Wayne Goss and Free TV Australia:

Julie Flynn, CEO of Free TV Australia, writes: Re. “Wayne Goss and Free TV: cashing in on connections” (Monday, item 3). Stephen Mayne has rushed into print without checking his facts. Wayne Goss, the newly appointed Independent Chairman of Free TV Australia is the Chairman of Deloitte and Chairman of Ausenco. He is not a Board member of a company owned by Ms Therese Rein. He resigned from that Board in 2007 and was not approached by Free TV until 2008. Mr. Goss’s appointment as Chairman of Free TV is recognition of the fact that the industry wants an independent Chair to assist the organisation in the transition to being part of a multi-channel digital free to view platform. His public standing, reputation for integrity and interest in the issues surrounding the future access of Australians to free to view digital television services, were all part of the unanimous decision to appoint him. The appointment is a public one and his role will be a visible one. Any suggestion of impropriety is unwarranted and reflects on Mr Mayne’s lack of attention to the facts.

Paul Keating’s rant:

Kevin McCready writes: Re. “Conflicted Keating’s retro-analysis does him no favours” (yesterday, item 2). Erstwhile Prime Minister Keating never let the facts get in the way of a good rant. But his departure from reality on electricity privatisation is pathetic even by his low standards. His claim that the $35 billion price in 1997 is now reduced to $15 is absurd. The pseudointellect Bob Carr wanted to sell off the whole network not just the generators which Iemma wants to start with. Keating’s rant is like saying that selling a few pigs equals selling the whole piggery. If the unions had real guts they’d call a general strike to force the ALP caucus to stand up for once.

Neil Mitchell, Steve Vizard and freelancing:

Jeremy Smith writes: Re. “Fairfax’s Neil Mitchell: free agent or freelancer?” (Yesterday, item 4). Regarding Steve Vizard being interviewed by Neil Mitchell on the front page of yesterday’s Herald Sun. The interview was apparently done on Monday. A seemingly shameless PR job, the story finishes with “Steve Vizard will be interviewed by Neil Mitchell at 8.30 this morning on 3AW”. So even though Mitchell interviewed Vizard yesterday, he felt the need to, for a second time in 24 hours, relentlessly and without compromise, gloss over the details of Vizard’s minor “errors of judgment”.

Brad Hill writes: Neil Mitchell might end up as editor at The Age? Surely not – wouldn’t they go for someone with more experience in journalism instead?

Doug Clark writes: Also showing Fairfax’s ecumenical nature is the way News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt features on 3AW’s brekkie show every Tuesday.

Housing, grants and crazy rumours:

Clive Arnold writes: Re. “Broker queries ABS take on housing prices” (yesterday, item 22). I work in the industrial real estate market in Brisbane. Today I called at a furniture removalist’s premises. He reported that work in the house removal segment of his business had dropped significantly this year. A more scientific analysis of removalists would provide an interesting indirect insight into the housing market.

Peter Hill writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). I’ve seen some pretty loopy tips and rumours in Crikey over the past months, but one of yesterday’s must surely take the custard cake. Let me see if I’ve got this straight – the rich families in safe Liberal seats (i.e. not the rich families in safe Labor seats) “rorted” the “first home buyers mortgage (sic) scheme” by buying houses worth a million bucks and more just so they could get their greedy rich mitts on a stamp duty discount of $7,000? Hmm, yes, that makes a lot of sense!

Rosemary Swift writes: While the point about the wealthy accessing the first home buyer grants is certainly worth consideration, the outrage from your anonymous tipster at people “applying for the grants to buy homes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars” seems a tad over-egged. Aren’t just about all homes in all major centres worth hundreds of thousands of dollars? Sydney’s median house price in 2007 was $553,357 and Melbourne’s wasn’t far behind at $463,488. I’m sure there would be lots of takers if your correspondent could tell us where you can buy one for less than $100,000!

