Is Queensland broke?

First Beattie brings down that first Deficit Budget that anyone in Qld
under 90 can remember. Unlike the Federal Govt, Beattie didn’t inherit a
massive deficit from the previous Govt. Wayne Goss inherited a
considerable surplus & invested funds from the Bjelke-Petersen Govt in
1989. Since then, Labor has only been out of Govt for 2 yrs & the
Borbidge Govt of 96-98 didn’t have any deficits.

Then we have speeding fines increased and kms over at which fines kick
in decreased, in order to increase the pay of the lowest paid police
force in the State. Now the Govt wants to sell the racecourses – prime
real estate in the dress circle of Brisbane – to pay for a new racing HQ
& stick the new racecourse somewhere that no one with money would ever
consider venturing – like the southside of Brisbane, God forbid!

Where has all the money gone? Not on our nurses, teachers, ambos, police
or firies! We are heading for the same fate as Victoria under Cain &
Kirner. The ironic thing is, it is the votes of the southern refugees
from the Kirner regime that have given the ALP a permanent majority in
Qld in the last decade. Will they ever learn?

They came here to an economy that hadn’t been stuffed by inept lefties,
only to vote the buggers in here, because the poor old Nats aren’t
sophisticated enough for the latte lovers! Sure they had to go in 89,
but they’ve redeemed themselves now.

Liberal voter

CRIKEY: NSW collects about 50 per cent more per head in taxes than NSW so you banana benders are still doing pretty well. They don’t have any fuel taxes. The WA budget is also in trouble and that is because they have no pokies outside the casino. Enjoy your low taxes but don’t be surprised if deficit come along. Queensland would have to accumulated about $20 billion in debt from deficits before they would be in the same position as Victoria and NSW.

Stop sledging Latham


it really gives me the shits when journalists, media types and others who claim to be interested in legitimate debate of matters of public interest resort to playing the man and not the ball. Paddy McGuinness and you attempting to slur Mark Latham by the repeated suggestion he is mad or drunk suggests you are bereft of any substantial response. I know Latham likes the shirtfront and the coathanger, but at least he backs it backs it up with something. Stick to the topics, stick to facts.

Michael of Mosman Park

CRIKEY: Err, isn’t Latham being rather reckless in his ongoing attacks on innocent by-stander Andrew Parker.

Get over the Kennett obsession

An interesting anti Kennett diatribe this morning. I am not a Kennett apologist, but I admire him for what he did in his time. Cain and Kirner shouldn’t have got us into the situation of a State recession in the first place, if we’re going to blame people for past deeds.

Fast forward to today to a Premier who knows that no decision is better than the wrong one. Actually to his credit there was a decision – a new number plate logo! How long did the committee take for that one?

If he doesn’t hold the world record for new committees and new reports within a Government I’ll go he.

Get over whatever happened between you and Kennett and do what you do best – solid, (mostly) unbiased journalism.

Regards, Karl Galvans

CRIKEY: I still reckon Kennett was net good for Victoria.

Howard recklessly causes a housing bubble

Dear Crikey,

I count myself as a generation X’er, having just turned 30. I still do not own my own home. My wife and I were looking in 2001 in Brisbane just before the current and continuing craziness in the housing market started until I lost my job last September.

After 7 months I found good work again only to watch the price in the area we were interested in pretty well double and go out of our reach in a 2 month period from September.

Now I am somewhat dubious as to the outcome any government plan on “making home ownership easier” will have considering the current stupidity is the result of bringing the home buyers grant in in the first place. I prefer they just eliminate the grant.

Considering the failure of the current federal government to foresee the rather large flaws in some of its most heralded legislative masterpieces, I dread the thought that the government is going to make further forays into the real world. Considering the disaster of the GST on small business and accountants (my father in law is a dyed in the wool liberal tax accountant and is still bemused), the failure to foresee the building industry collapse after the implementation of the GST, the grant to counter the collapse which has only priced younger buyers out of the market and now they want to do it again.God save me from the liberals and their responsible financial management.

A concerned citizen

PS I haven’t mentioned the huge success of digital TV, the happy Telstra 2 buyers or the $500 million we spent shuffling 600 people around the Pacific.

CRIKEY: Indeed, the first home owners grant should have been phased out as soon as the market took off.

Patrick Fitzgerald’s umpires rant defies belief

I will first up declare my own interest that I am an umpire in a suburban
league and get paid for doing so.

Where to begin. A scattergun article with large leaps of logic but I’ll
try to temper a few as well as throw my support behind some others.

Like most similar football talk, it was big on complaints and short on
proposed resolutions.

I would ague that when both teams walk off the park complaining about being
“crucified” by the umps it really only shows that neither can make an
objective judgement of what really happened on the field. Did Aker decry
any unwarranted free kicks the Lions received? Did Eddie complain about
the handball ruled a throw? Pay them all when they are for us and no soft
ones against us is the typical football mindset.

But the AFL umpires chase their tail spurred on by the media. “Too many
free kicks.” “Not enough free kicks”. Directives go out to pay more of a
certain type of kick or less of another until it gets out of hand again and
we swing back the other way. I disagree with this oscillation according to
the public whim. Imagine if we paid a kick every time the crowd called
“BALL”. Free kick counts are used as a justification as to why a team
lost. In my opinion free kicks are a symptom and not a cause. The most
likely player to receive a free kick at any given time is the one in
possesion of the ball. Unless he fends off illegally or is caught holding
the ball, pretty much every other free kick is awarded to the player with
the ball. Coincidentally, teams with greater amount of possession are also
more likely to win football games.

We want interpretation by our umpires, as long as it agrees with our own
interpretations. If the whistle were blown in strict accordance with the
laws there would be 100 free kicks every game and it would be as bad as
netball. So instead we put the layer of the “spirit of the laws” on top
and enourage play to continue, yet still complain about the level of
interpretation. I suggest we come right out and say what we really want in
our laws that “a free kick shall be awarded if, in the opinion of the
average football follower, it is deserved by the player receiving it”.

I’m not sure what the men in white can do to restore the level of “majesty”
to the game. Pay a free kick against unregal behaviour?

He saves the worst for last. His comments about “umpires allowing body on
body contact to become little more than a battle of strength rather than
skill” are incredible. How can the body on body battle be made a battle of
skill? Ruck contests are ugly, they are the reason we have a centre
square, a circle and ,until recently, the line across the circle to try and
break this up for the centre bounce. We have no such measures around the
ground and so the arm wrestles occur. So when we have “two players so
locked together that they both brought each other to ground before the ball
even reached them”, I ask Patrick who he would award a free kick to, and
under which rule? The umps are watching, but play on is the correct call.
They are “applying the basic tenets of the game as regards legitimate
physical contact” acording to the rules (in the main). Patrick just
doesn’t happen to agree with them.

I’m not sure I read it right, but apparently attendences are dropping
because ruck duels are ugly. Perhaps a little majesty generated by a
“soft” free kick will bring them back.

Bruce “the white maggot” Hardie

CRIKEY: Get stuffed you gormless white maggot. Go to hell – where all umpires belong.

Just joking. Patrick has responded as follows:

“Bruce Hardie has shown admirable restraint in his response to my huge
serve to his fraternity. He makes some rational points and is absolutely
right about how both teams wanted their cake and eat it too as regards frees
they feel robbed of and others they would ignore. However, Bruce has also
confirmed a practice that the AFL umpire’s director is on record as saying
doesn’t happen…that is knee jerk reactions to media attacks or as Bruce
has written: “Directives go out to pay more of a certain type of kick or
less of another until it gets out of hand again and we swing back the other
way. I disagree with this oscillation according to the public whim.”
Couldn’t agree more Bruce but Jeff Gieschen

It is obvious this is the way umpiring has been conducted…and you only
had to see how after the first week of the final series when a ridiculously
low number of free kicks were paid…and voila the next week after much
media disquiet…yep the count was back up to normal. Oscillation…you

Also I would suggest that if it is against the law to grab the arm…how
long would it take if umpires simply paid the first arm infringement they
see and keep calling them? Surely they are not all instantaneous collective
arm wrestles…and wouldn’t mind betting after one round of cracking down on
that by dishing them out as can be best determined, then no sane coach is
going to put up with those frees being continually called. I don’t see that
as too hard? I thought the purpose of the third umpire is to be watching
behind the play before the ball actually gets to his zone…so he is
theoretically in a position to award a free kick at first point of illegal
arm contact surely? Every now and then you see one paid like that…but it
is not remotely worked consistently which is why it is now an endemic

As to the ironic suggested alternative of soft free kicks to get “the
majesty” back in the game. When clear head shots are not reported by umpires
at the time even while seeing enough to award a free kick, why should they
recongise soft from hard anyway? But Bruce well done for bothering to take
the time to try and deal rationally with yet another media attack instead of
the normally totally ridiculous “we’re seldom wrong” barely credible
mutterings of you know who?”

Reading diplomatically between the lines Crikey readers should also notice
that Bruce has shown a deserved degree of true grit in confirming the
unhappiness within the ranks of the umpires lot. Could it be the average
man in white is just as keen to see a change at the top as I am?

Patrick Fitzgerald

Hillary knows nothing about Iraq

Hi there,

Having just read Hillary’s rant on Iraq, I’m thinking she should stick to being a damn fine Liberal party gossip monger, and stay the hell away from international affairs and politics where she seems embarrisingly gullible and naieve regarding the current Middle East “crisis”. There is going to be a war in Iraq, no doubt about it. Dubya needs to take as much attention as possible away from his shoddy, failing domestic economy and rising social problems, preferably in time for the US congressional elections later this year. Plus, his warm Texan blood loves nothing more than a good old fashioned Texas-style oil grabbin’.

The world community isn’t going to stop this war-whooping cowboy who has managed to gain control of the most powerful military on earth. But actually buying his crap about Saddam needing to be stopped and the urgent danger of mass destruction is a bit much, even for the yobbo on the street who reads about it in the Sunday tabloid liftout. For someone with the obvious intellect and political savvy of Hillary to buy it is so depressing I don’t even want to think about it. I could go into a thousand page diatribe about the true motivations behind the invasion of Iraq that we are about to see, but they are such common knowlegde and so freely available that I will save my time and just reccomend that Hillary goes out and reads something for a change instead of listening to whispers down the Liberal hallways.

How about Crikey finds someone in the know to give some decent Crikey style independant analysis on the situation, and keep Hillary in her well deserved position of Liberal party gossip queen.

Regards, Tom

CRIKEY: Bit harsh Tom, Hillary was reflecting on how Iraq would impact on Australian politics.

Murray causing damage before he jumps


Heresay maybe, but from a very reliable source.

it is alleged that at yesterday’s AGM of the Australian Democrats in Perth Yesterday Campaign Director Jason Meoti was overheard discussing plans for their new Party with a certain errant Senator- in self imposed exile- Andrew Murray.

It would appear that Jason may well be the loose wheel in AM’s plans since his mouth, it would appear, is apt to slip at the wrong time.

It would Appear that AM is determined to create as much Chaos and Destruction in the Dems as he can with the aid of his lap dog Jack Evans.

Perhaps he thinks he can resurect his new group of blind followers from the ashes.

It is really about time that the Democrats National Executive finally brought Murray to task methinks.

Anon Britney fan

CRIKEY: Bit rough on the good senator Britney fan. Still, he probably will walk and is therefore thinking about maximising the position of his new party.

Trolley dollies paid more of sit in economy


I completely agree with Bruce of Rozelle’s observation of trolley dollies
kicking back up front of the Qantas 767. As an all-too-frequent-flyer, I am
forever seeing the uniformed ones sitting in the comfy seats up front.
Interesting point to note – apparently part of the trolley dollys’ Award
conditions is that Qantas must pay them additional allowance if they have
to put up with being shoved down the back in cattle class if they’re being
ferried between locations.

Love your work, Stephen of Flemington

CRIKEY: The gravy train at Qantas extends to everyone as we’ve just discovered former CEO James Strong got a $3.65 million payout and the non-executive directors are now lining up for a pay rise from $1 million to $1.5 million.

The Oz doesn’t publish my letters about right wing capture

I totally agree with the “The Oz – captured by right wing commentators”.

I have been regularly making this point to the letters page of the Oz for
some time. The most recent letter I sent is below. It’s not astonishing that not a single one of them has been printed.

Regards, Brett Gaskin

PS Is it really true that Angela Shanahan is John Howard’s love child?

Unpublished letter to the Oz

It’s increasingly more difficult to discern your opinion page from your
cartoon page. Sheridan is so biased towards the Americans that his writing
is more like propaganda than opinion, and now poor Janet has been shown to
be at best sloppy, at worst deceiving. Add Tim Blair’s often ridiculous
(and unfortunately not funny) pieces, and there’s not much left (pardon the

Brett Gaskin, Sydney

CRIKEY: At least you get a run on Crikey.

Why Santo Santoro should be rejected

Before the Queensland Liberals select their replacement for the retired Senator John Herron, they need to consider the following facts about one of their factional powerbrokers, Mr Santo Santoro, who has nominated himself for the position:

1. Mr Santoro lost the blue ribbon and previously safe Liberal seat of Clayfield at the 2001 Queensland state election, with a two party preferred vote that was 8.5% lower than his 1998 election result (48% v 56.5%).

Overall, the Liberals vote in 2001 was only 1.8% lower than in 1998 – when they ran three fewer candidates.

2. Mr Santoro was intimately involved in the controversia decision to award Liberal preferences to One Nation at the 1998 state election (The Courier-Mail, 15 June 1998, page 4).

3. While Leader of the Queensland Liberals, Dr David Watson criticised his parliamentary colleague Mr Santoro for his ego, and said “politics is no place for prima donnas”, leading Mr Santoro to resign from the Opposition frontbench, and declare that he would not challenge Dr
Watson, because he could not win a leadership ballot (The Courier-Mail, 8 June 2000, page 1).

Clearly, a man who has been so resoundingly rejected by the voters and ridiculed by his parliamentary leader must lack some of the attributes necessary to effectively represent the people of Queensland as a Senator.

The Liberals have a constitutional right to nominate their preferred replacement for Senator Herron. Surely though, they owe the people of Queensland someone other than a failed state parliamentarian to represent us, especially as this person (barring a double dissolution) will not have to face the voters until the election after next.

As Mr Santoro himself has said (in an address to the Australian Liberal Students Federation Activists Conference on 27 January 1995): “All Liberals who are competent and efficient and who wish to beat the Labor Party must unite behind leaders who are chosen on merit and
get on with the job.” (The speech may be found here

This is not about democracy; it is simply one man’s lust for power.


CRIKEY: Quite a well argued proposition Chuck, let’s just hope the Liberal powerbrokers in Queensland take note.

Did Porter Novelli mastermind Opera PR?

Dear Crikey,

Following Thalia Meyerhold’s musings regarding Opera Australia’s recent public relations triumph, La Stupenda feels compelled to reveal the brilliant minds behind this clever, careful management of what could otherwise have been very volatile issues. For it is unfair to heap all of the praise at the feet of Opera Australia’s own PR whiz-kids, when in this very special case OA have seen fit to enlist the support of none other than Porter Novelli. Yes it is true! And what’s more Porter Novelli are providing their services for free! That’s right, all of this genius is part of a sponsorship arrangement and it is not costing Ms Collette a cent! Simply magnificent!

Yours truly, La Stupenda

CRIKEY: It would be interesting to know when they were brought in to handle the crisis.

Channel 10’s AFL coverage is not a patch on 9’s

At the risk of usurping Patrick Fitzgerald’s territory, two comments I think are pertinent in relation to the new era of football coverage.

First, as per Caro Wilson’s incisive assessment of the negotiations for TV coverage of the AFL that inexplicably left Channel 10 with all the finals, it needs to be said that while this is real cream for 10, its coverage is pathetic compared with 9. Malcolm Blight adds some good, expert opinion on tactics and the state of play, but as for the rest of the broadcast team, they’re a waste of wavelength capacity. And their coverage isn’t a patch on 9 in terms of statistics. I don’t like to admit this, but I agree with Caro it was a pity Big Kerry was in hospital when the coverage deal was finalised. Her story’s worth a read, but, as I say, it needs this additional assessment (maybe a follow-up, Caro?) as to what we’ve got out of the deal.

Second, us free-to-air viewers have come to accept the hour’s delayed telecast during the season and something like 30 mins for the night finals. But for today’s (Sunday) coverage of the Melbourne-North Melbourne game to be delayed until 4 pm is unforgivable. As a result, I’ve gone back to radio.

No Name.


Free kick for the Greens

Dear Crikey,

In the accurate Elites and celebs have captured lost ALP, Renzie Republican writes “There is a need for a new group to emerge to push the democratic and progressive cause. It should be a popularly based, democratic movement driven by people who are know primarily for their commitment to the democracy and a better Australia, not because they are unionists, political staffers, second rate lawyers and academics or have perfected the art of manipulation and branch stacking.”

Well Renzie, I don’t know where you’ve been, but I have some happy news. That group already exists, they’re called the Australian Greens and they’re winning seats all over the country, and are about to grab another swag at the upcoming Victorian state pole, maybe even the balance of power.

Before you dismiss them as the tree hugging hippies they are often portrayed as in the media, I challenge you to check out their comprehensive policy statements, on a wide range of issues, not just the environment. They also have a rapidly growing membership base which has tripled since last year, and a “grass-roots” structure.

While some union heavy weights (e.g. Dean Mighell of the ETU) have seen the light and signed up, they have done so, not as a union heads, but as an individuals with a conscience.

With names like Bob Brown, Kerry Nettle, Ian Cohen and Pamela Curr, there can be no doubt that they “are know primarily for their commitment to the democracy and a better Australia”.

and no i’m not a member…….yet.


CRIKEY: Greens are winning seats all over the world but I’m still trying to work out why you have to be from the hard left to support the environment.

Us country journos clean the dunnies too

Fair go, Crikey, do you go into the Flower Drum and wonder how many Big Macs you could get for the price of just one main?

So you had 462 bylines in a year at The Age eh. By crikey, Crikey, out here in the country we do that before breakfast and then go off to clean the dunny. We haven’t even got time for sausages. Ours are little boys.

Cheers anyway, but lay off Andy Rule.

Wayne Gregson
Editor, Bendigo Advertiser