Eddie McGuire’s conflict laid bare

Patrick Fitzgerald’s piece also goes to the heart of Eddie McGuire’s conflict. As a
club President he should be outraged at the deal the AFL has done for
broadcasting into Sydney and Brisbane. But what is he going to do about it
given the complaint lies partly with his employee Channel Nine. What is his
stance on this? Does he want a win for the AFL who he should represent via
Collingwood or Channel Nine. What is he saying to Channel Nine management
at the moment, well done boys or for that matter the Collingwood supporters
in Sydney and Brisbane.

Regards, Tim

CRIKEY: Well said Tim. Excellent point.

AFL won’t get $500m next time around

I congratulate you on Patrick Fitzgerald’s AFL piece. Sensational!!! I was discussing this topic with a soon-to-be-former BCG employee only yesterday. This guy was actually on secondment to the AFL for a couple of years. When the AFL rights deal was announced last year, he assured me the issues that are now rearing their ugly heads would never arise. Anyone doubting the AFL over the handling of the rights was dismissed as predictable and perennial ‘AFL-bashers’.

I think he is beginning to see the light!

The only issue you don’t raise is the one I fear most – what happens in five years time when the current agreement is up? Hypothetical: Channel 7 have more than satisfied their shareholders and are now leading the ratings in all states. The AFL opens bidding for the next round of footy rights. Mr Stokes, perusing the stock quotes and recent ratings figures, recalls the shabby way the AFL treated him and his network only five years earlier. He’s not prepared to bid and doesn’t want the AFL at any price.

What will the consortium offer the AFL now? Will it be anywhere near the current $500 million. The AFL and it’s clubs have got used to having this money and expect even more at the next round of negotiating. That’s how it works, right? Maybe not.

How will the AFL and it’s clubs readjust to life on a not so lucrative TV rights contract? Hopefully by then Internet will have superceded TV anyway and Telstra’s current $20 million contribution will look piddling in comparison to what they’re prepared to offer in 2006.
And how will they recoup this money? I think we are getting a glimpse of that with the AFL site now, which is charging users access to radio and video streaming of games.
Needless to say I’m concerned with the way of the future.

Anyway, enough of my rants. Once again, congratulations and keep up the GREAT work.

Michael

CRIKEY: Patrick is uniquely placed to know what is going on given his job in these circles and I agree it was a superb piece.

The Rev is way off the mark

What is the story with Crikey’s “ALP Insider”?

I don’t see what value he brings to subscribers with his mindless right-wing rants of which today’s (“Get back to the bread and milk issues Labor”) is the latest in a tedious series.

If he wants to tell his story about how the Party needs to get back to the 1950s, that’s fine (although I’m not sure that crikey is necessarily the most appropriate forum). However, how about a bit of honesty about where he’s coming from? For an alleged insider he passes on no inside knowledge, preferring to pass off prejudice as insight, setting up straw men to knock down to satisfy his reactionary agenda.

Of course it may be that I’m missing something, and your anonynous correspondent is in fact the font of all political knowledge, blessed with a unique insight into the politics of “normal sorts of blokes”. But I don’t think so.

I won’t even start on the inconsistencies in what passes for an argument in his article.

By the way, Lindsay Tanner doesn’t come from the TWU but was an official of the Clerks Union, now part of the ASU. Thought an insider might have known that…

Regards,
Andrew Giles
ASU Delegate and ALP member

CRIKEY: Have fixed the TWU line and will pass on your thoughts to the Rev.

Smokers should take responsibility for themselves

Sad as I am to see anybody suffer, even if it is the result of their own foolish actions,
and glad as I am to see the purveyors of death called to account in the only language
they understand, a question remains.

The link between smoking and many nasty and ultimately fatal conditions has been
WELL established for nigh on 50 years.

How is it that any body can stand up in a court room in the year 2002 and in effect,
blame somebody else for what they have knowingly done to themselves?

Was this woman held down and smoked blown down her throat for all these years??
Did she really expect the tobacco industry to tell the truth?

If so, she should be treated for chronic naivety..

I realise that, in a nutshell, what has got BAT into trouble is their handling of the
evidence. However, that would never have come to light if the case had never been
launched.

