Mean Bastards Want To Help You

This advertisement appeared in the 'Courier-Mail' last week:

Text: The Australian Government announced in June 2006 that it would provide non-liability health treatment for all malignant cancers for all Australians who participated in the British Nuclear Test Programs in Australia from 1952 to 1963, and that you can call toll free 1 800 044 029 to request a claim form and obtain advice on how to apply.

Yeah. If you're still alive.

Get F#$Ked Federal Government, and your very belated and virtually useless offering to those lucky enough to have survived this far, after refusing to even acknowledge the health effects of the "British nuclear tests".

The US Vice President's Rider

Today's [22/02/07] 'Crikey!' reports:

"Mr Cheney likes his hotel suite kept at a comfy 68 degrees, all the televisions need to be preset to the Fox News Channel, decaf coffee should be ready upon his arrival along with four cans of caffeine-free Diet Sprite. And when Cheney is travelling with his wife, the second family's suite needs an additional two bottles of sparkling water. Mrs Cheney's H2O should be either Calistoga or, curiously, Perrier, a favoured beverage of French terrorism appeasers."

We Live In Extraordinary Times

Did you catch 'Insight' on SBS on Tuesday [20/02/07] evening? The Attorney General trying to defend the legality of David Hicks' detention, torture and proposed "trial" was farcical. The spontaneous, derisive laughter from the audience at his disingenuous attempts to defend this travesty, makes it clear that the whole country is not as stupid as our government and mainstream media would have us believe. If you have some doubts, how widely was this astonishing event reported in the Murdoch papers today? [ 21/02/07]

If I were Queen, I'd make 'Insight' compulsory viewing for every Australian. Thankfully this episode will be repeated this Friday [23/02/07] evening at 7.30 pm. You'd better tape it as an historical document because Julie Bishop will certainly take it out of the curriculum, so your little ones will never get to hear about it.

Murdoch's City Hall Reporter Now The Lord Mayor's Main Man

He was the 'Courier-Mail's' City Hall reporter for several years. You probably expected your local paper to keep the Mayor honest with its probing investigative journalism. It actually ran coverage strongly in favour of (to use their slogan) "Can Do" Newman and his campaign to be Mayor. Semi thwarted by the electorate, the interested parties found themselves saddled with a Deputy Mayor and majority leader of Council (David Hinchcliffe-Labor) who wasn't entirely on side.

This 'Courier-Mail' scribe (and the full Murdoch machine) dutifully promoted the Lord Mayor and, particularly, his "tunnel vision" for Brisbane. He also occasionally pulled the Mayor into line. For his brutally honest and probing coverage of City Hall, he has now ended up with the task of being the Lord Mayor's, Campbell Newman, spin master/helper or "keeper" perhaps?

True journalism is a thankless and financially unrewarding calling in Queensland. Luckily for the chosen there are always those respectable and proper paying jobs of marketing, promotion, shillery and outright propaganda always available with the Sun King, or these days, with the government and any other funded interest.

Who is he? How does this work in a democracy?

U.S. HAS NO BETTER FRIEND THAN JAPAN! OK?

In the February 17-18, 2007 edition of the 'Australian Financial Review', Brian Toohey reports:

"Many countries have a good relationship with the US, if Condoleezza Rice is to be believed. While in Tokyo last May, Rice declared: "We have no better friend than Japan." In her earlier travels, Rice announced the US had "no better friend" than Greece, Italy, Singapore, Jordan and the UK. Since then, two of these unrivalled friends, Japan and Italy, have withdrawn their troops from Iraq without dire consequences."

So it's important to have friends. Important to know who your best friends are too, surely?

We should also remember: "Of course, the United States has no better friend than Australia." - (from May 4th 2005, a chat between Minister Downer and Ms Rice).

Other "No Better Friends" include: "Israel has had no better friend than this administration, and no better friend in this administration than me" (Ms Rice circa January 2005-according to the Washington Post), Britain (is that different from the U.K.?), Argentina (April 2002), Iraq (interview in 2006 on NBC), Japan again (DefenseLink), APEC (Ms Rice 18/11/2006), Singapore (all the time) etc.... [note: at this point "Google" started to feed my researchers rubbish/propaganda when trying to cover this story]. As intelligent/intelligence folks, you'll join the dots and somehow make up the difference. Surely Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Pilau, Cook Islands and such are just busting to be included in Ms Rice's "No Better Friends" club? How valid can a colonial government get? Hmmm, I bet one of Rupert Murdoch's scribes has the answer.

Review of : 'I Journalist: Coping with and crafting media information in the 21st century' (Edited by Lee Duffield, PhD and John Cokley, PhD Pearson Education, Australia, 2006)

From one of the Murdoch "throwaways". The Queensland Government has paid to produce some glossy "guides" which are available through the Murdoch outlets, both have a BIG interest in talking up Queensland property. They say you should get it online (via the Murdoch apparatus), by mail (also giving over your details to Rupert) or by e-mail (ditto). Apparently it is also available from 'your' local Real Estate agent (Rupert need never know).

Stop Press! Stop Press!

ABC off-air in Brisbane for four hours from 1.30 am [9/02/07] unless you have digital. Apparently urgent maintenance to a transmitter is the reason.

Why does the Brisbane ABC always go off air?

Spring Hill Voice Finds Possible Site For ABC Studio!

It's the old Sunny Queen Eggs warehouse at the Normanby Fiveways, which has line of sight to Mt Coot-tha, is almost 6000 square metres, has plenty of parking, is close to the CBD, and best of all - is handy to The Normanby!

But I still reckon the whole Toowong thing stinks. Tuesday's [6/02/07] 'Courier-Mail' reported that scientists looking into the breast cancer cluster at Toowong say shiftwork may have triggered the cancer cluster. Wednesday's [7/02/07] 'Courier-Mail' reported that ABC Managing Director Mark Scott said the Toowong site could be sold off to help fund the development of new Brisbane headquarters, while electromagnetic radiation experts said a chance to research an environmental cause of breast cancer may be lost if the Toowong site is demolished.

The Rock Star And The Millionaire Debate Climate Change

Did you see Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Garrett go egghead to egghead with Kerry O'Brien on the ABC's '7.30 Report' last night [8/02/07]?

Essentially Turnbull kept trying to draw Garrett on the argument that any amount of reduction or control to do anything about global warming or C02 emissions, equals a loss of living standards for the upper-middle class. Eg that second 4WD or air-conditioning for the granny flat.

He quoted Garrett twice, but Garrett didn't take the bait. Mind you, I still can't work out why Garrett sold out to the Labor party - and all those "going forwards"- it was as if he was being interview by Ali Moore!

Do Fairfax Reckon The Emporer Has No Clothes?

Fairfax owned Domain.com billboard on Waterworks Road, Red Hill [captured 8/02/07]

Are the folks at Fairfax having a shot at the leader of the free world? I sent them the following email today [8/02/07] and will hopefully receive a response soon:

Re: Media Enquiry Re: President George W. Bush lookalike billboard in Brisbane

Hi,

I noticed your billboard "So Easy Anyone Can Find A New Home" today while travelling into Brisbane's CBD along Waterworks Road, Red Hill.

It caught my eye because it features a picture of a gentleman (with an uncanny resemblance to President George W. Bush) looking at something on a laptop and the text: "So Easy Anyone Can Find A New Home".

I presume you are implying that President George W. Bush has a somewhat diminished intellect.

Are you able to confirm that this is the message you are trying to convey by juxtaposing a lookalike of President George W. Bush against the text, "So Easy Anyone Can Find A New Home"?

Are you worried that Vice President Dick Cheney might see one of these billboards on his visit to Australia in the next couple of weeks and get cross?

Thanks,

Air Wave Omission

The ABC may have recently come out on top in Nielsen Media Research's ratings for the period September 17 to November 25, 2006, but how did Brisbane's other popular non-commercial and community radio stations fare?

I asked Nielsen Media Research if they could advise how Brisbane's smaller stations such as 4ZzZ (102.1) FM and 4EB (98.1) FM rated for the period. A spokesperson from Nielsen Media Research advised that, "The release of Station ratings for the Metro markets is governed by those stations participating in the survey, under the Commercial Radio Australia umbrella. Whilst respondents might nominate other stations they listen to, these results are not published individually."

A media release issued by Commercial Radio Australia indicates that Brisbane's radio advertising revenue grew by 6 per cent to $91.8 million in 2006.

4ZzZ's Promotions and Sponsorship Manager Ruth De Glas, provided me with some listening statistics for the station. According to McNair Ingenuity Research Pty Ltd, in an average month, 17% of Brisbane residents listened to 4ZzZ throughout 2004*.

On air since 1975, 4ZzZ is Australia's oldest FM radio station, and relies on subscriptions and promotions to keep broadcasting. A statement on the 4ZzZ website says, "We value our subscribers immensely, they know the concept of user pays and indicate to us better than any poll that our programming is meeting a need not serviced by other media outlets."

Despite their recent win in what the 'City News' called the "Radio ratings wars", ABC radio are currently broadcasting out of a bus, as the search for new premises continues.

Statistics, how do you work them out? So how many people do listen to 4ZzZ? My thoughts are that it's more than the commercial outlets would like people to think.

*A spokesperson from McNair Ingenuity Research Pty Ltd said, "The figure that you have quoted; "17 % of
Brisbane residents listen to 4ZzZ", was from our Community Radio National Listener Survey in 2004 which 4ZzZ subscribed to. We do have current information regarding 4ZZZ's listening figures from our 2006 Community Radio National Listener Survey; however, as 4ZzZ did not subscribe to it, we are unable to release results for that station."

More On The ABC Site At Toowong

Michael Johnson MP, Federal Member for Ryan, has been agitating for the sale of theToowong ABC Studio site since 2005. A media release from his website dated 17/10/05 stated:

“The current location of the ABC Studio in Toowong is not good enough for Australia’s national broadcaster in the 21st Century. It resembles a dingy and neglected warehouse from pre-war times. Anyone who has visited the ABC studios would know that it is a far cry from its commercial rivals yet we ask the ABC to compete on equal footing,” Mr Johnson said.

“On a low estimation the ABC site at Toowong is prime real estate and worth tens of millions of dollars of funding to the ABC’s future.”

Mr Johnson has called on the recently announced KPMG enquiry into the ABC’s funding and efficiency to include a broad scale examination of all ABC locations across the country and their suitability for broadcasting.

“There is no doubt that a Coalition Government will always have the best interests of our national broadcaster at heart as demonstrated in current funding levels exceeding those of the Labor Government prior to the 1996 election. Given the Federal Government takes very seriously the funding capacity of the ABC to deliver quality services to the Australian people, it is timely and necessary to see how more dollars can be allocated to the ABC by maximising current assets that are not fully optimised.”

“If the asset at Toowong can be utilised to provide significant funds to the ABC whilst at the same time improving the working environment of staff and delivering the latest communications technology, then all taxpayers would be the beneficiaries.”

Interestingly, the West Toowong Community Association Inc. have published a letter they wrote to Mr Johnson on their website. Here is an excerpt:

"I am aware that the owners of the former Toowong Pool site want to put a tunnel under Coronation Drive linking their site with the ABC site which they hope to own and develop. I understand this has been proposed to BCC, as I was asked to comment. I oppose such a tunnel. Further, I do not believe it is the role of a parliamentarian (or a local councillor) to promote the business interests of individual developers at the expense of an excellent service with strong roots in the Toowong community."

The entire letter can be viewed at the following link:

http://www.toowongwest.org.au/michael_johnston.htm

Why has the ABC really abandoned its Toowong Studios?

Dick Gets A Free Run On The ABC

Why did ABC 'Lateline's' Tony Jones interview Prime Minister John Howard on Monday [5/02/07] so diligently, while on Tuesday [6/02/07] evening, he let Dick Morris (former adviser to Bill Clinton, and author of 'Condi vs Hillary: The Next Great Presidential Race') speak practically non-stop for approximately 16 minutes? It was a free ride - the man didn't draw a breath, while he went on and on about Hillary's failings.

Why did Tony Jones let this discredited and bitter individual blather on our ABC without asking him at least one challenging question?

In case you didn't know, Dick Morris resigned as Clinton's top political adviser in August 1996 amid allegations of a relationship with a prostitute.

United Group And The North South Bypass Tunnel

In the 'Taking Stock' column in Monday's [5/02/07] 'Australian Financial Review', Richard Hemming reports, 'Tunnel work lifts rating':

"Brokers are using United's 11.4 per cent fall in the past 3 months as an opportunity to tell investors to increase their holdings in the stock. Of the seven major brokers that cover United Group, five have positive recommendations and two have neutral ratings. Most recently, Credit Suisse reiterated its outperform rating and $15.75 target price after United confirmed that its order book had been boosted by $300 million in works associated with the North-South Bypass tunnel in Brisbane and a number of other projects. At its current share price, the broker has United trading on a one-year forward price-earnings multiple of about 14 times price, a discount to the average for industrials of just over 15 times."

This multi-hundred-million dollar boost was presumably unexpected. What does this group do? From the United Group website:

"United Group is an infrastructure and industrial services company providing industrial maintenance, manufacturing, engineering, transport facilities management and corporate real estate services to blue chip companies and governments throughout Australia, New Zealand and the UK."

Mahathir Mohamad Says Western Leader Should Be Tried as War Criminals

Today's [6/02/07] 'Sydney Morning Herald' reports in a story 'Ovation for fiery Mahathir's claim West worse than al-Qaeda'.

"Kuala Lumpur - About 2000 activists applauded as the leaders of the United States, Britain and Australia were branded "fascist war criminals" at a conference in Malaysia featuring gruesome exhibits of their alleged crimes.

The former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad hosted the conference and won applause yesterday for calling for the leaders to be tried by an unofficial tribunal for war crimes in Iraq. He said the war had caused more terror than al-Quada.

"We should not hang Blair if the tribunal finds him guilty, but he should always carry the label 'War Criminal, Killer of Children, Liar'," said Dr Mahathir in a speech illustrated by pictures of wounded children, deformed babies and tortured men.

"And so should Bush and the pocket Bush of the Bushland Australia," he said, referring to Prime Minister John Howard.

Will The Jon Stewart Daily Show Ever Return To SBS?

I recently emailed SBS to ask them when the Jon Stewart Daily Show would return.

I received the following reply:

"Hi Megan, we don't have any new episodes at present, possibly in the future sometime.
Regards
"

Bummer. It's the only show on Australian free to air TV (other than David Letterman) that gives any news from the US.

A Question For Pingdom

I emailed 'Pingdom' to find out why their details keep appearing on the "stats" page of the Spring Hill Voice.

Question:

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Från: Megan
Skickat: den 3 februari 2007 08:05
Till: info@pingdom.com
Ämne: Monitoring of www.springhillvoice.com

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please advise why you are monitoring my website: www.springhillvoice.com

I did not register with you for this service.

Thanks,

 

Reply:

Hi Megan,

None of our customers monitor your website's uptime. We have just verified this. The "visit" from us that you saw is because our development team is doing some research which involves scanning large parts of the Internet (based on domain names). It is not something specific for your site. A visit from us will not show up more than a maximum of 3-5 times per month, and will not take any more resources than a regular website visitor would (less, actually, almost 0 bandwidth). We are working on something similar to http://www.domaintools.com/.

Please note that you can block the research robot with the standardized robots.txt.

We hope this is not a bother. Please feel free to get back to us if you have any more questions.

Sincerely,

Peter Alguacil
Pingdom
www.pingdom.com

Rupert's Railway

'The Independent' has been on the "Brunswick Street Station" story for years. Brunswick Street Station is one of the busiest train stations in Queensland. It's in Fortitude Valley and in desperate need of an upgrade (an election promise from Peter Beattie and nothing has even started yet). The indie's last two issues has taken the Queensland Government to task, but was unable to get a response from the Department or the Minister.

So 'The Independent' puts pressure on the Minister. Then, lo and behold, the 'City News' runs the story (with no attribution) and includes quotes from the Minister Paul Lucus:

Just another example of your corporate monomedia at work. The independent media does the work. The Murdoch media picks up the money, the quotes and influence with governments. Lovely. My supplementary question to the Minister would be: "Why is it that the Murdoch papers can get instant quotes from you on this story, but you are unable to answer straightforward questions from the only independent paper in this city after months?"

Titanium Takes To Kin Kin

Melissa Maugeri reports in today's [2/02/07] 'Courier-Mail' that Raffles International Limited, which operates Raffles Hotel, Singapore, has signed an agreement to manage the proposed 'The Edge Noosa' eco-tourism resort near Kin Kin.

The $400 million resort features a golf course, country club and day spa and will be developed by Titanium Enterprises - if the development is approved by Noosa Council and the State Government.

As well as disregarding the environmental ramifications if this project goes ahead, the report fails to mention that Titanium Enterprises sponsor the Queensland Media Club (formerly the Queensland Press Forum) - the official political, business and media forum of the Queensland Parliamentary Media Gallery and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance.

Since 2005, the Queensland Media Club have hosted luncheons and speeches, including the 2006 Queensland Election 'Great Debate'.

More about this pristine part of South East Queensland

AEC Releases 2005/06 Annual Financial Disclosure Returns From Political Parties

Yesterday's [1/02/07] 'Crikey!' gives a detailed rundown on the 2005/06 annual financial disclosure returns from political parties, associated entities and donors.

In Queensland, the top single donor to the Labor Party was Dr Chin Yuan Kung ($20,000), and to the Liberal Party - Brescia Investments ($77,000). Brescia had a furniture shop in Sydney, which burned down in March, 2005. They run the Nick Scali furniture stores in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.

A Sample From The Cover Of The Australia Day Edition Of The 'City News'

With all the fervent nationalism and contrived debate over the "importance" of being Australian, the flag and the new PC (patriotic correctness) the Murdoch monopoly in Brisbane goes into jingoistic overdrive. So it was fascinating to read Rowena Smith's take on Australia Day and her reminder of the reason for the national celebrations:

[from page 5] "January 26 marks the anniversary of the country's Federation. It's also the day of the Australia Day honours list, which highlights a group of residents who are as Aussie as it gets".

Historical revisionism has always been a strong suit in Murdoch media, but even Keith Windschuttle would have remembered that Captain Phillip fellow, surely? January 1st was the anniversary of Federation. Quick! fetch me a nameless sub-editor to blame.

Tim Flannery: Australian Of The Year 2007!

Speaking of Australia Day honours, it was "announced moments ago", according to Kerry O'Brien on this evening's (25/1/07) ABC 7.30 Report, that Tim Flannery has been honoured with this year's award.

O'Brien then cut to an interview which seemed to have been shot with bright lights outside the window to make it look like it was during the day. We also noticed that O'Brien had a quick wardrobe change into the casual gear.

Sticklers for continuity.

No problem with the pre-recording and media blackout etc, but "announced moments ago" does make one visualise a big celebration, with people at tables clapping while a surprised Flannery dashes up to the stage to accept his award.

Cricketing Legend Walks Out On PM

Early this month, Aussie Cricketing legend and Human Rights advocate Ian Chappell, walked out of the commentary box when Prime Minister John Howard arrived to have a turn at some cricket commentary.

This was mostly unreported in Australia. A 'Sydney Morning Herald' blog 'The Tonk' mentioned it on 3 January:

"IAN SEEKS ASYLUM

John Howard was welcomed into the Channel Nine box for a spot of commentary yesterday, but not by everybody. As the PM slipped in, Ian Chappell slipped out. The two are vehemently on different sides of the political fence, due mainly to Chappell's campaigning for better treatment of asylum seekers. Chappell was listening in to Howard's guest spot through an earpiece, but only so he could tell when Howard's guest spot had ended so he could return."

While Andrew Stevenson made reference to it in his article of 6 January 'Tragic John fails own test':

"John Winston Howard spent the week, as is his wont until his Budgewoi reservation comes up, at the cricket, moseying from box to box and guesting in the Channel 9 commentary box, sitting in the chair abandoned by Ian Chappell as soon as the men with spaghetti in their ears appeared in the vicinity."

I found out about this from John Pilger's article 'Cruelty And Xenophobia Shame And Stir The Lucky Country', of 19 January on the website 'Information Clearing House' (www.informationclearinghouse.info/article16226.htm) :

"But perhaps something wider and deeper is coming from a nation whose most enduring and melancholy self-image is that of disobedient larrikins (rebels). During the recent Ashes cricket series, Ian Chappell, one of Australia's most admired captains, walked out of the commentary box when Howard walked in."

The 14 July, 2003 episode of the ABC's 'Australian Story' - 'The Unusual Suspect' focussed on Ian Chappell and his involvement in seeking a fair go for asylum seekers. Referring to his reaction to the Tampa crisis, Chappell said:

"These are human beings and you can't just treat them like that...in cricketing parlance it was like cheating. The were being cheated out of a fair go."

His wife said, "Bad things happen when good people do nothing." And that began his joining the campaign for a fair go for asylum seekers.

OK, SO WE KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON WITH IAN, BUT WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH GREG?

Well funny you should ask, but the 'India Times' of 22 January reports that in New Delhi, Indian coach Greg Chappell was attacked by a fan at the Bhubaneshwar airport when the team arrived for its next One Day International match against West Indies in Cuttack on 24 January.

"Chappell, a former Australian captain, was hit and pushed by the fan, Biranchi Maharana in protest against the non-inclusion of some Orissa players in the national team. Maharana, reportedly an activist of the Bhubaneshwar-based voluntary organisation Kalinga Sena , was subsequently arrested."

I had no idea Greg Chappell was coaching the Indian team. Does this mean we are now an ally?

Clown Fish - What An Apt Name!

Did you watch 'Inside Australia' (Policing the Pacific) on SBS last night [24/01/07]? There was a particularly interesting point concerning the local (Soloman Islands) trade in live clown fish. Since 'Nemo', there has been a huge demand for this exotic reef fish in pet shops. Apparently the locals get paid about $AUD 1.50 for each fish caught, bagged, and packed. The story said that they sell for up to $90 in pet shops in Australia.

Clowns for Clowns. I don't mean proper circus clowns - they are artistes, but you know who I'm eluding to. Like that famous guy (I'm sorry I have forgotten your name and that I am stealing your concept) once wrote. They eat clown food, drive clown cars, live in clown houses, and buy things because they are stupid.

MONA LISA... LIKE, HAVEN'T WE BEEN THERE?

Oh So Uncanny. Staying at a Gold Coast Hotel, which was equipped with Sky, we saw this "story" (ho hum Mona Lisa, enigmatic smile, photoshopped descendents putting a face on the Mona Lisa) this morning [23/01/07]. Next thing you know, we're watching world news on SBS at least 12 hours later, and get served the same muck.

Honestly, I'd rather tune in to find out who won the meat tray at the Spring Hill!

BRIZ 31 TO BROADCAST AFL

Glenn Dyer reports in 'Crikey!' [19/1/07] that Channel 7 is negotiating with Briz 31 to broadcast Friday night AFL in Brisbane.

Woolworths In Tight With the ABC, News Limited and Wayne Swan's Pricewatch Team

Woolworths have announced that on January 23, 2007, they will donate their entire profits from all Australian Woolworths and Safeway supermarkets, for the day to the Country Women's Association to help farming families with household bills and for research into sustainable farming practices.

According to a media release from the Woolworth's website, the initiative was launched on the ABC's 'Country Hour' program. Woolworths CEO Michael Luscombe said the Woolworths National Drought Action Day is expected to raise in excess of three million dollars. 100% of the donation will be directed to the Country Women's Association.

This seems a little cynical given the low prices they pay Australian farmers with their buying power compared with the massive markups on that same produce they collect from Australian shoppers. And let's not forget what they did to the Obi Obi creek in Maleny.

If we cut out Woolworths, we could pay the farmers 3 million dollars a day, and get our fruit and vegetables for the same price!

In any case, thanks to the aggressive policies of our giant grocery duopoly, there are almost no independent butchers or fruiterers in Brisbane's inner city.

You can help our drought afflicted Australian farmers by donating to Aussie Helpers:

http://www.aussiehelpers.org.au/

As for News Limited, the January 18 edition of the 'City News' contains an article 'The city price is right', which reports that Woolworths prices in the inner city are cheaper than Coles.

"Of the five inner-city supermarkets surveyed for 'City News' by Wayne Swan's Pricewatch Team, the least expensive were Woolworths Spring Hill and Woolworths McArthur Chambers. But the survey found only a small difference of 36 cents between the basket at the most expensive stores - Coles Queens Plaza and Coles New Farm - and suburban supermarkets despite the high socio-economic area and premium inner-city commercial building prices."

There's even a natty litte graph to prove the point (Woolworths prices represented by green and Coles by red, showing the Coles prices clearly higher, but a peek at the left margin shows that ALL prices are within a dollar of each other!).

I smell a crock of shit. My guess is that when the Coles opened their second CBD outlet in Queens Plaza, they forgot to pay for advertising space in the City News.

By the way, the Brisbane City Council minutes contains some interesting reading about Macarthur Chambers. For instance, did you know that, as part of the deal to allow the development, BCC owns the building and leases it back to the developer on a 99 year lease at a rate of $1 per annum! Who says inner city rents are too high?

Brisbane Businesses Rally For Women's Safety

'Walk Without Fear' Rally - McCaskie Park

Approximately 500 people, some brandishing prams and dogs of every size shape and description, descended on McCaskie Park, Kelvin Grove in Brisbane's inner north on Sunday morning [14/01/07] for the 'Walk Without Fear' Rally organised by Brisbane's only daily newspaper, the 'Courier-Mail'.

According to Queensland Police 38 women have been assaulted on Brisbane's parks, walking tracks and bikeways over the past year. Taskforce Operation Echo Shine was launched last year, and a $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the apprehension of the attacker/s.

Last week, the 'Courier-Mail' launched the 'Walk Without Fear' campaign to help police catch the attackers. A series of stories such as: 'City's name tarnished', 'Assault pattern repeats', 'On a path to terror' , 'No end to park evil', 'Women exercise caution', 'Victim 'Too afraid to tell''and 'No longer a stroll in the park' have appeared in the tabloid under the banner 'Walk Without Fear'. Female readers have been encouraged to take responsibility for their own safety by walking in groups, not wearing I-pods, and keeping friends and family informed about their walking routes.

The sensationalism of a story covering the rally: 'Predators may have been at rally - Police' was particularly appalling. The headline appeared on the 'Courier-Mail' website a couple of hours following the rally, but was changed to 'Women rally against fear' shortly after.

On Sunday morning large 'Courier-Mail' 'Walk Without Fear' placards had been placed all around McCaskie Park, while Yalumba, B105 FM, 97.3 FM and S.A.F.E (Securing A Female's Environment) NRG, a program run by Powerhouse Fitness Centres filled the gaps. Other local businesses took advantage of the opportunity to wear promotional T-shirts and set up shade marquees advertising their wares.

The almost exclusively white, middle class crowd listened attentively and cheered and clapped politely to a series of speakers including Jerry Harris, Managing Director of Queensland Newspapers, the Acting Premier Anna Bligh, Jillian Whiting who presents the news on Channel 9, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Dick Conder and Lord Mayor Campbell Newman.

B105 FM put on a sausage sizzle, sample bags and balloons were handed out, and the energetic S.A.F.E. folk displayed their kickboxing and self defence prowess. The Crime Stoppers stand displayed comfits, while two police on horseback surveyed the surroundings, and a small group of young Brisbane activists watched proceedings from the sidelines, no doubt wondering whether the 'Courier-Mail' had obtained all the correct permits under the Peaceful Assembly Act (1992).

A cynic might question whether the 'Walk Without Fear' campaign will actually promote women's safety or if it in fact cultivates a climate of fear. Whatever the case may be, violence against women has always been a problem in Australia - although it's not always perpetrated by a stranger. An Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey 2005 found that of the women who experienced sexual violence during the 12 months prior to the 2005 survey, 21 per cent had experienced sexual assault by a previous partner in the most recent incident, and 39 per cent by a family member or friend.

One could argue the 'Walk Without Fear' campaign is a convenient diversion to the recent negative publicity regarding Palm Island and Arukun. Imagine if you could attract the kind of corporate interest shown at Sunday's rally to a rally to free David Hicks or, more appropriately, the 'Reclaim the Night' rallies which are held throughout Australia every October?

* Interestingly, 'To Walk Without Fear' is an international campaign to ban landmines.

A book 'To Walk Without Fear: The Global Movement To Ban Landmines', was published by Oxford University Press in 1998, and a documentary 'To Walk Without Fear' (Miracle Mile Films), which explores the effects of landmines on people, was released last year.

Noodle Genius Departs This Mortal Coil

From 'The Epoch Times', Edition 105, January 10 - 16, 2007

Brisbane To Remain A One Paper Town

As reported in 'The Age' of 12/12/06, Fairfax Media chief executive David Kirk was quoted as saying:

"We do not have plans in the short or even medium term to launch a new newspaper in south-east Queensland," adding:

"We would be going up against an established incumbent in a mature market."

Reportedly, Fairfax Media registered the trade name 'The Brisbane Morning Herald' in the early 1990s as part of plans to establish a competing newspaper to 'The Courier-Mail'.

The article, by Matthew Ricketson concludes:

"At the end of the decade, the company held talks with Premier Peter Beattie's Labor Government in Queensland, which was unhappy with how The Courier-Mail covered it.

The plan faltered because the potential revenue was not enough to outweigh News Ltd's anticipated response."

Wow! Wonder what that "anticipated response" would be?

Well no daily newspaper competitor to Murdoch yet, but 'Crikey!' has today (14/12/06) reported that Fairfax is planning to launch internet-only titles in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth early next year. The title for the Brisbane site is thought to be 'The Brisbane Times'.

When one has to read 'The Age' to find out that Robbie Williams smoked a cigarette during his concert at Lang Park last night, it's apparent that we don't need to be protected from a second newspaper.

Until then, you can always pick up a copy of 'The Independent' every fortnight!

That Walkleys Moment

I wondered what Glenn Milne may have had to say about an incident in December 2003 involving alcohol, "assault" and Senator Bartlett.

Here is an abridged extract from the end of this article:

"Bartlett should have resigned ... and made alcoholism and the clinical depression he now says triggered the binge drinking his own high-profile causes. Everybody would have applauded him, his dignity would have been maintained and some community good might have been achieved. ... Bartlett simply does not get it: in Parliament as in life, there is no drunk's defence."

There is no drunk's defence. Unless you are in the Murdoch fold, obviously!

Syd Sider

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