Olympic radio rights:

Graham Mott, group general manager, Fairfax Radio Network, writes: Re. “ABC gazumped on Olympic radio rights?” (Yesterday, item 5). Your story today regarding Fairfax Radio having the broadcast Rights for the Beijing Olympics is wrong. The electronic media Rights for the Beijing Olympics were purchased by the Seven Network who sold the radio Rights to the Macquarie Radio Network (MRN), owners of 2GB and 2CH.

Four Corners and the Liberals:

Dave Liberts writes: Re. “The day after Howard’s End” (yesterday, item 2). I was astonished by Joe Hockey’s statement that a good number of Howard Government ministers were unaware that workers could be worse off under WorkChoices. How could they have not known? Weren’t they watching any of those union-funded advertisements?

Kerry Henry writes: As Howard’s Chief of staff stated in the Four Corner’s program – “He (Howard) was dead meat” – no wonder he was on the nose. The reality is that Peter Costello was also on the nose, but for much longer. The Libs would have taken an even bigger caning if Costello had led them to the election. The other reality is that none of the other senior ministers were capable of leading and indeed those still on the opposition front bench remain a huge liability. Hopefully being in the wilderness for at least two terms may encourage them to move on and let some fresh faces in.

David Havyatt writes: The suggestion by some that Peter Costello fumbled the leadership transition when he agreed to the release of the McLachlan memo is wrong, the fumble came from not pursuing it to its collusion, not the failure to start it. Costello is right, John Howard never had any intention of “standing aside” just as Bob Hawke didn’t for Keating. Even when it got to the point of the Cabinet advising the PM it was time to go he insisted on being publicly tapped, not just going. Costello had to pursue the deal all the way, call on the PM to stand aside, call on a challenge and lose. The Howard era would have ended within six months. But Judith Troeth though had it right – Costello never had the makings of a leader, but either Turnbull or Nelson would have staved off both the ALP leadership change (they’d have fancied the Bomber’s chances against either) and the election loss.

Brendan Nelson, Mr 9%:

Simon Tapp writes: Re. “Possum: So just how bad is 9% for Nelson?” (Yesterday, item 3). For Mr 9% it only gets worse. The Lib spinners are showing an astonishing and unbelievable degree of self-denial in trying to refute the notion that the good doctor is “old meat” as his predecessor so accurately described himself on November 24 last. None had the guts to force out their old problem and nothing looks like changing with the new leader. Have they learned nothing?

John Goldbaum writes: Mr 9% makes the former Mr 18% look brand new again. Brendan Nelson must be wrestling to hold onto the leadership following his poor popularity rating because even a full nelson is only a half Howard. A half nelson would certainly pin him to the mat.

Possum Comitatus writes: Yesterday’s item stated that Simon Crean’s lowest preferred PM score was 14%. It has since been pointed out that the particular Newspoll where Crean scored 14% was taken on the 28th to the 30th November 2003, even though Crean had announced his decision to stand down from the ALP leadership on the 28th of November. In the interests of accuracy and fairness, we probably shouldn’t burden Simon Crean with a paltry score of 14%. Instead, the 16% he scored during April, May and September of 2003 would be a more fair dinkum appraisal.

Rudd and Burke:

Christopher Ridings writes: Re. “Saint Kevin’s mortal sin” (Monday, item 3). I fail to see the point in the Opposition wasting precious Parliamentary time and taxpayers’ money on linking PM Rudd with Brian Burke, the Arthur Daley of the ALP. I lived in WA for 30 years and it would be hard for anyone over there to avoid any degree of separation from anyone else, particularly a persistent perennial pest like Brian Burke. Hasn’t the Opposition anything better to do? One of the main reasons why the Liberal-National Coalition keeps remaining in opposition is that they have not bothered to learn to ask the questions sensible voters want asked.

Matthew Brennan writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks” (yesterday, item 11). Richard Farmer’s understanding of what the Prime Minister has been trying to tell us about his relationship with Brian Burke is itself only understandable if Farmer has never personally been in a situation of having to find a diplomatic way of saying no. To imply that an apparent inconsistency in Mr Rudd’s reasons for cancelling the dinner points to a dark and terribly sinister connection between the two men is crossing into cuckoo territory. Crikey might more usefully try to find out what the hacks, primarily at News Limited, who were behind this imbroglio had for lunch last Sunday.


Clement Clarke writes: Re. “Board considered 50 basis point rise: RBA minutes” (yesterday, item 1). If inflation is caused by too much money, then surely the cure is to reduce the amount of it, rather than make it cost more? Of course the banks would squeal as they are only interested in creating lots of it, and charging interest on what they make from thin air.

Foreign investment:

Shirley Colless writes: Re. “Swan’s FIRB guidelines ignore the elephant in the room” (Monday, item 5). I remember the cries of extreme outrage in the 1960s when the Yanks of all people dared to take over some of Australia’s vast rural assets and have the gall to rename one station King Ranch! I can’t say for certain, but it is possible that the Yanks were simply buying up what English and Scottish banks and insurance companies had foreclosed on from Australian squatters doing it hard during the 1890-1902 drought. As the French say, the more things change…?

Crikey’s editorial:

Wajiha Ahmed writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. This has got to be the funniest thing I have ever read in my entire life! You guys are priceless. Thank God someone says things that most of us think.

Niall Clugston writes: In your list of Jolly Hockey “unknown unknowns” you include: “That the Australian Wheat Board was giving lots of money to Saddam Hussein”. Pardon my pesky pedantry, but the privatised AWB was not “giving” money to Satan Insane, it was helping the Iraqi Government access its own money which was being withheld subject to its disclosure of the dematerialised WMD. For all the exhaustive investigative reporting on this so-called scandal, the Australian media – both electronic and paper – still can’t see the wood for the trucking fees!

MacCormack on Rundle:

David MacCormack writes: Re. “US08: New state sheds light on United States’ politics” (yesterday, item 6). Our Guy should stick to channelling Hunter S. Thompson rather than Noam Chomsky. His dismay over Kosovan independence yesterday reflects the complete discombobulation of the anti-American Left over the issue. You’d think Rundle and friends would be delighted about Kosovan independence. This is the side of politics, after all, that since WW2 has supported practically every separatist or nationalist movement around, even to the extent of backing unviable micro-states like East Timor (and they’re still at it over West Papua). The Left are also the ones who reflexively call “genocide” over the slightest antagonism toward a minority group. Accordingly, you’d expect them to back a people subjected to Serbia’s brutal attempt at ethnic cleansing. Only problem is, of course, the Americans. Anyone backed by the Yanks can’t be any good, and vice versa. Thus the confused left-wing response to the sight of Muslims waving, rather than burning, American flags. As for Serbs being demonised, perhaps tautologically, as “sub-human pig-men”, I’ve yet to see any porcine comparisons, but I do recall plenty of well-justified condemnation of Serb aggression by such instruments of US foreign policy as the UN, the EU, and even the Serbs’ own Russian allies. Then again, as Guy notes, deaths in Kosovo were only “in four figures”. Well, that’s OK then. Makes you wonder what they’re going on about.

Radio ratings:

Michael Tunn writes: Re. “Radio survey results” (yesterday, item 20). I think it’s fair to say that everyone in the Radio Industry is a little knocked for six when trying to read into the first radio survey of 2008, but let me say, you are comparing apples to watermelons! A little tip – Nielsen Media research have readjusted the actual make up of our cities. For example in Sydney there are now 36,000 more 25 to 39 year olds, but 16,000 less 40 to 54 year olds. Where did all these mid lifers go? This is a process of Nielsen stacking up with the Census ABS stats, but these can have serious effects on a radio stations share when they try so hard to target these specific and normally static age groups, it hurts in the old rate card when they just appear and disappear in the flash of two months. In the smaller markets like Adelaide this really does wonders for the credibility of the survey when the 25 to 39 demo grew by 13,000 people by the way all those people born in this demo this year turned off Triple M and ran to Triple J, go figure! No insult to Nielsen, it’s a hard industry to measure, especially when people keep dying and being born as 40 year olds!

The Golden Carriage of North Head:

Darryl Calderwood writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). No, Crikey, I think you’ve got it wrong regarding the tip about the Golden Carriage of North Head! A mate of mine lives in Wollstonecraft and he reckons there’s a cream brick joint, just around the corner from him, with a double garage off to the side. Apparently, on a sunny day when the doors are partly open, you can catch a glimpse of this incredible golden horse drawn vehicle! Not only that, but he also reckons the occupant of the house – a middle aged bloke, track suit, glasses, a bit skinny on top – can be spotted regularly going into the local Bunnings, buying heaps of bottles of “Brasso”…?

Abrams tanks:

Peter Lloyd writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Monday, item 8). Regarding your tip about Abrams tanks only being repairable in the US. The tank in question was probably being rebuilt/reconditioned prior to the original sale to Australia. The tanks will be repairable in Australian workshops or, thanks to the acquisition of special recovery vehicles, in the field. The far larger problem is that the 65-odd ton M1 (the Leopards were just over 30) will not be able to use the flimsy bridges and poor roads prevalent in our region. Historically, this is the ONLY place Australian tanks have been deployed. A certain Mr Hitler once had a fascination for big tanks. Although unstoppable on the battlefield, they were so difficult to get to and from the action that the Allied armies simply collected them, abandoned, from muddy fields and river crossings.

The new ABC logo:

Denise Marcos writes: In support of Mike Walkden-Brown (yesterday, comments) I, too, am disgruntled by the revamped larger-than-life ABC logo. Like a Grecian siren it relentlessly lures the unwilling eye. The old watermark, the elegant lissajous/worm, comprised a single line. Now it’s a double-decker, we hapless viewers getting twice as much bang for our devalued ABC dollar with not one but two lines. Why? The battalion of marketing geniuses could simply have tacked on either a “1” or a “2” next to the venerable lissajous.

War and peace:

Steven McKiernan writes: Many ex-servicemen and women themselves became active in the peace/anti-war movement precisely because of the horrors they saw and the failure of their leaders as they were dragged into yet another conflagration. The peace/anti-war movement has been active through many decades struggling with the armaments industry, the uranium industry, and nuclear proliferation and has had many members present in the Parliament. Daniel Lewis needs as many opportunities as he can get to propagate his militarist tendencies. Why broaden the topic to focus on his current pet project of the middle-east? It is precisely because of the voices of hate and fear such as Mr Lewis that this planet has not known peace since before the Second World War.

Mikey Hughes writes: Thank god for manly men like Daniel Lewis. Maybe he’s the Seventh Team America member? Pete Best eat your heart out. Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah eh? Gee, none of those organisations had involved in their genesis the interference by the west in their region for realism driven national security purposes did they? Sure the world is a mean place, and now and then bullies need their noses rubbed in it. But let’s not pretend it doesn’t take two to tango and that yesterday’s freedom fighter ably supported by us (Saddy, Binny), becomes today’s terrorist.

Frank Birchall writes: Daniel, please provide evidence for your assertions that: 1) the Arab world are “sponsors of global Jihad”, and 2) Hamas and Hezbollah regard Australia as being part of “the enemy”. You say that “War is a terrible thing. However…” This platitude has been trotted out by warmongers for many centuries as an intro to a call to war.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.


Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey