Why Foodchain flopped in Parra

comes as no surprise to me that Foodchain in Parramatta is closing.
Crikey’s crack about Sydney’s westies is not inaccurate. Parramatta is
a strange place to pick for pioneering gourmet supermarket – but
perhaps David Jones was trying to lure in clientele from the more
affluent Hills District (the wannabe North Shore). But such customers
might as well drive in to the City.

Furthermore Foodchain was located in the new Riverbank
shopping centre, just up the road from the massive Westfield complex in
a shopping and eating precinct that is already suffering from an

All in all a classic example of bad market analysis.

Jack Upland

CRIKEY: What were they thinking? If you’re not with Westfield of course you’ll fail.

In defence of Janet A

Dear Crikey,

Janet Albrechtsen certainly appears to have been sloppy in the article
criticised by Media Watch. However, Media Watch has been spinning the story to
make it look as if Albrechtsen’s thesis (that the Sydney gang rapes have an
ethnic element) collapes under the weight of their criticisms. It does nothing
of the kind.

While Albrechtsen’s use of her quotes in this article leaves much
to be desired she does correctly quote the rapists as taunting their victims
with ‘”you deserve it because you’re Australian” and threats to “f— you Leb

This does suggest that there may have been an ethnic element to the
gang rapes. By all means let Media Watch pull journalists up on their
inaccurate use of quotes, but if they wish to be seen as an impartial supporter
of journalistic standards then they should stop acting as if their criticisms
destroy Albrechtsen’s central thesis, because they don’t.

Ben Rae

CRIKEY: I thought Media Watch was focusing more on the journalistic standards than the thesis.

Recalcitrant daughters

have the same problem with my daughter. I tried to get her to follow
St. Kilda however she defied me and follows Essendon (The Hird Factor).
Does this mean that I have to leave the country? I have already moved
from Wagga to Canberra. My only regret-I didn’t contact the ABC so the
nation would know


CRIKEY: Hang on a minute. You
don’t have to leave – that’s up to her. This is your country pal. You
were here first and no later generation of interlopers can tell you
what to think or force you to leave. Buy that ticket for your daughter
and pack her off to Siberia.

The truth about left and right

of the claims and counter claims of left and right leaning comments end
up in the media painted as truth and untruth, black and white, right
and wrong. The answer, or the most likely explanation of this
particular dispute and most heated debates, is that both parties to the
argument are right–or equally, wrong.

Our journalists and political commentators must know, but seem
to pay little written attention to, post-modernistic philosophy
increasingly backed up by neuropsychology/physiology, that truth is
relative to the mind of the beholder, that absolute truth does not
exist, never has, and for the human species, may never be.

Dubya and his brave Australian mate, tell lots of porkies they
recognise, and a lot more they are unaware of, in the same way they are
unaware of the likely reality that they are hopefully wearing
underpants. Their cerebral software is programmed in such and such a
Dubya/John way, it smooths away unpleasant or intrinsic stimuli, and
applies various shades of white-out. Given a spectrum of facts, they
may not be able to adjust those at the extremes, but their
interpretation of a large number in the middle will be a Dubya/small J
interpretation, which they very often will genuinely believe to be
entirely impartial, and heatedly deny any such suggestion to the
contrary.They are not necessarily lying, but they are not telling the

The Marrs and Adams, and Albrechtsens and McGuinness’s are
predictable in their reactions, and full of righteousness, because
their emotional responses to given facts leads them to a particular
slant, which is emotionally compatible to other internalised hard-wired
beliefs, and these are exacerbated if other humans, whom they dislike,
hold a different view. This is why they bang on and on about minutiae
when everyone else is bored, and why middle-ground is no-man’s land.

None of us do much better than approximations to the truth. I
know disputation sells newspapers and is marketable, but a lot of it is
fluff. Our wonderful cerebral cortices have evolved to interpret as
quickly and reasonably and best-fit as possible, according to a number
of inbuilt guidelines, observations,statements, needs and so on.

We see mirages because that’s the best fit the brain can make
at the time of certain light wave patterns. Being relatively
sophisticated, we usually recognise that the image is not real, but our
occipital lobe still says ‘looks like a mirage to me’, and we need
other interpretive areas to over rule.

Most of the right vs left stuff is unrecognised mirages.

We should, even journos, all be more humble and recognise that
while evolution has given us the most wonderful piece of matter in the
universe which sits keeping our ears apart, it has a number of design
faults. Those faults cause more problems on the face of this planet
than anything else.Our conduct may well be the better for accepting
this approximate truth.A discussion between MW and Ms Janet on these
concepts may mercifully and fruitfully close hissy fitting activities.

Paul Maher

CRIKEY: Agreed. Surely everyone is ready to move on now. Hopefully Media Watch can start a new fight this week.

Bartlett’s obsession with purple shirts

Hi Crikey,

Your speculation about the origin of Bartlett’s purple-mania is
probably on the mark. As the black-clad legions would know, purple is a
strangely mystical colour in the goth world.

Back in the mid-’80s that seminal goth band – The Cure – sang
the lines “Like the pig on the stairs, hanging in a groovy purple
shirt”, something I’m sure Bartlett hums to himself as he descends the
marbled steps into the Parliament House foyer.

Cheers, Aaron Hall

CRIKEY: Of course! That was so obvious. Can’t believe we missed it.

Wake up call to the ASU

Hi Crikey,

Peter Picketline is still serving it up to the timeserving
oxygen wasters in the ASU, as well as pointing out their failures to
act for the members who actually pay their wages.

The childcare workers and social workers have not been
well-represented by the ASU, but let’s not forget the librarians in
NSW. The MEU has made sure they earn less than their counterparts in
universities, the state or federal government, or the school sector.

In fact they earn less than other council employees with
equivalent skills (such as town planning). Perhaps the MEU could refer
to the recent NSW state Pay Equity case to see why librarians have been
underpaid just for being women. A novel concept for the MEU who have
reduced librarians’ conditions by caving in on weekend work, overtime
rates, casualization and so on. Many Sydney Councils are having trouble
hiring librarians at the advertised rates, and have to pay extra
through agencies.

Is the MEU even aware that Councils are outsourcing and
casualizing library workforces, and are they doing anything about it?
After all, it means Council positions are lost, union members are lost,
and cohesive union control over workplaces is being lost. This is a
deliberate action on the part of many human resources officers to break
unions in the workplace, starting with the feminised, casualised
libraries. WAKE UP MEU, you don’t have too much longer to stop it.


CRIKEY: We’re still waiting to hear someone put the argument for the other side.

Yanks have propped up undemocratic regimes

Dear Stephen

Today’s sealed section referred to the PM’s defence of Israel vis a vis Iraq on the basis of it
being a democracy, rule of law, free press etc.

Isreal is all that, although the clamour of objection one
receives to anything anti-Israel (witness Colin Rubinstein) suggest
that the freedom of the press there may be nominal more than actual.

But Israel is not my point. The last 100 years of western
foreign policy towards the middle east countries (not Israel) has
ensured that no democratic government could ever rise there.

For the first half of the 20th century the British and French
followed the policy of divide and rule in the middle east. The second
half of the 20th century up to today has seen the USA take up the
cudgels of supporting undemocratic regimes.

Witness the supposedly western friendly countries of Kuwait,
Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Undemocratic, non-representative regimes that
are basically propped up by
western support.

Indeed, Saddam’s Ba’ath party were directly supported by the
USA in overthrowing the previous regime once it became too hot to
handle. This is typical of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and

Whenever something approaching a popular movement has arisen in
any of these countries they have been oppressed, largely by western
foreign policy, because they have been, almost by definition,
anti-western (as you would expect)

The west currently sustains undemocratic ‘client’ regimes
across the region for its own ends. The level of hypocrisy in the
western governments toward the middle east has to be studied closely to
be believed, and even then it inspires awe and disbelief at how
two-faced we have been.

So feel free to criticise Iraq, Syria etc for being
undemocratic. They most certainly are. Just
remember who put them there. If you really want to research the history
of the middle east over the last 100 years read “A Brutal Friendship”
by a highly respected middle east author whose name escapes me. It will
give you a perspective that you just could not get by reading most
western media. It reminds me of an old Bugs Bunny cartoon where a man
buys a cat to get rid of a mouse, then a dog to get rid of the cat,
then a tiger to get rid of the dog, then an elephant to get rid of the
tiger. Things get a bit tight when you have to share your lounge room
with an elephant.

If I may quote Alan Ramsey (yes the Gallery bar room bore) I’m not anti-Israel, I’m not anti-USA, I’m just anti-bullshit.

From a non-denominational, no barrow to push except the facts subscriber

CRIKEY: Well argued Mr NonDenom.

Sunday Telegraph is a load of crap


With regard to your story (#3 this afternoon), thank you for
your candour. The Herald deserves credit for it’s exposition and ‘Media
Watch’ has got all the elements right.

The Sunday Telegraph, on the other hand, is a blight on the publishing establishment.

Tell me candidly, when have you ever read anything The Sunday
Telegraph has written, that you can remember for more than five
minutes? When a Sunday Telegraph journalist writes, it’s like a little
sphere of soap sudd, drifting off the end of an old clay pipe – full of
rainbow light for a second and then – ftttt, vanished, with nothing
left at all…..nothing.

When has a Sunday Telegraph journalist recently written a
story that will ‘run and run’? And when has said journalist followed
through? Answer: never, well at least not to my knowledge.

I won’t go on. Just answer me this.

Watch out. You might yet be accused of suggesting that it was
The Sunday Telegraph which unearthed the ‘Oasis story (and as a
by-line……….the Bulldogs salary cap rort)!!

Yours ever, DC

CRIKEY: C’mon, surely it’s not that bad. The Sunday Tele has Ros Reines and she gets plenty of great gossip stories.

Crikey should ditch anti-ABC bias


Why are you so blatantly right wing when it comes to the
ABfrigginC? (sealed section Sep 16).My perception is that Australian
Story last night did not “try pretty hard to paint a negative
picture…” of Phillip Ruddock as you say, I thought that they gave a
very fair and balanced account of a person who sees himself in a
difficult situation.

If they really wanted to, they could have massacred the man. I don’t
say that you need to look at the ABC through rose coloured glasses, but
maybe you take of the jaundice coloured glasses and look through your
real eyes.

Keep up the (otherwise) good work.

Subscriber Brian”

CRIKEY: I just thought the editing produced quite a
few awkward or embarrasing moments for Ruddock. Overall, it did improve
his shocking reputation among ABC watchers.

Iraq has no chance on nukes

John Howard says Iraq could produce nuclear weapons if it had a source of
highly-enriched uranium. Big deal. That’s like saying I could win the
lottery if I held the winning ticket.

In the 1970s and 80s, Saddam Hussein has literally thousands of scientists
spending countless millions of dollars working on five different uranium
enrichment techniques … and still hadn’t got close to producing enough
enriched uranium for even one bomb. Almost all that infrastructure was
bombed in 1991 or dismantled in subsequent years. Keep that in mind when
assessing the garbage we’re now being fed, e.g. Sydney’s Daily Murdoch had a
front-page screamer today: “Nuclear weapons by Christmas”.

Australia hardly has a clean sheet. From 1965-67, a secret uranium
enrichment R&D project, called the Whistle Project, was carried out at
Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear plant. It is now a matter of public record
that key people – such as Philip Baxter, head of the Australian Atomic
Energy Commission – wanted enriched uranium for weapons.

More recently, we’re told a new nuclear reactor is required at Lucas Heights
to assist in non-proliferation initiatives. What a load of garbage. Reactors
are used to assist in the production of weapons (e.g. by plutonium
production in India and Israel), not to assist in non-proliferation.

Then there’s the support of successive Australian governments for the United
States’ weapons of mass destruction. And the support of successive
Australian governments – on behalf of the uranium mining companies – for the
expansion of the ‘civil’ trade in weapons-usable plutonium (both in the form
separated plutonium and mixed uranium-plutonium oxide – MOX).

The government should get its own house in order rather than mouthing
idiotic tautologies about Iraq.

Jim Green

P.S. This Sunday 22/9, 8.45am, nuclear engineer and Maralinga whistle-blower
Alan Parkinson does on Ockham’s Razor presentation on ABC Radio National.
Repeated Monday 2.15pm. He will discuss the botched ‘clean-up’ of the
Maralinga nuclear test site.

CRIKEY: We’ll be listening.

Andrew Rule should have disclosed Liberal connection

Given that Andrew Rule’s wife is an endorsed candidate in the upcoming
Victorian state election he has a duty to disclose the fact in any writing of a
political nature. His piece on controversial unionist Craig Johnston certainly falls within
that sphere.

Big Kev

CRIKEY: I agree, just as Janet Albrechtsen should
have disclosed that her husband advised Air New Zealand to buy Ansett
when she was using her column in The Oz to blame only the unions for
the demise of the airline.

Stop the cheap pot shots at the Gay Games

Dear Crikey,

I’m getting a little sick of your constant sniping about matters
homosexual, your cheap shot about SBS televising the Gay Games being
the latest example. As far as I’m aware the Gay Games have not received
any government funding and why shouldn’t SBS televise them? I don’t
hear you complaining about all the other sporting events that are
televised across the whole spectrum of free to air television stations,
including SBS. Plenty of these events receive some form of public

Whether or not you like the concept, the Gay Games are an international
event and as such worthy of televising. How do you construe this as
advertising – what products are they selling, apart from sport? As for
public money, aren’t gay and lesbian Australians taxpayers too (along
with anyone else who may want to watch), why shouldn’t our taxpayer
dollars occasionally be used to show us an event like this, our taxes
subsidise plenty of other things that don’t directly relate to us – and
fair enough too. If you, or anyone else doesn’t want to watch the
telecast, there’s plenty of other stuff on TV to tune in to.

Secondly, your insinuations about Brian Greig’s motivations are
a bit rich. So he has an unsavoury friend – big deal, dig deep enough
and I’m sure you’d find this is the case with most politicians. I’ve
not read anything you’ve published that has convinced me that this
friendship has compromised or corrupted his integrity. I’m not
criticising your right to publish such information, just give the poor
guy a chance.


CRIKEY: Don’t forget we’ve also recently taken
pot-shots at government subsidies for the recent Wrestling
extravaganza, the F1 Grand Prix, the 2006 Commonwealth Games,
tax-dodging sports stars… Our negativity knows no bounds.

Beattie and Soorley should pull their heads in

Frankly we up here in the north would be far better served if both Beattie and Soorely pulled their collective heads in.

Soorely makes no secret of the fact he is hanging around for his
Golden Parachute and should do the rght thing and go now. His recent
performances have been breathless in their arrogance, even for this
King of Arrogance.

As for Joh, er I mean Peter I’m afraid his landslide majority
has gone to his head. The saddest thing of all up here is that at both
Council and State level, there is no credible opposition…..

Cheers – Murray Arundell

CRIKEY: They are displaying all the signs of pollies drunk with power after too many years in the job.

Opera Australia a shambles

Opera Australia – what a sorry bunch of petty-minded country bumpkins.

Australians most of the time have the misguided idea that the world
cares or even knows about them – but with this masterstroke of letting
Simone Young go – they / we are really will be the laughing-stock of
cultured peoples and countries.

But, we deserve it no doubt: letting school-mistresses run the show,
explains a lot. Nevertheless, one cannot blame just one person – the
whole of the board is collectively guilty.

When – for example – a very small, comparatively poor country can
afford to have one of the best opera houses in the world (Austria, Vienna), a rich country
like ours can go and hang its head in shame.

Andrew Decker

CRIKEY: Indeed, Thalia Meyerhold has hit the nail on the head in this week’s column.

Tim Blair’s continuing crisis

did Tim Blair really think he was kidding with yesterday’s column in
the Australian linking ex-UN Weapons Inspector, Scott Ritter to some
extremist ABC news agenda ?

Tim, face up to it! That petulant little spray was nothing
more than yet another swipe at the ABC for cancelling your radio show,
The Continuing Crisis.

Didn’t you think an ex-UN Weapons Inspector, even one so
stridently outspoken as Ritter, turning up as a guest of Saddam
Hussein, was newsworthy?

The ABC was there mate! They’ve had a correspondent in Baghdad
all week. Being there is what journalism is all about! Did you want
them to ignore it?

If you don’t like it chum, hit the dial and turn to Alan Jones.

As for the Continuing Crisis, another Tim (one who commands far
more respect, ie Tim Bowden) had your number in his recent address to
the Brisbane Institute.

According to Bowden, your program defied one of the fundamental commandments of broadcasting: “Thou shalt not bore!”

Tim, (Blair, that is) I actually took Stephen Mayne’s advice
and tuned in. I will never trust him on shares or radio programs again.
I tried to be interested, really I did. But what I heard was clumsy,
amateur, and worst of all self-indulgent.

You sounded every bit like the smug, leering, know-it-all you
look like in your newspaper column photograph… and that does not go
down well with discerning Radio National listeners, who can spot an
imposter a mile off.

But don’t worry Tim… your chance for revenge on Aunty is at hand.

Michael Kroger’s declaring his innings on the ABC Board soon.

I’m certain you’d be the perfect replacement… so start
lobbying your fellow New McCarthyists a.s.a.p. if you haven’t done so
already !


The Continuing Crisis was a touch self-indulgent but it wasn’t as
boring as you suggest MediaShark. I agree with much of what Tim says
although he tends to be a little inflexibly right wing. There are
dickheads on both sides of politics but Tim saves his best attacks for
the left when I’d prefer that he sprayed everyone.

Forget the Democrat conspiracies

on Crikey don’t tell me you are to become an outlet for the ‘we wuz
robbed” version of the US presidential elections. Your correspondent is
‘full of it’ and being fed direct from the Democrat National Committee.
Your correspondent would be better reading books like Bill Sammon’s
rather thn engaging in another Clintonesque conspiracy theory about
some Bush attempt to get rid of black voters. The most intereting
aspect of the election was how many felons did manage to vote and some
of them were interviewed on Fox News during the campaign because I saw
the interview myself. Please Crikey don’t waste my subscription money
on running interference for the US Democrats. Remember 9/11!

The latest reports suggest that Florida is a basket case when it comes
to conducting elections and Janet Reno looks like she’ll be lodging a
legal challenge so there is some substance to it.

Molly Movie’s new column

Hi Molly,

Thanks for your take on the new releases – really enjoyed it and look forward to more.

Just a brief comment re The Even Bigger Screen; Red Dragon is
not really about Hannibal Lecter but is the second book from Thomas
Harris whose third book was Silence of the Lambs.

Red Dragon in my humble opinion was a better story than
Silence of the Lambs but the movie they made about this book approx 15
years ago did not do it justice – lets hope they get it right this

Cheers, Jenny Williams

CRIKEY: It’s amazing how many emails we’ve had already about Molly’s debut column. People sure do love their movies.

Woolrich is confused

Mr Woolrich seems to be more than a little confused about the true opinion of Keysar Trad.

“KEYSAR TRAD: His Eminence the Mufti has given me a statement.

It is most horrific and regrettable to see in this tape, to see
Osama bin Laden appearing to express joy at the criminal act of terror
against the World Trade Centre that led to the deaths of so many
innocent people.

It’s also regrettable to see him proudly speaking about the intricacies of this tragedy to his audience.”

Although Trad is reading out a statement on behalf of his
leader, the statement is consistent with what Trad has continued to
express as his own opinion.

This occurred shortly after the following in the same article:

Last Saturday The Weekend Australian Magazine’s Greg Callaghan
reported Trad as saying: “Osama bin Laden would have trouble teaching
someone to drive a car. How could a man living in a backward country
mastermind the hijacking of several planes… I just don’t want to
believe Muslims were behind it.”

To us, it doesn’t seem like Trad is excusing Osama Bin Laden
for September 11. Trad is simply saying that he couldn’t believe that
Muslims were behind it.

So does Trad now condemn Osama at the same time as refusing to
believe him capable of committing this atrocity? Please explain, Mr

Ron Mead

CRIKEY: Crullers writes: I
don’t see any apparent contradiction in the two quotes from Keysar
Trad. The first, from an ABC radio piece in December 2001, states his
abhorrence of Bin Laden’s apparent delight at the WTC attacks. The
second (recent) quote, states his disbelief that Muslims (and Bin
Laden) were behind the attacks. The two quotes can still stand side by

Peter Fray

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