Trish’s travel rorts

Trish Draper’s agreement to repay the $10000 clearly is an admission of
guilt. You don’t have to be Judge Judy to work this out. She’s taken
the Howard attitude to saying Sorry, ‘I will repay the money, but I
don’t believe I’ve done anything wrong’.

If you’re in the business of politics you’re paid to know the
law. Not only should she repay the money, she should be fined
just as an unemployed person would be if they under declared their
income by $50. After all Trish is a member of the Howard government and
with their tough stance on accurate income estimates Trish should
follow suit, and face the music just as hundreds of unemployed have who
barely survive on an 18% reduced rate from their $157 per week handout.
Perhaps she could do community work to pay off the debt if she’s
struggling financially.

Ruth O
Gawler SA

Draper and Centrelink

Minchin says “The officials responsible for administering this
entitlement do take a broad approach to the definition of a
partner.” Naturally Erica agrees -being the Minister responsible
on this occasion for ensuring that no Howard miscreant has to face the
music even when caught so red-handed. The latitude being offered
to this woman and her boyfriend by contortionists such as Minchin and
Erica must seem passing strange to the thousands of Centrelink
recipients and their chaps.

Cross of Tasmania

Draper and MP junkets

While I think all couples (married, defacto or gay) should be treated
the same the recent issue concerning an MP and her non live-in
boyfriend deserves a review of MPs’ travel rorts. Voters elect the MP
not the spouse/partner and while MPs are often away from their family
that’s the choice they make when getting into politics. I note that
soldiers, who earn far less than backbench MPs, are away from family
for 3 or 6 months in recent deployments to East Timor or Iraq;
something an MP would not have to suffer.

MPs should pay for spouses to travel with them overseas but I wonder
how much “study” would be done on taxpayer funded study tours. It is
interesting to note that these so called study tours are usually too
comfortable countries or where the MP has family contacts. I don’t
think MPs have “studied” Sudan, Rwanda or Palestine lately. Perhaps the
dust, danger and pokie two star hotels have less attraction for MPs.

Adrian Jackson

Is New Mathilda Old Mathilda

It is interesting to see that John Menadue is chairing the New Mathilda
publication which promises to give a fresh perspective on political
debate, albeit from a leftist perspective. Menadue was one of the
architects of that shocking health summit in Canberra last August. When
I read that one of the purposes here is to “innovate policy” and
“develop a health policy for Australia”, I know what he has in mind –
an unreconstructed 1970s social democratic position on health.

Overall, the political flavour of this venture will be much the same –
a return to the pre-economic reform ’70s when these folks rose to
influence in their various fields. You’re right to say that any new
publishing venture should be welcomed in the name of media diversity,
but the politics here are anything but new. It will be The Age in a
weekly newsletter.

The Reader

News Ltd censors Hicks and Habib

Are you aware that there does not seem to have been any mention in the
Courier-Mail or Sunday Mail of the apparent torture of Australian
citizens Hicks and Habib (the allegations of the 3 witnesses, the
responses by Australian politicians, Hick’s and Habib’s lawyers’ and
families’ statements etc)?

Nothing on Friday 21 May, Saturday’s C-M, the Sunday Mail nor in
today’s C-M it seems. Look, I could be wrong because I haven’t
thoroughly gone through Saturday’s C-M and I would want to recheck the
other issues before being absolutely definite, but there does not seem
to have been one word, let alone pictures of the witnesses. There was
an analysis piece on page 14 today about torture, but apparently no
mention of Hicks and Habib (and the Australian angle). I am sure you
could have this checked fairly easily (if not let me know).

Has Rupert gone mad? Is this the “FoxNewsification” of our media?

If democracy depends on an informed electorate we have been in trouble
in Queensland for a while …no other metropolitan daily newspaper, no
longer any 7.30 Report (the genesis of the Fitzgerald Inquiry would be
far less likely now) just a light half hour on Friday nights called
Stateline, virtually no other State TV news comment programs anymore
and very much less regional TV news.


Re: Tallying up the agriculture welfare

Give it a break on the farmer bashing will you. Or do you want to
ban farming in Australia and buy your tucker from China? Or perhaps
from a place where the producer IS heavily subsidised.

This Productivity Commission
review of Trade and Assistance for 2002/2003 gives a rather more
balanced view of the real levels of assistance provided to Australian
industry in general (there is a summary of net combined effects in
table 2.4 on page 28).

Perhaps you would be so good as to publish the link as a further comment to the topic.

Tony O’Brien
Merriwa NSW

Why Perth will win My Restaurant Rules

A subscriber writes, basically Perth will win because the losing
restaurants get auctioned off, and what’s a better result for Channel
Seven than making a tidy profit in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and
Adelaide? Especially given the money they’ve pissed up against the wall
on this show.

Not my theory, but here’s a link to it:


Cheapskate Journos and subs for mention

What a bunch of cheapskates! I wonder how many of your subscribers are
freeloaders, and how many happen to mention Crikey once or twice a year
just to get a free subscription renewal.

Taking the moral high ground I get paid suburban weekly rates but still
pay my own subscription (even though I’ve mentioned Crikey a couple of
times in the past year or so and could qualify). While I do write my
sub off as a work-related tax deduction it gives me a warm little glow
to know I’m doing something to keep independent media alive in

Don’t misers such as millionaire Mark Day understand that without
subscription fees Crikey is doomed? Perhaps that’s their cunning plan?

It reminds me of the writers’ group our independently owned paper used
to support by giving them a free ad every week for more than a year.
One day we saw them advertising in the opposition paper owned by Rupert
and it turns out they’d received an $8000 arts grant and splurged the
lot with the Sun King.

“Why didn’t you spend it with us, we’ve been supporting you all this
time!” we cried. “Well, the other paper wouldn’t let us advertise
unless we paid and we already had the ad with you so …”
Suffice to say, our generosity with such groups has been rather limited
since and we’re much more hard-nosed about it. The lesson for us was
many people just don’t understand the link between advertising/ fees
and paying the bills of keeping the paper going. I’d suggest your
freeloaders suffer from the same malaise and I wonder how much more
healthy your balance sheet would be if they coughed up.

Pay up ya bludgers!
Brian Mitchell

Gunns will always put up a fight

Re: your comment on Gunns – why do they fight so long and hard to
maintain (old growth logging), if it is a small part of their business?
As a business person, the answer is self explanatory. You don´t let the
government stop you doing any part of your business without a fight,
otherwise you will be salami sliced out of the entire enterprise. The
Greens pushed for no old growth, they are starting to push for no open
forest, and the deep greens are pushing for the use of only naturally
fallen timber.

The record of the Greens is that they simply push for a new more
radical target after each previous target is achieved. Which is what
you would expect of a formerly amateur group that has matured into a
large industry which must maintain outrage and scare to keep the money
rolling in-wards.

I am a light Green, but I would fight like crazy against the current
campaign if in Gunns shoes, otherwise they might as well liquidate the
company and send the workers home (to start collecting NewStart).


Gunns, old growth and Crikey’s comments

You ask in Monday’s second sealed section why Gunns’ fight so hard of
preserve old growth logging if it is such a small part of their
business. The reason is that the majority of high value sawlogs for
floors and furniture manufacture come from older trees. It is these
sawlogs that keep a large number of small sawmills operating.

John Gay started life as a small sawmiller and is a passionate
supporter of these small businesses. Interestingly , if old growth
logging were to stop, small sawmillers would go broke and Gunns would
pick up what was left of their log allocation and become even more
dominant in the marketplace!

Kate Carnell
National Association of Forest Industries

NRL and ADHD (A Dick Head in Denial)

Are you aware that before the infamous night of shame all players
(including coaching staff etc I presume) were given $1000 CASH by
management to spend on …beer I presume as their dinner etc was all paid

My questions are:

  1. Who needs $1000 cash to buy their own drinks for one (1) night of bonding?
  2. Did the players return any unused monies from the night?
  3. Was this money part of their “State of Origin” payment? Answer to the best of my knowledge NO
  4. Did the players dismissed from camp return their monies and/or did their replacements receive $1000 cash each?
  5. Which slush fund did this cash come from and are there other
    slush funds in the NSWRL or ARL (or whatever other name they go under)?
  6. Has or will the Australian Taxation Office be advised of these payments?

John from Rozelle

Spys with a customer focus

Your article on ASIS’ “Director Customer Liaison” reminded me that I
had recently read in the CIA’s mission statement (courtesy of Don
Watson’s book Death Sentence) that they stand for “Objectivity in the
substance of intelligence, a deep commitment to the customer in its
form and timing” as well as some value adding – “Intelligence that adds
substantial value to the management of crises, the conduct of war, and
the development of policy” ASIS’ mission statement
on the other hand, includes “a set of values for its staff members that
guide their dealings with each other and with customers and clients”
and their “customers and clients” can expect of us:

  • Professionalism and courtesy
  • Responsive and relevant service
  • Provision of timely, high quality intelligence products.

Whereas ASIO has more corporate gobbledegook including:

“We are committed to: Accountability Taking responsibility for
what we do and for our outcomes, and being responsible to the
government, other clients and partners, and to each other.
Responsiveness Anticipating and responding flexibly to the needs of
government, other clients and partners, and each other.”

So your prediction “Next Our Spooks will be talking about FMCI (Fast
Moving Consumer Intelligence), inputs/outcomes, Data Mining, CRM
software, customer retention and the like” has probably already

Bruce Rollerson