The bottom line is that people have to take responsibility for their own actions.
It is as simple as that. It is a pathetic cop out, encouraged by the legal fraternity
because of their obscene “contingency fee” arrangements, to blame anybody else
but self.

Overhaul/revision of the (natural) laws of personal responsibility are long overdue.

This of course ignores the question of Government responsibility/culpability in the
whole disgraceful affair of allowing big business to continue (slowly) killing their
clients.

sunbeam

CRIKEY: Rolah McCabe is claiming she was induced to smoke as a 12 years old in the 1960s so this does go back a long way. Crikey firmly believes that people are vulnerable and you should limit access to the likes of tobacco, gambling and illicit drugs.

In defence of Ticky Fullerton’s 4 Corners story on the AFL

Dear Neal,

I normally like everything you write, especially on the topic of banks, but
this time I must disagree with your criticism of the Four Corners program on
the AFL.

As a typical, inner-city dwelling, caffelatte-sipping Sydneysider, my
interest in any sport, particularly those involving round leather balls, is
on a par with my interest in sheep.

However, I found the Four Corners program a real eye-opener. I thought the
parallels they drew with the South Sydney issue was good and the way they
presented the central issue as one of finances – rather than the usual
incomprehensible babble about Hawthorn v Essendon etc – compelling.

I realise that for sports fans such as yourself, much of the program wasn’t
new. But for the rest of us, it was extremely enlightening. Plus, it had a
lingering shot of a semi-naked man on a massage table – what more could you
want?

Regards, Margot Saville

PS Personal disclosure. I am a good friend of Ticky Fullerton’s and a former
employee of Four Corners. But this has not influenced my judgement on this
occasion.

CRIKEY: Crikey played golf with a couple of mates today and they tended to agree that the program was good. However, I still think Neal’s critique was excellent. I’m not an avid follower of AFL and therefore found Ticky’s program a really useful backgrounder on all that has happened. It didn’t break much news but for a national program it did quite well in the circumstances. Ticky is no AFL fan but producer Nick Bunworth (sic) was co-opted in a late in the piece and gave it a bit of depth given that he loves and follows the game.

Who gives a stuff about football

First, when has anything, football or other, been “free to air” when we pay for it everytime we buy an advertised product? Except on the Ibisee (that’s how they say it), when we contribute our 11c per day (cheap, I think). That minor gripe aside: is there any hope that whichever station bought the AFL screening rights for Melbourne could be persuaded to delay its broadcasts until the wee hours of the morning? There would be a chance, just a small chance, that the more than 50% of the Melbourne population that would rather trim its toes with hedge clippers than hear another “watercooler discussion” about ex-“King” Wayne and his mates (in whatever sense of the word; at least he has found his Mrs Simpson) would get a little winter relief. Are Britney Spears and ET so much worse than another round of the Hawthorn Bulldogs vs Crunulla Crows, or whatever they are called? Who in their right mind would watch either program anyway?

Ever yours,

Just another footy fan and Melbourne barrister

CRIKEY: Maybe ANZ chief economist Saul Eslake should get into this debate as he argues that our obsession with sport is holding the country back in a big way and Crikey agrees with this. If we tried as hard at business, science and the arts as we do at sport we would not be such an international backwater in these areas.

WA Liberal fraud has interstate form

I note with great interest your story on Ahmad Ali Rida’s activities in the
WA Liberal Party. He appears to be a serial Liberal Party member.

I first met Ahmad when he joined Mosman Young Liberals in Sydney in 1999 (he
was using his real name then). He attended a few meetings and told people
that he was a law student at Macquarie Uni (this later turned out to be
false). There are pictures of him inside a late 1999 edition of Action, the
magazine of the NSW Young Liberals.

Before too long he was asking around for a job and one fellow Young Lib,
Angus Mackellar, obliged by lining him up a job at the small firm he was
with. Somehow, Rida had also conned the NSW Law Society into admitting him
as a solicitor.

Strangely enough, despite no formal legal training, Rida was apparently
quite a capable lawyer and his boss was very impressed. Within a couple of
months however Rida disappeared interstate with thousands of dollars in
trust funds. As we now know, he went on to repeat the trick in Victoria,
Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

As for his escape from Silverwater prison, the story is actually better than
the one you retold. Rida apparently dressed in a prison officer’s uniform to
get past security and then drove a prison car out. Apparently he was picked
up driving across the Nullabor a short time later, but one wonders how an
escapee ended up being released within two years. The story told by the
Daily Telegraph in early 2000 also included a tale that Rida used to access
sensitive military areas by impersonating a naval officer.

And all for what? this master of disguise has, in all this time, only
managed to rort quite a few thousand dollars. why wouldn’t he just use his
significant talents to do an HIH or a One.Tel? he could have taken off with
millions and turned around a few months later and started all over again!

NSW Liberal

CRIKEY: This bloke really is a great story that the mainstream should do over in a big way.

Unfair attack on the Catholic Church

I think the person who blasted the Catholic church in the “yoursay”
column is probably just shit-stirring and has nothing worthwhile to
contribute to the debate.

To impliedly tie together the issue of taxation on religious
organisations and child abuse perpetrated by some members of the church
is equivalent to suggesting that all homosexuals are pedophiles
(remember someone who got into trouble for making these type
of “connections”?)

Unfortunately, in a yoursay column, I can’t do either topic justice,
but I will say that

1. The Church is a huge organisation with a very large number
of “staff”. There will always be a few rotten apples in any
organisation. The church should not be blamed for admitting these
people into it’s fold, but it should be blamed for not getting rid of
them. However, to condemn the whole church because of the inaction of a
few does a great disservice to the hundreds of ordinary priests who
worked tirelessly for their parish and contributed to their local
community.

2. Tax the church? Why is the left-wing of politics so bitter about
this issue? The Church does a lot of charity and voluntary work, and is
a non-profit organisation. I don’t see priests living the high life.
Most live fairly asture lives with only the basic creature comforts.
Or is it the fact that the left thinks that “charity” work should be
carried out by government organisations? Government organisations are
by their nature bureaucratic, inefficient and too constrained by law
and internal policy. At least the Church is better equipped to provide
help at the grass roots level.

My 2 cents.

Joe Seisdedos

CRIKEY: The attack was made by a bid tall bloke from Sydney and did seem a little odd as I’d never heard him express such views before. Thanks for the response and Crikey’s experience of the church is that on the whole it contributes positively to society. Have a look at the jail population and ask yourself how many were regular church goers.

Unfair attacks on Natasha’s mother

Crikey,

I agree with another correspondent that the coverage of Natasha and Ian’s romantic life delves well beyond the reasonable – and I haven’t noticed too many other politicians getting the same treatment re their romances, which kind of stymies the “we cover gossip, its all fair game” angle.

And comment regarding Natasha’s mother goes well beyond the pale. To put the record straight, Shirley thinks that Ian is a great guy (not something that can be said of all Natasha’s past partners) and if she said she had an ear infection which meant she couldn’t fly, I’m sure she had an ear infection. Deaf people do have ears, you know. Also, having seen Natasha’s former bedroom at Shirley’s house, I can categorically state that it is not a “shrine” in any way, shape or form to Natasha. This is an old furphy which has been trotted out in the past and is just being repeated without any independent verification.

Those of us who care the most about Natasha are thrilled with the news and most especially to see her happier than she has been for years. So please, quit with the pointless inuendo.

Melissa McEwen

CRIKEY: Some fair points in this but Natasha’s mother takes a more prominent role in Natasha’s political career than any other political mother I’m aware of. She even rang Crikey once and was mentioned prominently in Natasha’s maiden speech. She’s also a journalist who has twice sued editors of the Adelaide Advertiser so she’s not exactly a shrinking violet and has also travelled at the public’s expense with Natasha on a few occasions. However, I’m not at all surprised that she thinks the world of Smithy as he is a genuinely great catch and incredibly charming so he no doubt turned it on.

The Footy Show an absolute disgrace

“Sandeano” posted this on the BigFooty.com board last Friday:

After 90 mins of plugging Sam’s restaurant I could take no more. Thank God I was at work and being paid a handsome rate to watch TV.

