War over Matt’s Brown underpants. As the Matt Brown underpants saga gets fresh oxygen following the Kiama MP’s interesting decision to grant the media a string of interviews to clear the air before next year’s state election, a war of words has erupted between the Daily Telegraph and the Illawarra Mercury over who got to speak to Brown first. Last Friday, Tele reporter Amanda Kamper claimed an “exclusive” on her page-13 interview with Brown, the only problem being that the Mercury ran its own wide-ranging interview, by Michelle Hoctor, on the same day. Hoctor told Crikey that Kamper was well aware of her looming Brown effort but decided to append the “exclusive” tag anyway. It seems in the parallel universe of Holt Street, a pesky publication that sits alongside the Tele in Wollongong milkbars doesn’t seem to count as a serious competitor. — Andrew Crook

Saudi Prince discusses News Corp alliance. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a nephew of the Saudi king and who was listed last year by Forbes as the world’s 22nd richest person, met with News Corp’s chief executive Rupert Murdoch on January 14 in a meeting that “touched upon future potential alliances with News Corp. News Corp, parent to Fox News and Dow Jones & Co among others, may be thinking of buying a stake in Alwaleed’s Rotana Media Group, which includes a number of satellite channels that air in the Middle East. — The Huffington Post

A Tweet too far. A man has been arrested by anti-terrorism police and suspended from his job after he sent a Twitter message joking that he was going to blow up an airport. “Robin Hood airport is closed,” he wrote. “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your sh-t together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”  ABC Online

Marketers, be careful what you give in Haiti. In the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, Kraft, AT&T, UPS and others engaged in a well-meaning one-upsmanship of cash gifts, in-kind donations and matching programs to provide assistance in the country’s hour of need. But in some cases, consumers inflated the marketers’ generosity and, in others, spread misinformation about their gestures, forcing some well-intentioned brands to explain and adjust their goodwill strategies.— AdvertisingAge

2009’s top investigative stories. Which investigative stories blew you away in 2009? I asked that question several weeks ago to some of the top investigative journalists in the country and got back lists and links from 11 outstanding journalists.California Watch

Our Penal Roots

From: David G. Donovan
Sent: Monday, 18 January 2010 6:34 PM
To: Laurence Bartlett; Marc Lavine
Subject: Agence France-Presse lets the world know that Australia was once a penal colony

Dear AFP editorial,

On behalf of all Australians, I would like to express my utter disgust in your services your description of Australia as a former penal colony, as if this is the key point that describes and encapsulates modern Australia.




“The young prince is expected to be warmly received in Australia, a former penal colony which remains a constitutional monarchy with the British sovereign as its head of state.”

Let me remind you, Australia hasn’t had convicts shipped to its shores for about 150 years. Is this to keep us mindful of our station in the world?

Perhaps Australians, in the same vein, should start to go around describing France as the former military dictatorship that ravaged Europe under Napoleon; it is about as relevant.


David Donovan

Media Director
Australian Republican Movement

Peter Fray

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