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The death of Sunday and Newsweek

Webdiarist Paul Walter shares his thoughts on the demise of Channel 9’s Nightline and Sunday:

The death of Sunday and Nightline
by Paul Walter

The concern expressed about the death of Nightline and Sunday only distantly touched me, since I am a convinced pro-public broacasting-o-phile with a studied dislike of commercial press and media going back decades.

Nonetheless, it seemed a strange story, this saga of the deterioration of a once mighty media empire with current events appearing to be a late and inevitable consequence, as it unfolded before my eyes as had recourse to much blogging to get an idea of what was behind Nightline’s and Sunday’s demise. One observation from media pundits involved speculation that the death of these programs, together with the ending of the legendary Bulletin magazine, coincided with the death of Kerry Packer.

It seems axiomatic in life that when you believe something can't any worse and you have found the cause for your discomfiture, events will prove you wrong.

Kerry Packer: brash, brawling; the last quintessentially Australian publishing magnate. A legendary gambler, regarded by many as a tax dodger par excellence, someone with alleged contacts with the Sydney underworld. Squirreling away vast amounts of money, suspiciously proximate to company you wouldn't take home to meet mum or the wife, and a wily political manipulator responsible for the rise of his "little mate", John Howard and thus forever damned by the dwindling numbers of the bystanding Australian Left. Particularly if what was hinted of the Costigan Commission of the 'eighties in the defunct and mourned National Times was true, according to some.

Yet the death of (broadsheet as opposed to tabloid, particularly) current affairs at PBL seems to accelerate particularly after his departure from this life, bearing out the theory offered by some that he was motivated by affection and a sense of civic responsibility in maintaining less profitable current affairs programs and the Bulletin.

Although the snowballing effect of globalisation and improved legal status of migrating capital in the form of big offshore funds expressed through apparatus like the AUSFTA indicates the decline of the influence of specifically Australian current affairs, another reason why the genre was in decline even in the half dozen or so years before Packer's death is that less significant decision-making happens in Australia any more; so there is less need for "clout".

It's true that pundits like Mark Day and the other Oz media pundits, Two's Media Watch, Stephen Mayne, Gerald Stone (no, never fond of him or his "style” and include him as to blame for the demise of Mary Kostakidids from SBS ) and Crikey, to name just some, have been expounding on the death of broadsheet for some time. Networking and loss of locality, technological change including cable, games, electronic gambling and internet, and a new corporate culture represented most of all by a name familiar to us from Margo Kingston's writings; John Alexander, have allegedly driven quality and ratings down in a sort of circular process.

There is no longer a critical ratings mass to apply leverage to politicians or engage all sections of a mass audience for sponsors. Sections have headed off to Foxtel, others do Webdiary, Information Clearing House (thanks, Marilyn!!), and numerous other online sources, and the demographic remaining is financially and culturally dependent on the old media. It's not snobbishness so much as factual to say that current (relatively) remnant audiences want Big Brother , ACA and TDT rather than broadsheet news and current affairs, regardless of what this might say about the brainpower of these .

The downfall of PBL has been accelerated, apparently, by the lack of interest compared to his father, of James Packer. Gerald Stone and others may fulminate, but the fellow is not the media lion, or Australian nationalist, his old man was.

And herein lies a worrying end to this post.

James Packer has divested three-quarters of his ownership in the media half of his father’s empire into the hands of elements of the massive US Citibank and, speculating, probably through a related probably subordinate Asian arm, CVC venture capital. Reading Stephen Mayne and Crikey on recent events concerning PBL, the discovery emerged of a complex story not fully reported in current media and press.

The story was elaborated at quite an involved website presentation from one Dr. Brian Wynne, who had written an article apparently published in the Doctors Reform Society in 2004, concerning the involvement of related interests with apparently poor ethical records in the US. This involved the purchase of large chunks of Australian health infrastructures, including specifically, Mayne Health, an offshoot of the former transport giant Mayne Nickless. That jogged this writer’s memory, Packer himself being involved big time in the health industry including plugging all the cosmetic surgery aspects on his shows, being one reason involved.

On the basis of Wynne's comments there should be no surprise at the trajectory of the Nine Network re cost cutting, downsizing and dumbing down. Nor should it be of much surprise that there is little treatment of what globalisation could imply for Australia, if recent events provide the model.

It should be interesting, for example, to see what treatment the media, including pundits like Alan Kohler or Business Lateline, give the privatisation style agreement involving James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch, now coming to fruition.

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I couldn't believe this when it happened

Jenny Hume: "F Kendall and Malcolm: Yes, there is far too little of the whimsical in our lives."

Okay, here's something. I couldn't believe this when it happened.

The other night, Wednesday, the television set in reception, as usual, is switched on and that US crime show Criminal Minds'comes on.

After the credit roll, it cuts to a scene of an empty street or something (cannot quite remember as at that moment I wasn't paying attention).

Then a rich, male, Californian-sounding voice speaking over the images intones this;

"... who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies. - Daisy Bates"

I've seen some mighty strange things in that reception area, but that took the cake.

A really cheesy, cliche-ridden, US cop-show with some of the most lame characterisation and scripting in Chistendom opens with a quote from a 19th Century Irish-Australian humanitarian and moral philosopher!

Here's a reference. It was Episode Number: 57   Season Num: 3   First Aired (in USA): Wednesday January 9, 2008.

Q and A

It was just a personal impression, David Eastwood, not an appraisal or judgement of the show itself.

I thought that TJ not only let Malcolm Turnbull rant on for far too long before he managed to stop him, but also addressed too many questions to him... "I'll put that to Malcolm Turnbull".  To my mind, in such a format, replies generally need to be succinct and to the point to keep one's interest.  

One more or less knows what the politicians will say.... "Rudd is no good", or "the previous government  did."   The quibble about 2010, 11 or 12 is absurd - why do they give it so much oxygen?.  20% of renewable energy by 2020 seems a low target to me...why does no-one question this?   And the 1/2 billion$  in the chest?  Why does no-one ask when, where and how this is going to be spent?   Just exactly what, if anything, is the government doing about the Murray Darling?  I thought that much of this was same-old same-old, and I'm beginning to wonder whether there should be politicians on the show at all:  we  only hear the party line once again.

I hadn't come across the IPA before, and the young man seemed to know a lot about the arguments that supported his views, and not much else.  Catherine Harris's comment that there would be no grapes from Mildura this year was one of the few surprising and interesting comments, and to my mind she accurately reflected community concern.  Tim Flannery is always good value. 

I was a little disappointed that, in using French nuclear power to support the safety of it, no one mentioned the report - this week's New York Times perhaps? - of some growing disquiet, as long term leaks into groundwater have been found here and there. 

My attention drifted during the gay marriage bit ... an issue where I , confusingly, find all viewpoints valid!

I would expect that it is a more interesting event in the flesh, as it were, than on the screen.

Q and A

The 2nd half of Q and A affected me like that, Richard Tonkin.

 To me Gil Mayo has a reasonably interesting murder and solution, and a rather whimsical and engaging mix of characters.   One of the rare breed that are gentle, relaxing, but not banal.   Far from the best show in the world, but watchable and pleasant.  

 I thought that Jenny might also like it,  in terms of the programmes that she has said here that she likes/dislikes......but, I wouldn't expect  it to grab many men.

Whimsy and wishful thinking

F Kendall and Malcolm: yes, there is far too little of the whimsical in our lives.

I have not been watching the Mayo series but yes, the bit I saw, it is exactly my kind of stuff - as well as Miss Marple and such like. It is just that these days I hardly ever turn the telly on . Never agree to a book launch till the book is written - but I did so now have to deliver.

What irritates me in many modern dramas is that they rely on the ghoulish, on shock horror stuff, the macabre, umitigated violence and above all the F word. Remember Wildside - cops screaming at each other, every second word F - and it won a Logie!  Then there was that psychiatrist show, with the fellow doing little more than roaming around talking to himself as he dissected the minds of the guilty - Iron in the Blood or something like that - no I am confused - that is a book I'm reading here on the history of the Presbyterian Church of that title. 

