The NAB’s Catholic policy

As the foundations of the largest of the 4 pillars crumble, it’s interesting to reflect on a little of “The National’s” history. Crikey mentioned recently that Cath Walter was the First Catholic Director of the NAB. Let’s go back to the late 60’s when Frank Cicutto was one of the privileged few Catholics to be granted access to the National’s hallowed halls of employment. In its prior history, The National had a strict employment policy “Catholics are Verbotten”.

This policy was clearly laid down in the sections of the National’s “Supplementary Manual” that were available to only those who controlled the employment process, namely “Personnel Department”. The story goes that this was to control the possibility of Catholic Staff getting into bed with Catholic Customers and providing them with advantages (and presumably loans) that circumvented the usual strict and conservative controls – ie. Catholics weren’t to be trusted. No, I’m not Catholic and Yes, I have worked for the National.


Media Double standards

I was puzzled by “sick of media double standards” email claiming that the media was not giving the same attention to the ethnic backgrounds of Melbourne’s gangsters as they are to Sydney’s.

I’m not aware of any common ethnic factor in the Melbourne gang wars. Veniamin’s funeral was Greek Orthodox, Moran had an Irish name but was educated (according to Crikey) at an Anglican school. Gatto is presumably Italian, Kinneburgh was raised a Catholic, Williams seems to be an Anglo.

If “sick of media double standards” knows of a hidden ethnic link among these people and their associates, then he/she should let us know. On the other hand, if there are members of the feuding Sydney gangs who are not Lebanese Muslims, then we also need to be told.

I suspect the reality is that “sick” hasn’t really thought very much at all about this, it’s more the Pavlovian reaction of the sub rational sentimental bourgeoisie progressive. I’m sure it’s well meant, but it’s actually counter productive because it makes “sick” look stupid and shallow


Inter-city rivalry

Hilary Bray (“Will Clover Moore be a boon for Melbourne?”) seems to think that there’s some benefit in Sydney and Melbourne competing for business. I wasn’t sure whether Hilary was from the home of inferiority complex (Melbourne), or she just doesn’t like Clover Moore, but either way I’d suggest that inter-city competition is pointless if not frequently wasteful. Friendly and good-natured competition on the sports field, or in the arts, I can understand (even involve myself in), but competing for business always seems to be petty and expensive. The Herald reported on a study some time back, which noted that the cost of business “welfare” exceeds that of social welfare. Much of this business welfare comes in the form of business assistance (tax breaks, land grants, etc) designed to attract potential business away from rival states – all generously funded by the tax payer of course. A little less competition, a little more consultation please

Stuart Wonson

Intelligence briefings

It would make great sense and save a lot of time and public money to have joint briefings of the Opposition Leader and Prime Minister by intelligence officials.

Security intelligence briefing sessions by senior officials from all relevant departments and instrumentalities of politicians should be bipartisan events from now on, as it will require all available knowledge and brain-power to protect Australia and its citizens from the increased threat we may face owing to our involvement in the US war on Iraq.

Sessions would comprise an introduction and briefing by the official(s), followed by questions and answers in turn by each politician, without any comment or interjection by the other during that exchange.

A note-taker for each side should be in attendance.

The sessions should be generous and allow a good hour for each exchange.

If Messrs Howard, Downer & Hill were serious about our safety and security they would take up this sort of initiative, rather than make our intelligence operations and personnel vulnerable.

April Pressler

John Laws vs Mark Latham

How is it that someone like John Laws can have a telephone poll after his manipulations of Mark Latham, live, to air, and what’s more publish the results? Mark Latham is doing a remarkable job (no pun intended). Who are these listeners who first of all listen to Laws, are influenced by him, and will probably vote the way he wants them to and secondly what is all this stuff about, he said, you said, he said. Laws is no Philadelphia Lawyer, but he’s trying hard – trying being the operative word.

Latham probably wanted to knock Tonsils’ block off, the fact that he restrained himself gets him, from me High Distinction.

Can we please find another way of having not allowing our politicians to be exposed to this type of circus. Howard, after all these years knows how to deal with these turkeys.

I am not interested in anything that these shock jocks have to say, or to ask, of any public person. I read the serious/independent press, and know what I think about things politic.

Talk about Tall Poppy….well Mark Latham, be aware, very aware, that the Tall Poppy Syndrome in Australia is alive and well, and that this veneer of ‘civilisation’ is very thin indeed.

Bring on the Sydney e-tags

Sydney driver asks “but why?” to Matt Sun’s excellent scoop on the planned e-tag-only Sydney Harbour Tunnel and then goes off onto some conspiratorial rant about speed cameras (which short of being mounted about two metres directly above the road would be unlikely to read an e-tag).

Well, as a commuter who drives over the Harbour Bridge and back each day, I say “bring it on”!

Melbourne’s CityLink toll road, despite its leaking tunnel and various other glitches at least provides a relatively smooth ride across Melbourne (at least it did last time I used it, a couple of years back and is a vast improvement on the old South East and Tulla ‘carparks’).

No traffic jams as people line up to pay their tolls, scratching around the bottom of handbags or car ashtrays for that elusive $3.

Unlike CityLink, the RTA will have to leave at least one lane for coins on the bridge. Short of driving under water or all the way west to the Gladesville Bridge, there’s no other way for tourists/out-of-towners/infrequent users to get across the harbour by car.

But an e-tag-only tunnel and (mostly) cashless bridge will improve traffic flows considerably — at least until those drivers who now avoid the Harbour Bridge peak hour car park are enticed back onto the road and traffic volumes build up to a critical mass, once more.

And Sydney driver. If you want to stop the government collecting revenue from speed cameras, there’s a simple solution: don’t speed.

Ben Haslem
(Neutral Bay by day, Newtown by night)