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You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get angry and you’ll be amused. Yoursay this week has the usual broad church of perspectives from our growing army of readers and subscribers.

For a home-grown version of the WebTV/MSNBC scam, how about Hotmail and ninemsn?

Ninemsn, regularly lauded as the top Australian website, wouldn’t come within cooee of that title if everyone logging out of Hotmail wasn’t automatically thrown to ninemsn, thereby scoring ninemsn a “unique visit” every time someone in Australia used the world’s most popular e-mail service.

cheers, John Hampshire.

Crikey: Too right. Hotmail is now too big and slow. Dump it. They are not quality page impressions like the 20,000 a week we’re getting on crikey at the moment.


Make ’em pay for the by-elections

By Crikey,

I liked Rog C’s comment “When our shonky pollies such as Hawke, Keating, Fahey, Kennett, Moore, Borbidge and Court cut and run after a loss or demotion we not only get saddled with paying for the by election but have to put aside valuable weekend time to vote for another factional arsewipe.”

Why should the law support wankers who stand for election and then spit the dummy and run for their burrow? Why should such pollies get paid for their attempt to become elected?

Do something to penalise such suckers on the public purse — how much will Borbidge get for his rort-of-the-purse for running in the election? Does he deserve it? Get your local MP to support a Bill to stop this sort of shit!

Regards, Lin

PS Does anyone know when their parliamentary pay finishes if they don’t run compared to when it finishes if they do run?

Crikey: Points well made. Then again you don’t want some time-server bludging on the system and not serving the constituents because they’re hanging on for a better pension. And if you have a system of replacements rather than re-elections (as occurs in the Senate), this denies the Phil Cleary-type independents coming through.


My run in with Steve Price

Years ago, I got the better of Steve on air when he tried to make me appear ridiculous. I left the poor man deeply wounded and even today, he has still nor recovered. Way back during the last federal election campaign, I was the One Nation candidate for Melbourne Ports, a very multicultural and politically correct seat around St Kilda and Elwood, where many of our new elites live.

I never listen to 3AW and knew nothing of Price’s reputation, but it soon became obvious during our live on air interview that he was well briefed with a list of questions to which I was unlikely to know the answers. He put these to me quizmaster style.

I soon realised the intention of Price and his program producer and gave Price some banter back in return, suggesting he take a few deep breaths, and try to think up some sensible questions to ask of me. He seemed lost for words and unable to adapt to his carefully laid plans falling apart, then a bit later, I hung up on him.

I am told by listeners that he briefly lost both the plot and his composure.

Price played a version of our interview for ages afterwards,as a promotion for his show also recalled me everytime he interviewed a One Nation personality.

He calls me the One Nation candidate for melbourne ports who didnt know the unemployment figures, and I am told I got a mention only a few weeks ago. After all this time, I am still on the poor man’s mind, even though I have never spoken to him again, and certainly never would. I must admit that I find all this difficult to understand, given Price’s tough guy image.

It seems to me that tough guys should be able to take it on the chin and not be so obviously traumatised and wounded when defeated on air.

Sincerely, Arthur Hawley

Crikey: We’re putting in a settlement offer this week Arthur, so better not say too much.


Double standards in journo couples

His and hers. It was delightful to catch up with old friends via your his and hers list but found it somewhat thought provoking to discover that relationships that had lasted 10 and 20 years were somehow newsworthy to the youngblood-just-discovered-that-sex-exists types at Crikey. Of course journalists who work together will live and love together, just like anyone else. Your double standards are showing. If the journalistic community is scandalised at the Liberal Party’s intervention in staff romantic liaisons how does your couple register rate a mention? Disclosure: As a journalist I, too, fell in love with and share my life with a journalist. The best ones are irresistible.

anon

Crikey: Not sure that I ever said every couple on the list was “news”. It is a register, just like any other. I dated a range of journalists over the years and agree they can be temporarily irresistible. But some of the liaisons did affect the way I covered stories. For instance, at the height of the battles with Kennett I was seeing Jill Singer, another journalist Kennett hated. Kennett spent an hour one time at lunch with Terry McCrann and Herald Sun editor Peter Blunden imploring them to sack Singer as a columnist because she had corrupted me somehow. It was all bollocks but sometimes relationships in our profession can be a little more relevant to the public debate that a couple of librarians living together.


How do I become an MP

Hi Guys!

First off, thanks for giving a figurehead to the process of change. In many ways your sites, and your public face, are better known than most of our MP’s. And that brings me to my quest(ion) – how does one go about becoming an MP? I understand that as an exclusive club the membership would be quite expensive, but aside from entry fees – what are the steps involved? I realise that everyone involved in ‘crikey’ is very busy, and should you reply with simply a link for me to investigate, that would be most appreciated. Thank you for your time, and for making a difference.

James Mackay

Crikey: If you want to become an MP with the Labor party, join a union or become a teacher or a lefty lawyer. Learn how to branch stack with compliant ethnic minorities and then play grassroots for politics for 10 years shafting and sucking up to people until your lucky day will come when some factional time server will quit a safe seat to retire on a mega taxpayer funded pension. The Liberal Party is much easier to crack although Young Liberals are nowhere near as much fun socially as Labor types. The better option is to pay your deposit and stand as an independent somewhere once you’ve built up a profile. We’ll be standing candidates or backing independents in both the Melbourne City Council and Federal election this year so send in your CV and we’ll give you a look at our draft prospectus for a political party we’ll be launching soon.


One-eyed view of Tory morals

Conservative parties are morally bankrupt.

They only win elections through lies and by appeals to the worst aspects of human behaviour – uncaring greed and hatred born of ignorance.

By their actions, John Howard’s government shows this time and time again. Any political party with John Howard as its leader deserves nothing less than total electoral annihilation.

WA then Qld … next stop Canberra!

Hooray!

Crikey: There’s nothing worse in politics than blind faith. I’ve become a swinging voter because flexibility is vital. All political parties have elements that are morally bankrupt but you’ve got to make judgments on each set of candidates and policies each time. Try opening your other eye some time.


Another Beattie apologist

I don’t know why I let myself be baited, but……

Love Crikey, but you and your correspondents could be more careful to get your facts straight at times.

Kelly W: Beattie is not sitting on the Sheperdson Report. Tom Sheperdson has it. Beattie called for it to be released before the election and was told by the CJC (not unreasonably) that election dates could not effect the Report or its release.

Graham Davis: There is a massive difference between branch stacking (which Beattie and all of Australia have known exists for years) and electoral rorts. The difference is legal (one is, one isn’t), and the difference is in perception (one’s old news, the other is sensational and scandalous). Yet in front of a camera during an election campaign in an interview billed as “an expose”, the distinction can easily be lost. Beattie knew he couldn’t give a lecture on the distinction in those circumstances, and presumably felt unfairly ambushed and got angry. It doesn’t excuse Beattie’s tantrum, but lets not humour Davis’ innocent act. Davis is either ignorant for not knowing the difference, or unethical for knowing and not saying.

The Courier Mail’s failure to publish Davis’ opinions (I assume “Davis’ letter” is the one Crikey published?) may have robbed us all of an open debate about what went on. Crikey and Davis see that (perhaps correctly) as allowing Beattie to get away with his tantrum. But it also allows Davis (and Crikey) to pretend (or perhaps he actually believes) he’s proved Beattie lied.

When the discussion is stifled, its not just politicians that get away with murder.

CFC

Crikey: Graham Davis is certainly one of Australia’s most strident television journalist. We’ve heard Kerry O’Brien is pissed off about his reference to his ego. But we need more Grahams not less. The Courier is far too close to Beattie and he was right to turn the screws on him.


God help us if Labor gets in

Keep serving it up to the overpaid, underworked pollies of all sides so puffed up with their self importance while the average joe is trying to survive. God help us all if Labor gets in – apart from always being fiscally irresponsible, the windbag from the west (great title!) will be soft on drugs, middle eastern “refugees” who ARE jumping the queue no matter what THEY say, and the endless claims from the aborigines. The political correctness of this country is becoming ridiculous.

Pat

Crikey: We’ll probably support Labor at the next election mainly because of the two terms rule. But the challenge will be to lock Labor into a sensible policy platform. The more I hear about Beazley’s past the more I worry. He was the guy who changed the electoral laws back in 1983 allowing multiple ward voting and he was also the guy who butchered the powers of the Australian Broadcasting Authority. Then he gave us the Collins Class subs, a botched telecommunications regulatory environment and an $8 billion black hole. That’s a lot of skeletons.


Crikey’s most prolific critics moans again

Let’s quote some more back at you; “I was once chatting to a black guy in a bar in New York. I asked if he had ever considered going to Australia. He replied “It is too racist down there.” This was before Hanson graced our political scene.”

Racist compared to that paragon of equality, the good ol’ USA?! Mrs Blair represents one of the Aboriginal groups seeking condemnation of Australia overseas. Wonder who ends up paying her nominal fee? A group of New Zealanders want to come over and tell Australia how to work out our racial differences. Don’t they have any such problems in New Zealand any more? Sorry that I haven’t used any nick-names but one of your Hillaires can probably spare a few for you to drop in.

John Williams

Crikey: There’s always a final riposte from Mr Williams. If I say anything, we’ll just get into another rally so I’ll let this one go through to the keeper and just say: “bowled Shaaane”.


Canadian-style GST rollback

Dear Crikey,

The other day my (French Canadian) hairdresser was discussing the GST with his clients – as you do – and he claimed that after the conservative government was reduced to a pitiful rump after bringing in the tax, Canadians have since been asked if they would be prepared to fork out a per-head levy to pay for the costs of converting back to their old system – the resounding answer being yes. This immediately brought to all our minds the Kennett $100 levy on council rates. Interestingly all the clients were unanimous that they would be prepared to cough up $100 per household to rid themselves of the GST, and suddenly saw hope that this would become Labor policy at the next election. While I realise one suburban hairdressing salon is a small sample, do you think there is any chance that Labor’s rollback policy might transform into a wipe out?

Barb Bishop

Crikey: Most modern countries have a GST so can’t imagine the Canadians will be able to unscramble the egg just like Labor won’t do it here. Governments need growth taxes and you can’t keep ignoring the service industries which are now more than half of our economy.


Dodgy grandstands at the Grand Prix

The CFMEU program on 3CR reported that two of the grandstands in the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit are dangerous and that no order to fix them has been made. Remembering that the GP Act of Parliament says that no claims for injury damages can be made against the Grand Prix, anyone who goes to this event does so at his/her own risk and should be very careful!

Debbie

Crikey: If Ron Walker is involved, I’m not surprised they’re dodgy. Given that the Croweaters have given up on Le Mans, isn’t it time we let them have a few years of the GP back. How many years can Ron keep blowing $10m of taxpayers’ money on two hours of entertainment.


Victim of cliched media tag

The complaints from journos about your innovative listing of journalist couples highlights the capacity of Aussie journos to dish out the dirt but not be able to cop it in return. My experience is that journos don’t seem to have any qualms about revealing personal relationships of other individuals in the spotlight – usually in lieu of any hard factual analysis – as the basis of a ‘story’. Over the past 14 years, both the Murdoch and Fairfax press in this town have attached to my name the cliched tag ‘Tom, brother of Bob Hogg, former ALP secretary’ as if that’s all that needs to be hinted at to explain whatever modest successes I may have achieved – without any reference to my own experience and capabilities. It’s refreshing to see people like you and Hillary, who know the press in this country, giving them some heat.

Tom Hogg

Crikey: “Do unto others” is one of our guiding principles Tom and it is surprising how thin-skinned many journos are.


Learning to love Big Brother

My dearest Crikey,

You wrote “If you like democracy you should like politicians and politics.” Why so? I think it was old Winston Churchill who said “Democracy is the worst political system, except for all the others”. Now just because we profess a preference for a democratic process, it shouldn’t blind us to the faults of the system, nor the characteristics of those the political process attracts. Anyone who enjoys telling his fellow man what to do, and bossing him around because of it, is a menace to society, no matter what system he is getting his jollies under. No sir, there is no obligation on us to love politicians.

Robert

Crikey: If we could only attract some ethical and talented people to stand for office, we would go a long way to fulfilling out potential. As long as we demonise all politicians, talented people won’t step forward.


Secret romance of journalists revealed!!!!

Hello Stephen,

I enjoyed reading the media couples list – who would have thought there was so much romance in our industry? But I was crushed that my husband and I didn’t make the cut. We wouldn’t claim to be able to mix it with the many power couples listed, but we’ve put in the time (we’ve been married 18 years and between us have racked up more than 50 years in newspapers). My husband, Alan Hill, is letters editor of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ and I’m editorial training manager for News Ltd in Sydney. Do you think we should hire a publicist?

Sharon Hill

Crikey: Consider it done Sharon. Hundreds of Crikey readers now know all about you. Congrats on your long and happy marriage.


Where to start in shareholder activism?

Mr Mayne,

I think you and Crikey.com.au are just fabulous! I have enjoyed listening to you on the radio for some time. Your shining example has driven me to take more direct action with regard to my own investments. I have been vocal on radio talkback programs about poor corporate governance and I am in the process of organising a shareholder group for staff employed by the company that employs me. I’m not sure exactly where to start, however the people I have mentioned this to have been most supportive. I would welcome any assistance or advice that you might be able to offer. I am on a steep learning curve and starting from scratch.

One of my main interests is share options offered to board members and senior executives. What I do not really understand is what these cost the company. Say a CEO is given say 10,000 options at $4 each. Does that mean the CEO buys them at $4? What is the cost to the company and in turn to shareholders? I am endeavouring to change my plans in order to get to Sydney for your meeting on 1 March. If so I will sign up then. Keep up the good fight!

NB: As a side issue I also happen to hold the same views as you with regard to Price and Co. What a little (censored) he is. Your various reports make fascinating reading and a delightful change to the mainstream media. I will support you anyway I can, so please advise me if ever you need any volunteers either to fight Price or on the shareholder front. I know a lot of other people who feel the same way and I will be forwarding details of Crikey to them.

regards, James H

Crikey: Thanks James. A $4 option gives the holder the right to buy the share at that price at some time in the future. You get all the upside and none of the downside and you don’t put your hand in your pocket until you have a guaranteed profit. Let me know about the activism inside your company and we’ll make sure we attend their AGM with you to keep your board on their toes.


Mating behaviour of the elites

Mr Mayne,

At the risk of sounding like a bore, what you refer to as ‘media incestuousness’ is actually widespread in broad social groupings. Doctors marry doctors, lawyers marry lawyers, etc. People get jobs roughly based on their IQ levels, marry people with similar IQs, and only socialise with people like themselves, and generally sit around agreeing with each other. Consequently, the elites (in the media or elsewhere) have no idea how ordinary people live. And people with average IQs are deprived of the benefits of having smart people living with them in their communities. Welcome to the meritocracy.

Anon

Crikey: Well said. However, the net breaks down a lot of these stratas in society. The equivalent of publishing our journos list would be for doctors to publish what drugs they take. They tell us what drugs to take so what do they take. It’s no different from us saying that journos tell us about everyone else’s lives so why not find out more about the lives of journalists.


National broadcaster or Sydney employer?

Dear Dr Stupid,

Enjoyed your comments re Newspoll on ABC funding and couldn’t agree with you more. Last time I was taking any notice (two years ago) the funding was $500 million. I agree the poll is worthless and would add ‘Friends of the ABC’ as well. They don’t often seem to have a clue or a care how the money is spent or on what content, Australian or otherwise. They just know they support the idea of a national publicly-funded broadcaster (so do I), but are not particularly fussed about the employment opportunities being distributed around the states. Sydney-centric is OK by them, forget aspiring actors, producers, writers, journalists , program presenters, etc. Things improved with the success of programs like ‘SeaChange’, but what happens now? National funding should translate to national economic benefit and employment opportunities.

A real friend of the ABC

Crikey: Put the dollars where the people are I say. The ABC has amazing national coverage in the circumstances. I drove around Australia in 1997 and dropped into ABC offices in Townsville, Cairns, Mt Isa, Kalgoorlie and Karratha. The $700 million a year goes far and wide.


Haul in Hoser to cut Price

Regarding ‘Half Price’, if he’s suing you over a media release put out by Raymond Hoser, and only that, then you’ve got nothing to worry about. Hoser is known for stating the facts as they are. I’ve known him for years and he never gets a thing wrong. Maybe you should take another really good look at the media release that 3AW and you claim is wrong – and look very closely at the wording. Hoser checks everything first, in fact he’s so bloody meticulous that he’s sometimes a pain in the arse, so if and when the big day comes in court (and my guess is that 3AW will grow a brain and settle with you well before then), all you need to do is summons Hoser and his tapes and documents and Price and his QCs will probably go packing.

Neil Davie, Geelong

Crikey: If Raymond is so accurate, why has he received 49 defamation writs over the years. I’ve only had three so far. The material I ran from Raymond was defamatory but it was also read by very few people so the damages should be limited by this and our many totally sincere apologies.


Bilia Hawthorn vehicles appearing everywhere

Stephen,

Please help! I live in a lovely tree-lined street in Surrey Hills in Melbourne. For the past week a large blue van painted ‘Bilia Hawthorn’ with a matching number plate has been parked, in my street, in front of a house sold a couple of months ago at auction (for $660,000-ish). I don’t know who it is. I don’t know what to think of it all.

best regards, Uncomfortable

Crikey: Oh my god, it’s worse than Mad Cow disease. Not a Bilia Hawthorn van. Change suburbs straight away. Whatever happens, don’t allow this incursion to tempt you to buy a Volvo because you would then become a very boring, risk-averse person.


Crikey shouldn’t join perverts and crooks

Why do your readers take their politics so seriously? It is very boring. Most intelligent people shun politics, being more concerned with the salvation of their souls or tending their gardens. Surely it is enough to laugh at these imbeciles, ridicule them and abuse them, but please, don’t take them seriously. In fact Crikey’s idea of becoming a political party is a worry in itself. It is an established fact that politics attracts charlatans, crooks and perverts. Why anyone would want to join the ranks is beyond me. Don’t do it.

PS What a great letter from Murray Nichol. It has always intrigued me how absolute (censored) seemed to be shoehorned up the ladder for promotion in the media. I didn’t realise the awful (censored) Mitchell was vertically challenged as well. What a scream that pair make.

Groveller

Crikey: Can only repeat that if you like democracy you should like the concept of people stepping forward and representing you. Groveller’s formula would see us governed by loathsome dickheads. Agree Murray Nichol’s letter was very insightful. Hope he doesn’t cop a writ too like me and Derryn Hinch.


Who Wants to Question a Millionaire?

Hi Steve,

Watching Eddie’s ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ tonight, one question was ‘What’s the longest river in the British Isles?’ To which the correct answer was the Shannon River, which is in the Irish Republic. Now since when has Ireland become one of the British Isles? Bit odd when a quiz show gets answers to its own questions wrong. Just as well there wasn’t a million dollars riding on the question – could have been some hefty lawsuits flying.

Seamus Maher, Baulkham Hills

Crikey: Slainte, Seamus. Even Gerry Adams can’t disagree that, geographically speaking, the island of Ireland is part of the British Isles, along with Great Britain. Sorry about that.


No need to shoot at sitting ducks

Dr. Stupid is in serious trouble of losing his highly-regarded doctorial status if he continues to cull his material from such easy targets as ‘The Daily Telegraph’. Recognising the inconsistencies in a column by Darrell Giles (who he?) on the Cruise-Kidman split or applying a little first-year Chomsky analysis to an essay by Mike Gibson should at most deserve an elephant stamp in Grade 4. Sadder still is his opening quote “In Friday’s Tele, the gossip pages delivered the stunning …”. Now I’m no media critic, but I reckon any Doctor of Media who feels the need to criticise (let alone dredge for material) the gossip column of a tabloid should get themselves a copy of the finest tabloid in the English-speaking world: the ‘Weekly World News’ (www.weeklyworldnews.com). Many a column could be filled with his perspicacious remarks on the veracity of the fine stories in this news-breaking organ. Nonetheless, keep up the good work

Rob Banks

Crikey: You could be on to something here – perhaps Weekly World News scoops like ‘WWII bomber found on the moon’, and its immortal follow-up ‘WWII bomber disappears from the moon’ inspired the style of the contradictory reports in the Daily Telegraph.


Confusion over Keating’s knifings

Dear Andrew Bolt,

Usually when I read your page I think “he may be a lunatic slightly to the right of Albert Speer, but at least he gets his facts right … it’s just the Der Sturmer spin he puts on it.” But reading about, and I quote “Paul Keating getting a swing back to Labor in 1990” … quelle surprise! Were you thinking perhaps of 1993? Because in 1990, Hawke was still PM. Keating knifed him twice, the first coup failing … remember that? Or were you (getting to know) Lachlan in the dunnies to get ‘ahead’, the traditional News Ltd method? So, do try and get your facts straight Andy, especially about federal political matters of the very recent past.

cheers, Rory “I know my facts, sunshine” Cahill

Andrew Bolt: You are absolutely right and I hate myself for the typo. Thank you.

Peter Fray

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