NT and the death of a petty offender

Whilst it is slightly off topic, the tragic suicide death of 15 year
old Johnno Warramarrba in the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre has
been mentioned a number of times in responses to the Clare Martin
article. Something to note about the incident, and the improper use of
it as an example to prove a point in this debate, is the fact that the
boy involved was a repeat petty offender who had been involved with
authorities over 20 times. Four counts of theft were brought against
him by his own community who did not take the option of dropping the

Perhaps the most significant factor in his tragic decision to commit
suicide was the fact that correctional representatives were unable to
locate suitable housing or support for the boy as no one would take him
(including his extended family) and despite the outpouring of grief at
his death, he was never visited during his time in detention.

At his hearing, the magistrate asked if any of those present would
stand up and vouch for Johnno’s character. Whilst there were people
present who could have taken this opportunity to support the boy, no
one did.

This incident is obviously a very complex one and I don’t really think
that it serves as an example to bolster any of the arguments put
forward by previous correspondents. This should perhaps remind people
to be a little more careful in using examples to illustrate their

James from Perth

Question Time score card

Crikey wrote, “We scored it a win for Latham but it remains to be seen if the ALP wants an on-going focus on national security.”

I wouldn’t expect anything more from a so called Independent newspaper totally biased to the Labor Party.

What codswallop you say that he won the day?…absolute garbage…. the
man lost his cool just as he did with the Taxi Driver and it would be
newspapers like yours that would stir the voting public to vote for him.

You might be right about the divorcee bit, but get it right about the man’s attitude and personality.

I couldn’t for one moment imagine him as a leader of Australia, but
perhaps people with little or no intelligence can, especially those
that have so called mentors like Whitlam (were you born when he got the
sack for nearly selling the country to the Arabs?) and fight each other
for positioning, can.

Wake up Crikey, your the type that makes the well run wheel begin to squeak again by not giving it the correct attention.


Yet another Parrot goof

I too caught the parrot stuff-up on Nine and was talking later to a
mate from the channel who said the whole place was in stitches about it
but also being very careful so as not to be seen snickering by
management. This is what the place has come to since the inhuman, er
human resources mob moved in. My mate then told me about another parrot
clanger that was so bad that management ordered the tape destroyed and
threatened to sack anyone who kept a copy.

The clanger happened just after the parrot moved from UE to GB. The
parrot is always highly strung at this time of day but he was squawking
even more than usual because he was obviously nervous at both the new
surroundings and because the area at GB was smaller than what he was
used to at UE. He took it all out on the Nine technicians sent to set
things up. Even though this bloke had been doing the job every day at
UE for some time the parrot never even took the trouble to learn his
name, instead monstering him daily without let-up and referring to him
as “Fella”. All this was going back to the Nine studio, although not to
air, to the amusement of many.

As my mate tells it, things were just about set to go and the parrot
was sitting in front of the camera when the chair collapsed. He was
sprawled on the floor shocked for two or three seconds, a long time in
TV, his head filling the monitor and his look of sheer horror slowly
giving way to anger as his face went red and his eyes black. The
following tirade against everything in general and “Fella” in
particular was so savage that it made the Gloria tape look tame.

And guess what, rumour has it that there is a tape in existence but
we’re unlikely to see it until the owner quits the channel. I don’t
know who has the tape but I hope it’s Paul Fenn if the rumours about
him being squeezed out are correct.

Dumbing down of Triple J

I’ve noticed that there hasnt been any commentary about Triple J for a
while and I’m guessing that after many a death throw, its finally over.
People just arent bothered to listen anymore.

Why would they? Is it because Richard Kingsmill hasn’t updated his
profile page for 12 months? Or is it because Caroline Tran’s profile
still says that she’s doing Super Request, 4 years after Rosie Beaton
took her spot? Ok so Triple J has one of the most out of date and
non-cutting edge websites in the business but there must be more to
their decline

Triple J has been dumbed down and its all happened in the last 18months with the new management at the helm.

Remember the morning show? With reporters in each state they used to
inform teenagers throughout Australia and especially in remote regions
about sex, drugs, politics and science. I would argue that Science with
Dr Karl and Doin Drugs with Paul Dillon should be compulsary listening
to any high-schooler.

Well now its gone. Remember the arts show ? It used to be Creatures of
the Spotlight with Francis Leach and up until last year was bringing
culture to the masses with Fenella. Its gone too.

Remember the weekly J Files? Gone too. I’m not sure what Triple
J’s charter is. But I’m sure that it includes stuff about providing an
educational service to young aussies in remote areas.

So what has Triple J replaced these educational informative programs
with? More music and idle chatter. Monday to Friday from 9am to to
Midnight is just playlist music with 30minutes of current affairs from
Steve Cannane.

OK So Triple J has dumbed down .. can it get any dumber? As a former
staffer from a non metropolitan office I can say that Triple J has
dropped the ball on regional Australia. In 1989 when Triple J went
national staff were employed in almost every state. All staff are now
concentrated in Sydney and Melbourne. Just recently the last remaining
staff outside of Sydney and Melbourne were made redundant and often its
just too hard to book a studio in Canberra or Adelaide or Perth, so
that all content now comes from Sydney or Melbourne.

More music presented by air heads. Less talk including vital info on
Suicide prevention, voter education and drug use and a culture that is
concentrated in Sydney with a few pesky staff holding out in Melbourne.
No wonder people have given up on Triple J

Sideshow Bob
(former JJJ staffer who moved outside of Sydney and found that the work dried up as soon as he crossed the boarder)

Denton on Parkie and Meg Ryan

After the Andrew Denton’s interview with Michael Parkinson and
Parkinson’s comments on his Meg Ryan interview, plus the plugs by ABC
TV since, I was not alone in expecting a belligerent Meg Ryan on
Saturday’s edition of Parkinson. However, it was quite the

Parkinson’s aggressive unprofessional rudeness obvious before he’d
hardly opened his mouth, just by his body language, compared to Meg
Ryan’s tolerant intelligence in dealing with him left me gob
smacked. What was wrong with the man? He attacked her
personally without even allowing her to finish her answers.

Andrew Denton goes to No. 1 spot as chat show host in my opinion, this
after respecting and enjoying Parkinson’s contributions since the
1970’s!! Let’s hope Andrew Denton invites Meg Ryan very soon –
not that she would want to appear in such a show ever again.

Jo Justin

Images of Madrid

Thanks Lisa from Sydney for details of the Oz media’s use of the grisly
images from Madrid. It was interesting to note, because as an Aussie
journalist working in London (who instinctively picked up every paper
the day after the bombings) I too noticed manipulation of that
particular pic. Attendance at far too many fatal car accidents gives
one an unenviable knowledge of what is, and what is not, bloody, human
flesh and I am sure the ”chunk” referred to was human.

What did the UK media do? Associated News’ commuter rag The Metro ran
the pic Pg3 colour with the offending item unaltered. The Independent’s
new ”compact” (don’t say tabloid!) edition also ran the pic, leaving
the piece in, but on a mono page, but Aussie Robert Thompson at the
Times (again, in a ”compact” edition) used the picture the largest,
in colour, but minus the offending chunk. The crude digital
manipulation – the lazy cloning of large stones – would have been
obvious to every reader. Lisa has a point … this raises some serious
questions. The Times did not inform its readers they were looking at a
digitally altered image. Do they have a right to know? Where does it

And just as a postscript, why would any paper move to ”water down”
the impact of such a grotesque act of violence? It’s terrorism. There
is blood. There are body parts. THAT’S the news, is it not? Indeed,
Lisa, where do we draw the line?


Cosgrove should follow Keelty’s lead

I suggest you keep an eye on Peter Cosgrove between now and the federal
election. He is the Tubby Taylor of Australian public servants – a
card-carrying, sewn-up John Howard man. As latest evidence see his
gratuitous intervention in Howard, Downer and Ruddock’s beat up of Mick
Keelty shows it.

We deserve better than that from our civil servants, from whom we once
expected impartiality. The Office of National Assessments showed its
politicised colours at the last election by allowing Howard to
misrepresent one of its documents at a press conference.

Now Defence, under the appalling Cosgrove, looks set to follow suit.

All I’m saying is, let’s watch him and hold him to account. This is our country, not his.


Letter on Sheridan

One can only assume the Australian has let Greg Sheridan loose on its
editorial space (We were right to go to war against Iraq). It reads
like a rehash of his more shrill and uncritical outpourings from the
last 18 months.

Whoever the author, it couldn’t have been more pro-Bush Administration
had the order that it be written come direct from the office of Dick
Cheney himself.

The sub-text, as ever, is the end justifies the means – as long as it’s
American neo-conservative political ends. And, as there is no
qualification whatsoever attached to this stance, this is where the
motives of the author become most questionable, especially in an
Australian newspaper.

Sad to see the most risible and discredited old lies and misinformation
still continues to be peddled, as if saying them often enough will make
them fact. WMDs; alleged links with international terrorism; Saddam as
Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini rolled into one. (Certainly Saddam was bad
and dangerous, especially to his own people, but no one is that bad.
It’s childish to say otherwise.) The one about Central African uranium
must have been ignored as even the US found that one ludicrous. Thanks

If there’s to be a policy on despots, let’s confront them all. Picking only on the one with oil just invites cynicism.

And even as the Pakistan army finally tackles a Taliban/al Qaeda
stronghold (when we will all rejoice if a king pin gets knocked over),
the question remains: why did the Bush administration turn from those
responsible for the 9/11 atrocity to tackle a former ally – secular,
‘modern’ – who Osama bin Laden would want nothing better than to
destroy? The greater Middle East peace strategy? Political expediency
at home? All it gave these terrorists was the breathing space needed to
regroup and continue on their bloody path.

But what was really sad about the editorial was that, in trying to bash
so many anti-Iraq war targets at once, it became so desperately
incoherent. That would have been a real disappointment for Dick.

Rob McKay

Latte lovers

I keep reading in your newsletter about ‘latte lovers’ and ‘latte liberals’ and ‘latte belt’.

Apparently if someone is concerned about anyone that is stuffing up the
things that provide clean air and water (and a good country for our
kids to live in) they automatically drink latte.

Well, I don’t drink latte. I don’t live in Sydney. I don’t seem to fit the Crikey image of a ‘tree hugger’.

But I do think there are a lot of pollies and journos and others who
are happy to make a quid out of raping Australia. I don’t like it. And
I’ll remember who they are when I vote later this year.

I know you’re probably overworked, crikey, but maybe you could you
think up a description that includes me when you are describing the
anti-redneck voters, and lay off the ‘latte’ bit.

Bob Ross

Security and the importance of police radios

Hello, hello, can you hear me? Over…. Twenty-nine years ago,
Australia witnessed the horror of Cyclone Tracy. In the weeks following
the disaster, various State police forces sent their members to Darwin
to help out.

However, there was a problem – none of these State police officers
could communicate with their Northern Territory counterparts – at that
time all Australian State police forces used different radio systems.

One of the lessons learnt from Tracy was the need for communications
interoperability between State police forces in time of disaster.
A standard set of police radio channels was assigned Australia-wide.

This system has worked very well for most of the intervening time – all
States and Territories could communicate inter and intra-state.

However, of late, some State forces have diverged from the national
plan. Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and South Australia
have all decided to migrate to different radio frequencies and
protocols, with the result that many forces are now unable to
communicate with their colleagues over the border.

In these times of increased security awareness, you would have thought
that the last thing we needed was communication problems between forces.

Surely, police communications are a national issue, and, as such,
should be managed federally? Apparently not – states rights, and
all that, you know..!

Has no one in the states learnt the lessons of Tracy?

The radio man…

Greg Barns gets miffed

Well, another sealed section from Crikey (Sunday 21st March), and
another spittle-flecked spray from Greg Barns about Bob Brown, this
time with Mark Latham thrown in for good measure.

I get the feeling Barns is constantly miffed at the continuing rise of
the Greens as a political force, and their desire to engage on a range
of issues beyond the environment. Heaven forbid that there may be some
politics involved in the process. How dare Bob Brown act like a wily
politician! Best if they go back to hugging trees and jolly well
shutting-up leaving the ‘serious’ parties to get on with the job.

Perhaps he is right. Perhaps this sort of power and politicking is
beyond the capabilities of the Greens. Perhaps they will implode,
racked by in fighting and relegated to the role of comproming
dealmakers in the Senate…er, a bit like the Australian Democrats.

Paul Brennan

Boring Barns

God knows why crikey publishes so much of Greg Barnes. Usually I
get to the second paragraph and can’t be bothered going on. He
must be the most boring person ever to put pen to paper. He’s
either a bleeding heart leftie or a rabid redneck. Quite frankly
he’s a waste of space and his opinions aren’t worth wasting my time
reading! He’s the same in the Mercury and on the Tasmanian Times
website – unreadable!

There, I got that off my chest!

A.H. Hobart