It wasn’t the Budget all public servants were watching. It’s when the caretaker period will be called (with a federal election as the punch line). This Labor government has few senior ministers who have experienced what a caretaker period means while in office. Expect high tempers when some politicians discover how public servants must step back from helping them ahead of the election.

Surfers in Manly are none too pleased having the Mad Monk as leader of the loyal opposition. Now when he goes for a surf, not only do they have to put up with him dropping in, he also has two goons holding onto their boards for dear life out there as well. It’s presumed they’re there to protect him from angry surfers!

In relation to the Fairfax newspaper wars in Melbourne, Fairfax through its paper The Courier in Ballarat did the same thing when 17 real estate agents and new car dealers opened their own free weekly home-delivered paper called the Ballarat Weekly in 1999. The Courier cut deals with a few real estate agents who remained with them and wrote to vendors similar to what is going on in Melbourne with MMP Media.

The Courier even started a second real estate guide in its other free weekly home-delivered paper, Ballarat News, to compete against the new agents’  publication — the agents who remained with The Courier had their Saturday advertisements repeated free of charge in the Ballarat News on a Wednesday. This was done to confuse the public with two free midweek papers being delivered to homes in Ballarat.

And a few years before that they got fined by the ACCC in South Australia for doing a similar thing and Ian Law who was with Fairfax at the time got a rap over the knuckles in court. They will spend money until they win; eventually the agents’ paper in Ballarat folded due to too much pressure from a very powerful Fairfax.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey