There are plenty of media professionals still bludging this week, while
the majority of workers are back in the office. Crikey has been
back for a week but who is still slacking off? Let us know at [email protected]

Sealed Section January 12

Australians are arguably the most leisure-focused people in the
world. With four weeks annual leave and about 12 additional national
public holidays, the Aussie worker works less than most.

Most journalists and media professionals get about six weeks holiday a year, although they are expected to work public holidays.

Crikey staff are now back in the bunker and all but one was back last
Monday so we’re getting on our high horse to name and shame those media
bludgers who aren’t back in the saddle yet.

The major newspapers
have been doing their job, producing daily editions. With the exception
of the Fin Review they all published on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and
New Years Day.

So which media outlets are taking what holidays?

Bulletin hasn’t had an edition out since its special “summer reading”
edition on December 16 but it should have a new edition out this
Wednesday. BRW also had a summer edition stretching from December 18 to
January 14 and should be out this week as well. The first 2004 edition
of Eric Beecher’s Reader won’t be out until January 22.

staff on the women’s mags work harder than most as Woman’s Day and TV
Week didn’t miss a week whilst Kerry Stokes’s New Idea did take one
week off.

On TV, 60 Minutes has been taking a two month break
and will be back “early in 2004” according to its website. Does the
non-ratings period really need to go until the end of January, when
most people have returned to work and are back in their regular viewing
patterns by now?

ABC’s Mediawatch won’t be back until February
either after taking more than two months off although Aunty claims this
is partly budget driven.

It is good to see that A Current
Affair, Today Tonight and The 7.30 Report have all continued throughout
the holiday season with stand-in hosts, although Stateline is off air
until Friday, February 6. The Stateline NSW webpage says they won’t
even be back in the office until after the Australia Day long weekend.
Nice break if you can get it.

Most of the shock jocks have all been slacking off as well and won’t be back for at least another week.

Parrot has been off his perch since December 12 and won’t be back this
week, while George Moore is still filling in for John Laws over at 2UE.
And Melbourne 3AW listeners will have to endure Ross Warneke in the
mornings and Denis Walters at drivetime for another week.

ABC’s Victorian superstar Jon Faine seems to be perpetually on holiday
so it is no surprise that he still isn’t back whilst ABC Sydney’s
Breakfast giant killer Angela Catterns is still off celebrating her
ratings victory over the Parrot whilst James Valentine keeps her chair

ABC 774’s regular drive host Virginia Trioli was out of
holidays after getting married in Italy last year so she has been
hosting the breakfast show over the summer break whilst Red Symons
takes a long break.

The ABC’s current affairs team have been
running at half-pace with shortened editions of The World Today, though
AM and PM have been close to full strength for the last week. The
transcripts have also been very slow in appearing online.

Radio Australia’s specialist current affairs program “Asia Pacific” was back on air last Monday, after a two week break.

morning current affairs television is also not up and running again so
we still don’t know what Barry Cassidy’s Insiders couch panel think
about Mark Latham being Labor leader. Yes, it’s been that long.

Who else has been bludging? Let us know yours stories from across the country at [email protected].


Sealed Section January 19

As we know the Parrot was back at work this morning but which big names in the media are still bludging?

The papers have been coming out everyday but without some of their biggest names.

SMH columnist Miranda Devine is still on holiday with the ABC’s Sally
Loane filling in for her. And the Hun is still getting by without the
big three – cartoonist Mark Knight, bullyboy columnist Andrew Bolt and
business commentator Terry “the hyphen” McCrann.

But Rear Window was back on deck for The Fin this morning (although
there was a literal in the first par of the lead item) and we’re
looking forward to Michael West’s Margin Call coming back in The Oz

It is good to see the Oz’s Strewth column is back up to full speed but
when is The Age’s Jonathon Green coming back to his ‘The Last Word’
column; his stand-in Steve Waldon produced one of the worst columns
Crikey has read in a long time today.  Waldon even admits his copy
is bad and blames the “unilateral imposition of an uncivilised deadline
by a person or persons unknown, requiring this column to be written in
the fog that follows a barbeque at East St Kilda on Saturday
night”.  Please hurry back Jonathon.

Melbourne’s new all-sports radio station SEN 1116 was launched today,
with afternoon host Francis Leach going head-to-head with wife Lynne
Haultain, who also returned to work on ABC 774’s afternoon program

Most ABC local radio presenters are back from today, which means Crikey
will also be back on the radio tomorrow. Crikey will be in his regular
slot with Sally Loane on ABC 702 at 9.40am tomorrow morning and with
Virginia Trioli on ABC 774 at 5.40pm but there was still no sign of Jon
Faine this morning.

And John Laws, Mike Carlton and Steve Price have all joined the Parrot back
on the Sydney airwaves today, according to the 2UE website.

Full marks to the ABC’s Stateline in Queensland for coming back early
to cover the state election but the rest of the country will have to
wait until another two weeks.

And none of the regular TV current affairs hosts, including Kerry
O’Brien, are back yet. TV ratings don’t begin again until the week
beginning February 15. 

There are plenty more media bludgers out there – even Not Good Enough’s
top 10 won’t be back until January 27 – so keep sending them through to
[email protected].



Congrats Crikey on highlighting the astonishing exodus by Australia media at Christmas.

of the more bizarre examples involves ABC Radio which broadcasts an
afternoon programme to Sydney from…Newcastle; complete with that
city’s weather updates and other local flim flam!

We live in city of 4 plus million people and the ABC can’t sustain a Sydney-based programme during the holidays?



We’re still here too!

“No bloody holidays at all.

Today Show wage slave”

No excuses for Aunty’s bludging

Dear Crikey,

To follow up:  I think that you’re right about the ABC.  For
other media it’s presumably a market judgement [though many smaller
magazines such as Australian Book Review and Eureka Street often
combune issues in mid-year and year’s end (producing only 10 issues a
year)] but the situation is deplorable on ABC Radio.  In earlier
times it was even worse, with [then] both AM and PM off the air for
ages — this time AM ran for longer but they seemed asleep [in their
news judgements: for example, missing the UNSW scientific fraud
pre-Christmas story entirely].  And look at all the other programs
having a long summer recess of “repeats”.  Now much of this
material warrants a further hearing [though much is rebroadcast at the
time] and it’s excellent to hear some classics again — like Tim
Bowden’s New Guinea series; but to have no new material on the Health
Report, The Law Report and so on, isnt’, to my mind, remotely good
enough.  The newspapers manage to provide coverage when their
specialist reporters have holidays, and so should the ABC.

Best, JJC

Bolt and the Canberra Times

Andrew Bolt has been off the radar (as they say) since well before
Christmas and no sign of a return to work.  Has anyone checked his
milk/newspapers, he might be dead!!

The Canberra Times public service reporter Verona Burgess is also
apparently on holiday and this has also meant that the Public Sector
Informant, the monthly CT supplement aimed at the public service, was
not issued for January 2004. None of this is any big loss. 
Burgess is a power worshipper and therefore a sucker for a Departmental
Secretary’s speech or media release,  and the same sort of lazy
sycophancy pervades the Informant.


Long holidays at Workers Online

“Dear Crikey,

Talking about media blugers I saw this email from Workers Online:

“Thanks for your support, have a lazy January and we’ll be back early February for another year of rabble-rousing.”

February, that’s not a bad break , I must become a worker.

The Employer”

The best media is already back!

Dear Crikey,

You did not mention the best of the lot being back at work – the Alex
cartoon has returned to the Financial Review. Most of us look at the
Alex first and then read the stodgy stuff. Half of the dodgy deals and
ripoffs from the cartoons in Alex also turn up in real life within a
couple of years in the financial markets.


Enforced holidays at Gardening Australia

What about the ABC’s Gardening Australia show – their latest promo
proudly states: returning February 20. Nice break if you can get it or
is it too hot/humid to garden?

Cheers, B

CRIKEY: Gardening Australia is still in recess due to Alston’s budget
cuts; its programming year was cut short, hence the longer-than-usual

No supplements from The Age

I nominate staff at The Age as being major media bludgers!  I know
they produced papers every day over the holiday period, but what
happened to the weekend supplements ie. Weekend Magazine in the two
weekends after Christmas?  They only just got their act together
last weekend.

Cheerfully yours, Sophia

Full freight for half-weight Saturday papers

Crikey, not quite in the same vein but I get annoyed this time of year
at the way the “serious” papers, such as the SMH and the Weekend
Australian, produce token Saturday editions (ie without magazines, with
reduced feature sections and the news coverage shrunken) and still
charge the same heavy price as they do the rest of the year, when the
paper could kill the cat if the delivery person had a good right arm.
David W, Hobart. 

Most of Europe gets six weeks of leave

I think your assertion about Aussies being lazy, based on our holiday allocations, is ridiculous.

The American two weeks of annual leave contributes to theirs being one
of the most insular societies in the world. Why go overseas when you’ve
only got two weeks holiday?

Most of Europe, on the other hand, gets six weeks, and many countries,
such as France and Germany have shorter working days (and thus shorter
weeks). (While remaining productive, I might add – face hours are not
that important to output, you know.)

Australia is in about the middle for allocated holidays, and if you
talk to any expats who have worked in other societies, or foreigners
working here, you will find Australians towards the top of the list for
innovation, effort and efficiency.

The quality of our work ethic, and commitment to results is quite
obvious when you look at what we achieve on the world stage compared to
our population – we’re fighting way above our weight and we’re holding
our own.


Neil Mitchell is a hypocritical


Anyone who listened, even sporadically, to 3AW during the early Kennett
years and probably beyond, would remember Neil Mitchell’s infrequent
public excoriations of teachers. Realizing that his unofficial brief as
Kennett’s number one media cheerleader gave him carte blanche to
slander anyone who opposed or even questioned Kennett, Mitchell’s
routine on at least one occasion even allowed Kennett to play good cop
and come to the defence of teachers on Mitchell’s regular Thursday
morning schmooze.

Now, I should say that I’m a primary teacher in the Victorian state
school system, and yes, the holidays are generous. They are definitely
longer than the average working person’s four weeks per year. But so
are Mitchell’s holidays. I’m not sure about the arithmetic on this but
I’d be guessing that Mitchell is never on air during non-ratings
periods, and they seem to take up at least eight weeks.

Like most shock-jocks, and I’m always surprised when someone praises
his journalistic skills and reputation, particularly since the expose
on, the thin-skinned right-winger is a hypocrite. He enjoys
holidays that stretch far in excess of the four weeks per year norm.

But let’s be absolutely clear about this: he needs to take longer, more
frequent holidays and expose us all to less of his blatant
neo-conservative bias.


Media holidays in the office

You don’t have to be out of the office to be on holidays. The AM story
this morning about Joh Bjelke-Petersen turning 93 would have to be one
of the worst non-stories of the  summer. Three minutes of chook
noises would have been more relevant. And to add insult to injury the
old coot can’t even talk – now there’s the makings of a good radio
story. (I am prepared to concede there may be a case that Joh makes
more sense now than he did when he could speak, but my case stands).

Hugo Armstrong

Publishing on X-mas day and the replacements

I note you indicated all Metro newspapers were published on Christmas
day, however the Brisbane Courier Mail was not published; Also re the
number of “Presenters” on holidays, from observation it appears that in
many instances those who have been sitting in for regular newsreaders,
current affairs etc. are in many instances far more presentable, and
acceptable than those they replaced, eg. No frowns on Today Tonight etc