Energex – Don’t believe the hype

Well done on kicking the Curious Snail into action on Maddock’s death.
But I don’t believe this is the end of it. It seems too neat for me
(for Peter Beattie that is), that after telling the public nothing of
what it knew over the weekend & into Tuesday (after the whole of
the Energex workforce had figured it out), the Snail finally reveals
(after prompting from Crikey) on Wednesday that Greg Maddock committed
suicide, & unknown to staff, was under investigation for
misappropriation of funds. An investigation that smells older than my
footy socks, by the way.

The Snail has revealed in it’s article that he (Maddock) was “aware of
the Treasury investigation into his alleged misappropriation of
funds”, & was “understood to have told friends he believed he was
clear of any wrongdoing”.

It seems strange to me then, that a man that has only just recently
signed another 3 year contract, is on well over half a million a year
(including bonuses), would be doing this sort of thing. I mean if you
were misappropriating funds wouldn’t you tidy things up, then cut &
run. You definitely would not sign up for another 3 years. After all,
before this years severe storm damage & resultant outages, he was
the saviour of Energex. Not a bad on your resume.

It should also be noted that his right-hand man, Tony McGee, whom he
brought with him to Energex, was under similar investigation when a
member of the Bi-Lo management team, but nothing was ever proved.

There are still a lot of unanswered questions here, & it seems to
me that the Courier Mail aren’t keen on even asking the questions, let
alone getting the answers.


Suicide – Choose Life

I love you to pieces Crikey, but was really surprised and disappointed
by your “Who’s to blame for Energex suicide” story yesterday. People
everywhere are put under enormous pressure, fairly or unfairly. But to
suggest that anyone or any government is to blame in any eensy weensy
tiny way for another’s suicide over work of all things is disgusting.
Suicide is a choice. If you can’t take it anymore, you can also become
a monk, shoot people from the top of a tower, assassinate a world
leader – whatever! I’m reminded of George Michael and Wham’s famous
T-Shirt – Choose Life! – and if you don’t, it’s your fault,
no one else’s. It sucks, but everyone is responsible for themselves.

Andrea Kerekes

Julian Burnside’s publicity blitz

‘While Andrew Denton might be fascinated with Julian Burnside, many in
the refugee advocacy movement are tired of Burnside receiving so much
publicity for achieving so little.

Yes Burnside has done some cases for refugees and has turned up at
airports trying to get on flights to Nauru, but there are many others
in the refugee movement who have achieved a whole lot more and haven’t
felt the need to use the refugee movement as a vehicle to market

Burnside has been a relentless self-promoter and the media has given
him a dream run, but on the ground the views on Julian are very mixed.

refugee advocate

CRIKEY: We don’t agree with this and should disclose that Burnside
generously acted for Crikey pro-bono when Steve Price tried to close us
down with defamation, contempt and injunction attacks. However,
that connection doesn’t mean we should censor a fellow refugee advocate.

In defence of Julian Burnside

I am writing in regards to the particular individual who took a very harsh swing at Julian Burnside.

I recently heard Julian speak at a local primary school in Brisbane,
which is the second time I’ve heard him speak in Brisbane the last 2
months. His stories and experiences, told to an absolutely
captivated audience, raised awareness and generated publicity for this
issue that I have not heard any other individual do.

Julian stayed after and spoke personally to each audience member
who had a question/comment for him, including myself. I must say we
were captivated by the man and I have the utmost respect for him and
his work.

Whoever this is, is being unnecessarily condescending and I think these
comments are totally uncalled for. If they are concerned abut other
refugee advocates being ignored, they are definitely going down the
wrong track. It is not worth have a bureaucratic squabble that would
take us away from the issue at hand, which is that refugees are locked
away in detention centres. I am really quite appalled at this persons
comments and if I was them, I would feel embarrassed for making such
immature remarks.

Rachel Ryan

The bloody AEC web site

I would like to encourage you to look at the AEC web site www.aec.gov.au and encourage them to dramatically improve the layout to make it more user friendly.

*Electors in regional and remote areas should be able to easily find
information that will assist them in the opportunity they have to make
a difference and participate.*

For example – how does someone in a remote area possibly have a clue about the Senate Candidates?

While it is in the interests of the major parties to keep people
uninformed it would be so easy via the internet to provide a short
introduction to each candidate.

Every Senate candidate could be offered the opportunity to lodge a 50
word statement to explain why they are standing, a phone number, web
page link and an email if they want to participate. The AEC could
easily provide a listing for each candidate and a link to information.
After all, each Senate candidate donates hundreds of dollars to the AEC
and if they can’t attract hundreds of thousands of primary votes they
get no funding or refunds.

*How many thousands of dollars did the AEC spend on TV ads yet have a look at their web site!!*

Maybe it is because I have such an old computer … the new glasses I
got recently don’t particularly help on their site … It seems someone
at the AEC was given the freedom to show their clever web page skills
but I personally find it very frustrating to read and find the
information I need.

Until the decision by a former member for Oxley to stand the media
would have been quite content to let another election slip by –
ignoring the Senate candidates and giving 99% of the coverage to the
leaders. The AEC should take a more active role in helping provide
information to voters that is not filtered by the media.

Phillip Young

Ross Cameron’s gender preferences

Thank you for the moment of amusement provided by Honest Ross Cameron’s
public-toilets approach to his constituency in the ‘blue for boys, pink
for girls’ letters. I note that he thinks all adult women worth
lobbying are called ‘Mrs’, which makes you wonder what his real opinion
is of his single (ex, of course) girlfriend. He probably doesn’t expect
any of the women who call themselves Ms, much less Dr or Professor, to
be voting for him anyway, though you have to admire his cheek in
thinking he has a following among married women.

Presumably he believes that married women ought not to be interested in
anything but their children, and unmarried women ought not to be
allowed to vote at all.

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Visiting SE Asia

Went to Malaysia last week. It feels weird to be asked where you come
from and reply “Australia”, not knowing if the person asking has a
recently bombed relative in Iraq or whatever else. Feeling
uncomfortable about being Australian. And now Downer and Howard
are talking pre-emptive strikes. Where does this stupidity come
from? Why are we putting up with being told black is white, every day?

Gary Price

The Brownlow and crazy journalists

Every year after the Brownlow Medal is run and won some idiot
journalist claims the umpires should be debarred from awarding the
votes. This year the howling was lead by prized idiot
Patrick Fitzgerald who used the lack of votes for James Hird in
one game as his justification to change the
system. By all accounts Hird played a great last quarter, but one
quarter means one fourth. Hird played brilliantly for one fourth
of the game and people believe he deserved votes, what a load of crap.

The umpires, correctly, awarded votes to the players they considered to
be contributors for the whole game, a game being over four quarters,
not one. Yes, the Brownlow is unique in that is an umpires
award but the umpires have a perspective of a match that journalists
can only dream about. Umpires see and hear elements of a game
that enable them to make an informed choice. Journalists can get
on the piss, miss half a game and then make up votes from the
one-dimensional stat sheets they love to trumpet about. The
Brownlow is a great award, however its greatest flaw is the attention
and prestige it attracts. That is not the umpire’s
fault. And why the controversy when the winner, Chris Judd,
was widely acclaimed as a worthy winner? Could it be that
Fitzgerald the Idiot had some not so hard earned readies placed
on Warren Tredrea or Barry Hall (who was never going to poll well
despite being the wet dream darling of some journo’s)? Stop
masquerading as a sports journalist Fitzgerald and go back to covering
flower shows, at least then you may be able speak with some authority.

Geoff McLean

ABC radio grand final team

The ABC have a tradition of using local callers for local finals.
When finals are in Western Australia or South Australia local ABC
callers are used.

The Grand Final commentary team has been together every Saturday afternoon this season.
Listeners on all ABC local radio stations around Australia have heard
them each week. Why should they be denied the opportunity to call
the Grand Final. They have added Stephen Williams from Adelaide
as an expert which if fair enough.

Roger Wills calls Victorians “Mexicans”. We would hardly give an
unbiased call. Hull calls himself “Hull radio” (just ask him) and
frequently says that listeners want to hear him. Someone should
tell him to take a cold shower.

ABC footy coverage

Regarding the ABC football commentary team, I’m sure others will say
something similar, but Stephen Williams is actually a dyed in the wool
South Australian (brother of Mark, son of Fos, and a former Port player
[and possibly coach of the local team, though I’m not sure]).
Admittedly, he’s the only non-Victorian (if you accept Dan Lonergan now
as a rep of the Big V, not a Taswegian), and Queensland has no

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey