Paddy on the debate

I think Paddy has missed vital clues here. But then he is a notorious sport-hater and hence unable of proper, analysis of the nitty-gritty of electioneering’s hard yards. My wits sharpened by many hours of finals footy, I counted all of Howard’s 12 left-shoulder twitches and two sundries (locked down twitches that didn’t travel all the way up to the shoulder because Johnny had an iron grip on the lectern). Better than the worm, a slow-mo replay, a freeze-frame with superimposed trajectory drawn in by a proper commentator like Sterlo, would have been far more instructive to the uninitiated like Padraic. Howard also chopped the air nine times and showed an attractive speck of white spume in the right-hand corner of his mouth. A nice close-up, with a highlight circle would have been good.

Latham showed his palms six times, chopped the air twice and was on the verge of laughing derisively at his opponent – points would have been deducted for smugness had he gone further.

Jack Rozycki

CRIKEY: Read Paddy’s analysis of the debate here.

Quick thinking in the debate

Another quick note that hasn’t been covered in today’s sealed section: Howard’s “creative reinterpretation” of Latham’s statement that the war on terror would take at least three years to win.

Is this another, rather public, example of the PM’s “economic credentials”? Being economical with the truth, that is!

It seemed pretty crass and deliberate – not to mention foolish – to try and do that minutes after Latham made the original comment on the same program.

I wonder if we’ll see anything made of that in the press or commentariat. I guess we’ve seen that the credibility issue has tended to reinforce rather than sway voters – those that object the most tend not to vote for Howard anyway.

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Ross

Call that a debate?!

I had far more entertaining debates in my primary school debating team (we even had clear winners!). It was nothing but a collection of disconnected, rambling monologues by two uninspiring individuals who couldn’t electrify a glow worm between them.

The format of the whole debate was so Listerine-drenched, either participant could have served up any old bacteria-tinged porky without fear of retaliation – and indeed did. Questionable statements went unchallenged as presumably the highly experienced scribes on the quizmaster’s panel were not allowed to ask any follow-up questions. At one point Mark Latham managed to avoid answering a question put to him by Malcolm Farr on whether he could guarantee Labor would not introduce any more taxes. No-one seemed to notice, least of all Howard, who could have jumped on the opportunity. Perhaps he was scared Latham had actually just forgotten to address that part of the question and might actually have made such a commitment given a second chance. Perhaps he could have made such a commitment himself and trumped Latham – but, no, it was too easy to stick to the lines clearly so well-rehearsed outside the studio.

And when the going looked for a fleeting moment like getting too tough for Latham on the issue of withdrawing troops from Iraq by Christmas – Latham answered the challenge by talking about how long Howard would remain prime minister if re-elected. And the link was? Were interjections banned? Or were the microphones turned off so we couldn’t hear them?

As for the worm – we’d be very curious to know how those operating the control boxes were selected for the job. Was it an even match of Coalition and Labour supporters with a couple of Greens and Democrats thrown in for good measure? No prizes for guessing which way the chap with the green mop was turning his dial as the speakers changed!

The only thing more tiring than watching the ‘debate’ last night was the sycophantic drivel from Labor front bencher Wayne Swann who somehow found himself on a Sky News panel dissecting the proceedings for an hour afterwards. What on earth was the point of asking Swann who won the debate? Was he ever going to do anything but rant on about how wonderful his leader performed and what a lovely pair they’d make in public? Thankfully, several more intelligent and objective commentators were on the team, including Crikey’s own Christian Kerr, who at least had something interesting and informed to contribute.

Despite Swan’s best efforts, the Sky News poll showed Howard the victor over Latham by 58-42. How odd. Can Latham voters not afford Foxtel, or can they not figure out how to cast their virtual vote?

Robert Andrew

Neil Mitchell gets of lightly

You get into Gloria and rightly so, but what about Neil Mitchell? Why haven’t you had a go at him? He really is becoming a partisan political player. Maybe the barbie with George and the PM at Kirribili was the clincher for Neil.

This morning he was going on about the ‘boring debate’ last night and why don’t political parties do something about the format. Hello – my understanding was that the format was like that because that’s the way Johnny wanted it to be, not both political parties. Neil was there, he must know who directed the format etc.

Why doesn’t Neil say that the PM was responsible for the format that Neil so clearly disliked instead of bagging both of them. I think I know why.

Are you worried about another writ?

Mark

Unfunded super

More simplistic arguments on unfunded government super. When will the media actually grasp the fundamentals? If it is so simple to borrow money, throw it at the stock market and watch the wonders of equity returns relative to debt cost pay off the unfunded position of the government super schemes, why don’t we take this to the logical (and absurd) conclusion. Let’s borrow 10, 50 100 times what we need to take care of the unfunded super and all sit back watching the cash roll in?

I would prefer the government to spend the money generated from over taxing us (commonly called “the surplus”) on essential infrastructure. Debt has become such a dirty word in political circles that instead of borrowing to fund the essentials such as schools, hospitals, roads etc, the government puts the borrowing off balance sheet through the likes of Macquarie bank which ends up costing us, the taxpayers, far more than a little government borrowing would.

Mark Heydon

Blogger Ari on the Greens

If Blogger Ari Sharp is such a devotee of Crikey, perhaps he could consider practicing your manra of disclose…disclose…disclose…and advise visitors to his blog that he ran at a previous federal election for a lower house seat as an endorsed Democrats candidate.

If I recall correctly, Mr Sharp hailed from Hawthorn at the time and was contesting Kooyong as a Democrat – now that would have been an “epic task”. I presume he advised voters he was merely funneling votes for the Senate and didn’t have a snowball’s chance of winning.

And I guess we shouldn’t believe the Democrats are serious about winning an ACT Senate seat this time around?

As Ari says: “Paranoid? A bit. Conspiratorial (sic.)? A lot. Truthful?” Hmmm..

Bernard

Stupid Fairfax ads

The SMH has done some pretty stupid things this year, but what would have to take the cake is their ‘start a conversation’ advertising campaign. What drugs are they on that they think that people seeing two headlines together such as ‘Swans win – tight federal election’ is going to do so much as raise an eyebrow?

The only conversation that are starting is how stupid and desperate the people at Fairfax appear.

Kate
Sydney

Football attendance records

I can recall mid-way through the season your sports editor talking of the record attendances the AFL was going to have this year. Funnily enough, even in the wonderful world of AFL, where all is goodness and light, this year wasn’t a record; in fact this year was only the third best on record and since 1998 average crowds have been virtually stagnant. In 1998 average crowd per game was 34,772 and in 2004 it was 33,610 – a small (1%) decline but probably not statistically significant.

In 2004 the average crowd per game for the NRL was 14,836 and this is a new record. Again, referring to 1998 (a good year to take as a benchmark: in the NRL the Superleague fiasco had ended and Melbourne entered the comp and in the AFL the current 16 teams were settled) the average that year was 10,935. This 36% rise seems significant. To put it another way; in 1998 average NRL crowds were 31% of AFL games whereas in 2004 they were 44%. A little acknowledgment by Mr Fitzgerald would be appreciated.

My stats come from the wonderful website http://nrl.has.it where every bit of NRL and AFL statistical trivia can be found.

CG

Saturday Night Footy in Sydney

Just a note further to Terry Television’s piece – not only did the footy not come on till 9.45pm on Saturday night in Sydney – but the TV guides gave the time as 10.45pm, forcing dedicated fans to the radio. What is going on with Fox Footy? If they are going to delay the footy for two and bit hours why can’t they show the game live there? They did the previous Friday night for the Brisbane v St Kilda using their special events channel.

Also it would be interesting to note what Fox Footy are doing about the Brownlow – after Barnesy efforts last year.

Andrew Frawley

NRL commentator or PR manager?

After watching Nine’s rugby leagues game coverage today between the Roosters and the Raiders I become some what confused whether I was at a Roosters sponsors production with their head PR Manager – Gus Gould or watching a game of football?

We all knew the Raiders would be beaten, but did we have to put up with such bias crap from Gould? Dose he run the commentary team? Messengers Warren and Sterling didn’t seem to have the balls to keep him in place either.

Keep Gould away from the microphone if the Roosters are playing as he takes away from the game. I personally will be listening to the radio and watching future Roosters games.

John

Crikey’s political nepotism list

Was reading your nepotism list with interest and thought it clever that although you disclosed that you have never been employed “by” a relative you failed to disclose that you have actually employed one yourself. Eg. Your wife (partner) for one, and I am sure there was a parent or in-law in there somewhere too.

Just thought that this should be disclosed. Please correct me if I am wrong. I have only gathered this info from your allusions in email-outs.

Simon

(A pedant who has never employed a relative, and despite certain well known family connections, would never dream of letting these influence his career decisions or integrity, ie let them employ me or use their influence to gain employment, or report sympathetically)

CRIKEY: See the list here: Hundreds of political jobs for relatives

Flak or FlAK?

I have been living in Germany for the past 2 years and just wish to add that I believe Flak to come from Flugabwehrkanone, or anti aircraft gun. Although the word was obviously an abbreviation used by the Germans, it was also used by the allies. I have seen old allied maps on which positions where aircraft recieved anti aircraft fire “X bursts of Flak” was written. My guess is that pilots would often return and report “getting alot of Flak” on their missions and the word has simply been taken from meaning anti aircraft fire to mean any sort of attack that comes ones way.

By the way, if one wants to be true to the original word, it should be spelt FlAK (Capital F, small L capital AK), which is what is usually done with abbreviations in German, for example StVO, Straßenverkehrsordnung (Traffic Rules) or GDCh, Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (Society of German Chemists).

Joel