MEDIA PAGE

Random Observations And Frustrations From A Media Duopoly Town And Beyond


'Living Black' And What People InYuendumu Think About The Intervention

They have serious concerns.

'Living Black' screens on Wednesday [10/10/07] at 6pm and is repeated on Friday at 3.30pm and Monday at 5.30pm.

http://news.sbs.com.au/livingblack/index.php

Australia's Satellite Of Death

Satellites gone
Up to the skies
Thing like that drive me
Out of my mind

I watched it for a little while
I love to watch things on tv

Satellite of love
Satellite of love
Satellite of love
Satellite of... (Lou Reed, Transformer, 1972)

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=74598

Solar Powered Potato Chips

http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/CLSU00207102007-1.htm

Rupert's Cultural Warriors Hard At Work On The Gold Coast

Cast your mind back to 1985 when Greenpeace was actively campaigning to stop French nuclear weapons testing in the Pacific Ocean….

Every Tuesday, Gold Coast residents are the lucky recipients of a News Ltd. throw-away, 'The Sun'.

It's a useful read if you want to buy a car, are looking to have your prejudices confirmed or enjoy spending your hard earned money on consumer items.

'The Sun' employs that classic News Ltd. strategy of incorporating little columns and articles that convey confusing messages to the reader, amidst the array of advertising and propaganda.

Said messages seem very clear to me:

If you drive down to the shops and buy enviro-lightbulbs to put in your green bags, there will be no global warming, and your grandchildren will live forever in an antipodean wonderland where the car reigns supreme and the rivers will run with desalinated water, bombing Iran is the proper thing to do because people in the Middle East are terrorists, health and education are privileges rather than taxpayer rights, women should fulfil their role of either being a breeder or a prostitute, unions are the devil, and any organic event or artistic experience not sponsored and contrived by a corporation should be viewed with suspicion and disdain.

Take this week's 'By The Way' column by Peter Barnes. It is headed by a photo of the half sunken "Rainbow Warrior" and the caption reads: "HOLED… Greenpeace members should have remembered to put the bungs back in the Rainbow Warrior". That is so funny - oh ba ha ha ha! Next week Barnes could use a photo of the ruins of the "Sari Club" in Bali with a caption like: "Drunken Yob Aussie's have too many Flaming Sambuccas!"

The column is oh so chatty and light, with its sidesplitting local anecdotes. This week, the first is about a corporate 'green' marketing promotion by 'The Sun"' (the last is about some locals who forgot to put the bungs back in their tinny, which then sank) - but why use a photo of the Rainbow Warrior? Rupert's cultural warriors are as hard to turn around as a battleship, so Barnes has to grudgingly acknowledge his master's edict with a cynical plug for consumer environmentalism while snidely mocking the very real and very dead victims of the same enviro-wars he is now cashing in on, with a joke about dedicated people killed by the illegal French bombing in New Zealand.

And News Ltd's hacks have the gall to accuse this site of being "horse-shit"! Their hypocrisy is staggering.

UPDATE!! Peter Barnes writes his usual lightweight column this week [17/10/07] but, after the 'Sun' had a few letters making the same point as we have, finishes with:

"Several readers questioned the use of a picture of the ship Rainbow Warrior to illustrate an item last week. Well, they were absolutely right and I salute those alert readers who take the trouble to comment when they see something they believe to be wrong."

It's typical of a Murdoch "correction" or "apology" isn't it? You know: 'Well sooorrrrryyy, then!' With a veiled hint that whingey wimps can't take a joke.

Great News! Golden Fleeced!

Last week Coca-Cola Amatil offered to buy Golden Circle :

"In June, Golden Circle, an unlisted Queensland fruit and vegetable company, urged its 700 grower-shareholders to reject an offer from privately owned Merim Pty Ltd.

The high-profile food brand has fallen into trouble in recent times, posting a loss in the past four financial years, including a $17.8 million loss in 2006, with no dividends paid during the period.

Golden Circle began as a farmer co-operative in 1947.

In August this year, CCA recorded a 23.3 per cent lift in first half net profit to $140.9 million after strong performances in its Australian and New Zealand beverage businesses.

At 1607 AEST its shares, after a trading halt was lifted, were up eight cents to $9.53." - 'The Age', 'Coca-Cola makes offer for Golden Circle', [26/9/07]

In the most recent 'Fight Back' news publication (#54), which is available at your local Supa IGA supermarket, it is reported that the Golden Circle board has recommended the offer of US private equity firm, Anchorage Capital Partners, which would give Anchorage a stake of 35 per cent of Golden Circle's shares.

"Anchorage has proposed buying out Golden Circle's convertible notes, issued by Babcock & Brown in an earlier rescue operation, and then having Golden Circle redeem them for some $67.15 million."

Last Thursday, the ABC reported that Premier Anna Bligh said she hoped the Golden Circle brand would be retained if Coca Cola was successful in its takeover bid. Yeah, great, just like when Phillip Morris purchased Vegemite - we "White Filipinos" still eat it, but it's not the same.

Anwyay, the Premier can't say anything against the actual takeover because former Queensland Government Coordinator General, and most powerful person in Queensland, Ross Rolfe, went to work for Babcock & Brown in June this year.

More from 'Fight Back':

"Anchorage, if shareholders approve the deal at a meeting in October, will thereafter subscribe for 44.35 million shares at 80c each.

Directors believe this move should see the scrip in future trade at higher levels.

At the same time, GE Commercial Finance has agreed to provide Golden Circle with up to $120 million in debt facilities, which will allow it to redeem the Babcock & Brown notes and pay out its National Australia Bank debt."

Aw Shucks, ain't that nice - thanks GE!

"Golden Circle will sell surplus land it owns close to its Northgate factory.

Anyone care to buy a pokey little clown house at "Rip Off All The Old World War Two Veteran Pineapple Farmer" Heights?

Back to the article:

Golden Circle told shareholders recently that the Anchorage equity injection and redemption of the notes, plus the sale of the land, should reduce Golden circle's debt by some $62 million.

Golden Circle said the proposal would cut "interest and finance charges by approximately $7 million a year due to lower average interest and lower debt".

Join the dots, follow the money, do you like being a colony?

From The Weekend Australian Financial Review

The Prince reports [22/23 September, 2007]:

"'Bligh's Bounty'

Queensland premier Anna Bligh may be new to the job, but she's just as philanthropic as her predecessors - always keen to help the property industry. In one of her first outings last week, Bligh fronted the Jones Lang LaSalle 'Women in Property' function on Thursday. There she mingled with the likes of a bejewelled Lynne Pask, partner of Gold Coast developer Neville, who is developing much of south-east Queensland. Austcorp's Alison Quinn was also there, probably because the Sydney company is building one of the tallest apartment towers yet seen in Brisbane. Bligh reminded the audience of female executives that house prices had risen 130 per cent in that Queensland property hotspot, the township of Banana: "This joint is jumpin'".

Says It All Really

No, there's nothing wrong with Australia - It's all good!

Just look at the top stories on Nine MSN around midday today [19/9/07]:

Pumpkin's dad violent, 'in loveless marriage'
Mystery 'space sickness' not radiation
Tough minded: Woman places own death notice in paper
Sick minds: Skinned, beheaded dog found in Brisbane
Shocking claims: Probe into 'sex club for six-year-olds'
Power within: Naomi Robson sticks finger up nose for work

Antidote Media

For the unfamiliar, there is a great site run by the 'Columbia Journal Review' which looks at the media from an American and World (you know, the rest of us!) viewpoint.

Here is the first part of a very good story about "non-Rupert-etc" reporting which we think sums up why we bother with this site and others bother with theirs:

'The Nonprofit Road, It's paved not with gold, but with good journalism' by Charles Lewis

"Never has there been a greater need for independent, original, credible information about our complex society and the world at large. Never has technology better enabled the instantaneous global transmission of pictures, sounds, and words to communicate such reporting. But all this is occurring in a time of absentee owners, harvested investments, hollowed-out newsrooms, and thus a diminished capacity to adequately find and tell the stories. The standard euphemism to characterize these peculiar times is that the news media are undergoing a historic "transformation," which is certainly true. What has also been true for years now is that media corporations are desperately seeking a way to remain viable financially in the wild marketplace of, well, everything else. And at the moment, the landscape looks precarious, particularly for serious editors and reporters.
In the past couple of years alone, everything but a piano has fallen on the head of the serious press: Rupert Murdoch bought Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal…"

It gets better:

"Time Inc., owner of the largest circulation newsweekly magazine, Time, eliminated 650 jobs in early 2006, including those of Don Barlett and Jim Steele, two of the nation's pre-eminent investigative journalists, in May. The following week, it was reported that Time Inc. had just paid $4 million for exclusive photographs of Shiloh, the newborn baby of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt."

As noted by Vivian Jean on Brisbane's 4ZzZ (102.1 FM), at the time: "Shiloh Pitt? They obviously didn't think about the potential spoonerism, did they!" You can work that out for yourself. But for any News Ltd visitors we had better explain: That would be "Piloh Shitt", which is a spoonerism. You can ask your boss what a "spoonerism" is, and whether it is company policy to accept that there is such a thing. Yes, we are making fun of News Ltd's built-in rewarded idiocy and demonstrated lack of intelligence, in case they were wondering (Sheesh!!). Anyway,

Read the rest at: http://www.cjr.org/feature/the_nonprofit_road.php

Regular visitors to 'SpringHillVoice' will understand why we think media monopoly is bad for freedom and democracy. But, it's a pretty good essay about where we are, why we shouldn't be here, and why websites like this think we should persist!

PS: We request that News Ltd hacks, shills, wannabees and employees only contact us by e-mail and leave a real name to accompany your abuse. The usual gutless and anonymous threats really don't take the issue further, do they?

http://www.springhillvoice.com/feedbackpage.html

An Interesting Excerpt From Margaret Simons' Book - 'The Content Makers: Understanding the Media In Australia'

From Chapter 11 - 'Ethics and the boys':

"The case concerned an article published by 'The Australian' in September 2004 headlined 'Rows grow over unpaid Kuwait debt'. It was about Mr Joseph Haj, who claimed he hadn't been paid for shipments of fruit and vegetables to the Kuwaiti royal family. 'The Australian' had reported that the $200,000 sixteen-tonne shipment 'included' various amounts of fruit and vegatables, but did not list them all. Mr Haj was mortified. He felt he had lost face. He thought 'The Australian' was trivialising his claims. He approached the journalist and was brushed off. No clarification was published. He went to the Press Council, which tried to mediate the complaint. The newspaper refused to publish a clarification. To 'The Australian', the matter was trivial. The paper had not been inaccurate.

Helen Elliott was one of the Press Council members involved in the original decision. She was there as a journalists' representative, but Elliott is not a typical journalist, and from a different planet to the gimlet-eyed industry men. She is one of the country's be literary critics. She describes herself as a person of emotional rather than analytical intelligence. The intelligence of the literary critic - reflective, attuned to subtlety and multiple meanings - could not be further from the intelligence of the industry men. Later, after she had resigned, Elliott reflected on her time on the Press Council:

"The individual men were polite, but I had the feeling they were as puzzled about me as I was about them. There was a sort of parallel language happening and niether of us could hear the other."

The culture of the Press Council, she said, was basically 'News Limited culture' and 'Australian Consolidated Press culture' and they were 'impenetrable because they do not know they are in it so deeply. News Limited is now a DNA strand! And Australian Consolidated Press as well'."

This Town Is Full Of Bad Advice

In the Go-Between's song 'Streets of Your Town', people sometimes think that the line "and this town is full of battered wives" is "and this town is full of bad advice". This is known as a mondegreen:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

Anyway, if you believe what you read in the 'City News', you'll think there is a shortage of office space in Brisbane so we need to build some stupid twin towers. You'll also think it's better to offer several thousand dollars above the advertised price of a property.

Carley Murphy and boyfriend Julian Van der Kley have bought a flat in Spring Hill for $385,000. According to this week's [13/9/07] 'City News', the property market is so hot that you should buy "on impulse" if you want a bargain. 'City News' even suggests that you pay more than the vendor wants! I get all my investment and real estate advice from News Ltd, so this doesn't strike me as strange.

Murphy says, "I was the first person to call after it had just been listed...I offered $6,000 more than the going price to make sure we would get it. We also had pre-approval."

I'll bet Van der Kley was over the moon when impulsive Carley told him they had just spent $385,000 on a $379,000 flat.

I wonder what the actual valuation is? Thanks 'City News'!

Strange Speculations From Today's [13/9/07] 'Crikey!', by Someone Who Can't Spell Moggill

"With Peter Beattie's retirement triggering a by-election in Brisbane Central, there has been speculation that local resident and Liberal Party "Great Hope" Campbell Newman will run in the by-election. This is absolutely NOT true. However, when the dust settles Tim Nicholls (Clayfield) will make a move on Bruce Flegg and will be successful (he has one Flegg supporter's vote, thus breaking the split party room vote.) Flegg is expected to then resign causing another by-election for Mogill and Mr Newman will run in the Mogill by-election. If he wins the Mogill by-election (very likely) Nicholls will then move aside for his old Brisbane council boss and Newman will lead the "Newman - New Team" Liberals into the next state election against Anna Bligh."

In related news, Greg Barns reports that Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews is refusing to give the editor-in-chief of the 'Al-Quds Al-Arabi' newspaper, Abdel Bari Atwan, a visa so he can attend and speak at the Brisbane Writers' Festival.

Barns surmises that it might be because Abdel Bari Atwan has met Osama Bin Laden. I think Barns is mistaken. He points out that Abdel Bari Atwan is well known as a moderate commentator, and no "terrorist apologist", BBC and CNN often seek out his comments. Since News Ltd. is more or less running the Brisbane Writers' Festival, could it be that Minister Andrews is attempting to exact his revenge on News Ltd. for Hedley and co's criticism of his handling of the Dr Haneef case?

Interesting Bits And Pieces From Today's [12/9/07] 'Australian Financial Review'

"Two Queensland Liberal MPs Gary Hardgrave and Ross Vasta have been cleared of allegations of rorting their electoral allowances, but doubts remain over a third. The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions is still reviewing evidene against Andrew Laming, who may be asked to step aside if he is charged before the federal election." Mark Ludlow and Sophie Morris - 'Two MPs cleared, but Laming waits'.

The article goes on to say that in March this year, the 'Courier-Mail' reported that Federal Agent Sharon Cowden (the estranged wife of the new Deputy Premier, Paul Lucas) established the AFP teams which conducted the raids on Mr Hardgrave, Mr Vasta and Mr Laming.

Also:

"Ms Bligh, who was finalising her portfolio changes in the Executive Building yesterday, is expected to delegate some of her workload.

She is likely to keep control of the infrastructure ministry to oversee the roll-out of the $80 billion works plan for South-East Queensland.

But she will have to resolve the potential conflict of interest involving her husband, Greg Withers, who works in the Premier's Department as Executive Director of the Policy Development Office.

It is understood Mr Withers, who had been in the Co-ordinator General's office but was moved after Ms Bligh became Infrastructure Minister, is on leave." Mark Ludlow 'Beattie leaves successor bounty of support'.

Rupert's ABC Australia

Did you think it was your ABC? Where did you get that idea? New Ltd's willing shills control the news on the public broadcaster.

If you did think it was your ABC, you probably also believe that this country is a free and open democracy.

Why were News Ltd columnists Andrew Bolt and Matt Price invited to fiercely agree on the non-issue of John Howard's leadership on tonight's [11/9/07] 'Lateline'?

Aren't their nausea inducing appearances in Murdoch's spinning toilet-rolls and on 'The Insiders' enough?

If these men were real journalists/social commentators (Tony Jones included, and Kerry O'Brien - vis-a-vis his tedious interview with Alexander Downer on the '7.30 Report') we'd be hearing about real issues and real legislation that is being rammed through the Senate (nobody mentioned the new bogus "citizenship test" being passed into law last night, for example), rather than Rupert Murdoch's theatre of the absurd.

Such a diversity of views on "your ABC"! Two Fully Paid Up Idiot Propagandist Rights don't make a right!

We can safely bet that this Rupert crap will get supine currency over the "public airwaves" tomorrow, thanks to your Radio/Television Rupert following up this scoop (of poop).

Will The 'Wall Street Journal' Do Rupert's"Iran" Bidding?

You may remember all those silly ninnies who expressed concern about Rupert Murdoch's takeover of the 'Wall Street Journal' via "Dow Jones" recently. They have this crazy idea that Rupert's editors can be influenced to run agendas for his mates (just because, for example, they ALL pushed exactly the same bunch of lies and propaganda - uniformly - to get the War on Iraq underway, successfully rallying the mob).

It will be interesting to see the WSJ's "journalism" over the next few weeks if this information (attributed to a "neo-conservative institution") is correct:

"They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be [a] heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this--they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is "plenty.""

Given the Bush/Cheney track record in Iraq, it is safer to assume this is true than to assume it isn't. September 11 is when the White House releases its self-written, self-edited, report on all the great progress in Iraq. Keep a close eye on what they say and whether the WSJ plays "journal" or just neo-con stenographer!

Of course we expect 'The Australian' and Rupert's other local rags to dutifully fall into line as well, individually of course and with full editorial independence.

The full original post, written by Barnett R. Rubin, is at:

http://icga.blogspot.com/2007/08/post-labor-day-product-rollout-war-with.html

Murdoch Shills Still Undermining Democracy In Queensland

In today's [6/9/07] 'Courier-Mail', the State Political Correspondent looks out for his employer's business and power interests, by attacking long time member of parliament, Kev Lingard, for going to the Rugby World Cup.

It seems that his overlords are worried about the costing of the trip. Said correspondent is a useful operative functionary for his overlords. Although he would protest that he most definitely is not, he is. He is looking out for you, Queenslanders, he might argue. He uses the usual, and regularly discredited, Murdoch tool of referring to "sources" to claim that the 'Courier-Mail' was "told" "Lingard had planned a golf game during the trip but this could not be confirmed", gosh!

The less stupid readers will remember that information from "sources" led to the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. But "ho-hum"…

So, his anonymous "sources" "told" him that some golf was "planned"? That doesn't really seem like journalism. More like shillery.

Worthy work as usual. An unconfirmed Golf Game! Based on an un-named "source", what a Scandal! You would think that the only paper in town could identify its "source", unless the whole story is bogus of course.

Perhaps the real story is the Murdoch's lackeys' silencing of Kev Lingard's recent argument that Peter Beattie has reduced Queensland democracy by shortening the time (in Parliament) for the Opposition to state cases to 30 minutes? Who really needs an opposition, anyway? Obviously Queensland doesn't (in Murdoch's view)!

The following link is the transcript of an interview between the ABC's John Taylor and Kev Lingard from 'Stateline' [24/8/07].

http://www.abc.net.au/stateline/qld/content/2006/s2014825.htm

*UPDATE* Rupert's shills continue the theme today [7/9/07] with 'MP's mystery tour':

"And Mr Seeney refused to defend Mr Lingard's decision to take off at a time the Coalition was fighting the Government over forced council amalgamations and whether the long-serving MP had a future beyond this term."

The real story is that the Opposition isn't getting a chance to ask any questions, because the Queensland Parliament is practically a dictatorship, and the only "newspaper" in town is a wilful player in it all.

'The Bug' Tabled In Parliament

An article in the latest edition of 'The Bug' [Vol 19 No 4 - Aug 2007] - Australia's longest-running satirical newspaper (and Brisbane institution) - was tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 23 August.

The article -'Beattie Secures Victory: Premier's pivotal role in upset election outcome' - is a special report from the future by astrologer Kisma Aryias, and was tabled by Leader of the Opposition, Jeff Seeney during 'Questions Without Notice'. Speaking on the issue of Local Government Reform, Mr Seeney quoted parts of the report:

"Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has been lauded for his key role in securing Prime Minister John Howard’s fifth straight election victory...This master stroke of forcing amalgamations on Queensland local councils just months out from the federal election ... was a real turning point for the ... Coalition."

After being asked by the Speaker, the Honourable Mike Reynolds, to get to his question, Mr Seeney continued:

"Mr Rudd ... made extensive comments about ... Mr Beattie’s role ... but they were not suitable for publication in a family newspaper.

Can the Premier tell us what Kevin Rudd really said about his impact on the federal election campaign with his proposal to destroy Queensland communities? Tell us what Kevin really said."

Following a discussion between the Speaker, the Shadow Minister for Health, John-Paul Langbroek and the Shadow Minister for Communities, Seniors and Youth, Kev Lingard, regarding the Speaker’s Ruling on Relevance of Questions and Ministerial Statements, Premier Peter Beattie indicated that he wished to answer the question, which he did as follows:

"Can I ask for a little bit of courtesy, because I have never had to reply to 'The Bug' before, which is not one of the most reputable papers. I understand the question and I thank the member. I have just got off the phone from Kevin Rudd. Kevin and I have just had a very long and important discussion and that discussion was about the future of health care in this nation. Kevin Rudd is about to announce in the next half an hour one of the most visionary strategies to deal with health in Australia’s history. I have given a clear commitment to Kevin Rudd that I think not only is this health plan visionary; it is the sort of thing that the Queensland government has been demanding for years. I am right behind Kevin Rudd 100 per cent and when Australians see this health--

I love Jeffrey’s questions. All I have to say is that we are really getting to the bottom of the barrel when the questions are coming out of 'The Bug'. Let me make the point that I am right behind Kevin Rudd and so will all Australians when they see his health plan. This is the first time we have had a leader in this nation who has had the courage to bring about reform in health. I will not pre-empt Kevin Rudd’s visionary plan, but I want to say this to the Prime Minister: this is the sort of thing you should have been doing years ago, because while there is--

The members opposite do not like it, do they? No. I hate to tell them, but they are going to get more of it, I know, because Kevin has a plan for the future of health care. Not only that, let me say--

Let me make this point: there is a carrot and stick in this policy. There are some tough measures for the states where they will have to shape up or ship out. I think that is a good thing, because we need reform of the health system. Currently in Australia we are wasting billions of dollars and now we are finally going to get real reform. Kevin, well done. We are right behind you and Australia will be right behind you."

A bit later, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Fiona Simpson put the following question about Local Government Reform to the Minister for Local Government, Planning and Sport, Andrew Fraser:

"Six weeks ago the minister lost the trust of councils; last week he lost the support of Queensland voters; and yesterday he lost the support of his Premier and cabinet colleagues. The minister has preached sustainability as an outcome of council amalgamation and claimed high and unprecedented growth as a driver.

Queensland has been experiencing consistent and predictable growth rates since the seventies, and I table the ABS figures. [Tabled paper: Research and Reference Brief by the Queensland Parliamentary Library titled ‘SE Queensland population 1971--2005’]

Given the minister’s track record, will not ramming through these so-called council reforms compound the problems his government has created by ignoring growth and infrastructure provision for the last eight years?"

Andrew Fraser, responded thus:

"I have to say that being asked a question about leadership and unity from the Deputy Leader of the Opposition is the sort of thing you would only read about in 'The Bug'. I am actually quite familiar with one of the key contributors to 'The Bug'. He is a person who lives in my electorate, I suspect, and I suspect that his sense of humour would be well entertained by the notion that the Deputy Leader of the Opposition would put forward in this place a suggestion as to how one should look to unity and leadership. It is the sort of satire, fantasy and imagination that has long made 'The Bug' one of the great satirical reads across Queensland. I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition sincerely for the opportunity to answer her question...

I am not sure if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition has a full copy of 'The Bug' because there is actually another article which is quite amusing as well, but perhaps we will leave that for another day. To a person, the members of this government are absolutely committed to achieving the necessary difficult reform. Ultimately there is a test in politics and there is a test for people who aspire to be leaders..."

The other article to which he refers, may, or may not be Kisma Aryias's piece - 'Howard rewards Fraser with island honour' - which reveals the Prime Minister's decision to rename Fraser Island - Andrew Fraser Island!

In any case, you can read his full response in Hansard:

http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/view/legislativeAssembly/legislativeAssembly.asp?area=hansard&LIndex=3&SubArea=hansard

Or for a comprehensive analysis of this issue (and others), pick a a copy of 'The Bug' (if there are any left!) at Rockinghorse Records!

Des Blames Brandis For Brisbane Being A Cultural Backwater!

Instead of making flippant remarks about the non-existant "Socrates Society", Des might want to consider the role his employer plays in making Brisbane a mono-cultural desert:

"Irritant of the week

Senator George Brandis, SC, for telling the Socrates Society in Brisbane this week: ``We're all Whitlamites, aren't we?'' No we're not, George. Instead of making ridiculous comments in philosophical debates, the opera-loving Arts Minister might use his power to insist the taxpayer-funded Opera Australia perform here occasionally. I'm told Sydney and Melbourne will get 14 productions in 2008. Brisbane will get one, My Fair Lady, and miss out on new productions like Bizet's Carmen, in which Brisbane's dynamic Rosario La Spina will sing Don Jose. Opera Australia is not worthy of the name while it continues to bypass the minor capitals." ('PS...' - 'The Courier-Mail', 1 September, 2007)

By the way, the event (held at Parliament House) was a "Socratic Forum", and given it was presented by Griffith University - News Ltd's latest lovely advertising revenue source - you might want to get your facts straight!

This has been my irritant of the week!

News Ltd. Laugh At All Of Us

More News Ltd. beatup about THAT mediocre film in today's [31/8/07] 'Courier-Mail'. Tess tows the line with two articles - 'Film full of fuss goes online' (yes, you can watch it online on - you guessed it - the 'Courier-Mail' website) and 'Harmless subject matter caught up in university politics':

"Watching Michael Noonan's 15 minutes of film brought to mind Henry Kissinger's quip that the reason university politics is so vitriolic is that there is so little at stake."

Hang on. Didn't Professor Ross Fitzgerald mention that earlier this month?

"Recently, QUT vice-chancellor Peter Coaldrake rather tellingly quoted Henry Kissinger to the effect that academic politics were so vicious because there was so little at stake." 'The Australian', 14 August, 2007

So why is News Ltd. still flogging this particular filmmaker? Isn't it enough that he had a special screening of his film at B.I.F.F.?

Perhaps this might explain:

"After seven years as a sports journalist for the Quest suburban newspaper group and a time before that as an accountant, Noonan, pictured, is now clear about what he wants to do with his life: ``I want to make films,'' he said." Tess Livingstone, 'Courier-Mail', 16 June, 2007

In case you didn't know, 'Quest' is a News Ltd. publication.

Anyway, isn't it great that 'The Australian' has taken a contrary point of view?

"The treatment of Gary MacLennan and John Hookham by QUT -- both were suspended without pay for six months -- has been nothing less than scandalous. For the two academics it seems their only hope for justice is to appeal outside the university, and they are indeed fortunate that the Australian media, especially this newspaper, is campaigning for greater freedom of publication and expression. Australia's record in this respect is disgraceful. We are 35th in the world in terms of freedom of the press, roughly on a par with Bulgaria and slightly above El Salvador...

Whatever occurred, Hookham and MacLennan believed it was their right to speak out. I would go further and say they had a duty to protest against the abuse and neglect of the disabled. This newspaper is to be congratulated for publishing the academics' protest and for continuing to highlight the injustice of their punishment." Ross Fitzgerald, 14 August 2007

"This NEWSPAPER is to be congratulated"?

I suppose you would say that if you had a million dollar history book to sell in the not too distant future!

Expect this film to have all the requisite News Ltd. promotion for the television screening on your ABC after the trial has concluded:

"Noonan had previously made Unlikely Travellers, a film about a group of disabled people who had gone to the Sahara Desert, which has been purchased by the ABC and will be screened later this year." (Andrew Fraser, 'The Weekend Australian', 16 June, 2007)

On a similar totalitarian theme, News Ltd. have embarked on a campaign to normalise the use of tasers, so the clowns don't get too concerned when they start to get used at rock concerts, and university events that their teenage children might attend.

A New Look For 'Australian Handyman'?

Is it just me, or does the cover of the September/Father's Day issue of 'Australian Handyman' look more like the cover of 'FHM'?

Sorry, I don't have an image of said cover - which features a young lady in a bikini hoisting herself out of the pool - I saw it amidst the rows of sad celebrities, property prospects, tits, arse and and cherry ripes at the supermarket checkout.

But here's another image of a recent cover from the 'i-subscribe' website - http://www.isubscribe.com.au/

Reader's Digest launched 'Australian Handyman' magazine back in 2001, and if you look at the covers of their back issues you'll see pictures of couples renovating together, men with tools looking practical, fireplaces, lovely gardens, and conservatively clothed women in their trendy kitchens:

http://www.rdstore.com.au/cat/index.cgi/shopfront/view_by_category?category_id=5936

Obviously this magazine is geared for the "family man", given this month's special Father's Day issue - so what's with the fleshy cover?

In June, the Editor of Walkley Award winning sports magazine 'Inside Sport' announced his decision to drop the swimsuit model covers.

Editor Graem Sims said:

"This issue marks a fresh start: we’ve simply collected too much evidence in recent years that while a core of readers enjoys the model’s appearance each month, others have felt embarrassed by the blokey image. Some of these readers were in their late teens and early 20s when they discovered us, but more than a decade later they’re playing house. Partners, wives and even kiddies have wondered why the men in their lives are looking at other gals in bikinis. We have heard you. We’re confident that enough people now know of Inside Sport’s reputation for prize-winning, agenda-setting journalism. This magazine can stand on its own two feet."

Even a reader, who wrote in to request the return of the bikini model in the centrefold said, "NO cover model. The picture on the cover always made 'Inside Sport' look like version of Playboy."

http://www.insidesport.com.au/is/index?pg=comebacks&spg=comebacks.htm#Sportsmodels

Call me a hairy armpitted man hater if you like, but I think 'Australian Handyman' should get their hand off it!

Speaking of Reader's Digest, did you receive this garbage in the mail? It's hilarious. The usual "you may have already won $55,000" stuff, but with a special "NO" envelope to send back your details if you are such a loser that you don't want the chance of getting the money! What kind of weird psychology is that?


Hey Kids! Wanna Be A "Journalist"?

Yesterday's [27/8/07] 'mX' contains a half-page advertisement from Griffith University that offers budding journalists the chance to "win" (how apt!) a byline with the 'Courier-Mail', work experience with the Nova news team and a laptop. The competition is open to all Year 11 and 12 students and:

"All you have to do is write a short article (no more than 400 words) about something you believe is a 'big issue'. It could be about global warming or drugs in sport or even Lindsay Lohan's crazy ways. Absolutely anything you think will get people reading."

Hmmm....Does this mean if the youngsters come up with stories such as:

'How News Ltd Starts Wars And Twists The Truth'

'How News Ltd spent years disingenuously denying that fossil fuels cause global warming'

'News Ltd. Brainwashed My Oldies And Now They Spend Their Days At Harvey Norman Spending My Inheritance'

'Madonna And David: A Brisbane Love Story'

'Myspace Is For Losers'

'Critical Analysis: What's The Point? If It Doesn't Turn A Buck, It Ain't Worth It'

'My Vision For A World Without News Ltd.'

'John Pilger, Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky: My Heroes'

'The Selling-Out of Academic Institutions to the Corporate Media/ Neo-Con Agenda - An Australian Perspective'

'Community Radio Is Cooler Than Nova'

'I met Tash from B105 At The Dalai Lama, And She Was Really Nice'

they'll be in with a chance?

REAL budding journalists (young or old, we don't care), please send your losing entries to us (spring_hill_voice@hotmail.com) and we will publish our own list of "Winners"!

Talk about cynical. The corporate media realise they are not relevant to intelligent young folk. And they seriously expect the youngsters to willingly wander into their information slaughterhouse.

Desperate and sad.

The Lying Bolta Army In Action In Brisbane

Wow! That's a pretty big accusation to make against the contributor to Andrew Bolt's recent spray [25/8/07 - 'Herald Sun' blog]. But, unlike Bolt and his army of "true dis-believers", it is based in fact.

Bolt joyously repeats some outright lies about the attendance numbers at the Walk Against Warming in Brisbane last Saturday. Lies? Thats a bit strong, isn't it? Surely Bolt's mate could have simply been a simpleton mistaker of fact?

No, sorry, it was LIES! You know, when you say something which you actually know to be false? You see, the close up photo of the 'panel' of Senators Bob Brown and Andrew Bartlett could only have been taken when there were still several hundred people there. I was there, and when they left the stage there were still at least 300 people at the Riverstage. "Allan" the lying useful idiot and enabler must have taken his first deceitful close-up photo at that time and his photo from the Grassy Knoll much later, when the crowd had dispersed, but Bolt has the later photo first. Look closely, can you see either senator on stage in the "Grassy Knoll" shot?

When the crowd started its march there were, indeed, about a thousand or more, that alone was evident from the sparse coverage on the nightly television news. It was a wet day in Brisberg and the 'Riverstage' grounds were sodden so people quickly dispersed before, during, and after the key speakers and entertainment.

Still, Bolt, like his proprietor, doesn't like letting the truth get in the way of an idealist spray. Andrew Bolt loves a good LIE over the truth anyday and he wants fools to believe he is a journalist. Luckily he never has to speak to real people to tease out a story, his army of trolls supply him with plausibly deniable anecdotes. Well folks this story is an undeniable lie. Bolt repeats lies. Ahh, feels good to be able to say it again and again with the new defence of "Truth" to any claim for defamation. Let's try it again: Bolt repeats LIES.

The best of this is that he could indignantly disown "Allan" as soon as it became apparent that a self-styled 'journalist' became aware that his source is a liar. That will happen when Iraq freezes over.

Bolt quips: "A media which can’t even count 150 people (or less), and tells you instead they numbered 2000, can’t be trusted to tell you much about global warming that’s not equally hyped."

I quip: An alleged journalist who can't tell you any truth about global warming, or the level of community concern about it, can't be trusted to tell you the truth about anything and should be openly mocked at every opportunity, as he so wilfully mocks others. It is vital to our democracy that he loses his job immediately.

Media Banned From Any Queerland Event Not Endorsed By The Local Yes Men - Yawn!

The Minister for Millionaires and Lightbulbs had a rude shock this week, when he went to Queerland to tell some youngsters about climate change and present them with a big fat cheque.

"Why is everyone being so mean to me lately?" he asked.

"Surely it's not the Tasmanian thing?"

Evidently the Queerland Leader told all his yes men that the media weren't allowed into the school to cover the event because the Minister for Millionaires and Lightbulbs is a big, bad bogeyman.

His yes men went, "Yes sireee, who cares about getting some extra teachers and some decent funding, will I be Director General one day?"

Anyone's who's been at the end of a phonecall from the yes men will understand why the mono-media pack were left shaking in their boots at the schoolyard gate.

The State Minister for Readin' Writin' and 'Rithmatic said, "Queerland is our turf. We've got the media, the judiciary and the public service nicely sewn up, so don't you worry about that."

In related news, next week some anointed journalists, politicians and party hacks will play safe games of subversion at the "Pat each another on the back wasn't Joh terrible centre for faux lefty culture", as they drink overly expensive beers and discuss why the sun shines out of Rupert Murdoch's bum, and why there aren't any real pubs left in Brisbane.

Pope Poster

I hope you all received your giant "Pope Poster" in yesterday's [22/8/07] 'Gold Coast Bulletin'? Very interesting.

Same Applies In Australia

An excerpt from Anthony DiMaggio's piece - 'Iraq, Iran, & the Vanishing Context in American News', in yesterday's [20/8/07] 'Information Clearing House':

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18217.htm

"News reports today do not provide the public with the context needed to evaluate the events happening around them in a critical way. This lack of context is of no surprise to those who understand that media coverage is designed to indoctrinate and divert attention, rather than to educate. The prolific comic George Carlin has this insight to share concerning the American media’s commitment to class warfare:

“The real owners [are] the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the state houses, the city halls, the judges. And they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear. They spend billions every year lobbying to get what they want. Well we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everyone else. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well informed, well educated people. That’s against their interests. They want obedient workers.”

There’s an easy enough way to create apathetic, obedient consumers: simply take away any meaningful content from the media system upon which they rely. This is perhaps best seen in the mass media’s extreme reliance on junk food and fluff “news,” at the expense of real stories that might have some direct relevance to our lives. A brief survey of television news coverage puts this reality into better perspective."

"Wet Willy In New York" Censored by 'Road To Surfdom'

A comment posted on 'The plot thickens' - 'Road To Surfdom' blog, which hangs off the coattails of News Ltd., 19/8/07. Said comment disappeared into the big, black void of comments that raise the real issue, and question ethics and credibility:

"Big Hello to Nasking,

This post, and your comment, raises some issues about the whole Murdoch way of doing 'media'.

Back on 4th August, there was some chit-chat here about "Rupert" and someone raised a question about Tim Dunlop's role within that empire. Nasking and KenL went in pretty hard, as I recall, in defence of Tim.

KenL wrote:

"You might think you have a duty to wage a crusade against 'the corporate media' but you have no ethical standing to impose that duty on anyone else.

... Suggesting that News Ltd should be obliged to publish material that it judges to be damaging to its own commercial interests is ridiculous. What next, that a News Ltd writer should be free to recommend that readers buy The Age because The Australian is crap?"

And that just about sums up the argument against entering the tent so that you can be perceived to be 'pissing' out in service of some greater good, doesn't it?

If people are confused, go back to the great debate of early November 2006 in the archives and see the discussion about what Tim was promised by team Rupert in return for his services."

Media Wedged By Peter Costello

So, there is such a thing as an on-the-record statement, which can retrospectively become off the record? Apparently so, according to the ABC's Political Correspondent Michael Brissenden.

He says that he has notes which prove that Peter Costello said, on the record, that he would challenge John Howard for the leadership in early 2006, or pop off to the back-bench like a Keating. It follows from a story in that bastion of media integrity, the 'Bulletin'. We were told that three 'leading' 'journalists' were present at the dinner when it was said. We were also told that the three, individual, 'journalists' were begged the next day to consider those 'on-the-record' comments retrospectively 'off-the-record' and, guess what? They agreed!

Your free and "fearless" media (including your tax-funded ABC) agreed not to reveal the comments. Wonderful. What, exactly is the free media's role in a democracy? Apparently it is to agree to do the bidding of the leaders of said so-called democracy to ensure that you citizens….ummm, hang on, there must be a good reason… look over there! A Terrrist! Thanks, fiercely independent arms of Australian media.

So comforting to see the Packer 'Bulletin', the citizen's 'ABC' and that other guy competing to beat each other to the scoop.

Costello wedged the lot of them on (this is pure Gold!) Sky TV by saying words along the lines of: "So these are "journalists" and they sat on this story from two years ago? Come on." And that is his 'proof' that it can't possibly be true: "You can't trust what the media say." Anyone getting giddy?

Ahh, yep. Who was it who sang: "I'm in with the In Crowd, I go where the In Crowd go…"?

Thank goodness that we are a free democratic society with a free and independent media to protect us from those lying journalists, or rapacious multi-nationals, or protect us from danger, or… Oh, what was the point again?

Oh yes, look over there….

Oh To Be A Beijing Journalist!

In Australia, journalists are threatened with legal action or jail if they tell the truth, and get promoted to editor for telling lies. Those funny Chinese have it around the wrong way.

An AAP report from today's [13/8/07] Nine MSM:

"Journo jailed for Chinese dumpling hoax

A Chinese court on Sunday sentenced a television reporter to one year in jail for fabricating a report that Beijing dumpling makers used cardboard as a filling.

The official Xinhua news agency said the journalist, Zi Beijia, was convicted after an open court hearing of "infringing the reputation of commodities". He was also fined 1,000 yuan ($A156).

Zi, a temporary reporter for Beijing television, was arrested after it emerged that he had cooked up a report that local makers of steamed dumplings were softening cardboard by soaking it in caustic soda and then flavouring it with pork juice. The report caused a stir, not least because China is under international scrutiny for exporting food and other products that safety inspectors have found to be tainted or substandard."

Hello!

The media page is on holidays, but here's a tip. Don't believe anything you read or see in the corporate media. They are just trying to sell you sh*t you don't need and lies to make you obedient. That largely applies to the ABC and SBS as well.

The only other thing worth reporting is that Gandhi has stopped blogging ('Howard Out'). If you don't know what it is that you will be missing, it's still worth going back to read some of his brilliant coverage over the past few years.

Queen Guitarist Submits His PhD

In yesterday's [6/8/07] 'Surrey Comet', Clara Story reports:

"Guitarist Brian May has completed his PhD thesis in Astronomy from old papers in his Elmbridge loft - 36 years after he abandoned it to pursue his music career.

Physics graduate May, 60, who lives in West End, handed in the 48,000 thesis to Imperial College London yesterday. He left the college in 1971 to devote himself to rock music and formed the legendary band Queen.But after sorting through the old papers still in his attic, he was able to continue where he left off with his research on the formation of "zodiacal dust clouds".

Much of May's work on dust movement in space was carried out in an observatory in Tenerife. He is scheduled to discuss the thesis with the college's exam board on August 23."

So now you know the inspiration behind 'Bohemian Rhapsody'!

So Daggy, Yet So Effective

The newly launched 'Kevin07' website contains a remarkable number of positive comments.

Pity it's so censorious, because that makes for rather bland reading - and the youngsters will soon get bored. Here's a comment from one of our readers, that didn't pass the 'Kevin07' blog monitors:

"Are these genuine comments from Australian citizens, or are they written by Labor party hacks?"

That this comment was sucked into the black hole of cyber-cynicism is disappointing but not surprising. However, we thought it would be an interesting exercise in freedom of speech to run any comments to blogs that don't get through.

If you have unsuccessfully tried to post a comment on any blog - particularly the ones that claim to be non-partisan or independent - do let us know.

We'll put it up here.

spring_hill_voice@hotmail.com

Rupert Murdoch Buys Tim Dunlop's Soul?

Tim Dunlop runs a blog called 'RoadToSurfdom' which is purportedly non-partisan. It has had many avid followers over the last few years and he gained credibility for his honesty through being consistently open and questioning of the power and influence of the commercial media elite.

Last November he "sold out" to Rupert Murdoch, much to the despair of a few readers. He, and the rest of the true believers, assurred readers that he could not be bought or silenced despite his ventures inside the Murdoch tent. Then, in July 2007, he had a well argued critique of Murdoch's 'The Australian' blind editorial support for the ultra-conservative Howard Government "pulled" from his 'Blogocracy' blog together with comments. He told 'Crikey!' that he would specifically post about this, he also assurred readers that he "ain't happy about it" and would have more to say by way of explanation. That was about 3 weeks ago and unlike the clown world of Rupert's usual audience, this issue has some staying power.

Many people have posted simple questions about the promised explanation and many, if not most, have subsequently been rejected from 'RoadToSurfdom' and 'Blogocracy'. The promised explanation still hasn't been given (the last excuse was "bureaucracy" WTF?). Obviously everyone is expected to 'move along'.

It seems that 'RoadToSurfdom' has been appointed to paper over the cracks with a post [Saturday 4/08/07] criticising the 'MSM' about the Haneef coverage. One of our contributors tried to post the following response, but it was also rejected:

"Yes, it really is a very important issue for our democracy via our 'free press' ('free blogosphere') isn't it?

To quote the 'RoadToSurfdom' article:

"If News Ltd and SBS had any genuine concern for their reputations, they would be investigating how such dodgy material came to be published, taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and explaining to the public what went wrong and how they’ve fixed it. Needless to say they’ll do nothing of the kind."

At the very real risk of getting "spiked", yet again, and testing the tolerance of Surfdom, I put the following:

"If Tim Dunlop had any genuine concern for his reputation, he would be investigating how his questioning of such dodgy material came to be censored, taking steps to make sure it didn't happen again, and explaining to his readers how assurances of independence went wrong and how he has fixed it. Needless to say, he will do nothing of the kind."

It appears to us that KenL is doing Tim's cleaning up for him for the benefit of the faithful in a "nudge, nudge, wink wink" kind of way. "Trust us, it'll all be good, truthful and honest just after we re-take the citadel."

There are obviously several sets of rules for you guys, so this time it gets "cc"ed to Ghandi and SpringHillVoice and AnonymousLefty, and Quiggin if he will have it.

Sorry, but I am sick of the faux honesty having had this "Murdoch" question spiked, pulled and otherwise rejected over the last few weeks. Nothing would please me better than to be embarrassed to find that Tim has just posted the promised explanation.

If you believe that this is the end of Rupert's control over Tim, then I have a Wall Street Journal you may be interested in buying.

Best regards to all."

Where's Leah?

How come this week's [2/8/07] 'City News' story about the 'Australia at the Crossroads' event at Brisbane City Hall doesn't mention that Leah Cotterell will be performing?

A Second Newspaper For Brisbane?

A Brisbane businessman has finally realised that after twenty years, Brisbane needs another daily newspaper.

"We reckon Brisbane needs another newspaper," he said.

"People are getting so pointy, it's just not a joke anymore."

Mr Rupert Murdoch would not say whether he would give permission for anybody to actually encroach upon his empire.

I Wish Brisbane Had A News Publication Like The 'Surrey Comet'

http://www.surreycomet.co.uk/search/display.var.1580041.0.butthead_the_pigmy_goat_mysteriously_returns.php

Where's 'Lateline's "Leaning" Tony?

Where's 'Lateline's' "Leaning" Tony?
On holidays?
Has the flu like Monica Attard?
Charged under our very fair terrorism laws?
  
pollcode.com free polls

 

Tim Dunlop Silenced (a bit) - Virtual Freedom Of Speech!

There has been a persistent buzz around the genuinely independent corners of the Web about the Murdoch blog 'Blogocracy'. Tim Dunlop went across to Murdoch in November 2006. At that time there were concerns from many of his readers about his credibility being hijacked, but he assured his readers that he had been given full freedom and control, "I was pushing against an open door" he said [2/11/06 'RoadToSurfdom']. In July 2007 he posted a reasonable and well argued criticism of a pro-Howard editorial in Murdoch's 'Australian'. The post was quickly removed along with comments, and replaced by something more banal.

It caused quite a stir on the Web and a few days later Dunlop confirmed he had been "pulled" and said he was not happy about it, was having "discussions" and would post a full explanation. About a week later he told 'Crikey!' he would post about it the next day. 'HowardOut', 'WebDiary', 'LarvatusProdeo' and others have posted about it but Dunlop is silent still. One of our readers has been following the tale and is keen to see how good a Murdoch promise of editorial independence is. He has tried to find out repeatedly whether the explanation will be given. A few commenters have noted that questions about this at the 'RoadToSurfdom' and other blogs have been barred. Curious. Perhaps there is a grand plan in the wings, perhaps the issue is already under the carpet but there is a healthy degree of interest is this seemingly small story which hopefully will not go away.

The important question is how full editorial control can be claimed if certain topics are off limits, surely?

Haneef - News Ltd disgraces itself, as usual!

The Sunday Murdoch papers would lead a fool to the conclusion that Dr Haneef was going to blow up the Q1 tower on the Gold Coast.

Today's [22/7/07] 'Sunday Mail' (and its inbred cousins) gives the impression that there could possibly be some kind of justification for the undemocratic and extra-judicial treatment of Dr Haneef. Their police reporter invokes innuendo as journalism without shame or remorse to vilify and demonise "them".

There has been a great deal of unexpected support for Dr Haneef from all quarters. This is possibly because of the blatantly political motivation behind the whole episode. When the AFP shamelessly becomes a tool of the Federal Executive, as has happened with the behaviour of Australia's (your) Federal Commissioner with Dr Haneef, it is time to wonder how the concentration of media power in the hands of Mr Rupert Murdoch could possibly benefit Australia, we Queenslanders, or our general security and well-being.

The Sunday Murdoch rags were at it again from dawn today (i.e. Saturday afternoon's policy planning sessions) and it took until all the feathers had been spread to the four winds before the AFP called the lie at 4pm. The AFP only bothered to call that lie AFTER the doctor's Solicitor appeared at the very public Forum at Griffith University. You could assume the lie would have been left out there but for SBS and other non-mouthpiece outlets.

The Murdoch article was, as is their fashion, based on anonymous (but very senior!!) "sources" and conjecture. So, a "source" says the AFP is wondering whether there may have been a plan and if there was a plan whether people may be involved in that plan etc...... You know how it works. If this is the best the Feds can do, I want my money back!

If only Mr Murdoch's operatives had been so judgmental of the flaky evidence that ended up in the illegal invasion and failed occupation of Iraq, instead of concentrating on religious differences within Australia.

Since Mr Murdoch is not even an Australian, why do all our politicians care so much about his opinions, you may ask.

Pilger Calls For A Fifth Estate

John Pilger's stirring speech - 'The Invisible Government' - presented to the Chicago Socialism 2007 Conference, has been published on 'Information Clearing House' [20/7/07]. The last couple of paragraphs are inspiring, but the entire article is worth a look if you consider yourself to be a real journalist:

"I believe a fifth estate is possible, the product of a people's movement, that monitors, deconstructs, and counters the corporate media. In every university, in every media college, in every news room, teachers of journalism, journalists themselves need to ask themselves about the part they now play in the bloodshed in the name of a bogus objectivity. Such a movement within the media could herald a perestroika of a kind that we have never known. This is all possible. Silences can be broken. In Britain the National Union of Journalists has undergone a radical change, and has called for a boycott of Israel. The web site Medialens.org has single-handedly called the BBC to account.

In the United States wonderfully free rebellious spirits populate the web—I can't mention them all here—from Tom Feeley's International Clearing House, to Mike Albert's ZNet, to Counterpunch online, and the splendid work of FAIR. The best reporting of Iraq appears on the web—Dahr Jamail's courageous journalism; and citizen reporters like Joe Wilding, who reported the siege of Fallujah from inside the city. In Venezuela, Greg Wilpert's investigations turned back much of the virulent propaganda now aimed at Hugo Chávez. Make no mistake, it's the threat of freedom of speech for the majority in Venezuela that lies behind the campaign in the west on behalf of the corrupt RCTV.

The challenge for the rest of us is to lift this subjugated knowledge from out of the underground and take it to ordinary people. We need to make haste. Liberal Democracy is moving toward a form of corporate dictatorship. This is an historic shift, and the media must not be allowed to be its façade, but itself made into a popular, burning issue, and subjected to direct action. That great whistleblower Tom Paine warned that if the majority of the people were denied the truth and the ideas of truth, it was time to storm what he called the Bastille of words. That time is now."

Some 'Crikey!' Snippets

Glenn Dyer has some ABC observations in today's [20/7/07] 'Crikey!':

"Radio National's Media Report, has unloaded on the ABC, its Queensland management and Spencer Howson, who hosts the breakfast program on ABC local radio in Brisbane. He filled in as the host of the QTQ 9 program Extra, which airs at 5.30pm in Brisbane, while the regular presenter was away last week. The Media Report's Antony Funnell said: "Mr Howson wasn't speaking there on the ABC, but on the Nine network. No, he hasn't left the national broadcaster, ABC management entered into a special arrangement with Channel Nine whereby Mr Howson was allowed to fill in for a week as the presenter of their infotainment program, Extra. During his time at Nine, Howson also continued to do his regular breakfast shift at the ABC. Now not only did he fill the position, while compering the Channel Nine show, he wore an ABC shirt complete with ABC logo, and opened the program each night by saying he was from the national broadcaster. On top of that, the program also featured other staff members of 612 ABC Brisbane." No-one from ABC in Brisbane or ABC Radio would talk to the Media Report to explain why they allowed the deal to happen. Funnell went on to say: "The issue here of course isn't just about whether it's appropriate for ABC staff to organise such an arrangement on a commercial television network, but whether by allowing Mr Howson to present a Channel Nine program, he and the ABC could be seen in the public's eye to be endorsing Channel Nine and its content. And it's worth pointing out that Extra isn't a rigorous news program. The lines between genuine stories and commercial product endorsements are very blurry indeed." "

Shock! Horror! Is Brisbane the testing ground for the quasi-commercialisation of the ABC? Ho hum Glenn, the ABC in Brisbane has been like that for the last few years.

The ABC in Brisbane is not our ABC, it's Murdoch and Packer's ABC.

And as for last night's [19/7/07] edition of 'Difference of Opinion':

"Difference of Opinion returned to ABC TV last night but were they just going through the motions with a debate on nuclear power? A mere 387,000 people watched as the program tried to grapple with the pros and cons of the issue but went nowhere. And what amazed me was that no-one, especially the anti-nukes, thought it relevant to raise the emerging scandal in Japan. The operators of the nuclear reactor which was forced to shutdown following a large earthquake this week have now admitted that it was not designed to withstand tremors of such force and might have been built directly above an active faultline. What sort of confidence does this give the proponents of nuclear power when one of the most experienced builders and operators of plants in the world can make such an elementary mistake? It would have been quite a telling point and helped to make Difference of Opinion more topical, giving it a bit of a lift. On last night’s evidence, it needs it."

Well I watched last night's show, and can advise that the panel engaged in a forthright and topical discussion about nuclear power. The shutdown of the Japanese nuclear reactor WAS mentioned at the outset, and several times throughout the show. A highlight was when Dr Caldicott mentioned the Halliburton railway from Darwin to Adelaide - what show was Glenn watching?

By the way, next week 'Difference of Opinion' looks at Peak Oil. After last season's disappointing run, I think Thursday nights with Jeff could develop into promising ABC television - but the corporate media (and those hanging off its coat tails) will probably beg to differ!

Go The Tour De France Guide Dog School Escapee!

I was feeling really down about the state of world affairs until I saw the beautiful white hound that bounded on the SBS World News, creating spontaneous havoc amidst the Tour De France competitors, and making the super intense commentator very cross.

Could it be because there are no steroids this year, there's a bit of sabotage going on?

2+2=5: Feeling Duped By The Corporate Media? Well, Watch Your Hedley!

Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration, Paul Craig Roberts' article in yesterday's [17/7/07] 'Information Clearing House - 'A Free Press or a Ministry of Truth?' - explores the Orwellian spin surrounding the Bush administration's statements on Iraq - covering "mission accomplished", the "propagandistic deck of cards identifying the most wanted", to blaming Syria, then, "the Sunni-Shi'ite civil war with US troops unclear on which side they stood", to recent weeks where, "Americans have been fed a series of reports from official sources that Iran is arming both Iraqi insurgents and the Taliban in Afghanistan."

In his novel 1984, George Orwell portrayed a future time in which the explanations of recent events and earlier history are continually changed to meet Big Brother’s latest purpose. Previous explanations disappear down “the memory hole.” Sound familiar? Any American who pays attention can observe the identical phenomenon occurring in the US today...

The American and British media work the same way as the Ministry of Truth in Oceania. A day arrives when the “truth” no longer serves the empire or hegemonic power or center of moral purpose in the world, or for short, the regime. When that day arrives, a new explanation appears and is repeated until it, too, is discarded down the memory hole. ...

Notice that none of the explanations fed to Americans over the years have ever mentioned, even as a faint possibility, that the US invasion and occupation of Iraq might be the cause of the violence in Iraq. Allegedly, the US is a free and open country with a free press and a government accountable to the people. Yet, the information fed to the American people is as thoroughly false as that fed to the citizens of Oceania by Big Brother through the Ministry of Truth in Orwell’s famous novel.

In Orwell’s novel, despite the totalitarian power of the government, nothing happens to people as long as they accept the government’s intrusive monitoring of their lives and do not become interested in truth or facts.. In such a world, truth and individuality pass out of human consciousness and become unimportant. Citizens survive by accepting Big Brother’s ever-changing reality.

This is what the mainstream media in the US and UK are enabling the new Oceania to accomplish. It is pointless to complain about a few Judith Millers here and there at the New York Times, or the obvious warmongers at the Weekly Standard, Fox “News,” and Wall Street Journal editorial page. The entire corporate media is behaving as a Ministry of Truth."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18021.htm

Keep this in mind as you think about that "leak". Greg Barns touches on that awful feeling one has succumbed to propaganda in today's [18/7/07] 'Crikey!' - 'Another terror case, another leak. A pattern emerges'

"No issue can be taken with newspapers and other media outlets publishing leaks on sexy topics like terrorism. That’s their job. But the question is, is there a pattern emerging here? Why is it that when there are significant developments in anti-terrorism investigations there are stunning leaks to selected media organisations, which are generally damaging to the accused?"

Journeying To A Loss Of Identity

Rochelle Siemienowicz talks to Michael James Rowland, the Director of 'Lucky Miles' in her story 'Lucky Country'- in this week's 'The Big Issue' (16-30 July). Here's an interesting excerpt:

"Like the best political art, 'Lucky Miles' succeeds primarily as entertainment. Cleverly scripted by Rowland and co-writer Helen Barnes, and skilfully shot by veteran Geoff Burton ('Sunday Too Far Away', 'Storm Boy'), the film's political messages are hidden in its delicious details and wry observations. For example, while there are army reservists out to catch the 'illegals', it's all done with laconic humour and a genuine interest in their welfare. And when an Australian pub owner or kangaroo shooter comes across the refugees-on-the-run, there's a quizzical bemused response rather than an hysterical one. "I wanted the film to be a rear-visioning thing," says Rowland, "looking at how we were different a decade ago, and showing that the fear that exists now and was stirred up among us has shallow roots. We were different a decade ago. Are we richer or poorer for going along this path? If you get lost you go back and look at the map."

MYSPACE POLLIE WATCH

Another Rumour

From today's [11/7/07] "Tips and Rumours" in 'Crikey!':

"John Hay's term as Vice Chancellor of University of Queensland finishes at the end of this year. The gossip is that Peter Shergold is being considered as the replacement, after he loses his current gig with the fall of the Howard Government."

Extracts From 'Information Clearing House' [12/07/07]

U.S. Iraqi War veteren Michael Goss, as quoted in 'Soldiers Share the Devastating Tales of War' by Emily DePrang of the 'Texas Oberver.:

"When I got out of the Army, I had 10 days to get off base. There was no reintegration counseling. As soon as I got back, nobody gave a fuck about anything except that piece of paper that said I got everything out of my room. I got out of the Army, and everything went to shit from there.

My wife ended up finding another guy. I'm getting divorced, and I'm fighting for custody. She wants child support, the house, the car, the boys.

I get three nights off a week. And I drink and take pills to help me sleep at night. I do what I can to help myself. I talk to friends. Soldiers who were there. Once in a while one of my old soldiers will call me, drunk off his ass, crying about the stuff he saw in Iraq. And all I can do is tell him, "You and me both are going to have to find a way to work this out." That's the only thing I can tell him."

Conscription?

"Tips and Rumours" in todays 'Crikey!' reports:

"And from the grassy knoll: Conscription is coming with a peace corps for those who do NOT make the grade!!"

Well that's a good way of shaking this country out of its apathy. Mind you, these "Tips and Rumours" are regularly clarified - as was the one about Pat Purcell:

"The comment in Friday's Crikey tips and rumours section that, "Purcell is strongly AWU aligned" couldn't be more wrong. Whispering Pat (as he is know because of his bellowing voice) is a member of Beattie's own Labor Unity faction. Pat has never been one of Big Bill Ludwig's boys."
Whatever. Still doesn't explain why he resigned so suddenly. Why not get down and dirty and find out? That's what 'Crikey!' subscribers pay for - not pontification and speculation deriving from a coterie of News Ltd. journalists and parliamentary spin doctors.

Environmental Crusader Gets A Run On The 7.30 Report

Make sure you check out Steve Posselt on the ABC's 7.30 Report Tuesday night [10/7/07].

Posselt is currently kayaking from Brisbane to Adelaide to chat with people living along the Murray-Darling about how climate change is impacting on the region, and what action can be taken.

Full Spectrum Dominance

'Columbia Journalism Review' is currently featuring a "web only special" - 'Bending to Power: How Rupert Murdoch built his empire, and how he uses it' by Bruce Page:

see:
http://www.cjr.org/profile/bending_to_power.php

A Nine MSN Staple

One of the more popular stories on Today's [9/7/07] Nine MSN was AAP's 'Missing staple gives killers fresh hope':

"An administrative blunder has given the murderers of Sydney woman Janine Balding a fresh appeal. Two of Ms Balding's killers have been granted special leave to take their case to the High Court due to a missing staple from their court file, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The decision effectively quashes the pair's unsuccessful 1992 appeal. The men, Matthew Elliott and "B", who was a juvenile at the time of the rape and murder of Ms Balding in 1988 and cannot be identified, had unanimously lost the appeal along with the third killer, Stephen Jamieson.

Lawyers will argue the failure to staple the Crown indictment to the court file, as required by law, means the pair's case was never "finalised" in the Court of Criminal Appeal. The lawyers also claim none of the laws passed since then, including truth in sentencing, therefore apply to them and they should be released."

This story was front page on Nine MSN in the morning, and the number one read story (shades of last year's 'Surrey Comet' pigeon yarn!) until later in the afternoon, when the story about Daniel Johns sharing a spliff with Peter Garrett and Bono, and the "Madonna The Climate Change Catastrophe" stories were released.

Why is this the only recent news about Peter Garrett, when there have been plenty of opportunities for him to speak out during Howard's latest attack on Aboriginal land rights?

He accomplished more as a musician (such as the famously international "Up Yours", 'Sorry' outfits at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games) than he has as an elected Labor politician. Where has all the thunder gone?

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oil! Oil! Oil!

Feels real good to be an Aussie right now - right?

'Information Clearing House' ran an article sourced from the ABC today [7/7/07], but it's the linked comments which prove the most interesting.

See: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article17968.htm for details.

Teaching Creme de la Creme To Receive $5,000 Bonus

Amidst the assorted advertisments for business executives, government officials and offers of compensation for prisoners of war in yesterday's [6/7/07] 'Australian Financial Review', was one for teachers - yes, teachers!

The ad, also spotted in today's [7/7/07] 'Courier-Mail', states:

"The Australian Government, through the Department of Education, Science and Training will run the first Australian Government Summer Schools for Teachers programme in January 2008. This fully funded, 10-day residential programme will provide high quality knowledge and skills in Literacy and Numeracy, English, mathematics, Science and Australian History."

How condescending, and um, are you implying that Australian teachers don't have these skills?

"One thousand teachers from government and non-government schools nationally, will be selected on the basis of their outstanding performance and the support of their school.

Each teacher will receive a $5,000 bonus on course completion. Expressions of interest from qualified organisations will be sought shortly to develop and deliver the summer schools course."

Good one Minister Bishop - that sounds fair - pitting teachers against one another is sure to enhance the learning environment of our schools.

But perhaps that's not the real motive behind this back to boarding school rubbish. Oh, and they haven't even tendered for these courses yet - "Expressions of interest from qualified organisations will be sought shortly to develop and deliver the summer schools courses." Gosh! Seems like the process won't be under way until after the Federal....oh.

Never Let The Facts Get In The Way Of A Good News Story

So wearying that this person's opinion continues to be broadcast throughout the Fairfax media and the ABC. His latest diatribe, 'Chorus does not justify climate prophecies' in today's [7/7/07] 'Sydney Morning Herald' maintains the intellectual dishonesty adhered to by ideologically based climate change denialists:

"Professor Scott Armstrong is at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr Kesten Green is with the Business and Economic Forecasting Unit at Monash University. They're experts in forecasting techniques. (Many people are unaware that forecasting is a subject with many academic experts and a body of research going back to the 1930s. The website forecastingprinciples.com attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year.) Their paper is Global Warming: Forecasts by Scientists Versus Scientific Forecasts. It was written for the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting.

Armstrong and Green looked at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group 1 report from earlier this year. This is the major source for the orthodoxy.

They focused on chapter eight, which sets out the methodology used for the forecasts in the report. They found that the panel, despite its immense assembly of scientific talent, appeared to have no idea of how to make a reliable forecast. Although the chapter has 788 references, none relates to forecasting methodology. Armstrong and Green rated the methodology used by the panel against 89 principles of good forecasting derived from years of research. They found that the panel report breached 72 of those principles. They concluded that the forecasts the weather was likely to change in many negative ways were worthless."

Funny thing with this column is that some crucial facts have been omitted. For example, it doesn't tell us that Armstrong is a Professor of MARKETING and is not a scientist. One of his jobs is forecasting sales for car-makers in the US. Another thing is that the "principles of good forecasting" were largely created by Armstrong himself so he, in effect, wrote the rule book he uses in his paper and in fact rated the methodology against 89 of "140 priciples of good forecasting" so 72 out of 89 should really be 72 out of 140 (or even 2 out of 140 if you were being equally dishonest in the other direction!)

Despite the tone and nuance of the column, these well qualified business academics do not present any scientific evidence to refute climate change or the importance of carbon emissions. The whole piece should be viewed with the denialist "hockey stick" fiasco in mind. It's like another "good news from Iraq" story, as much as good folk would like it to be true it simply doesn't deliver. But if you prefer to get your climate science facts from big business..., well that is a matter for you.

Why Won't the ABC, 'Courier-Mail' or 'Brisbane Times' Report This?

From "Tips and Rumours" in yesterday's [6/7/07] 'Crikey!':

"There has been quite a bit of speculation that Pat Purcell resigned his ministry yesterday due to pressure by Beattie. Purcell is strongly AWU alligned and rumours are he has been working the sidelines amongst right factioned ALP MPs trying to find an alternative Premier to Beattie-annointed Anna Bligh from the left for when Beattie retires."

Brisbane Cafe Serves Rolls From Turkey!

The "nosh" section in yesterday's [5/7/07] 'mX' includes a review of a city cafe where the Turkish rolls are extraordinary.

"My friend opted for the tandoori chicken Turkish roll for $8.

She said the tender chicken warmed up the rocket, cucumber and tomatoes in a freshly baked roll that she suggested was flown in from Turkey itself that morning."

Sounds delicious - wonder if they're transported on one of those special CIA flights in and out of Turkey?

'Crikey!' Astounds

The bastion of free-markets and neo-liberalism complains (in today's editorial 4/7/07) about the wasted dollars tied up in corporate sponsorship of giant costly sporting events:

"We don't live in a corporate world sympathetic to that sort of amiable indulgence any more. Private equity has no stomach for a multimillion-dollar joust at some obscure piece of aesthetically dubious maritime silverware."

Really? Then why do they keep on doing it? Corporate sponsorship has always been (as 'Crikey!' well knows) about much more than simple "indulgence". Of all people, 'Crikey!' should know about the side deals and nudge'n'wink handshakes that go with such sponsorships and the value of all the "media" sheepily following. Does Toyota really think people might accidentally buy a Holden because of a blimp over the footy?

Sorry, but we DO live in a corporate world sympathic to exactly that sort of amiable indulgence, which is exactly why we need a truly independent and free media.

It's All About Image

'Image' is a News Ltd glossy for the affluent "city south" set, with a circulation of 35,000 around suburbs such as Balmoral, Bulimba, Hawthorne and Morningside. Its ninth edition came out this month (July), and features stories about jazz singer Alessandro Bellino, jewellery designers, hair dressers, Tangalooma, an etiquette school, photos of "foxy" people, cult film aficiando Kristian Fletcher, plenty of advertising, and a calender, so you can plan your monthly agenda.

Oh, just a minute, I nearly forgot, on the same page as the story about Fletcher is a little piece about the Queensland Short Film Festival (QSFF). Turns out entries are now being taken for this year's festival, which is in its second year at the QUT Creative Industries Precinct:

"For the first time, the QSFF will screen all submitted films, with festival director and founder Michael Noonan understanding the difficulty in getting films screened and the cost involved.

"The festival is about limiting these two frustrations," he says. "There's no cost to enter, no cost to come and watch the films and best of all, we are only screening Queensland product.""

Wow, what a surprise! Not only is this film director the star attraction of the forthcoming Brisbane International Film Festival, he's also the Director of the QSFF! Gee, he's doing well compared to those old lefty academics who were suspended isn't he?

Funnily enough, in yesterday's [2/7/07] 'Australian', Ross Fitzgerald has penned an article - 'The right to say even the unsayable must survive':

"A pall of censorship and political correctness hangs over the nation. Everywhere you look someone is taping someone else's mouth shut and handcuffing their freedom to express non-violent views.

Two Queensland academics from Queensland University of Technology, John Hookham and Gary MacLennan, were recently suspended for six months without pay and removed from university internet access because they objected to a PhD thesis entitled Laughing at the Disabled.

They didn't break legs or slash tyres, they simply wrote, as academics are wont to do, a strident critique in the Higher Education supplement of this newspaper arguing that laughing at the disabled was ethically impaired. As it happens, both have children with disabilities. And if that wasn't bad enough, one reason proffered for the decision to punish Hookham and MacLennan was that they offended the freedom of expression of the PhD student!

So why haven't we heard from federal Education Minister Julie Bishop or Labor's spokesman, Stephen Smith about this outrageous interference with academic freedom?"

Why indeed? I guess you might want to ask the folks who conjured up this "controversy".

*UPDATE* Surprise Surprise, even more News Ltd. publicity for Michael Noonan in this week's [July 4 -10] 'Brisbane News'. Justine Reilly writes:

"Many words have been flying around the blogosphere and opinion pages in recent weeks tracing the cracks in the Creative Industries Faculty at QUT. Two senior academics have been suspended for six months, following their criticism in the national press of a PhD student's unfinished thesis. Fewer words have been used to talk about the PhD student whose work is at the centre of the bitter academic and legal row."

Well the "national press" Reilly speaks of is 'The Australian', and Noonan has received ample "words" and publicity courtesy of the organisation he used to work for. Reilly neglects (along with every other News Ltd. journalist - apart from Tess Livingstone in her 'Courier-Mail' article of 16 June, 'Who's laughing now?') to mention that Noonan himself is a former News Ltd. journalist.

Reilly concludes her article thus:

"The public can be the judge of Michael's work when 'Unlikely Travellers' screens at the Brisbane International Film Festival in August, and on the ABC."

Wonder which News Ltd. publication he'll bob up in next?

The Great War

Les Carlyon's recent release 'The Great War' is massive - in size and quality. I'm only a little way in, but here's an interesting excerpt about Billy Hughes:

"He was a trade unionist and defender of battlers, yet the war had somehow transformed him into a man who was saying the things that those in power wanted to hear.

If this was confusing to others, it wasn't to William Morris Hughes. He was now welcome at places he once would have been thrown out of as a Welsh upstart. He stayed at Windsor Castle with the King, Generals, archbishops and press barons took him seriously. They were using him, he was using them, and Keith Murdoch, the Australian journalist now working in London, was using the entire cast to turn himself into a man of eminence. Murdoch waited on Hughes, ran his errands and literally became an arm of government, but forgot to tell his readers back in Australia that he was a player as well as an observer."

Media Miss The Boat

Last week's Walkley Media Forum at the Regatta Hotel marked World Refugee Day by considering the topic, 'Missing the Boat? Reporting on asylum seekers and refugees'. The forum was moderated by Cathy Border from Channel Ten, and included presentations by Dr Angela Romano, Senior Lecturer In Journalism at QUT, David Costello, Foreign Editor of the 'Courier-Mail', Peter McCutcheon from the ABC's '7.30 Report' and John Murungi from the Refugee Claimants' Support Centre.

Dr Romano emphasised that the public is reliant on the media for information on this issue. Yet her studies on the media's reportage of asylum seekers revealed a disturbing use of biased and inflammatory language in news media stories. Examples included, 'Boatload of illegal refugees seized' (from the 'Courier-Mail'), and another in 'The Australian', about "refugees" in the New Orleans superbowl in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which was juxtaposed with a report about Jesse Jackson pointing out the inaccuracy of describing people in their own country as refugees.

As for who dominates the agenda, she found that in 2003, 61% of the 'Courier-Mail's' stories were based on government sources, while in 2007, this has dropped to 22%. Dr Romano said the negative stereotypes and common and simple concerns that people had about refugees and asylum seekers could be easily addressed by the media.

"Antipathy comes about because people don't know who they are," she said.

Dr Romano explained that the Federal Government are sophisticated in understanding people's prejudices, and that journalists are being left behind in the wash.

"Journalists are missing the boat because governments have the resources and journalists don't," she said.

Referring to the years between 1999 and 2001 as a "wild period" encompassing the riots at Woomera and Port Hedland, David Costello said that now is a good time to be talking about refugees, given we are experiencing a period of calm.

"We don't lock up kids anymore," he said.

Mr Costello defended the 'Courier-Mail's' coverage of refugee and asylum seeker stories. Singling out a particular "hard-working" 'Courier-Mail' journalist, he said, "If you're looking for demonization of asylum seekers, you won't find it in Margaret Wenham's stories, or in the rest of the 'Courier-Mail's' pages."

Mr Costello undertook "newstext" searches, which he said showed that the 'Courier-Mail' was "out of step" between 2001 and 2002. But he pointed out that a 1999 editorial stated that most refugees are genuinely seeking refuge. He later added that the coalition government have overreacted. "We are not faced with a full scale invasion," he said.

"The media should work to dispel myths about boat people."

Citing the "children overboard" example as a "moral lowpoint" for Australia, Peter McCutcheon expressed concern at the manner in which governments can affect and distort items of public interest.

"Why are journalists still talking about it?" he asked, later explaining that the "children overboard" affair highlights a "broader systemic problem" which has resulted in the diminished quality of public debate.

He said he has experienced "stonewalling and obfuscation" when attempting to obtain straightforward information about various operational matters. He made it clear that this is evident at all levels of government.

Reflecting on the past eleven years, and Australia's inhumane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, John Murungi said, "I've come to realise it's not personal."

As for what it means to be a refugee, "We are talking about human lives," he said. "And nobody ever chooses to leave their home."

Bartlett's Late Night Speech

In his SMH column today [30/6/07] 'The true story of inaction is on the record' - Alan Ramsey writes:

"Federal Parliament is in recess. The politicians won't be back for six weeks. They fled Canberra's winter a week ago. Two days before they left, Queensland's Andrew Bartlett, a 10-year Democrat senator, made a late-night speech on the adjournment. He started speaking at 11.28pm. He sat down at 10 minutes to midnight. What Bartlett did was anticipate John Howard's latest orchestrated pulling of the wool by a full 36 hours.

Bartlett began by saying he wanted to talk about "a few different reports" released over the previous week "that affect indigenous Australians", pointing first to the Northern Territory Labor Government's 316-page Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Mekarle (Little Children Are Sacred) report on Aboriginal child abuse, which was made public by its two academic authors in Darwin on June 15, even though it went to Clare Martin's Territory administration on April 30. Bartlett continued, in part:

"One of the aspects I find frustrating about the [media] response is that, as the report itself makes clear, there is not a lot in it that is actually new. I have noted comments from [co-author] Dr Judy Atkinson about a report she wrote in 1989 for the national inquiry on violence, a report she wrote in 1991 for [the Department of] Prime Minister and Cabinet, and a report she and others did on violence, including sexual violence, in communities in Queensland.

"The situation [the latest report] details is extraordinary, but it is not extraordinary in the sense there is anything particularly new. The big issue here is, why is this still happening? Why has the situation not changed? Why are we having another report with another round of shock-horror headlines, as though this is some brand new discovery? Why are we continuing to fail? Why is it that indigenous communities in the Territory and many other parts of the country are continuing to fail?

"As the report also makes clear, we should not kid ourselves that sexual abuse and sexual assault of children, and child abuse in general, are confined to indigenous communities or to remote areas. It is clear this is particularly rife in a number of indigenous communities, along with a lot of other chronic social issues that need addressing. But I think it important we do not kid ourselves this is all an indigenous problem.

"As I have said a number of times in this place, and as the Senate itself has acknowledged through motions passed unanimously, there is a serious problem with child abuse in general in Australia - a crisis - and within that [crisis] there is a serious problem of sexual assault … "The report emphasises there are no simple fixes, and it estimates it will take at least 15 years to make significant inroads into the crisis. [But] even though it says it will take 15 years, I would remind you that more than 15 years ago we had reports saying not very much different from what is in this report. So these issues are not new, and acting as though this is some sudden, great exposé does not help …"

Oh yes it does. Certainly our Prime Minister hopes so."

Alan Kohler's Eureka Report Looking For Junior Journalist

As seen on Seek.com (and featured on last Monday's [25/6/07] 'Media Watch') , the online newsletter and website for investers, the Eureka Report is expanding and:

"We are looking for a journalism graduate or young journalist to become part of Alan Kohler’s team in the exciting and growing field of financial media."

Karen Middleton's Week At 'Crikey!'

Friday's [29/06/07] 'Crikey!' reports:

"Baby bust. Wednesday's Off the Record newsletter from lobbyists Parker & Partners contained an item headed Things You Didn't Know:

"Australia's fertility is on the up. In data merrily released today by the Treasurer, Australia's long-term declining fertility rate appears to be reversing. The baby bonus is of course being heralded for a steady increase from 1.7 in 2003/2004 to 1.8 in 2006/2007 children per female. Nowhere better is this trend being demonstrated than in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery where there are a host of expectant mothers traipsing the halls. These include Sam Maiden at the Australian and Karen Middleton at SBS."

The last one also turned out to be A Thing That Isn't Right. Yesterday they released a "special" edition of Off the Record - ostensibly to mark the ascension of Gordon Brown, But it was only six paragraphs long, and after a political obituary of Tony Blair, two of the paragraphs read:

"And speaking of flaws, P&P needs to make a major apology for some stupid reporting in yesterday's weekly Off the Record. In our glib attempt at highlighting Peter Costello's fertility boom, we mentioned some of those in Parliament House that were 'expecting'.

We got one of our names wrong in the mix up and for that we apologise to Karen Middleton for suggesting otherwise. Karen as President of the Press Gallery deserves better standards than that!""

Better standards eh? I guess this explains Wednesday's [27/6/07] bitchy comment about Middleton in part three of the McCarthyist "Crikey Bias-o-meter" - 'The federal press gallery', where she scored one "Karl Marx":

"It’s rather hard to come across as credible when your reports turn up as part of what appears to be public broadcasting’s Hezbollah News Hour."

Mono-Media Bias Is Fine By Flint

Friday's [29/6/07] 'Crikey!' gives more air to former Australian Broadcasting Authority chief, David Flint. In his piece - 'Healthy bias beats an ideological monopoly' - Flint suggests there is no problem with concentration of media control and no "danger" of monopoly:

"It would be ridiculous to expect the media not to be biased.

In fact, a robust, diversely opinionated media is a sign of a vibrant democracy, subject to two provisos. First, government should not control the media. Second, the media should not be the subject of a monopoly. As media moguls become a threatened species, any danger of monopoly by owners is a thing of the past (The liberalisation of the cross-media rules has not resulted in the feared Packer/Murdoch duopoly; James Packer has even vacated the field.)"

Oh dear, that makes my expectation of a fair or balanced media ridiculous! Further, my concern over lack of diversity is apparently unfounded. He gets better...

This week's 'Crikey!' "Bias-o-meter" exercise illustrates that in these times of unquestioned faith in the free market, the so called "left" need a new moniker - "progressive" or "decent" springs to mind. Seeing the world through a left/right prism and perpetuating the bogus view that such a dichotomy exists is so yesterday, and very useful for those with no tolerance for dissent and compassion, or anyone who dares to speak truth to power.

For example, Flint divides the media commentariat into either "left" or "conservative":

"What has been and is far more threatening is an ideological monopoly, which seemed to be on the cards in the '90s. When the service of those robust columnists, former Labor minister Peter Walsh and former Nationals senator John Stone were removed from the Financial Review, the result was that almost no conservative commentators regularly appeared in any of our leading newspapers. Then, in 1999, almost all of the mainline media, with a handful of exceptions, campaigned for a Yes vote, even in their news columns and broadcasts...

And radio offers a wide diversity of views. True, presenters from the left (eg Mike Carlton) tend to rate poorly compared with their direct competition, but that is listener choice. (That is not the only factor -- there is listener loyalty which is earned through thorough preparation, the ability to be tough even with allies, and to be punctilious in answering listeners. Listeners soon spot the passive unprepared talkback presenter who responds with the first thing that comes into his head, and can't be bothered to answer his mail.)"

It's a neat trick for this elite (and he is a true elite) to replace "Right" with "Conservative". "Conservative" connotes notions of decency, safety, being upstanding, and an all-round chap, when really, folks who have blind faith in the free market, are religious bigots, and adhere to a sexist, racist ideology, should be called something else.

Pubes Put Me Off My Porridge

'Brisbane Times' prove they have well and truly settled into the down and dirty investigative journalism that comprises Brisbane's daily media landscape, with a story that greeted readers first thing this morning [29/6/07] - 'Beauties brave Brazilian wax'.

"The fur was flying in Brisbane yesterday when a group of brave, but woolly, women volunteered for their first ever Brazilian wax as part of a morning radio stunt.

Thirteen lovely ladies, aged from 18 to their late 40s, agreed to trade their maps of Tasmania for a seat aboard the B105 Brazilian Bus - the brainchild of breakfast hosts Labrat, Camilla and Stav.

Many had never before come into contact with hot wax - so nerves were fraught during the 20-minute bus trip across town to Ella Bache's Hamilton salon at Portside Wharf."

On, and on it went - two pages of intimate revelations from a number of Brisbane women including a mother ("pushed to enter the competition by her partner" in the hope that it would "help spice things up in the bedroom") and a "single-girl-about-town". The story was accompanied by a photograph of a young woman pulling a face as - to put it politely - the hairy bits about her bot bot are waxed away.

The proprietor of the salon is reported to have said a zero-tolerance approach to pubic hair had gripped the River City and that girls as young as 16 were having Brazilians. Yes, I can see folks gathering in Queens Park to protest the pesky pube!

Is there nothing else going on in this town that's worth covering? Even the 'City News' only devoted a mere four sentences to this publicity stunt for B105 and Ella Bache in the "News, The Buzz" section on page 17.

Yet, the 'City News' would have to win this week's "best placed advertisement" award. The sleep inducing two page feature article about a Brisbane dominatrix - 'Dungeon haven for tortured souls' - is nicely juxtaposed against a Queensland Government Work Safe Awards advertisement - "Big or small..it doesn't matter when it comes to workplace safety", it says!

Feedback Deja Vue

Clive of St Lucia is getting a bit of coverage in the News Ltd press. His letter first appeared in 'mX Talk' [22/6/07] with the title - 'In a state':

"Glancing at the newly extended State Library from the river, I see scaffolding below the events space known as the Red Box.

These aesthetically displeasing metal supports - that appear to be holding up a timber viewing platform - have been there for months.

I hope they'll be dismantled once the glue sets."

His letter was run again in this week's 'City News' [28/6/07] sans title and says "superglue" rather than "glue", so it's lucky 'mX' makes it clear on the 'mX Talk' page that:

"Letters are submitted on the condition that mX may edit and has the right to and license third parties to, reproduce in electronic form and communicate the letters."

Advertising Standards Bureau Reckon Pole Dancing Is "Mainstream"

'Brisbane Times' Consumer Affairs Report Kelly Burke today [27/6/07] reports in, 'Pole-dancing mum given green light' that the Advertising Standards Bureau has upheld complaints about a McDonald's TV advertisement "because it encourages children to accept lifts from space aliens", while dismissing complaints about the Nando's pole dancing mother ad:

"Defending multiple complaints against its ad, another fast-food chain successfully argued the level of nudity used "was essential to ensuring authenticity". The ad shows a topless pole-dancing mother using fictitious "Nando-fix" skin patches and gum to control her craving for Nando's chicken.

"The concept is to show somebody who, for professional reasons, can't wear the Nando-fix patch," the company reasoned, disputing the ad was degrading to women. Pole dancing had become mainstream, Nando's argued, citing the example of Martha, a character in Home and Away, who works as a pole dancer.

The board of the Advertising Standards Bureau agreed, ruling that pole dancing was " … a popular form of exercise" and "was not incompatible with family values". The ad "depicted a strong in-control woman who went about her work in a professional manner", because it showed her travelling to work wearing a suit, the board concluded, while the ad had not broken any rules regarding permissible levels of nudity."

What a wonderful society we live in - where the commodification of sexual desire has become "mainstream." Guess this explains why the "Stiff and Stiffer" TV ad depicting men playing a duet on the piano with their pharmaceutically enhanced penises is still being aired.

Former 'Sun Herald' State Political Editor Speaks His Mind

Today's [27/6/07] 'Crikey!' ran this fiery piece by journalist (and former State Political Editor) Alex Mitchell, who retired from the 'Sun-Herald' (after 21 years of service) in May:

"This is the last throw of the dice for John Howard. He is doing one big favour for the mining industry which he has faithfully served in public life for the past 30 years by rolling back Aboriginal ownership of their tribal lands. Cynically, cruelly but utterly predictably, he’s doing it under the hypocritical colours of humanitarianism. (Very similar to the invasion and occupation of Iraq sold as “spreading democracy”). In his four terms as PM, he has starved indigenous health, education and housing of funds, abolished ATSIC and pointedly marginalised the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio. This particular pre-election pitch is aimed at Lateline viewers, readers of The Age and The SMH and ABC stalwarts, the demographic that constitutes Australian (small “l”) liberalism. These are the feeble-brained, hand-wringers who are congenitally incapable of separating the wood from the trees. They are types currently heard sobbing: “I’m no fan of Mr Howard, but at least he’s DOING SOMETHING!” Yes, he is: he’s giving the mining giants the leg-up they need to start exploring, digging and quarrying in indigenous lands in the Northern Territory and then elsewhere. He is being aided and abetted by Kevin Rudd’s craven behaviour. Instead of falling into line with Howard’s agenda, he should have demanded complete details of the plan, the highest-level briefing, sought face-to-face meetings with Aboriginal leaders, state premiers, police and army officers and taken the lead in a national debate. Instead, he mouthed pieties such as “I’m taking Mr Howard at his word” and “I believe the Prime Minister when he says he is responding to a national crisis” etc etc. Has anyone realised that these are almost the same words used by Kim Beazley when he backed Howard during the Tampa scam? By his pusillanimous approach, Rudd has vacated leadership on the tragic issue of rescuing Aboriginal communities and given Howard the opportunity to play his sickening Father of the Nation role. Paul Keating, you were right about the Rudd team of fixers, hucksters, flyweights and spineless opportunists."

In related news, the ABC's 'Background Briefing' team sent the following email to subscribers:

"In October 2000, Background Briefing profiled Noel Pearson and the radical shift he was proposing in relation to welfare and the rights and responsibilities of Aboriginal people. His proposals were controversial, but made sense to many.

Seven years later, Noel Pearson's call for changes in policy have spurred the Prime Minister to unprecedented action. If you are interested in hearing what Noel Pearson had to say back in 2000, the story is available to download as an MP3 from the Background Briefing home page as an Audio Feature."

Go to: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/backgroundbriefing/

Brisbane International Film Festival "Embraces Controversy" To Screen A Noonan Film - Gee What A Surprise!

In today's [27/6/07] 'Courier-Mail', Des Partridge reports, 'Festival embraces controversy':

"A film by Michael Noonan, a Queensland University of Technology lecturer and PhD candidate at the centre of an ethics debate, will be screened during the Brisbane International Film Festival in August.

Unlikely Travellers, about a group of disabled people who travelled through the Sahara Desert, is among a list of Australian-made films selected to screen at the festival from August 2-12.

Noonan, twice a finalist in the Sydney Tropfest short film competition – regarded as one of Australia's most significant – has sold Unlikely Travellers to the ABC. The network plans to show the film as a three-part series this year."

Two QUT lecturers, Gary MacLennan and John Hookham, earlier this month were suspended without pay for six months after criticising Noonan's planned PhD, centred on two intellectually disabled boys, in a contribution to an education supplement in The Australian newspaper."
Whereas in today's [27/6/07] 'Australian', Brendan O'Keefe reports in a story 'Support for QUT Lecturers':
"Two Queensland University of Technology international students and a Canadian academic have added their voices to the campaign defending lecturers John Hookham and Gary MacLennan, who were suspended without pay by QUT."

O'Keefe relates that the students appear on the latest batch of 'YouTube' videos supporting Hookham and MacLennan, while the Canadian academic says they are targets of a phenomenon known as "workplace mobbing".

Interestingly, Andrew Fraser concluded his 16 June article in 'The Australian' - 'Dissenting Dons out in the cold':

"The Dean of the Arts faculty at the University of Queensland, Richard Fotheringham, pushed a student during a rowdy public meeting concerning the restructuring of the faculty. He was counselled and the incident was noted on his file, but that was the end of the matter.

By contrast, MacLennan and Hookham have suffered a financial loss of about $40,000 each, and at the age of 64, it is questionable whether MacLennan has the stomach to return to the university.

As for Noonan, who has been portrayed nationally as an exploiter of the disabled, his reputation has hardly been enhanced.

Free speech, for all concerned, has come at a high cost."

Well, his "reputation has hardly been enhanced", but what does that matter? As the old saying goes, any publicity is good publicity, for a former News Ltd journalist turned "controversial" filmmaker, because he's now the star attraction of the forthcoming Brisbane International Film Festival!

Stay posted because, as there can be no doubt that the omni-present News Ltd local (the 'Courier-Mail') is up to its armpits in this, the 'Media Page' will have bounteous fodder pimping this flick and promoting the film-maker to deal with leading up to 'BIFF'.

'Crikey!' Awards The 'Courier-Mail' Three Margaret Thatchers And A Nomination For "Worst Paper In Australia"

Today [26/6/06] Margaret Simons was rating the political bias of newspapers, and had the following to say:

"In a one newspaper town The Courier-Mail is a conventional News Limited tabloid, which means no better than it has to be, and one of the contestants in a close run field for worst paper in Australia. Has a less than honourable history in Queensland – far too close to the centres of power during the corrupt Joh years, then in the news-rich post Fitzgerald-era, under then editor Chris Mitchell, pursued an expensive and crazy quest to prove that historian Manning Clark spied for Russia. Hardly the most important story in Queensland at the time. Things are tamer now. The Courier-Mail is mostly predictable and dull, with occasional honourable exceptions such as the exposure of “Doctor Death”, Jayant Patel. It toes the Rupert line – pro free market, pro Iraq war – but rarely covers local politics as other than biffo. Not much wrestling with the issues. The problems of cronyism and lack of diversity in the Sunshine State are increased by the fact that editor David Fagan is married to Madonna King, a top journalist who now broadcasts on Brisbane ABC Radio, sometimes interviewing her husband. Undoubtedly to the right, as the sleepier Murdoch tabloids always are – but it's more lazy populism than ideological fervour."

So well put. If I'd said that (not to mention the 'Radio Rupert' reference), my car would have been keyed, my cat kidnapped, and I would have had threatening phone calls by now!

But one question remains. Will Mrs Fagan win the wedding dress contest with Kelly Higgins-Devine?

Update On Last Friday's 'Crikey!' Rumour About Kevin

In case you were worried that the 'Sydney Morning Herald' were withholding news about our Opposition Leader to be revealed when the PM announces the election, today's "tips and rumours' in 'Crikey!' [25/6/07] contains a letter from the spouse of the SMH journalist who says:

"In relation to the rumour Friday's "Tips and Rumours", I am the spouse of an SMH journo and am aware of an unflattering story about Kevin Rudd that is soon to be printed, but have not heard that it is deliberately going to be held over to the announcement of election day. I understand that it is due to run in the next week or so. As to how damaging the story is, whilst it does not portray Mr Rudd in a favourable light I'd say it is no more damaging than stories that have already come to light such as the not-so-stolen "stolen" notes on productivity, the gaffe on productivity itself, associating with Brian Burke (massive hype - no damage), embellishing the childhood "eviction" story or the Dawn Service in Vietnam incident. None of these incidents has had any impact on Mr Rudd. The story I am aware of is no more controversial than any of these."

News Ltd Changes Course On Brisbane Pedestrians

Today's 'Sunday Mail' [24/6/07] includes an article by David Murray, 'Running a deadly risk', which reports that pedestrians are risking their lives just metres from where a schoolgirl was struck and killed last week. A construction site in Elizabeth Street has closed the footpath and left pedestrians with "little option but to risk darting between traffic":

"Brisbane City Council has done nothing about the blackspot despite being warned about the danger weeks ago."

The report actually admits that speeding motorists are adding to the danger:

"Tests carried out for The Sunday Mail on Friday found drivers breaking the 50km/h speed limit in almost every major road in the city.

Motorists reached 67km/h in Alice St, where Queensland University of Technology students regularly cross, with one bus recorded at 60km/h.

Drivers were also caught speeding in Turbot St (64km/h), Adelaide St (63km/h), Eagle St (61km/h), Mary St (59km/h), Margaret St (55km/h) and just metres from where Caitlin was killed in Elizabeth St (57km/h). De Groen jewellery store manager Michelle Rosenberg said four people have been run over in Elizabeth St in five years.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman yesterday said: "I will instruct the CEO to work with the planning chair David Hinchliffe to look at this particular development and the need for footpath closure.

"With Brisbane's CBD earmarked for so much development I will also ask them as a matter of priority to review the need for any further footpath closures in the wake of this tragedy.""

This story illustrates News Ltd's power in a one-paper town. You can bet your bottom dollar there will be a place for pedestrians to cross at the Elizabeth Street construction site on Monday.

Seriously spooky, when folks have been expressing concern about pedestrian safety in Brisbane's CBD for an eternity, yet up until this May, News Ltd. have taken the editorial position of blaming the pedestrian.

The change began with this article by Emma Chalmers [7/5/07] - 'City on path to danger - Boom creates safety issue':

"The Brisbane CBD construction boom is forcing pedestrians on to the street as developers block footpaths while they build. In some instances, construction firms are lobbying Brisbane City Council to close footpaths for more than a year."

An earlier story by David Murray in the 'Sunday Mail' [11/2/07] 'Jaywalkers stretch our thin blue line' reflects the usual News Ltd. view - which is blame the pedestrian and never mention the cars:

"As police and victims of crime state-wide cry out for an urgent boost to the thin blue line, officers in Brisbane have launched a crackdown on jaywalking. A two-months blitz in central Brisbane and Fortitude Valley has resulted in more than 700 pedestrians each being fined $30."

Perhaps last Wednesday's tragedy (and others) may have been averted if News Ltd. had chosen to change tack earlier to urge authorities to implement practical and reasonable measures to improve pedestrian safety.

"Bread" Dolphin Arrives At Gold Coast

ABC online reports [23/6/07] 'Gold Coast welcomes captive bread dolphins':

"Two new baby dolphins have arrived at a theme park on the Gold Coast, the third generation of their family to be born in captivity."

Brisbane Legal Secretary Gets Her Tits Out (While News Ltd Gets Green Eyed Monstered)

Nasty little piece in 'The Buzz' column in this week's [21/6/07] 'City News'.

The salacious snippet, 'Don't be shy darl', features a photo of a comely Brisbane lass cupping her boobs in her hands. Evidently she's "a legal secretary for a city firm, and one of lads' magazine FHM's Top 100 Girls Next Door. And guess what? She's publicity shy."

Could we assume that the 'City News' established that she was "publicity shy" by being knocked back for a 'follow-up'?

How dare she!

So, we have a girl who has had her photo in a men's magazine, and then 'City News', knowing that she doesn't want publicity, re-runs the raunchy photo of the girl, names her and identifies her day job, under the guise of suggesting that she shouldn't be so shy.

Charming and gentlemanly behaviour from the curs at Bowen Hills!

Withholding News

'Tips and Rumours' in Friday's [22/6/07] 'Crikey!' reports:

"This report came (to me from a reliable source) allegedly from within the SMH. It suggests that on the day Howard announces the election, an SMH reporter will publish a story about Rudd which, it is claimed, would blow him out of the water. Apparently, the Rudd team is using every means to block it, but it is claimed the reporter is adamant that he will proceed, but only on the day the election is announced. Whilst intriguing, it worries me that a respected newspaper could contemplate interfering in the political process by sitting on a story until the point when it could achieve maximum damage."

Indeed. But perhaps the SMH and its sole competitor in Australia's corporate media landscape should no longer be referred to as "newspapers"?

AEC's Fair And Balanced Media Releasing

Within minutes of each other, the following AEC media releases lobbed into the the in-boxes of corporate hacks, media advisors and freelance journalists around Australia on Thursday evening [21/6/07].

The first addressed the Kirribilli House function hosted by the Prime Minister:

"The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has considered whether or not a function hosted by the Prime Minister at Kirribilli House on 1 June 2007 attracts a potential disclosure obligation under the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act).

On Thursday 14 June 2007, the AEC sought advice from the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS). Following receipt of that advice, the AEC issued a media statement “that on the facts available the provision of Kirribilli House as a venue for a function is neither a disposition of property nor the provision of a service, and consequently, is not a gift required to be disclosed under the Act.”

After issuing the media statement, the AEC received two further legal opinions that had been obtained by the Shadow Special Minister of State, Mr Alan Griffin MP and Senator Bob Brown together with their requests to reconsider the matter.

Following this, the AEC sought further advice from Mr Stephen Gageler SC, of the Sydney Bar. Mr Gageler was provided with copies of all legal advice obtained and received by the AEC. Mr Gageler SC has provided advice to the AEC that is in line with the original AGS advice to the AEC on this matter, namely, that the provision of Kirribilli House as a venue for the function in question is not a gift under Section 287 of the Act.

Following receipt of Mr Gageler’s advice, the AEC remains of the view as set out above – ie that there was no gift to the Liberal Party for the purposes of the Act."

The second advised on the use of electoral roll data by Magenta Linas and the Trade Unions:

"Following a request by the federal Special Minister of State, The Hon Gary Nairn MP, the AEC has examined whether electoral data usage by Magenta Linas and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is in breach of sections 90B, 91A or 91B of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (the Act).

The AEC sought legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor. Information on the electoral rolls and the certified lists of voters is given to political parties including the Australian Labor Party (ALP), under section 90B and, therefore, is protected information for the purposes of section 91B of the Act. The ALP provides that information to Magenta Linas to run the ALP’s electoral database. Protected information provided to political parties may be used for any purpose in connection with an election or referendum under the Act.

As a Federal election will take place at some stage this year, there is clear evidence that the ACTU campaign as described in Appendix 1 of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) document: Federal Election 2007: Union Political Strategy Manual, is intended to influence voters, and is a purpose in connection with an election and as such does not breach the Act.

Nevertheless, it is timely to remind all persons who receive information under section 90B that such information may only be used for the permitted purposes specified under the Act."

Crikey! Gives Oxygen To The Editor of 'The Australian'

Today's [18/6/07] Crikey! had a Reply from Chris Mitchell in the latest dispatch in the "silenced" wars going on. Put simply, the war goes as follows: articles pop up from lone academics generally questioning the level of media independence and diversity of views (sometimes looking like outright propaganda) in Australia. The biggest of the media giants with a virtual monopoly on my town and many others, News Limited, shouts from the rooftops that it is being accused of "silencing" dissent when it has published the very accusers! The "silenced" respond roughly to the effect that they never said they were silenced, more that greater voice was regularly given to views at odds with reality (everyone remembers that the entire Murdoch press and his Fox TV have been advertisers for the invasion and occupation of that place over there which was a threat to our freedoms. Ooops! Sarcasm ruins an otherwise balanced post. Self indulgence is the proprietor's entitlement, isn't it Rupert?)

So, 'The Australian' gets to have a shot back by repeating that there have often been some articles sometimes (in a certain light and buried at a suitable depth) so the complaints must be baseless. If you bother to read the whole thing, you will notice that Mitchell really doesn't address the admitted bias of his organisation. His piece just pushes the "silenced" furphy.

Mitchell's words of wisdom include the following: "I thought the paperís position on climate change had moved on two years ago" and "Disagreement and criticism are not the same as silencing debate." and "Eric Beecher, criticized me personally for allowing Kevin Rudd to be my two-year-oldís godfather"

[Ed: "allowing"? Sounds like it was involuntary! What pressure could have been used to get that "allowance"?].

"I would also be prepared to bet large sums that The Ozís relationship (and mine) with frontbenchers from Labor and the Government is deeper, closer, more cordial and more productive in yielding stories than that of any of 'Crikey!ís' correspondents." [What fool mug-punter would take those odds? Evens at best?] And to finish off: "I never have any problems defending my paper or myself." It is imperative that a modern editor have "no problems" with defending the indefensible propaganda, crap, lies and shillery that goes on under their supervision don't you think?

Patient Yanks Politely Wait For Brisbane Hoes While Impatient Locals Just Walk Off!

Nicely juxtaposed against a story about a planned peaceful protest against Talisman Sabre 2007 'Giving peace a chance', this week's 'City News' "Briefcase" [14/6/07] reports:

"City bars, brothels and strip clubs have been run off their feet catering to 4000 US Navy personnel keen to make the most of their shore-leave in Brisbane."

According to the report, the licensee of one particular brothel said the "unfailingly polite marines had been queuing up in his establishment's reception room." The licensee said that although it gets very busy, the marines are "willing to wait" whereas locals will "just walk off".

How disrepectful our locals are!

Isn't It A Tiny Town?

Could it be a co-incidence that a national outlet of an aggressive, right-wing corporation invited two "left-leaning" academics to write an opinion piece on the inappropriateness of student's PhD thesis?

Would this have prompted the city based outlet of the corporation, its online competitor and the national broadcaster to hop on the story, and run further opinion pieces and letters?

While the student, a previous employee of the corporation's local outlet, receives unprecedented publicity for his burgeoning creative career.

What will happen next? Will the corporation change tack and begin to vilify the academics now they have been suspended by their university?

Gee it's a small town!

Inside Sport Gives The Lowdown On Team Ownership

The June edition of 'Inside Sport' features a cover story 'Who Really Owns Your Team', a snappy, well researched article written by Louis White that reveals the governance, history and ownership of the individual AFL and NRL football clubs. Here's a sample paragraph relating to the history of the Gold Coast Titans:

"The Gold Coast Titans were awarded the 16th club licence by the NRL in 2005. They recruited ex-league and current rugby union player Mat Rogers as one of their star recruits and have a purpose built stadium constructed, with the help of the QLD State Government, that will be ready for use in 2008 to house 25,000 spectators and 2000 corporate sponsors."

According to their website, 'Inside Sport' is Australia's only Walkley Award winning sports magazine.

On the recent decision to drop the swimsuit models who have graced the 'Inside Sport' cover for the past 16 years, Editor Graem Sims writes:

"This issue marks a fresh start: we’ve simply collected too much evidence in recent years that while a core of readers enjoys the model’s appearance each month, others have felt embarrassed by the blokey image. Some of these readers were in their late teens and early 20s when they discovered us, but more than a decade later they’re playing house. Partners, wives and even kiddies have wondered why the men in their lives are looking at other gals in bikinis. We have heard you. We’re confident that enough people now know of Inside Sport’s reputation for prize-winning, agenda-setting journalism. This magazine can stand on its own two feet."

I saw the latest edition of 'Inside Sport' for sale in the Myer Centre Coles, and it you can subscribe online. 'Inside Sport' is published by Australian publishers, the Horwitz Group, which was founded in 1920 in Sydney, when Israel Horwitz and his wife Ruth produced the Sporting Weekly newspaper. Other magazines published by Horwitz include: 'TV Soap', 'Australian MAD', 'Golf Australia', 'Camera', 'Sound & Image', 'Professional Photography', 'Geare', 'Smart Home Ideas', 'Australian HiFi', 'InCar Entertainment' and 'Australian Penthouse'.

See www.insidesport.com.au for the details.

4ZZZ's Megaherz Prove Feminism With A Sense Of Humour Is Alive And Well In Brisbane

Despite having their Sunday afternoon show cruelly truncated during the station upheaval earlier this year, today's [10/6/07] Megaherz presenters proved that saucy, femininist repartee is alive and kicking on Brisbane's airwaves.

Emily and Sarah were in fine form as they re-enacted Peter Harvey's report about "surrendered" wives - 'Under the thumb' - on last Sunday's 'Sixty-Minutes'. (Surrendered wives are essentially doormats, who do whatever their husband tells them to do).

According to Harvey's report, there are around 100,000 followers of the surrendered wives movement around the world.

Emily and Sarah discussed roles in relationships, and whether the surrendered wives movement could be applied to single sex relationships, and questioned what it really means to "wear the pants".

Incidentally, during the report, Harvey asked Liberal MP and former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Pru Goward what she thought about surrendered wives. Goward said:

"There is no such thing as an adult who can entirely subvert themselves to another person. That's called slavery and I think we abolished that several hundred years ago."

She musn't have heard of free trade zones.

Biography Will Reveal Kevin Rudd's "Self-Depreciating" Sense Of Humour

Des Houghton's pages in yesterday's 'Courier-Mail' [9/6/07] include a short piece about a forthcoming biography of Kevin Rudd, written by former 'Courier-Mail' journalist Robert Macklin. Evidently the book, which is published by Penguin, will be suitably launched by well known radical Phillip Adams at that hotbed of revolutionary art - the GoMA - on 22 June.

Houghton writes:

"The experience seems to have left Macklin a Rudd cheerleader.

"As a Queenslander, I felt I was on his wavelength from the very beginning," he gushed.

"His vision for Australia is pretty damn compelling."

He said Mr Rudd had a "self-depreciating" sense of humour.

The book will also be printed in Chinese."

Well that will be something to look forward to. I'm sure the Chinese would agree that we could all use a laugh, and some insight into Rudd's "compelling" vision for Australia!

This Page Is "Horseshit" - Friday Night Happy Hour Reader Feedback

Nobody reads this page very much, even though we think it covers important stories questioning the unhealthily close relationship between the Federal, State and City administrations, and the Murdoch dominated media (and of course the revolving door between them all).

It can feel as though there is no point. Here we were just about to give it all away as a futile scream in the wilderness when along comes a grubby simpleton thin-skinned "Media" type to prove that it is all worthwhile, after all. Thank you, you gutless anonymous shill for proving this page is not without effect.

Now readers, remember that priceless example of Mr Murdoch's best little Aussie trooper, Glenn Milne, carrying out a public drunken assault on 'Crikey's!' Stephen Mayne on TV at the Walkley Awards? Well, we had some anonymous telephone message feedback about the 'Media Page' this Friday night [8/6/07], which is our metaphorical push off the stage. The anonymous (but familiar sounding voice) message was left at about the time "Happy Hour" ended, we suspect. We got a micro view of the prevailing attitude of the people involved in his line and style of work. In other words, it was solely verbal abuse without an actionable threat or a specific complaint other than referring to the "Media" page. He even pulled up in his half tanked abuse at the accusation that only "half" of this site is "horseshit"! Please let us know the half you believe is true, correct and valid. You forgot to leave your name and contact details, by the way, sir. Brave of you.

Here at the "Voice" the idea is to pick at the big player's (ie:News Ltd's) motives behind editorial and story direction. The reasoning is that because they are now purely commercial/advertorial outlets, every story must have a subtext or be aimed to a commercial or political outcome. As Jim Killen is often reported to have said about the 'Courier-Mail': "you lot couldn't report a minute's silence accurately."

We believe that this is not an exaggeration of the state of affairs, and we are willing to debate this with any civil person willing to come out from behind Rupert's skirts and defend him on principle rather than pocket. Matter for you Mr Anonymous Brave (you and your peers will know who you are, we suspect).

Rupert Murdoch's newspapers uniformly, and unquestioningly, pushed the invasion and occupation of a foreign country on the other side of the planet because it was shredding children and had 45 minute Nuclear Weapon capacity (according to Rupert's shills), and have expressed an opinion that partisanship is acceptable in "journalism". This site takes the contrary view that for freedom and democracy to have a chance, we need a genuinely free and independent press. It should be obvious that a press snuggly in bed with business, government and advertising interests (and pushing their lines) is at odds with the purpose of a free press and the proper function of democracy.

Surely any true reporters and journalists not in bed with those same interests would agree?

Anyway, here is the transcript [we will have a link to the audio shortly, and maybe a guessing competition? Could be a lot of fun!]:

Sitting in judgment! Only "Spring Hill Voice" does that! Wow, Tarantino tough these dudes!

Spring Hill Voice (never shilled for multinationals, denied global warming or pushed for a war) is apparently run by an absolute fuckw*t who doesn't check facts, publishes 'sh*t' and judges 'other people'! And, only "half of the stuff" published is a problem to this whinger! Just half? I bet a million bucks this freak 'works' for Murdoch (you know, constantly shills for multinationals, denied global warming to the last, promulgated fibs to get a war going in the Middle East and openly pushed one party for government in Australia). Have a look in the mirror when you accuse this media proprietor of being an "absolute fuc*wit who doesn't check facts, publishes sh*t and sits in judgment when half the stuff is unverified horse sh*t".

One Paper Town: How News Ltd Killed Brisbane Journalism

The author of this website is working on a book about journalism in Brisbane. Kindly benefactors interested in funding this project should contact: spring_hill_voice@hotmail.com for more information.

Shitty "News"

This week's edition of the 'City News' [7/6/07] rains on the reopening parade of the Brisbane Powerhouse, with a snide little piece entitled 'Power to the people', that clearly originates from a Mayoral media adviser and former 'Courier-Mail' scribe. The first sentence complains that the $3.5 million refurbishment included just 16 new car parks.

That's right - a mere 16 new parking spaces and it's all Deputy Mayor David Hinchcliffe's fault because the Lord Mayor reckons he pushed for an underground carpark:

"But he said Deputy Mayor David Hinchliff (sic) (Central) deliberately frustrated the project."

Yep, the usual fair and balanced reporting.

Of course it's hardly surprising that the 'City News' "World Environment Day" edition runs with a cover story that promotes and re-affirms the carcentricity of this city. The half-page advertisement which provides a "project update" on the North-South Bypass Tunnel would look silly against a story about reducing our car use because of climate change!

Other "World Environment Day" themed articles include a story expressing concern that the 1000s of visitors who attended last week's Australian Tourism Exchange weren't given official documentation about Brisbane's water restrictions, stories about upcoming screenings of 'An Inconvenient Truth', clean coal technology, a device which extracts water from the air, a teensy, two sentence report on the Greens World Environment Day Symposium (attended by Senator Bob Brown), a two-page spread entitled 'Fighting the good fight against climate change' (which looks at how four Brisbane residents have reduced their impact on the environment), and a full-page picture of a model wearing an environmentally friendly outfit, while bearing planet earth in her dainty palm.

Smells like feel good green consumerism. Put the onus on the individual to purchase products to assuage their enviroguilt, and make the Greens wet themselves with excitement by merely giving them a mention.

As long as News Ltd remains Brisbane's main source of "news", you can be guaranteed our state and local governments will only adopt tokenistic approaches when addressing climate change. Guess we'll just have to wait for the 20 metres.

Will the 1000s of US sailors currently in town get to use up all our water too?

Hey Bloggers, Stop Thinking For Yourselves

Blogger Tim Dunlop (of News Ltd. 'Blogocracy') recently launched a trial where he's asked a select group of other bloggers to respond to a specific question, with the aim of generating cross-blog conversations.

Anything associated with News Ltd can only be viewed cynically, and this just makes my blood boil.

Is nothing untainted by these f$#kers?

So, not only has Dunlop been lured into abandoning his independent blog 'Road to Surfdom' by joining the Murdoch fold, he's now being used to trojan horse some credibility for Murdoch into the blogosphere.

Murdoch's astroturfing reaches a new level. Once you open the door and let him gain even the hint of a shred of credibility, he owns both sides of the debate once again. Murdoch saturates everything and always leaves them for the worse (media-Australia, television-pay, sport-league), out goes intellectual honesty, independent thought and truth and in comes the propaganda.

Corporate Media Demonizes Anarchists

Nothing new in that, so let's set the agenda for the upcoming APEC summit in Sydney, by perpetuating the "violent, scary, anti-war anarchists are terrorists who are hell bent on ruining the economy" message.

In September, Sydney will be "locked down" as G20 attendees discuss their annual "how to exploit those less fortunate than us" conference. Some people feel very strongly about things like illegal invasions, environmental decline, international corporate exceptionalism, media failings and torture, and they believe that they have the right to voice those very strong feelings.

Gee, Shaun Davies, whose byline appears on the 'Anarchists ready for APEC violence' story on Nine MSN today [4/6/07], really got down and dirty for this little piece. It begins:

"An anarchist group linked to violence at last year's G20 summit has rejected the idea of "peaceful protests" at September's APEC summit in Sydney."

Davies provides no explanation as to why people might be protesting this event.

Yeah, September will be a real fair fight - just like David and Goliath.

Need A Slave?

News Ltd gleefully published stories about a sex scandal and course accreditation problems at Shafston College in late 2004 and early 2005.

Two years later, Shafston is paying the 'City News' to advertise the new class of educated student slave.

Surely it's wrong for a tertiary education institution to specialise in domestic help?

A 'City News' Scoop?

Along with the revelation that Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen left an "inedible mark" on the state (god forbid this isn't a cheeky reference to Flo's pumpkin scones), this week's cover story in the 'City News' [31/5/07] wallows in Queensland parochialism in the leadup to Queensland Week.

I suppose anything's better than, 'What's The Premier Hiding?', or 'Merri Rose Third Prominent Queensland Woman Sent To The Bin During Beattie's Rule'!

Former Chief Magistrate Di Fingleton and former federal politician Pauline Hanson were found to have been wrongly jailed. They were both exonerated on appeal.

Having pleaded guilty, it is unlikely that Rose will appeal, and we'll see her in three months.

It will be interesting to see what she has to say then.

Crazy Clark's Cashes In On Hicks' Return To Australia?

This image caught my eye as I was sorting through the junk mail. It's on the back page of the latest Crazy Clark's 'Greatest Bargains Ever' brochure, between the $3.99 Woman's Day 'Easy' mini cookbooks and a $24.99 remote control that lights up when it's in use.

I didn't see any Jackie Howe/grenade launcher ensembles for sale.

Could this image have been modelled on one of those stock "Hicks" photos used over the last five years by the mainstream media?

Are Crazy Clark's sending a clever subliminal message that "For $5, you too can have the Hicks look this winter, and get all your friends and nervous neighbours talking"?

I'm Kevin, I'm From Queensland, Birthplace of The First Political Manifestation Of The INTERNATIONAL Labor Movement

Since when did a Labor leader say that agitating for industry wide pay rises by threatening strike action was "obscene at every level"? [as reported by ABC 30/5/07]

You Are Personally Responsible For The Dams Drying Up

Not cotton farms, soft drink and beer manufacturers or the construction industry. (I bet if we wanted to drink 140 litres of beer a day, no-one would try to stop us - well not the Water Commission).

But no, it's YOU. And because it's all your fault, you must repent and time your shower!

Did you receive your hermetically sealed little blue pamplet (with magnet) and shower timer in the post yet?

Geez Louise, I wonder how much water was used to produce these little babies? According to the publicity for the upcoming "saving water" edition of 'The new Inventors', several litres of water goes into the production of a hamburger. When will the Queensland Government actually do something for its constituents other than pander to crazy brave ideas like desalination?

Chew on that!

Things Are Never What They Seem

In the midst of an essay about the "Welch Club" and the Lebanese Army, Bill Noxid ('Information Clearing House' 28/5/07) presents an erudite summary of the practical failings of the western theory/illusion of freedom of speech and democracy:

"Understand this very clearly. We do not live in a Civilization, just the illusion of one. An illusion created by those who wish to enslave your mind, body, and soul. An illusion created to prevent you from seeing the chains around your ankles, the bag over your head, or the gag-ball in your mouth. The intent of the creators of this illusion is now and always has been the domination of mankind through fear and death.

Because of the totality of the illusion, it’s very difficult and painful to find reality. Layers upon layers of illusion must be removed to find the source of any one event or problem. Mankind has existed in this illusion for so very long that it is actually all he knows, and removing the illusion is like removing his skin. The truth is very painful for him, and as a result he avoids it at all costs.

However, due to the complexity and dominance of the illusion and its creators, truth has rarely gotten to the masses anyway. Seemingly infinite control measures - “vetting” I suppose - prevent any reality from escaping its confines, and generally what we are left with is what the image makers tell us. The internet is obviously changing that, and more and more glimpses of reality are finding their way to the rest of the world."

Open your mind. If you dare.

Go and read, listen and watch some independent media.

Glossy Giveaway Gives The Low Down On Climate Change

There's no scoop about arsenic in the Craigslea State High school grounds in the latest 'Aura' magazine [May/June] - just the usual luscious confection of glamour, european cars, travel and fluff, straight out of Chermside.

But publisher Peter Scott cannot resist a rant, and this edition contains his pontifications on climate change.

I don't think it was intended as a humourous piece, but I laughed my a$se off.

Did you know that the 1930s scheme to dam the Burdekin River was the "Bradford Scheme" [I thought it was Bradfield]? Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was a "visionary"[?], and that status quo is Latin for 'the mess we are in'?

And there's no need to get your expensive french knickers in a knot about climate change, because all those visionary people about the place are sure to "come to the fore" to fix any problems.

So comforting coming from a magazine whose advertisers are mainly property developers, who are doing quite well from the "status quo". Fear not! Why? Because, Fear Not! "It's all good." Doesn't 'Technology' have the answers?

News Limited Want To Help Your Business

There can be no argument that the News Limited suite of publications has the Brisbane paper based advertising market sewn up.

So it was intriguing for Brisbane business owners to receive this invitation (from News Limited) to a seminar that will help them grow their business.

With the 'Courier-Mail', 'Quest Community Newspapers', 'mX', 'Brisbane News' and 'City News', how much more of a stranglehold on Brisbane's business market does this company need?

Rescued Children

The latest 'City News' [24/5/07] includes an article 'Commando in covert pedophilia' about a Spring Hill man who poses as a paedophile to rescue children from brothels in Thailand.

The caption to the accompanying photograph says "Stolen Innocence: Sean McBride took this photo of rescured (sic) children in Thailand in 2004".

If you look closely at the bottom right hand corner, the date is 7.1.2005.

Nando's Push The Limits Of Taste And Decency

The latest Nando's advertisement currently being screened on late night television contains so many vile little messages it's hard to know where to begin.

In case you haven't seen it, the ad features a stripper wiggling her a$se in the face of man, who won't slip a note in her g-string because he finds the Nando's patch she's wearing offputting. In their last series of advertisements, Nando's is presented as being so addictive, one has to wear a patch until their next meal (or fix). In this new ad, the stripper gets some Nandos gum, and is subsequently rewarded with some bucks. After shaking her bits in front of this bloke, she then enjoys a big Nando's meal with her family.

Obviously the "Nando's patch" theme of the last Nando's advertisements was too confronting to consumers due to its HRT/Nicotine patch imagery. Who wants to be reminded of dried up old women and stinky smokers - right?

Anyone with a brain the size of a pea would find this latest advertisement really funny. And there's an argument that advertisements must exaggerate and poke fun in order to be successful. Only prudes take them seriously. Yet, this ad is creepy because it goes beyond the standard practice of objectifying women. It sends a message that whoring yourself is acceptable. But given that there have been a number of stories in the mainstream media presenting prostitution as an acceptable career option - perhaps this ad is merely reflective of this wonderful female emancipation that we have.

Today Taxis, Tomorrow Expensive European Brmm Brmms And 4WDs!

ABC Online reports [18/5/07] 'Green Bridge use 'discriminatory', spinal injuries group says':

"The Spinal Injuries Association has criticised the Brisbane City Council (BCC) for not allowing taxis to use the Eleanor Schonell Bridge."

According to the article, Cr Graham Quirk has confirmed that the bus-only rules will not change.

Exactly how many students with spinal injuries are affected by this alleged issue?

How come today [19/5/07] I saw a gentleman in a wheelchair at Woolworths in Macarthur Chambers struggling through the "cattle run" to the checkout - that's discriminatory - and you never hear about that.

Last month the 'City South News' reported that cars had been sneaking along the Green Bridge.

Some locals expect that the bridge will inevitably be open to cars.

Those Political Pollsters

Writing in 'Crikey!' - [17/5/07] Sue Arnold (Australians for Animals Int.) writes about her experiences in commissioning polls about whaling:

"My group, Australians for Animals Int., commissioned a Galaxy poll which found nine out of 10 Australians believe the Howard Government isn’t doing enough to protect Humpbacks. Some 81% would like to see more done...

The poll must have touched some very sensitive areas. My experience in commissioning the first poll our group has funded was extraordinary. After many emails and phone calls, ACNielsen declined to ask the question, saying that the matter was too controversial.

Some of the questions and statements made pre-refusal by their self-described statistical team were nothing short of extraordinary. I was interrogated by one of the staff who claimed other nations besides Japan were whaling in Antarctica, which is entirely incorrect. At one stage, I was told to prove that the Howard Government policy on whales included specific reference to Humpbacks."

No wonder the mono-media, the Government, the spindustry and big business are bewildered by the thrashing they are copping in the polls! They work in a different reality, and right now they look as clueless and puzzled as a prime beef steer at stage one of the Toowoomba abattoir production line. Oh dear.

Little Tummy Tucker Gets A Career

This week's 'City News' [17/5/07] has a report in their 'Career One' section - 'Babies give mum food for thought'. It's a story about Dinah Pherous and her "outrageously successful" business - 'Little Tummy Tucker'- which delivers "vacuum-sealed freshly cooked organic and low-allergy meals for babies up to pre-school age to homes and childcare centres."

It's supposed to be 'Career' related, but the article actually reveals more about Pherous's company:

"Despite her success, Ms Pherous still largely has the market to herself."

Which doesn't make sense, but what I think the writer (Sue Gardiner) is trying to say is that "Ms Pherous is surprised how lonely this market is." That's surprising, when you consider 'Little Tummy Tucker' has the full editorial marketing power of News Ltd's Brisbane outlets behind it.

As the ABC's 'Media Watch' revealed last year, Pherous's business partner is former 'Courier-Mail' journalist, and wife of the 'Courier-Mail's' Deputy Editor (Stephen Sealey), Ella Riggert, a public relations consultant who handled the 'Courier-Mail's' tabloid launch.

Gee! This town gets smaller and smaller!

On February 24 this year, the 'Courier-Mail' ran a story by the lovebirds - 'Tucked up in Tuscany' - which is a yawn inducing account of their language challenged European holiday in Poggio Nardini.

This is followed by 'How to get the best out of your Italian holiday', which suggests you check out the website of Zurich-based company Interhome group.

According to the 'Media Watch' story, 'Little Tummy Tucker' has had a few gratuitous runs in the Murdoch press. You would understand a cynic saying this latest "article" is just an advertisment after this quote from Stephen Sealey from the 'Media Watch' story:

"My wife is a public relations consultant, therefore her role in this company was to pitch stories to the media so she would have pitched this story to the Courier-Mail and they would have chosen to publish it. I have no interest in the company...My wife is entitled to her own business interests, therefore the logic as to why a story that appears in the newspaper that has a connection to my wife requires disclosure escapes me."

Peas In A Pod Diss The Dalai Lama

ABC Online, 'The Australian' and 'Brisbane Times' today [16/5/07] report that Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd won't meet with the Dalai Lama when he visits Australia next month. Five years ago he met with the Dalai Lama and said Prime Minister John Howard and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer should do likewise.

Big Deal. Everybody knows mini-me always follows Dr Evil's lead. Presumably this lack of newsworthiness was why the 'Courier-Mail' hasn't yet reported the snub. Instead, today's edition includes a story 'Politics of a traveller' about bodacious 'Getaway' reporter Catriona Rowntree's "moral dilemma" on whether or not to take a rail journey from China into Tibet:

``The Dalai Lama has said it (the railway) is akin to the second invasion of Tibet,'' Rowntree says.

But after much discussion in the Getaway head office, Rowntree has decided to put any personal feelings about her journey to one side.

``There is nothing to be gained from boycotting it and who are we to make the political or philosophical judgment on something,'' she says.

Sure Catriona. Although people who watch 'Getaway' rather like you, and listen to what you have to say. You could have made a stand and perhaps changed the world a little.

Again the minor parties assume the role of displaying decency and courtesy in a country that's becoming a really yucky place with an ever-diminishing international reputation. A media release issued by the Greens yesterday [15/05/07] reported on the Senate President, Paul Calvert's rejection of a request that the Dalai Lama (a Nobel Peace Prize winner) be given an official parliamentary reception when he visits Canberra:

Releasing the president's letter (attached) in which he says "unfortunately, as I am sure you will understand, I have to be mindful of international sensitivities...'

Greens Leader Senator Bob Brown said that this was a craven capitulation to the communist bosses in Beijing. "Beijing rules. This is in such stark contrast to the Prime minister's $2 million allocation to have Australian cricketers withdraw from the tour of Mugabe's Zimbabwe."

"President Hu represses political and religious dissent and has 23,000 police monitoring citizens emails. If a Chinese citizen seeks a website about freedom in Tibet, the police are knocking on their door within the hour. There are more than 100 political prisoners in jail in Tibet alone.

"If John Howard tried to set up a Liberal Party in Beijing he would go straight to jail. Yet the Senate President, who is acting under Government direction, has banned the Dalai Lama at president Hu's pleasure - it is Howard Government kowtowing to President Hu and it lets down Australia's proud self-image of defying dictators and welcoming peace makers."

Rowell Has A Growl

ABC online reported yesterday [15/5/07] 'Rowell tells Labor councillors to end the 'blame game':

"Labor's Lord Mayoral candidate Greg Rowell says he wants his councillors to lift their standards when he attends his first Brisbane City Council meeting today.

Mr Rowell was endorsed as the ALP's candidate on Friday.

He held his first Caucus meeting at the weekend, telling the Labor Councillors they had to end the blame game.

He says it is time to focus on the issues. "I've really made it clear to my team that I want to see a lift in the standards," he said. "It's important that we work cooperatively and collaboratively for all Brisbane councillors to provide the solutions to our growth.""

Before being parachuted in as Labor's mayoral candidate, Mr Rowell was a Sheffield Shield cricketer, lawyer and senior policy adviser for the Property Council of Australia. The only reason he'll give Lord Mayor Campbell Newman a run for his money in the upcoming Council election is because it will be a battle to win the hearts and minds of developers.

Some canny political observers have said that the current Council - with it's Liberal Lord Mayor and Labor majority is ideal.

Indeed if we threw in a few independent and greens councillors it could be even better, and councillors might start representing their constituents.

We're All Doomed, So Let's Go Skiing!

In last Friday's 'Australian Financial Review', Susannah Petty reports 'Resorts let climate worries schuss right on by':

"With winter 2007 about to bite, the experience of 2006 has sharpened the focus on climate change - and on how Australia's resorts will remain competitive against their snowier rivals.

The good news, according to scientists, is that even in light of last year's scant snowfall, the ski industry will remain viable at least until 2020."

What???? 2020? That's the GOOD news??

Media Bullies Band Together For Free Speech

ABC On-line reports today [10/5/07] 'Media outlets fight 'erosion of free speech'':

"Australia's major media organisations have joined forces to fight what they say is an erosion of free speech. The group is led by News Limited and includes Fairfax, commercial radio and television, as well as the ABC and SBS.

News Limited's CEO John Hartigan says the group is going to commission an independent study of threats to free speech and expression and report back to governments. He says there are many instances of people at his newspapers being thwarted in their attempts to report what is in the public interest."

People at his newspapers? With every access to politicians, private databases, records, and the wherewithall to persecute any enemy on a whim? Isn't it rich, when the proprietors of Australia's print media duopoly, who have been active participants in fostering the diminished ability of independent journalists to speak truth to power, by ruthlessly squeezing out any competition, are now feigning concern about the status of our media landscape?

Will this "group" allow independent or freelance journalists to join? I have plenty of stories about being "thwarted" in my attempts to report what is in Brisbane's public interest.

Hypocrits.

Inside Information?

Dean Starkman reports on the ever-evolving saga of News Corp's takeover of 'The Wall Street Journal' in 'CJR Daily' [8/5/07] - 'Steiger sat on what?!':

"This morning, The New York Times published a story saying that Paul Steiger, the Journal’s managing editor (and my old boss), along with three other top editors at the paper, sat on news of News Corp’s blockbuster bid for the Journal’s parent, Dow Jones & Co., for at least a week. The stunner, by Andrew Ross Sorkin and Richard Perez Pena, is a case study in how news judgment is blurred when your own organization is at the center of the story. It's also a preview of the journalistic disaster that would result from a successful Murdoch bid."

The story said that a few days after submitting a formal, written offer for Dow Jones to the company’s board on April 17, Murdoch, News Corp.’s chairman and CEO, wrote Steiger an e-mail marked “Personal and Confidential,” telling him of the bid and promising, ironically given the circumstances, to uphold the Journal’s editorial integrity."

So far somebody's made a lot of money out of the proposed deal. Apparently the US authorities are investigating.

And the game goes on.

News Ltd Responds To 'Big Issue' Article With Apple Green Wash

This week's 'Big Issue' [7-22/5/07] includes an excellent article about inbuilt obsolescence by James Massola 'The Downside of Upgrades. Why too much techno wizardry spells environmental trouble':

"The accessories industry for iPods is worth an estimated $1 billion per year - not including internet sales. By changing the connections its new model, Apple has done little more than create a new cash cow."

Massola's article discusses how he researched a story for 'Eureka Street' about how consumers are increasingly compelled to upgrade technology. He checked out a Greenpeace website which states the following:

"Apple can remove the worst chemicals from its products and production processes," the site says. "But it's not even close to this goal. Take the example of the toxic plastic polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Other companies have set a date to remove PVC from their products. Apple hasn't. Major new product lines like the iPod Nano and MacBook still contain PVC. The site also claims Apple has no worldwide programme to ensure that old computers are disposed of in an environmentally friendly fashion."
In yesterday's [9/5/07] 'Courier-Mail', John O'Brien reports 'Apples grow greener':
"The future is bright for Mac users -- literally -- as well as for the planet.

Apple announced last week that it would start phasing out the fluorescent lamps used in its liquid crystal displays and replace them with the brighter, more energy-efficient light-emitting diodes found in iPod screens.

It plans to have completed the transition by the end of next year.

In an open letter addressing environmental concerns about Apple, CEO Steve Jobs says the move to LED displays will help the company eliminate arsenic and mercury from its products...

In his open letter, Jobs claims that Apple has actually led the PC industry in eliminating lead-laden cathode ray tube monitors, which it ceased using mid last year when it phased out the eMac. Jobs says Dell, Gateway, HP and Lenovo still sell CRT displays.

The letter also says Apple has phased out toxic chemicals like cadmium, hexavent chromium (which Erin Brockovich famously campaigned against) and decabromodiphenyl ether, and plans to phase out polyvinyl chloride and brominated flame retardants by the end of next year, again before other PC makers...

Also, because Mac users develop an emotional attachment to their machines, they often hang on to their old models when they upgrade -- or collect other disused Macs from garage sales. That means fewer Macs in landfill. For a look at both sides of the argument, visit www.greenpeace.org/apple and apple.com/au/hotnews/agreenerapple."

On the subject of the environment, today's [10/5/07] 'Courier-Mail' reports that News Corp has announced it aims to be carbon neutral within three years.

How cynical.

Craig Johnstone reports:

"News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch made the pledge in a global announcement to staff last night.

He said the company would act to reduce or offset its greenhouse gas emissions both to cut its costs and to ensure its audience was aware of the dangers of climate change.

Mr Murdoch – who revealed he bought a hybrid car earlier this year – said the initiative would also include promoting the climate change issue in the company's television programs and on its internet company, MySpace.

"Climate change poses clear, catastrophic threats," Mr Murdoch said. "We may not agree on the extent but we certainly can't afford the risk of inaction."

For some reason I doubt this will change the the 'Courier-Mail's' editorial stance on the environment. i.e. Ignore the growing push for real change and renewable energy and make the individual feel responsible for climate change, market enviro-products for them to buy to make them feel better (such as hybrid cars, green bags and expensive lightbulbs) while promoting nuclear energy and clean coal technology.

We probably won't see a review of Clive Hamilton's 'Scorcher: The Dirty Politics Of Climate Change' in 'The Australian' either!

Maybe Murdoch could reduce emissions by sacking head denialist Andrew Bolt?

'B Magazine' Gives Us The Lowdown On What The Community Thinks About Water

This week's 'B Magazine' [ 8/5/07] follows up on a 'bpoll' survey about Brisbane's water crisis. According to the results 68% of folks believe that recycled water will mean massive, extra amounts of water processing chemicals, 51% do not believe recycled water will be safe to drink and 61% also believe the authorities can't guarantee that recycled water won't contain potentially harmful of infectious agents.

I wonder who's behind the 'B Magazine' push that recycled water is yucky?

Some Interesting Crikey! Snippets

In yesterday's [9/5/07] 'Crikey!', Christian Kerr reports:

"In the wake of Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s speech at the May Day March in Brisbane on Monday, a headline appeared yesterday on the Courier Mail’s website and in the earliest edition reading "I’m taking the Lodge, says Rudd".

But only early birds would have spotted it. Crikey understands that after a series of phone calls from the opposition leader to Holt Street it was taken down and replaced with the more civilised "I will win, says Rudd". "

Evidently it was 4BC (who have been trying - without success - to get Rudd on air) who revealed this to their listeners.

Kerr also reports that "Peter Garrett, it appears, has added insult to injury".

"For several months, 4BC has been running "shower songs" – tracks under four minutes we can time our showers to to save on water.

Garrett seemed to suddenly jump on the idea after a visit for Bris Vegas.

There’s now a selection of shower songs up on his homepage and, no, he won’t appear on the station, either."

Perhaps Rudd and Garrett will appear on 4BC one day - whatever - I don't know, and don't care 'cos I listen to 4ZZZ!

In any case, doesn't Labor need to tread carefully in Queensland? These fellows should watch themselves - what they think is savvy media management could be misinterpreted by Queenslanders as plain arrogance!

Even Joh Bjelke-Petersen made regular appearances on 4ZZZ.

As for those four minute shower songs, I didn't see 'Redneck Wonderland' (3.07), 'Dreamworld' (3.36), 'When The Generals Talk' (3.31), 'Don't Wanna Be The One' (3.04), 'Minutes To Midnight' (3.07), or 'Read About It' (3.50) on Garrett's list!

Margaret Simons reports that 'The Monthly' magazine have announced they will run Eric Ellis's profile of Rupert Murdoch's wife Wendi Deng, which was canned by 'The Good Weekend'.

And Jody Ekert (partnered, childless, middle-income-earning lesbian) provides some witty commentary about the budget (which was also published at SameSame.com.au.)

"For most of the year I can convince myself that I'm actually a pretty ordinary Aussie citizen, but there's nothing like a Budget announcement to show how little I matter -- as a partnered, childless, middle-income-earning lesbian...

Increase in child-care rebate and a change in the way it's paid. Oh goody. Now even more money can flow through into the hands of the care-for-profit-child-care centres like ABC Learning, where the dude in charge already has his own private jet -- last year $128 million of the rebate went straight to them...
$5 billion endowment fund for universities. It's aimed at providing buildings and the like I think -- pity though, that no one can afford uni anymore with Hecs hanging over their heads, and even if they do go they can't enjoy it, given that there are no great on-campus activities funded by unions any more..."


Among her suggestions for what to do with the money, she says:

Government-funded-community-not-for-profit-child-care centres only please. Free if possible. Why do we have all of our intelligent mums locked away at home when they could be out back at work?
And if you don’t have kids, which is probably the best thing to do for our environment, you get a bonus for being unselfish, and can spend that on expensive champagne and good nights out about the town. Or spend it on pampering your pets, who are much more fun than a drooling toddler.

Thanks for nothing, Johnnie!"

Yep. It was definately a budget designed to appeal to clowns. Even the elderley folks who toiled and built this nation, and are now self-funded retirees are getting screwed.

And Getup reports today:

"The Treasurer has distributed our $236 billion and the budget headlines are brimming with praise and prosperity. But hidden among the welcome news remains an untold budget scandal - an Aboriginal child born today is statistically likely to be outlived by a newborn in rural Bangladesh. And what was allocated on Tuesday night to address this baffling inequality? Just $30 million in additional annual health funding, or an extra ten bucks for every Indigenous Australian on top of last year's budget increase."

US Journalists Are Terrorists

At CJR Daily, Paul McLeary reports [3/5/07]:

"It looks like it's official: the United States Army thinks that American reporters are a threat to national security. Thanks to some great sleuthing by Wired's "Danger Room" blogger Noah Shachtman, the Army's new operational security guidelines (OPSEC) hit the Web in a big way yesterday, and the implications they have for reporters -- who are grouped in with drug cartels and Al Qaeda as security threats to be beaten back -- are staggering...

Shachtman reproduces a slide from the new "OPSEC in the Blogosphere," document, which lists and ranks "Categories of Threat." Under "traditional domestic threats" we find hackers and militia groups, while "non-traditional" threats include drug cartels, and -- yes -- the media. Just to put that into some perspective, the foreign "non-traditional threats" are listed as warlords, and Al Qaeda. In other words, the Army has figuratively and literally put the media in the same box as Al Qaeda, warlords, and drug cartels...

Under the new rules, all Army personnel and DoD contractors are told to keep an eye on reporters and anyone seen speaking to the press, and that they should "consider handling attempts by unauthorized personnel to solicit critical information or sensitive information as a Subversion and Espionage Directed Against the U.S. Army (SAEDA) incident...

As a creepy little addendum to this whole sorry affair, we'll quote what Major Ray Ceralde, the author of the new rules, told Shachtman in an interview yesterday: "A person doesn't have to be in the military or government to support OPSEC...As a Nation, we are in this fight together, and all Americans are encouraged to practice OPSEC." In other words, it's open season on curious reporters."

Spooky.

Hey! Teacher! Leave Those Nukes Alone

The 'Head Start' supplement in today's [8/5/07] 'Courier-Mail' looks at nukelar powar, melting arctic ice and Costello's "crap for climate change" budget:

"Question for Discussion: Many politicians and people are against the use of nuclear power because of its devastating capacity if used to create nuclear weapons. What is your view? If uranium is safely used by 16 per cent of the world to create energy, is it not something to look at as a possible answer to global warming?

Activity: Find out how uranium is mined at www.uraniumsa.org/ processing/processing.htm For more interactive activities go to www.news.com.au/ttn"

Yeah, that's totally unbiased, 'cos unless you're a neanderthal, nuclear energy is NOT THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE.

By the way, where's the reference to the Australian Conservation Foundation or Friends of the Earth websites?

Do Queensland teachers really refer to the 'Courier-Mail's' 'Head Start' when compiling their lesson plans?

I'd like to think they are more enlightened.

And why aren't we more giving priority to the impacts of climate change on our neighbouring countries?

As for:

"The Government will outline any new initiatives they may be undertaking to improve our lives, such as creating tax cuts. With the Coalition facing an election later this year all eyes will be on what areas the Treasurer will address. ttn takes a look at what might happen in the critical areas of education, health and the environment."

Improve our lives? What about the surf, the outback, the bush and our beautiful rivers? The Treasurer hardly even mentioned the environment in his budget speech. So what are you going to tell the kiddies about that?

Enjoy your "summer school"!

A Shareholder Speaks Out

Today's 'Crikey!' [7/5/07] contains an interesting statement from Jim Ottaway Jr. (who with his family own 6.2 % of Dow Jones supervoting Class B shares), regarding News Corp.'s offer to purchase Dow Jones.

Here are some snippets:

"The sale of Dow Jones to Rupert Murdoch and his News Corp. global media giant would lead to loss of the unique news quality and integrity of The Wall Street Journal and other Dow Jones publications and Internet services, and loss of the independence and integrity of a leading national editorial voice...

Rupert Murdoch comes from a very different tradition of Australian-British media ownership and editorial practice in which he has for a long time expressed his personal, political, and business biases through his newspapers and television channels. We see this every day here in America in his New York Post which regularly runs biased news stories and headlines supporting his friends, political candidates and public policies, and attacks people he personally opposes. His Fox TV News Channel, run by Roger Ailes, a former Republican party strategist, is a unique example in American broadcasting in which one man's political opinions have become the editorial and news policy of a major national news channel...

The unusual independence and high standards of journalism practiced at Dow Jones attract and motivate many of the nation's best and brightest reporters and editors. They recently won two coveted Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding public service and international investigative reporting in the Wall Street Journal -- they are the best in the business. Their accurate and unbiased news reports are relied upon by the most influential investors, business and government leaders in America. This is Dow Jones' major asset that Rupert Murdoch's different style of journalism and proposed ownership of Dow Jones would threaten in the minds of astute readers and advertisers.

When Rupert Murdoch's business and news interests conflict, his business interests usually prevail. There is a clear conflict between his business interest in News Corp's Star TV broadcasts into the huge China market, where he has had to kowtow to Chinese Communist government censorship of news and opinion, and the sharp criticisms of Chinese Communist violations of human rights, religious rights, and free speech which The Wall Street Journal editorial page has published more frequently than any other major American newspaper. I doubt its freedom to criticize the Chinese government would continue under Murdoch ownership."

Is A Queensland Governance Body Compromised By A Commercial Deal?

Again, this advertisement appeared in the 'Brisbane News' [2/5/07]. You can obtain copies of the 'Courier-Mail's' 'Real Estate Marketing Solutions - A Guide For Sellers' and the Office of Fair Trading's 'Real Estate Realities' by downloading them from the internet, or filling in a form and mailing it to Queensland Newpapers, or emailing a News Ltd email address. Wouldn't the Office of Fair Trading be ethically compromised because its guide to buying and selling Real Estate is available exclusively through News Ltd. as well as via real estate agents?

This must be a commercial deal of some sort, in our new corporatised public service, because the form says "This information is collected by Queensland Newspapers for our marketing and promotions use only. For details on our Privacy Policy, call blah blah blah..."

Brisbane's Self-proclaimed Prestige Lifestyle Magazine Gets Political

Has the editor of 'Style', a glossy magazine delivered monthly to letterboxes around Brisbane's more affluent suburbs, ascertained that wealthy Brisbaneites have a latent interest in stories other than the advertorial and propaganda disseminated by the mainstream media?

This month's [May] edition of 'Style' features an interview with the fiesty co-founder of 'Lonely Planet' - Tony Wheeler - who has just released a book 'Bad Lands: A Tourist on the Axis of Evil'.

In response to one of Kate Watson's questions about his favourite "New Age" therapy or product, Wheeler states:

"Oh please, I don't believe in anything New Age."

And to what he thinks Australia needs more of:

"protesters - people who get angry, angry, angry when we're told "trust us, we know best" (ie "trust us, Iraq really does have weapons of mass destruction", "trust us, an Australian does belong in an illegal American prison camp", "trust us, those refugees deserve to be shipped off to our own Pacific prison camp", trust us, we never saw anybody paying bribes")."

A column penned by Joe Richards, owner of Richards menswear is not as politically provocative, but is refreshingly honest:

"A couple of years ago, we opened the Chalk Hotel next door (I'm a part owner). All the sections in the hotel are named with the theme of a cricket ground - chalk, sticks, stumps. Now the back of the hotel is the Brisbane Lions clubhouse. The Barmy Army said that in the last 12 years they've been travelling, it was the best hotel they've ever been to. I love it because you can go out for a cigar on the balconies. You can't smoke anywhere in the whole bloody city anymore."

And Heidi Davoren gets down and dirty with Matthew Gray, Sustainable Transport Project Officer from the Queensland Conservation Council and Cr Graham Quirk, Chairmam, Road, Transapex and Traffic, to present both sides of the argument relating the the closure of the T3 lanes on Coronation Drive.

Is It Just Me, Or Do We All Have The Blues This Week?

'Style' and it's main competitor 'Map' are monthly mags. Like 'Brisbane News' - an upmarket News Ltd. publication - they aim for the lovvies and their wannabes. Flip through and you'll see that 'Map' leans toward the new age, 'Style' takes a more luxury lifestyle approach, and 'Brisbane News' has all the up-market real estate advertisements - although the staple advertising appears to be the same for all three.

'Map' even scored a two page Queensland Government advertisement for the May issue!

The big difference in these magazines, along with their physical size, is that 'Brisbane News' comes out weekly, because it has squeezed out any weekly competitors in the glossy style mag trade.

Despite its market stranglehold, 'Brisbane News' yearns for credibility as evidenced by articles such as Lucy Brooks' piece in this week's edition [2/5/07] - 'Declaration of independents'.

"Julie-Anne Campbell sighs heavily down the phone – so heavily, it’s easy to picture her slumped over a desk, shoulders hunched. “You know, it was losing $300,000 a year,” she says of the University of Queensland’s iconic Schonell Theatre, another casualty in the raging war between the big guns and the independents. “We just couldn’t keep it afloat.”

Owned and operated by the UQ Union, of which Julie-Anne is president, the Schonell’s fate was sealed when compulsory student union fees were banned from July 1, 2006. The theatre closed its doors a week earlier.

Though Brisbane mourned the loss of an arthouse institution, the Schonell joined the ranks of those who came and went before it – the Crystal in Windsor, the Classic in East Brisbane, the Dawn in Chermside and the Village Twin in New Farm – all defunct, all whittled away by big brands with multiple screens and bottomless budgets.

Like record stores, bookstores, corner shops and cafes, the independent cinema is fast becoming a reference for nostalgia. In an era of globalisation, digital files and high-speed downloads, time-poor consumers opt for convenience, often leaving the independents in their wake. The dominance of global chain stores is no secret, but while some of Brisbane’s independent retailers founder, others are sticking to their guns."

And guess what Lucy, over the past 20 years your employer has played an active role in reducing all independent business throughout Brisbane (if not South East Queensland, Australia, and THE WORLD!) The only reason you were told to write a story about the struggles faced by independent cinemas, book and record stores in Brisbane, is because Hoyts, Greater Union, Borders and HMV are not currently advertising big with your publisher - who doesn't give a sh*t about anything in Brisbane - unless it will make them money.

Yep, that, as well as hijacking the independents for credibility and advertising.

By the way, my understanding is that even though the Schonell was breaking even, the Labor majority of the student union voted to close the cinema.

Ah the hypocrisy! I particulary liked the Sean Maher's (academic voice from "the real world" i.e. QUT) comment:

“I think small, independent businesses have a decent status in Australia, and in Brisbane, and that needs to be preserved.”

True. But don't hold your breath for Lucy Brooks' story about alternative media in Brisbane!

BS Beat Up On Bernard's Bad Lyrics

In today's [5/5/07] 'Courier-Mail', Noel Mengel reports - 'Powderfinger tones down cry':

"An "alternative version" of the controversial new Powderfinger song Black Tears will appear on the band's new album to head off concerns it might have a bearing on the trial of the policeman at the centre of the Palm Island riots.

The album, Dream Days at the Hotel Existence, will appear as scheduled on June 2, 10 days before Senior-Sergeant Chris Hurley faces court in Townsville, charged with manslaughter and assault after the death of Palm Island man Mulrunji.

There was speculation this week that the album could be delayed because of some of the references in the lyrics of Black Tears, which is about the problems facing Aborigines."

The ABC online ran another story about this, as did 'Brisbane Times'. Both ABC online and the 'Courier-Mail' refer readers to the Powderfinger "myspace" site.

It's hard to see what possible impact the original lyrics (‘‘An island watchhouse bed, a black man’s lying dead’’ - in this case these points have been established, a Palm Island man died in a watchouse and a policeman has been charged) would have on the trial. Fanning even admits this in the story.

This is pure PR for marketing and sales of music my friends. ABC and the Courier/mX etc make the release a media moment and promote sales. Good for them, but how would that affect the conduct of a fair trial for the officer who the Coroner has already found was involved in the death?

4zzz Expose Water Use In The Construction Industry

Part one of this series, which features interviews with various politicians, members of the construction industry and environmentalists, was aired on today's [5/5/07] 'Brisbane Line'. The series continues next Saturday (12pm) on 102.1 FM. Part one will be repeated on Tuesday's 'Brisbane Line' at Noon.

It's been a while since some local Brisbane radio journalists have put together a hard hitting series that would give 'Background Briefing' a run for its money!.

Let's hope the series replaces the irrelevant propaganda of 'Sound of Hope' next week too!

Then I might renew my subscription!

Get Your Head Out Of Your A$#e!

Yesterday's 'Information Clearing House' [4/5/07] ran an article by Professor David Michael Green - 'And, like every other one since last you can remember, it’s gonna be an ugly morning'. Here's a few paragraphs:

"One day you’re gonna wake up and go to your lousy job with its lousy salary and non-existent benefits. You might even remember the good job you once had. Or that the government you once supported gave tax breaks to companies like the one that exported that good job of yours to the Third World (which is what they’re now starting to call your country). Or that that same government undermined the labor unions which fought to get you your good wages and benefits...

One day you’re gonna wake up and want to get the hell out of your rotting, repressive country. You’re gonna remember a time when that wasn’t true. But, oddly enough, you’ll find that other countries remember too. They’ll remember your country’s arrogance, its unilateralism, its walls, its racism, and its politicized abuse of immigrants. And they’ll remember how your government undermined and violently replaced theirs whenever corporations from your country had their profits threatened. You’re gonna want to leave, but there will be nowhere you’ll be welcome. You’re gonna find out that walls can face both directions....

One day you’ll realize that once there were solutions, but that that day is now long past. You’ll see that human technological capacity ran its evolutionary race with wisdom, and the latter came in second. You’ll sadly realize that you stood by while your country led the once great tool-making species to its own destruction."

Professor Green is speaking to Americans, but if you read the article in its entirety, you'll see how you can substitute Australia for America - well we are part of the coalition of the willing - throughout the text to much the same effect!

Things Are Never What They Seem

Georgina Robinson reports in yesterday's 'Brisbane Times' - 'Developer miffed over Albion plan'

"The developer caught in the middle of a Brisbane City Council planning row says he has no idea why the Albion Neighbourhood Plan was rejected at the last minute.

Labor councillors this week voted to reject the plan after local residents claimed council had "totally ignored" their concerns about putting an apartment block in a nearby quarry."

Robinson goes on to say that Cr Cashman accused the Deputy Lord Mayor of trying to undermine Neighbourhood Planning, and that developer Australian Affordable Housing Association - the company that owns the 17,000sqm plot - said he had no idea what had gone wrong.
"If it's not our density, if it's not our height, if it's not our carparking, what is it?" he said.

 

"We can't find any issues that anybody's got, other than change."

However the story omits some crucial facts. There is a new councillor for Hamilton ward - Cr David McLachlan - who was lobbed in by the liberal party following Tim Nicholls' departure to George Street last year. Cr Hinchcliffe and his fellow councillors abstained from voting on an amendment to the plan, which was proposed at the last minute, by Cr David McLachlan. They then voted on withdrawing the neighbourhood plan, which will be referred back to the community for further consultation.

Also, a group of Albion residents are lobbying to have light industry remain in Albion. They think the area surrounding the TAB building would be a more appropriate place for residential development. Gee these "residents" wouldn't be rival developers to the Australian Affordable Housing Association would they?

And you thought our local councillors and news outlets represented the community interest!

'Lateline' Suggests Bikies Are Terrorists

Perhaps 'Lateline' ran this report: 'Attacks create bikie war concerns' because leaning Tony was off sick. Who knows? But the report about Australian bikies being infiltrated by Islamists made me start to wonder about my sanity.

"LISA MILLAR: Now to our special report on bikie gangs in Australia, and after a spate of recent attacks on outlaw motorcycle clubs, there are concerns that a new bikie war may be brewing in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The conflict between the clubs comes at a time of sweeping change within some of the most notorious bikie gangs, as a new generation of members introduce a potentially volatile ethnic mix. Lateline's John Stewart and Michael Edwards gained rare access to some of Australia's most powerful motorcycle club leaders, who took us inside the bikie world.

WILLIAM MARSDEN, INTERNATIONAL BIKIE EXPERT: What it offers to a young man is instant recognition and instant power to wear the patch of a biker gang. You know, you go down the street and the crowd parts."

International Bikie Expert? Volatile ethnic mix? What the hell is that?? Give me a break!! The gist of the piece was that Islamists may infiltrate Bikie gangs. Right, that could happen! "Let's all go get sober and look at women who are fully covered, woo-hoo," typical Bikie behaviour!

Anyway, I had trouble imagining the scene in the clubhouse when the bikies have just spiked a fresh keg, the strippers have arrived, and the Islamist recruits are really getting on the sweet tea and looking the other way. No, that just doesn't make sense, as the President of the Hells Angels pointed out:

DEREK WAINOHU: I can only speak of my own club. My own club is like we're a bunch of motorcyclists that get together. We're hard men and that's it. Like, we don't look at anybody's ethnic background, we don't look at their marital status, we don't look at their bank account.

JOHN STEWART: Derek Wainohu says police exaggerate bikie crime because they're an easy, highly visible target. He says there is some crime within bikie clubs but that goes for all sections of society.

DEREK WAINOHU: Go to the local RSL Club, the local football club, within that group of men you'll probably find someone that’s got a criminal record for assault or drugs or break and enter, but nobody says that the entire football club or RSL or league's club is a break-and-entering, drug dealing organisation.

Yeah, definitely weird spin. It's a "Wasn't your father a bolshevik?" moment for me.

As for Virginia Triole's interview with Melanie Philips, author of 'Londonistan' on Friday night - gee let's continue that theme!

Soon anyone who says anything against the free market, and expresses a desire for freedom of thought and expression will be labelled a "terrorist".

Any Chance Of Asking Some Younger "Political Analysts" Their Opinion?

Earlier this week, Brisbane enjoyed some positive coverage of The Green's chances in the 2008 Brisbane City Council elections (ie: Georgina Robinson's story 'Green army to descend on council' on 1 May in the 'Brisbane Times'):

"Controversial ALP support for the toll bridge, which will link Milton to South Brisbane and direct extra traffic past Brisbane State High School, has angered local residents.

The Greens believe they have strong community support in most inner and middle-ring suburbs and will use debate about climate change and sustainability to take on sitting Labor members.

At the last state election, Greens candidate Gary Kane drew strong support and a swing against Deputy Premier and local member for South Brisbane Anna Bligh.

Another likely target is Catherine Bermingham's ward of East Brisbane, which includes Kangaroo Point, Woolloongabba and Stones Corner."


But we can't have that - naughty Georgina - you must be from Sydney! Anyway, just for the folks who might be thinking, "I'm sick of labor and liberal - they're both the same - I'm going to vote for The Greens because I have kids and I'm a bit worried about climate change, the ABC online dragged out one of the usual suspects for a story to reconfirm the two-party bias, and that The Greens are useless.

'Greens unlikely to win seats in Brisbane council election: analyst' [4/5/07]

"But Dr Paul Reynolds from the University of Queensland says while recent state election results show good inner-city support for the Greens, much more is needed.

"They'd need to sort of double their vote at least from past levels, in order to have any chance of winning any of wards," he said.

"Now that being the case I can't see on present indications that they can do that. "I mean they make make their presence felt through policies, agitation and argument, but as to actually getting into the council - no, that's not on at this stage." "

Boring......and sooooo yesterday. I bet he hasn't even set foot in one of the many community meetings, in various suburbs against various Council projects over the past year or so.

People are pissed off and they're looking for an alternative.

Shills Silence Seeney's Staff (Chief Of)

As we celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Rupert Murdoch's arrival in Brisbane (get yourself some Phil Dickie, if you want to read more about that), 'Courier-Mail' State Political Correspondent Steven Wardill reported on 2/5/07 'Seeney sorry for shot at messenger':

"Opposition leader Jeff Seeney has apologised to the Queensland parliamentary press gallery after his chief of staff criticised the media's reporting of state politics."

I can't understand why he should apologise.

"Kevin Martin blamed journalists for the Opposition's inability to raise issues it regarded as important to Queensland."

No one would disagree with that, unless they're embedded within the Murdoch/Fairfax empires.

"Mr Martin told the ABC on Monday night that Queensland media outlets were failing to conduct debates of proper "intellectual standard".

Ah, radio Rupert. 'The Independent' obviously slipped his mind as a 'media outlet'.

"In a letter to Queensland media gallery members yesterday, Mr Seeney apologised for any offense Mr Martin had caused...Mr Seeney said Mr Martin was not criticising indiviual journalists but was commenting on the structural problems."

Well we all know about the "structural problems", but clearly one of those "individual journalists" got a bit pissed off and had a little hissy, causing a big growly editor to make some calls?

ps A few pages later Karen Brooks takes a shot at Queensland Liberal Leader, Dr Bruce Flegg's plan to introduce some classes on manners in schools:

"Apart from the irony of a politician espousing on manners, Flegg's suggestion that "every child should be polite", never mind that this enormous task falls to teachers alone, is to abrogate social responsibility."

Keh?

Will "Community Minded" 'mX' Promote 'A Hard Rain'?

Today's [3/5/07] 'mX' features a letter suggesting that we are "overreacting to new nuke proposals". This letter was in response to a letter in Tuesday's [1/5/07] edition - "Reactors too thirsty".

Seeing as 'mX' are so keen to present two sides to the nuclear argument, they could promote David Bradbury's latest film, 'A Hard Rain', as it provides a much needed counterpoint to the lack of debate and misinformation surrounding the push toward a nuclear future for Australia. There's a screening at Ahimsa House, West End on Friday May 18, 2007 (6pm for 6.30pm).

In any case, I was very angry to learn that Murdoch, Howard and Rudd were pro-nuclear. I worried about the influence of the Murdoch press over genuine public opinion. But, realising these papers have no credibility or currency, I feel a bit more relaxed.

For example, on Tuesday [1/5/07], 'mX' had a photo feature and story (by Julie Phipps) about 4ZZZ show 'Tinnies and Textbooks'. The hosts of 'Tinnies and Textbooks' mentioned their 'mX' appearance in this week's show [3/5/07], and that it had elicited exactly 0 extra visits to their 'myspace' site.

By the way, though it sounds like a show about studying on a boat, 'Tinnies and Textbooks' is actually refreshingly unconfected and the presenters are are very witty, bright young things, who are probably rather partial to a glass of claret, rather than a can. They discussed the recent announcement of the axing of the Humanities Faculty at QUT, and revealed that "all is not what it seems". By that, I mean, they hinted that perhaps QUT have not told the full truth about attrition rates etc. etc. when justifying the forthcoming closure.

Sounds like next week 'Tinnies and Textbooks' is going to run an interview on this issue with the Vice-Chancellor of QUT, Peter Coaldrake!

Scoop babies!

Tune in to 4ZZZ, Thursday evening, 7 - 8 pm.

Murdoch Loses Heaps To Strangle Brisbane Market

Central Station 4 pm 3/5/07

Did the editors at 'mX' not see the 'Big Issue' article about the work conditions of the Chinese who make the 'iPods' ["Audio Slaves" - Travis Beard, Ed 270, January 2007] when they decided to randomly award 'iPods' to Brisbaneites who put their rubbish in a bin?

Not withstanding the regular 'J mag' ads, it's really disappointing to see 'Big Issue' advertisements in 'mX'. What's even sadder is that every edition pollutes a genuine local story - such as 4ZZZ, CBD Gallery, the upcoming ethical fashion show at Jorge - and token attempts to harness and leach their credibility.

It's obvious that 'mX' is a "loss leader" and exists solely to crowd out the market. The lack of ads, and the huge amount of unread copies staying in the wire-racks on CBD corners, cannot possibly support even the wages of the "reporters", let alone production costs and wages of the ever-shrinking army of 'mX' hand-out-casuals around town. It's obvious that 'mX' is not about news or advertising revenue, but it is a vital arm in the larger smothering of information. Today it's a music-marketing-monster. Tomorrow? We'll see.

Take Powderfinger's new CD 'Dream Days at the Hotel Existence' as an example. By some amazing co-incidence, the Brisbane 'mX' informs that "'mX' can reveal the defence team for former Palm Island police officer Chris Hurley will refer the lyrics of 'Black Tears' to State Attorney General Kerry Shine...", a scoop obviously?

Maybe not. 'The Herald-Sun' (yet another Rupert Murdoch paper) had the story on the website at 12pm and attributed it to News Ltd. So, to check on this story you could drop by the 'Powderfinger' site, but you would find that it is dead and only links to a Rupert Murdoch owned 'myspace', which probably extracts more information than it conveys.

We can only hope that Powderfinger don't sell out like Midnight Oil's Peter Garret did. Oh, hang on...

At the risk of sounding like a jaded old lefty, please kids, avoid myspace at all cost! It's "Bad, Umkay" as they say.

Downer's Documentary Reveals More About The Journalists and Kevin Rudd, Than The Man Himself

Although it was a Downer "expose", the last two episodes of 'Australian Story' revealed more about the journalists, advisors and press secretaries in the Downer coterie, than the foppish foriegn minister, and his garden watering wife.

Of course, Downer's done some dastardly deeds over the past decade or so, but the man exudes natural amiability - a charm that the former opposition foriegn minister, now opposition leader, could never imagine to have in his wildest dreams.

It makes one wonder why - in an election year - the opposition leader hops all over Kerri-Anne, but refuses to dance with Caroline Jones.

Does Kevin Rudd hate the ABC or something? To be fair, he was on Red Kerry tonight [30/04/07] at 7:30 ducking and weaving, but that doesn't really make up the difference. Oh, he made a promise that a Rudd government would have a non-political and transparent method for appointments to the board of the ABC. Unfortunately, he was not then asked whether he would sack the current board.

Some Bits From The Fin

My work here is done! In the Weekend edition of 'The Australian Financial Review' [28-29/04/07] Lisa Allen and Stephen Wisenthal report 'Qld's top bureaucrat calls it a (long) day':

"Premier Peter Beattie lost another key bureaucrat on Friday when Ross Rolfe, the man in charge of Queensland's $80 billion infrastructure investment program, quit to join invest ment firm Babcock & Brown.

The departure of the top civil servant follows the exit in December of Shaun Drabsch, who was the government's biggest advocate of public-private partnerships."

As a final chore (he leaves to make a whole lot of money with our tax dollars in July), Mr Rolfe should use his unelected (mostly absolute) power to ensure Heron Island gets fixed - and pronto!

Here's what Ove Heogh-Goldberg (Director of Marine Studies, University of Queensland) had to say about the importance of the research (destroyed in the recent fire) being undertaken at the University of Queensland's marine research site on 'Stateline' last night [27/4/07]:

"Some of the experiments we were doing such as the one with ocean acidification we’ve really got to get that information, we’ve got to inform policy makers and managers about the implications of these changes. So we’ve really just got to get back on our horses, get that data flowing in again."

And 'The Prince' reports 'I spy our Beverley in a CIA Blue rinse'. Evidently Beverley uranium mine (Australia's third largest) has links to friends of the CIA! Heathgate Resources, who purchased the Beverly uranium lease in 1990, is owned by Baywood Holdings Inc, with one nominal share held by Linden Blue. The Blues family is reported to have been involved in South American CIA shenanigans over many years from as early as the Bay of Pigs (apparently Linden Blue Snr even ended up doing a bit of time in a Cuban jail!).

"The Blues family are Do It Now types. The state and federal governments couldn't do enough to help Heathgate, which had Beverley up and running in 1998, six months before the environmental study was completed."

"PPP" Snubs Award Winning Filmmaker

In today's [28/4/07] Fairfax publications Alan Ramsey writes about the shenanigans at the current Labor Party Conference in Sydney, 'Forget policy, the aim is to channel imagery', and Kevin Rudd:

"So, too, from this viewpoint, is the fact that Kevin Rudd is what I call a PPP - a prissy, precious p--ck. One with a glass jaw, a quick temper and, when he loses it, a foul tongue. And don't imagine I'm the only one who thinks so.

One day the electorate will learn about Rudd's very human, if dark, side. For the moment it knows only his good bits. The obvious intelligence, the fresh open face, that beaming smile, the immense energy. They will, most likely, make him prime minister before the year is out.

Voters have had enough of Howard, I think. Too many want him gone, and his miserable Government of arrogant mediocrities along with him."

He then goes on to discuss the forthcoming "debate" relating to Labor's uranium "policy" and mentions David Bradbury's recently released documentary 'A Hard Rain':

"The multi-award-winning filmmaker got together $50,000 - none of it from the ABC or SBS, which turned him down flat - to make a documentary on what he calls "the grim truth about nuclear energy". Titled A Hard Rain, Bradbury filmed in five countries, was knocked back for an interview by senior Labor Party figures, including Martin Ferguson, Bill Shorten and the South Australian Premier, Mike Rann, in whose state the Olympic Dam mine thrives, and was ignored by Rudd, who did not reply to an offer to "brief him" on the documentary or to acknowledge a copy that Bradbury sent to Rudd's Brisbane office.

Every member of Labor's national executive got a copy, as well as an estimated 200 of the conference's 400 delegates. The film runs for 77 minutes. BHP Billiton will hate it. Rann comes out of it looking like a politician with something to hide.

Given that South Australia has banned a nuclear waste dump anywhere in the state, even though Rann doesn't mind how much of Olympic Dam's uranium is sent abroad, what he most has to hide is his Government's hypocrisy. It is a state of mind rampant across the Labor Party.

Somebody, somewhere, should televise Bradbury's film."

Indeed, and what would we do without the legendary political commentator Alan Ramsay, and his inimitable skill in pricking the pricks' consciences and making the pollies squirm the way they should?

Contact your ABC and ask them to screen 'A Hard Rain'. It is of vital interest to all Australians. (www.abc.net.au)

'A Hard Rain' has been screened a couple of times throughout Brisbane in recent weeks, and you can also see it on Friday May 18, 2007 [6pm for 6.30pm screening] at Ahimsa House - 26 Horan St, West End. [Tickets: $12 / $8 conc.]

Cars Sneak Along The Green Bridge

The Green Bridge a.k.a Eleanor Schonell Bridge. Many in the 'Courier-Mail'/Arts Queensland coterie had designs on it being called the Go-Betweens Bridge - but then, they also reckoned it was a good idea to misrepresent the song 'Streets Of Your Town' to sell its tabloid version this time last year. Dickheads.

This week's [26/4/07] 'City South News' reports 'Crossing the line':

"The worst fears of locals concerned with the misuse of the Eleanor Schonell Bridge have been realised, with cars photographed crossing the Dutton Park bridge.

Residents voiced concerns during the planning and construction period that the bridge could be used by cars, despite promises by Brisbane City Council to the contrary."

Yep. Bait and switch time.

Evidently Council are "liaising with the Department of Main Roads" to have the lane re-zoned as a busway, so penalties can be imposed on errant car drivers sneaking across the bridge.

One wonders why this re-zoning wasn't negotitated earlier?

Earlier this year 'The Independent' asked Council whether there are future plans to allow motorised vehicles on the bridge. The Council spokesperson said that the only motorised vehicles permitted to cross the bridge are Brisbane City Council buses and emergency vehicles, if the need arises. "There are no plans to allow people to ride motor scooters across the bridge," he said.

Who wants to make a bet that the Eleanor Schonell Bridge will be open to cars by the end of next year?

Hammering Home That There's No Alternative To The Two Party System

A report [27/04/07] in the 'Brisbane Times', 'Democrats doomed: academic' really doesn't deserve any analysis other than it makes my blood boil.

Nevertheless, why can't the author (someone from AAP) make reference to all the hard work Senator Bartlett does, how accessible and approachable he is, and that he's the only politician who regularly appears and speaks at assorted political events and rallies? Doesn't that count for anything?

Here's an excerpt for your reading pleasure:

"University of Queensland associate professor Ian Ward said Senator Bartlett would struggle to hold his seat, opening the way for Labor to pick up a third spot.

"The Democrats, I think, are a spent force, and their votes won't necessarily flow on to the Greens," Mr Ward told AAP today.

"I simply can't see the minor parties providing a significant challenge.

"This is an election campaign which is going to focus attention on the opposition and the major political parties more perhaps than in previous elections." "

What a load of codswollop! If anything, the minor parties policies on climate change, energy, industrial relations, refugees, defense, indigenous issues, and uranium mining might just be the alternative Australian voters are looking for. But no, the writer (and academic) have to hammer home the "it's either Labor or Liberal"message:

"Mr Ward rated Labor a strong chance for a third Queensland seat, although the party's popularity may dip in the wake of the federal budget next month.

"In the present political context what you see is a significant drift to Labor, and that should allow Labor a real chance of securing that third seat," he said.

"That is, providing the budget doesn't contain tax breaks and other kind of incentives which will drive votes back to the coalition." "

The writer also reports that the Greens recently chose environmental lawyer Juanita Wheeler as their lead candidate.

This is incorrect. A quick check on the Queensland Greens website reveals a media release from 21 April announcing that the Greens lead senate candidate is Environmental lawyer Larissa Waters.

But you didn't do that Mr (or Ms) AAP, because merely looking at the Greens website would make your head explode.

Brisbane ABC Saga Continues

In today's [26/04/07] 'Brisbane Times', Daniel Sankey and Shannon Molloy report, 'ABC news editor to face court':

"The ABC's Queensland news editor will face Brisbane Magistrates Court next month on charges relating to the alleged misuse of prescription drugs.

Sources told brisbanetimes.com.au that Fiona Crawford - who suffers from Crohn's disease, a painful inflammation of the digestive tract - had been given one month's sick leave.

She announced to staff last Tuesday that she was facing charges and would take leave, effectively immediately."

What on earth constitutes "alleged misuse of prescription drugs"? Get real police, everyone's mother has given them a 'stemetil' every once in a while, surely! But I guess it only becomes a crime when you've pissed off someone who's powerful, and somehow knows pills keep clowns and such going.

Anyway, a quick google search revealed a report about the shutting down of the ABC's Toowong studios by Annie Guest on ABC AM from Friday, 22 December, 2006 - Here's an excerpt:

ANNIE GUEST: It's nearly two years since staff raised concerns about a cancer cluster. They say they fell on deaf ears. Two reports dismissed their worries, but in the wake of a third by cancer researcher Professor Bruce Armstrong, victims say the inner-Brisbane operation should have been shut down earlier. But the Queensland News chief, Fiona Crawford says the ABC is not to blame for the delay.

FIONA CRAWFORD: I'm a woman too. Of course I'm worried about you know, my health and the health of course, of the people that work with me. And we were listening and we did respond to the concerns. Unfortunately, many of the staff didn't cooperate with the investigation, which made the Queensland Health Epidemiological Survey not as valid as the one that Professor Armstrong has come up with, because he had the full cooperation of all the women who've been diagnosed with breast cancer.

ANNIE GUEST: What do you say to the allegations that the broadcaster may have failed in its duty of care?

FIONA CRAWFORD: I reject that. I think that we thought we had the expert opinion that we needed onsite.

Looks like "Your ABC" has some issues. Don't you wish you were in with the in crowd, and knew what was going on? Or, maybe it's safer to remain in the dark?

I mean, what the hell is going on with the ABC in Brisbane?

When The Rivers Run Dry

In today's [26/04/07] 'Courier-Mail', Tuck Thompson reports, 'Towns face drought death blow':
"Two towns on the Darling Downs face evacuation because they have almost run out of water and cannot afford to indefinitely cart supplies.

 

Senior state bureaucrats have discussed the possibility of moving residents from Leyburn, population 200, and Killarney, home to 1500 people.

One of Leyburn's two bores has run dry and there are fears the other could follow. It is costing $8000 a week to cart water to Killarney, which is at the source of the Murray Darling river system.

 

Water Services Association executive director Ross Young said the Government had the power to move people."

Even former Bronco Shane Webcke (who owns Leyburn's pub) gave a comment:

"I'll move from my hotel when Peter Beattie moves from Brisbane," he said.

I don't get it Shane. Is Peter Beattie in cahoots with John Howard to steal all our water? Oh, and by the way, sorry to break the news to you, but as a mere human, your say is only a lonely voice in a crowd. The best thing would be if your pub was in the Aussie tradition and rejected all the pokies, smoked glass, fake air and telly!

"Imagine if you said no one can live in Kenmore, everyone in Kenmore has to go."

Eh? Well, some people might think that's a good thing!

In any case, talk about scaremongering. Good one 'Courier-Mail' and bogus Beattie government. But the scaremongering goes on despite reality.

After they'd scared all the country folk witless, and some of the old dears had packed their cars and shot all their cows, the 'Courier-Mail' published another report, 'No plans to evacuate Darling Downs towns: mayor':

"The Warwick Shire Council says suggestions that some towns on Queensland's Darling Downs will be evacuated because they are running out of water are nonsense.

 

The council says for the last month it has been carting water to Killarney and its population of 1,200 people.

The Mayor Ron Bellingham says the council is also considering carting water to the small town of Leyburn if it is needed."

Dickheads.

Phil Brown Goes To Town

In this week's 'Brisbane News' [25/04/07] Phil Brown reports on a small selection of Brisbane heritage buildings, and how they've been (or are being) refurbished. He mentions the Shingle Inn:

"And even now our heritage icons are at risk from development or neglect. A case in point, and one that outrages many a Brisbane grandmother, is the recent disappearance of The Shingle Inn, everyone's favourite cafe and a piece of living history. There was talk that the Edward Street cafe, established in 1937 and famous for its wood-panelled interior, would be inculcated in a new shoping centre which was built on the site where The Shingle Inn once stood. But it was dismantled in 2002 prior to demolition of the building that housed it and has never been seen again.

The Shingle Inn lives in more modern reincarnations, and we are thankful for that, but the original remains, tragically, lost.

It's on the Queensland Heritage Council's list of heritage icons that are "gone but not forgotten". "

Yes, and do you know why it's gone? Because developers do whatever they like in this town, and the fitout could have been protected under the heritage legislation but was removed from the register on "advice". In addition, Queens Plaza building is the one that sits on top of the site of the former Shingle Inn, and Queens Plaza advertise with all the News Ltd papers (of which 'Brisbane News' is one). Phil, your colleagues played the part of deceiving Brisbaneites into thinking the original Shingle Inn would be reassembled.

And I'm not "thankful" that the Shingle Inn "lives in more modern reincarnations". Unless the David Peters Group decide to reassemble the original Shingle Inn fitout somewhere, I'll never set foot in the Shingle Inn again.

'Lateline Business' Gets Down And Dirty

On last night's [24/4/07] edition of 'Lateline Business, Ali Moore interviewed enviornmental engineer Dr Gavin Mudd from Monash University. Here's an interesting excerpt:

"ALI MOORE: Before we get to renewables, I must ask you, I mean if you're right, if the world is not embracing nuclear power as some in the debate would have it, why is it that we've seen uranium go through the roof in recent times, up 57 per cent in price this year alone?

DR GAVIN MUDD: It's a good question, and, you know, I don't think anyone I've seen has a good answer for why the uranium prices has hit the sort of magnitude that it has. And a lot of mining industry analysts are also asking about this bubble at the moment, about what is causing this price. I don't think anyone ever predicted the price would go this high."

Yes. Obviously someone or a group of someones is going to make a lot of money, and you can be sure it's not Australians.

Truth Is Out Of Style

In an article for 'Global Research' - 'War and the Police State: Complicity of the American People' [21/04/07] (http://www.globalresearch.ca/), Donna J. Thorne explains how the fear of being ostracised, is being manipulated by propagandists in the US to control and maintain the middle class detachment from the war in the Middle East:

"Fear attempts to silence dissenters. As the Truth Movement gains momentum and amasses credibility, the fear profiteers have begun heralding yet another "threat" to National Security - inquiring minds. This is both good news and bad news. We are no longer ignorable. Fearing exposure, the Czars of Propaganda know that "Truthers" must be branded and discredited if government corruption and corporate fraud is to flourish unabated. This said, prepare for an intensified Smear-and-Fear Campaign. Any group or individual who vocally questions the official story of 9/11 or who exercises the right to demand Government accountability will be labeled "Anti-American and Anti-Patriotic".

A well-documented strategy of propagandists throughout modern history, dissolving credibility through character assassination is a calculated tactic utilized to persuade the uninformed public to turn a deaf ear, to, in effect, remain uninformed. It remains to be seen if this line of attack will succeed, and success is dependent upon each individual proponent of freedom. As with the human longing for security, the natural desire for affiliation and acceptance works in favor of the war-mongering, power-hungry elite, for they know only the bravest of the brave will dare risk ostracism for a noble cause."

Medicalising Non-Conformity And A Strong Sense Of Social Justice

ABC Online reported on 23/4/07 that Asperger's expert Tony Attwood has recently released a book - 'The Complete Guide To Asperger's Syndrome':

"Asperger's is a form of autism. People with Asperger's can converse and live in the world, but they see it through very different eyes. For years it was misunderstood and its appearance in a child was blamed on the mother. Tony Attwood has done more than anyone to clear up that profound misunderstanding and has taken us much closer to the truth of what Aspergers really is. His latest book 'The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome' was published last year."

I'm glad for Tony and that he's written a book about the affliction du jour - Asperger's Syndrome - there just aren't enough of them right now! But I get worried about statements like this, especially after reading the previous story:

"Those with Asperger's Syndrome also have a great sense of social justice. "These are the guys who will donate most of their salary to the starving, but it's some of the more subtle inter-personal needs in family members and colleagues, that they often miss."

Tony believes people with Asperger's can be very kind. "There's confusion in understanding people, but there's very definitely kindness." "

What A Downer

So nice to see one of the landed gentry profiled on the ABC's 'Australian Story', with his friend Condoleeza Rice, and accompanying fair and balanced commentary courtesy of Mike Carlton and Greg Sheridan.

Although a brief reference was made to Alexander Downer's political heritage, how come the fact that Alexander Downer Snr was Minister for Immigration in the 1960s didn't rate a mention?

You might like to read the first couple of pages of Klaus Neumann's 'Refuge Australia: Australia's Humanitarian Record', for more insight on that!

Or perhaps you'll tune into next week's 'Australian Story' for Part Two of this enthralling propaganda featuring our Foriegn Minister - and you'll find out then.

Interesting Bits From Today's [23/4/07] 'Crikey!'

Reader comment:

Lorraine Leach writes: Re. "Will the river really run dry?" (Friday, item 11). I fear that Cubbie Station will be the beneficiary of this measure and have no doubt that Cubbie Station is the real reason behind the Howard/Turnbull push to take over control of the Murray-Darling Basin. Is there no one willing to stand up to these scoundrels who think nothing of pushing thousands of farmers to the wall and decimating the ecology, all for the benefit of a few? I hope people remember Cubbie Station and the role of the coalition in this debacle at the forthcoming Federal election.

And from the tips and rumours:

Peter Beattie is looking to ditch Qld premiership prior to this year's federal election to contest a federal seat. Will pick up his choice of front-bench positions with Rudd.

God help us.

Raising The Curtin And Exchanging Empires

So nice to see that fellow from 'Sea Change' on Sunday night again, and didn't he bear a remarkable resemblance to Mark Latham with those glasses and that natty haircut?

Di Has A Tumble And Realizes This Town Ain't What It Used To Be

Di Watson recounts a terrible fall in the 'Brisbane Circle's latest [April] editorial where she literally fell out of a coffee shop at Stones Corner:

"But what happened next really shocked me. No one came to pick me up. No one rushed over and said 'There, there - can I help you?" People walking by glanced quickly then stepped around my things. People in the coffee shop looked over the rims of their cappuccinos, paused with mouthfuls of spag bol, nodded heads towards me, but no one rushed over."

Nope. That's pretty much how people react in this compassionate-conservative era when you happen to trip and fall. The mindset goes - it's all your fault so sucked in.

And yet, it is upsetting when things like this happen to you, and you realize how coldhearted people have become.

Not to worry, it all turned out well for Di. Her friends and family came to the rescue, and the April edition of 'Brisbane Circle' came through with plenty of ads, inspiration and positive thinking. Which is terrific for Di, but unfortunately, not everyone is blessed with a loving support network. And "focusing on all the interesting, creative, compassionate people" who inhabit your world and create "positive assumptions not negative predictions" will not help you, especially if you can't afford tickets to the theatre or dinner dance.

Oh Jenny, When Is It Going To Rain?

Every night I wait for you

And your weather report

With your cropped red hair

And sparkling eyes

You are a real good sort

But Oh Jenny Woodward

You keep promising rain

And every day I contemplate

How it is just the same

For the trees are dyin', and it don't feel right

The creeks are running dry

When will your prophecy come true

And drops fall from the sky?

Gettin' Dumber Every Day In "The Smart State"

In today's [21/4/07] 'Courier-Mail', Tess Livingstone reports: 'QUT drops humanities':

"Low entry cut-offs, poor performance and heavy financial losses in traditional arts courses have prompted the proposed closure of the Queensland University of Technology School of Humanities and Human Services."

At first I didn't think this story could be true, after all the 'Courier-Mail' was one of those papers that shamelessly denied climate change, helped sell an illegal and unjustified invasion, took sides in the latest State (Queensland) and Federal elections, and continue to push the property boom myth. But if it is, what a disgrace!

The QUT School of Humanities and Human Services' webpage states that they employ 50 full time academic and professional staff, run a range of undergraduate degrees including: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Social Science and Bachelor of Human Services. The school also offers postgraduate and research degrees, and incorporates the Centre for Social Change Research.

But who cares about philosophy, history, the world (and our place in it) independent thought and social change when there's no money in it?

The story goes on to say that QUT Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Coaldrake (yes, there's a photo of him beaming away) told staff in the school the bad news yesterday.

"Professor Coaldrake said the school was losing between $200,000 and $400,000 a year, which was unsustainable. He said the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Human Services had high attrition rates and poorer employment outcomes than other QUT courses."

Professor Coaldrake said QUT's strength in humanities was its Creative Industries faculty at Kelvin Grove, which was internationally competitive.

"For us, that is the new humanities," he said."

"Creative Industries" the "new humanities" Talk about cultural imperialism!

According to its webpage, the QUT Creative Industries Precinct (and recently opened Kelvin Grove Urban Village) is supported by the State Government through the Department of State Development and the Department of Housing.

Does the State Government provide similar support to the School of Humanities and Human Services? Wouldn't it make more sense that the corporate funding pays for the corporatised faculties, and the public money fund the smaller, non-commercial faculties?

Oh, sorry, I forgot that it's all about developers creating synergies with sexy new faculties to build multi-million dollar precincts - something that probably wouldn't have worked at sleepy, leafy Carseldine.

*UPDATE* 21/4/07 Strolling through Gardens Point campus of said University this afternoon, and marvelling at the pile of 'mX' papers from last Thursday, and the fact there is now a Subway in the community building, I chanced upon Issue 272 of 'IQ'. The cover story '$50M student centre opens' caught my eye. Evidently Governor-General Major General Michael Jeffery recently opened the new, $50 million, seven-level Student Learning Support Centre at Kelvin Grove campus. The article says it is the latest building in a $250 million series of QUT Kelvin Grove developments.

Tits Perfect And Development Extravaganza!

This week's edition of 'The Independent' has an extraordinary cover featuring a story about the future of Yungaba and an image of a lady with very lovely features (from photographer, Bill Henson's exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art which runs until 26 May).

Whether this groundbreaking edition creates a controversy in Brisbane remains to be seen. You'll have to pick up a copy of 'The Independent' at Rockinghorse, the Jubilee Hotel, the Dendy (perhaps?), Queensland Transport (Boundary Street, Spring Hill) or Brunswick Street Station to see what I mean!

'The Independent' is a locally owned newspaper which has been battling on for six years. It's not easy when the governments and the mass media (such as the ABC, 'Courier-Mail', 'The Australian' and all the other News Ltd suburban papers) so often share the same songsheet (sorry if you haven't heard a cliche for a while, it's time to dust some of the better ones off!).

The Murdoch (News Ltd) method is to ignore your strongest opponent into oblivion. 'The Independent' still occasionally repeats Editor David Fagan's reply to my question about the 'Courier-Mail's' choice of The Go-Between's song 'Streets Of Your Town' for the launch of the tabloid 'Courier-Mail':

"I have no comment on anything for 'The Independent'"

Squeezing out any competition by flooding the market and making it clear to government that advertising with them is mandatory, makes it nearly impossible for any competitor - unless you're Fairfax (the 'Brisbane Times')!

Yet neither the 'Courier-Mail' nor the 'Brisbane Times' seem to care about the fate of Yungaba, which was constructed in 1887 and was Brisbane's immigration depot for over a century. So far, only 'The Independent' has pointed out there may have been a dodgy deal with Australand in the planned development of this special, heritage listed place. Australand plans to build three apartment towers beside Yungaba. Which is interesting, given Glenn Dyers report in today's 'Crikey!' [20/4/07] 'Australand turns its back on housing sector':

"One of Australia's major housing developers, Australand, has blamed poor affordability and the lack of growth prospects, especially in Sydney, for its decision to move further away from what used to be its key business, housing developments.

Speaking at the company's AGM in Sydney yesterday, the about-to-retire CEO, Brendan Crotty, told shareholders: Australand intends to gradually reduce its exposure to the residential sector, in a measured way, during the next three years.

Australand argue that while some may question this strategy because of the likelihood of a cyclical upturn in residential property during the next two years, it makes more sense for Australand to invest additional capital into sectors that will generate not only "similar levels of development profits, but also additional investment property assets."

You could probably wonder about all the pro-development talk coming from our leaders, or you could look into their backers - if you care about this town (or state, or nation) that is.

Don't Talk About My Wife

In today's [20/4/07] 'Crikey!', Jane Nethercote reports 'Fairfax kills vast profile of Murdoch's wife':

"Here’s one crackerjack cover story you won’t be reading in Good Weekend magazine any time soon – the revealing inside account of the life and times of Wendi Deng.

That’s because the story, a vast 10,000-word profile that took its writer three months of research across the world, was killed by Good Weekend's editor (or someone above her) two days ago."

Crikey has learned that Good Weekend editor Judith Whelan commissioned Eric Ellis, a highly regarded Australian freelance journalist based in Singapore (who works as Fortune magazine’s South East Asia correspondent) several months ago to write the definitive story of Wendi Deng, the Chinese-born wife of Rupert Murdoch.

... After receiving the story several weeks ago, editor Judith Whelan this week decided not to publish – although Crikey is unaware whether Fairfax senior executives or board members were consulted in making the decision. But given its enormous sensitivity, not to mention the fact that News Limited is currently a 7.5% shareholder in Fairfax, it seems almost impossible to believe that the most senior figures at Fairfax were not consulted in the decision to kill the story."

I wonder if minor Fairfax shareholder Rupert Mudoch minds such a waste of time and money?

Council Declares War On Litter

A Council media release today [17/4/07] announced the unveiling of Council’s "latest weapons in the war on the Brisbane’s ugly litter problem" - compact street sweepers "Jonas" and "Citymaster":

"Jonas is ride on vacuum cleaner that will suck up the litter in the Queen Street Mall precinct, while its big brother Citymaster will clean nearby footpaths and kerb lanes.

Cr Newman said a six month trial would allow Council to assess the machines and their impacts on people in busy pedestrian areas."

But the best thing is that:

"Yesterday Brisbane’s only afternoon newspaper mX backed the Lord Mayor’s campaign to keep Brisbane streets litter free."

Well I beg your pardon Mr or Ms BCC Media Release Writer, but mX is hardly a "newspaper". The only afternoon newspaper in Brisbane is 'The Independent', and it comes out every fortnight.

In any case, given the suck job in the media release, I hope 'mX' return the favour and report positively on these very expensive machines. My guess is that they will probably do nothing more than make lots of noise, and create more of a nuisance in an already overcrowded, smelly noisy quarry of a CBD! (The machines I mean!)

Quote Of The Day

Heard on this evening's [16/4/07] '7.30 Report', during the story about Kevin and Joe:

"Never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel." (A very clever and apt Mark Twain quote, and sorry, can't remember who said it - but it was the last statement uttered by a bloke being interviewed in Vietnam).

Peter Beattie Sells Golden Casket

And

How About Climate Change And The Upcoming Senate Inquiry Into The Traveston Dam?

And

Anti-Nuclear Elements Threaten To Split Labor Party At Upcoming Conference

OR

Peter Beattie's Water Tanks Were Delivered Today And Let's Ramp Up The Fear - Brisbane Prepares For A Terrorist Attack

Today [16/4/07] the Queensland Police released "Brisbane Secure – The Brisbane CBD Emergency Plan".

Here are some parts of the Plan that I found interesting:

"As a significant incident within the CBD would pose unique challenges to responding agencies, it was recognised that a coordinated crisis and consequence management plan was required to provide an effective whole-of-government emergency response...

Governance for development of the Plan has been provided by the Brisbane CBD Emergency Plan Planning Committee with representatives from Queensland Police, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Queensland Transport, Department Of Main Roads, Queensland Rail, Brisbane City Council, Queensland Health and Department of Communities...

The purpose of the Plan is to establish a framework for a coordinated inter-agency and community response to a significant emergency incident, occurring within the Brisbane CBD...

Events such as cyclones and floods typically occur with some warning and allow sufficient time for self-evacuation and for agencies to restrict the entry of persons to potentially affected areas. These events are not within the scope of this Plan as existing arrangements are in place."

Yes we had a CBD bomb threat two years ago, but although we are at war, it seems the environment is what Brisbaneites and Queenslanders should be thinking about - eg last years cyclone in Ingham, the recent tsunami threat, and all those folks living their lovely riverside lifestyles when we're about due for a flood. Unless of course, you want to make Brisbaneites more fearful and receptive to an increasing police presence as they go about their daily errands - vis a vis the January 'Walk Without Fear' campaign?

Watch for more public money spent on glossy brochures in the post, and heaps of advertising in the 'Courier-Mail' and Channel Nine!

You didn't know you needed to be worried about "terrorism" while you were shopping at the Myer Centre - eh?

The first public information seminars about the Plan will be held on Wednesday, 9 May at City Hall (1pm). You can register your interest by emailing: BrisbaneSecure@police.qld.gov.au See: www.police.qld.gov.au/BrisbaneSecure for further details.

Unfathomable BULLSHIT

Last night's 'Lateline' had a story about writers David Malouf and Ihab Hassan who recently had a discussion about suicide bombers. They were speaking at the Sydney Institute - hardly a place where one would expect to hear inspiring and alternative intellectual discourse.

Anyway, here's the last part of the transcript:

"TOM IGGULDEN: Most would describe Mr Malouf and Mr Hassan as intellectuals too. So what separates them from Osama bin Laden or Abu Bakar Bashir?

IHAB HASSAN: Incomplete ideas are I think what we're in favour of here. If it's complete idea, if it's whole, if it's seamless, if it's explains everything, that's where I think the problem lies. That's what can be called an obsession.

TOM IGGULDEN: And to demonstrate the principle, the evening wouldn't have been complete without a literary reference, in this case what T.S. Elliott said about his colleague, Henry James.

DAVID MALOUF: He had a mind so fine that no idea could penetrate it. (Laughter) The kind of mind I admire is a kind of mind - of person who is always in two minds and when they have given it a little bit of thought, end up in six. (Laughter)

TOM IGGULDEN: Well from the writings of Shakespeare to the etchings of the Spanish war artist Goya, all the way through to the Russian master Dostoevsky, the audience here tonight has been treated to a smorgasbord of evil. What they really wanted to know was, does any of that describe what goes on in the mind of the modern terrorist?

DAVID MALOUF: He really does believe he is sacrificing himself for the future good of other people, and that is the most difficult kind of belief to counter.

TOM IGGULDEN: Nothing can explain the sort of unfathomable violence on display again in Baghdad yesterday, but perhaps Mr Malouf's theory comes close."

Get your literary hands off it, and out of your molly coddled, self-centred Western bubble. I've just finished reading 'The Deserters Tale' by Joshua Key, and although it's certainly not a literary masterpiece, it offers a clear explanation why someone whose country has been invaded might resort to "unfathomable violence".

I daresay not one of the members of the Sydney Institute have placed their lily white fingers on a copy of this book.

The Courier-Mail Gets The Low Down On Housing Affordability

Leigh Lalonde reports in today's [14/4/07] 'Courier-Mail' - 'Mortgage woes rise with cost'

"Home buyers have never had so many options and services available to help get a foot up into the property market or advance their portfolio.

...The most recent figures show Brisbane home hunters will have to spend 31.3 per cent of their weekly income to buy a place, compared with 30.9 per cent for the rest of Queensland.

These figures are the highest since the HIA started recording them in 1984.

"When people have to spend more than 30 per cent of their income on their mortgage repayments, they have to sacrifice important things like food," HIA chief economist Simon Tennent said.

"Anything less than 30 per cent and housing stress levels aren't as bad." "

The gist of the article is that you can still get 100% loans, which is responsible reporting wouldn't you say?

Kylie Blasts Brisbane's "Hose Addicts"

This week's 'Brisbane News' [April 11-17] features a charming editorial by Kylie Lang, discussing the recent Level 5 water restrictions, and how they are so unfair for loveys:

"However, this does nothing to punish small, one-or-two person households which might be using nowhere near 800 litres but still hosing their lawns. So while the rest of us have brown, withering blades where our costly cooch used to be, these guys pad about on plush carpets."

Is there something inherently suspicious about belonging to a one (or two) person househould? I wonder if she is talking about someone in particular? Perhaps that neighbour who doesn't conform to her narrow, unenlightened little world view?

Whatever the case may be, I wouldn't want her as my neighbour, if she pays that much attention to other people's lawns, think what else she's spying on!

How about switching off that energy guzzling air-conditioner and showing us your carbon neutral footprint before you cast the first stone?

By the way, what's with the bogus 'Get The News On Being Green' logo on the 'Quest' (part of the News Ltd group) website with no link? Speaks reams about News Ltd's attitude toward the environment.

News Ltd Rewrites Brisbane History In Small, But Significant Ways

This week's 'City News' [12/4/07] reports:

"More than two decades after the original movie was made, the Rocky Horror Picture Show continues to draw a cult following. The hit production made its Queensland debut in 1976 at the Globe Theatre and 21 years. a 15-strong cast is brininging it to life in a one-off performance at the same venue on April 13." [sic]

For F#$k's sake, are Brisbane locals writing these articles? In 1976, the "Globe Theatre" was known as the "Valley Twin". A quick google search would have confirmed this.

In his history of the Nash Theatre Company (http://www.nashtheatre.com/about.html) Brad Turnbull says:

"...our new venue was right in the centre of Fortitude Valley, fertile ground indeed for the blossoming of the Late Nite Gnash concept - Remember the Valley Twin where Rocky Horror ran for 5 years?

...Right after our first production of 2004 was finished, the Nash lease on the Valley Twin was up, and was not being renewed.

Since we moved out, the owners returned the cinema with the stage back into a cinema, with the proprietors of the soon to be re-developed Gaythorne Cinema taking over the reigns were we left off. All the best to them, and our thanks to Jimmy and George, (Valley Twin owners) for their open mindedness, frankness, and encouragement through two wonderful years of weird and wonderful theatre."

But the clowns couldn't handle the truth so they mash history to keep it simple. It wouldn't have been hard to mention the fact that it was historically the "Valley Twin" and only recently re-opened as "The Globe" to redress the sad lack of such venues and outlets in Brisbane.

Sarina Speaks At Tatts - Woop Doop!

In today's [13/4/07] 'Courier-Mail', 'City Beat' column, James McCullough reports:

"She finally made it. Jobs queen Sarina Russo yesterday got through the doors of the bastion of Queensland Inc, Tattersall's Club, despite its ban on women.

Russo was addressing an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce function and pulled few punches about her views on the male-only club.

Her address was entitled ``Add Women, Change Everything''.

``This is very fitting in an environment that refuses to add women,'' she began.

Your diarist agrees but just wonders how all-female groups like The Moreton Club continue to fly under the radar."

The fact that Russo spoke at Tatts is not the newsworthy aspect of this story. Females have been permitted to attend functions at the Tattersall's Club for a while now. In fact, even I attended a Hugh Lunn literary lunch at Tatts a couple of years back - my husband took me to have a look at the long bar, and we were shooed away by a group of Brisbane's most "upstanding" gentlemen.

I understand the phallicly challenged are allowed to accompany their husbands to Tatts on Friday evenings, while others are entitled to work there - pouring drinks and serving food etc.

I think Russo should start her own club.

Letter To The Editor - Of The Week - And Possibly The Year!

Ken Peak from Eltham writes in today's [13/4/07] 'The Age':

"In 2004, I voted Labor for an independent foreign policy, the end to the destruction of forests in Tasmania and WorkChoices, a redistribution of wealth in favour of battlers and a reduction in the subsidies to elite private schools.

I didn't vote for Mark Latham the man, but I supported this correct policy mix. Popularity polls suggest Kevin Rudd's dream team will replace the wretched Howard Government. But at what cost? This week marked the end for me: Rudd's endorsement of Alan Jones was the final straw. Jones' comments are divisive, hurtful and offensive to all Australians.

Kevin, you have been revealed as Howard's "mini-me". A Rudd Government would vilify Muslims, tear down Tasmanian forests, would continue to mine coal, would see the ALP front bench enjoy subsidies to elite private schools where they send their children, would develop Christmas Island as a "Guantanamo Bay" for refugees and would see the immoral war in Afghanistan continue.

Yes, you win populist points for bringing the troops home from Iraq and ending WorkChoices. But it's not enough. I smell a right-wing agenda. Thankfully there is a Green alternative."

The Lord Mayor's Stuffed Tomatoes

We adapted this recipe from the latest edition of 'b magazine'. They may not look as poncy as Dominique Rizzo's 'Sicilian Stuffed Tomatoes', but they tasted ok! They're a bit bald because I didn't buy organic tomatoes, just boring old supermarket ones. I don't know what she does with her pulp, but I incorporated mine in the mix, and stuffed the whole lot in the tomato shells.

What an intriguing magazine. It arrives in our letterbox every month (its circulation is 415,514 and the CAB audit says it's bulk dropped to 1000 outlets from Noosa to Coolangatta) - one half contains a whole lot of propaganda from the Lord Mayor (Candid Campbell) and columns featuring Suzie Lightfoot and Jamie Durie. This month's issue has a story about the hauntingly historical Breakfast Creek Hotel, and an advertisement about recycled water (authorised by F.P. Manners from Toowoomba) - 'Think before you agree to drink'.

The other half of the magazine is just a big ol' advertisement for Best Car Buys.

I'm In With The In Crowd

I'm in with the "in" crowd
I go where the "in" crowd goes
I'm in with the "in" crowd
And I know what the "in" crowd knows


(From 'The In Crowd', composed by Bill Page and made famous in 1974 by Bryan Ferry's album 'Another Time, Another Place' )

Today [11/04/07] we learned that Mr Michael Coutts-Trotter has been appointed the new head of the NSW Education Department.

ABC online reported, in a story entitled, 'New schools' boss defends criminal past':

"The appointment has been criticised by the State Opposition, which says Mr Coutts-Trotter is unsuitable for the job, because he has served time in jail.

Mr Coutts-Trotter was jailed for three years for drug offences in the 1980's.

The Public Principals Forum has also criticised his appointment, saying the former head of the commerce department has no education background."

Unlike this evening's '7.30 Report', 'ABC TV News' and 'Lateline' both neglected to mention that Mr Coutts-Trotter is the Federal Labor Member for Sydney's (Tanya Plibersek) husband.

Not that this connection could have had anything to do with his appointment! No way, it must have been his experience, performance and professionalism in Treasury, surely? Like the US Presidency, anyone can get there through hard work and merit not just partisan hackery.

Hey Lord Mayor, How About Some Condoms?

A Brisbane City Council media release from 5/4/07 says that the Lord Mayor has announced plans for Brisbane schoolgirls to be vaccinated against cervical cancer:

"In May this year, female students in grades 10, 11 and 12 will be able to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine developed by Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer.

The vaccine protects women against certain strains of the HPV that cause about 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases and about 90 per cent of genital warts cases. In about two per cent of cases, women with the virus go on to develop cervical cancer.

The Lord Mayor’s proposal, to go to civic cabinet soon, means council will immunise Brisbane girls in grades 10, 11 and 12 in 2007. Grades 8, 9 and 10 would be vaccinated in 2008 and grade 8 in 2009 and 2010."

The release says parents will be given the ultimate say as to whether they will allow their daughters to be vaccinated.

Unless the vaccination process is undertaken privately, wouldn't this perpetuate the "slut/virgin" dichotomy" in the classroom?

In any case, when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases - it takes two to tango. Couldn't we also encourage teenage boys to use condoms?

Is 'Difference Of Opinion' A Distraction From The Real Issues?

This is how California Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi began his Speech on California Climate Change and Energy Policy to the Centre for American Progress in Washington, D.C. on March 14, 2007:

"It’s an honor to speak before such a distinguished audience, particularly as the topic concerns perhaps the crucial issue of our time, global climate change. I’ve talked about climate change and energy policy a lot in recent weeks. We are now fully aware, thanks to the dire findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that our energy consumption is a major cause of global warming. Unless we act now, our world will forever be changed for the worse."

And ends:

"For every action, there is a consequence. As responsible stewards of this dynamic planet, we have the moral obligation to understand those consequences. That gives us a choice: to continue ignoring the consequences of our actions, or to acknowledge those consequences, change our behavior and make a stand. The answer is obvious. As Dr. King said, “a time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time is now. Make your voice heard."

Can someone tell me why it is imperative that we need to worry about fat middle class people, obesity and their self-induced diabetes right now, as opposed to the dire effects of western imperialism and the food shortages and over-population of the Third/Developing World?

'Rage' Turns 20!

Who would have though that 'Rage' is 20? I stayed up long enough on Saturday evening [7/4/07] to see such classics as Prince ('Sign 'O The Times'), R.E.M. ('Orange Crush'), The Church ('Under The Milky Way') Hoodoo Gurus ('What's My Scene?'), U2 ('Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'), Guns and Roses ('Welcome To The Jungle'), New Order ('True Faith'), Midnight Oil ('Beds Are Burning'), The Go-Betweens ('Streets Of Your Town'), The Saints ('Stranded'), and Nick Cave ('The Mercy Seat').

Then I felt very old and went to bed, after remarking to the cat that the music was much more politically aware than I'd realised at the time!

Time To Learn The ABC And Some Tolerance

Incorrect spelling aside in yesterday's [7/5/07] story on ABC on-line - 'Islamic speaker condemns media "Islamaphobia''' - I thought we had freedom of speech in this country?

"A controversial speaker at an Islamic conference in Melbourne this weekend has lashed out at the media, accusing reporters of whipping up hysteria over Muslims.

Yvonne Ridley is a British journalist who famously converted to Islam after being captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

This week Labor's Immigration spokesman, Tony Burke, called for her to be banned from entering Australia because of her reportedly extremist views."

If Tony Burke is giving us a taste of what in store for us under a Labor Government, I'd be worried that we're in for a continuation of the past ten years - perhaps worse.

Smells like these Labor fellows are dancing to the same old Murdoch tune.

Dog whistle anyone?

Any Idea Why We MUST Have Private Health Insurance?

The latest edition [4/4/07] of the 'Westside News' reports, 'Hydrotheraphy patients will pay a huge price for the Wesley Hospital's $97 million redevelopment'.

According to those intrepid reporters at the 'Westside News', Wesley Hospital General Manager Mr Wyvill (referring to the proposed demolition of the hydrotherapy pool to make way for a 10 storey east wing) said:

"Hydrotherapy patients could use UnitingCare's Sinnamon Village aged care residence pool, council pools or public healthcare pools.

But only patients of the Royal Brisbane Hospitals can use its pool and council pools are not set at the temperatures required for hydrotherapy."

Surprising that Mr Wyvill doesn't suggest going to the Uniting Health Care hydrotherapy facility at St Andrew's Hospital in Spring Hill.

The impending demolition of The Wesley's hydrotherapy pool is a rather interesting development, given that The Wesley proudly announced its expanded and refurbished hydrotherapy centre only seven years ago. As reported in the 'Courier-Mail', on 1 March, 2000:

"The Hydrotherapy Centre is now linked directly into the rehabilitation floor of the new Moorlands Wing...The development of this pool in a hospital setting is in keeping with the Wesley's efforts to keep in touch with advances in all areas of medicine and rehabilitation...The Uniting Church is one of the largest "not for profit'' healthcare providers in Queensland with a network of more than 1000 hospital beds throughout the state."

Of course this hydrotherapy brouhaha could be a tricky "bait and switch", where The Wesley, the 'Courier-Mail' and 'Westside News' garner community outrage about the demolition of the hydrotherapy pool, and are therefore "forced" to change plans, keep the pool and build the 10-storey east wing in the carpark at the front of 'Moorlands,' boxing in yet another heritage building.

In any case, it makes you wonder why you pay all that money for private health insurance, especially when Janelle Miles reports in yesterday's [5/4/07] 'Courier-Mail' that thousands of "long-wait" patients on public elective surgery lists are to go private:

"Queensland Health will seek a broker via public tender to find private-sector service providers to treat public patients waiting longer than the recommended times. The $8.5 million, one-off Surgery Connect plan aims to slash waiting lists by several thousand patients."

Can't Take The Heat?

In today's [5/4/07] 'mX' Patrick Lion reports on temperatures at one of Brisbane's best known live music venues, the Arena, in Fortitude Valley:

"An 'mX' survey of popular city live music haunts has found the hottest conditions at the infamous Brunswick St club where humidity water droplets often hang from the ceiling.

Outside the temperature was 24.9C but, despite airconditioning, soared to 53C inside with a sticky humidity reading of 100 per cent."

Why the Arena is "infamous" I'll never know. In any case, Lion also reports that the next hottest venue is the Zoo - 42C without air-conditioning.

Patrick, you really got "down and dirty" for that front page special. How long have you lived in Brisbane? Did you ever see a band at Festival Hall or The Roxy or take the rickety elevator up to Wall Street? Brisbane is a sub-tropical city, and when people go to see live music, or party, they expect to sweat!

Hold The Press: Ken Blanch gets a mention in the Murdoch Press!

Patrick Lion reports in today's [5/4/07] 'mX' that:

"Former 'Brisbane Telegraph' crime reporter Ken Blanch has followed the infamous unsolved murder of Betty Shanks intently since he attended the Wilston crime scene on Septembers 20, 1952.

New information Blanch provided now has detectives hoping DNA tests will link a 78-year-old male suspect living in a northside retirement home to evidence from the scene."

Why does Lion feel the need to misuse the word "infamous" again? Gee, with the review of the MOB's latest exhibition and getting sweaty with the hoi polloi you've been very busy, but the question remains, why is the 'Courier-Mail' ignoring their own Ken Blanch? Come on, you must know why? Ken also worked for the 'Courier' for years but they refuse to acknowledge him as one of their own. Why would that be? Perhaps the 'mX' is mostly just 'bS'?

Vote For The Next US President On MySpace

I was alerted to this by Gandhi, on his blog 'Riding The Juggernaut'.

Yesterday's [4/4/07] ABC On-line reports, 'MySpace plans virtual US presidential vote':

"Youth-oriented social networking website MySpace will hold the first virtual US presidential primary election early next year...Voting will only be open to US members of website, which is owned by News Corp."

The same day 'mX' reported, 'My way to vote for prez' beneath the heading 'US Election':

Although the article states:

"About 85 per cent of the 65 million US residents who visit MySpace monthly are at least 18-years-old, according to internet industry tracker comScore Media Metrics."

And later:

"MySpace said it teamed with the organisation Declare Yourself to encourage users to register to vote and provides tools to do so."

The article fails to mention that MySpace, like 'mX', is owned by Rupert Murdoch, and since when has he given two hoots about the democratic process?

What the article does (as well as give a big plug for MySpace) is unintentionally reveal that Rupert Murdoch is collecting a considerable amount of information about MySpace users.

'Brisbane Times' Staff Fight AWAs

This week's E-bulletin from the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance reports:

"Meetings were held as [sic] Fairfax operations in Sydney, Melbourne, Wollongong and Newcastle yesterday to condemn the hiring of staff at online-only service The Brisbane Times on AWAs. The contracts abolish paid maternity leave, shift penalties and the right to two days off a week. A national resolution was passed 442-0 calling on management to place the 14 Brisbane staff on the collective agreement. A further meeting will be held on April 16 to consider the company's response."

SBS Screens 'My Home - Your War'

SBS screened the documentary 'My Home - Your War' on Tuesday [3/4/07] evening. This Australian film, directed by Kylie Grey, was shot in Baghdad over a period of three years and tells the story of Layla Hasan, her husband Yasir, and teenage son Amro, who live in the district of Adhamiya, the heartland of Sunni Muslim resistance against US forces in Baghdad. The deterioration of their quality of life following the invasion of Iraq made compelling and upsetting viewing.

How inappropriate that SBS screened advertisements for the Renault 'Scenic' which features a (presumably Australian) family driving about with an elephant, Bank Of Queensland homeloans, and the Australian Government's "dob in a terrorist" hotline, during the screening of this film. As the documentary progresses, Layla and her family's rights and liberties diminish - but "it's all good" for us westerners - we can buy cars, homes and dob in our neighbours if they're not being obedient little clowns.

Thoughtless, sick and hypocritical.

Blanch's Book On Betty Given The Brush Off

On last evening's [3/4/07] '7.30 Report' on the ABC, Peter McCutcheon reported on Brisbane's most infamous murder case - the death of Betty Shanks at the Grange in 1952 - and former 'Courier-Mail' journalist Ken Blanch's book 'Who Killed Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder-Mystery', which was published last year:

DES STURGESS, FORMER QLD DPP: It was most the ghastly, ghastly thing. I still feel a strong sense of horror when I think back on that occasion.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: The brutal bashing and murder of Betty Shanks in inner-city Brisbane more than 50 years ago remains unsolved. But the journalist who was on the crime scene all those years ago now thinks he's made a breakthrough.

KEN BLANCH, AUTHOR: I've received some information that could even now lead to a solution.

PETER MCCUTCHEON: And a police investigation that has been running for over half a century is taking this new information seriously.

SNR SGT SCOTT KNOWLES, QLD HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION UNIT: It certainly has identified other avenues that we are certainly investigating at this point in time.

The interviews reveal that Des Sturgess was a friend of Betty Shanks, having met her at the University of Queensland's Radical Club, and that the attack on Shanks occurred at the time a local doctor's receptionist, Ena Hamilton, usually walked down the same street. Yet on the night of the murder, Ms Hamilton finished work 10 minutes earlier, so there could have been a case of mistaken identity.

When Blanch's book was released last year, Peter Hansen in 'The Sunday Mail' reported, on 10 September:

"A look-a-like Betty Shanks could be the key to the 54-year-old mystery, according to a new book on Brisbane's most infamous murder.

The woman, now 89 and still living in Brisbane, left work unexpectedly early that September night in 1952. That might have saved her life and cost Betty hers.

Respected journalist Ken Blanch, who covered the awful crime from the beginning, tells the story of the extraordinary luck of Ena Ellen Betty Hamilton in his book 'Who Killed Betty Shanks: The Wilston Murder-Mystery', which will be released this month on the anniversary of the event said to have changed the character of easy-going Brisbane."

In today's [4/4/07] 'Courier-Mail', Tony Keim reports, 'DNA the key in notorious murder case - Police trace suspect over 1952 slaying':

"It is understood detectives are hoping DNA from a 78-year-old man living in a retirement village on Brisbane's northside could link him to evidence found at the murder scene in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Grange in 1952.

The' Courier-Mail' can reveal the suspect was involved in an alleged attack on a woman on the Gold Coast only months before Shanks's battered and strangled body was found in the early hours of September 20, lying in the yard of a house 200m from the home in which she lived with her parents.

Sources claimed a former serviceman had become a suspect after an inadvertent find and tip-off to police by a member of the public who has a keen interest in the case."

While no mention is made of Ken Blanch, other than, "a member of the public who has a keen interest in the case",
Shanks is labelled a "public servant and civil libertarian" and the article concludes:

"Shanks's violent murder signalled the end of an era of innocence throughout Brisbane.

It led to lifestyle changes for women, including the need for escorts at night. Queenslanders felt they could no longer leave their doors and windows open as they slept."

Yeah, but only if they are "civil libertarians" - right Tony?

Ken Blanch wrote for the 'Courier-Mail until late 2002. In one of his last stories for the paper, 'Who killed Betty Shanks?' on 31 August, 2002 he wrote:

"Betty Shanks, a 23-year-old University of Queensland honours graduate in arts, worked diligently as a clerk for the Department of the Interior at the Commonwealth offices in Brisbane.

She attended night classes to further her studies, was treasurer of the Queensland Civil Liberties League and had no boyfriends.

From all accounts Betty was a dutiful daughter who mowed the lawn for her father, an invalid World War I veteran who could not walk unaided and who shared her passionate belief in the rights of society's underdogs."

Blanch's last story for the 'Courier-Mail', on 30 October, 2002, 'Hope springs eternal, again', reported on a cancer therapy, known as immunotherapy. This therapy was used by Milan Brych, an expatriate Czech, who reportedly treated 100s of New Zealanders and Queenslanders:

"Then Queensland premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen tried to get Brych into Queensland, but was blocked by the federal government and deputy premier Llew Edwards.

Brych instead went to California, where he became the research assistant of a well-known Los Angeles doctor, Richard Lawrence O'Connor, after treating him for cancer. O'Connor died of cancer in late 1980.

I saw Brych and his patients at Rarotonga as furore raged about him in February 1978. He told me then that his supposed method of treating cancer by ``screening'' his patients' own blood and then transfusing it back into them was being attacked because it cut across the multibillion-dollar world cancer drug market."

Blanch co-authored 'The Sunday-Mail Nostalgia Book' with Neil Groom in 1986 (published by Queensland Newspapers), and 'The Way We Were' in 1991 (also published by Queensland Newspapers). In 2005, he released 'Jack Sim presents The Rampage of Killer Kast: Terror On The Terrace' and last year, along with his book on Betty Shanks, 'The Taxi Driver Killer: The Southport Murder'.

From "respected journalist" to "member of the public" - for some reason the 'Courier-Mail' won't mention Ken Blanch anymore. Even after all those years of loyal service, he's just a "member of the public" - and that's another mystery!

And the 'Courier-Mail' obviously only ran a story today because the ABC ran it last night.

Makes you wonder what else they censor - or it should!

PS. Has Madonna King interviewed anybody about the new Fairfax media presence in town as she deemed it necessary to interview (her husband) David Fagan, when the 'Courier-Mail' went tabloid?

Big Bushy Beards

Did you watch 'A Wire Through the Heart' on the ABC last Sunday evening? It was the final film in the three film docu-drama series 'Constructing Australia', and depicted the story of explorer John McDouall Stuart and scientist Charles Todd in the construction of Australia's overland telegraph in the mid-1800s. Their beards were bushy and quite worrying.

The previous two films looked at the Sydney Harbour Bridge - designed by Ipswich Grammar alumni J. J. Bradfield (who now features in a Schweppes advertisement) and the second, which I missed, was about the construction of the goldfields pipeline.

I was glad that Wendy Hughes narrated these films, because other than that, they don't really compare to the docu-dramas of the ABC's hey day like 'Rush', 'Palace of Dreams', 'Power Without Glory' etc. Our youngsters will now think all our male forebears had really bad fake beards, and the females didn't do anything other than bring their husbands scones, cups of tea and otherwise pine for their homeland.

'Background Briefing' Takes A Look At Palm Island

This week 'Background Briefing' (Radio National) looks to the future of Palm Island.

Tuesday 3rd April at 7:10 pm
Wednesday 4th April at 4:00 am

Last week they ran an excellent, and rather disturbing report, on the mentally ill in Queensland.

Kit Kats Recalled

Today's [31/3/07] 'Brisbane Times' reports that over two million Kit Kat bars have been recalled by Nestle Australia, after a plastic contamination.

"The company announced the recall of all 65 gram Kit Kat Caramel and Cookie Dough products with "best before" dates up to and including February 14, 2008."

Gee that's a bit inconvenient for Nestle as we move into the chocolate season.

Yee Haw, Hokey Cokey Folks To Get Recycled Water

If there isn't going to be a referendum on recycled water, why is the Queensland Government spending all this money on glossy "information" brochures delivered to our mailboxes? We all know that other places in the world have had recycled water for years, and that although we're the "Smart State" we're hokey cokey - always have been - always will be.

Why didn't the Beattie Government spend those thousands with the usual purveyor of Queensland Government propaganda? Perhaps the folk at News Ltd. and Beattie don't see eye to eye on this one?

Long Knives Out For Spencer At Radio 'Courier-Mail'

Today's [29/3/07] 'Crikey!' reports:

"The 'Courier-Mail' yesterday took the latest radio ratings figures to bag the breakfast presenter at ABC 612 instead of praising the success of Nova -- a winner across most age groups. Strange though that the ABC mornings ratings didn't get a mention. The show finished 8th in its timeslot. Eighth! Can't believe the fact that the show is presented by the wife of The Courier-Mail editor had anything to do with omission. Nope, no influence detected here."

The 'Courier's' story, 'Morning blues for ABC's Howson' [28/3/07] begins:

"Spencer Howson's ABC breakfast radio show has continued its disappointing year, plummeting to fourth in the latest radio survey."

And continues by giving Spencer a right old serve:

"The 612 announcer ended last year on top of the ratings heap but has failed to entice early risers this year, shedding 2.2 per cent of his audience in the latest six-week survey period. His show finished on a 10.1 per cent share, well behind leader Nova on 14 (up 0.8) and Triple M and 4BC on 11.9 (up 0.2 and 1.8 respectively)."

You have to love the balanced 'journalism' which results in a 2.2 in 100 drop being described as 'plummeting' when a total collapse down to EIGHTH, a position far beneath those paragons Laws and Jones (self described in the 'Cash for Comment' scandal as non-journalists), for Madonna King deserves no mention in a story about Brisbane radio morning ratings! At this rate Mrs Courier Mail will rate lower than 4ZzZ! This week's edition of the 'City News' (which like the 'Courier-Mail', is owned by News Ltd) ran two full page ads for Triple M, featuring "Wil & Lehmo", Wil being Wil Anderson from the very popular ABC show 'The Glasshouse', which was canned last year. Poor old Wil will get up with fleas if the old saying has any currency.

Gee whillickers.....Who runs this town?

Clowns Call For Cleaner Shitters In Queens Plaza

From 'mX', 29/3/07

Sorry, unlike David of Carindale I'm financially challenged and cannot afford to shop at Queens Plaza (not withstanding my philosophical opposition to the fact they are responsible for the demise of the Shingle Inn), so I didn't have the time or inclination to re-scan the above pissweak scan. Anyway, this letter to 'mX Talk' from David of Carindale says:

"Will the cleaners of Queens Plaza find some harsh chemicals and clean the undersides of the toilet lids before I hurl."

Hey David, you snotty little twerp. Did you know that cleaners are currently fighting for fair work conditions? And that last year cleaners at the Myer Centre were told they had to wear a uniform, but were issued with only one shirt to last them all week?

Perhaps you might want to ask the management of Queens Plaza whether their cleaners work in adequate working conditions and have access to all the necessary cleaning products before you start VENTING your spleen.

More Whiffy Dam Stuff

The ABC reports today [28/3/07] that the Office of Urban Management failed to notify Mary Valley residents of a public meeting about the Traveston Crossing Dam. Residents received the letter advising of the meeting after the event.

Deputy Premier Anna Bligh said, "I expect the consultation on this dam and everything to be associated with it to be done as rigorously and as properly as possible if there's been some mistake then we'll look at it."

Yeah right.

The Office of Urban Management website is as follows:

http://www.oum.qld.gov.au/

Who's In the Queensland Media Club?

This Tuesday [27/3/07], the Queensland Media Club presented an event entitled: 'Nuclear Energy in Australia' featuring the Head of the Nuclear Review Ziggy Switkowski and Australian Conservation Foundation Executive Director Don Henry.

And who is the Queensland Media Club?

According to its website:

"The Queensland Media Club, presented by Titanium Enterprises, formerly known as the Queensland Press Forum, is the official political, business and media forum of the Queensland Parliamentary Media Gallery and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance."

Titanium Enterprises are set to develop a $400 million resort near Kin Kin.

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

Last November, the Queensland Opposition Leader, Mr Jeff Seeney, was kind enough to provide me of a transcript of an address he gave ('Building An Alternative Government For Queensland') at a Queensland Media Club event, because of the prohibitive cost of attending.

According to the Australian Conservation Foundation website, Mr Henry began his speech on Tuesday by acknowledging the traditional owners of this country,and then:

"It is a pleasure to be here at the Queensland Media Club to address you today. Having grown up in Queensland through the Bjelke-Petersen years, I know all about the importance of a free and fair media!"

Now Mr Henry opposes Nuclear Power, and his speech confirmed that point of view, but does the Queensland Media Club really represent free and fair media in Queensland?

The ABC reported on this event - 'Nuclear power will be a tough sell, says Switkowski' and so did the 'Courier-Mail' - 'Put up dukes on nukes' - but where was the 'Brisbane Times', or indeed any Fairfax media?

The Queensland Media Club is an exclusive entity and it costs around $130 to attend any of their events, making it virtually improssible for an independent freelance writer or journalist to attend and report on what might be said.

The Queensland Media Club's next event, 'Labor's rising star' will be held next month and features "rising star in the Australian Labor Party, Mr Bill Shorten".

Oh Julia! Why won't your man offer his hand and get you up the duff?

An advertisement for the 'Womens' Weekly' (masquerading as a news report - 'No wedding bells for Julia Gillard') in yesterday's [27/3/07] 'Brisbane Times' (and presumably 'The Age' and 'The Sydney Morning Herald'), questions why Deputy federal Labor leader Julia Gillard has not yet taken a walk down the aisle, or been impregnated.

"Deputy federal Labor leader Julia Gillard has been criticised at times for being unmarried and childless, but she says she won't change that - even in an election year.

Ms Gillard, 45, says although she's in a happy and committed relationship with hair products salesman Tim Mathieson, 50, she sees no reason to get married."

Oh come on, watching Julia waddle around Parliament with a bun in the oven could be a vote-winner! Yes, that's a good reason to breed.

It would have made more sense for the writer to use their noggin and question why the media continually harass Ms Gillard about her personal life, rather than perpetuating myths that choosing to remain childless is sad and pathetic. Oh hang on, that's right, we can read more about Julia and her sad, childless existence in the 'Womens' Weekly' - perhaps they'll explain what's wrong with her. I mean, we all know that women who choose not to have children are not "real women", and justified targets for chauvanistic commentary.

The story concludes with an unsupported generalisation, followed by a heart wrenching image:

"Some critics have cited her status as childless and unmarried as an obstacle.

In one notable incident in 2005, public attention was focused on her personal life after a photograph showed her sitting in an obviously rarely used kitchen in her Melbourne home."

Sitting in a rarely used kitchen! What is this? The 1950s? Was she supposed to be barefoot and wearing an apron, clucking around like an old mother hen, extolling the joys of motherhood? Or perhaps you would have preferred to portray her sitting on her bed, wistfully going through her glory box?

In January this year, Gillard was pilloried in the mainstream media (and by her colleagues), who dubbed her remarks that perhaps John Howard and Peter Costello may not have been so successful had they been mothers, as "anti-feminist". Gillard later clarified her remarks in 'The Australian':

"With a bit of humour I did say it would be good if John Howard and Peter Costello could reflect to themselves, 'Could I be where I am today and have been born a woman?'"

"Now I am not suggesting we want to see Peter Costello and Prime Minister Howard running around in skirts and high heels. I hope we do see a mother with young children in the prime minister's job some time in the future.''

All Ms Gillard has done is to suggest that it must be tough going for politicians who are also mothers. Why is motherhood an off-limits topic for childless women (unless of course they explicitly state that they are desperate for a baby), yet their own fertility is everybody's business? And why must the mainstream media continue to delve into Julia Gillard's private life?

QUT Puts The Indie Off The Map

Since 2000, postgraduate and final year undergraduate students from the Creative Industries Faculty at Queensland University of Technology have put together a 'Brisbane Media Map', see: http://bmm.qut.edu.au/

The 'Brisbane Media Map' is created and updated annually by postgraduate and final year undergraduate students from the QUT Creative Industries Faculty, as part of an applied media communications unit. According to the website, which claims to be a "comprehensive guide to Brisbane’s Media and Creative Industries, offering information about businesses, service providers, communities and regulators":

"Students redeveloping the Brisbane Media Map gain a broader knowledge of the creative industries in Brisbane and develop their research, design and leadership skills through hands-on experience."

Up until this year, 'The Independent' has always been included in the 'Street Press' section, within the 'Print Category', of which the website says:

"This category is a comprehensive overview of the print media sector in Brisbane. It covers all newspapers, magazines and prominent street press produced in the city and its surrounding areas, and lists the companies and organisations involved in their creation."[my emphasis]

Indeed, since mid-2001, 'The Independent', which is published fortnightly, and circulates 15,000 copies throughout the CBD, Valley, Spring Hill, New Farm, Teneriffe, Newstead, Bowen Hills, inner-Kangaroo Point, South Bank, West End and Petrie Terrace, has been a significant and vital part of Brisbane's media landscape. Just recently it ran a campaign which forced the Premier to address broken promises about the upgrade to Brunswick Street Railway Station - which he elected to do via a friendly photoshoot with the News Ltd. 'City News', rather than actually answering 'The Independent's' repeated questions directly.

I thought I might have been looking in the wrong place on the 'Brisbane Media Map' website for 'The Independent's' listing, so I asked the 'Brisbane Media Map' folk to direct me to the place where they have listed 'The Independent'. This is the response I received:

Hi Megan

'The Independent' does not appear to have a listing in the Brisbane Media Map at all at the moment. The map is compiled and updated annually by a small group of QUT Media & Communication students. It does not claim to be a comprehensive listing of all media in Brisbane [again, emphasis added], but we routinely receive requests from all sorts of media enterprises to be listed in this directory.

 

The next group of students will look at all feedback to the BMM in second semester this year, as part of the annual BMM redevelopment cycle. Your email will be part of that feedback and students will decide then whether to include The Independent in the next iteration of the BMM. Thanks for including your contact details in your email as this will certainly facilitate student follow up with you.

Hope this is helpful.
Best regards'

Hmmmmm..., what's with that? I've asked, and will update as we go!

*UPDATE* Another email received today:

HI Megan:

It appears that we do not have a listing for The Independent on the Brisbane Media Map. The Map is updated once a year, with the research conducted July-November; I will have one of the team contact you during that period so that The Independent will be included in the 2007 Map.

Cheers

Boats, Boats and More Boats For Sale

The 'Australian Financial Review' always has advertisments for boats, but this one, in the March 16 edition caught my interest. It says:

"A one off opportunity to take delivery of a brand new Hatteras 105 Cockpit Motor Yacht exists at the end of this year due to change in plans...A buyer has an option of taking delivery of the yacht in Florida in December then cruising the Bahamas and Caribbean prior to shipment to Australia where we will carry out a second handover. There is still time for the buyer to make decor changes."

Obviously another high flyer sunk and left them in the lurch with a half built boat to flog to the next "high flyer".

Speaking of boats, high flyers living in Spring Hill ('City News' has recently dubbed Spring Hill as one of Brisbane's highest earning suburbs) may have received a copy of 'Aura' magazine in their letterboxes over the weekend. This glossy, luxury end publication is published bi-monthly by Go Boating Publications and is usually found in resorts and hotels around South East Queensland.

Amongst the articles about Craig Lowndes, the Ten Tenors and advertisements for cars, jewellery, holidays, clothes and utterly unaffordable lifestyle choices for bounders and wannabes, was a strange opinion piece by Peter Scott entitled 'The Aussie Larrikin: Long may he live!' In this piece, Scott draws parallels with the banning of the mexican wave at the cricket, with calls to not bring the Australian flag to the 'Big Day Out'.

"What started at the cricket as a blatant attempt to refine our keen sense of enjoyment and larrikinism spilled over into absurdity at Sydney's 'Big Day Out' in January. Here, organisers of dim spirit and obvious lack of appreciation of the true cultural worth of the Australian Larrikin, decided to ban the Australian flag from the 'Big Day Out' because, would you believe, the Aussie flag might 'incite violence'."

He goes on to say that "thousands" attended the 'Big Day out' wearing the Aussie flag as hats, caps, T shirts, bikinis etc etc.

"Long Live the Larrikin" he says, and "God Bless Australia".

