The Howard Government’s media methods are under fire … again! Last week Sydney Morning Herald Education Editor Anna Patty was covering the first Higher School Certificate exam when she discovered the Industrial Technology paper contained a question inviting discussion on “the impact of government legislation on employees”. When a student told her that he found himself writing a commentary on Howard’s WorkChoices, she decided to contact federal Education Minister Julie Bishop for a quote. Then things started to go wrong dramatically. Bishop’s office apparently informed the PM’s office ie. his re-election campaign headquarters, about Patty’s story on the NSW HSC and this led to Liberal apparatchiks contacting two News Ltd papers, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian, to brief them. The result was that Patty’s carefully researched “scoop” suddenly became the property of rival publications breaking a long-standing rule between journos and governments that an enquiry from one media organisation remains the sole property of that inquisitive journalist and not everyone else. News Ltd will claim, no doubt, that its papers independently came across the WorkChoices question in the HSC papers. But Patty – and her editors – remain unconvinced. There is a simple response to this kind of double-dealing by Ministers and their office workers – don’t ask for a comment until after the first edition.

Priceless! Did anyone else notice that the computer used by Kevin Rudd to illustrate his point that computers “are the toolbox of the 21st century” for his education announcement was a Toshiba Satellite 2590CDT (specifications – processor: celeron 400mhz, ram: 64mb, hard drive: 6.4gb, screen: 12.1″) vintage circa mid 90s!  

News Limited in secret talks with CANWEST regarding the TEN Network. Rumoured to be interested in leveraging TEN’s content for its online digital properties.

I have heard that a huge mining lease for iron ore has been sold to the Chinese. Rumour has it they intend to build an airport and fly in and out their own workers. As well as an airport they intend to build a shipping facility for removal of the iron ore. At the moment their are to my knowledge some 200 Australian drillers working on the site. If above is correct it is a great concern how it can happen without the public being aware.

Peter Fray

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