Did the Teachers’ Union fund D’Arcy?

Crikey,

good coverage on that louse Bill D’Arcy and his concessional $20 ALP membership renewal. I think we should ask whether he even paid the $20 himself. Remember, the Queensland Teachers Union gave him $10,000 of teachers money so he could try to get off the child rape charges. Are they still supporting him now?

Regards, Stoney

CRIKEY: Fair point that but I doubt it very much. Surely they wouldn’t be so stupid. Although we hear that he’s still a member of Bill Ludthug’s AWU.

Open up the detention centres

Hillary Bray complains about Media Watch’s comparison of Immigration Dept
restrictions on reporting at Woomera with North Korean regulations.

She says, “If they were working journos, the Media Watch team would know
that virtually every body, public or private, would put similar stipulations
on journalists on their property.”

But this dictum would cover any public property whatsoever, including
presumably Parliament House – effectively a carte blanche for censorship.

The point is that the detention centres are government facilities carrying
out government policy, yet the Australian media can’t report on them and
can’t even interview detainees who petition for the right to tell their side
of the story.

Anon

CRIKEY: Indeed, I reckon Media Watch had a point.

Watch those dodgy business types

C’mon Crikey, what’s the point of HB’s column today (9/07/02) about Gareth-Gareth? It’s been, it’s gone; no-one knew about it then, and no-one knows about it now. More to the point, no-one cares. I hesitate to say this, given how every occurrence worth barely a mention is given prominence these days, but “get on with it”.

Mr Dick Warburton, on the other hand – and all those who support him – is important. That he and the other members of his privileged and well-connected coterie haved “called for” (a term popular among time-poor journos who have to meet deadlines before they can seek some version of the truth, while no doubt constructing their story in a way that does not attract the insinuation of bias) an overhaul of the ACCC is the clearest indication that Professor Fels and his mob are the only regulatory authority that is actually doing its job.

Fer god’s sake, the number of insider trading incidents I (and anyone remotely involved with financial markets) know of that are not picked up by ASIC; the huge breaches of prudential regulations that have been missed by APRA; the unbelievable conflict of interest that exists where a publicly listed ASX is responsible for monitoring other publicly listed companies that are its primary source of income; the ignorance (compliance) of supposed auditing firms…..
If I knew more I’d go on, but out of courtesy to readers, I accept the limits of my knowledge and deign to shut up now.

Hugh

CRIKEY: I agree that insider trading is rife but it is just so hard to get a conviction. And don’t start us on the ASX – it is just an unbelievable and intolerable conflict.

Stealing Parliamentary emails

Crieky wrote: “Meanwhile, the big question in Canberra is who leaked the email exchange.
Some people are pointing at “Rebecca”, the lady who was a researcher for
Laurie and then joined Cheryl’s staff. However, it clearly needs to be
someone with access to Cheryl’s email inbox at the end of 1999. Please send
in your list of possibles”

I figured that it had been taken by some “hacker” (someone who had
eavesdropped on the e-mail transmissions). It would be sensible for the
Sphere to attribute it to someone inside the Labor Party, as hacking is not
well liked amongst his audience. It may have even been a “hacker” from
inside the office (its even easier that way).

Is it really that easy to steal e-mail? Yes and no. If the e-mail was not
encrypted than it would be a very simple task. If the e-mail was properly
encrypted, then it would be impossible without someone inside the office.

Does anyone know if Parliamentary e-mails are encrypted?

Cheers, Matt

CRIKEY: This is the biggest question of all and something that we’d love to know but the Sphere will almost certainly keep secret.

Kevin Rugg writes to Crikey

Dear Madam/Sir,

I see Labor’s spin doctors trundled out old feminist warhorse, Carmen Lawrence, to make an ex cathedra pronouncement that the Kernot affair is o-v-e-r: over.

It won’t work. The Kernotian feminists say it’s unfair to attribute Kernot’s political unusualness to an amorous affair, even with Gareth. Well, maybe. But Kernot herself played the sexual card for political advantage when she made a public utterance about the alleged coupling of Janet Powell (not Janine Haines as silly Kev first wrote – apologies Janine) and Syd Spindler (hubba! hubba!) .

God, am I dreaming or did all this really happen? Maybe Barry Humphries is right about Australian culture after all.

Yours sincerely
Kevin Rugg
Beaumaris, Vic.

CRIKEY: When prolific Age letter writer Kevin Rugg sends one in, you know Crikey has really made it.

Bruce Ruxton is a great man

I take exception to the portrayal of Bruce Ruxton in Fridays email.

Mr Ruxton is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. He has however made an enormous contribution to Australia’s veteran community and has been a voice for a large portion of the population.

Indeed he was sued by Doctor Theophanous for defamation in 1992. So in this at least, he was way ahead of the pack.

Have you considered the possibility that the farewell dinners and write ups reflect the regard in which he is held by a significant section of the community?

What justification for the use of the word racist in relation to Mr Ruxton do you have ?

Far too many people use the word racist when in fact they mean bigot. He may or may not be bigoted. However to use the word racist betrays the writers lack of education and or an attempt to gain the moral high ground. In either case the sight is not attractive.

His 23 years of unpaid service to the Victorian branch of the RSL in the role of President deserve far better than the paragraph you gave him.

Paul Cox

CRIKEY: Whilst many would argue that Ruxton has good grounds to hate the Japanese, Crikey believes that his attitude and comments about them does constitute racism. His continuous farewell laps of honour after not doing anything special for the past few years is just starting to nauseate. He should exit stage left quietly and let a more moderate leader take over.

The Dems are better than the DLP ever were

To Dave and all the Dems doomsayers,

Before suggesting that the Dems are on the way out by comparing them
with the DLP, it might be worth remembering that the DLP only ever held
5 senate seats. The Democrats have held 9 and currently hold 8. I can
only assume that people have so many strong opinions about the party
because it is actually relevant.

And in case you can be bothered finding out what the Democrats
*actually* stand for rather than what you *think* they stand for, there
are 23 principles listed on the website:
here

Most party members I know cite these principles as the reason they
joined the party.

And I am very much looking forward to seeing Bob Brown actually having
to work with another Green (delivered via One Nation preferences) in the
senate again. It’s easy to come on strong when you only have to consult
yourself!

Robyn, Dems member

CRIKEY: A tower of strength and unity, clearly.

No-name Senators bowing out on fat pensions

Good grief! what gnashing of teeth! Such wailing in the house last night. who cares!? Of the 8 senators departing, I’ve only ever heard of 2 of them, and cannot name 1 single thing of significance that either of them have achieved in the past 5 years. (And I am reasonably informed about politics – god knows what the average punter in the outer ‘burbs would think about all this crap). I’m sure the departing senators’ grief will be somewhat assuaged by their nice pension-secured futures. The only cushier job would surely be a State MLC – at least they get to stay home.

SV

CRIKEY: Barney Cooney will be missed but it is hard to get too excited about everyone else.

Lock Lewindowski up

My name is Jack Flanigan. I am a legal practitioner in W.A.. I know
Lewindowski and have cross examined him on two occasions; on each
occasion my clients alleged threatening behaviour and assault. Apart
from that I have represented a number of defendants who entered pleas of
guilty to charges and I have been instructed that Lewindowski had
threatened and assaulted them. Lewindowski has threatened me personally
when he was drunk and on duty. I witnessed him threatening the publican
of the Newmarket hotel, effectively asking for protection money or
benefits. he was accompanied by other detectives from Fremantle.
Anecdotal evidence is, and there is a lot, that he was corrupt, a coward
and a bully who did not respect the rules.

I believe that he did what he said he did in the affidavit, and more.
The problem is that I believe he has done a deal for indemnity, again
the biggest crims get away with it. There should be no indemnity for
Lewindowski. He is a crim of the lowest order and he should face the
full force of the law.

If the police department is to have any credibility then this man should
be locked away as an example to other police officers.

Jack Flanigan

CRIKEY: Whilst he is to be commended for finally coming clean, there is some power to your argument Jack.

Repelling Democrat takeovers

So the list of worthy people burned off by the party continues to grow.

In 1994, there was a bid for the takeover of the WA branch of the Democrats.
With no help fothcoming from the Nat Exec, the local office-bearers banded
together to resist the bid and oust the bidders, attracting some
embarrassing media attention in the process.

Nat Exec eventually decided to solve the issue in an ‘even-handed way’ by
expelling 13 people, including 11 stalwarts (one of whom was former Senator
Jean Jenkins) and 2 upstarts. Nat Treasurer (then as now) Helen Hodgson and
myself narrowly escaped expulsion with the rest. Former Senator Jack Evans
was brought in as interim administrator of the branch and he and Helen have
remained main players ever since.

Sincerely, Peter Nettleton
Former President WA Branch
Australian Democrats

CRIKEY: Nothing surprises with the Dems.

Get your stuff legalled first

Crikey mate,

With great sympathy for your battles v Bolkus, Price and others with sense of humour failure, do you ever get your text vetted beforehand by a defo lawyer?

I know they don’t come cheap, but surely you could negotiate some sort of retainer arrangement with someone?

You can’t afford to keep selling your family home and/or making public appeals every time an oversensitive prick who has pursued public profile and fame all their lives decides they need a new boat.

Bob the Builder.

CRIKEY: We’d never publish anything if we had it vetted by lawyers. That is one of the joys of being your own web publisher. You just have to go with your nose and three writs in 28 months ain’t too bad considering we’ve published about 4 million words.

What drug is Delia on?

“…known associate of conservative catholics,” “…known to have once worked for the SDA,” “…known to be aligned to SDA conservative catholic elements.”

Sounds a lot like, “Are you now, or have you ever been (a member of a religious organistaion)?” Talk about J. Edgar Hoover in Stalinist tights.

It’s wankers like Delia who are more than happy to air the party’s dirty laundry in public, and then whinge that people complain about the view. Absolutely every political party has its looney relatives, like the ones that the family used to keep locked in the attic. But some idiot decided to give this looney Delia the key to let her run naked through the village square screaming obscenities at passers-by while rubbing faeces on her body. Sane people keep their distance and wait for the ashamed family to come and pick her up.

It is the bullshit pedalled by people like Delia that causes splits in the Labor party – whether true or not – they have lost sight that the main opposition of the Labor party and its worker constituents are the conservative forces of the Liberal-National Coalition. The very fact that Delia is being ‘mentioned’ in parliament by that fucking Cheshire cat Costello is testimony to the fact that she doesn’t give a stuff about the party and is more interested in her own interests, and her ‘Stasi’ mates network.

Open your eyes Delia, and save the factional bullshit for the caucus room and state and federal conferences. And, No… I am not now, or have ever been, a member of the ‘conservative catholics’.

Name Withheld

CRIKEY: That’s a good spray. Labor people just have a much better way with words than their Liberal counterparts.

It call comes back to Craig Johnston

I would be grateful if Delia Delegate or Betty Branchstacker could explain to the voyeurs enthralled by this Labor Party brawl why the deal between Greg Sword and the Socialist Left has a shelf life of more than a couple of years at the outside.

It appears that the only reason this deal was possible was that Craig Johnston, the Victorian Manufacturing Workers Union secretary, made it possible for Doug Cameron, his federal secretary and arch-enemy, to nominate the union’s 33 delegates to the ALP state conference.
While the Sydney-appointed AMWU delegates supported Sword, it is hard to see why Johnston-appointed delegates would support him, especially as Sword is saying that AWU secretary Bill Shorten’s relationship with Johnston is a major reason for his walking away from Labor Unity and striking this deal with the Socialist Left.

It is obvious that the Electrical Trades Union stuck with Shorten and the Martin Ferguson forces have never deviated from supporting Shorten. Consequently if the AMWU votes were to move back to Shorten, the Socialist Left/Sword majority would disappear.

Ferguson’s people appear to support to removing the state secretary David Feeney but that is as far it goes. They do not seem to be impressed by the Socialist Left than they have been since they split with them. Consequently you could not assume they would be won over to the new alliance.

Since Johnston presumably will appoint the AMWU delegate’s to the next state conference, I cannot understand why there is any guarantee that the deal will hold together either beyond that date or beyond the date when members of the Administrative Committee face re-election.

Perhaps the answer is that if Johnston is convicted of the criminal offences with which he is charged and therefore unable to retain his position as state secretary his influence might diminish and the influence of Sydney increase. However, presumably Johnston and his supporters are making contingency plans for various possibilities, including Johnston’s going to jail.

Then again if the object of the exercise is to lop off a few state and federal politicians and some cabinet ministers and reward some aspiring politicians and cabinet ministers, a couple of years may be enough.

However, you hardly call that modernisation or a long term relationship.

Sylvester

CRIKEY: Can’t argue with any of that.

Delia loses the plot

That’s it!

It was very entertaining at first. As someone with experience in a political youth movement (the less it matters, the more vicious it is), Delia was bringing back lots of memories. That was the tone of many responses in Yoursay as well it appeared.

Now, by completely abandoning any semblance of impartiality and simply grinding out this relentless propaganda, he/she/it’s lost me. I’m almost certain that others would have switched off due to statements like “The general view of the Modernisation Alliance of Victorian Premier Steve Bracks is that it requires and insists that he shut his mouth if he wants to keep his head”. First para. There’s no attempt at attribution to an anonymous third person, nothing.

Then we readers are expected to swallow statements like “Delia [is] an independent observer making completely unauthorized statements about the Victorian ALP.”. The reality is that this dispute is about old grievances, power and ideology. How can ANYONE with such a detailed knowledge of the machinations be independent? Needless to say I’m looking forward to all the upcoming spin-doctor anonymous “exclusives” regarding the benefits of strip-mining, child labour and so forth on Crickey.

IMHO Crikey should stick to it’s knitting and carry on bashing those hapless Democrats, as it has done so brilliantly this week.

Regards, Juanito

CRIKEY: She is certainly a controversial lass and I’m not sure anyone would call her impartial.

Why is Delia so anti-Catholic?

One thing that worries me about Delia is her rampant anti Catholicism. In
many ways, it is becoming the last acceptable prejudice among people
(posibly even Delia herself) who would otherwise extoll the virtues of
“tolerance”. It is ironic then that in her run down of the Brack’s ministry
she suggests that Peter Bachelor is appalled by “the declining moral fibre
of head office”.

One contributor recently accused Delia of being a member of the socialist
left. I don’t know about that but I do know that I wouldn’t want to be
Bracks at the moment. Consider this: Your’re nicely positioned to win the
next election in your own right (a swing to you in your second election no
less). You haven’t had much in the way of internal problems within the party
since Brumby was run out of town.

Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a large chunk of the party leaves your
power base faction and starts throwing its weight around in a very public
way.

On the one hand the new alliance talks about modernisation, promoting on
talent and non-factionalism whilst at he same time it elects a union hack,
someone whose talent is disputed by the very people putting them there and
then, in a very factional way, reminiscent of the worst of the Cain-Kirner
years, tells the Premier to pull his head in!

If I were the Premier, I would be very, very pissed off and I would be
waiting until after the election to go on the rampage. If I were Premier,
large numbers of staffers would not be around to see the second term and a
number of ministers would be discovering the joys of ministerial offices in
Kaniva.

Apart from that, the “breathlessness” of her writing style is really
irritating.

Catholic ALP staffer

CRIKEY: I’ve never met Delia so for all I know she’s a Catholic herself.

Conservative Catholics and principled Greens

Dear Crikey,

Delia’s credibility as an insider is not enhanced by her description of
Michael Danby as a conservative Catholic. Certainly Danby is an arch
conservative and yes he worked for the SDA at some point but he is
Jewish and was active in Jewish community politics.

Hillary’s article on the Democrats’ revolving door and her comment that
the Greens do not attract as many high profile figures should be used to
explain the difference between the two parties. The Greens are about
ideas and outcomes rather than personal power and personal glory and as
such are able to attract protest votes from disaffected ex-ALP members
and supporters. Most of us would not vote Democrat in a fit. If we
wanted to vote for a deal making party we would have stayed with Labor.

I think that we are seeing the beginning of the end for the Democrats.
The life of a third party appears to be about two decades. The DLP
lasted from 1955 to 1974. The Dems began in 1977, on current form there
will be few left after the 2004 elections. I suspect the Greens have a
better chance at longevity because they are a party formed from scratch
around a set of principals rather than a right-wing split from Labor
(DLP) or a left-wing split from the Liberals (Democrats)

Dave

CRIKEY: Lynton Crosby said it on the day after the last election. Bob Brown is a conviction politician and actually believes in something. It’s not as easy to say that about the Dems and particularly Natasha.

Left-wing ABC bias

The problem with the ABC is not whether it is biased or not. It is anyway. The problem is they won’t admit to their overwhelming left wing bias. I, for one, don’t mind if anyone gets access to the public airwaves via the ABC and is able to trumpet there own prejudices’ and bigotry. WE all come at public issues from our own particular point of view. Left wing or right wing, conservative or socialist it really doesn’t matter so long as we are prepared to demonstrate some honesty about our own position.

The problem is that those in the media get a free hit when it comes to presenting their own opinions under the guise of journalistic independence. The ABC is a specific case because it is funded by the taxpayer and based on the last federal election half the people of Australia are being seriously shortchanged. If those who have on air privileges at the ABC admitted their left wing positions the ABC would have to make substantial changes to their radio and television line up and that would never do.

Instead, aware of their political leanings are closely monitored most on air personalities carefully censor their own work. That gives them the opportunity to give full vent to their feelings on a few selected occasions. The end result is a national broadcaster that is considerably less than what it should be. There are plenty of intelligent conservative voices out there and it is way past time the ABC gave the Australian public the oportunity to hear them.

Kingsley Pearce

CRIKEY: I reckon that 90 per cent of ABC employees would not vote Liberal but there simply aren’t talented Liberal leading broadcasters out there to put on air.

Peter Fray

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