Okay, Newman has an eatery opening. Fair enough, mention where it is and what it is called. Even make a running joke or two over the course of the show. But to have Garry Lyon there doing an Outside broadcast and crossing to him SEVERAL times during the telecast (to give what? Updates?) left me stunned at the audacity. Then Sam is given carte blanche to give a complete rundown on what this travesty of a nosh house (once a public building for families, now an exclusive grub joint) has to offer – to the visuals of prerecorded footage of the dining area, gym, etc.

Oh, but wait, there’s more. Not only do we get this advertorial masquerading as entertainment (Kevin Trudeau would have been proud) we come back from an adbreak to be greeted with pristine shots of the waves lapping at Sammy’s bar n’ grill on a beautiful dawn morning. Eddie must have thought they could get away with it because it showed Mick Conlan and Mike Williamson (now there are some topical Footy luminaries!) working out in the gym. So, with their faces on thrown in, the pretext of “Footy News” was somehow kept?

I was just Gobsmacked at just how blatant these bastards could be?

Hey, they even managed to rope a Channel 7 personality into the gig (Rex) and the innovation of a videoscreen urinal at the restaurant (classssy!) also allowed Sam to have a dig at Talking Footy (cue his inspiration – a clip of him peeing on his TV as Bruce’s voice was heard on the s/track).

Danny Frawley (how could you mate?) was “interviewed” at the bar by Lyon allowing him to mouthe a few cliches and thankfully he looked suitibly embarrassed to be included in this fiasco.

Now we can be grateful that for once Eddie was not plugging one his own concerns (hey, where have the Tipstar tips gone this year) but talk about helping out your mates!

Leigh Matthews milestone as a coach

Kevin Sheedy’s milestone as coach and player

The call for more interchange players

The Rioli issue

All were given short shrift to make room for something that had to relevance to football or entertainment whatsoever. Even Newman himself was visibly cringing at the amount of airtime given to this rubbish.

Last night’s show was a prime example of why ratings for this show have tumbled over the last few years. What began as a fun, irreverent look at Footy and the people involved in the game has denigrated into little more than a networking session for Eddie and his mates.

I was apalled and insulted…yet strangely compelled as I could not believe that Nine could let the show get so far off course. Newman is rich. He is handsomely paid by Nine and sure as hell does not need the publicity. At the start of the year Nine trumpeted that there were axing “infotainment” from their midnight-dawn timeslot. It appears they are moving it into Prime Time. The difference is that Danoz direct PAYS Nine for the exposure – last night Nine PAID Newman to let them advertise his cafe.

All I can say is that if I ever vist the urinals at The Middle Brighton Baths they had better not be playing last night’s Footy Show on the plasma screen.

I wouldn’t even piss on it.

CRIKEY: The problem seems to be that Eddie is such a powerful figure at Nine now that no-one in management ranks has the authority to pull him into line. Afterall, he’s great mates with James Packer and that means he’s untouchable. I’m just staggered at how blatant the plugging was on Thursday night. They have absolutely no shame.

Organised religion is a farce

Dear editor

noting the references to catholics in high office:

When will the church start paying income tax? Answer – 2005?

When will the church start paying land tax and council rates -Answer NOW!

It seems abusing our children has been a sport amongst their ‘teachers’
(would NEVER send my children to a church school as a result)

I think the tax dollars raised could be xclusively used to fund outreach
programs like ‘Youth off the streets’ and other ‘repair the damage’
organisations.

Organised religion is a farce, their ‘membership is down’.

It’s about time these 2000 year old anachronistic institutions were brought
to account like the rest of us are every quarter with the BAS and at the end of each
financial year when we delve deep to pay the income tax.

Anon

CRIKEY: Interesting way to look at it. Anyone else got any thoughts on this?

Carmen Lawrence should just say sorry

Your writer in defence of Carmen Lawrence writes that “a closer look at the events surrounding Penny Easton’s death and the subsequent Royal Commission and the perjury case, will show any literate reader the true picture.”

As someone who has followed that saga with some interest, the writer’s claim is meaningless unless the writer tells us what he or she sees as the “true picture.”

