ABC’s user generated content:

The Australian Community Television Alliance writes: Re. “2 cents’ worth: ABC paves the way for reader-generated content” (yesterday, item 4). Margaret Simons notes that the ABC has issued an editorial policy on User Generated Content and quotes Managing Director Mark Scott saying the new policy was “necessary to enable the ABC to continue to develop as a ‘town square’ where debate flourishes and different voices can be heard, and where the creative talents of users — both young and older — can be expressed”.

This sounds a lot like Community Television to us and we wonder why the Government would want the National Broadcaster’s scarce funds used for this purpose. Following amendments made to the Broadcasting Services Act in 2003 the Australian Communications and Media Authority began allocating permanent licenses for Community Television using the Channel 31 spectrum. Senator Conroy and his Department are currently putting the finishing touches to a policy to provide long awaited digital spectrum for the community channels. Each week hundreds of “user generated” programs are screened on Community TV.

Glen Frost writes: Interesting article on the ABC and User Generated Content. It’s a shame this won’t reduce the large percentage of fixed costs paid by the ABC. A quick look at the ABC budget shows that MacBank-owned fund Macquarie Communications Infrastructure Group (ASX MCG) is the ABC’s single largest supplier. That’ll be for the transmission services (digital and analogue TV and radio; they’re still simulcasting remember). Transmission is a fixed cost driven by the number of towers not the ups and downs of the ABC’s budgets/funding. And the transmission cost is indexed, so it increases every year.

MCG bill the ABC about $80 million per year. ABC budget is $800 million Therefore the ABC costs us 10 cents per person per day with 10% going straight to MCG coffers — “kerching” as they say in the banking world.

Joe Hockey:

Stephen Magee writes: Re. “Joe Hockey: say hello to Frat Boy Slim” (Monday, item 4). Instead of attacking Joe Hockey on an ad hominem basis, why doesn’t Crikey look at his record? This was the man responsible for the Financial Services Reform Act. Justice Austin of the NSW Supreme Court is no Michael Kirby, but even he was publicly moved to despair by this statutory turkey, in a 2007 speech:

The very mention of the Financial Services Reform Act 2001 will produce moans of despair. It is not just the excessive detail and complexity of the drafting, the devastatingly comprehensive abandonment of the principles of simplification, that causes difficulties; it is also the extent to which the legislative text is affected by regulations and ASIC modifications, adjustments that evidently became necessary because of flaws in the formulation of policy and legislative text.

Royalty:

Maurene Grundy writes: Re. General knowledge question (Monday, Tips and rumours). I don’t care much if it was a constitutional nicety or a constitutional no no for Her Majesty, the Queen of Australia to be represented “personally” by Princess Anne and “officially” by the Governor-General, Quentin Bryce at the memorial service last Sunday. I’m just impressed that our current PM allows the GG to do a few of the more interesting and important gigs, unlike our erstwhile Dear Leader who only let the former GG off the leash for the less newsworthy and less glamorous gigs. Roll on the Republic but in the meantime allow a meaningful role for the GG.

First Home Buyer grants:

Helen Dickinson writes: Re. “First Home Buyer Grant working for whom?” (yesterday, item 18). Added gains of the first home owners grant is for State stamp duty revenues, lawyers charges based on sale price and ultimately Council rates. All benefit in time from the top-up effect of the inflation caused by Grant. And of course all sellers gain as long as they do not repurchase.

QLD election

Martin Gordon writes: I read Anna Bligh’s rationale for calling an early election and it was pretty flimsy. There is an Alice in Wonderland like quality to avoiding making decisions governments are elected to make and going to an election so early to avoid a backdrop of more unemployment, debt and apparent mismanagement. State Labor will claim credit for spending federal funds for schools etc — but its taxpayer money being spent or returned to the people who paid the money in the first place! If Anna wants to run to script perhaps she could claim she will legislate for fixed terms too (and be defeated like Alan Carpenter was).

Rainbow Labor:

Aram Hosie writes: Re. “The GayLP’s rainbow revolution” (yesterday, item 2). I’ve had it brought to my attention that you ran a story in your email news today about moves to establish a ‘gay friendly’ branch in South Yarra. Apparently the article also referred to the efforts of Rainbow Labor to get recognised in Victoria and the work of Rainbow Labor in NSW. More specifically, I believe that you (your source?) reported that the proposed branch would be the first gay branch of the ALP. Not true.

While I appreciate Western Australia is sometimes treated as and would like to think of itself as separate from the rest of Australia, we haven’t actually seceded (yet). And over here, Rainbow Labor is an official branch with voting rights and State Exec, State Conference, and National Conference and everything.

I should know, I’m the branch President.

Catholic Rebellion:

Tim Mackay writes: Ken Lambert (yesterday, comments) Father Peter Kennedy does not hate the Catholic Church as you seemingly infallibly claim. I am sure the same claim was made by small-minded people about Galileo 400 years ago. Father Kennedy loves the Church so much that he seeks to reform it, as Galileo, Martin Luther and many others before him have tried. Much of what he is doing should already have evolved out of the Second Vatican Council.

If he hated the Church I have no doubt he would give up and start his own sect as you claim rather than go through the burdensome effort of staying and arguing his case. As a Roman Catholic silently watching from afar his successful efforts to energise his parish in the love of God and the community, I applaud and support his efforts. I am firmly convinced he has many supporters within the Catholic Church who wish him to stay and fight. If the Catholic Church ever stops reforming itself, over time it will wither and die.

Jesus frequently deliberately came into conflict with the Pharisees and Sadducees, the then obsessive, infallible arbiters and upholders of man-made religious rules and laws. Jesus upset them because he focused more on the love of God and love of his fellow people than on dogma and ritual and because he placed the spirit of the law above its letter. Luckily, the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t have narrow minded people like that in charge any more.

David Lenihan writes: The vicious attack on Father Kennedy by Mr Lambert suggests he is in the full employ of the former head kicker Ratzinger and the bully Pell and is well versed in the art of abuse and put down. Hardly an attribute one would expect to find in “his” Christ. Mr Lambert sounds very much like a member of Opus Dei the keen followers of the current Popes ways, good or otherwise. Perhaps he should take a more personal interest in his own destiny and let Father Kennedy and his supporters look after theirs. I doubt they invited the said Mr Lambert to stick his pious nostrils into their problem, or perhaps it’s the rebirth of the Inquisition, nothing about the current Pope and his methods would surprise me.

Kerry Lewis writes: Being only a layman, I was wondering, if the hierarchy of the Catholic Church want to show Fr Peter Kennedy the door because of his “unorthodox practices”, what does that say of such “practices” as “p-edophilia” and “s-xual abuse”, given their “stand” on such issues over the years?

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

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