This week’s Yoursay covers everything from Derryn Hinch to
censorship and what happens when the Catholic Church sells up its

Grieving partners and Derryn Hinch

So what if Hinch revealed that Hookes had dumped his wife.  Who
cares?  He told the truth.  All we owe the dead is the truth.
I note that other male journalists were stabbing Hinch in the back, so
how many of THEM have dolly birds on the side that their wives don’t
know about.  Many “men” trade their wives in for a younger model
Would any of the journalists who are after Hinch’s hide dare to say
they have never been unfaithful.  I wonder if we dug into their
little dirt boxes if we would discover that they had NOT dumped their
wives and were carrying on with a bit on the side.  I wonder if
then they would shut their pious traps and admit that at least Hinch
tells the TRUTH.
At least David Hookes was separated from his wife and he can be
respected and mourned for the cricketer and sportsperson and generous
human being that he was to children and to his Bushrangers.
Bulleen VIC

Fanning and Barry on Cash and Bartlett

I don’t generally watch A Current Affair but managed to catch the show
on Thursday night with the Pat cash and Andrew Bartlett
interviews.  I can’t disagree more with your assessment of the
interviews and the strong performance of Barry and Fanning. 

Barry never asked Cash what the hell Philippoussis actually said to him,
a question that was screaming out to be asked.  I think even Cash
was waiting to be asked it. 

Similarly, Fanning, when Andrew Barlett said he wasn’t prepared to say
he was an alcoholic (he would leave that to others) never asked the
follow up question as to whether any health professionals had given
that diagnosis.  A fairly obvious follow up. 

Frankly despite past success I find Fanning and Barry to be no better
than there peers on similar tabloid, rubbish current affairs type
shows.  I certainly failed to see the quality you were talking


Aunty’s new Roy & HG

The solution to the Roy & HG question is obvious to anyone who’s
listened to the cricket coverage this summer – Harsha Bogle and Kerry

They were pants-wettingly funny at times (something that’s sadly now
a distant memory when it comes to Messers Doyle & Pickhaver) ,
especially because the last thing Kerry wanted to talk about was


The PM’s secretary did deserve her AO

How about a fair go for Barbara Williams AO, former Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister, who worked her guts out for years doing
incredible hours and an enormous amount of travelling, not only
overseas but within Australia.

Anyone who has done much travelling knows that the pleasure soon
disappears when you are working the whole time. I am sure that plenty
of people agree that those who do nothing but the job their employed to
do should not be rewarded with an Australian Honour. They should be for
people who do more than there paid job and in addition serve the
community in any variety of useful ways.

However there are certain jobs, especially working for politicians,
that require more than your 9 to 5 mentality and commitment. Barbara
Williams gave dedicated, loyal and professional service to John Howard
for many years, as well as others. Her service was beyond what could
rightfully be expected of a Private Secretary and therefore in my
opinion is most deserving of an Australian Honour.

If you want to criticise recipients there are plenty of others who appear less deserving.

South Yarra VIC

The dummies guide to Mark Latham

Chris Saliba’s detailed hatchet job, The dummies guide to Mark Latham,
made interesting, if somewhat tortuous, reading. I am neutral regarding
the Opposition leader, and know little about his ideas, so read the
article with interest. However, three things in the piece stood out for
Firstly, it appears that for Chris, Mark Latham has never had a good
idea; or if he had one, it was unworkable. Many points are simply
reported, but if there is a comment from the writer, it is invariably
critical or sarcastic.
Secondly, when someone tells you “Here’s a sentence picked at random”,
and then uses it to illustrate a point they’re trying to make, methinks
the “at random” bit can be taken with a grain of salt.
Thirdly, Chris writes that Latham says “For inspiration we should look
to Asian economies, with their ‘common Chinese culture.’ This will no
doubt surprise many, that a free market democracy should look to
communist China for inspiration.” Apparently, all that one of, if not
the oldest continuing civilisations on the planet has to offer
culturally is the last 70-odd years of communism.
Loose assumptions and sloppy writing (which are some of the things
Chris accuses Latham of) only serve to weaken arguments and cause
readers like me to look askance at the other conclusions drawn in the
But thanks, Crikey, for allowing Chris somewhere for Chris to place his
article, and for me to respond. (A point some of the respondents to the
Hookes’ affair spindoctor, seem, in their outrage, to have forgotten.)
Donn Wood

Hillary’s spray at the Aunties

While I agree substantially with what Hillary Bray has said about
Blair’s and Howard’s triumphalism and how Gilligan’s mistake may have
allowed the UK and Oz governments off the hook, I wonder if she has
been as intellectually rigorous with herself as she is on the two

She says, “It is, alas, never enough for the media to know they are
right.  They need to be able to prove it – or at least mount a
highly credible case,” while attributing to the ABC and the BBC “smug
and sneering arrogance with which they broadcast this news [that the
existence of weapons of mass destruction, was a load of bullsh]”.

What are her (multiple) sources for this? Can she prove it, or mount a
highly credible case? More credible than the one which Gilligan made
and which most of us still believe anyway, but which got the Beeb into
so much trouble? (After all, why would Kelly have risked his position
and reputation by speaking to Gilligan if not to express SOME
discontent with the way intelligence was being handled?)

I never had the sense, listening to or watching either the Beeb or the
ABC, that they were smug or sneering or arrogant. But maybe Hillary
feels, even knows, that she is right. And yet, as she says, it is never
enough for the media to know they are right.

Was this Lord Hutton, by the way, the same Lord Hutton who was involved
in the Widgery report into the 1972 Bloody Sunday killings and which
was such a whitewash that Blair had to open another inquiry?

Graham Giblin
Croydon NSW

Answering the Hutton questions

Further to comment and question by Graham Giblin, much of what anyone
needed to know about Lord Hutton can be found on the following link: Indymedia – Who Is Hutton?
In summary,  Junior Attorney-General Northern Ireland from 1960s, including glowing performances in:

  • Time in Northern Ireland’s infamous “Diplock Courts” where Hutton
    acted as both judge and jury, convicting many innocent Irish to years
    behind bars
  • Londonderry “Bloody Sunday” Massacre cover-up (Widgery Inquiry,
    1972. Full of classic snow jobs, such as the one with a British soldier
    who wanted to appear to testify about the cold-blooded murders by his
    colleagues, to be told: “We won’t have much use for you here today”)
  • Snow-job on European Human Rights Commission alleging abuses against Irish detainess (1978)
  • Pinochet affair (Hutton attacked the judge who got the Chilean
    dictator detained for trial as a mass murderer-torturer. The “grounds”
    for the attack, and subsequent release of Pinochet, were that the judge
    had a “connection to Amnesty International” and therefore could not be
    deemed impartial!)
  • Shayler trial, where Hutton helped put ex-MI5 David Shayler in
    jail on grounds that Shayler’s whistle-blowing over British secret
    service-funded and directed terrorist bombings in Libya could not be
    considered “in the public interest”, as Shayler’s defence claimed.


What’s with the all the f*cken asterisks?

I know that this is utterly trivial but I am always amused about the
way the Australian media treats words that are not nice (even though
virtually every child and adult uses them these days (and for some it
is the largest part of their vocabulary!)

However, I did not expect to see the following yesterday from the fearless Crikey:

One of his minions telephoned Cricket Australia chairman Bob Merriman
last Sunday to ask where The Parrot would be seated.  Merriman,
long a target of the Parrot’s beak, replied that Jones could sit on his
a*se, like everyone else.

So I was simply gobsmacked today when I read:

Alastair Campbell’s own diaries reveal that it would “fuck (reporter
Andrew) Gilligan” if defence expert David Kelly was identified, but
Hutton said there was no covert plan to get Kelly’s name out in the

Now what I want to know is how sub-editors determine when asterisks are
used and where they are positioned. Is there a manual for each
publication? Is it determined by the personal view of an individual or
do they consult superiors before deciding?

I believe that we need standardisation for this form of self-imposed censorship:

Should arse become a*se or ar*e or even *rse, should fuck be f*ck
or fu*k or *uck, and what about motherf**ker, or even the word that
dare not speak its name in the press because the
millions who use it every day might be offended by the word c**t.

Yes, I told you it’s completely trivial but the preciousness of the
media here is pathetic and you appear to have followed the crowd.


CRIKEY:  It nice to know that Crikey is thought of as
“fearless”, but is it is not fear which drives Crikey to use asterisks in
the sealed sections.  Many of our subscribers received their
Crikey emails at work and most business censor emails and block
anything which contains words that might be considered “inappropriate”.  The asterisks
are just an easy way to get our message across to readers while fooling
the computers.

Telstra Money Grab

I have just received my latest Telstra phone bill which arrived in an
unusually large envelope…….larger than usual due to the number of
extra pages needed to explain some changes to various terms and
conditions, all aimed at squeezing every last cent out of us customers.

It is amazing Telstra gets away with this so easily and they are
masters of introducing so called “free services”, making customers
depend on the new service at which point they then charge usually
saying that it is “to improve customer service”…..the only truth here
is that there is no doubt they need to improve customer service.

Some of the changes are:

  1. No longer “rounding down” of accounts……that will get an extra few cents per month from every customer
  2. Increases in service charges for Operator Assisted Services…..great we get to pay more to speak to their computer.
  3. Late payment fee doubling to $11
  4. Making Call Connect and Yellow Pages calls TIMED rather than the
    existing flat fee….Connect Fee of 40 cents then 4cents per SECOND
  5. Charging for forwarding of Mailbox messages, previously no charge.

Nothing more to add other than TELSTRA GIVE ME THE S*%TS

O’Brien v Latham

I agree with JB about Kerry O’Brien’s attitude toward Latham (Second
Sealed, February 2), and I think it’s a generational thing. Krusty
Ol’Bastard is a baby-boomer who started his career with Big Daddy
Gough, and has worked around senior politicians throughout his career,
either with (as a Labor staffer) or against (as an investigative
journalist, esp. regarding Libs). He just can’t cope with the idea that
someone younger than him can be at the senior ranks of federal
politics. It’s an age thing.

He sneered at Costello too until he put O’Brien in his place. Latham
hasn’t done that to O’Brien – mind you if he did all the temperament
questions would come up again, and O’Brien is looking to goad him into
losing it on his show (see, I’ve still got it!).

When the Catholic Church sells up

Crikey’s Whistleblower story Cavalier developers strike in Kew
deals with the fate of another one of those magnificent Franciscan
properties from the 50’s spread particularly across the wealthier
suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney.   Where does all the money
go?   The Missions I hope?   But nothing (I repeat
nothing!!) is ever made public about these deals.

Some other Franciscan properties to go under the hammer in recent years
include the former Mount Alverna Retreat House in Burns Road Wahroonga
and the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Ave Maria Retreat House in
Wentworth Street, Point Piper, sold to Rodney Adler.

I would love to know more about the money made from these deals by the
legion of Catholic (I presume that they are Catholic?) solicitors,
valuers, accountants etc.   I am not suggesting anything
crook here at all.   In fact, I have nothing but respect for
the Franciscans and their work.  But, while dealing in Catholic
property has been going on for two thousand years, the massive
institutional expansion of the 50’s and the corresponding almost total
collapse from the 70’s to the present, has resulted in the secret
disposal of huge amounts of valuable Church property for undisclosed
amounts of money to unknown recipients without any public disclosure or

Maybe now is the time for all that to change, because until the veil of
secrecy is raised over money and personnel matters, the Catholic Church
remains open to the charge that it is a secret society.

John Russell

More transparency on the sale of Catholic properties

I agree with John Russell that the community needs to know more about
the sale of Catholic properties.  The Sacred Heart Church in
Mosman has torn down its school and is in the process of building
apartments on the old school site.  This property was originally
gifted to the Church by the community for use as a school.  This
will result in a relatively open space which was available for use by
community being converted into 5 story apartments.  I do not know
how the Church can argue that private apartments meet the requirement
that the property be used for community purposes.  Of course, the
Church is not selling the freehold but retains the right to buy back
apartments when they are on-sold (I’m sure this would not be at market

Other aspects of the development do not smell right either.  The
development was approved on the basis that it was for people aged over
55 (SEPP 5).  However, this has not been a requirement included in
advertising for sale of the apartments.  In addition, the approval
was in my view rail-roaded through council with very little
debate.  Some of the Councillors voting on the approval have close
relationships with the Catholic Church.  I have been advised that
these relationships do not breach restrictions on conflicts of interest
as there was no direct pecuniary link – however, it is hard to see how
a lifetime relationship can be easily disassociated.

Name Withheld

More spin on weapons of mass

Today’s SMH (online) PM admits weapons claims may have been wrong
(February 3, 2004 – 1:12PM) has to be political spin at its most
insidious. Here is the PM humbly suggesting that we should cut the
intelligence folks some slack and that “investigations could prove
intelligence agencies were wrong about Iraq’s weapons of mass
destruction. But he said it was wrong to suggest the intelligence was
bogus, or that agencies made up material in their pre-war assessments
on Iraq.”

Bush and Blair are on the same tack pleading for us not to be to hard
on the spooks who, as it turns out, and much to our surprise, might
have been wrong about the “Weapons of Mass Distraction”.

How is it that the media are allowing this? Why aren’t they pointing
out that the problem isn’t with the intelligence but with the way the
pollies twisted, manipulated, cajoled and selected the intelligence
data to suit the political agenda of going to war?

Why are they offering the tissues for the crocodile tears to the PM
obviously finally having to face the music on the lack of WMD evidence?
His story is subtle and clever but not new, its called “shotting the
messenger” and now with the twist of asking us to show mercy. Why do I
get the sense that in a couple of months we will see them role out the
sacrificial lambs in the form of some middle management ASIO folks?

If the media doesn’t take them on, we will become victims of the
greatest spin campaign to date. Here is where we need to stop with the
euphemism and call it by its true name, propaganda. How can we not be
cynical about politicians and politics, and what’s worse is that we
have no-one else to blame than ourselves as we keep letting them SPIN
us around with their propaganda..


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