Same-s-x rights

Bruno Bouchet writes: Re. “ACT gay registration: keeping queers out of the pound” (Monday, item 12). Will someone please, please, please explain to me exactly what will happen to the “institution of marriage” if same-s-x rights are granted? In all the furious fear and “changing the fabric of society” outrage no-one has ever said what will happen. Is it thought less straight people marry? Will more people get divorced? Is that what’s happened in Britain? Has anyone in world done any research on the impact on straight marriage of same-s-x relationship rights in Spain or Holland? So please, will someone somewhere who believes same-s-x marriage is wrong explain exactly what impact it will have on how much men and women love each other.

David Siebert writes: Thanks Maree Whitton (yesterday, comments), should we forget about equality for women whilst we are at it? As long as you think it’s OK to discriminate against someone else then you are giving the green light for someone to discriminate against you. However maybe a vote would be good. Maree, it needed a vote to allow you to participate in our democracy.


Chris Pearce writes: Re: “Crikey poll: Seven in ten Victorians have seen Underbelly” (yesterday, item 19). Thomas Hunter refers to Crikey’s 5 May Underbelly poll as “rather unscientific”, but nevertheless gives us three paragraphs of figures from it and then a whole heap of “what if it’s true” based analysis. The truth is not that seven out of ten Victorians read Crikey. Even if you assume that people aren’t fibbing (arguably a fair assumption), the truth is that seven out of ten Victorians who responded to the poll had seen Underbelly. Not surprising when the 5 May Crikey newsletter encouraged people who had seen or downloaded Underbelly to take the poll.

Labor’s rank and file:

Matt Hardin writes: James McDonald (yesterday, comments) asks “What organisation was voted in by the electorate last year and has legal authority to govern the state of NSW? What organisation is actually now governing it?” As a member of the rank and file of the party, I would answer the question with “Representatives of the ALP, sworn to follow the policy platform of the ALP were elected at the last election. Those people are governing the state.” If politicians decide that they will ignore the policy directions of their party (and in this case it is not a question of an incremental change in direction but a full repudiation of the wishes of the party), then on what basis can voters make up their minds as to who to vote for? It is not a case of the “unions” or the “ALP rank and file” trying to govern NSW but the ALP trying to ensure that the policies that voters thought they were getting at the last election are carried out.

Banish the budget blues:

Derryn Hinch writes: Re. “Quote of the Day: Banish the budget blues” (yesterday, item 10). Some trivia on yesterday’s item about Banish the Budget Blues. It was sung by Henry Szeps (Gary McDonald’s brother in Mother and Son) in an ABC show called The Girl From Moonaloo in the 1980s. I was there when they filmed it on a very cold night in the park in Sydney. Why was I there? The show starred David Atkins and The Girl was played by my wife Jacki Weaver. They must have had a thing for blues songs. She did a number called Bridge Blues on a ferry on the harbour which was reminiscent of Streisand’s Don’t Rain on my Parade in Funny Girl. And Atkins filmed a dance sequence with a broken foot.

There once was limerick by Crikey..:

Simon Nix writes: Re. Crikey’s subject line of last week. Very good to see Crikey have a stab at verse, but could you please keep an eye to your meter? Most people tend to read Nambour as NAM-bour, rather than Nam-BOUR (that is, as trochaic rather than iambic). Playing with the type of foot that ends the first line of a limerick is, of course, permissible, but the expectation coupled with the standard pronunciation does not help us predict your intent. As such, “inspired awe” wants to be read “in-spi-ERD-awe”, which doesn’t work. “THE fridge for ONE more”, is likewise flawed, as the word of interest is actually “more”, which is unfortunately at the weak end of the foot. Perhaps instead this;

There once was a PM from Nambour
Who much preferred cliché to candour,
When he spoke out on grog
The grammatical fog
Led kids already tanked to demand more

(The weakness of this version is that the final line wants ‘already tanked’ to be in parentheses and that it’s not quite as funny)

Nick Bruechle writes: Following from the above limerick – surely you could do a seat-sniffer’s lament while you’re there?

There once was a polly called Buswell
Who liked the way that ladies’ seats smell
He might have got seedier
If it weren’t for the media
Who sounded the liberals’ death knell

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