Malcolm Turnbull, mother turtle:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Nationals leave Turnbull desperate and hapless” (yesterday, item 9). I am increasingly intrigued by the intensity of the “campaign” against Malcolm Turnbull, which must be keeping the ALP backroom fully occupied.

Having milked utegate as a huge distraction, it’s now whether Turnbull sought or was sought for an ALP career. People changing parties or been unsure of where to pursue it is not exactly new. Former ALP SA Premier Don Dunstan was a member of the Liberal Party, and until recently so was a WA state MP until he resigned and joined the National Party. I know a lot of people that have been party members of other parties at different times; it’s more common than you think. Perhaps they have forgotten Billy Hughes, Joe Lyons, many resigned from the Labor Party like former PM John Watson.

I noticed that Paul Keating was not involved in this Turnbull exercise of alleged seat seeking, but apparently offered a Senate seat (ironically that of Graham Richardson), and odd as Keating lives near Turnbull in Sydney. All the key players have a partisan objective and just seeing Richardson involved, well, this man has some irregular business deals, some interesting tax problems, and wrote a book Whatever it takes. He would not be the most reliable source you could find.

What will next weekend bring, another trawl through the rubbish bins?

Kylie Walker writes: I’d like to propose a new nickname for the Opposition Leader. My two young children often hover nearby as I read the newspapers, asking or commenting about photos and graphics that take their fancy. Last week my two-year-old spotted a picture of Malcolm Turnbull and said: “Look Mummy, it’s Mother Turtle!”

TomKat:

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. “Shock! Tom and Katie in predictable paparazzo bust up” (yesterday, item 17). Stop it. Bring back David Flint if you have to. But stop writing about Tom Fucking Cruise. Crikey isn’t New Idea so stop it. Please, just stop.

Ashes coverage and Mr Cricket:

Neil Summers writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). Crikey published:

The sad dilemma of daily print newspapers is evident everywhere but no better exemplified than this head in the sports supplement of Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald “England skittled but decider has plenty turns left”. Aside from the ineptitude of the line itself, as every cricket fan already knew that morning — either from checking the radio or online news services — it was Australia that had been skittled. The print sub editors’ antique dependence on a time linked sensational headline must be driving managers mad.

This was from Monday’s SMH: “Make them Urn it Defiant Ponting digs in to save the series” Another fine example of why newspapers are sadly dying. This was delivered to my house around 6.30am and by then Ponting was dead meat on breakfast TV and radio. What I can’t understand is why the newspapers leave themselves so exposed.

Bill Bishop writes: Re. “England wins Ashes, 16 months of barmy humour ahead” (yesterday, item 5). By virtually being responsible for running out his skipper and despite making a century after God knows how many failures, I think Michael Hussey deserves the title of “Jiminy” not “Mister”.

Women reading Crikey:

Andrew Dalzell writes: Re. “‘Hi, I don’t usually reply, but …’ Women weigh in to Crikey” (yesterday, item 12). I have attempted to tie together two strands of thought: women reading Crikey and Fairfax newspaper performance. You did not know you had women readers and perhaps Fairfax doesn’t know either.

An examination of the Fairfax Monday sports lift-out will show no women sports results. Not one … none. Oh, OK, sporadically there will be a bit on women’s tennis, or a freak win by an Australian in women’s track and field, or another race in pool a pool somewhere.

So my question is … that after two decades of trying to promote women’s sport in mainstream media, why is it such a failure? Or are the media forgetting 50% of their audience, some of whom may not be that interested in reading about celebs and frocks and health and diets.

Oh and when did Crikey do a form guide on Netball or hockey or … Mmmm.

Healthy food:

Roger Davenport writes: Re. “Fat chance of diet regulation, but we’ll weight and see” (19 August, item 6). Over recent weeks there have been a variety of articles in the papers on food, comparisons between the nutritional value of organic & non organic crops also concerns about the cross contamination of GM crops. Much of the research has been done at the bidding of groups with vested interests, resulting in reports couched in a language to reflect a specific outcome.

When I was young milk was delivered to the front door in Glass Bottles with a tinfoil cap and cream on the top and only one variety (fresh from the cow). Now we have to go to the supermarket, and there are more varieties than Heinz have. It’s definitely not fresh and most of the goodness has been stripped from it. Let’s face it no self respecting cow would give it to its calf. It is the same with most food products, they have been played with and preservatives added for longer shelf life.

Over the same period we have seen huge changes in behavioural patterns in today’s youth. Children as young as three on antidepressants, statistics claiming that Autism is affecting 1% of children being born today, hyperactivity, A.D.D, the list goes on. There has been a huge increase in allergies, heart attacks occurring in seemingly healthy adults in the prime of their life, a decline in the male sperm count, depression, mood swings the list is endless.

Violent behaviour is becoming an everyday occurrence, much of it for no apparent reason, what is happening to modern society? Universities, pharmaceutical companies & research institutes around the world are spending millions to seek remedies and cures and these people must be commended. The question I must ask is “what effort and funds have been invested to find the answers as to why we are seeing all these detrimental changes to new generations”.

Is there a link between the way food is packaged and marketed and our health and what can we do about it, surly tackling the cause is as important as the cure.

Transparency in the super industry:

Michael Delaney, Principal Executive Officer and Fund Secretary of MTAA Superannuation Fund, writes: Michael O’Hara, a financial planner with Wealth & Security Planners, cynically expressed views (yesterday, comments) on the APRA League Tables are based on a fear of transparency and regulatory change for the betterment of working Australians.

APRA’s tables will become a valuable aid for consumers to compare funds against each other, create greater competition and transparency in the super industry. They also reveal the rampant conflicts of interest within the retail super industry and the commissions paid to financial advisers.

Mr. O’Hara’s cynical attack on APRA is nothing more than a tainted cry against change and transparency.

Insofar as, O’Hara’s call is on MTAA Super it is superficial and based on short-termism.

Notwithstanding the GFC, MTAA Super’s investment strategy is most likely to deliver strong returns over the long term. While the GFC is far from over, it is increasingly likely that the end of the first week of March 2009 marked the low point for listed markets. Listed markets have picked up ahead of valuation gains for alternatives. Nonetheless, over the decade to 30 June 2009, MTAA Super’s alternative assets generated a return of 11.2% per annum, approximately 3.7% per annum more than the return for Australian equities, 14.2% per annum more than overseas equities (unhedged), 5.0% per annum more than Australian fixed interest and 5.5% per annum more than cash.

Over this period, the standard deviation for MTAA Super’s alternatives was midway between that of Australian fixed interest and listed equities. As a result, the overall risk for MTAA Super is below the median of balanced funds by a useful margin. That is, over the past decade to 30 June 2009, which includes the ravages of the once-in-a-lifetime GFC, alternative assets have performed exactly as expected by the alternative assets model.

As for Mr. O’Hara’s offer to assist Crikey with its editorials — for a fee, of course — the offer is typical of a representative of Wealth & Security Planners, which proudly states on its website: “To make it clear, WSPFS is not “independent”. Parts of our business do receive commissions and “trail brokerage” on investment, insurance and superannuation accounts. Again, the key aim of this legislation is to ensure that financial incentives are clearly disclosed so that you are able to identify bias or prejudice. WSPFS aims to reduce bias as much as possible. For this reason, you are able to pay for our advice on an hourly rate basis. In this way, there are no financial incentives for recommending one product or strategy over another.”

Except of course, if there is a commission paid anyway.

Nine’s GO! Channel:

Les Hart, Managing Director, Sales & Operations, Channel Nine Queensland, writes: Re. “Last night’s TV ratings” (yesterday, item 20). Just a small correction for Glenn Dyer. Nine’s GO! Channel is not on HD it is a SD Channel.

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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