Telstra’s broadband “service”

Last night’s 7:30 Report (11/03/04) on Telstra and Broadband in the
bush hit the mark in this household. We live just 4km past the
last urban shire boundary of Perth, only 56km from Perth CBD as the
crow flies, we get monthly spam from Telstra inviting us to take
advantage of cheap broadband deals, but there is no such service on
offer here and no hint of when it will become available.

I just whish they’d would stop sending the spam until such time as they have the services on offer available here.

Not happy, Ziggy

Four Corners does a great job

Another brilliant piece of work from 4 Corners last night on “The Speed Trap“.
Gangland killings by the dozens are a fact in Victoria right now.
That means fighting over “ownership of turf.” A clear indicator
that “green lights” are all over the place. For the Commissioner
of Police to say it’s under control and police are being disciplined,
is farcical. Well done to the Four Corners team and also to Adam
Shand’s earlier effort in BRW. Drugs have been destroying our
youth for decades and they also tear into the very fabric of our
society. The precise reason why we need strong federal
whistleblower legislation.

Four Corners fan

Are the police watchdogs really watching?

The 4 Corners report stated that there were strong arguments for
Victoria needing NSW style watchdogs such as the Police Integrity
Commission, Independent Commission Against Corruption and Royal
Commissions of inquiry. Despite some success nailing a few corrupt low
ranking officers these watchdogs have ignored systemic entrenched
corruption and cronyism within the top ranks of the NSW Police Service,
as well as the rigging of the promotion system. The Wood Royal
Commission also put into the too hard basket, allegations that top
police knew of or were involved in the cover-up of the activities of
paedophiles. Victoria should learn from these failures when
setting up its own anti-corruption watchdogs.


Ease up on the Victorian coppers

Fair go Crikey, your report and that of your NSW mate requires some response….

Firstly, the levels of corruption within Victoria Police have never
been so rampant as they are or were in NSW or QLD. Every cart has
a few bad apples and it can be fairly surmised that the explosion of
political correctness in the force, thanks to the do-gooder left and
civil libertarians has probably contributed to the increase in corrupt
activities. You pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

As to wanting wider reporting of the program, surely you of all people
are well across the laws of defamation. The program will be
edited for airing in Melbourne next week, probably so to avoid a
defamation writ should it be shown in the form it was last night.
You might also note that Wayne Strawhorn, around whose charges the
program is largely based, is also currently facing a committal hearing
and is, despite the ABC’s best efforts, entitled to a fair trial –
hence why the Age and the Hun had little to say.


Poor old Joh’s dying to get his hands on the money

Is it just me? I have wondered why all the news reports of “Sir Joh
near death” has neatly tied in with that family’s claims for $1.5 mill
from the Qld Govt. Since the latest financial knockback for the
Bjelke-Petersen family, his health issues have not been reported as
much (apart from Thursday’s issue of The Oz). Interesting…


Herald Sun treatment of Steve Bracks

Have you copped the Herald Sun
treatment this morning (12/03/04) of Steve Bracks, the Camel-eating
pollie. What is going on here? Is this man the Premier of Victoria or a
Neighbours starlet?

And what sort of insight did we gain from this? Does the Herald Sun do
hard news these days or is it just another “Reality” show in ink?
Bracks’s minders are really showing off the pretty boy appeal of our
favourite Geelong supporter. But in doing so, do you think the average
Sun reader might just pause to think that the Bracks Arabian nights
tour is nothing more than a junket. If I see Steve’s goofy smile
staring out of the Yawn at Dawn again this week, I think I will puke.

A Geelong Supporter with attitude

Stealing the limelight at the once dreaded F1GP

I didn’t attend – watched on TV – but I thought Steve Bracks was a
little cheeky, positioning himself right in front of Michael Schumacher
during the podium presentation. So two national anthems were played
(German/Italian) with a static shot of Michael’s head and shoulders –
with the grinning cherub superimposed on his chest area. I can’t recall
seeing anything quite like it before – generally the pollies present a
trophy and then stand off to the side, and you barely see them.

Mind you they virtually ran off the platform as soon as the champagne was handed out. Didn’t want to get the suits sticky


Inflating attendance at the Grand Prix

A friend of mine was a volunteer at the track – and was given a CAMS
guest pass (good for general admission on every day) which he gave to
me. I noticed when using it that it was clipped at the gate and that
was that. I did not appear to be counted and the ticket was not
numbered. Does this mean that none of the people using these passes are
counted? Or, more likely, every pass is counted as attending, even if
they don’t?

A small thing but I reckon they give away some thousands of them.


Channel 9’s Boycott of F1 GP: What a Joke!

Your comment about Channel 9’s boycott of the 2004 Melbourne GP shows
what a shabby, ignorant, parochial and laughable little show they are.
The GP is broadcast to over 200 countries with an audience of over 350
million. There are many GP viewers in Australia and their level of
dissatisfaction with the coverage of the GP was never as high as when
Channel 9 covered it. Thankfully that period is now finished with C10
providing much superior service. Channel 9 can now concentrate on Rugby
League where the audience level and quality is a good match for them!

D. Michael

Tobacco “advertising” at the GP, dance parties and more

Whilst the Commonwealth’s Tobacco Advertising Prohibition Act (1992) is
under review there is still a lot of tobacco advertising going
on. A lot of people have been talking about the huge amount of
tobacco advertising at the Melbourne Grand Prix on the weekend; it was
over the top and it was outrageous. I see that the Dems have got
a bill in the Senate trying to knock out the exemptions that are in
place for international motor sport that permit kind of in your face
tobacco advertising and about time too!

But what has got a quite a few other people talking is the way that
tobacco companies have infiltrated the live music scene right around
Australia. It is well known that tobacco companies have had promo
people around the club scene for years. But now they seem to be
getting into music events in a big way. At big out door events
such as “Rock It” and “Good Vibrations” that attract thousands of
people seeking a good time, there are these really funky tents, with
retro furniture. Maybe looking for some shade, or somewhere to
sit, you go in and find out it is a dam big advertisement for
Peter Stuyvesant smokes. What a major turn off!

It’s also pretty ironic that the promoters of these events don’t list
the tobacco companies in their sponsors list like they do everyone
else. Maybe that’s because tobacco companies don’t want their
name or logo to appear there. You wonder how much money they fork
out to be able to make their sales pitch at these kind of events.
Someone said to me they heard it was around fifty thousand per event
which wouldn’t surprise me. Apparently, Imperial Tobacco has a
multi-million dollar advertising budget in Australia which is pretty
weird when you think tobacco advertising has been illegal in Australia
for years.

This week it has also been reported in Perth media that Imperial
Tobacco has been running sampling stalls at a couple of suburban
shopping centres last weekend. It makes you wonder what is going
on; because handing out free samples of smokes in public has been
illegal for years.


On the leadership skills of leaders

Far be it from me to defend John Howard’s practices, but there are at
least three obvious responses to your correspondent who asks “Why
should leading the Liberal Party or the Government be any different
from the requirements and expectations of leaders in companies?”
[Sealed Section, Thursday 11 March 2004 – 1st edition! – item 14]

Firstly, corporate leaders do not depend on their popularity with their
underlings for their positions, so they can engage in feedback and
leadership discussions with a degree of impunity that politicians
simply do not have. It’s rather easier to discuss and accept criticism
if your position is not threatened in the process.

Secondly, the degree of scrutiny corporate leaders are subject to is a
mere fraction of that under which political leaders are placed by the
media and the political process itself. Politics is fundamentally a
public activity, not only in the big issues but in every aspect of
daily life. Corporate commerce is a mile from that, even for the most
high profile listed company.

Thirdly, corporations have a single universal benchmark by which all
performance is ultimately judged – profit, commerciality, or whatever
name you care to use. This makes it far easier to resolve disputes,
because individuals have a common standard of measurement. In politics
by contrast, personal differences based on philosophy may well have no
common points of reference through which those differences can be
resolved. This means that there will always be many more debates and
points of difference in a political environment than a commercial one.

As a fellow corporate warrior, I agree the simplicity that derives from
a common purpose and framework is extremely attractive, and apparently
more efficient when compared to the sprawling cacophony of the
political arena. But to conclude that this means that corporate leaders
are better leaders than political leaders is no more insightful than
saying apples are better than oranges.

Hugo Armstrong

Constitutional conundrums

If Mike O’Shaughnessy (Yoursay, March 9) really does not know the status held by the
Governor-general whilst in London, or who fills the role in his
absence, he is hardly competent to even comment on Constitutional
matters, let alone hold office in the Australian Republican Movement.

His denial of the fact that Paul Keating suggested that a very
hypothetical Australian republic could be called ‘The Federal Republic
of Australia’ is wrong. I refer him to an article entitled
‘A Name Change?’ by Richard Macey published in the Sydney Morning
Herald of 27th February 1993.

Instead of branding David Flint a liar Mr O’Shaughnessy would do better
to explain why the ARM continue to claim that the Queen’s website
states that she is the Head of State of Australia. It

I wondered if the ARM might become a little more professional after
dumping Greg Barns, but the answer is obvious. Constitutional
Monarchists can sleep easily for as long as the ARM use people of the
calibre of Mr. O’Shaughnessy to represent them.

Dave Horkan

Response to Prof Flint

In his reply to my letter published in the Crikey sealed section on
March 11, Professor David Flint refers to Don Watson’s book
“Recollections of a Bleeding Heart” (by the wrong title) then further
misrepresents the book as follows: “I soon tracked down Paul
Keating’s own choice of a heading for a speech in the 1993 election.
The heading? You guessed it.’ The Federal Republic of Australia! As he
said as he wrote it with his Mount Blanc “ If we’re going to do it,
let’s call it by its right f****** name.”

The speech referred to was the one Paul Keating delivered at the ALP
campaign launch on 24 February 1993. The term “The Federal Republic of
Australia” did not even appear – let alone as a heading. This is what
Mr Keating said. “… we will set up a broadly based committee of
eminent Australians, including representatives of the States, to
develop a discussion paper which considers the options for a Federal
Republic of Australia.” Please note the use of ‘a’, not ‘The’.

He also mentions an article from the SMH (27 February 1993) by Richard
Macey saying, “It confirms, completely, my recollection”. However,
Macey makes the same error as Prof. Flint – using “the” instead of “a”
thus making a descriptive term into a suggested name.

But Prof Flint fails to quote further from that same article. Macey
went on to correctly quote the Keating use of the term “a Federal
Republic of Australia” but then admitted, “Although the words were
capitalised in the written text issued to journalists, a spokesman for
Mr Keating said he had not announced that Australia would be called the
Federal Republic. “It’s a term of description.” “

I’m sure Prof. Flint understands that there is considerable difference
between the descriptive “a Federal Republic of Australia” and his
supposed title “THE Federal Republic of Australia”.

Finally, it appears that Prof. Flint’s cute reference to the supposed
miss-hearing of ‘Federal’ as ‘Feral’ also originated in this article
with a quote from advertising executive Mr John Bevis. There’s nothing
about Keating’s audience miss-hearing him though.

Mr O’Shaughnessy will not be apologising – will Prof. Flint?

Mike O’Shaughnessy