However the writer does highlight what offended so many people in Western Australia. Carmen Lawrence seems incapable of understanding, never mind acknowledging the great grief, anguish and heartbreak she brought to an innocent family. An innocent woman died, a child was left without a mother and a mother, sisters and an extended family’s lives were destroyed because of the actions of Carmen Lawrence and Labor Party.

Fourteen of Lawrence’s colleagues testified under oath of her part in this tragedy. Cannot Lawrence just say sorry. That means accepting some responsibility and she defiantly refuses to do so. Your defence is misplaced and so is your sympathy.

Name withheld

CRIKEY: This bloke hates Carmen but still makes some valid points.

Genghis Zemanek creating new suburbs by the day

New Melbourne suburbs announced by “Genghis Stan” Zemanek in recent days:
Bullen, Pasker Vale, Sigh-denham and VerMONT (emphasis on the second
syllable, not the first).

Zemanek has spent much of today’s program discussing his migraine
(interesting how people suffering a bad headache always describe it as a
migraine, isn’t it?) and his favourite “good bird” Kerry Chikarovski.

About 3.30pm Genghis Stan spent a minute or two building up a “big story
in Sydney” and crossed to a 2UE reporter. It turned out to be a gang-related
assault in Sydney’s south where a 17-year-old youth was stabbed six times
(nasty, but not even fatal).

Any chance someone at Southern Cross is going to tap Stanley on the shoulder and remind him he now longer broadcasts in Syd-er-ney?

I’d be interested to know if Pricey is having the same trouble in Sydney.

Meanwhile, Stanley’s ratings have increased on Price’s last survey. How is
it possible? Is it the rubberneck factor (his shows seem to have all the
organisation of a traffic accident) or are Melbourne people really that
stupid?

Cheers, Jamie

CRIKEY: And even the Fin Review has been speculating that Steve Price will be replaced soon to don’t be surprised if we get the little fella replacing Stan before the year is out.

Knowles is impossible to defend

I am moved to respond to two letters defending Knowles. One by a contributor who worked 20 metres from her office in parliament house and the other by Mr Kingsley Pearce.

In the case of the former, It just shows that you can be close to someone and never really know them.

If your contributor had been a Western Australian Liberal member or one of her constituents, you would know that she is paid $27,000 electorate allowance to look after her electorate and barely leaves Perth. What she does not spend goes into her pocket.

Knowles letter of rage about missing out on a sinecure because she could only get the support of three people out of 26 voting says everything about the judgement of those who do know her and work with her.

Knowles has a well deserved reputation among members of the Liberal Party as by far and away the laziest Senator in this State. It is significant that not one of her colleagues has come to her defence and in respect to this matter, none will.

Mr Kingsley Pearce has defended her and I admire loyalty, however loyalty does not change the facts. Mr Pearce is a long standing personal friend of Senator Knowles and was a member of the Young Liberals at the same time as Knowles.

According to the Channel 9 ACA program Senator Knowles was given every opportunity to present her point of view but she declined. I would have thought that if she had a defence she would have taken every opportunity to present it.

Any member of parliament who states in writing that they have spent $30,000 of tax-payers money to get a colleague elected and then demand it back when the colleague does not pay for the postage with a vote for the member, has a real problem explaining themself.

Chris Campbell

CRIKEY: Quite a persuasive argument I would have thought.

Eddie personifies Collingwood

What Tim Lane did is enter into negotiations with Channel 9 last year and in the course of talks put forward his requirements. Everyone has a wish list at contract time and it is at that stage the other sides says ‘yes’ or ‘no”.

Nine could have rejected Lane’s requirements them then. It would have avoided publicity and the public probably would not have known that Lane had been approached.

They didn’t knock him back and when theyreneged on the deal Lane resigned. The debate after lane found Nine was not honoring its deal seems to overlook this.

But as a Sydneysider who hasn’t fallen under the spell of Magic Eddie, I have to ask, what is the big deal? He is an ordinary caller. Bring back Bruce I say.

And Stephen I agree the free plugs for Collingwood are outrageous but really what do expect from a club like that? Eddie is only the personification of the membership and they deserve each other It’s a pity they don’t conduct their grubby club activities in private.

