APEC and those silly costumes

Forget bilateral trade agreements, communiqués and pledges to eliminate AIDS.

Since its inception, APEC has been all about one thing, and one thing only: setting a new benchmark in ridiculous national costumes. Who can forget Paul Keating in ceremonial head-dress, complete with endangered duck feathers? Or John Howard, looking like a batik artifact with legs, or the shimmering shiny shirts of Malaysia, which looked as if they’d spontaneously combusting when exposed to sunlight?

And this year….it’s the Cisco Kid, complete with Ponchos and a bunch of extras from a bad Spaghetti Western.

With many years experience in this area, I can’t escape the niggling feeling that the second and third worlds are having One Gigantic Laugh at the rest of us.

Mind you, I look forward to Australia’s turn, when we can dress Susilo Bang Bang Yudiyono in a pair of speedos and a terry towelling hat.

Lance Gordon-Ginn


Anderson is as safe as houses: 1. An intermediary was used to shield the alleged perpetrator 2. The AFP can be put off the scent with one phone call from Howard’s office to Mick Keelty. After the bollocking he got earlier this year, Keelty is one safe little pussycat. 3. The Australian public don’t give a stuff about political corruption, as long as interest rates are kept down.

Mick the drover

Anderson gopher has serious form

Apparently Wendy Armstrong worked for the Qld Parliament Independent Conduct Committee, the forerunner of the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee, which oversees the current Qld Criminal Justice Committee. As such she came to know all the dirt on everyone. Her abilities were noticed and Joh drafted her to make use of her knowledge to bully and control the scene.

This was all during the period Joh was known to be involved with various crooks leading to the Fitzgerald Inquiry into the ‘moonlight state’.

Bring on the senate inquiry into the Windsor bribery allegations.

Re: Howard’s history lesson

Howard’s remark, while insensitive, had nothing to do with the ‘cultural revolution’ and if he requires a history lesson, then ‘Dung Xiaoping’ is unqualified to give it.

The Hundred Flowers Campaign occurred during the years 1956 to 1957. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution was much later, running from 1966 until Mao’s death in 1976. The two are utterly unrelated.

Your ‘political correspondent’ needs to do some reading of his own.

Jordan Winfield

Queensland and daylight saving

I refer to Terry Towelling’s comment re: daylight saving. We don’t want daylight saving in QLD – the summer days are long and hot enough now. Anyone who doesn’t think this should spend a summer in Townsville! Those business men in SE QLD should consider the wishes of the rest of the state.

Ben Egan

The right use of honourable

Alas, Qld Liberal chick is quick with the personal abuse, but factually wrong about the use of “honourable”. “Honorable” is NOT used to identify all members while in the House.

The only people who can be called “The Honorable” AT ANY TIME, in Parliament or outside, are:

  • Current and former Ministers
  • Members who have served for seven years or won three elections, whichever comes first
  • Senators, who are “Senator the Honorable” from the day they’re sworn in

If you are identified by your seat, it is the seat which is honorable. For example, Kate Ellis is Ms Kate Ellis but she is the Honorable Member for Adelaide.

Former members who WERE “The Honorable” can choose whether they keep the title.

Liberals usually do, because they think it gets them better seats on junkets to the Home Country, or at the op-er-ah. Labor MP’s rarely do. Paul Keating, for example, declined to keep the title.

Happy trails!


Shanghai Daily’s spray on Packer

Sounds as if the editorial’s nothing more than state-sponsored political propaganda against gambling, one of its declared “social evils” (along with prostitution, drug trafficking and drug addiction). It’s trying to “discredit” the industry by picking on the people running it.

Of course Beijing doesn’t want to encourage “gambling” (whatever that might consist of) in mainland China ITSELF. As for Macau – that’s a separate matter altogether.


Packer and Macau

The Shanghai editorial may be inspired by the recent publicity of Packer’s dealings with Stanley Ho, the Macau gambling billionaire who has very strong triad connections. Some years ago one of Stanley Ho’s assistants was decapitated by a rival triad member in a very public park in Hong Kong. Stanley Ho is very involved with charity in Hong Kong but everybody knows of his connections.

While wishing to avoid libel laws, one would have to say that Stanley Ho is a somewhat surprising business connection for the Packers.


Getting around Nine’s Crikey ban

You might just mention to the poor sods at the packer palace that they can (as any student knows) use any one of the hundreds of anonymiser sites to access Crikey web site. Perhaps Crikey can also redirect their email to hotmail, yahoo or other such sites. While I was lecturing at uni they tried dozens of different ways to “censor” sites but someone would always find a way around it.


The Bulletin misses the mark

The Bulletin is a good example of what happens when publishers cut costs. We’ve been subscribers for the better part of 20 years, and until the late 1990s our copy arrived in Wednesday’s post, the day after it appeared on the newsagent’s shelves. That was OK for us in terms of price and convenience.

All of a sudden it began arriving on Friday, even the following Monday, a full week after publication (we’re talking Newcastle, not outback Australia). Sometimes it didn’t arrive at all.

The reason? A private delivery firm had won the contract from Australia Post. We whinged along with thousands of other subscribers and ACP relented, giving us the choice of delivery contractor. We chose AP and continue to receive our weekly Bulletin in the mail on Wednesday.

Hasn’t that exercise taught them anything?


ACP magazine delivery disasters

I have been a “beneficiary” of this cost cutting exercise of ACP. In December of last year ACP tendered out delivery of two magazines to which I subscribe (The Bulletin and Wine) to the lowest cost bidder in my area.

With this “initiative” I was regularly receiving my magazines very late, or not at all. It would appear ACP tendered out to local newsagents on a lowest cost basis, irrespective of that newsagent’s ability to deliver (i.e. a delivery van and some-one to drive it).

I engaged in an e-mail war with ACP. The blame was placed on everybody but where it belonged. Eventually I asked for my magazines to be delivered by Australia Post. They now arrive on time, every time. Have not missed a beat since.

So if your reader’s magazines start disappearing, the reason is now clear, and hassle ACP and get your magazines delivered by Australia Post.

And whilst on the subject of ACP’s idea of customer service, I recently received an exciting offer from ACP to re-subscribe to the Wine magazine for a significant price decrease (1/3rd off normal subscription price). Only on inspection of the very, very, fine print, was it noted that the magazine was moving to a quarterly issue basis (spring/summer/autumn/winter) from the previous 6 issues per year. Wonderful saving that ….

Bruce Phelan

The end of unimaginative US TV

How unimaginative is American TV? In the last week, both Sex and the City and Friends finished. In the final episodes of each series, one character nearly goes to Paris but remains in New York with the love of her life, one couple leaves the others to live in a house in the suburbs, one couple has a baby (OK, some time ago in each, though rarely seen in Friends), and another couple can’t have a baby so adopt one (Sex and the City) or use a surrogate mother (Friends). The similarities are striking.

An addict