I'm not sure where he obtained his information, but my understanding is that hardly anyone turned up to the 'Big Day Out' brandishing flags of any sort.

Long live the larrikin my a$#e. You wouldn't know a true Aussie larrikin if he turned up at the offices of 'Aura' and spraypainted "Corporate Greed" on your front door.

David Hicks is a larrikin, and I'll bet my bottom dollar Peter Scott doesn't give two hoots about him.

Brisbane Circle Makes Me Laugh

Independent Brisbane monthly 'Brisbane Circle' has been around for over fifteen years - you may have picked one up at the Dendy Cinema, or perhaps the Schonell. It's not a bad read - the March edition was refreshingly free of the nauseatingly pretentious expat diary and the "Laughter" page featured some saucy jokes and tidbits (see above example).

Sold Uncooked - Thanks For The Tip!

From the latest Coles brochure that lobbed into our letter box this weekend. Gee I'm glad they advise that the T-Bone is uncooked. For f#$k's sake - why don't Coles include useful information in their brochures - like, for example, their frickin' opening hours? Perhaps then I wouldn't have had some overworked and underpaid uni student tell me "NO!" when I tried to enter Coles Ashgrove at 5 past 5 on Saturday for some spag bol ingredients, because I was under the naive impression that supermarkets in "cosmopolitan" Brisbane closed at 5.30pm on Saturdays. Not to worry, the well stocked, independent (and always reliable) Ashgrove Fruit Market saved the day.

Get stuffed Coles.

Morris Iemma Wins...."delete"

A story by 'Brisbane Times' State Political Editor Alex Mitchell, [24/3/07] had the perplexing headline "delete".

In the story (doomed for deletion?) Mitchell reported that Premier Iemma won the NSW election and that he pledged to the people of NSW that "We will not let you down."

"Having scored a projected 15-seat majority, the 45-year-old Premier has earned a blank cheque to strip his cabinet of non-performers."

No mention in the corporate media or ABC that the election of two Upper House Greens MPs has brought their NSW numbers to four, or the fact that Greens booth workers were harassed by Liberal party members on polling day.

According to a media release issued by Greens MP Lee Rhiannon, Greens members lodged complaints with the police in both Balmain and Sydney electorates about the behaviour of some Liberal Party booth workers including Senator Bill Heffernan interfering in the distribution of how to vote cards and making untruthful representations about Greens' policies.

Still No Word On ABC's Toowong Site

Kay Dibben reports in today's [24/3/07] 'Courier-Mail', 'ABC victims in compo bid', that eight of the thirteen women who developed breast cancer while working at the ABC's Toowong studios have filed workers' compensation claims.

"Roger Singh of Shine Lawyers said he hoped the group claims served on the ABC would be considered favourably and expeditiously so the women could get on with their lives."

Which is great, but wouldn't you think after two 'Australian Stories' we'd also have a solution to the Toowong site dilemma?

Not Mysterious, Just Plain Crook


A story by Jessica Marszalek, in 'Brisbane Times' - 'Mysterious cattle deaths at Traveston Dam' [23/3/07] - reveals that a property owner at Traveston has raised concerns after five of his cows "mysteriously" carked it after drilling occurred near the proposed dam wall.

"Traveston resident Murray Stewart has written to a Senate inquiry into the construction of the $1.7 billion Traveston Crossing Dam, near Gympie, raising concerns about the death of five of his cows last year near the proposed wall of the dam.

Mr Stewart said he was concerned for the health of his family and those using the dam after the healthy animals died suddenly when exploratory drilling began on his property in June.

Mr Stewart said the deaths began in close succession a week after the drilling started."

The story goes on to say that an investigation commissioned by Queensland Water Infrastructure, (the company established by the government to build the dam - hello???) has ruled out poisoning by cyanide, mercury, lead or arsenic.

What a load of codswallop! And why didn't the journalist probe Queensland Water Infrastructure on the bulls#$t outcomes of their investigation?

Last June, I paid a visit to Kandanga and spoke with some of the folks involved in the Save the Mary River Coordinating Group. One of the local farmers said:

“I wonder if the people of Brisbane realise exactly what will end up in their drinking water if the Mary River is dammed?” “The blood and bone will be good for your gardens but the arsenic used on the old pineapple fields might mean you can't eat anything you grow in them.”

Last month, the Senate referred the following matter to the Rural and Regional Services and Transport Committee for inquiry:

The examination of all reasonable options, including increased dam capacity, for additional water supplies for South East Queensland, including:

(a) the merits of all options, including the Queensland Government's proposed Traveston Crossing Dam as well as raising the Borumba Dam: and

(b) the social, environmental, economic and engineering impacts of the various proposals

Written submissions are invited and should be addressed to:

The Secretary
Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

The Committee prefers to receive submissions electronically as an attached document -

email: rrat.sen@aph.gov.au

The closing date for receipt of submissions is 4 April 2007.

A public forum and information session on the impacts of the Traveston Dam and the Senate Inquiry into water supply issues in south-east Queensland will be held at St Andrews Church, West End, at 7 pm, Friday, 30th March. For inquiries or to RSVP, phone: 07 3252 7101.

Cutting Edge Menswear? Surely This Is A Joke?

We had decided that the 'City News' was good for nothing other than giving us ulcers, apoplexy and a liner for the kitty litter tray, but this fashion piece in this week's edition [22/3/07] glossy 'Showcase City Life' section, which features a selection of overpriced products for stupid people with too much money, reminded us that sometimes it can provide a good old fashioned belly laugh. My husband bought this to my attention and between choking tears asked if we could go shopping tomorrow so that he could get with the times and deck himself out this way. I suppose you'd never burn your hands pulling those hot scones out of the oven! We're not sure if the shoelaces are just hanging off slipons, or are designed to be untieable. As for those silver, lurex footless tights - where are you planning on wearing those? You look very uncomfortable, is the hoodie pulling your head over and the tights strangling your bits? Now you know what they mean by Cutting Edge menswear!

T3 Obfuscation

Do you ever wonder whether anyone in Brisbane ever tells the truth? I do, especially when the utterances emanate from City Hall, and their friendly News Ltd enablers. Sometimes I think they deliberately try to confuse the issue.

This week, the T3 Lane on Coronation Drive was abandoned and opened to all traffic. In yesterday's [22/3/07] 'mX', Cameron Atfield reported that the Lord Mayor "went against his Council's own advice when he scrapped Coronation Drive's T3 lanes yesterday afternoon."

Then, in today's 'Courier-Mail' [23/3/07], Emma Chalmers reported that, "An unelected bureaucrat had the final say in changing the flow of traffic on one of Brisbane's busiest roads."

But the 'mX' article quotes the Lord Mayor as saying, "...I made the decision to remove the lanes from Ann Street and Bowen Bridge Rd..."

So hang on, does the Lord Mayor make the decision, or does some bureaucrat? The Lord Mayor seems to think he does.

The 'Courier-Mail' states that a dastardly public servant, George Pund has been revealed as the "ultimate controller of Brisbane's traffic signs."

Um, hello, who made the decision to open the T3 lane? I'm confused. Reminds me last week's staged height restrictions in the suburbs saga. One has to question the political influence in the administration - bit wiffy? Yes, you bet your a$#e Minister!"

Oh Mama!

In Tuesday's [20/3/07] 'Courier-Mail' Robyn Ironside reports, 'Restaurant health scare':

"A northside Brisbane restaurant is at the centre of a health scare, after a food handler contracted hepatitis A. Queensland Health said anyone who ate at Wagamama restaurant at Chermside in the first week of March, should see their doctor if they develop symptoms of the disease between now and next
month. Symptoms include loss of appetite, nausea and jaundice.

Doctor Penelope Hutchinson from Queensland Health, said the risk of infection was very low."

The ABC followed suit with a report on Wednesday, 'Brisbane Wagamama patrons warned of hep A risk':

"An incident involving hepatitis A at a northside Brisbane restaurant has sparked a Queensland Health investigation."

Later the same day, Shannon Molloy in 'The Brisbane Times' reported 'Health scare at Brisbane restaurant':

"A food handler at a Chermside restaurant who was infected with hepatitis A may have infected customers who ate there in early March, although the risk was low."

Today's [22/3/07] 'mX' reports on page 2 'Mama sticks to the formula - it works a treat' that Wagamama will be opening a new store in the Wintergarden on Friday, as does the 'City News' on page 8 - 'Chop to it, it's time for noodles'.

What a coincidence! Shades of Top Taste anyone?

As for the full page NAB advertisement on the back page of the 'mX' listing the '100 things you should do in your life'.

Well you can just get f#$ked NAB - don't you extract enough money from your customers without having to tell them how to live their lives? Although - hang on, number 32. Sit for a day in the gallery at Parliament House - what was the uptight little coke addict who conjured up this nauseating drivel thinking? Did they have a fleeting flashback to their "subvert the dominate paradigm" undergraduate days? If a few more people did take the time to watch the shenanigans in Parliament House, they might find things out - like how the Australian Government and big banks etc are ripping ordinary Aussies off!

Does anyone else think this is wrong? An advertisement in this week's 'B Magazine'.

Mainstream Media Ignores Australian Air Safety Report

Apart from a glossed mention on the government controlled ABC today, this story went unreported. Today [20/3/07], the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released an Aviation Safety Investigation Report into an incident on a Virgin Airlines flight from Townsville to Brisbane in December 2005.

Since the Indonesian air crash is news, isn't it weird that this isn't news?

There was a mid-air incident in December 2005 on a Virgin flight to Townsville. We flew to Townsville the next day on Virgin and saw this on the news when we arrived. Virgin's head office is in Queensland and the news in Australia is mostly controlled by the Federal Government, the Packer family and Rupert Murdoch. Why couldn't one of those highly paid journalists report what this lowly paid journalist extracted from the report released today? Here are the important bits from the report:

"On 2 December 2005, a Boeing Company B737-7Q8 aircraft, registered VH-VBC, was being operated on a scheduled passenger flight from Townsville to Brisbane Qld. While the aircraft was passing flight level 370 on climb, the crew heard a 'bang',……

After becoming aware that the outer layer of the pilot in command's L1 window was cracked, the crew followed the checklist for window damage….The flight crew believed that the aircraft was depressurising as a result of the window damage and responded to the cabin altitude warning by carrying out an emergency descent from 33,000 ft to 10,000 ft…..

During the descent, the crew closed the valve that controlled the outflow of air from the aircraft. However, the pressurisation system was functioning normally and closing the outflow valve caused the aircraft to exceed its cabin pressure limit,…..

The flight crew realised that the aircraft was not depressurising, but pressurising, and opened the outflow valve. The combined action of the crew and the automatic opening of the safety relief valves reduced the cabin pressure at a rate greater than that which passengers normally experience. As a result, 11 passengers sustained minor injuries…..

The operator retrained the flight crew involved in the incident,….

The operator, in conjunction with the manufacturer, is still investigating the cause of the window breakages…"

Having spoken with a few unhappy Qantas ex-pilots, we can report that they shake their heads at the robotic expectations of management. It seems that even with all this modern computer stuff, flying a jet full of tonnes of fuel and hundreds of people requires more than a natural ability to fill out forms meticulously. Apparently to be a good, safe and competent pilot one needs to be able to exercise judgment and to understand nuance in making decisions which the computer may not like.

Put simply, once upon a time the computers and company procedures were an important guide to be considered when exercising judgment, whereas now they are to be followed blindly and the pilot's professional judgment is not allowed to play a part. The excuse is that if pilots exercise judgment, it may result in damages claims which are costly to insurers and airlines. Assuming that the 11 passengers who sustained minor injuries recover their damages, surely such robotic practices do not protect the flying public. Unfortunately, until we have a magic 'competence' machine, we should always prefer the judgment of the unknown human pilot (who normally has a very real interest in not crashing!) over the known detached and abstract rulings of a flight-programmed computer.

A Leprechaun Did It!

Hey Queenslanders! Did you receive this bogus propaganda in your letterbox last week?

Don't you wish the Queensland Government would spend money on actual health care, rather than glossy pockets of sad and useless dietary and health advice, featuring an abundance of dickhead models and Pat Rafter?

I'm sorry, but what's with the woman holding a photograph of a giant tomato? Is it some kind of subliminal message promoting Monsanto? And as for all the sponsors? How much did these people get paid/pay for Pete's sake?

"Make the most of it" - yep - pretty much sums up our health system right now.

Hell Hath No Fury Like A Person Whose Parents Have Been Poorly Treated

The Liberal Government are in for a shock when Kevin Rudd wins the election this year. The vengeance will be exacted swiftly and ruthlessly - and it is richly deserved. Cast your mind back to the Queensland Public Service following the Joh years.

In today's [17/3/07] 'Sydney Morning Herald', Alan Ramsey writes about John Dougherty's recollections of Kevin Rudd's mother. Dougherty, a cane farmer, was the President of the Nambour branch of the ALP, when Rudd joined in 1974:

"John Dougherty remembers her as a "fine, dignified" woman."

He said Kevin Rudd's mother, Margaret De Vere, was the only daughter of Joe De Vere, Kevin's grandfather, who had a hotel in Nambour, and that they were a "very fine family, even though they were Country Party." Kevin Rudd's father, Bert Rudd served in World War Two.

"After Bert died of septicaemia, Margaret was left on the farm with the two younger children [the two older boys had left]. Aubrey Low was a wealthy man who owned the property and Margaret wasn't able to carry on the sharefarming, which involved milking 120 cows every day. I believe she had words with Aubrey, the cousin of Dave Low, the local state Country Party MP. Margaret wanted compensation for the work her husband had done in the improvements he'd made to the farm over the 13 years he worked it, but Aubrey wouldn't be in it.

The outcome was she packed up and left."

Let's Vilify Those "Fare Evaders"

Cameron Atfield's front page story in yesterday's 'mX' [16/3/07] reports that a "crack team" will soon be set up to "force fare dodgers to pay their way", and that State Transport Minister Paul Lucas reckons we can save $1 million a month by having "transit officers actively seek out free-loading fare evaders."

Readers can then send an SMS to say what they think of fare evaders. Yet another slur against public transport.

Can News Ltd and the Minister for Transport get any meaner?

How about asking the Minister about the possibility of introducing free public transport? Perhaps then we wouldn't have to find so much money for frickin' tunnels!

'mX' Watch

Where do we start? For example, front page of March 15 issue, 'Terror Confession'. A man who has been tortured, admits to everything, from the Bali bombing to a plan to assassinate former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter (Oh, and Pope John Paul II too. Maybe John Lennon and Bobby Kennedy!) I'd admit to that too after very little torture, it's a wonder it took them five years to get this out of him.

They finally, along with all the rest of the Murdoch media, mention Brunswick Street Station. 'The Independent' has been on this for ages, but 'City News' and 'mX' are taking all the credit with no acknowledgement, as usual.

They describe the brutally totalitarian crackdown in Zimbabwe under the headline 'Mugabe firm on dissent'. Their letter of the day spouts the usual Exxon tripe that global warming is natural and not affected by fossil fuels and human activity. What a coincidence! On the same page is a half page 'mX' ad which says "we are serious about the environment". Lucky it's just the right size for beneath the kitty litter tray, surely Murdoch's volunteer army approves?

'Vick's Picks', for the flicks refuses to even give a star rating to 'Death of a President' or 'Bobby'. It's not that hard to join the dots to see where Murdoch's allegiances lie.

All this, after a quick flick through just one day's 'mX'. Rich pickings here I think. I'm merely scratching the surface here folks. Send me cash, and I'll comment further.

Commenting Conundrum

From yesterday's [14/3/07] 'Tips and Rumours' in 'Crikey!':

"Is the 'Courier-Mail' website putting fake timestamps on their stories to make them seem like they've been going online much earlier than they really have? And are they stockpiling comments on related stories to make it seem like there are hundreds of people talking about one story when it is in fact a collation of a heap of comments from different stories?"

19 Storeys For West End?

According to Tony Moore in last week's 'Brisbane Times', Brisbane City Council wants to allow 19-storey apartment blocks in South Brisbane and West End:

"The study - the Peel Street Structure Plan - covers land from the Brisbane river near the new Gallery of Modern Art back towards West End and has a potential height limit of 16 storeys.

Three extra storeys would be allowed if the buildings satisfy new building design requirements.

The review and rcommendations will go to Brisbane City Council's Civic Cabinet later this month."

It's That Billboard Again!

Captured on Bowen Bridge Road, approaching the Old Museum [15/3/07]

The billboard advertising domain.com which features a President George W. Bush lookalike has now appeared on Bowen Bridge Road at Herston. In February this year it was displayed on Waterworks Road, Red Hill. At the time, I emailed Fairfax to find out if they are implying that President George W. Bush is an ignoramus. Funnily enough, I still haven't had a reply! This was my question:

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,

Banned Video Still Being Screened On Rage

The video clip for the song 'Bombs' by the band Faithless, has been banned by MTV but is still being screened on Australian free-to-air television. The visually confronting clip, directed by Howard Greenhalgh, makes a statement about the detached attitude to war in western societies. The songs lyrics explain why someone might take up arms if their country has been invaded:

"One bomb, the whole block gone
Can't find me children and dust covers the sun
Everywhere is noise, panic and confusion
But to some, another fun day in Babylon
I'm gonna bury my wife and dig up my gun
My life is done so now I got to kill someone
"

I have not received a response to a call to MTV Australia last week to confirm they have banned the clip.

A spokesperson from ABC TV publicity said that the video clip for 'Bombs' has been played on Rage four times, which is classed as medium to high rotation level.

You can also watch the video for 'Bombs' on You Tube.

I found a use for Brisbane's newest Murdoch tabloid - it was just lying around on the street, and I was compelled to do my civic duty!

AFL RESTRICTS PRESS ACCESS - BAH HUMBUG!

In today's [3/3/07] 'Crikey!' Thomas Hunter reports in his story 'AFL photo deal loses sight of bigger picture':

"In a move thought to be unprecedented in global sport, photographers from international news agencies like Reuters, AFP, AP and Getty Images have been locked out of AFL games for season 2007.

Their work has been replaced by an agency created by the AFL to manage the League’s press photography. Geoff Slattery Publishing, publishers of the AFL Record, has the contract to manage AFL photography."

 

He goes on to say that the scheme has raised serious questions about press freedom and the right of news organisations to report on public events. You can read a copy of a letter sent to AFL boss Andrew Demetriou last week by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) detailing their concerns on the 'Crikey!' website.

All I can say is, hey matey, join the club - since when did you think there was press freedom in Australia - or doesn't independent media count?

Last November, the then Federal Leader of the Opposition, The Hon Kim Beazley, was scheduled to speak at Customs House in Brisbane. His speech, 'Time for families: Time Pressure on middle Australia' was organised by the Brisbane Institute. I asked if I could attend to report on the speech for 'The Independent'.

-----Original Message-----
From: Megan
Sent: Monday, 30 October 2006 5:57 PM
To: Brisbane Institute Events
Subject: RE: [Brisbane Institute News] Advance Notice: Kim Beazley at
TheBrisbane Institute

Dear Sir/Madam,

I wondered if it would be possible to obtain media passes to this event?

Regards,

Megan

I received the following reply:

Brisbane Institute Events <RSVP@brisinst.org.au>
Sent : Wednesday, 1 November 2006 3:30:13 PM
To : "Megan
Subject : RE: [Brisbane Institute News] Advance Notice: Kim Beazley at TheBrisbane Institute

| | | Inbox

Hi Megan

Unfortunately we do not issue media passes

Regards

Bonnie

Fairfax Finally Arrives!

Fairfax arrived in Brisbane today with a surprise launch of its online site - 'Brisbane Times' (www.brisbanetimes.com.au). These Mexicans just don't understand the land north of the Tweed, do they? You're supposed to tell us when the launch is if you want 'The Independent' to cover it. Mind you, join the club, the local advertisers ignore the Indie too!

According to a story on the 'Brisbane Times', 'Beattie Welcomes Brisbane Times', Queensland Premier Peter Beattie (who featured on the cover of today's 'The Independent') said it was "a great day for media diversity in the Smart State." Hopefully you didn't snort anything out your nose onto the keyboard just then, if so, sorry no way to really warn of that!

Premier Beattie and Fairfax Chief Executive Officer David Kirk launched the 'Brisbane Times' at Parliament House today [7/03/07].

The 'Courier-Mail', who have been the sole daily paper in Brisbane since Murdoch's coup in 1986 reported that: "Premier Peter Beattie attended the launch yesterday and noted it was important that, as a growing city, Brisbane kept up the pace with Melbourne and Sydney, where 'mX' had already been launched".

Time will tell if the Premier's enthusiasm extends to spending some advertising dollars with 'Brisbane Times'. He said similar things at the launch of 'The Independent' six years ago and hasn't spent a bean with this fiesty, fiercely independent and LOCALLY OWNED publication since, yet he can organise a full page $30,000 ad in Southern papers in a flash! Surprisingly, given the massive Queensland Government advertising expenditure with the 'Courier-Mail' and print and post, there isn't any sign of bones being tossed to 'mX'. Yet.

'Brisbane Times' has a crop of sexy young reporters and a couple of old Brisbaneites - Sunday gourmet pizza maker, shag bar dancer, lad and poet Rupert McCall, and Germaine Greer hater and onetime Sydneysider the laconic John Birmingham to draw the more discerning punters.

One story, 'Brisbane mansion sale to set price record' was quite a scoop and methinks 'Brisbane Times'' strength will be its focus on property. Keep an eye on the multi-million dollar online property advertising wars between such outfits as 'realestate.com.au' and 'domain.com.au'.

It will be interesting to see how City Hall and local government issues are covered, given that former 'Courier-Mail' journalist Michael Corkill, who reported on City Hall and local government issues over the past few years, is now on Lord Mayor Campbell Newman's staff. Whether 'Brisbane Times' will report on the real concerns of local residents and not that of big business, and give fair coverage to all political parties leading up to the federal election, remains to be seen.

By coincidence [snort alert!], News Ltd, which owns 'The Courier-Mail', and launched its 'mX' paper this week, today included an insert extolling the virtues of it's online site - yawn (they have just changed format to look remarkably similar to the new Fairfax site).

Speaking of 'Mx' and News Limited's rather feudal guidelines for Brisbane newsagents, I believe that the Trade Practices Act, roughly speaking, makes it illegal to force someone to do something for X product in order to preserve their rights to have Y product. Watch for an update after we obtain a legal opinion (due tomorrow - or the next day, depending on our Barrister's commitments).

I wonder if Madonna King, ABC broadcaster and wife of 'Courier-Mail' Editor David Fagan, will have Mitchell Murphy, Managing Editor of 'Brisbane Times' on her morning show?

Ms King interviewed Mr Fagan last year, when the 'Courier-Mail' went tabloi...I mean "compact" and defended that interview (and lack of disclosure) because it was a matter of interest to her listeners that there was a new format to the local newspaper about which they wanted to be informed.

So the launching of a Fairfax online "paper" in Brisbane must also warrant a friendly welcoming chat with its editor. We're asking questions and will let you know. 'Smart State' my ar*se!

What do you think?

Will Madonna King have the Editor of the Brisbane Times, Mr Mitchell Murphy on her ABC morning show?
Yes
No
Are you mad?
  
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4ZzZ "Couldn't Go Straight If It Tried"

A report in the 'Courier-Mail's Qconfidential section suggests that recent infighting and board resignations have "racked" Brisbane's independent community radio station 4ZzZ.

The big end of town may be salivating at the notion that after thirty years this fiercely independent, and uniquely Brisbane station has finally succumbed to commercial imperatives, but a station insider says "4ZzZ couldn't go straight if it tried".

In the past few months 4ZzZ has widened the variety of sponsorship to include companies such as Absolut Vodka, Tooheys, Sony BMG, Nokia and the Australian Government. "Mr Insider" said this was necessary to maintain the station's survival and will be continually appraised, with feedback being sought from listeners.

Although Mr Insider was unhappy with the process by which the Station Manager was ousted, he has observed similar upheaval in the past, and stressed that 4ZzZ has always managed to maintain its ethos and independence. "The way 4ZzZ operates and how we deal with business is built into the culture of the place," he said.

On air since 1975, 4ZzZ is Australia's oldest FM radio station and relies on subscriptions and promotions to keep broadcasting. A McNair Ingenuity Research Community Radio National Listener Survey of 2004 indicated that 17% of Brisbane residents listen to 4ZzZ.

Mr Insider couldn't comment on the sudden axing of some of the longer running shows such as 'Concept Warning' and 'Art To Lunch', - a decision made by 4ZzZ's programming committee.

'Art To Lunch' *coloured Brisbane's airwaves with two hours of saucy Sunday commentary on all things theatrical and artistic. A particularly memorable episode covered the "revolutionary" shenanigans at the opening of GOMA late last year.

The last time the 'Courier-Mail' paid such attention to 4ZzZ was back in 1988, when the then University of Queensland Student Union President, Victoria Brazil, kicked the station off campus.

*UPDATE* Due to the recent changes in programming, 'Dykes On Mykes' ended up with double the time of 'Queer Radio'. On this evening's [7/2/07] 'Dykes On Mykes' show, the presenters gave 'Queer Radio' a half an hour of their time, after they had been told they would have two hours, and that 'Queer Radio' would now have only one hour. They said they will continue to do this until the imbalance is otherwise rectified.

Go girls - no divide and conquer with these folks!

*ANOTHER UPDATE* I've just been informed that 'Art To Lunch' was never cancelled, but scaled back to one hour in order to accommodate another program focussing on sports news. This program has now been incorporated into 'Sportsline' on Saturday afternoon.

'Art To Lunch's' original crew will be back on air this Sunday!

Who is the best interviewer on Australian TV?
Ali Moore, Lateline Business, ABC
Kerry O'Brien, 7.30 Report, ABC
Tony Jones, Lateline, ABC
George Negus, Dateline, SBS
Anton Enus, World News, SBS
Barry Cassidy, Insiders, ABC
Virginia Triole, Lateline, ABC
Mary Kostakidis, World News, SBS
Stan Grant, World News, SBS
Someone else
  
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No Apology, No Retraction, But Hey, Let's Privatise Public Transport! Murdoch's usual fair and balanced approach to the Greens.

In last week's 'Sunday Mail' [25/02/07], Hannah Davies reported in her article 'Green Bid For 4WD Tax Hike':

"Queensland Greens environment spokeswoman Larissa Waters said the Federal Government ought to introduce an environmental levy on monster vehicles, and ``Only ignorant people drive 4WDs,'' she said.``It is just the greedy Americanised `bigger is better' mentality that makes people want these vehicles.'' "

Ms Waters felt she was misrepresented, and sent the following letter to the Editor of the 'Sunday Mail' (from the Queensland Greens website):

Dear Sunday Mail Editor,

I am the Queensland Greens Spokesperson for the Environment. Today’s Sunday Mail (25 February 2007, page 25) contains a headline, statements and a fabricated quote which distort my comments to your reporter, in a manner which is misleading and embarrassing. I did not call four wheel drivers "ignorant", nor have the Queensland Greens called for a "tax hike on 4WDs". Rather, the Queensland Greens would like to see government encourage the use of smaller vehicles for urban driving by reducing registration fees for smaller vehicles. As well as environmental benefits, comes the financial benefit of reduced petrol costs for smaller vehicles. There are also safety concerns with 4WDs. For these reasons, as well as a concern to reduce the 14% of Australia’s national greenhouse gas emissions which comes from the transport sector, the Queensland Greens support the use of public transport where available and active transport (cycling, walking) where feasible. We suggest that people try, one day a week, getting to work using public or active transport – and compare the health, financial and time benefits. Where neither public or active transport is available or feasible for a necessary trip, the Queensland Greens support the use of smaller cars for urban driving. I request that you publish this letter so that readers of the Sunday Mail have an accurate understanding of the Queensland Greens position on this important issue. I have also instructed my lawyer to write to you demanding a retraction of the comments and statements falsely attributed to me.

Regards,
Larissa Waters.

So what did today's [4/03/07] 'Sunday Mail' do? They printed this in 'Letters to the Editor':

"TO THE POINT

Last week's fuel price hike will hopefully encourage owners of large cars, particularly urban four-wheel drivers, to think about public transport alternatives. While I most certainly don't think four-wheel drivers are ignorant, it is easy to overlook the environmental impacts of our everyday choices. Incentives should be given to encourage smaller, more efficient cars, or better still, let's have some decent funding to improve public transport.

-- LARISSA WATERS, ENVIRONMENT SPOKESWOMAN, QUEENSLAND GREENS"

And ran a couple of articles about a few "journalists" getting out and about to investigate how piss poor Brisbane's public transport system is. Terry Sweetman even suggests:

"If government can't deliver the goods, maybe it should sell off its public transport business."

One-Eyed 'news' from Murdoch at the Hicks Rally

At last! The local Murdoch paper truthfully covers a David Hicks rally! Well, not really...

There was another rally supporting David Hicks' right to Justice on Friday [2/3/07] at Reddacliff Place (top of the Queen Street Mall and adjacent to that kaleidescopic horror of horrors, the Brisbane Square building). More people attend each time a rally is held, and the attitude of passers-by has gone from derisive indifference to nods of approval and even tepid interest in the facts. The rally on Friday was all about support for David Hicks and lasted about an hour. The last speaker was Mr Lee Rush who gave support and asked that people not forget how his family has been treated by the Government and the Australian Federal Police in the arrest of the "Bali Nine" drug mules (including his son, Scott Rush). Mr Rush and his wife have been working hard to try to pressure the Government to do something to save their son from his death sentence in Indonesia, but in vain as they realise our Government doesn't care. He spoke for about ten minutes.

There was a young chap making notes but no other media were apparent. So it was a surprise to read Saturday's 'Courier-Mail' article by Margaret Wenham (on page 37) under the headline: 'Dad Says Death Row Son Faces Cruel End'. Maybe she was at a different rally, or maybe she was one of those dressed in orange overalls and hoods with the soundproof headgear. The article makes no reference to Lee Rush's accusations against the Federal Government and its Police. It only covers his qualifying remarks about drugs being bad, m'kay, and that the death penalty is extreme in this case.

This was a David Hicks rally at which Mr Rush was a warmly welcomed participant. The 'Courier-Mail' "report" makes no mention of David Hicks whatsoever! Senator Andrew Bartlett, Sam Watson, Ross Daniels, Mark Gillespie all of whom spoke convincingly and calmly of the Federal Government's treachery in the Hicks case and in the "Terror War" were ignored.

Mr and Mrs Rush seem to be the absolute embodiment of wishful Howard supporters and, if for no other reason than their simple honest goodness, it is sad to see their former loyalty dashed so cruelly by the Government they believed would support them as they had supported it.

Oh, the 'Courier-Mail' did have an article on page 13 about the new charges against David Hicks - but it didn't mention the rally, or the other article, of course, yet the official opening of Reddacliff Place (earlier that day) was reported.

Halfway through my scrumptious nachos and tropicana at the Three Monkeys, I also spied Mr David Fagan's editorial. Wow, the 'Courier-Mail' has a short editorial about David Hicks! No, there is no mention of the rally in Brisbane, of course. But David Fagan sets himself up as the voice of reason and balance covering this "important" issue.

How Limited is your news? It's astonishing! Try it for yourself if you like, it's fun. Go to Queen's Park (behind the Casino) on 17th March for the rally on the Fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and observe the reality for yourself (take photos and make notes if you like!) then read the next day's 'Sunday Mail' and wonder if you went to a different rally! Methinks we need another "daily" in this town, and it sure as shit isn't 'MX'!

Max To Take On Howard?

The ABC TV news reported a rumour that Maxine McKew is going to contest the seat of Bennelong. Can it be true? Or are Janet and her friends just being naughty? Does this mean one of Brisbane's best known dissident journalists will step in as Hevvie Kevvie's new new media advisor? Hope so, that would nearly make me vote for the little fella! (nup, no freakin' way - not on your nellie - never - ever - and this is a CORE promise).

UPDATE: Looks like this little rumour is true. The big bad evil vice regal emperor of the "free world" must have given the nod in that "confidential" conversation.

What a load of bollocks!

'Backs To The Blast' screens on Briz 31

This excellent 1981 documentary which was produced and directed by Harry Bardwell and broke the Maralinga test story to the world, screened on Briz 31 on Sunday evening [25/02/07]. It was the only show worth watching on free to air television in this timeslot - and should have been compulsory viewing for South Australians. I bet you a million dollars that Glenn Dyer from 'Crikey!' will not even mention this documentary in the context of his Sunday night review of "must watch" tv. PS- I do not have a million dollars and this offer of a bet is NOT real, it is SATIRICAL! PPS- I hope "Crikey!" does pick up on the crap nature of commercial "FTA" (Free To Air) TV in Australia.

 

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