Big Al

CRIKEY: Eddie’s calling is okay but not of the Bruce standard.

Natasha is fair game

Come on Lindy, Crikey has given political leaders of all political
persuasions and genders a good serve now and then, and deservedly so.

Politicians who aspire to public office must be accountable, both for
their decisions in public life, and to a lesser extent, for their
private actions. Natasha actively promotes herself as young, female,
and (impliedly) as the “attractive” face of the Democrats. If that’s
the image she puts forward, then it is natural that she will attract
tabloid style inquiries into her personal life.

Perhaps if she spent more time developing policy, building her party,
and paying more attention to the business of politics, the public may
take her more seriously.

So far she is the Kylie Minogue of politics. All froth, bubble and
image building, but no substance.

Anon

CRIKEY: We have been a little tough on Natasha even given the points you make which are all valid.

Great article on Maralinga clean up

Dear Crikey,

Thanks for publishing Alan Parkinson’s critique of the Maralinga scandals. I
expect the chief Canberra bureaucrats responsible for the mess – Jeff Harris
(who doesn’t know acids from bases) and Caroline Perkins (who doesn’t know
alpha from gamma radiation) – will have kittens over this exposé.
Incidentally, the Maralinga Tjarutja asked for Harris to be removed from the
‘consultative’ committee which did lots of PR and hardly any ‘consultation’.

Among other things Parkinson attacks the role of the ‘independent’ regulator
ARPANSA in his piece, and in particular its affable CEO John Loy. The head
of the Lucas Heights nuclear agency (ANSTO), Helen Garnett, sat on the panel
which interviewed applicants for the position Loy now holds, and six
ex-ANSTO staff members now work for ARPANSA.

In other words, the regulator is not in the least bit independent. Loy
dodges this topic by saying it’s not for him to comment on the selection
process. A couple of years ago in a public meeting I asked ANSTO’s #1 spin
doctor, John Mulcair, how ANSTO justified its role in selecting its own
regulator. Mulcair was lost for spin, and he agreed that it was
unjustifiable. He said that ANSTO chief Helen Garnett justified her role by
saying she was ‘just one’ of the three-member panel which interviewed
applicants for the regulator’s position.

As I write ARPANSA is within hours of announcing its approval for
construction of a new reactor at Lucas Heights, and it’s worth quoting
Parkinson on this. In his submission to the Senate Committee Inquiry into
Lucas Heights Reactor (September 2000), Parkinson noted that “The newly
formed Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)
also has not performed particularly well in its first major assignment – the
Maralinga project. Unless their performance as regulators improves, then the
new reactor project will be a trail of compromises as is the case on the
Maralinga project.”

Already their is a trail of compromises, such as ARPANSA’s John Loy
back-tracking from previous ‘commitments’ about ANSTO needing to put into
place waste management plans before approving a new reactor. The federal
government has given up on its earlier plan to store the high-level waste
(including spent fuel wastes) in South Australia and has gone back to the
drawing board on that issue. And plans to dump low-level waste in South
Australia also face fierce opposition – from the incoming state government
and 86-93% of the population – and are far from resolved.

A final thought … the announcement that the (non-)independent regulator
has approved construction of a new reactor will be accompanied by the usual
lies about ‘life-saving’ medical isotopes. Fact is that most, perhaps all,
nuclear medicine physicians, including the President of the Association of
Physicians in Nuclear Medicine, simply didn’t notice that the existing
reactor was closed for 3 months from Feb-May 2000. Isotope supply to
hospitals was interrupted very little, if at all – a fact confirmed by ANSTO
scientists in a letter to the Sutherland Shire Council.

Jim Green

CRIKEY: Haven’t had any feedback from any of the key players mentioned yet Jim but they are more than welcome to put their views on the record.

Feds to blame for the Melbourne-Sydney goat track

Dear Stephen

You can’t blame the NSW Treasury for that goat track (and
national disgrace) called the Hume Highway (I drove it, too, at Easter).

It is a federally-funded National Highway. It is entirely Howard’s (and
Anderson’s) fault.

If you drive to the north of Byron Bay (ie in Larry Anthony’s Richmond
electorate), you will see where the really big National Highway $$ are
going. Also, Gold Coast to Brisbane — though this did not save
Borbridge.

The failure to connect the Hume Freeway from Craigieburn to the
Melbourne Ring Road, and the failure similarly to connect the (national)
Western Freeway to the Ring Road (bypassing Deer Park) also belongs with
Howard & Co.

Notice that the State-funded Calder Highway connects; as does the
State-funded Princes Highway (West).

The are ‘8 million stories’ in the determination and allocation of
federal road funding. Still a classic Country Party rort. Totally
unrelated to the nation’s logistics requirements.

Bill

CRIKEY: This is true Bill but if the NSW finances were run more responsibly there would be more cash available for infrastructure generally and they could get the political debate going by offering to contribute something to the big road projects as it occuring with the Scoresby by-pass.

Matt Price defends his Eddie McGuire column

Hi Stephen,

I’m flattered to have been described as “well regarded”. Thousands would
disagree.

I’ll “proudly” stand by my column which, despite the page one blurb, didn’t
so much defend Eddie McGuire as point to the innumerable conflicts of
interests in any AFL press or commentary box.

Remember, Tim Lane’s only publicised problem with Eddie was his calling of
Collingwood games. Yet Lane is happy to call with Brendon Gale, the head of
the players’ union and the Richmond ruck coach. And with Dwayne Russell who,
with one foot in the Channel Nine team, must surely be compromised when the
ABC sports panel discusses the TV coverage of games.

There’s no question Eddie has extraordinary power as the finest plugger in
the AFL, Lockett included, but that’s a different – though not unimportant –
argument. And one I didn’t hear Tim making, either when he signed on or
quit.

I’m thoroughly looking forward to Crikey’s promised expose of sporting
conflict of interests. It will keep you busy for a long, long time.
(Fortunately I refused an offer from the Dockers a few years back to host
their sponsors’ lunch, although I would list that under charity work.)

Cheers,

Matt Price
The Australian

CRIKEY: Matt is right about Tim Lane. The fact that the calling conflict is the one that really gets everyone excited shows how blinked the sports pundits are. Calling Collingwood games is probably Eddie’s 5th most important conflict.

The realities of credit card schemes

If your 2 correspondents on the credit card industry are right they are missing a great commercial opportunity.

Establish say a Crikey brand card scheme, offer low rates, no rewards, eliminate interest free periods, but have very low interchange and get retailers to offer a big discount (since there is no longer interchange). Allow small financial institutions as issuers, etc.

The reality is that there is plenty of competition in the card market over time, closed schemes have higher interchange and market process will attract entrants if returns are as abnormal as your correspondent’s (and the RBA’s flawed analysis suggests). No-one has established a Crikey card because they doubt that customers would buy it!

Price controls and external regulation have a very poor track record, massively distort investment, discourage new entry and limit integration with international markets. The RBA proposals are ill conceived and will likely reduce competition and freeze the existing market structure, but at a lower level of returns.

If the credit card fades or changes it will be because entrepreneurs invent a better solution for customers, not because a regulator designs a different industry structure.

Regards, Bill

CRIKEY: These are all good points but you also can’t escape the fact that banks around the world are gouging customers and making returns of equity in excess of 20 per cent. Credit card schemes are arguably the most commoditised product in the world after water so the regulators do need to keep an eye on it because no new entrants are going to emerge.

Stan is simply a great entertainer

Crikey

My position: I love your site. I love scandal and intrigue. I reside in Sydney and listened to Stan Zemanek on the 2UE seven to midnight shift for years. I think he is an excellent entertainer, he is not an intellectual and doesn’t claim to be, but the facts are undisputed. He won his time slot consistently on 2UE because he entertained the listeners. I don’t beleive that all Crikey subscribers and correspondents hail from the ranks of the ‘thought police’ (A term I blatantly borrow from the Daily Telegraph letters page), but to assert that Stan is a racist, a sexist and a pig is a little excessive. Your correspondents may not agree with Stan’s oppinions or his comments, but does that make them any less valid or of any less entertainment value to the listeners? Surely, the single most important measure of talk-back radio presenters is their ability to gain/hold as large an audience as possible – hence driving value for advertising space up? The individual objections raised regarding the broadcaster on your “Sydney shock jock destined to fail in Melbourne” page are tending to be a little sad and pathetic, for instance, to go to the trouble of highlighting Stan’s inability to pronounce particular place names in the Melbourne (Eg. Bulleen). Also, highlighting slips of the toungue, such as Stan’s accidental reciting of the 2GB talkback telephone number devalue the potential this page may have. Stan is a great entertainer, but I disagree with most of his opinions – yet I listened for years, does this trouble and upset people? It’s simple, I’m a consumer, I listen to talk-back radio and primarily I like to be entertained. I think I’ve finished my rant, but I’d just like to pose the obvious question of: “If he upsets you so much, why do you listen?” – I await the flood of “I only listened once just to get the feel of the show”…

Yours in quality shit stirring

Chris Woods
Turramurra, NSW

CRIKEY: I’m not sure that calling Indians curry-munchers is really entertaining but I’ll tune in occasionally to see how he’s going.

In defence of Eoin Cameron

I was amazed to read your ludicrous and disgraceful attack on Eoin
Cameron. It was interesting that absolutely none of the smears could be
backed up. The best you could manage was the mighty testimony of Don
Randall. Please!

Then there was the warrant that had so much substance to it, that not
even charges were laid. But according to a ex-Fed Pol it was sickening.
What was sickening? That they had been drawn into to a cheap political
exercise that was not able to be substantiated?

Also some factual points. In 1993, a ‘winning’ Labor election, Mr
Cameron won the seat off a popular Labor MP. It was a Labor seat which
he made into a Liberal one for two terms. In the election where the
Liberal vote increased, the margin increased, when the swing went
heavily against WA Libs his margin went down. Is this rocket science to
crikey? As for improved demographics this obviously explains the Labor
victory in Stirling in 2001, another ‘winning’ Liberal election.

So as for losing the seat in a “winning election” perhaps crikey needs
to be reminded that a few other Coalition MP in marginal seats lost as
well. More astute political analysts might put Mr Cameron’s loss down to
do with being targeted by One Nation (and their fellow travellers) and
the GST. It seems crikey is more intent spewing out the words of fools
and knaves on this issue and wants become a the new cheer squad for the
scaliest creatures in West Australian politics.

Other issues – Andrew Gaspar was not Eoin Cameron’s son in law when
started work there. So what are you suggesting staff cannot date the
bosses children? What a mighty contribution to political analysis that
is. Warren Gillespie had worked with Eoin Cameron for many years before
he won the seat. I fail to see how this is inappropriate that he was
hired on this basis of having a long-standing professional association
with Mr Cameron.

Then there is the horror of his wife legitimately accompanying him to
Parliament. What is crikey’s case, that these entitlements should not
exist? Then make the case that politicians, particularly those
travelling long distances from the West, who are forced to spend very
large amounts of time away from their families, should not have this
hardship ameliorated.

As for the overtime, that office worked continuously and never forgot
they were in a marginal seat. The allegation that Mr Cameron did work
hard in seat it is just too ridiculous to require a response. That whole
office worked as hard as anyone’s in the period leading up to 1998
election.

In conclusion, when you look at the talent dearth in WA that began in
the 1980s, perhaps you could ask the question of whether this have
anything to with NCB’s absolute domination of the division over this
period? NCB infested the party organization with nasty, extreme,
right-wing dodos. Mr Cameron was one of the few people who tried to stop
this trend. For this he was targeted by the extremists who went against
their own party to seek revenge on behalf of their master.

Perhaps it would best if crikey did not seek to defend the indefensible.
So next time you put a piece together, do it with a little more
intelligence and a lot more integrity. You should avoid being a cheap
mouthpiece for the worst elements in West Australian politics. Otherwise
the stink of your scaly new friends might stick.

Name Withheld

CRIKEY: Well, that’s a great spray. There certainly seems to be an awful lot of bad blood flying around the WA Libs and given that we publish attacks we must also publish the responses. It was a
fairly heavy attack on Eoin and this deals with some of the issues raised.

Peter Fray

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