Richard Butler a buffoon? Should Crikey be allowed into the press
gallery? And why exactly did the WWF get such a large funding increase
from the government? Crikey subscribers look at these and other
questions in the latest edition of Yoursay:

Butler’s buffoonery

Amid all the controversy over the antics and attitudes of Tasmania’s
current Governor Richard Butler, two questions demand answers:

(i) given that his reported pompous arrogance and undiplomatic
tactlessness have seemingly been known among decision-makers for two
decades, on what grounds was he appointed to important postings
requiring the very antithesis of these attitudes?

(ii) given that the media in general and the Canberra press pack in
particular were well aware of this, why were these character foibles
not reported earlier to voters funding his wages and life-style?

Leonard Colquhoun

Bulter from a Republican view

As someone who has known Governor Butler for over thirty years, the
current controversy surrounding him comes as no surprise. Butler has an
ego as big as all outdoors, but in spite of that he can charm his way
into any situation then just as quickly stuff it up.

As a Republican I was delighted when an Australian of his ilk was
appointed to the job in Government House, Hobart. It showed that
Australia had another Man of Steel, in for the form of the late Jim
Bacon – who let’s face, was more Australian than the remaining claimant
to the title. It also showed that Bacon realised that if the States
continue this anachronistic sinecure, it should be handed out to an
Australian with political affiliation to the party in power to the
state concerned. For years, Government House Canberra and its States
counterparts were filled by moth eaten worn out British peers who
revelled in the subservience afforded them by genuflecting colonials.
As a side bar, I remember my parents remarking to me when I was a kid
that they had been to a dinner at Government House in Sydney and while
the men remained in the dining room with the Governor drinking port and
smoking cigars, the ladies withdrew with the Governor’s wife, curtsying
as they left then walking backwards away from the presence!

All Butler needs to do is get off his high horse, work according to the
rules, mix with the people and share with them his views on all manner
of subjects in language they understand. That way he might leave the
job when his term has expired with more allies than he has right now.

Barry Everingham

The Power of Big Pharma

Crikey asks which pharmaceutical companies are contributors to the
Liberal Party. I have no idea, except it sure can’t include any local
company. The industry here is certainly tiny. There are a number
of medical equipment manufacturers (eg Choclear), medical products
producers (eg CSL), companies making generic (patent expired) pills and
“alternatives”, and maybe a few companies receiving royalty crumbs from
licences sold off to Big Pharma.

But there is only one solitary Australian integrated drug company, and
that is Chemeq. After more than 15 years of hard slogging through
all the phases of development from basic research to commercialisation
it went into production last week at its self-funded purpose-built
manufacturing facility south of Perth. And guess what
happens? The press bags it unmercifully! Any wonder why
there is no Australian pharmaceutical industry?

Just check out the media coverage, the ASX announcements and the Chemeq
website for all the background on this marvellous new Australian and
only serious local competitor to the multinationals.

Chemeq and Crikey supporter

Crikey in the press gallery

Stephen and all the crikey team, it seems most obvious to me that
Crikey should be given a permanent pass in Canberra. Mr Shanahan
says not to expect a polite welcome. I know it’s a cut-throat business
down there, but what exactly is Mr Shanahan scared of? Surely
he’s not scared of a little competition from an organisation with a few
less constraints than him?

If as he says, Crikey has in the past called him a “hypocrite” then it
must mean that someone within Crikey cleared it from the archives.
Given your now strongly established credentials I find it hard to
believe there would be a cover-up of any kind within Crikey, you never
have been the kind of organisation to back-down from a previously
stated opinion and I can’t see why that would start now.

Here’s to hoping for good news come Monday.

Peter Veness

WWF rewarded with federal funding increase

The allegations of WWF being at least partly funded by the Federal
Government, 500% increase, is a serious one. (Significantly, this
Government did not sign the Kyoto Agreement.) This would explain
their strange blueprint on forest policy in Tasmania, where this
organisation is relative unknown.

The funding-sponsoring by others, such as Gunns Ltd, the mammoth
woodchipper, would appear feasible in this light and once again expose
the soft underbelly of democracy, in a society overly concerned with
that region of their anatomy.

Such a development is typical, when common wealth, such as publicly
owned infrastructure, services and resources are turned into profit
oriented enterprises. Mushrooming funds are then created to weigh
the scales for the mushroom gatherers. NHF comes to mind in this

What looks a blessing on the outside may in fact contain a grub hollowing out that magnificent fungus.

The power of Mitchell and commercial radio

Yesterday morning (Aug 4) a woman rang the Mitchell program to report her father was missing.
Apparently the program had success in finding someone a few weeks ago, and she was hoping the listeners would be able to help.

Her father was 68 and under some stress. He had left his office
yesterday afternoon and failed to arrive at an appointment. Doncaster
police were investigating. His name and details of his car were
given. Listeners started to ring in with sightings.

It is quite likely the man was listening to 3AW as he was reported as
doing U-turns and going through a red light. He was eventually
stopped (presumably by listeners) in Doncaster and the police were
notified. Police thanked 3AW listeners for their assistance.

My concern is that the situation could have been tragic. The man was
stressed and it may have been the last straw to hear details of his
movements broadcast on radio. It does show the power of radio,
and it was a good result. But surely the listener sightings could have
been taken off air and passed on to the police. Towards the end
Neil self-righteously said he was going to stop using the gentleman’s
name as he was obviously distressed and needed some privacy!


Channel Nine programming faux pas

I have written to Tim Gundry twice about ‘The West Wing’. The
first letter was in early June and I received a response telling me
that the new series would start in July. EXCITEMENT! After
I programmed the video (not an easy feat) for the new Monday timeslot
(well, day slot. It’s still on at 10.30pm), I sat down the next
night at a more reasonable hour than 10.30 to watch it.

Nope. Some rubbish like ‘jobs you don’t want’. (To which I would add
guarding the Harbour Bridge in gale force winds) I wrote again to
Gundry telling him he treated WW fans with contempt, that it was wrong
that NZ has the program on from March this year and we’re still waiting
(I mean, NZ has it for God’s sake!).

They advise: ‘Although originally planned to return in July,
management made a late amendment and decided to post pone the return of
‘The West Wing’ until late October, early November of this year.
As a result of this decision the Network sincerely apologises.’

Yes, well, ‘on the basis of this decision’ I am now going to watch 7
nightly news and I encourage everyone who’s annoyed with Channel 9 to
do the same. Bloody October! The next set of DVDs will be
out before the current series starts.

It’s wrong!

Pemberton Strong gets the green light

Another excellent article by Pemberton Strong regarding Dixon and his
flirtation with Singapore Airlines. Having worked in the aviation
sector for 6 years in Singapore, I can only assume that Dixon has been
to training courses to round off the rough edges in his negotiating
techniques. Dixon in full flight puts the old “bull in a china
shop” adage shame. He actively went out of his way to alienate
the Asian carriers in the mid 90s as they were the perceived
enemy. Now it is Emirates turn so watch out! Perhaps
someone should tell Dixon that the senior management of both Emirates
and Gulf Air are Australian so they are fully aware of his bullyboy
tactics and know how to combat them!


CRIKEY: Read Pemberton Strong on Qantas here: Qantas – an inside view and Qantas kite flying in the AFR

Rugby violence and “Totally” Ian Roberts

I’m in agreement with the overall opinion expressed by Outside
Centre. In particular the total lack of anything resembling
consistency from the Rugby League judiciary. But I would like to
question the following statement, especially in regard to “Totally” Ian
Roberts. “Now I have a problem with former players, and especially
former players with clean or near clean playing records themselves
having the sole say over guilt and penalty, that’s a bit like having
the jury in the trial of a bank robber comprising only bank clerks!”

Anyone that can remember the sickening site of Totally pouring
countless upper cuts into Gary Jack’s head, whilst Mathew Ridge held
him by his arms from behind might take a differing point of view of
Totally’s credentials. Totally was one of the biggest grubs the game
has seen, and should not be anywhere near Rugby League little loan the
judiciary (I suppose I sort of agree with Outside Center then.
Just for different reasons).

Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I would like to get back to a
recent example of inconsistency that most Crikey readers would
remember. As it was given a fair (I use that word advisedly when
talking about anything Fitzgerald writes about League) run last year
when it happened. Gordan Tallis and Ben Ross, remember that ugly
incident? Gordie decides that even though poor old Ben Ross was
more interested in making the next tackle then fighting him, he’d start
punching him in the back of the head regardless.

Now he didn’t do anywhere near the damage that Williams inflicted upon
O’Neill. However, why did he only receive 3 weeks? Is it
because he can’t punch (and therefore did no damage)?
Maybe. Was it because he was the reigning Australian
Captain? Don’t know. Is it because of his ultra clean
record? Hardly (his record with suspension is atrocious, much
like Williams’). Maybe it was because it was just Gordie, and we
all know how silly Gordie is? But surely he showed the same
intent as Williams, and received just a sixth of the time.
Consistency? My guess to reason why he received such a mild
penalty, is that it was a combination of 2 things. 1st, his
profile in the game (captain of state & country and all), and 2nd,
he didn’t have 2 weeks for the media to nail him to the cross before
he’d even been given the chance to defend himself, and these are 2
things that should not even come into the reasoning when deciding guilt
and then penalty

What Danny Williams did was terrible, but if all cases are going to be
treated in such a manner. The NRL may as well disband the
judiciary and start using phone poles as their mechanism for deciding
players guilt and then punishment.


CRIKEY: Read Outside Centre on the NRL Storm over Danny Williams