Hopefully Ms Rinehart will kick some arse:

Glen Frost writes: Re. “Simons: it’s a big if, but Rinehart could set Fairfax agenda” (yesterday, item 1). Falling share prices will always attract new investors who think they can run things better — this is good, it’s how markets work. Media companies are different because “the media” can influence “the nation”, and both businesses and Governments do get a bid edgy over ownership changes. This is mostly guff as we have laws and courts to defend rights, and we now have WikiLeaks for the news that timid Editors won’t publish.

If we are to have a vibrant private sector media in Australia we need change. The arrival of wealthy Russians in the UK has regenerated UK newspapers, and RT (Russian funded) is now broadcast on UK’s Freeview TV – i.e. RT is free to air in every UK home. RT news is modelled on, and looks like, BBC TV News. If the Liberals think the ABC is “our enemies talking to our friends”, they should get RT to come here.

But the key issue for print media is still there; newspapers around the world haven’t embraced the web; they have failed to build their own search engine (or engines) to compete with Google, they have failed to capture new revenue streams, they have failed to capture “people’s time” and they have failed to embrace freelancers, bloggers and online commentators to build digital communities of interest (and News Corp using Blogger Bolt is not a credible response).

Numerous CEOs at Fairfax have been the wrong people to bring in the change required, and the share price has suffered. It’s all been too chummy in the Fairfax Boardroom and in the senior management ranks; people are recruited because of who they know, not what they know. Hopefully Ms Rinehart will kick some arse. I might buy some shares if she persuades the Board to hire a competent CEO.

I think we should start to call Ms Rinehart “The Iron Lady”.

Papua New Guinea:

Matt Andrews writes: Niall Clugston (Tuesday, comments) writes that the current political crisis in PNG is “due to Somare, a highly experienced politician, refusing to accept that he cannot be prime minister without support of the parliament”.

Actually, strange as it may seem, it’s entirely possible in PNG for a prime minister to not have parliamentary support.

Under the Integrity Law (ironically introduced by Mekere Morauta, one of the senior MPs supporting Peter O’Neill), a vote of no confidence cannot be made in the last 12 months of a parliament’s five-year term (which expires in mid-2012). This is why the crisis has hinged on questions of the legality or otherwise of removal of the PM after health-related absences from parliament: a vote simply cannot take place.

Beyond the legalities, the political reality, as anyone who has followed PNG politics knows, is that the parliamentary numbers always follow the power. You can be sure that if Somare was confirmed as PM, he would soon command a parliamentary majority again, as MPs come flocking back across the chamber to stake their claims to ministries and funding.

Abbott’s plans:

John Hunwick writes: Re. “Keane: Abbott’s nostalgia for Howard’s Oz is no basis for an economic policy” (yesterdya, item 3). Time and time again Bernard Keane tells it as it is. Abbott wants to take us back to the past for the future. God help us!

Following the reading of the analysis by Keane one wonders what the opposition is really thinking, now that the Emperor has been revealed to have no clothes on!

I wonder if it will occur to them that they could win the next election from tomorrow onwards — hands down — if they would only trade in Abbott for Turnbull.

Forget Howard’s end and look to someone like Malcolm Turnball who is prepared to tell to think honestly and engage in sensible discussion.

Albo for PM:

Chris Virtue writes: Re. Monday’s Editorial. Thanks for the reminder about Anthony Albanese and the mob.

He’s been my local member for 15 years and whatever you think of the man’s politics, he’s got bottle. He has phoned me to respond to a letter and he has often responded to emails personally. When he sees me, he remembers who I am even if he can’t remember my name.

What he said to the mob outside his office is true about there being more people at his meetings than their demo. Whenever he has a public forum, it is standing room only.

There’s a bit of the old-fashioned pollie in Albo and I like that. I don’t always agree with him, but he would rather try to win the argument than run away from it.

Albo for PM? He couldn’t be any worse.

Climate change:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. “Stop the press: misleading climate change op-ed in WSJ” (Tuesday, item 16). Graham Readfearn says that “each decade since the 1940s [was] warmer than the previous one”. This is incorrect. Using the CRU temperature data it took me less than four minutes to calculate that the 1950s were 0.09° cooler than 1940s, the 1960s were 0.04° cooler and the 1970s were 0.02° cooler.  It didn’t start warming until 1975 and it stopped in 1998, as NASA recently confirmed with its paper on the “slowdown in global warming“.

Now, given that we are in a long-term warming trend it’s not surprising that the 2000s were warmer than the decades before it.  However, while the world is indeed warmer, it is not in fact warming. The difference is crucial given that humanity is emitting record amounts of CO2.

Peter Fray

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