GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG

ISSUE – NO. 578

4 March 2022

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  • A LATE NIGHT STORY – PHILLIP ADAMS’ ACCOUNT OF HIS PUNCH-UP WITH BOB HAWKE

While walking Jackie last night, her (male) co-owner tuned into ABC Radio National Late Night Live  – aka Phillip Adams’ little wireless program. As you know, Gerard Henderson is quite a fan of Phillip Adams AO, AM, Hon DUniv (Griffith), Hon DLitt (ECU), Hon DUniv (SA), DLitt [sic] (Syd), Hon. DUniv (Macquarie), FRSA, Hon FAHA – so much so that when invited to appear on LNL every 25 years, he always accepts.

So Hendo was shocked, absolutely shocked, when Phillip (“I was a teenage, or perhaps 20-something, communist”) Adams introduced his guest Troy Bramston – who was to be interviewed about his book Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny  and had this to say:

Phillip Adams: Now, right up front, I’ve got to declare something – that while Bob and I were both children of Congregational ministers, we were not close.  And we became increasingly – our relationship became increasingly acrimonious.  It finished up with a fist fight in an airport lounge.

How about that? The ABC’s Man-in-Black had a punch-up with the former Labor prime minister in an airport lounge somewhere or other at some time or other. What a Scoop!  Perhaps the incident warrants a movie.

Then MWD fave Troy Bramston told his story about Bob Hawke. On a personal side, this was presented as a battle between Good Bob (who loved us all) and Bad Bob (who was driven by the twin demons of alcohol and what was once called skirt-chasing).

According to your man Bramston, Hawkie fought an on-going battle against his demons – including attempting to restrain “his rampant sexual appetite”. But did he really?  It was widely known that, when he was prime minister, Hawke conquered the “Demon of Alcohol”. It was also known to many that at the time he had not attempted to conquer the “Demon of Lust”.

No matter, apparently.  Phillip Adams told “the listener” that Troy Bramston has established that Mr Hawke’s Demon Number Two has been diagnosed by the World Health Organisation as “Compulsive Sexual Behaviour Disorder”.

It was worth a late night walk with Jackie to learn more about modern medicine. Next it will be said that Bob Hawke was never a drunk – just a patient possessed of, say, “Compulsive Thirst Behaviour Disorder” [Interesting, I think I might suffer from this condition. – MWD Editor]

  • AND ON IT GOES – PETER HARTCHER BLAMES PM MORRISON FOR NOT DOING ENOUGH TO HANDLE FLOODS

Did anyone catch ABC Radio National Breakfast this morning with Patricia Karvelas in the presenter’s chair discussing politics with Peter Hartcher (The Age/Sydney Morning Herald) and Samantha Maiden (news.com.au)?  Avid readers will recall that is the very same Mr Hartcher who was cited in the previous edition of MWD (which, due to technical issues, was delayed and came out last Monday) as describing the former KGB communist operative Vladimir Putin, as wait for it, “a fascist”.  Really.

Here’s how the Breakfast segment commenced with journalists praising one another like this:

Patricia Karvelas: To discuss the week in politics, I’m joined by Samantha Maiden, national political editor at News.com.au. Congratulations on your Gold Walkley, Sam.

Samantha Maiden: Thank you.

Patricia Karvelas: And Peter Hartcher, political and international editor at the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. And Peter, you know, you’ve already got a Walkley, so, you’re okay. [laughing] Welcome to both of you.

Peter Hartcher: [laughing] Yes, thank you. It’s getting a bit dusty, maybe I should update and get a new one like Sam. Well done Sam.

Samantha Maiden: Thank you. We should add that, um, Peter Hartcher got a Gold Walkley about 25 years ago. So, he’s way ahead of me.

For its part, MWD reckons that PK (as she likes to be called) should receive her very own Walkley – for presenting the most Green/Left program on the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster. But MWD digresses.

When attention turned to the devastating floods in south-east Queensland, north-east NSW and parts of Sydney, PK asked your man Hartcher whether Prime Minister Morrison “had been active enough”. To which the answer was “No”. Quelle Surprise!

According to this view, the Morrison government has been pre-occupied with COVID-19 and, therefore, has not recognised that there is a “new weather reality descending on our country and we need a systemic response”.  He continued:

Peter Hartcher: …we do need, uh, a systemic plan, uh, coordinated federally, but with the state, and local governments to deal with the increasing severity and frequency of flooding and other storms to build, uh, all sorts of – whether it’s, uh, flood levies, or other, uh, prevention and preparation works, uh, and have other mechanisms ready. I mean, the Insurance Council would say that we need more prevention, wouldn’t they? But, you know, ask anybody who’s just been hit by a flood, and they will agree.

Patricia Karvelas: How can you not agree, right? It’s a no brainer.

Well, it is.  But Australia has experienced severe floods for eons.  Sure, Australia needs to do more, much more, with flood mitigation.  But this is not the sole responsibility of the federal government – and is perhaps more the responsibility of state and territory governments.

It is a bit much for the journalist Hartcher to imply that due to the Prime Minister’s (alleged) “general philosophical disposition”, he is somehow responsible for not resolving the problems brought about by the fact that many Australian homes have been built on flood plains for two centuries.  Your man Hartcher works for Nine.


Can You Bear It?

  • NOT MUCH CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN SALLY NEIGHBOUR’S FROCKED-UP “AMAZING” FOUR CORNERS TEAM

Media Watch Dog just loves it when journalists glam-up and go to media awards where journalists compete with journalists to win journalistic awards which are chosen by journalists and presented by journalists before a crowded room of journalists and their besties.  Last Friday, this was called the Walkley Awards – the function was held in Sydney.

This is the tweet that ABC TV Four Corners executive producer Sally Neighbour put out at Pre-Dinner Drinks Time last Friday:

Comrade Neighbour is the frocked-up Four Corners  journalist in the middle.  And that’s the Melbourne-based frocked-up Four Corners reporter Louise Milligan on the far left. Needless to say, the Neighbour tweet made no reference to why the ABC recently spent around $80,000 in legal expenses related to the settling of a defamation claim brought against Ms Milligan – the most prominent member of this “amazing” team.

Louise Milligan won the 2016 Gold Quill Award – chosen by the Melbourne Press Club – for her “extensive coverage of Cardinal George Pell”.  This included her 30-minute long report on ABC TV’s 7.30 (27 July 2016) which ran serious allegations of historical child sexual abuse against Pell. This “amazing” 7.30  report was so “amazing” that all reference to it has been deleted from the ABC website – without explanation.  Comrade Milligan’s problem is that all her allegations against Pell were either ruled out in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, withdrawn before trial by the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions or quashed by the High Court in a 7 to Zip decision. “Amazing”, to be sure.

But MWD digresses. Lotsa thanks to the Potts Point avid reader, a person of colour, who drew attention to the fact that 85 per cent of Ms Neighbour’s “amazing” team she tweeted about is white – with only one person of colour. And yet the ABC – from the top down – is always banging on about the importance of cultural diversity and all that.  Can You Bear It?

  • ANTI-MORRISON RANTER MURPHAROO WINS THE WALKLEY GONG FOR COMMENTARY

While on the topic of the Walkley Awards, MWD notes that last Friday’s 66th Walkley Award Winner for “Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique” was none other than Katharine (“Malcolm likes to call me Murpharoo”) Murphy.  She got the gong for three articles in the avowedly leftist Guardian Australia.  All three were critical of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition government to a greater or lesser extent.

By the way, the chair of the 2021 Walkley Judging Board is former ABC journalist Michael Brissenden.  The Australian’s editorial director Claire Harvey, who is deputy chair, abstained from voting in 2021.

Comrade Murphy is one of those left-of-centre journalists who reckons its okay for the Coalition to be in government – provided the prime minister is Malcolm Turnbull or Julie Bishop or someone like that.

To get an idea of Murpharoo’s idea of commentary, analysis, opinion and critique it is not necessary to look beyond her tweet of 19 February 2022 – a week or so before her Walkley gong:

If Murpharoo decides to quit the Guardian Australia – with commentary, analysis, opinion and critique like this – she would almost certainly get a gig at the ABC or the Green Left Weekly.

Following a tip from an avid reader, MWD had a look at the winners over the last decades of the Walkley Awards for Commentary, Analysis, Opinion and Critique.  There’s barely a conservative on the list.  You be the judge.  Past winners include Tony Wright (Age, Sydney Morning Herald), Jan Fran (SBS), Greg Jericho (Guardian Australia), Waleed Aly (Age, SMH, ABC) Peter Hartcher (Age/SMH), Caroline Wilson (Age), Laura Tingle (ABC), Greg Baum (Age), Tony Walker (Age/SMH) and Matthew Moore (SMH). You get the picture.

The Australian’s Paul Kelly won the award in 2001 – he is the only one on this list who might pass for a conservative.  Murpharoo is just the latest left-of-centre journalist to be gonged in the Commentary section.  It’s (yet another) Conservative Free Zone –  which appears not to award conservative commentary. Can You Bear It?

  • NINE’S PETER FITZSIMONS RECKONS IT’S “NEWS” THAT RAY MARTIN OPPOSES THE MORRISON GOVERNMENT. REALLY.

Anyone who does not have time for five minutes with the oh-so-garrulous Peter (“Please look at ME”) FitzSimons is not likely to read the Red Bandannaed One’s somewhat boring “5 Minutes with Fitz” column which appears in Nine’s Sun-Herald in Sydney around Gin & Tonic Time on the (Christian) Sabbath.

As avid Media Watch Dog  readers will be aware, about a year ago the Sun-Herald finally junked the “Fitz on Sunday” column which appeared on its back page and replaced it with a Sports page.  Not before time. The place for Sport is on the back page of a newspaper and the pages which immediately go before it. Whereas Fitz’s rants have been relegated back to Page 21 or thereabouts.

The new “5 Minutes with Fitz” is a pretty dull affair which takes the form of an interview with a public figure. On 20 February 2022 the subject was Ray Martin – who, like Comrade Fitz, is a well-heeled luvvie who lives on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.  The title was “In two words, Martin reveals his political view: it’s time.”  When asked by FitzSimons about his current political views, your man Martin replied:

Ray Martin:  Gough’s “It’s Time” campaign was 50 years ago to the year. I think it’s time [again]. I have interviewed every prime minister since Bob Menzies and I think this is the most incompetent government we’ve had.

So Comrade Martin will not vote for the Coalition in May 2022. Quelle Surprise!  Whoever would have dreamed that the former ABC and Nine journalist would hold such views?  In any event, Fitz did not challenge this “revelation”.  And the Sun-Herald reckons that Comrade Martin’s political views on Scott Morrison’s government is news.  Can You Bear It?


In his 1937 book The Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell defended “the ordinary decent person” against “the intellectual, book-trained socialist”. He wrote that the latter “type is drawn, to begin with, entirely from the middle class, and from a rootless town-bred section of that middle class at that. …It includes…the foaming denouncers of the bourgeoisie, and the more-water-in-your-beer reformers of whom [George Bernard] Shaw is the prototype, and the astute young social-literary climbers…and all that dreary tribe of high-minded women and sandal-wearers and bearded fruitjuice drinkers who come flocking towards the smell of ‘progress’ like bluebottles to a dead cat.”

  • YET ANOTHER LEFTIST LUVVIE LOVE-IN AT THE EXPENSIVE SYDNEY PILE OF LISA AND FITZ

Alas, Hendo (Jackie’s male co-owner) did not get an invitation to the exclusive annual luvvies knees-up which Peter FitzSimons and Lisa Wilkinson held recently.  As reported in The Australian “Media” section last Monday, the guest list included such leftist Luvvies as Hamish Macdonald (The Project and ABC), Jan Fran (former SBS), Chris Taylor (one of the ABC’s Chaser “Boys” – average age 481/2), Lisa Davies (ex SMH), Kate McClymont (SMH), Jacqueline Maley (SMH), Jane (“I hope that even Truculent Turds will vote for me in the NSW Senate election”) Caro, Mike (“I’ll pour the Gin”) Carlton, Julia Baird (ABC and SMH) plus Louise Milligan (ABC).  Oh yes, former ABC managing director (and so-called editor-in-chief) Mark Scott also rocked up. These days Nice Mr Scott is the vice chancellor of Sydney University and is chair of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, which is an annual leftist-stack subsidised by taxpayers.

In short, it was a collection of Lower North Shore and inner-city types who flocked to the Fitz/Lisa pile near Sydney Harbour.

Not a conservative among this lot – nor many men or women of colour.  Nor a butcher, baker or candle-stick maker. Just a lot of what Orwell called social-literary climbers who are attracted to “progressive” causes like bluebottles to a dead cat.

The conversation would surely have resembled one of those discussions on ABC TV Insiders  and The Drum where everyone agrees with everyone else in a “progressive” (read “left-of-centre”)  kind of way on almost everything.

Needless to say, Stan Grant appears not to have been invited to the Fitz/Lisa exclusive Harbourside gig this time around – having described last year’s event as a “woke lefty love-in” where guests were expected to bring-a-plate, presumably with food on it.  Re which see MWD Issue 529.

And the Red-Bandannaed One (who finally junked the much beloved rag on his head when, after a decade or more, he realised it was time for it to go to the laundry where, apparently, it was lost) reckons that – with Luvvie friends like these – he can lead non-Tesla owners to an Australian republic any time soon. How out of touch can you get?


YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS?

“You Must Remember This” is based on the chorus line in the song As Time Goes By which was popularised by the film Casablanca. It is devoted to reminding the usual suspects of what they and/or those they supported once wrote or said or did.

  • JOHN (“GO, PUTIN”) PILGER BLAMES UNCLE SAM FOR EVERYTHING – BUT FORGETS HOW THE US RESCUED HIM FROM A COMMUNIST REGIME HALF A CENTURY AGO

Expatriate Australian journalist John Pilger (born 1939) has what appears to be a universal approach to international politics.  First, find out the position of the Western Allies led by the United States.  Second, support the other side.

And so it came to pass that on Monday Comrade Pilger put out the following tweet:

Earlier, on 29 January 2022, Pilger had put out this tweet:

So it appears  that John Pilger has adopted Russian president Vladimir Putin as his new anti-West “bestie”.  Previously Pilger had fawned at the feet of various left-wing dictators in such nations as North Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela and more besides.  Now it’s Putin’s turn.

According to Pilger, Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky can readily stop Russia’s invasion of his country. All Zelensky has to do is surrender to Putin.  In other words, get hold of a White Flag and fly it over the parliament in Kyiv. Easy, eh?

This overlooks the fact that, as the President of a democratic nation whose leaders are elected, Zelensky is expected to act in accordance with the views of a majority of the Ukrainian people.  Some of whom are well aware of the Soviet Union’s forced famine in Ukraine in the 1930s and the oppression that occurred under such USSR leaders as Josef Stalin during the period between 1922 when Ukraine was incorporated into the Soviet Union and 1991, when following an agreement with Russia, Ukraine became independent.

In any event, it’s timely to remember that Comrade Pilger – on one occasion at least –  had reason to be grateful to the United States, the US military industrial complex and so on for saving him from “liberation” under a communist dictatorship.  Here’s what happened – as explained in some detail in MWD Issue 557.

John Pilger was in South Vietnam on 30 April 1975 when the non-communist government in Saigon fell to the communist North Vietnam regime (which was supplied military weapons by the leaders of the Soviet Union) based in Hanoi.  Rather than remaining in Saigon when North Vietnam won the Vietnam War – whose cause Pilger had supported – our man did a bunk.

Comrade Pilger pushed his way through a crowd of Vietnamese trying to flee the communist regime and got a seat on a United States helicopter which had landed on the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon.  The helicopter flew to the USS Blue Ridge, part of the US Seventh Fleet. On the Blue Ridge, Pilger shared space with the CIA’s very own Tom Polgar, who had been the CIA’s station chief in Saigon.  From there, Pilger and others were taken to the Philippines.

So, there you have it.  To the leftist activist Pilger, the United States is the enemy of the people. Except when the US is rescuing people like Pilger who are members of the pro-communist left from being “liberated” by communists.

Look at it this way, at a time when Comrade Pilger is not railing against the (alleged) “war-mongers” in President Joe Biden’s Democrat administration, it’s timely to remember that he once sought protection from the alleged “war mongers” in President Gerald Ford’s Republican administration.


NEW SEGMENT – A NIKI SAVVA MOMENT

Due to enormous popular demand Media Watch Dog has introduced this new segment to monitor The Thought of Niki Savva in the lead-up to the 2022 election. As avid readers will be aware, the one-time journalist Ms Savva is something of a MWD fave – in view of her honesty. In her 2010 book So Greek: Confessions of a Conservative Leftie, Savva ’fessed up that “journalists can, and do, get away with lying”. This was okay for journos, she claimed – but not for politicians.  See MWD Issue 575.

Since commencing her weekly column on the Opinion Page of Nine’s The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald on 5 August 2021, Ms Savva has constantly expressed the view that Prime Minister Scott Morrison is absolutely hopeless and more besides.  Indeed, all but a couple of columns have run this line. From MWD’s point of view – this is most helpful and provides lotsa copy most Fridays, like today.

  • IN WHICH, FROM INSIDE THE CANBERRA BUBBLE, MS SAVVA TELLS US WHAT LABOR FRONTBENCHERS HAVE FOR DINNER

It would seem that the Canberra resident Niki Savva has only one topic – Australian national politics, with a Canberra focus.  From which the Coalition in general and the PM in particular emerge badly each week.  Correction – nearly every week.

Prior to yesterday, Nine’s fave columnist had only written two pieces which did not completely bag the Coalition. And – surprise, surprise – yesterday there was another one critical of the Coalition – which looked at the leadership group of, respectively, the Labor Party and the Coalition. Here’s how it commenced:

On Sunday nights before Parliament sits, Anthony Albanese’s leadership group, plus senior portfolio holders and tacticians, gather in his office for dinner. They are an eclectic bunch – different factions, life experiences and dietary requirements. Katy Gallagher is vegetarian, Mark Butler is vegan, Kristina Keneally is ketogenic, Tony Burke is coeliac, so food is a mixture of takeaway and bring your own.

The point of the gatherings, as Albanese keeps reminding them, is not to lock in decisions on issues – because that is done by shadow cabinet and caucus – but to talk about the week ahead and to toss around ideas. It can get willing. Albanese, said to be an active participant in “robust” discussions, seldom objects so long as it is respectful and constructive.

How frightfully interesting.  Once upon a time journalists wrote about Labor’s factions. You know, the socialist left, the right and so on.  But Niki Savva divides the ALP leadership team into vegetarians, vegans, ketogenics and coeliacs. How’s that for reportage from inside the Canberra Bubble?  It’s certainly more than you need – or want – to know.

But there is more.  According to Nine’s columnist, Katy Gallagher (the vegetarian) and Jim Chalmers (dietary requirements unknown) are “tight as”. And Ms Gallagher “is also besties” with Kristina Keneally (the ketogenic) and Penny Wong (dietary requirements not stated). What’s more, Chalmers and Keneally bought Senator Wong “trendy designer sneakers for her birthday”. [Thank God they did not buy her sandals. – MWD Editor.] According to Nine’s intrepid columnist, Wong calls Gallagher and Keneally her “Senate sisters”.  How nice, don’t you think?

There’s more.  “Labor frontbench women such as Tanya Plibersek and Catherine King… are relentless warriors for the cause” and Keneally is “a razzle-dazzle performer”. Moreover, an unnamed frontbench colleague describes himself as “a fanboy” of Wong. Wow.

As to the Coalition frontbench, Niki Savva reported that Josh Frydenberg and Peter Dutton are performing well, but “after that, it slides”.  Alas, Ms Savva has provided no insight into the dietary requirements of those Liberal Party and Nationals frontbenchers who operate within what she describes as “the confines of Morrison’s command-and-control operational style”.  The column ended with a dig at a person called “Barnaby”- presumably Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.  Stand by for more coverage of The Thought of Ms Savva.

Jackie’s Comments on Canine Issues for MWD

I found Ms Savva’s piece of enormous interest – particularly the stuff about grub. I’m sure that MWD readers would like to know about the dietary requirements of the canine leadership group at Hendoville.  I’m a steak meat eater, with a bit of All-Bran on the top, kind of sheila.  Luke is a fine mince along with lotsa carrots bloke and Young Missy, who visits from Canberra, is into anything consumable – including furniture.

Alas none of this canine group is into veganism or vegetarianism.  As to ketogenic stuff, I don’t know what this is about.  As to coeliac, I’ve heard it is a town in Western Victoria where Queensland heelers are welcome. I really and truly hope that this news from the Canine Bubble is of interest to MWD’s avid readers.


  • SHANE (“CANDLESTICKS”) WRIGHT PROVEN HOPELESSLY WRONG ON THE IMMEDIATE TO MEDIUM FUTURE OF COAL

As avid readers are all-too-well aware, Media Watch Dog is of the view that it’s unwise to make predictions. Especially about the future.

Nine’s Shane Wright has risen without trace (as the late Kitty Muggeridge once said about the late David Frost) to become the senior economics correspondent  for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. So you would expect a person in such an elevated position to know something about the international energy market.

It’s only a few years since your man Wright ridiculed anyone who said that coal had any future as a part of energy supply – even in such markets as those of India, China and Indonesia.  He said on Insiders  on 11 June 2017 that “coal is like candlesticks” and compared those who said that there is still a demand for Australian coal exports with members of the Candle Makers’ Union circa 1870.

Nine’s senior (yes, senior) economics correspondent has not commented recently on the increasing demand for, and price of thermal coal – both before and increasingly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  This reflects the fact that Russia’s principal exports are gas, coal and wheat – and there are economic sanctions imposed by many nations against Vladimir Putin’s regime in Moscow.

Moreover, Germany, which is heavily dependent on gas from Russia which passes through Ukraine, is looking at increasing its coal production which was being run down in accordance with the policy of reducing carbon emissions.  More importantly, Germany and other nations previously dependent on Russian gas are looking at increased purchases of gas and coal from such energy-rich countries as Australia along with extending the life of its coal plants.  Note that Germany’s economy minister is from the Green Party.

In short, the coal price is currently booming.  Just a couple of years after Shane Wright equated power from coal with lighting by candles.  Today’s price for coal on Newcastle Coal Futures is $545 (AUD) a tonne – a week ago it was $330 (AUD) a tonne.  By the way, the cheapest cost of 12 packs of large candlesticks is around $5 (AUD).

Who knows?  Maybe Comrade Wright will attempt to advise German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Germany does not need more coal – and can make do with candlesticks.  Or maybe he will admit that his prophecy about the immediate to medium future of coal was false and that Nine’s senior economics correspondent is a False Prophet.

But don’t hold your breath about the latter scenario.  Being a journalist means never having to say you’re sorry for getting it wrong.


OUTSIDE INSIDERS – THE WRITTEN VERSION

Media Watch Dog fave William (Bill) Thompson established the website “Outside Insiders” – in which he would attempt (sometimes successfully) to interview politicians and commentators (but not David Marr or Laura Tingle who were always in no-comment mode) entering and exiting the ABC Melbourne Southbank studio where Insiders is filmed on a Sunday morning.  Mr Thompson, who describes himself as the ABC’s Southbank Correspondent, was a bit short of talent in 2020 and 2021 – due to the pandemic, since much of the Insiders interviews/panel discussions were done online.  But he was back in action for the first episode in 2022. Nevertheless MWD – which acquired the “Outside Insiders”  term on a temporary basis last year – will continue to present a written version of “Outside Insiders”. Here’s hoping Bill Thompson doesn’t object.

  • DAVID AGREES WITH DAVID, AND BRIDGET AND CAMERON ABOUT THE BROOKFIELD/ATLASSIAN BID FOR AGL

It was consensus as usual on the ABC TV program last Sunday as presenter David Speers agreed with his panel David Crowe (Age/Sydney Morning Herald), Bridget Brennan (ABC) and Cameron Stewart (The Australian) on almost everything.

The final topic for the discussion turned on the deal whereby Brookfield and the Australian company Atlassian (co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes) would buy AGL’s coal-fired power station in the NSW Hunter Valley with a view to closing it down earlier than planned in an attempt to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  Many journalists in Australia, who find the eco-catastrophist Cannon-Brookes of interest, have failed to report that Brookfield is 80 per cent of this deal and Atlassian is 20 per cent. David Crowe fell into this error of omission on Sunday.

Discussion turned on the Insiders couch as to whether the Morrison government would attempt to block the deal if it was envisaged to adversely affect energy supply in Australia.  Let’s go to the transcript:

David Speers:  So David [Crowe], the AGL board said no to this initial offer, the bid was too low.  We’ll see where that goes.  The government is also worried, though, about the speedy closure of these coal fired power assets.  If there is a higher bid, what do you think? – would the government be willing to actually block this sort of takeover?

David Crowe:  I think it’s inconceivable that the government would block a bid. They’re a Liberal government, they are meant to stand up for free markets.  This is naked, brutal  capitalism at work. Mike Cannon-Brookes has – he’s a capitalist and he knows how the markets work. He’s – according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index – is worth $24 billion.  The offer price here for AGL is only $8 billion.  Now I’m not saying that he can sell all his Atlassian shares to finance this.  But there is scope for Brookfield and Mike Cannon-Brookes to go further. And for a  government to use something like foreign investment laws to block it would be I think, astonishing….

Soon after Cameron Stewart agreed with David Crowe:

Cameron Stewart:  …I think the fundamental  problem here and the reason why I agree with David [Crowe], they’re not going to pursue – it is that, you know, Scott Morrison has been saying to everyone, “We want less government in people’s lives; we’ve had the pandemic and let’s get out of people’s lives a bit more.”  Well, this is a perfect example of totally unnecessary intervention by government….

An interesting point to be sure.  But one that overlooked the fact that the Australian government has been intervening in energy markets for over a decade due to Renewable Energy Targets and subsidies for renewables.

And then Bridget Brennan made this contribution:

Bridget Brennan: It’s kind of remarkable that we’re talking about 2030 when the UK is projecting that most of their coal-fired power plants be shut by 2025, if not 2023. Now it’s just a reminder of how far we are behind other nations that have accelerated.

Ms Brennan failed to mention that, in view of the recent energy shortage in much of Western Europe, Britain is holding on to some of its coal-powered energy stations for a while at least.  Moreover, Britain produces nuclear energy and Boris Johnson’s government is considering increasing nuclear power plants in Britain.  Also, Britain has access to nuclear power from France’s nuclear energy which feeds into the Western European power grid.

And so it came to pass that David (Crowe) essentially agreed with David (Speers) who essentially agreed with Cameron who essentially agreed with David The First who essentially agreed with Bridget who essentially agreed with herself.

No one addressed the issue that energy is central to national security and no government – Coalition or Labor – is likely to remain passive if commercial dealings lead to a situation whereby the lights go out all over Australia (to re-work a familiar phase).

Soon after, your man Speers wrapped up the segment as follows:

David Speers: All right. Well before we get to “Talking Pictures” a quick shout out to the Insiders  family members who cleaned up the Walkley Awards on Friday night. David Pope for his brilliant cartoons, Katharine Murphy for her searing commentary. And most of all, Samantha Maiden who won the Gold Walkley, journalism’s highest honour, for revealing [name deleted] was raped in Parliament House – and then she fiercely pursued that story for weeks.  Very well deserved for all of you.

It was yet another example of journalists praising fellow journalists about their journalism. On this occasion, David Speers joined the long list of journalists who are inclined to discuss forthcoming jury trials without fully considering the right of an accused to a fair trial uninfluenced by media commentary. But there you go. The real point was that your man Pope is “brilliant”, Murpharoo writes “searing” commentary and Samantha won “journalism’s highest honour” – as determined by other journalists.

 

 

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Until Next Time

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