( Digression: Apt title for that come to think of it , they were a pretty bold lot those early Pressies - particularly my mother's lot - the mad Welsh clan.  One was even prepared to sacrifice her husband's head for the faith. When James VI gave audience to the pleading Mrs Welsh, daughter of John Knox, the King shouted: Knox and Welsh, the devil never made such a match as that - but he did agree the exiled Rev could return home, if he would submit to the bishops. Please your Majesty, I would rather kep his heid there - the good wife replied holding up her apron. Ah history has far better stories than these modern day writers could dream of.) 

But back to the point. What has been lost in the garbage that is passed off as drama these days is portrayal and development of interesting characters.  All actors in these modern crime shows have to do is pass meaningful looks at each other, or run around screaming abuse at and the F word at each other. They do not endure these characters - not like Foyle, Miss Marple,  Poirot et al. Even Barnaby in the earlier  Midsomer Murders made that show worth watching, till the writers lost the plot, subordinating the character to the macabre story line again.

It is when I remember the characters and not the plot that I know I enjoyed the show. 

And who can forget the characters in those great British shows - Hyacinth Bucket, Onslow, Rose, Daisy and poor old Richard; Margo in To the Manor Born, Hamish, the cop in the little Scottish village, the Vicar of Dibley and the old bloke  No no no no no... Cleese in Fawlty Towers; Monarch of the Glen and those marvellous characters and landscape - shows that did not rely on the F word, violence and the macabre.     

Ah thems' were the days - now we are inflicted with Big Brother, Brat Camp, Survivor, Shock Docs - who would bother to turn the telly on.   

As for Tony Jones and Q and A - I turned off that pretty early when I saw how stacked the audience was and how contrived the discussion - very light weight. I think the format is wrong. And as for trying to get a question to them on line and a response - forget it.

Cutting Edge, Insight and As it Happened, Landline  - some good stuff there at times.  And I quie like that pooch in Inspector Rex. But as an animal lover I can actually pass on a lot of those shows with lions chasing baby elks. If I am interested in science stuff then shows like Absolute Zero, the life and times of the insect world and the microscopic world really snare me. But mostly we get the lions and monkeys. 

Ah well.... back to the book and the real Killing Fields and the nasty things that were done to us Covenanters. Some Scots have a lot to answer for.

Please Explain...

F As a frequent offender on Q&A, (they even let me ask a question a few episodes back), what do you mean exactly...? 

Gil Mayo

Jenny Hume, have you tried the Gil Mayo mysteries? 

Hold the Mayo

I've had it on while writing, F Kendall, but it hasn't distracted me.  The idea's good, the acting's ok, but it could be oh-so-much better.  A bit like ABC telly in general at the moment

Give me a Cracker repeat over this any day.  I love escapist fluff, but for me Gil Mayo doesn't cut the mustard.

I'm with the Kendall

Richard Tonkin, I don't agree. Mayo has that rare quality in literature (yes, literature): whimsy. We have far too little whimsy in our lives, far too little to take us out of the mundane drudge of the everyday, the horror of the modern world, the Q&A of life (particularly when moderated by Tony Jones who plays a lousy France in Diplomacy) The little figures alone, Lilliputian in conception, take us out of the ordinary and back to a childhood of imagination. Apart from love and loyalty the greatest quality is surely wonderment. Years ago I thought I had lost it but writing, reading, here, I feel I have rediscovered it.


Point taken, I'll give it another go.  We're all certainly in agreement on Q & A though.  Didn't Peter Hindrup have tickets tonight?  If so, hopefully he'll give us a review from the audience. 

David Eastwood, didn't you find Wong and Turnbull's smiles even a teensy bit cheesy?

Q&A Review

I was actually in the audience myself.

Wong, Turnbull only slightly cheesy and Wong slightly less machine like than previously sighted incarnations and even let out a few guffaws off camera. Pleasantly surprised on her performance, though the earth mother hand gestures while delivering party line weren't all that convincing. Her subtle shots at the coalition's climate change policy all night were artful, however.

Turnbull in ebullient form, playing to his daughter who was sitting in the back row. Turnbull always impresses with his ability to think on his feet and impress. He gave some well considered answers. Tony J did take him on with an excellent filibuster stopping intervention early to save the show. Classic TJ line to MT - "I'm just asking for a straight answer"

Tony J made an excellent gaffe late in the show in the show describing a video questioner as "obviously gay" in a quip, to much hilarity in audience. Tony J responded to clamouring from Executive Producer in his earpiece a minute or two later "just to point out that our Video questioner there is not obviously gay"

Catherine Harris in good form too, always entertaining that one, but Flannery relatively muted - surprising given his pet subject's airing. He made a hash of slapping down the "world getting colder over the last 10 years" argument, he could have asnwered that far better.

Confused young man from the IPA sure as hell confused me.

I was in the second row of seats on the floor, and worryingly, part of the front row was commandeered by what looked like an organised group of lobbyists who were consulting extensively on getting their lines right just before air time. They were being orchestrated by a guy called Bruce in a suit who looked familiar to me, though I couldn't place him. From the question they did get in it appears they were some form of industry lobby group - certainly supporting the "economic damage" line on climate policy.

Wong did a fair job of telegraphing her personal (and obvious) view on gay marriage without actually mentioning it, but I'm not convinced Turnbull actually personally believes the party line, even though he states explicitly that he does, over and over. No doubt he needs to avoid wedging his own leadership support on that issue.

The questions read out from the audience are selected by the editorial team prior to the show and it was great to see a couple of young kids getting their questions in. The editors don't actually eyeball the questioners until just before the show, so it wasn't obviously a politically correct gesture. Just a couple of good questions.

ABC - scraping the bottom of the barrel

I used to find some of the ABC's Australian Story episodes very interesting and at times quite moving. I also found Enough Rope quite entertaining at times, though at other times disturbing.

Both programs have gone badly downhill in my view and I rarely even bother to remember they are on these days, but being a bit bored with a cold I switched on last week. That finished me for good.  

First we have Australian Story covering that paparazzi photographer, even forget the fellow's name now, who got himself into bother over Nicole Kidman. So we are invited to peek into his life and work. Work they call it. Trivial pursuit more like it - sitting outside Nicole Kidman's house, racing to respond to hot tips that Russel Crowe, or Lachlan Murdoch, or this celeb or that  might, just might be caught on camera having a meal, using the phone, or wait for it -scoop! - friends rubbing and admiring the latest baby. Bloody hell - no wonder the womens's magazines left this house twenty odd years ago - the descent into the trivia of celebs' lives making them not even worth buying as drawer liners or fire starters. 

If a bloke sat outside my house every day trying to photograph me I would take him to court for stalking. If what these people do is not stalking, then I don't know what is. As for their obssession these days with baby bumps - how mindless can you get?

Then comes Denton's Enough Rope. And what do we get but a foul mouthed cook whose every second word starts with F as he rants and raves and shouts abuse at staff. While Denton and the audience seemed to find this fellow entertaining, to me he came across as nothing more than an appalling verbal bully. Witness the reaction of that poor beggar he ordered out at the end of his vicious out of control tongue. We have seen what can happen to people who are bullied at work like that - they are known to finish up committing suicide.  Even Denton seemed a bit perturbed at that.

A prime example of disgusting human behaviour. By giving this fellow the stage all you do is tell him that what he is doing is OK. Great example to kids. There we are telling them that bullying is a no no.  Shame ABC, shame. You have now lost my viewing of these two shows permanently.

What a pleasant change the older blokes like Peter Cundall and Ian Parmenter (yes, a cook worth listening to) are and were. What happened to gentlemanly behaviour like theirs?

Let's hear it for Homer!

Richard is right - The Simpsons is so subversive and educational it should be required viewing for all children - from an early age so they are indoctrinated.

Sunday has been dead for years.

Sunday has been dead for years. Better to watch Insiders and Meet the Press.

It seems we have only ourselves to blame for shows like Big Brother and The One - they achieve higher ratings than any current affairs program.

For the last twelve months I have had a box on my TV that sends everything I watch back to the ratings company AGB Nielsen Media Research. I make sure the ABC and SBS get a lift in their ratings. There are only about 5,000 of these boxes about so I hope my vote counts. You never know - maybe I contributed to the demise of Big Brother and Sunday.

speaking of

John Pratt, more to the point,

 did you contribute to the death of  Big  Brother?

And today that detention died

You little beauty.

A common experience

I understand, Jenny Hume, according to an article in today's SMH, that the age of television is virtually over, and the viewers have left. It praises the ABC, which with its new iview is the only channel that is moving with the times.

I notice with kids the difference over the last 10 years. Then there were many fans of such as Neighbours, Home and Away, A Country Practice. Now, kids shrug if I ask them what they watch. Though Underbelly got a few guernseys.

The end of life as we know it.

Yes, F Kendall. The unthinkable seems to happening.

Richard's comment explains why. Following from mute buttons and videos, people can move even further way from the old idea of sitting round the telly and copping the sloppy shows, commercials and opinions of telly networks as a captive mass audience "sold" as a commodity to advertisers.

We remember when kids the "olds" talking about sitting 'round the radio and listening to Blue Hills and not being able to imagine this. Likewise, these days sitting around the tel as a group watching, say, Foyle’s War on a Sunday night is going to seem increasingly ludicrous to younger people and kids. Even the computers we find interesting are a habituated second nature thing for them – they use them for completely different reasons to us and find meaning in things we could never grasp, that they share within their in-groups.

The process is being sped up as accountants cut budgeting schedules to squeeze more money, more recently for debts, and expensive and skilful shows like Foyle are less and less being purchased, despite a market for them still being in place.

Paradoxically, stuff like Foyle and whatever replaces the now-ageing Midsomer and Bill may yet outlast stuff like Big Brother, because there are different values involved. Good drama and comedy, current affairs and documentaries, whether Yank, Aussie or Pom, will continue to attract, particularly, older audiences for whom sitting down with a cuppa to watch a show is a delight younger people have lost touch if ever they were in touch with same, and could not imagine any no point in "doing". Just as olds don’t feel like sitting around texting on buses while other passengers look on agape at what seems pure silliness, unlike the youngs, for whom this is a subcultural bonding ritual.

Not even a TV in the house

F Kendall, kids have switched off to such an extent that my great nieces do not even have a TV in the house anymore and do not complain. They are living in the US at the moment and are aged 10. They've been googling since about five but are only allowed to use the one computer in the lounge room under supervision, and their mobiles are for ringing family only and one other person. They seem to cope.

Yes, TV is on the way out definitely. We have an older set but I note a friend with the big plasma screen rarely turns it on. Waste of money. No idea what I-view even is but saw the item - might  check it out.   Cheers.

Richard:  I-view is basically ABC-TV on demand, Jenny.  No need to tape Landline any more.

I dunno..

Gee girls, I dunno. My daughter is constantly badgering me. .. " Why can't I watch The Simpsons? Everyone at school does. Why can't I watch Home and Away?" ....... Get the picture?

Besides, obesity is on the rise. Too many kids plonked in front of the tv, and not enough exercise.

Have to say though, rarely watch tv myself these days.  Much prefer to read or go on the computer.

Fiona: Alright, Kathy, why can't she watch The Simpsons? One of the best subversive shows around, in my opinion. However, you are right to keep her uncorrupted by Home and Away...

Alright Fiona..

 Alright  Fiona, I 'll tell you why.

I cannot abide the way that Bart is so much of a smart arse and is so disrespectful. (My daughter already thinks she knows as much as her parents.) Okay the bawdy humour would most probably go over her head. I am also not enamoured of the language used, nor  of the many serious topics that are covered in rather a flippant manner.

Richard: After a while, you get what's meant to be tongue in cheek.  At  least try her (and yourself) on the movie, Kathy.  Warning:  It has dangerously anti-Cheney/Halliburton undertones.

Ahh you questinin' mah authoritah??!!

Kathy, if you are looking for appropriate matter for youngsters, why not try Southpark. ...?

No, ok ... (sheesh!).

I can sympathise a bit with parents of kids maybe who are too old for playschool and not old enough for more sophisticated stuff. And parents are blamed when foul ups happen with kids by the rest of society.

Are they doing homework? What about encouraging them with books or outside playing sport (if its not too dark) or getting them interested in increasing their computer expertise?

Seems to be a rule of thumb that all kids will unerringly home in on the crappiest programs available at a given opportunity.

I would be happy

Paul, I would be happy if they did away with that stupid Humphrey Bear.  And it would be nice if Ian would not go around singing Telly Tubbies all day after a dozen sessions with Mr Two.  

My great nieces used to be glued to the TV till their grandmother introduced them to horses - and that was it. Holidays spent in the bush, riding under supervision, learnng how to groom and care for the animal, then coming home after a week unwashed, nits and knots in hair - was a joy to see.

It extended their horizons enormously. One now wants to be a vet, but only one that does not have to put animals down she says. Am not sure how she is going to achieve that.  

I think we can than JKR for getting kids back reading again.

number two?

Yes, Hang Humphrey. Hang Fat Cat.

Skin B1 and B2 , choke the Muppets, boil all Cabbage Patches and put Barbie and that dissipated drone Ken into rehab.

One of the sad things about our country is the shutting down of country towns and communities. If unmarried mothers and other welfare beneficiaries could get cheaper accommodation in the country why could this not have been done? Surely better for a kid to spend time in the country than some rotten inner city dump or highrise?

Surely easier for country towns with a bit of extra economic circulation?

What's wrong with Humphrey Bear?

I went to breakfast with him.  Taught his blonde to play spoons, while Humphrey banged his cornflakes.  Career highlight!

And Richard Tonkin

The Humphrey Bear you probably went to breakfast with is SWMBO's cousin.

Richard::  This was around '99-2000.  Does that fit? Oh and yes I didn't get paid.


A dissipated, depraved, subversive and transgressive pervert.

Richard:  You're talking about Humphrey and his bear behind?  Must show you the vid some day Paul, if I can find it.  Seriously though, I thought you were talking about Fat Cat!  Oooh.....I've just had a flashback to Fred Bear, and finally worked out the pun in the name.


Some may remember the book published recently by Rob Astbury, the longtime lover of Graham Kennedy (to which Nine owed so much for its success).

I was chatting to him recently on one of his visits to Sydney (he lives in Thailand and contributes the ocassional report to Crikey). Astbury was once the highest paid sports reporter in Australia reporting in Melbourne for  NIne. He told me how he was lured away to the 7 Network for a huge salary but as time went on, his life collapsed as his new colleagues, who he believed were jealous of his salary, began to scupper his career.

He realised then how Kerry Packer operated - scary, but did treat staff like a family once they showed loyalty. It's something you hear said about the man - for all his faults - by many, that he showed loyalty to his employees.

Nine's collapse is typical of the "third generation" syndrome, with James showing no loyalty to an institution that has given him the wealth he has (plus the freebies from various governments with gaming licences). It's all about money now - no pride in creating anything.

Sunday was worthwhile

I am sorry to see Sunday go though confess I have not watched it in a long time as I saw it begin to decline quite some time back. Nine sent a team 600kms up to the farm one year to interview and film us, when they were doing a program on the NSW Protective Office, with which we and many others had some really big bones to chew. It was during the time of the Orkopolos inquiry into that Office (yes the same bloke) which looked at how the OPC was managing the estates of mentally disadvantaged people under its management. They did an excellent coverage of that issue, as they did on so many other issues back in the late 90s. But they lost the plot in the end.

Good investigative programs by the main channels are a thing of the past.

But the free to air channels have been going downhill for years. The mindless programs such as Big Brother, House, Shockdocs, Brat Camp, Biggest Loser and all the rest of that garbage have weaned me off television almost completely.  And they wonder why the ratings have fallen.

Foyle's War is the only highlight this year for me. Even Midsomer Murders lost it for me when its writers turned to the bizarre, the ghoulish and the occult for inspiration in the last series.  So the ABC needs to lifts its game too as far as I am concerned.

Nick Tabakoff OZ article, 28/7

Interesting discovery. The Oz media writer Nick Tabakoff presents a cute article entitled, "PBL denies CVC debt worries led to shows being axed".

Am no expert on these things but Tabakoff seems to saying firstly that CVC's taking over PBL in the way that it did, through debt financing, plus poorer current media operating conditions, has CVC's version of PBL both in debt deeper in debt as interest rates climb, and through loss of value of the asset, including because of cost cutting to the bone. Was it only valuable because of the expertise of the extraordinary Kerry Packer; a person so long in the game he could instinctively "read” media; a man who would punt on shows like the axed McLeod’s Daughters, Sunday and so forth, or Cleo magazine?

It's no longer apparently worth a tinker's cuss because the public knows that the white collared bean counting brutes now running the thing have no more instinct for magazines or successful programming than my washing machine. But it seems stupid to destroy the asset's value just to pay off debt, if that value is unlikely to recover through the cost cutting in future. The patient is dead on the operating table!

But one should probably remember that the Murdoch concern for its media competitor is not likely motivated by altruism or public concern so much as a desire to deliver a healthy kick in the ribs to a competitor down and soon to be out if something doesn't turn around.

Great line on Rove last night

"Channel Nine have axed Sunday for financial reasons... they're now working on Monday to Friday."

The old dictum

Rags to riches, more riches and back to rags in three generations.

Ruddock on Sunday

Jane Hanson pulled off a beauty of an interview with the vile and unrepentant Philip Ruddock on the penultimate Sunday program after interviewing some of his victims.

To realise that I was right all along about Ruddock is cold comfort to me. Many told me it was Howard that was so cold but I knew Ruddock loved the job and he didn't see the children he tortured as human. Even on this morning's program he is condemning the parents for not leaving their children behind to be bombed or tortured. What he believes would have been a fair thing is utterly deranged by anyone's standards but he still thinks he is right.

Imagine this - we are invaded, bombed and taken over by Indonesia. We pack up our belongings to flee for our lives, except we leave our children behind. That is Ruddock's belief system.

No wonder his own daughter Kirsty fled the land.

Let me share a Ruddock yarn. A few years back he gatecrashed a meeting of the Survivors of Trauma and Torture AGM and gave this very strange speech about being allowed to torment innocent people, even after the group told him he had quadrupled their work load, cut their funding to the bone, and was the major cause of most of their problems.

I was with a group of refugee advocates who had been asked to gatecrash by the convenors of the meeting so being shy, retiring types we did.

After his mad speech we approached Ruddock and he preened. I kid you not, he thought we were his fan club even though we had greeted him with banners saying he was a child torturer.

One mild-mannered young woman called him and f........c and asked him why he tortured children. He sort of shrank slightly at the onslaught. I knew Philip and he had already greeted me outside the venue.

I said to him, "You know Philip, when Janine Haines and others came to your office after you crossed the floor against Howards racist anti-Asian policies we thought you were a good bloke. We were wrong, you are a lying sack of shit."
Now this is a minister of the crown responsible for torturing human beings for political gain and you would expect I might be heavied by his guards about now. Nope. All he did was tell me I was entitled to my opinion..

He was then confronted by an angry man who asked him about Kirsty - he was battered by the guards and Philip tried to escape so I ducked around in front of him and asked him why he wrote policies that led to the deaths of 353 people on SIEVX.

At that point he gave up the idea of his chicken supper and left, taking one of our anti-Ruddock banners with him.

The audience cheered me and we all ate supper.

He has not changed one jot since those days of cruelty, even when confronted with a 6 year old tormented in Villawood for the first three years of her life and is now retarded.

I will miss those Sunday programs that did hit hard and fast in places Howard's mob didn't want anyone to go.

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Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 2 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 4 days ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 4 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 4 days ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 4 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 14 weeks 2 days ago