctor Wooldridge why he goes to the Grand Prix as a guest of Phillip Morris and continues to allow that event exemption from the tobacco advertising rules. Why has he never taken action when the lax tobacco rules are breached?

Debbie

Crikey: Touche! I reckon it’s the old Ron Walker influence question. Philip Morris feeds cash to the Libs via Walker and the big redhead protects their cigarette advertising.


Luv ya site, inspite of the retro design

Dear crikey.com,

I love the anarchic spirit of this site, rest assured that I will be subscribing very soon. However, the design is a bit retro (all that red & yellow!!). I hope that you getted cashed up from the attention in the Australian today (where i heard about you) & can pour some money into upgrading the design.

You are, ummm, a very astute observer of human nature and very entrepeneurial. Congratulations.

md.

Crikey : You better get in quick MD as subscriptions go up from $30 to $55 on Feb 15 when our massive archive is up and running. We disagree about the design so get stuffed. Joking.


Boydie for Melbourne City Council

Rumour has it that Brian Boyd, Building Union honcho and boy frined of Cr Daniel, having failed to gain preselection for a state seat is considering running for the City Council. The big question still unresolved is what will the Council look like. The Minister for Local Government who has just held a series of consultation meetings with various community groups in Melbourne is yet to indicate his preferred electoral model. Further he needs to get legislation through the opposition controlled upper house. The State Opposition indicating that they may favour a direct election for Lord Mayor. Meanwhile there is no shortage of would be hopeful candidates lining up for a chance to take on the Council administration in the new revamped City Council.

Anthony

Crikey: A disclosure firstly: Crikey is thinking about having a crack at the MCC in June having lived within the boundaries for 10 years. Boydie does have political aspirations. He practices his media performances with an unusual group of former Kennett staffers on “The Spindoctors” – a show on RRR each Sunday at 1pm. These strange bedfellows include Rebecca Cooper, Scott Hargraves, Jon Richards, Rowan Lee and Serena Williams who is currently Michael Wooldridge’s press sec. A directly elected mayor would certainly be a worthwhile development given the goons that have been thrown up over the years.


Luv that WA poll result

Fantastic… Just what we need… Is there an oversupply of Rednecks in WA or something? And what a ridiculous electoral system…. Hopefully Gallop cleans it up, and if a couple of Liberals have any brain at all they’ll cross the floor in the upper house and screw One Nation who’ll vote against it anyway….

Ah yes, democracy….

Paul Nowland.

Crikey: I reckon the WA election result is terrific too. Court was tired, Gallop looks and sounds terrific, the dodgiest ministers got thrown out and One Nation has given the majors another almighty scare. The only downside is One Nation’s possible balance of power position in the Upper House but it now looks like the Greens could have that on their own.


Price the prat

Just got the latest. What a prat!

Mrs Mayne will have a better idea on this than me, but I don’t think any judge will take a scrap of notice of Price’s lawyer rabbiting on about contempt — we’re not talking about a criminal court jury, we’re talking about defo. And though I’m not up to date with changes (if any) in Victoria, for defamation we’re usually talking about a Judge alone or working with a very-carefully-directed jury of four deciding what words mean.

To your old Uncle Jack, it smells of desperation. Not including Mrs M in what’s about to follow, but what a lot lawyerly bullshit — get proper representation indeed! A pox on their Volvi! Bah!!!

J Ryan

Crikey: The reaction to the contempt threat has been terrific and the consensus is that they would have buckleys given that case is not set down for directions until Friday. One mate who works for a major bank emailed to say if Price succeeds, they’ll be injuncting Crikey so we can never again mention their name on this site. A lot of the material we have published since the original defamation has been intended to mitigate the original damages caused by Hoser’s inaccurate claim that Price suffered adverse findings at the hands of the ABA. This is wrong and we’ve been saying so loudly and widely ever since.


Prick follows Price in the dic

Crikey,

I had reason to use a dictionary earlier today.

You know when you were kid and you’d be using the dictionary and your mind would start to wander. Soon you’d be looking up all the sorts of words that Warnie uses on a regular basis.

Well, I still do that. In fact, I rate dictionaries on the basis of the descriptions that they contain for this type of language.

Anyway, I was thumbing through the “P” section today and I thought you might be interested in the order of the words. The word price is followed by priceless, pricelessly, pricelessness and pricey.

Guess what comes after pricey? Prick!

Even in dictionary there’s a close association between the two. Is it a case of the dictionary imitating life or life imitating the dictionary?

AHL

Crikey : Amusing as always AHL. The strange thing is that Price quite enjoys being regarded as a prick. Given his defo action I couldn’t agree more although he is quite an effective shock jock who is entertaining to listen to and deserves the 350k he takes home a year.


At least Packer donation is transparent

The reshuffle of the Victorian Labor ministry happened in September – prior to the October meeting with packer – also Pratt may have given $450k to the Libs but at least he is identifiable – who the f is Doogary Pty Ltd who according to the AEC website gave $450k to the Vic Nats – makes all Peter Ryan’s pontificating look a bit hollow doesn’t it?

Crikey: Totally agree. All donations should be disclosed and none should be hidden behind nominee companies. But listen you Labor hack, don’t try to use this to justify Packer’s outrageous $100,000 donation to head off the oft-promised Royal Commission.


Joe Hockey is full of crap

Stephen,

Sorry to bombard you this week. But Joe Hockey’s self-serving corporate frogshit was just too much.

This par’s the killer: “Shareholder democracy is an important feature of modern company law however; the function of shareholder democracy is not to impede management’s ability to get on with business.”

Well I’ll be buggered. So that’s what pollies think about voters.

Cheers, jr

Crikey : Joe’s square root rule for the calling of EGMs is pretty reasonable even if the wordy article explaining it was a bit wordy.


Warne swears to gain notoriety

Hi, further to your Warne write-up about his mouthing off the other night, I have to say this outburst could not be interpreted any other way but as another deliberate and blatant attempt to gain further notoriety for himself.

I’m sure we all remember the major effort he and the Channel 9 PR machine went to extricate himself from his “alleged” ‘can’t bowl – can’t throw’ comments, which were “suspected” of being picked up by the stump mike. One would hope that guilty or not this incident would have sent a message to him and others to exercise some verbal discretion around the stump mikes.

Also, as a professional cricketer playing x hundred games in these televised one-day internationals, he would be well aware of how the whole show is run with all its techno innovations. Therefore, it is difficult to fathom how he thinks he could stand at the stumps shooting off expletives and NOT be aware they would be carried live into thousands of living rooms around Oz.

The only rationale I can think of is that he wanted us all to know it wasn’t so much the case of a Zimbabwean batsman using his batting skills to master his inneffective bowling, and treating it with such contempt – but just that this was his way of letting us know that this was nothing more than another rare flukey abberation in his great and illustrious career…just in case we were getting worried.

Anyhow, thanks for letting me get that off my chest…

Flaming Moe.

Crikey: Yep, what an absolute dope for not realising all of that.

Peter Fray

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