SBS announced this week that it has commissioned a new 13 part crime drama based on the character Detective Dusty Buchanon from Phillip Gwynne’s novel The Build Up. To be directed by Chris Noonan and produced by his partner, Glenys Rowe, former head of SBS Independent, this is a project with great promise. Shame then that it is was also announced that top UK and US writers will pen the scripts with Phillip Gwynne. The project will almost certainly require further funding from Screen Australia, the Federal government’s subsidy agency and enjoy further subsidy in the form of a tax rebate for the production company.

How then can SBS go cap in hand to government for more funding for Australian production and then agree to the employment of foreign writers? This is a breach of faith by a public broadcaster and an insult to Australian screenplay writers who already struggle for commissions in a very small market. Yes Australia lacks the writing depth of the UK and USA because we are a small market but this is why Australian film and television is subsidised. The more opportunities for writers the better the writing will become. Public broadcasters should lead by example. Mr Conroy should be asking a few questions here.

Reading with interest your story on Age Online casuals as I am one of them. We didn’t get notified about any of the meetings and were told over the phone. Nor have we seen the email from Mike. And we haven’t been told we can come back if the situation improves, just been told we are off the books.

Yesterday’s comment regarding Amanda Meade’s article in the Australian about The Chaser made a number of excellent points. Mark Scott was indeed appointed as a last ditch attempt by a Howard appointed ABC Board to reform the culture of the ABC and bring it into the conservative fold. Mark Scott, once a policy advisor to Terry Metherell in the Greiner NSW government and son of management consultant Brian Scott had impeccable conservative credentials.

At Fairfax he was there to do the bidding of Fred Hilmer and the Fairfax Board and at the ABC he has shown no inclination to defend the vision and integrity of ABC content. It has with the odd exception got duller by the day. Lots of management can’t about multi-platforms and lack of money but little about the vision for content. He ran for cover with The Chaser skit and producers of content will be worse off because of it, as the ABC buries itself in middle management a-se covering.

While Courtney Gibson, Head of Content at the ABC can’t be expected to watch every local show which goes to air the only contentious one in production under her management is The Chaser. She had the tape and she didn’t watch it. There are no excuses for this. Blaming and demoting her underling is unconscionable. The ABC staff union is right in pursuing it.

Here is an interesting aspect of the Iranian protests, street art (or graffiti for the wowser set).

What do you know about the plan to block off Clayton then pump water from Lake Alexandrina into the bay to fill it for sailors and others through to Goolwa?? Filling Lake Albert and a new lake? this isn’t something that’s been consulted on publicly — what’s going on? and what’s the impact on the rest of the lake and it’s human/biological populations?

You may wish to check out a recent flurry of activity at the Australian Embassy in Rome. Something’s up.