Holes in the Rafter attack

Dear Crikey,

Briefly, your story on Pat Rafter has a few holes in it. While
acknowledging the tabloid edict to “never let the facts get in the way of a
good story” I feel obliged to point out that:

1. Professional sportsmen in just about every international sport pay tax
on their winnings IN the country that the event was held. This has been a
standard arrangement for 20 plus years that I am aware of. There is no
question about it. Regardless of where Pat Rafter is domiciled, he would
have paid tax on his tournament winnings. It is usually deducted at a flat
rate, around 20%, in the same way that backpackers come out here and can
work for 13 weeks and get taxed at a flat rate. His Bermuda residence may
mean he can dodge tax on his endorsement contracts, but not on tournament

2. This is very similar to a scheme for businessmen who work overseas, or
overseas businessmen who work here. If Australia has a double-taxation
agreement (we do with most western democracies) then the individual can pay
no tax in their country of earnings and declare it (and pay tax) in their
country of residence. Usually they get to choose which way they prefer.

3. While paying tax for Australia is a good thing for us, it doesn’t
matter terribly much if the government is wasting outrageous millions
spending our hard earned on the “Pacific solution” or other inhumane

4. The Fin Review article says that Leytton Hewitt is paying 48.5% tax
because he is resident here. I don’t believe it. The only people who are
paying 48.5% tax are the PAYE mugs, i.e. me (and not you by the way).
Leytton Hewitt would have companies and structures set up and at most would
be paying the top company rate of 30% (afte deductions for tennis coaches,
masages, first class travel and accommodation etc). I can’t believe the
naivety of the columnist who suggested that. Get real!

5. So he hasn’t spent his wealth on fixing up an old tennis court. I
assume that this was just a piss-take on your part and doesn’t require any
refutation. It is a bit on the cheap shot side of things though.

6. I don’t think Pat Rafter nominated himself as Australian of the Year.
If we have picked a few sportsmen as Oz of the year then maybe we do have
strange values, but it could be a lot worse.

Finally, if Pat Rafter is the biggest tax dodger in Australia I’ll bonk
myself. A substantial proportion of our business community and
professional practitioners across the land are large scale tax cheats, not
just tax avoiders.

I think your love of tennis has somehow distorted a small matter into
something much larger than it is. Go chase the bad guys. Pat Rafter is
not one of them.


CRIKEY: Some good points here Andrew. Well done.

Let’s break away from dodgy NSW


I must admit that, of late, I’ve been reading Crikey in a state of profound
befuddlement. 2UE? John Laws? The Parrot????? Whatever ARE these horrid
things? Then I remember – oh, that’s right – I don’t live in NSW! I don’t
live in the world’s most massive expanse of backward, hick suburbia! I don’t
share my streets with the most coke-addled bigotted arseholes in creation! I
don’t live in Australia’s sleaziest, most overrated city!

C’mon Victorians, let’s cut the bastards off! My ten year plan is for a
Greater Republic of Collingwood to be established, with Eddie McGuire as our
Prez. Let’s show Australia that our fair state can breed intolerable media
shitwhores better than anybody — and that we have a better code of footy to

Carn the f’n pies!


CRIKEY: Hmmm, agree Sydney is certainly our sleaziest city but it is a great one too.

Fahey has cost billions and should hand back AC


good to see you finally waking up to the inept Mr Fahey how about
looking at the cost of the IT outsourcing and indeed the underselling
of Telstra. This this guy is one of the biggest and costliest dopes this country has ever produced. Everyone in treasury must be breathing a sigh of releif that he is now just sucking on the superannuation teat and using his gold pass.

He has cost this country billions and the sale of State Bank was one of the greatest disasters we’ve seen.


CRIKEY: Yep, as far as finance ministers go he was not a patch on Peter Walsh and as Premier of NSW he really let the Greiner reforms slide in areas like Workers Comp, CTP, IR and privatisation.

Emailing the 1950s Prime Minister


I’ve just visited Little Johnnie’s website to register my protest at the arrest of ABC radio journalist Natalie Larkins at Woomera and encountered the following welcome

“You can e-mail the Prime Minister by following the steps set out below. After your message is read, an electronic acknowledgment will be sent to you. There will be no
further electronic response from the Prime Minister.

However, once your views and suggestions have been carefully considered, you may receive a further reply via Australia Post.”

Good to see the government making maximum use of modern technology to keep in touch with the punters.

Cheers, Big Mac

CRIKEY: Why doesn’t this come as a surprise. Email was not part of the 1950s.

Bank workers love your banner ads

Dear Stephen,

I am a Bank employee and I just love your current flashing banners on
Westpac, CBA, ANZ and NAB.

My colleagues and I could not agree more with the sentiment expressed
therein – but what about some alternates for St George and Suncorp like

“Dragon it outa ya” for St George and “Beautiful one day, gouging the next” for Suncorp – truer words were
never spoken.

regards, Terry Teller

CRIKEY: Any grapho out there who fancies cutting and pasting the St George and Suncorp logos for Crikey would get a few free subscriptions as payment.

Why ignore the women’s tennis tour


was reading through your report on tennis and noticed how it completely ignored the womens WTA tour. The WTA, the players and their sponsors have done a
much better job marketing womens tennis than the mens ATP organisation (even just go through the mens and womens top 20 lists and you’ll see how many more
women players names you can put a face to, compared to the mens). Also, the WTA has made a smart long-term deal with TV networks to sell coverage of the
(more dodgy) womens tournaments that happen all year round- making sure that players are known to the audience come grand slam time, avoiding the men’s
problem of having so many unknown players

Anyway, just from a female sportsfan’s point of view I think its more than a little bit shitty that the acheivements/stuff-ups/history of the womens tour apparently
didn’t rate a mention. Especially since their story is far more interesting.


CRIKEY: All very fair points indeed. Tennis is the best marketed and most popular women’s sport in the world so any story on the economics of tennis should not ignore it.

At last? Crikey attacked for bagging our Pat

Mr Mayne,

Just in case your poisonous pre-election coverage of
Howard wasn’t enough, that shot you took at Pat Rafter
proves what a pathetic, snot dribbling, limp dick
little whiner you really are.

Slag the guy for not paying taxes! You’ve got it all
arse backwards.

Forget about Rafter’s achievements on the court.
Christ, for protecting himself from the taxman alone
he deserves to be honored! Children should have his
photo stuck to the ceilings over their beds so that
they can fall asleep with a genuine role model to
inspire their little hearts and minds.

Fact is, Australians are taxed way, way to high — and
if we all followed Rafter’s lead and minimised our
extorted contributions to the pot, Canberra wouldn’t
have so much of other people’s money to squander.

Or here’s another way of thinking about it, one that’s
a bit more relevant to your diminished personal

Mr and Mrs Crikey are selling the family home in
East Melbourne to make ends meet. If your taxes were
cut in half, you’d probably be able to continue owning
the roof over your head.

Instead, thanks to the confiscation of hard-won wealth
that you so snidely endorse, you can take satisfaction
in the knowledge that your money will be paying the
salaries of all sorts of “useful” professions sucking
on the government tit for all the rest of us are
worth. Example: The social workers who are helping the
feral youth of Melbourne master the art of chroming in
a caring, concerned, nurturing and nonjudgmental

Crikey’s tragedy is that you probably think chroming
classes represent government money well spent.

A big cheer for Rafter — and a bigger one for low

Mr Anonymous*

*No way I’m putting my name on this so the taxman can
send his Gestapo johnnies over to teach me a lesson. I
can’t afford to move to Bermuda just yet.

CRIKEY: You’re dead right about our high taxes and the connection with the house sale as together (it’s mainly Paula) we owe the tax man about $25,000. Surprised it took this long to get a bile-filled letter supporting our Pat.

Parliamentary departments rule the roost

Your correspondent Sir Humphrey’s observations on the
Parliamentary (not to be confused with Public) Service
are astute.

Governments of all persuasions have, at varying times,
contemplated reform of the Parliamentary Services,
such as rationalising the 5 Departments into 3, or
even less. However, as the Parliamentary Service is
the sole provider of comprehensive research support,
legislative drafting assistance, library facilities,
and significant other resources to Oppositions and
even humble Government backbenchers (who don’t have
access to Departmental resources), the Parliamentary
Services have always been able to rally the support of
the Opposition of the day (whatever their persuasion)
and even amongst Government backbenchers of the day,
to ward off any reform proposals before they even see
the light of day.

Indeed, so entrenched has the Parliamentary Service’s
power become, that not only do Governments no longer
even entertain the notion of reform, astute observers
such as Sir Humphrey would know that when the Public
Service Act was rewritten a couple of years ago, the
Parliamentary Services managed to get their very own
Parliamentary Service Act (which mirrors the Public
Service Act in all respects) to cover this protected
species, just to prove they’re special.

As your correspondent Sir Humphrey said:

“Minister, the traditional allocation of executive
responsibilities has always been so determined as to
liberate the Ministerial incumbent from the
administrative minutiae by devolving the managerial
functions to those whose experience and qualifications
have better formed them for the performance of such
humble offices, thereby releasing their political
overlords for the more onerous duties and profound
deliberations which are the inevitable concomitant of
their exalted position.”

Hacker: “Now, whatever made you think I wouldn’t want
to hear that.”

Sir Humphrey: “Well I though it might upset you.”
Hacker: “How could it, I didn’t understand a single
word. Humphrey for God’s sake, for once in your life
put it into plain English.”

Sir Humphrey: “If you insist. You are not here to run
this Department.”

CRIKEY: Then again, it is important that the Parliament itself remain independent to a degree so the reverse would also be a bit of a worry.

Rafter too self-interested to be Aussie of the year

Dear Crikey,

Perhaps giving an “Aussie of the Year” Gong to someone, who didn’t really do anything for anyone other than himself, (if you discount the charity he runs to assuage the
bad press living in a tax haven might cause) is a barometer for Australian society at this point in time.

It seems to fit in with the current mean spirited, self congratulatory, I’ll look after myself thanks, piss off refugee attitude a lot of our social justice challenged population
currently have.


CRIKEY: The charity work is commendable and at least the lad plays Davis Cup and conducts himself well on the court as well as being a sensational player. But your point remains credible.

Packer’s mob should interview more ideas people

Further to your comments on finding suitable Australians of the Year .
I was a guest at an Australia Day luncheon on Brissie last Friday , which
came complete with roo on the menu and Julie Anthony , bless her , belting
out the National Anthem . I think she is the only person in Australia game
enough to have a crack at the second verse , in public .
In honour of the Year of the Outback the keynote speaker was a woman born
and raised in the bush ,who in turn raised her family on a property out in
the Channel Country .

It was a solid , no nonsense performance by a speaker who happily admitted
…” she’d done a lot miles …and not many of them on bitumen.”

By contrast , the M/C Ben Dark of Nine’s “Getaway” travelogue , who has
built his career on being the “lovable bush larrikin” stumbled and bumbled
his way through the proceedings , and the odd introduction which obviously
had been written for him by someone else.

All of which would have gone down as well as the pav for dessert , if he
hadn’t tried to match wits , with another former Aussie of the Year ( and
Nobel Prize winner ) Professor Peter Doherty , who this year has been
honoured with his own postage stamp as part of the Australia Post Legends
series .

Ben told him he’d never spoken to a “real” professor before , to which
Peter Doherty said quick as a flash …” is that right…. that’s the
trouble with Channel Nine .You ought to be talking to a lot of scientists
and professors and academics and people with ideas.”

Journalist, Brisbane

CRIKEY: Can’t imagine too many professors would appear on Getaway.

Charity work offsets the tax dodging

Go easy on the bloke. Lleyton Hewett is being back slapped because he’s
still living at home and couldn’t be arsed relocating….do you really
think he’s got the Australian community in mind by maintaining residency
here? I don’t. Give him a few years and then you can start putting crap on
him too. Pat doesn’t deserve to be Australian of the year, fair enough, but
does the bad of not paying taxes here, outweigh the good of working to
build a charitable organisation?

CRIKEY: It does offset it but if the guy is really worth $40 million then the tax lost is more than $10 million and the charity work is nothing like that and is probably written off in the PR line item on the annual Rafter Inc accounts.

Laws says this stuff on air

I am somewhat amused at the claim by Crikey.com.au on 2BL this morning and
also in the press that the Laws tape contains “off air” comments by Laws.

The tape is simply a compile of what went to air. Certainly it illustrates
the point that Laws does not respect his listeners, but the supposed “off
air” comments by Laws are nothing more than ‘asides’ by Laws which were
broadcast to his listeners. It is part of the Laws style.

All Laws has done is push the ‘Mute to Caller’ button so that his comments
are heard by the listener, but not the caller.

To say that these are “off air” comments recorded by some diligent UE panel
operator shows a lack of understanding of how talkback radio and radio
mixing consoles work.

Whilst the piece is certainly interesting listening, it is not as you have

I am sure that I am not the only person with a 20 year background in
producing talkback radio who has made this same point to you.


Martin Johnson

CRIKEY: A couple of people have said this now and it could be true but I’d be amazed if some of these comments really went to air.

Arrest the Parrot for foul language

Remember when Lynton Crosby claimed the Tampa Crisis didn’t help the Libs in winning the Federal Election? So how come his colleagues in South Australia are playing the Woomera Race Card in their attempt to hold on to power? Has Lynton been advising them on electoral strategies?

And as for people sewing their lips up, I propose we start doing it to a few of our politicians, starting with Phillip Ruddock.

The Parrot swearing? I can’t believe it. This man is confidant to the PM. What does Johnny think of his favourite Shock Jock using such language?

And isn’t the Parrot a key advisor to the NSW Minister for Police? Isn’t there a law against using unseemly language?

Arrest this man immediately.

Will Michael Costa now withdraw his offer to appoint the Parrot to the board of Police Citizens Boys Club?

We can’t have the youth of NSW exposed to someone that uses such unseemly language.

Finally, where is Johnny, surely he hasn’t gone into semi retirement already?

Love your site, keep putting it up them

Regards, Greg

CRIKEY: Alan Jones should certainly not be allowed near the Police Citizens Boys Club and bad language is only one of my concerns. It is a highly political appointment by Labor to try and buy his support ahead of next year’s NSW state election.

Detention camps must cost a whole lot more

Dear Crikey,

I would suggest that Naomi Edward’s analysis falls well short of the mark. She has focussed on the cost of accommodation alone and has omitted the substantial costs
involved with processing in remote areas.

My understanding is that DIMA does not maintain many permanent staff at detention centre’s; rather, staff are rotated through from major centres on secondment, with
numbers varying according to thoughput. The main requirement is for face-to-face interviews.

These staff are all public servants and of course their travel, accommodation and allowances become an additional cost. The “Pacific Solution” imposes a similar burden.
Accountants in the Bush Capital are reporting that some DIMA employees are enjoying a bonanza.

Regards, Will

CRIKEY: This sounds about right. Suspect the total cost of the whole exercise is now well above $200 million.

Hypocrits and some SA election snippets


Every year it’s the year for this and the year for that… I nominate 2002 as the Year Of The Hypocrite.

Some small examples:

1/ George Walker Bush and his “war on terror”. He winds up killing more innocent Afghan civilians than were lost on September 11 – and then declares the captives not to
be prisoners of war. How convenient! Americans are renowned for not only writing the rules to suit themselves (farm subsidies etc, etc.) but changing the goalposts as
well. I’m no fan of the Taliban or Al Qaeda in the least… but they truly take the cake for high-handed, self-serving arrogance. An international tribunal, please ! (By the way
Dubya, we’re just hanging out to see how the Enron saga goes for you.)

2/ Philip Ruddock on the 7:30 Report, Thursday 24 January. More of the same bureaucratic doublespeak from the Cadaver, while trashing the refos for all his sorry corpse
was worth. And he did it while wearing his Amnesty International lapel pin, a tie with an aboriginal motif, and a straight face !

3/ The Australian of the Year 2002. What a corker ! We give it to a tax exile, resident in Bermuda. I can’t let all that wonderful charity fundraising pass unacknowledged
of course, good thing it’s not his money !

4/ The Governor-General. Billy Deane you spoiled us. The Sky Pilot in charge of the housekeys at Yarralumla now, wouldn’t shout on an issue of public importance if a
shark bit him ! Howard picked his mark brilliantly. Hollingworth has been totally emasculated by the position. Could you imagine his predecessor staying this quiet on
the asylum seekers ?

A couple of other observances from the not-so-great South land.

Some great irony is on show with some of the election campaign posters down here . In the Adelaide metropolitan seat of Enfield, disendorsed Labor man, Ralph Clarke is,
of course, running as an independent. Trouble for him is so is his former paramour, Edith Pringle, with whom he had that nasty domestic violence case some years ago.

Well, talk about hell hath no fury. Drive through Enfield, and for every Ralph Clarke poster, there sits atop one Edith Pringle poster. And her campaign slogan: “You can’t
beat a woman!”

After the New South Wales bushfires, Adelaide journos are shuddering at the prospect of the fire danger season as the weather here warms up. It’s not the prospect of
being caught in a backdraft, but rather the thought of dealing with the Country Fire Service’s new spinner, Adam Thomson.

The former Media Liaison copper-turned-Channel-9-crime-reporter-for-5-minutes, has made a huge impression in the job for all the wrong reasons. Apart from not realising
that news and news services actually do continue after the TV bulletins are over, young Adam has endeared himself to several of the journos by throwing his weight around,
and demanding that everything is vetted by him first.

In one classic stoush, Adam tore into a journo for not seeking his permission first to interview the CFS chief officer at the airport as the firies were going to NSW.
Watching as this was going on, was the CFS chief officer, who was actually being interviewed by said journo at the time, and the Emergency Services Minister’s press

It promises to be a long hot summer !

Regards, Adelaide subscriber

CRIKEY: All good points and totally agree about the hypocrits, especially Cadaver and Rafter.

Immoveable Mandarins

Stephen: Just a few days after the Commonwealth
Departmental Secretaries did their ritual shifting of
chairs, it has come to my attention that some PS
Mandarins are far more equal than others.

Parliament House is home to FIVE government
departments (Depts of Senate, House of Reps, Joint
House, Parliamentary Reporting Staff, and Parlt
Library). The Secretaries of these five departments
are outside the reach of “Max the Axe” and thus
continue to behave in a manner that would have made
Sir Humphrey Appleby (of “Yes, Minister” fame) quite
proud. Indeed, he would have considered them to be
very much “sound chaps”! Most of them have been there
for at least a decade, if not longer.

One of these guys that goes by the name of John
Templeton is not content with being the Secretary of
one of these protected departments, but has also been
the “acting Secretary” of a second one (the Department
of the Parliamentary Library) for over ten years…
and from what my snouts have been saying, he has
failed to provide inspiring leadership in either of
these two appointments.

I wonder what it would take to get the performance of
these guys reviewed?

Sir Humphrey

CRIKEY: Hmmm, interesting point. They sound like the DPP and Auditor General in that executive government can’t give them the heave.

Long live free speech

Hi Steve,

Congratulations on publishing the ‘Alan Jones Tapes’ which are certainly in the public interest.

It seems that those screaming ‘copyright infringement’ are desperately seeking to protect the so-called ‘integrity’ of a self-moralising broadcaster; a person who, off-air,
freely uses words that are not in keeping with his carefully-manicured public moralist persona.

It would be fairly argued that your decision to publish the tapes are an effort to demonstrate (in the public interest) that perhaps any effort to silence (or censor) the tapes
by the broadcaster are complicit in deceiving the public, that the moralist is not what he seems, or not what he or his employer wants the public to perceive.

In business terms, this is a clear breach of the Trade Practices Act (misleading representation).

If Alan Jones is a ‘product’ of the radio station, and therefore the radio station is ‘selling’ advertising based on the moral virtues of the broadcaster, it could be effectively
argued that the radio station is attempting to engage in a breach of the Trade Practices Act.

I believe your right to ‘free speech’ (by exposing the truth in the interest of the general public) should be just as free as the free words that were uttered by the broadcasting

After all, they were HIS words, freely uttered by him, You didn’t attribute words to him that were not uttered by him, of his own free will.

Live on, free speech.

Best regards, Paul

PS – a copy of this has been sent by me to Adrian Anderson

CRIKEY: Yep, we’re certainly not misrepresenting the Parrot, or putting words in his mouth.

Loved the Crikey awards and love these shock jock attacks

i was rather impressed with the awards in melbourne a couple of months back,
however, since this recent flare up with 2UE and the fabulous nature of the
sound bites, i send my upmost respect and congratulations on spreading well
deserved shit over this moron sensationalist hate monger.

cheers, ashley gilbertson.

CRIKEY: Can only say that it is an absolute pleasure.

Dumbest letter of the week

Just read some of your vile leftist anti-Australian shit. Your comments
about Alan Jones are so far off track, and what irks you grubs is that
her informs the populace, your term redneck, seems out of place, I
understand it refers to a certain North American Indian tribe, your
inference is dumb.
All the misinformed garbage on this site is against everything this
country has fought for. I have never been involved in a protest in my
life, never will be, been in a couple of wars though, but little did we
know that our efforts were going to spawn the dregs of human flotsam
from the wombs of woman like you decayed ill disciplined mongrels like
you lot.

Have forwarded some of your slime to (Cul Sonka) Lets see what they
want to do about you traitorous morons.

Barry Gralton

CRIKEY: Great stuff Baz, keep it coming and keep listening to that Parrot.

Laws does abuse his callers


I’ve got a feeling you’re wrong in saying the Laws comments are made
off air – he often secretly (and sotto voce) abuses callers that he takes a
dislike to whilst they speak. I believe I recall the “I want to kill this
woman” bit and his comments were made on air but not to her if you get my
drift. The caller is always totally unaware (they never react) when he does
it so there must be some sneaky method of broadcasting the comments whilst
they get no chance to hear they’re getting the piss taken out of them.
Presumably he has a way of cutting out the feed from his golden microphone
to the phone line whilst keeping it to air. Sneaky and unfair, the act of a
bully and a coward, and a different kettle of fish legally (maybe) than the
Jones stuff as 2UE actually did broadcast it.

Either way it’s a cack to see someone land a punch at last.

Top work, Craig

CRIKEY: There is no way all of the abuse on the 47-minute tape went to air. Believe me.

What about the London toilet block incident?

It is just so-o-o-o depressing that those hypo, hypocritical rednecks, Laws and Jones, continue to be listened to by so many people.

Their lack of honesty, their money-grubbing sleaze, their political agendas, their cult of me me me is so obvious to anyone with applied intelligence that i can only assume their listeners either fall below the plimsoll intelligence line, or must have their radio dial stuck with superglue.

