Inside Sport is alive and kicking:

Graem Sims, Editor of Inside Sport, writes: Re. “Media briefs: TV Week plummets, Is Jon Stewart the most trusted man in America?” (Yesterday, item 20). Despite a report in Glenn Dyer’s magazine circulation summary yesterday, Inside Sport is alive and kicking — currently on the news stand with our 200th edition (the magazine was launched in Nov 1991). With new owners this year, Wolseley Media, we are planning for Inside Sport to be around for a long time yet.

The wrong firm:

Sergio Freire writes: Re. “Sonny Bill fiasco fixed by Richo and high-flying Sydney lawyer” (yesterday, item 2). Glenn Dyer criticises the SMH for its evident lack of knowledge about the lawyer engaged to represent the interests of SBW, Mark O’Brien (in respect of whom, Dyer says, “the SMH obviously doesn’t know the first thing about”). Dyer then proceeds to fill in the gaps regarding Mr O’Brien’s professional career, noting that Mr O’Brien had left Gilbert & Tobin for “the boutique Adelaide-based firm, John Winterer”. A particularly breathtaking example of pot, kettle, black. For future reference, Mr Dyer, the correct name of the firm is Johnson Winter Slattery.


Andrew Bartlett writes: Re. “Guestworkers and the return of the Kanaka” (yesterday, item 9). Michael Pascoe makes the blindly obvious statement that the federal government’s plan to allow a small number of people from Pacific Island countries to perform seasonal work in Australia will be totally different from the slave labour “black birding” of the 19th century. But he is happy to draw the parallel anyway, using many of the same arguments which have been used against migrant labour from the 19th century onwards, even going so far as to suggest it is the “return of the Kanaka”.

    If Mr Pascoe is genuinely outraged about bringing in unskilled labour while we “pay unemployment benefits to several hundred thousand able-bodied Australians”, why doesn’t he call for the long-running working holiday visa program to be shut down? After all this brings in over one hundred thousand people each year, with the only requirement being that they perform some paid work for short periods of time over the course of a year or two, and then go home. Of course people from Pacific Island countries aren’t eligible for working holiday visas. Those visas are only available to people from developed countries — mostly Europe and North America — who can work when and where they choose.

    Under the planned seasonal worker trial, a small number of Pacific Islanders — less than three per cent of the number of people from rich countries who come here on working holiday visas — will be allowed in on the condition they work in specific areas for specific periods – presumably without the freedom to also party their way around the country, hanging out in backpacker hostels as they go. According to Mr Pascoe, a trial which gives the opportunity for a couple of thousand people from poor nations to earn some significant income and obtain work experience in Australia is to be condemned as “raiding the third world” while offering “no chance of equality”. But allowing young people in from rich countries to do the same sort of work with less reliably is okay.

    Of course there needs to be safeguards against exploitation, and I very much hope this trial leads to greatly expanded opportunities for people from poorer nations in our region to be able to work and settle in Australia. But I’d love to hear Mr Pascoe explain how he thinks Pacific Islanders will have a greater “chance of equality” by continuing to be prevented from working in Australia at all.

Andrew Lewis writes: Michael Pascoe is unusually pessimistic regarding the guest worker status being offered to Pacific Island nations. No doubt there are people who will flaunt the rules, outback farmers who will exploit their workers etc, but we should be able to manage this in the 21st century. His references to unemployed locals would require me to explain the difference between a career and a job, but that was just a snide aside anyway, worthy of a Piers Akerman. This is a genuine way for us to share our wealth without creating the incendiary conditions for a Pauline Hanson clone to emerge from the wings breathing racial hatred. Most of all though it is about us helping those in our region and helping ourselves at the same time.

    Look up the phrase “win/win” and get used to it, because this is the way that labour will move about in the future, assuming the world becomes more integrated and global. Check for chips on shoulder and sense of “class” before proceeding further. It is quite possible that they may want to stay with their families in their current nation, and spend a few months a year to ensure their children are educated and fed. Terribly colonial of you to assume they would want to “bring their families here and prosper as our equals”. I would have been inclined to treat them as my equal anyway. Terribly classist of you to assume that someone who makes beds and cleans our sh-t is a lesser being. Just wait till I tell mum.

Peter Costello:

David Hand writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. I think your editor has developed an obsessive compulsive disorder over Peter Costello. He seems truly afraid of Costello’s political potency. I’d also like to suggest that when Alan Carpenter called the WA election a year early, he probably thought Greg Barnett’s chances of victory were that same as, say, Kermit the frog. While you are preoccupied with the goings on in the Liberal Party, I thought I’d remind you that there’s a government in power that different to them. It’s called the ALP.

    There are all sorts of issues your editor could think about. Just for starters, there’s the Murray-Darling. Associated with this, there’s the shameless parochialism of the Victorian ALP government, which won’t sell its water and even talks about siphoning off even more to supply Melbourne. Then perhaps he could spare a few thoughts about the disaster that masquerades as an ALP government in New South Wales. Perhaps he needs reminding through his red tinted spectacles that Belinda Neal is worth a mention again.

    He may have noticed the large swing suffered in last week’s election by the ALP government in the Northern Territory, or the movement in the polls undermining the early push for an election by the ALP led WA government. There’s the multi-billion pork barrel of the auto industry by the ALP Victorian Government. There’s the looming stillborn Fuel watch. There’s the increasing concerns that the ALP government designed emissions trading scheme won’t work. There’s the appointment of a whole regiment of new spin doctors to help Morris Iemma save himself. And that’s just this week. But no, Costello is the story gripping Crikey. Don’t tell me you already see Kevin’s lot as a one term government? You seem to treat them as peripheral and irrelevant.

Angela May writes: Re. “The Costello diaries Part 3: Election night 2007” (Friday, item 6). Please, please, please Walter Slurry, more of the excerpts of Costello’s book. The funniest thing I’ve read in ages.

The greatest Olympian?:

Walt Hawtin writes: Re. “Phelps is not the Greatest Olympian Ever. Not yet” (yesterday, item 19). No-one particularly wants a toothy, lantern-jawed American to be considered the Greatest Olympian Ever, except Americans, of course. But Michael Phelps’ mighty performances are undeniable, even if we were to recognise only his individual events, and ignore his team or medley performances. Adam Schwab claims Britain’s Stephen Redgrave should be considered a superior Olympic performer to Phelps, but if we were to apply the same logic as we applied to Phelps, Redgrave would have a gold medal haul of … wait for it … zero! Redgrave always won Olympic medals as a member of a pair or foursome, so either Phelps is in, or Redgrave is out.

God and Russia:

Michael Grau-Veliz writes: Martin Gordon (yesterday, comments) wrote: “Russia with all its resources should have the highest living standards in the world, it doesn’t because it wishes to dominate rather than trade and engage. Russia would make God cry.” Oh please Martin get your hand of it! And what, “pray” Martin would other countries make God do? Really leave God out of it…

So Long Sonny So Long:

Sam Dawson writes: Re. ” Sonny Bill fiasco fixed by Richo and high-flying Sydney lawyer ” (yesterday, item 2). To the tune of C’mon Aussie C’mon:

So Long Sonny So Long

He was the biggest thing to hit the game in years
Who’d have thought it all end up in tears?
Sonny’s gone and left the Dogs
He’s teamed up with the Frogs
Rugby League folk were choking on their beers

So long Sonny so long, so long
So long Sonny, so long

(Sonny Says) “I’m a man, not a coward nor a mouse
It’ll only take one game to pay off the house
Folksey started to tease me
I warned him just to leave me
Now I’m only an hour from The Alps”


Mundine’s come along to lend a hand
It’s kept him in the news across the land
Khoder Nasser’s copped some stick
Some say he’s nothing but a pr#%k
+ 5% of this one’s a hundred grand!


The IRB just doesn’t give a rats
A 100 years of poaching’s coming back
Gallop’s come out firing
You Rah Rah’s gotta stop hiring
Our boys can’t even read their own contracts


Sonny’s called in “The Fixer” to right the wrong
Richo’s warned him it’ll cost a bomb
750 to the doggies
Will let ya keep playing for the froggies
C’est La Vie Greedy Bill to Toulon!

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