Having been effectively ‘sold’ by PBL to private equity (PBL retained 25%), myhome.com.au is now run at the whim of bottom line-driven private equity pragmatists. Myhome.com.au has been given two months by their new owners to “make it work” or shut it down. The odds favour it being shut down… perhaps PBL knew something when it sold its stake to CVC private equity. A symptom of the fast fading myhome is the exodus of staff… many of whom who have been approaching competitors and seeking an ‘out’ from myhome. Added to this is the shrinking number of agents subscribing (advertising) to myhome and the falling, some would say tumbling, number of people using the website each month. Can the last person to leave please switch off the light?

If a deal is done – as seems inevitable – to override the views of the majority of Traditional Owners at Muckaty Station near Tennant Creek, what will the Northern Land Council receive in brokerage fees – after all it was the NLC who put it on the list? If the NLC is facilitating Howard Government projects, what implications does this have for inclinations by the Howard Govt to abolish Land Councils?

Re. “P-rn seized, perspective missing in the NT emergency” (Friday, item 15): ”Most of the people on aboriginal communities would have no idea at all of the fact that it is illegal to show a minor an X or R-rated film or a restricted publication or indeed what the differences between these classifications are,” Patten says. “The Office of Film and Literature Classification spends over $1million a year on a ‘Community Liaison Officer’ who is supposed to do this work but he has never set foot inside an Aboriginal community in the NT.” Luckily last year 11 months after he lost his NT seat, the Libs appointed a former Northern Territory Country Liberal Party Health Minister Stephen Dunham to the Office of Film and Literature Classification Board. We look forward to seeing the Community Liaison Officer visiting remote NT communities with Steve and the Army in tow.

You think dealing with the Prime Minister’s office is difficult, try Malcolm Turnbull’s office. It is completely dysfunctional and in an apparent state of paralysis. Much goes in but very little comes out. Phone calls are never returned and no-one in the office seems to have a handle on anything – witness the Minister’s recent electorate visit when he asked his staff in front of those who he was meeting with, who were these people and what was he meant to be meeting them about. He regularly seems to go to the wrong things and misses terrific opportunities – not as a result of considered deliberation but rather systemic dysfunction and neglect.

The comment in Friday’s Crikey tips and rumours section that, “Purcell is strongly AWU aligned” couldn’t be more wrong. Whispering Pat (as he is know because of his bellowing voice) is a member of Beattie’s own Labor Unity faction. Pat has never been one of Big Bill Ludwig’s boys.

Talk around Brisbane legal circles is that Professor James Allan of the University of Queensland Law School is on the short-list to be a replacement for Justice Callinan, a fellow Queenslander, who reaches his compulsory retirement age of 70 in September. Professor Allan, an academic of Canadian birth, is known to hold views that pass former Deputy-PM Tim Fischer’s test for eligibility to be on the High Court, which is to be “a Capital C Conservative”.

Booze not black problem – How about some of the large retailers and their deliberate attempts to undermine liquor restrictions(think there might have been an attempted prosecution for breach of liquor restrictions in Broome or Derby some years ago.) Why do petrol stations in Alice Springs near to town camps have liquor licences ? Hard to comment on with slap suits around but see Indigenous Populations and Resource Flows Report Page 24 (para reproduced below) on the Desert Knowledge website and the Tangentyere Liquor restrictions survey that didn’t receive much policy response. Para – One policy response has been the introduction of liquor restrictions in Alice Springs. The restrictions had had little effect on overall consumption levels, because as soon as the ban on sales of alcohol containers of more than two litres was implemented, two litre cases of equally cheap, higher alcohol content port were introduced into the market place. Indeed the day the restrictions came into place, some supermarket retailers had large pallets of port ready. In a survey of town camp residents 67.1% of respondents were in favour of keeping or strengthening the restrictions (Tangentyere Council 2003). Town camp residents, arguably the citizens most affected by alcohol misuses in the town, suggested a number of strategies including banning of two litre casks of port, spirits or higher alcohol content beverages. Aboriginal organisations also lobbied for additional strategies to reduce availability. The NT Licensing Commission abolished the container size restriction. Failure to acknowledge Aboriginal voices and to recognise Aboriginal initiative is an ongoing cause of injury to Aboriginal citizens of the region.

I am firmly of the view our politicians have become ‘drunk’ on the importance they imagine themselves possessing as a result of their ‘wielding’ our military across the globe, and the ADF fuel their drunkenness by pandering to their egos. You should have seen the Alexander Downer circus here when he visited here to Afghanistan. He had two C130s employed for his visit … the one he was in, and one standing by (it stood by in KAF while he was flying between Kabul, KAF, and TK). The use of these two C130s has f%&*’d up movements for the period since, and it has only now got back to normal. The ADF are their own worst enemy in the way the ‘suck-up’ to the pollies. In comparison, the Dutch Defence Minister flew into Tirin Kowt on a CH47 full of diggers, and did the same on the way out. Downer’s plane was only utilized to fly him and his entourage of lackeys and journalists; excessive and pandering. You should see the fawning ‘enhanced security’ and ‘razzle dazzle’. In fact, the security of the VIP would be greater, if it was kept more ‘low key’; but, razzle dazzle appeals to egos. The visits turn into a photo grab, cost money, and do not add to the operational effect. The ADF needs to ‘turn down’ the volume, save the tax-payer some money and remain operationally, not politically, focused.

And from the grassy knoll: Conscription is coming with a peace corps for those who do NOT make the grade!!

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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