Bishop bowls over the ABC charter. The ABC was condemned yesterday by a thunderous Bronwyn Bishop for “breaching its own charter” in dropping its lawn bowls coverage. She and fellow Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer would be launching a petition to get bowls back on the ABC, she advised in a media release. One of course will search in vain for any reference to lawn bowls in the ABC Act. What is in the ABC Act is that the “Corporation is not subject to direction by or on behalf of the Government of the Commonwealth”. That didn’t seem to register with Bishop, who called on Mark Arbib to “pick up the phone to the ABC and insist that coverage of lawn bowls, which has been going for over 30 years, will continue”.

Or perhaps Bishop has read the ABC Act, and wants the government to use the power in s.78, which does allow for a ministerial direction to the ABC (by the communications minister, but that’s neither here nor there), if “is of the opinion that the broadcasting of particular matter by the Corporation would be in the national interest”. It’s meant for declarations of war and national emergencies and such like, but perhaps Bishop was thinking that the broadcast of lawn bowls is “in the national interest”? — Bernard Keane

Stephen Smith and the naked bath torture. “The most degrading aspect of the relationship occurred when I was ordered to sleep in the bathtub,” writes Mark Bode in the Sunshine Coast Daily. “Even in winter she forbade me from wearing clothes and refused, with equal foulness, my repeated requests for a pillow and a blanket. The first time it happened I awoke to find her crouched naked over me like an emaciated sumo wrestler.” What’s this got to do with Defence Minister Stephen Smith? We’re still not sure, but Bode makes the eye-popping psycho-s-xual comparison in easily the most bizarre piece of (political?) analysis we’ve read …

IN A world where people compete against the vociferousness of our creations and now don’t so much speak but screech, and a splash of colour is rarely enough, Stephen Francis Smith is a welcome enigma.

The Defence Minister and touted candidate for Julia Gillard’s job has used his genial nature to become a political force.

He’s refreshingly non-intrusive, politically adept, articulate, intelligent and likeable.

In another life, the Roman Catholic could have been a skilled police negotiator, or the straightest of priests.

There’s another word that has been used to describe him — expressionless.

And that’s when things get weird. Do yourself a favour and read the full piece. Just don’t ask us to explain it. Bode, it seems to us, provides the colour to the holiday coast rag. There’s a series of fantastical pieces to his credit, including this deranged bit of fiction on Penny Wong and cat calls. We’ll leave it with you.

At Home With Julia: a review. The most surprising thing about At Home With Julia — which won its timeslot on the ABC last night — is just how restrained it was. With the character of Julia Gillard spinning out of the mostly awful sketch comedy show Double Take, followed by the in-character shambles that was yesterday’s Radio National cross-promotional effort, my greatest fear was that Julia would be played extremely broadly, even if her surrounds were more understated. To the show’s benefit, Amanda Bishop delivered Julia with an exceedingly high level of grace and humanity.

Anyone going in to At Home With Julia after biting political satire at the level of something like The Thick Of It will be sorely disappointed by this. At Home With Julia is not a political comedy. It’s a sly and warm-hearted comedy exploring the humanity that exists within the identities of the political arena. At the centre of the series are Julia Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson. They’re portrayed as an everyday Australian couple dealing with the fact that Julia has a much more important and high-profile professional life. Tim is desperate to find some time with his partner, who happens to work very long hours. Meanwhile, Julia does what she can to make her partner feel special, knowing full well that she is disappointing him regularly. They’re relatable characters with considerable heart. — Dan Barrett of White Noise (click here for more)

but what did Therese Rein think? Well, not much:

Front page of the day. American media are scrambling to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. New editions of Time and Newsweek came out overnight …

News International ordered emails to be deleted

“A technology company asked to delete hundreds of thousands of emails by News International had been requested to do so on four more occasions than has previously been disclosed, a committee of MPs has been told.” — The Telegraph

American newspaper groups merge online

“Two of the country’s largest newspaper groups are joining to create a new digital company. The Journal Register announced on Wednesday that its CEO, John Paton, is also becoming the head of MediaNews Group, the second-biggest newspaper chain in the country. However, the two chains are not merging. Instead, the Journal Register is creating a new company called Digital First.” — The Huffington Post

$5m cut to NSW TV, film production

“Up to 40 hours of high-end television production — or ‘Underbelly hours’ — may be lost from NSW because of a $5 million cut to the state’s film and television office.” — The Australian

Cybercrime: 432m victims and $109b cost

“Cybercrime claimed 431 million adult victims last year and cost $US114 billion ($A108.82 billion), according to a report published Wednesday. The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 said over 74 million people in the United States were cybercrime victims last year, suffering $32 billion in direct financial losses.” — AFP

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey