Comparing apples with a fruit salad in the ABC:

Darce Cassidy, Friends of the ABC, writes: Comparing apples with a fruit salad. The figures quoted by Glenn Dyer in his piece “Aunty’s $1b revenue puts it in league with the big boys” are accurate, but they do not support the conclusion drawn in the headline. He is not comparing apples with oranges but rather to a whole fruit salad. While Dyer acknowledges that the ABC is more than just one TV network, he persists in suggesting that the ABC budget is in the same league as commercial operations that are essentially just one TV network. In addition to Channel 2, the ABC budget also supports: Two additional TV services – ABC 2 (Channel 22) and ABC Asia Pacific (the ABC’s international TV channel); Four national radio networks – Radio National, News Radio, ABC Classic FM and Triple J; One international radio channel – Radio Australia; 60 local radio stations; and three internet based music stations – Dig Radio, Dig Country and Dig Jazz. A study completed by Professor Glenn Withers of the ANU in the year 2000 found that ABC expenditure per average television broadcast hour was just 42% of spending averaged across the three commercial networks.

Donkey voting:

Australian Greens Victoria psephologist Stephen Luntz writes: Re. “Richardson: Donkey vote draw goes Labor’s way” (yesterday, item 13). Further to Charles Richardson’s analysis of the donkey vote in marginal electorates. One thing to remember is that the value of getting a better spot on the ballot than your opponent is not the same in every seat. The number of people voting straight down the ballot generally correlates negatively with rates of education, and years of educational neglect of remote indigenous communities translates into a particularly high donkey vote in remote mobile polling. Taking this into account the ALP has done even better than Charles’ figures suggest. While their improved position in Wentworth may be of limited value, so is the benefit to the Liberals in Bennelong. On the other hand, Leichardt and Kalgoorlie are just the sort of places where ballot position matters. I’m pretty skeptical about Labor’s chances of taking Kalgoorlie, but the luck of the draw may have brought it into play. Few people have noticed just how much a remarkable run of luck in ballot draws in the key marginals contributed to Howard’s survival in 1998, despite getting less than half the national two party preferred vote. It looks like this election may be payback time by the gods of luck.

People can’t choose how tall they are:

Andrew W Scott writes: Re. “And what’s Steve Price doing in the Chairman’s Lounge?” (Yesterday, item 4). Re. Stephen Mayne’s line: “…step forward 162cm shock jock Steve Price for turning a private Peter Garrett joke into a midget scandal.” Whilst I am no fan of Price, I think it’s not in good taste to make fun of someone’s height. People can’t choose how tall they are. They can, however, choose whether they are going to be annoying and obnoxious.

It takes two to cartel:

Louise Crossley writes: Re. “It is time Australia sent cartel leaders to jail” (yesterday, item 30). One thing that confuses me about the condemnation of Richard Pratt for price fixing is that, surely, it takes TWO to create an oligopolistic cartel? ONE is a monopoly, and no one seems to throwing that charge at Pratt, so why isn’t Amcor in court as well? Please explain!

John Parkes writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. I do get the point about cartels and Mr Pratt in your editorial, but I wonder if you have the tense wrong. If the Government were to set jail penalties for cartel members as from this date, or even from the day after Pratt and the others were charged, they could not be jailed as their offences occurred prior to that particular penalty being available to a court to impose so there would be no danger of inconveniencing this particular party donor. If however you had said “they didn’t want to offend…” that would put the matter in a different light. It might also suggest that the decision was made with the knowledge that to act would offend someone and that in turn suggests that someone in Government may well have been aware of the potential for embarrassment, that is of the existence of the cartel, before it became public knowledge. Now there is food for thought, – and not even packaged in cardboard.

Labor’s homebuyers plan:

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “Rudd’s first home owner saver account: useless” (yesterday, item 15). Adam Schwab is far too quick on the dismissive draw in relation to Labor’s plan for superannuation style accounts for first homebuyers. Of course a person on $30,000 would have trouble achieving home ownership under the scheme. Most would have to stop eating and using any form of transport and they would still fall short of qualifying for a home loan for an average home. What the plan does is redress the balance towards owner occupiers who can enter the market as compared with investors, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Behold the gaffe:

Tony Barrell writes: Re. “Mungo: Garrett, Abbott and a week of blunders” (yesterday, item 10). Both print and electronic outlets clearly believe the only story in this election is stumbling across the latest ‘gaffe’ and then blowing it up front page size. Come on Crikey! Can’t you add a daily Gaffometer to your regular graphs, tables and pie charts? Based on the amount of space given to yesterday’s gaffe it might concentrate the minds of some of our lazier and more hysterical ‘journalists’ who can’t think of a question that seeks anything other than the gaffe.

Kev’s ear wax:

Phil Monroe writes: Re. “The Daily Verdict: Day 21 and John wins by an ear” (yesterday, item 14). Re. Kev’s ear wax. It was shown on the Letterman program last Friday night. It was alongside a video of Dubbya spitting on the Whitehouse lawn. It was concluded that after 7 years a national (or soon to be) leader has finally made George look good.

Getting medieval:

Niall Clugston writes: How can John Hughes (yesterday, comments) deride Tony Abbott as a medieval Catholic while giving credence to astrology? But seriously, if Abbott was really a medieval Catholic he would be a fervent anti-capitalist and would have nothing to do with heretics like Howard and Costello.

First Dog on the Moon:

David Lodge writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (yesterday, comments). As noted by other readers, I must say, whoever finds the First Dog on the Moon the slightest bit entertaining needs to get out more. I’ve never seen such predictable, un-creative drivel passed as an amusing comic strip.

Michael Bourke writes: Anyone else spot the irony in John Howard standing in front of a “Go for Growth” slogan while trying to talk down an interest rate rise? Perhaps the only rise we can hope for is a rise in interest in the election. And politics overall. Love your work, Crikey. And add me to the First Dog on the Moon fan club.


David Havyatt writes: I am happy to rely on the “body of scientific opinion” that Katherine Wilson suggests (yesterday, comments) and that body of opinion is not a plethora of scare-mongering websites but the World Health Organisation (WHO). Their latest fact sheet on wireless networks states: “From all evidence accumulated so far, no adverse short- or long-term health effects have been shown to occur from the RF signals produced by base stations. Since wireless networks produce generally lower RF signals than base stations, no adverse health effects are expected from exposure to them.”

A critical Haiku:

Guy Rundle writes: To my critics (yesterday, comments):

yes, se’teen syllab-
-les (or feet). Or sixteen if
about Heather Mills

The MYER Fashions on the Field:

CRIKEY: Re: “How Fashions on the Field suits Peter Jackson” (yesterday, item 25). Amber Sheldon, Manager of PR for Victorian Racing Club, told us that “Kwame entered the MYER Fashions on the Field of his own accord and purchased his outfit. All of our contestants sign a form to state that they have not received payment or compensation from a third party for entering this competition. The Peter Jackson ad probably would have aired at the same time even if the winner was wearing Gucci.”

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