Mark Latham spray, Kennett’s 10 years, Andrew Murray’s submission, trolley dollies, Australian Opera, AFL grand final.

I was shocked to see David Marr’s sneering, petty attack on Margo Kingston during last night’s Media Watch. Who cares if Margo scratches her nose during her Internet webcam presentation? So what if the coffee break is not edited out (and doesn’t he remember Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumble)? Most of us without broadband aren’t going to call up Web broadcasts anyway but I think Marr and his team would do better to critique substance – as with the Alan Jones/Telstra/Farmhand yarn rather than Internet broadcast style issues.

Cheers, Ann

Bracks fiasco as do nothing tag sticks

Dear Crikey,

I predict a very entertaining period in Victorian State politics in the lead up to the next election. The government, having spent three long years assiduously doing nothing is now trying to do a little bit here and there and cocking it up.

First we have intellectual (as a newt) Christine Campbell trying to do something about dummy bidding at auctions. She is now proposing an unenforceable piece of legislation backed up by half a dozen sneaky inspectors and fines that dwarf anything that might be handed out to any miscreant short of a multi million dollar fraud. Furthermore if todays talk-back radio can be believed she is also proposing a 3 day cooling off period after all auctions! That will definitely fix dummy bidding at auctions because there wont be any.

I was also immensely amused by last nights fiasco where Saint Steve tried to orchestrate a casus belli to allow an excuse for the early election he has to have. I must say that getting his legislation knocked back in the wrong house was a master stroke as it will ensure that his governments level of competence will be enshrined in the anthology of Australian politics.

To be fair they moved rapidly to get Fido and Puss off the menu yesterday, maybe they had finished off an inquiry on the matter as the RSPCA had been badgering (no pun intended) them for years on this issue.

I cant wait to see what theyll do for an encore. Is Justin Madden going to announce that jockeys can no longer use whips?

Cheers, Mike

Crikey : With the budget sliding closer to deficit, this could yet be a very close election.

Loved Michael Egan’s diary
Loved Michael Egan’s Diary. Very incisive, absolutely hilarious. Suspect there’s some Hillary in there.

Regards, Rod Bruem

Crikey : Agree it is one of the best things we’ve carried. The big question is whether Egan will now respond.

Impolite on the Polites says Derryn Hinch
Not polite, Crikey. You got the wrong Polites. The victorious Rugby League champs chairman Nick does NOT run Ford Australia.

Derryn Hinch

Crikey : Too right. The head of Ford in Australia is actually Geoff Polites (no relation) and you are more likely to see Geoff at a Swans game than an NRL Game. However, Nick does have a controlling interest in a number of Ford Dealerships around the country. That said, the Phil Gould rave about the Roosters boss in one of the Sunday tabloids was amazingly adulatory. You’d rarely see such a tribute in any other field, such is our obsession with sport.

Channel 9 kicking goals
Hi Stephen

For all our criticism of the fluff on commercial television, Channel Nine continues to kick goals on a Sunday morning.

The ABC has been fighting back, with the excellent Alan Kohler doing his version of Business Sunday, and Insiders taking on Sunday (although the latter is not only political). It makes for an entertaining 8am to 10.15am over coffee and croissants, and sure beats mowing the lawn.

But it was notable that the 11am news on ABC radio led with two pieces from Channel Nine’s programmes, broadcast barely an hour or two earlier. Perhaps someone from ABC television should tell ABC radio to stop giving the opposition free kicks.

On Rugby League Grand Final day, the result was Channel Nine 2, ABC 0.

Cheers, Graham

Crikey : The media should reports news based on merit rather than favouring outlets they support. The failure to follow-up a rival’s yarn is one of the cultural problem in Australia.

Political representation in the NT
A correspondent who noticed last weeks comment on political representation in the NT writes:

Actually it works pretty well. There are more representatives in the NT parliament on a per-capita basis than council aldermen, which leads to some very odd relationships. The NT Government tends to be less distant to the average punter than the local councils.

I know several members of the Legislative Assembly who comment that when the dog next door barks too much, or there’s a dodgy intersection, that they are the ones who get to hear about it.

But, as I say, it seems to work alright. And it does make it possible for politicians to meet and talk to almost everyone in their electorate.

Name withheld

Crikey : Yes, but it does cost a bomb. NT has the most disproportionately lavish parliament house of any democracy in the world.

Anonymous pieces cause problems
Dear Stephen,

In regard to this article by Maurie Monash, I wonder if you know the
identity of the author, as it reads almost as if Lib candidate Peter
Katsambanis wrote it himself! This is a problem with anonymous authors, pollie’s
backers can pen scurrilous gossip about opponents and praise about their
masters without us knowing the connections of the author. Peter Katsambanis
is so obviously the darling of author Maurie Monash. Does Crikey have any
editorial policy in such instances?


Crikey : I’m not sure who wrote it and agree anonymity can be misused in some circumstances.

Filthy magnesium plant should get some greenie attention
Dear Crikey team,

I can’t seem to get Greenpeace or ACF or Qld Conservation council interested in this and I can’t work out why.

Issue – the $3.5 billion Australian Magnesium Corporation’s plant now being built at Stanwell (just west of Rockhampton), Qld. Big heaps of tax dollars invested in it, well over $100 million from state and feds.

The issue is dioxin emissions (and HCB’s and other nasties) that will come from the plant. The whole thing is dodgy, the environmental impact assessment stinks and although I have tried as best I can I cannot get media to go after it.

It’s jobs, jobs, jobs and nobody wants it to be bad etc.

A quick search on the web with keywords like “dioxin and magnesium” will illustrate what I am on about. I work as a researcher in state government dept (science) and I see/hear numerous things which are not kosher/dodgy etc and I beaver away to get stuff out there for debate and by keeping under radar – do a reasonable job at exposing things.

But, this one is too big, if I get caught stirring on this I will get toasted quick smart.

These guys are good, they went from a plan to run a wastewater pipeline from the plant some 30 odd km’s to discharge into the Fitzroy river – to a deal with the local council which will put the effluent through a newly upgraded (guess where the money is coming from?) sewage treatment plant!

There are big bucks for light metals for USA gas-guzzlers of the future and the yanks are having troubles getting new plants financed in the USA, why? – because this is a very filthy industry with litigation rife on this issue – dioxin pollution from existing plants!



Crikey : Hmmm, was no mention of any of this stuff in the prospectus.

Queensland Libs should shun Santo
Before the Queensland Liberals nominate 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 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. (These statistics are
accessible on the Queensland Electoral Commission website,
here ).

2- Mr Santoro was intimately involved in the controversial 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

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.

Charles D Shavitz
801/12 Edward Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
07 3012 8110
0418 630 786

Crikey : Couldn’t agree more, Santo is not the answer.

Brogden could yet beat Carr
God bless Delia Delegate for her run down on the ALP Conference. Smart, incisive and on the money, as usual.

However, a few cautionary points. Whilst it is true that poor Simey won’t (can’t) win,it is not certain that Malthus could win. As a life time ALP supporter,I detect a Bracks-ish odor about John Brogdan.

The Malthus government has been seriously ordinary. Give yourself the following test…what does NSW have that it wouldn’t have got, except for the strenuous efforts of Malthus? Ummmm… See what I mean.(Prisons don’t count.) Don’t just assume a walk over victory by Malthus next March. Remember, Eddie Obeid will be on the ballot paper. How well would Brogden go with the slogan…

‘Vote Liberal and Free The ALP From Obeid’

Also Malthus is fanatically anti-immigration and is an ‘America fawner’ to a degree that would embarrass a US Marine. It saves having to think hard about foreign policy.

In truth, all that Malthus can offer is a thinner John Howard. When the country rejected a fat John Howard (aka Kim Beazley), why would a thin one suddenly do the trick?

The more important point is that the ALP needs to win federal seats in NSW and Queensland to topple the Howard government. Malthus has no coattails in NSW. The ALP lost seats in NSW in the last federal poll.

Maybe Delia is on the right track in her thinking,but looking at the wrong Premier.

Syd Struggler

Crikey : Agree that Brogden could do quite well and that no government with Eddie Obeid in its ranks deserves to be re-elected.

The new head of ABC music
Dear Stephen,

The ABC, having made no use of Ed Brezlin’s commercial radio talents during his period as Head of Triple J and Classic FM, has appointed a career communications bureaucrat to run the strangely amalgamated music stations.

Kate Dundas joins the organisation during the next couple of weeks. She left the ABC during the Brian John’s purge and at around the same time as former Head of Radio Peter Loxton having spent a number of years in various policy assignments. She had come to the ABC from policy roles within the Department of Communications.

Director of ABC Radio, Sue Howard, has gone to some lengths to highlight Ms Dundas’s extremely limited program management experience however policy is her strong bow and if her most recent assignment as Director of Strategic Policy and Reform with the Premier’s Department of NSW is anything to go by then Frances Leach’s old colleagues at the J’s are in for an interesting time.

Dundas has most recently been “responsible for the development and implementation of a public sector management reform agenda that ensures that the NSW public sector is structured and capable of meeting present and future community expectations. The Division provides strategic advice to Government and agencies on public sector reform; directions in public sector management and public employment; and develops, implements and evaluates public employment policy and practice.”

Name withheld

Crikey : ABC staff are the most effective campaigners in the country so we will no doubt hear all about it if Dundas upsets the applecart too much.

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.

What about Collingwood’s home grand final?
Patrick Fitzgerald’s AFL column mentions some good points however he did
miss a couple. Eddie talks about a ‘level playing field’ but is obviously
blind to the fact that the grand final was played on Collingwood’s home
ground, the MCG. If you can’t win a grand final on your own home turf then
before you go throwing sour grapes at the opposition you need to take a
good hard look at your team.

Those that say there is no such thing as home
ground advantage are either footy illiterate or have never put on a pair of
boots themselves. The fact is Collingwood have an advantage that Brisbane
or any other interstate team for that matter will never have and that’s a
home ground grand final. Secondly there is something seriously dodgey when
an interstate team can finish as high as third and not get a final at home
for their efforts but only a Victorian club can finish as low as seventh
and be given a home final for their effort. How can that be seen as fair?

These are advantages that Victorian clubs like Eddie’s either refuse to
acknowledge through their own bias or are simple too stupid to see. The
only incentives therefore for interstate clubs, is just to make the eight
as they know that unless they finish minor premiers chances are they won’t
get a final at home anyway.

In all my years of playing local footy all the
finals were played on neutral ground. I know this is not workable in the
AFL due to PR and costing and so forth but surely there has to be fairer
system that would give the teams a ‘more level playing field.’ As for the
umpiring I can’t see what Eddie is bleating about. Three of Collingwood’s
goals came from soft cock free kicks, one was a fifty for what, no-one’s
sure. Then there was the miss ones for Brissy but I’m sure you’ve heard it
all before . At the end of the day I guess you could say it all balances

What I am sick of seeing in all sides, thanks mainly to soft cock
frees being given by the umpires, is AFL players taking more dives than a
soccer player. I’m sure some clubs must hire the socceroo’s coach for tips
on this because there are some brilliant divers out there. Now this
behaviour needs to be stamped out before our great game becomes a
non-contact soft cock game up there with basketball and soccer where the
only opposition that the players fear are the spectators.

Ivan Cope

Crikey : Brisbane did get two home finals and I reckon home ground advantage is more useful for the likes of Brisbane because Melbourne teams are less used to travelling, the warmer weather and the 100 per cent parochial crowd. That said, Eddie remains a hypocrit.

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.

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