Terry McCrann and Bankers Trust Chris Caton have their high profile say. Your say includes Howard’s pre-emptive strike strategy and a final reminisce on the Victorian election and the Carlton football club.

Oh dear, I sincerely trust you didn’t ‘overlook’ this first sentence,
because it might have undermined, some could say, utterly destroy, your
‘thesis’ of my supposed conversion from anti-Lewism in 1995 to pro-Lewism in 2002.

Overlooking the little/large matter of Ansett, early in
2002. And I quote: “Solomon Lew should not be a director of Coles Myer, nor, arguably, of any public company. He is also exactly the person to be a director of Coles Myer.”
From The Weekend Australian of 19th October, to stress, October 2002.

And no, it was not an exercise in having a bet ‘each-way’. But to discuss
the complexities of the issue, including the infamous Yannon transaction.
A concept, complexity, you’ve always had trouble with.

You’re welcome to publish the full column. Perhaps somebody might even explain it to you. Irony is another of the virtues nature has decided you were better left without. The irony, that the two quotes you use to head each of your lists, the one supposedly proving my 1995 ‘anti-Lewism’, the other my 2002 ‘pro-Lewism’, are almost exactly the same.

Subtlety is another of your absent virtues. To ensure the point is not lost: my ‘self-plagiarism’ was deliberate.
I could continue at length. The irony of you criticising me for
criticising other journalists has obviously escaped you.
The rather bizarre ‘rule’ you seek to espouse that journalists should
be immune from criticism by other journalists, is at least quaint. Never
mind the substantive issues, just feel the flannel of journalistic

Except of course, on crikey.com. Because it, and only it,
is the seeker of purity and truth?
You did bring some joy to an old campaigner. I enjoyed reading some of my old columns. I hope the ‘targets’ did as well.

The one thing that puzzles me about all this, is the evidence. Just
exactly what have I written which captures my supposed ‘pro-Lewism’.
I must though, confess to a white lie. I didn’t and don’t really
‘sincerely trust’ that you merely ‘overlooked’ that column

Those are two words that have long ceased to be able to be associated
with two others. Stephen and Mayne. Starting, in my case, with the second. Trust.

Terry McCrann

Crikey anti-McCrann?

So Terry McCrann attacks another News Corp columnist. So what. Fairfax columnists do it all the time, Carlton attacking Paddy and so on. Its all the fun of a free press. Allen is being a bit precious as usual.

When Crikey uses words like bizarre, appalling and rightly refuses, without bothering to explain why it thinks these epithets are justified, it is just resorting to ad hominem abuse. Why not reduce the size of the post by just saying ‘We don’t like Terry McCrann!’

Ron Mead

McCrann; an economist who just dosen’t know

I have always had a great deal of difficulty understanding what McCrann is on about, especially on his short grab on 9’s Business Sunday. The late great John Kenneth Galbraith once said, “economic forecasters fall into two categories: those that don’t know and those who don’t know that they don’t know”. McCrann to my mind falls into both categories.

Robert James McDonald.

Bankers Trust ‘top dog’ cares deeply about Aussie’s economic health

Chris Paton is known to me, and he’s taking some umbrage at the letter from Bill the Beancounter. He does, as Bill alleges, have a vested interest in economic policy making, because he cares deeply about the economic health of Australians.

And he is prepared to engage in a forecasting contest anytime anywhere with William.

Chris Caton

Crikey: We apologise for the mis-spelling of your surname Chris. But for the record, where is the AUD/USD travelling next? And interest rates?

Terrorism threat a blessing in disguise for Howard and Government

Yet another another terrorist attack. As was to be expected, the media went into a frenzy, and the shock jocks and politicians steamed up the airwaves in response.

We’ll have to get used to this. Terrorist attacks, which have been occurring on a regular basis all around the world for the past forty years or so didn’t seem to matter much to the great Aussie yawn until a) the New York tragedy last year and b) more recently, the Bali bombing. Now the media and the pollies have got the Australian population running around like headless chooks, fearful that every shopping bag contains a bomb and every Muslim matriarch in a burqah is concealing half a ton of gelignite.

All bloody good grist to the intelligence agencies’ mill, who can hardly believe their luck. Taxpayers money is flowing into their coffers like the bloody dam has burst. And the pollies and their fascist mates are rubbing their horny hands in anticipation of the next round of repressive legislation to come off the books.

Howard, who by all accounts the majority of the lumpen proletariat now regard as possessing messianic powers, must hardly believe his luck when he kneels to say his bedtime prayers. The good fortune of having barbarians at the gates, a witless populace and his own ascendancy to the role of divine saviour is guaranteed to keep him in power for ever.

All he has to do is keep the fear going – an easy task, given the enthusiasm of the terrorists and the unprincipled ethos of his government.

The flower of democracy is beginning to wilt in this fair land. What kind of country will it be in fifty years, I wonder?

Jack Benlow

Pre-emptive strike smokescreens Libs election loss

You have to admire John Howard for the wonderful smokescreen he put around the Libs poor showing in the Victorian election by announcing his pre emptive strike strategy .

The only trouble was his diversion was too successful, as it was only meant for domestic consumption, and not to get those pesky Asians offside.

And what about the way he added to the smokescreen by throwing in the old red herring, ‘Tax Cuts’ when he appeared on TV on Sunday morning?


Bush’s futile war on oil will never end

Its just a number. No matter how I go about my daily life, the news media seem to hound me with thoughts of fear, retaliation and a sense of grief with all the talk about war. Having commemorated the first anniversary of September 11 and recently the Bali attack on October 12, I feel a little bit short of breath. Are we in for WW III like most commentators believe?

The fighting words of US President George W Bush of wanting Osama Bin Laden “dead or alive” seem to suggest that he will stop at nothing to defend the American way of life. Its been recently reported that this fight has become somewhat personal with his dad, himself a former President, threatened during the Gulf War by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Mr Bush arrogantly claimed the rest of the world was ‘either with us or against us’. I say let them fight on their own war. America itself is a known terrorist among other walks of life. They have the biological and chemical weapons to wipe out a nation and yet they claim they are the victims of terror. Sadly their case is just as true, but thoughts must be spared on their treatment of other nations. What becomes of those who are terrified and caught in the middle of devastation, not having family because they attack certain villages as part of their revenge? Lives are torn apart, families are murdered and still the world is ready to arm itself. How many more dead people does the world need?

Close to 120 are dead and missing after the explosion at Bali on October 12 and many hundreds more died during the S11 devastation. Is it all just a number? To me, its more than that. It should be about humankind.

America by all means, take a stand, but please note that a war creates war and nothing else. Take a long hard look at your international policies and tell the worlds people that they are fair and for the betterment of lives. Is it fair to loan countries money with extreme interests and expect them to pay it in the long run? Is it fair to attack Iraq and change the lives of many innocent civilians who have only known one way of life and that is
dictatorship. Let me assure you, as have experts in the field of
international diplomacy and studies, that this thought will create chaos and panic. A mass war will erupt and it wont be against Hussein, but against America.

I hope that youre not going to suggest in dressing the civilians in
American clothing, once youve taken over their land (should it happen), as a way of cohesively gelling them into the American culture as have other nations.

Lets get beyond your interests in oil and grudge over what may have been, could have been and should have been. Think about the people. Surely, an American life is not worth more than an Iraqi or a Palestinians. You tell me. I dont know about you, but it seems numbers is all were concentrating on.

Again, I ask, how many more dead people do we need?

James Isherwood

Public land for the people

I’m sick of media commentators like Hugo Kelly and Terry Maher taking an easy swipe at people who oppose the annexation of public land Nimbies!

The whole point is that it is public land, therefore, the bleat that it’s all about the privileged really does not wash. Busy thirtysomethings with
mobile phones permanently stuck to the side of their heads may not realise the value of a public space without piped TT-FM or Coke machines, but one day they might.

I like to take my kids to the Botanical or the St. Kilda adventure
playground. I’d be ropeable if someone from Singapore decided to turn them into lovely “townhouses” and repatriate the profits, and I’d probably join the protest. But I don’t live near them, they’re not my back yard.

So does that make me a Nimbie?

Helen Smart

Long term cost of selling public assets

We’ve lived with the “Cain/Kirner” ghost for quite a while, now it seems we live with the “Kennett/Stockdale” ghost (or the Liberal party does). Labour may well have inherited an $1.8 billion surplus, but at what cost? From where I’m sitting it doesn’t seem very clever to sell off all one’s assets in order to recoup what may have been lost, easy maybe but not smart.

I’m sure creative people would come up with an entirely different scenario, and retain their assets too.

Christine Harris

Dishonest Dean in ‘political graveyard’

Robert Dean has simply made an unfortunate mistake that
destroyed his career and his party’s electoral prospects.” (The Great Robert Dean Spray, Dec 02 2002).

Yes, I thought so too when his failure to enrol was reported. However, you neglect to mention that he had rented a house in Berwick, in which he had no intention of living, with the cynical intention of giving the impression to his electorate that he was a local. In fact, he
lived in the much posher inner Eastern suburbs.

I don’t think that’s a crime in itself, but to falsely claim that you’re a
resident of your electorate and then get found out is not just an
“unfortunate mistake”. It’s dishonesty, and that was another big nail in the
Liberal coffin.

Interestingly enough, when I did a google on Robert Dean and Berwick, I got “political graveyard”!

Helen Smart

Robert Doyle’s arrogance not appreciated

If I can offer to you, Mr. Doyle, some sincere advice. Next time, don’t treat the electorate, as a whole, with your obvious juvenile contempt. Loose the ‘born to rule’ mentality and the smug and smarmy attitude.

These qualities may go over a treat with the blue rinse set in leafy South Yarra or with the aging scone munchers of the bush but most people, as can be attested by the electoral flogging you have just received, don’t find them very nice qualities at all.

Robert Ettery

No excuses now for Labor

This may have been a ‘blessing in disguise’ for the Libs. Finally they can
purge themselves of the inept strategists from before the Cain/Kirner
victory. Even a dead head could have won that one.

The Labor party have my congratulations (It hurts me to say it) for running a professional campaign and having the foresight to employ a team of marketers and strategists well before the election was called. Victoria was sold and empty box by professionals (that is not a slur) which is evidence of how effective their strategy and marketing team are.

The Labor party have no one to blame now, so it will be interesting to see
what they do. For all our sakes I hope they are careful.

Going Brackwards even faster now!

Even more concerned voter

Poor, old Jeff deserves everything he gets

I note with real amusement the reference to ‘poor old’ Jeff.

Yes, indeed, we ought to be sorry when an incompetent bully gets his comeuppance. How about feeling sorry for those people who had to put up with him, during his reign?

Do you know about his ludicrous little V(for Victoria) pins that senior public servants were compelled to wear at all times? And the way that he yelled and roared at people who had forgotten to wear one (and he didn’t care who was listening?). Talk to people who had served this state for many years about how it felt to be roared at by this school yard bully.

Or ask a former manager from DNRE who was sacked by Kennett in the most needlessly cruel manner, and then told, as he was going out the door “Don’t jump off the balcony when you get home will you?”

I have no doubt that any number of people who had to put up with him could improve on these stories to the power of nine. It seems as if it’s axiomatic that little boy entrepreneurs can dish it out, but they don’t like it coming right back at them.

Carmel Boyle

Carlton football club: the ‘hunter’ has become ‘the hunted’

As a life-long North Melbourne supporter, can I only express my glee at the impending demise of Carlton. Much like Enron, former financial darlings, it would seem that the high-flying moneybag boys have been dipping their sticky paws into the till more than anyone could have suspected.

I recall a period where the arrogant scum embarked on a campaign to buyout North Melbourne. The fact that they lured Denis Pagan away with filthy lucre only makes the matter worse. Yet now in the immortal words of Monty Burns, “the worm has turned! The hunter has become the hunted!”

Can I hereby suggest all concerned AFL fans assist in a tin-rattling campaign? We should all collect as much cash as possible and hire US lawyers and accountants that eat their own young to pick out the final holes in the Carlton books and consign the bastards to the dustbin of history once and for all.

You’d think a white knight would emerge from amongst Carlton’s moneyed supporter base but alas, no.

Rory Cahill

Player managers just as farcical as the Carlton board

In relation the whole Carlton fiasco, one thing seems to have escaped the
gaze of the media and the AFL.

Just who were the player managers of these cheats when the salary cap was being rorted? It seems amazing that these people have not been identified for the rorters
that they are.

It must have been obvious to the managers that these players were being paid additional monies from their negotiated contracts, and if so were the
managers copping a sling on the side or were they extracting their usual
cut? Either way this makes the managers just as culpable as the players and the members of the Carlton board who were shelling out the money.

If this proves to be true, what action does the AFL intend to take in
relation to these managers future dealings with the AFL? If they do
nothing, as it appears, are they are condoning this behaviour?

Does the AFL consider this unethical behaviour acceptable and will it want to continue dealing with these people as representatives of the players?

Another aspect which may be worthwhile considering is that of taxation
returns. Just how much of the income paid to these cheats, which was
uncovered by the AFL investigation team was declared to the ATO or did the managers conspire with their clients to defraud the Commonwealth?

I am sure that if a few of these overpaid sportsmen and their managers had their names dragged through the courts as tax cheats as well as salary cap rorters, others may think twice about doing it again.


Salary breaches well hidden for some time

Is it true that Ron Evans was the architect of Essendon’s salary cap
breaches in the early 1990s? I’m not sure, I think Essendon went over
the Salary Cap in 1993 and Ron Evans resigned as president in 1992 but
he may have still been on the Essendon board in 1993.

Also, it is interesting to see that Lloyd gets paid to write on the
Essendon website and that Hird works in the Private Client division of
JB Were and that Ron’s son David Evans is MD. Also, seems the ATO left the Essendon players alone but this would have nothing to do
with Costello being the Club’s no.1 ticket holder then and the
Commissioner of Taxation was also an Essendon supporter!!

Did you know Lloydy didn’t have to pay a cent to have is wedding at the
Casino? Now he should pay tax on that.

D. Edmunds

Sydney’s Brian Henderson roast shocking

I have to agree that the Brian Henderson Roast was awful. The ‘jokes’ were largely tasteless or just not funny, and some of the presenters were odd choices to say the least. One pair was a radio presenter duo, and it was obvious that Hendo had little idea who they were or what they were doing there.

It is a measure of the depths the event plumbed that Brian’s normally masklike face actually showed some emotion. Unfortunately it looked to be profound embarrassment.

Mary McNamara

Further disappointment…

As an avid news watcher and (typical Sydneysider) unabashed Brian
Henderson fan, I looked forward to seeing his farewell event at 7.30
last night.

What an absolute disappointment!

Sure, Brian might not mean much to the rest of Australia (unless you
can remember Bandstand in the 1950’s and 1960’s) but he has been reading
the news in Sydney for over 40 years. To locals he is the news reading
version of your favourite pair of jeans – comfortable and dependable.

Brian is also a television icon, having been around since day one more
or less.

I had hoped that Channel Nine would have done him some justice last
night, but alas they made one of his final television appearances very

The ‘Toasters and Roasters’ were nothing short of crude, tacky and
crass. Hendo looked very uncomfortable as they tried to be funny.

When Aussie TV turns 100 the programme directors at Nine will cringe as they dust off this piece of TV history and blush at the way one of the founding forefathers of the industry in Australia was farewelled.


An Opposer who enjoyed the evening

I missed the first half hour but found the rest very funny and
enjoyable. I strongly object to some of the things Nine/Packer have done;
look what ACA has become and their campaign that you could believe it
cause “Brian told me so” was most objectionable. The Roast was good
entertainment, lots was tongue in cheek and outrageous but witty, and
even those who roasted Brian unmercifully showed a genuine respect and
affection for him.

Loved the part where Doug Mulray, two minutes into his
speech stopped and asked ” Kerry, how much time have I got?” Brian’s
response was excellent particularly as it was not a prepared speech,
he dealt with a little bit of what each speaker had said.

It was what it was, you would have to have ridiculous and unrealistic expectations not to have enjoyed this program.

John Hughes

Globalisation hurting Australian jobs

Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN
JAPAN) for 6 A.M. While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN MALAYSIA).

After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA)
he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN!) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN KOREA) and continued his search for a good paying AUSTRALIAN JOB. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day, Joe decided to relax for a while.

He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN NEW ZEALAND) and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why
he can’t find a good paying job in AUSTRALIA!

Peter Verstappen