I recall being told by the executive concerned in dealings with Laws many years ago on an insurance claim when he threatened to ‘fix’ the insurer on-air unless a very questionable claim was finalised immediately.

And why oh why isn’t the parrot reminded frequently about his london toilet escapade, particularly when he assumes the moral high ground, as he often does with sickening hypocrisy.

Oh for a bunch of politicians who have the guts to ignore them and their rantings.

2ue non-listener thanks

CRIKEY: Totally agree, these guys are just drunk with their power and politicians with any spine would boycott them.

Financial cost of detention camps needs exposure


Naomi Edwards is to be applauded for drawing attention to the financial
burdens associated with keeping several thousand refugees in detention
centres. Her persuasive analysis compares favourably to the vain posturings
of Australia’s self-appointed arbitors of moral decency. Surely
Friends-Of-The-ABC-Types and other assorted pinkos wouldn’t be dishonest
enough to latch on to her “economic rationalist” approach as a means of
heaping yet more scorn on Howard & Ruddock?

Martin Philip.

CRIKEY: I agree, it is an excellent article on the site that everyone should read.

2UE’s legal thuggery

1. If 2UE is dumb enough to not control raw material of its “talent”, and
lacks controls over its product, and has failed utterly to protect its
supposed copyright material, what right is now being pressed? Puh-leez. The
gang that can’t shoot straight is now suing the gun manufacturer. Reminds me
of Kleenex, Elevator, etc.
2. A larger issue is the complete absence of protected speech, allowing
legal thuggery to shut down any candid comments by anyone about anything in
Godzown. Send the wee lads from Corrs over here to NY for a few weeks. Poor
babies wouldn’t last a week at the Bar here.

At one point Corr & Corr was my family’s Solicitors. Perhaps they still are.
Whatever. Thank God I do not have to live under that regime and constant
threat of professional trouble-makers suing at the drop of a hat.

Geoffrey Batrouney
Executive Vice President
Estee Marketing Group, Inc.
New York

CRIKEY: Well, if you want to stop something embarrassing being distributed you should try all the legal tactics out there, even if some of them are blatantly thin like this copyright issue is.

The Parrot explodes unless he gets what he wants

For several years AJ has been pre-recording “AJ’s comment” for the 9
Today program each morning. This is recorded during the 6.30am 2UE news
and goes to air at about 7.15am on Channel 9. Through my company I had
the contract to provide a TV crew to shoot this segment each morning.
This occurred for more than 3 years till Channel 9 budget cutbacks
changed the arrangement. They now use their own crew to record the segment.

One morning AJ was his usual gruff self. He rushed into studio B at
exactly 6.30am. With the studio doors closing he yelled to his producer
Paul (Christensen?) outside, “Get the Prime Minister on the line I want
to talk to him about the refugee situation”.

The 90 second Today program segment occurred as it usually does, in one
take running 15 seconds overtime.

A few moments later Paul entered the studio and said to AJ “the PM’s
press secretary says he’s not available”, AJ exclaims “what does he mean
– he’s not available. Where is he if he’s in the country he’s available.
Get him to call John Howard at home or wherever he is and tell him it’s
AJ and he wants to speak to him”. So Paul raced off with his new mission.

About a minute later Paul returned with the further news that John
Howard had no comment to make at this time regarding the boat people
incident and he should speak to Phil Ruddock.

AJ exploded stating “Who the hell does he think he is, get Howard back
on the phone now. You tell him that AJ demands he talks to him. If he
doesn’t I will go an air and tell my listeners that the PM is gutless
and is hiding behinds the facts on the refugee crisis”. Paul rushed off
again, while AJ continued ranting to himself while the camera equipment
was being packed up.

A moment later Paul return and happily said “Howard will talk to you. Is
10 to 7 OK”?

At 6.55am AJ and the PM were live on air sounding like the best of friends.

Crisis, what crisis?

CRIKEY: Says it all. The Parrot is said to be a shocker to work for.

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey