GERARD HENDERSON’S MEDIA WATCH DOG
ISSUE – NO. 597
22 July 2022
* * * *
* * * *
YET ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE ABC’S LACK OF POLITICAL DIVERSITY
On 26 July, Sky News will air Chris Kenny’s special investigation titled Your ABC Exposed. Media Watch Dog has not viewed a preview. But the advertising indicates that at least one ABC supporter and Sky News critic – to wit, Quentin Dempster – appears on the program. Others were invited but declined. Meanwhile the taxpayer funded public broadcaster has cancelled – read censored – many conservatives who do not appear on ABC programs.
And that’s the problem with the ABC – concerning which its chair (Ita Buttrose) and managing director and editor-in-chief (David Anderson) are in denial. Namely, there is virtually no debate on the leading ABC news and current affairs programs – RN Breakfast, News Breakfast, AM, PM, The Drum, Insiders, Q+A, Late Night Live et al ad nauseam.
Take RN Breakfast this morning in the Friday discussion which Patricia Karvelas presents with panellists David Speers (ABC) and Samantha Maiden (news.com.au).
On the previous morning, PK (as she likes to be known) had criticised former prime minister Scott Morrison’s speech at Margaret Court’s Victory Life Centre Church in Perth. Controversy ensued when it was reported that Mr Morrison had said: “We don’t trust in governments. We don’t trust in the United Nations – thank goodness”.
Scott Morrison might have worded his off-the-cuff speech somewhat differently. But all he was saying was that Christians – and not only Pentecostal Christians – owe their ultimate allegiance to God. But this does not mean that Mr Morrison was saying that somehow or other Christians do not have to respect and obey the laws which prevail in democracies like Australia. It’s the same with non-Christian believers.
Patricia Karvelas introduced the topic on her panel this morning. Samantha Maiden, a clever and zany commentator, who does not always embrace fashionable positions, joined the Morrison pile-on – declaring: “I just thought for him to stand there and peddle these conspiracy theories; it sounded like something you’d hear at an anti-vaxxer sort of convention.” She added that “it sounded a bit like…a word…that starts with ‘bat’ and rhymes with ‘it’”. Which MWD translates as bat s-it.
Then it was David Speers’ turn. He described it as “strange” that Scott Morrison decided to “deliver a sermon at the Margaret Court Church”. The ABC Insiders presenter said that the former prime minister’s comments were jarring because he had asked “us all to trust him while he was prime minister”.
If the Speers analysis is correct – Scott Morrison’s plea when PM did not work. It’s difficult to think of any ABC types who declared trust in the Morrison government when it was in office. Speers concluded: “Sam[antha] is right; that sort of rhetoric can inflame those who genuinely want to bring down trust in governments.”
This is a massive exaggeration – which was not corrected by either Karvelas or Maiden. Likewise, for both Samantha Maiden and David Speers to equate the comments of the fully vaccinated Morrison with an anti-vaxxer convention is just hyperbole. As is the suggestion that in Perth he was advancing conspiracy theories.
Speers specifically objected to a quote he attributed to Scott Morrison “We don’t trust in the United Nations”. Sure the UN does some good work. But the extent to which it should be trusted is limited by the knowledge that 40 per cent of the permanent members of the Security Council – with the right to veto – comprise China and Russia.
It is reasonable for the Karvelas/Maiden/Speersy trio to bag the former prime minister. The problem is that – once again – no other view was heard. As David agreed with Sam who agreed with PK who agreed with David – who agreed with himself.
This is what passes for debate and discussion at the ABC in 2022. That’s why so many ABC news and current affairs programs are just, well, boring.
THE ABC’S NORMAN SWAN STARS IN HIS OWN COVID REPORT ON ABC’s 7.30
This is how Sarah Ferguson introduced the lead story on ABC 7.30 last night:
Sarah Ferguson: Welcome to the program. Not that long ago we understood that being infected with COVID would bring us a few months of immunity. But that’s all changed thanks to the Omicron variant. The current COVID wave is partly driven by people being reinfected. Dr Norman Swan is back just in time to tell us what is going on.
How about that? Norman (Proudly Australia’s most trusted doctor who has not practised medicine for four decades) Swan is back just in time. Presumably from what journalists call a well-earned-break (or WEB). And now he’s back, your man Swan can “tell us what is going on”. Sarah Ferguson gave the impression that without the Doctor in the (ABC) House – none of us would have a clue about COVID and all that.
Needless to say, Dr Swan played a lead-role in his very own report for 7.30. Early on, your man Swan was filmed sitting on a beach – and then walking towards somewhere or the other, viewed from behind in a rear angle camera shot – having told viewers that, while fully vaccinated, he has caught COVID twice in the last three months.
For more on Norman Swan as a media celebrity who appears to have been continually reinfected with publicityitis – see today’s “Boring for Australia” segment.
THE ABC’S MEDIA WATCH BAGS OTHER MEDIA FOR NOT SAYING “SORRY” FOR HOWLERS – A CASE OF POT+KETTLE TO BE SURE
Since it first went to air in 1989 (not long after Media Watch Dog was born in its original form), the ABC’s Media Watch has had a succession of leftist and left-of-centre presenters. Paul Barry, the current holder of this office, is the second longest presenter after Stuart Littlemore. Media Watch has always been an example of the taxpayer funded public broadcaster as a Conservative Free Zone.
On 18 July, your man Barry devoted considerable time bagging former Queensland Liberal National Party senator Amanda Stoker. He supported the criticism of Ms Stoker (who has commenced a fortnightly column in the Australian Financial Review) by the AFR’s “Rear Window” columnist Michael Roddan. Re which see the last issue of MWD.
However, Comrade Barry did not draw attention to the fact that Roddan’s attack on “post-parliamentary” careers like those of Amanda Stoker – namely that ex-politicians “generally lack any discernible skills or qualities befitting human beings operating in a civil society” – logically would apply to “post-parliamentary” columnists. Step forward, former Labor MP Craig Emerson. Either Comrade Roddan has one rule for the likes of Stoker and another for the likes of Dr Emerson (for a doctor he is). Or else the “Rear Window” columnist does not think the learned doctor has “any discernible skills or qualities befitting human beings” etc etc.
In another segment on 18 July, ABC TV’s Media Watch criticised an incorrect report in various US media outlets about a 10 year old girl rape victim who had been denied an abortion in the state of Ohio. The veracity of this story had been doubted by various news outlets – including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Fox News.
This is how the Media Watch segment concluded:
Paul Barry: So, have the naysayers now been shamed into apologising? Not really. The Wall Street Journal did correct the record but did not say sorry or admit it was at fault, while The Washington Post added an update but again did not apologise or accept any blame for the doubts that it had raised.
And the hosts at Fox News? Well, I think you know the answer. Sorry is not their style. The nerve of it really is breathtaking. And it’s part of a pattern that continues in the US media week after week after week.
Turn it up. Talk about giving double standards a bad name. When has the ABC ever said “sorry” for any of its false and misleading reports over the years or admitted that it was ever at “fault”? How breathtaking can an ABC presenter get?
If Paul Barry and Media Watch executive producer Timothy Latham have any examples of the ABC apologising or admitting fault for errors – perhaps they might produce a list in a future issue of Media Watch. Don’t hold your breath. In the meantime – Can You Bear It?
[You are on strong ground here. At least we at MWD correct our errors – even our John-Laws-Style Deliberate Mistakes. – MWD Editor.]
JONATHAN GREEN THROWS THE SWITCH TO ROUGH PUFF ON BLUEPRINT
It was Hangover Time on Saturday 16 July and Jackie’s (male) co-owner – while walking the said Jackie – turned on Blueprint (which used to be called Blueprint for Living, as Media Watch Dog recalls). As avid readers know, this program on ABC Radio National Breakfast is presented by Jonathan (“Proudly the ABC’s Sneerer-in-Chief”) Green. This is how the oh-so-clever Comrade Green introduced the oh-so-boring Blueprint on 16 July:
Jonathan Green: I want, if we can, to have a conversation about colour. Listen to these: [train crossing bell sound effect] There’s red [chainsaw noise?], purple [bird noises] and a touch of green [electricity static sound effect?]. The background field is blue of course [splat sound effect] and here’s a patch of yellow [music]. In a moment, you’ll meet a man who can create harmony from all those tones. And that might sound a little like this: [music].
This is Blueprint here on ABC RN. I’m Jonathan Green here with your rainbow assortment of places, spaces, food, gardens and design. More on colour in a moment from the man who wrote the book on it. Plus, “Puff Pastry Wonderfulness” chapter two from Annie Smithers. And finally, after all this time, Colin Bisset in a bin. But first, I talk to the trees.
By now it was shortly after 9 am on the taxpayer funded public broadcaster and your man Green was about to talk to the trees. Perhaps even engage in a CONVERSATION, in modern cliché-ridden parlance, with trees. It’s the kind of “news” that is not well received at Hangover Time. By the way, the pedal bin is the kind of rubbish container in a kitchen which can be operated by foot. Now you know. And this is how the contribution by Chef Smithers was introduced in the program’s briefing notes:
Annie Smithers’ Kitchen Rudimental: puff pastry continued. Have you ever wondered what to do with your puff pastry scraps? Annie has the answers – it’s called a rough puff! Plus, she takes you on a step-by-step journey in assembling a vol-au-vent. [Gee don’t you just love the exclamation mark!!!! – MWD Editor.]
Right now, the world is replete with many problems. But listeners of Blueprint (if listeners there were) were advised about what to do with the rough puff!!!!! Plus how to assemble a vol-au-vent. Essential listening, to be sure, on a Saturday morning. Can You Bear It?
THE [BORING] SATURDAY PAPER’S DAVID MOYLE ON HOW TO TREAT A DEAD OCTOPUS WELL
While on the topic of need-to-know matters, on 20 July Media Watch Dog received an email titled “The Food by David Moyle” from The [Boring] Saturday Paper. This is how it was presented – in the words of Cook Moyle himself:
I started looking at octopus differently some time ago when I found out that if it is treated well and grilled on medium heat, the texture becomes enjoyable. There is a fine line between chewy and delicious, so cooking octopus is not something to approach with reckless abandon. The pleasantly sweet and marine flavours of grilled octopus are hard to beat. Braising the octopus gives a consistent but inferior result, so be brave in your approach.
Lotsa thanks to Morry Schwartz, The Saturday Paper’s founder. Just when MWD readers might have thought that this boring paper could not be more boring, along comes David Moyle with a tale about how he started looking at octopus differently some time ago and that those who grill the said cephalopods need to be brave in their approach. Worth an email at 1 pm on a Wednesday? Or, more seriously, Can You Bear It? [I’m surprised that we humans can treat a dead octopus “well”. But there you go. MWD Editor.]
SCOTT BURCHILL IN DENIAL ABOUT THE REASONS FOR SRI LANKA’S MASSIVE INFLATION PROBLEMS
Wasn’t it great to see Scott Burchill – who is now presented as a he’s-a-jolly-good-fellow at Deakin University in Melbourne – during the Newspapers gig on ABC TV News Breakfast on 19 July? [Hang on. Don’t you mean “senior fellow” – MWD Editor.] The presenters were James Glenday and Lisa Millar.
It was just like old times. Except that, for once, Dr Burchill (for a doctor he is) did not dress as if he had dropped in at the ABC’s Southbank studio in Melbourne on the way to the tip. Rather, he was dressed in Phillip Adams black and looked like he was on his way to a funeral where the attendees were not compulsive tip-goers.
But MWD digresses. Your man Burchill commenced by referring to (yet another) “catastrophe” report about the environment. Deakin University’s honorary fellow told viewers that they could read all about this in The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald that very morning – overlooking the fact that the report was also carried in The Australian.
Lisa Millar then drew attention to inflation and all that – which led to this comment:
Scott Burchill: inflation is a problem. I mean, if we think we’ve got a problem with inflation, I’d just, just cast your mind to Sri Lanka at the moment, which is projecting a 77 per cent inflation figure in the next three months. And obviously, that’s an extreme case. And there’s all sorts of catastrophic consequences for the Sri Lankan economy. But it’s a global problem. So just – Australia’s not going to solve it necessarily itself….
What a load of absolute tosh. Sure Australia, along with other OECD nations, has an inflation problem. Even though Australia’s inflation is lower than such nations as the United States, Britain and New Zealand. However, there is no comparison with Sri Lanka.
What Comrade Burchill failed to concede is that a key element of Sri Lanka’s disastrous inflation turned on the fact that, in a planned gesture to the environment, the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government banned fertilisers. This led to the drop in the harvest of rice and tea. Food prices rose dramatically and many Sri Lankans face hunger – caused by the forced implementation of a green agenda.
Leftist eco-catastrophists like Comrade Burchill invariably go into denial about the cause of Sri Lanka’s current discontents. Not surprisingly, James Glenday and Lisa Millar did not raise the rice/tea matter. Can You Bear It?
[No not really. I note that Comrade Burchill is one of a conga-line of leftists and left-of-centre types who rock-up on News Breakfast to do the Newspapers segment. But I can’t recall even one political conservative performing this role for eons. As befits the ABC as a Conservative-Free-Zone, I guess. MWD Editor.]
OCCUPY THE GUARDIAN AUSTRALIA! – GIVE WAGE-SLAVE AMY REMEIKIS A WAGE RISE: AN UPDATE
There has been enormous support for Media Watch Dog’s campaign to get MWD fave and wage-slave (in Marxian terminology) Amy Remeikis a pay increase. Comrade Remeikis is The Guardian Australia’s political reporter based in Canberra. MWD readers were appalled – literally appalled – to hear Ms Remeikis say on ABC TV Insiders (26 June): “The Guardian is not going to give me a 5 per cent wage increase – like, it’s not going to happen.”
Now The Guardian Australia – editor Lenore Taylor, political editor Katharine Murphy – is always banging on about wage justice and all that. Yet, Comrade Remeikis has said publicly that she is not going to get a 5 per cent wage increase – despite the fact that her rent has increased by $40 a week. It would seem that Comrade Taylor wants the toiling masses throughout the land to get a 5 per cent wage increase – except for the wage-slaves who toil for The Guardian Australia.
Which raises the question – how much of a wage slave is Amy Remeikis? Thanks to the avid reader who reminded MWD of what Ms Remeikis had to say about annual pay and all that when she appeared on the ABC TV Insiders program on 16 April 2021. When discussion turned on the fact that Australia Post had decided to give some executives a total of almost $20,000 in watches by way of a performance bonus, The Guardian’s wage-slave had this to say:
Amy Remeikis: I mean, at the end of the day, it’s $20,000 – which is outrageous. But all CEO bonuses are outrageous – [Phil Coorey looks amused]. Well, it’s outrageous to me, that’s a lot of my wage.
So it would seem that just two years ago Amy Remeikis regarded $20,000 as representing “a lot” of her wage at The Guardian Australia.
Shame, Guardian, Shame. Give Comrade Amy a pay rise. Now!
NORMAN SWAN’s PREDICTABLE HEALTH ADVICE – PLUS A REMINDER OF NETWORK 10’s THE BIGGEST LOSER
As mentioned in Stop Press the ABC’s resident COVID guru, Dr Norman Swan, has been making the media rounds this week, offering his typical gloomy forecasts of Australia’s COVID fate. In addition to his usual appearances on ABC TV’s News Breakfast and 7:30 programs along with ABC Radio National’s Breakfast, Dr Swan briefly left the hallowed halls of Ultimo to be interviewed for a profile by Jane Armitstead which appeared in the July 16-17 edition of The Daily Telegraph’s Weekend magazine.
The reason for Dr Swan’s brief trip outside the ABC was the forthcoming publication of his second book the awkwardly titled So you want to Live Younger, Longer? – which is billed on the cover as ”The ultimate guide to longevity from Australia’s most trusted doctor”. This is the follow up to his June 2021 tome So you think you know What’s Good For You?, billed as “The ultimate health guide from Australia’s most trusted doctor”. Prior to COVID, Dr Swan had not published any books, evidently the increased profile he has enjoyed after being featured prominently in the ABC’s COVID coverage sent the good doctor racing to the typewriter.
As many of Norman Swan’s ABC-loving fans no doubt missed his appearance in the Daily Tele, MWD feels compelled to document some of the oh so useful advice offered there. Here are some of the health tips provided by Australia’s self-described most trusted doctor:
Don’t smoke, do exercise, keep an eye on blood pressure, “you don’t want it to be higher than 120/80”, keep out of the sun, and limit alcohol. It’s never too late to begin healthy habits, Swan says, but your 20s is a prime time to start.
You heard it here first folks, or, more likely you heard it a million times before. But Dr Swan is not just interested in physical health, he also has something to say about having a positive outlook:
It also pays to be positive, Swan says, with research in his book suggesting the more optimistic you are, the longer you live.
“There are quite a few studies which suggest that people who are warm, conscientious, like being with people, look for stimulation in the world around them, and are more positive than others, tend to live longer lives,” he writes. These types of people “don’t fester” and have the ability to “roll with the punches” but if this doesn’t come naturally, says Swan, there’s no point faking it.
“There is a whole thing about optimism and pessimism and people who have hope tend to live longer than those who are pessimistic,” he says. “But people who are pessimistic tend to be a bit depressed and maybe their depression isn’t well treated. There is no point being falsely optimistic when the reality is things are pretty crap but if you can fix up the things that are pretty crap and start to feel optimistic, it is going to be pretty good for you.”
Well there you go – be positive, unless times are tough. And if you have problems, fix your problems. He also extols the virtues of living in a nice area and going to uni:
While medical advancements and technology have contributed to the population living longer, Swan says the less obvious factors are where you live and education. “If you look at the reason why (we are living longer) it’s education, so more people are going onto high school and university and what this does, first of all, your brain doesn’t age as much or as quickly because you have more brain reserve,” he says.
“The second reason is that when you’re better educated, you have more money in your pocket and you are more likely to live a healthy lifestyle and you’re less likely to smoke. You don’t think of school or university education as lifesaving but in fact, that is what it is.”
Amazing, according to Dr Swan’s expert advice, attending university is a good thing. Thankfully we have him around so we do not have to listen to less-trusted doctors who might recommend dropping out of school, smoking multiple packs a day and never checking your blood pressure.
The article concludes with Dr Swan offering up advice on diet and exercise. Here are his recommendations regarding exercise:
Ideally, we should be doing 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise “most days of the week” with a focus on aerobic exercise and muscle strengthening.
“If you have strong muscles, you live younger longer because as you get older, your muscles waste away and you don’t want that to happen,” he says.
There are simple ways to achieve these exercises at home. “You can do muscle dips on chairs, you can do step-ups, you can lift bags of flour at home, you can buy cheap weights to have at home and then progress up.” Swan notes “moderate” means “you’re sufficiently pushed that you’re a bit out of breath and find conversation hard.”
Dr Swan’s push for moderate exercise is a little surprising considering his history as the resident doctor on Network 10’s diet competition show The Biggest Loser for six seasons. The show was essentially a crash dieting competition in which morbidly obese contestants were encouraged to eat as little as possible and do as much exercise as possible in order to rapidly lose weight in a short amount of time. Semi-regularly the (starving) contestants were put through “temptations” in which they were offered appetising but calorie-rich foods, with those who chose to eat the foods receiving prizes. Those that gave in to the temptations (put before them by the show) were inevitably chastised by the show’s personal trainers and told that they lacked willpower.
During one notable incident during the show’s seventh season (one of the seasons Dr Swan appeared on) the contestants were separately offered junk food and told that whoever ate the most calories would win $30,000 in gold bullion. Afterwards the contestant who ate the most was told that if he chose to take the money it would be deducted from the season’s grand prize and that he would have to leave the show. The briefcase of gold bullion was handcuffed to his wrist while he mulled over this decision and he was told by the show’s trainers that leaving would jeopardise his weight loss and health.
The show was controversial at the time, with many criticising it as exploitational and unrealistic. Luckily for the producers, Dr Swan was willing to defend the show – though as far as MWD is aware he never explained the health rationale for inviting obese people into eating candy then criticising them for doing so. Certainly, the unintended consequence of all this was your man Swan having a little more money in his pocket which is, according to him, good for your health. So it all works out it in the end. Meanwhile, these days Norman Swan bores for Australia in other ways.
NINE’S LATIKA BOURKE U-TURNS ON KEMI BADENOCH
As avid readers of the hugely popular Can You Bear It? segment in the last issue of Media Watch Dog will be aware, Latika Bourke wrote in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald on 15 July that Kemi Badenoch “is the darling of the Conservatives’ ultra-right wing”.
MWD made the point that this was ultra-right shaming. As if the (then) contestant to become prime minister of Britain was a kind of modern day ultra-right Oswald Mosley or Enoch Powell who leads a modern-day version of the British Union of Fascists. Turn it up. [Perhaps Comrade Bourke misunderstood the derivation of the “Bad-Enoch” name. Just a thought. – MWD Editor.]
However, it would seem that Comrade Bourke has undergone a metamorphosis with respect to Ms Badenoch. How else to explain these tweets of 18 July and 20 July?
If Kemi was smart she'd strike a deal with Truss. She clearly has a huge future, but isn't PM-ready tomorrow.
It would demonstrate her love of the party by uniting the right and she can take whatever Cabinet post she wants and earn her stripes and be PM-ready next time.
— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) July 17, 2022
If it's Truss v Rishi she'd be wise to give Kemi a huge job and outline her team day one of the campaign.
Odds on the membership are going to like her cabinet line up more tha Rishi's mod squad.
Then she can campaign on the basis that it's not about her but her team.
— Latika M Bourke (@latikambourke) July 19, 2022
So there you have it. On 15 July Comrade Bourke was running a “Beware Kemi” line – since she is (allegedly) supported by the ultra-right. But on 18 and 19 July, The Age’s and SMH’s intrepid reporter was maintaining (without reference to the ultra-right) that Kemi Badenoch has “a huge future” in the Conservative Party and should obtain a “huge job” if Liz Truss becomes prime minister of Britain.
DEBUNKING THE MYTH THAT AUSTRALIA WAS THE ARTS-END OF THE WORLD IN THE 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s
Did anyone hear the interview with John Clark, the former director of the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), on Radio National Breakfast on 20 July? Presenter Patricia Karvelas introduced the interview – the introductory note would have been written by David Cook who produced the segment. In the introduction, the presenter declared that until the 1990s, when John Clark commenced at NIDA, Australia was a “cultural desert”.
What a load of absolute tosh. It’s just a leftist alienated myth that Australia was a cultural desert throughout the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – except under Gough Whitlam’s Labor governments between December 1972 and December 1975.
How does Media Watch Dog know this? Well, for starters, John Clark spoke about seeing Summer of the Seventeenth Doll in London circa the 1980s. The play was written by the Australian playwright Ray Lawler and first performed in November 1955 at the Melbourne University’s Union Theatre. That is during the time that the ABC’s David Cook reckons Australia was in the midst of a cultural desert – during the prime ministership of Liberal Party prime minister Robert Menzies.
And then there is the testimony of the British writer Howard Jacobson, who lectured at the University of Sydney for three years in the 1960s. Interviewed by Virginia Trioli on ABC TV News Breakfast in September 2014 about his documentary Brilliant Careers (on Australian expatriates Germaine Greer, Robert Hughes, Barry Humphries and Clive James), Howard Jacobson rejected the view that Australia in the 1960s was a cultural desert. He spoke about the “vitality of the culture” in Australia at the time.
Jacobson told La Trioli that the fact that the likes of Greer, Hughes, Humphries and James commenced their careers in Australia indicated that the place was anything but a cultural desert. He added:
What I found when I came here was I loved the demotic, I loved the lively speech of people, I loved the sense of humour which was disrespectful, I loved the absence of reverence for authority. …I’d just come from Cambridge where I’d been miserable as a Northern working class Jewish boy. I felt that was a world that excluded me. I shouldn’t have felt like that but I did. But the minute I came to Australia, I felt this is a world which is open to everybody. Everybody feels a bit outside here. This is a world that everybody is contributing to, a world that everybody was making.
On 4 October 2012, the musician Jonathan Mills (who also trained as an architect) addressed The Sydney Institute on the topic “The ABC and the Arts: A Matter of Consequence”. The talk is published in The Sydney Papers Online (January 2012).
Mr Mills argued that the ABC production schedules in the “musical, operatic, dance and dramatic genres” for radio and television were more substantial from the 1950s to the 1980s than was the case in the early 21st Century. He also reminded listeners that:
- In mid-1947, Joan Sutherland performed at the Eastwood Masonic Hall and the Lyceum Club in Sydney.
- The Sydney Opera House was commissioned by an international design competition in 1955.
- In the 1940s and 1950s, Australians were reading Christina Stead – and James McAuley and Harold Stewart perpetrated the Ern Malley literary hoax which received international attention.
- When he visited Australia in 1961, the English literary critic Sir Herbert Read was most impressed by the poetry of David Campbell, Judith Wright and Kenneth Slessor and Francis Webb.
- The careers of Germaine Greer, Clive James and Barry Humphries commenced in Melbourne and Sydney before they left Australia.
- Jonathan Mills also acknowledged the contribution to the arts by Coalition prime minister John Gorton in the late 1960s. He concluded these comments by referring to the “list of examples of Australian creativity in successive generations BW (i.e. Before Whitlam)”.
In short, the assertion that Australia was some kind of cultural desert until the 1990s is just, well, bollocks. A myth which MWD is all too willing to debunk.
SMH’s JESSICA IRVINE ON JESSICA IRVINE – PLUS SOME TONE-DEAF FINANCIAL ADVICE
As avid readers of MWD will know, the Sydney Morning Herald’s senior economics writer Jessica Irvine’s favourite topic isn’t economics – it’s herself.
In her column in the Sun-Herald on 17 July, Jessica Irvine lamented that Reserve Bank governor Phil Lowe ruined her good mood – acquired from a holiday spent listening to Dolly Parton in a cabin in the woods – with an interest rate hike.
This is bad news for Ms Irvine, who on return from the woods came to the following realisation:
And it’s becoming clear that people like me – first-home buyers who only shackled themselves to rather large mortgages quite recently – are going to bear the brunt of rates pain.
It would be understandable to interpret the phrasing of the above to mean that Ms Irvine is a first-home buyer. However, avid readers will recall that the last time MWD covered Ms Irvine, it was when she had written an article headlined “’I’d hate me, too’: Why I’ve decided to become a property investor”. Irvine lamented that with property prices increases, it unfortunately made good financial sense for her to use the equity from her first home and “shatter the dreams of an aspiring homeowner” by purchasing an investment property.
Apparently now that she is a homeowner and possibly a (reluctant) property investor – unless she had a change of heart on dream-shattering – Ms Irvine has some concerns about her finances. She uses the article to provide some advice for others who may be struggling due to interest rate rises. There are a few sensible tips in there. But, while talking about herself again, things quickly get into unrelatable territory:
My gym membership of $386 a month could get the chop, although I’d probably rather sacrifice my super to ensure I arrive at retirement in peak health. My holiday’s budget of $500-ish a month could also take a trim – I’ll have to Zen out at home. After that, my budget is already looking pretty bare. I only budget $150 per month for eating out and $20 for alcohol.
Those currently struggling to pay for food and power bills are unlikely to find comfort in Irvine’s resistance to cancelling her luxury gym membership. According to Irvine she needs to spend close to $100 a week to “arrive at retirement in peak health” – this is bad news for the toiling masses who can’t afford a gym membership – or can only afford the average gym which charges between $15 – $40 a week.
Jessica Irvine’s other bare essentials include private school fees and paying extra into her superannuation to benefit from related tax breaks.
In what seems a little like bragging, the over-sharing Irvine posts her monthly budgets online which reveal her monthly income of $9,213.21 (presumably after tax) – which puts her in the top 3.8% of income earners. So, for some, her advice is about as useful as a suggestion to fire their butler or cut down on caviar.
Everybody of course has different priorities for what’s worth spending money on – but Jessica Irvine seems to lack some serious self-awareness about her finances compared to those of the average Australian. But this is what happens when you write about yourself. The good news is, if you don’t have enough money to cover everything, Jessica Irvine has a suggestion for you – get a better paying job.
Jackie (Dip. Wellness The Gunnedah Institute) has a suggestion to help ease Ms Irvine’s stress over being a property investor who identifies as a first-home buyer in the midst of an interest rate hike: join a cheaper gym and put the savings into increasing her $20 per month alcohol budget – a regular Gin and Tonic may help her relax.
BYRON WRITERS FESTIVAL AT BYRON BAY – THE SANDAL-WEARING RURAL CAPITAL OF AUSTRALIA – ANOTHER LEFTIST STACK (CONTINUED)
There was enormous interest in the previous issue of Media Watch Dog – which discussed the forthcoming Byron Writers Festival at Byron Bay – the sandal-wearing capital of Australia. Needless to say, it’s (yet) another leftist stack. The only way a conservative is likely to be found on a Byron Writers Festival platform is if they get lost on the way to meet with Amanda Stoker in Brisbane, just over the NSW/Queensland Border – after celebrating Gin & Tonic Week.
As MWD readers are only too well aware, a Writers or Literary Festival is an occasion when a group of leftists get together, acquire a bucket-load of taxpayers’ funds and invite leftists and left-of-centre writers (of both the published and unpublished genre) to speak at a function. And so it comes to pass that virtually everyone agrees with virtually everyone else on virtually everything – and a fine (ideological) time is had by all.
In the previous issue, MWD promised to name some of the taxpayer supported Australian literary talent who will appear at the BWF next month. Here they are:
Van Badham, Julia Baird, Paul Barclay, Jonathan Biggins, Tim Burrowes, Jane Caro, Barrie Cassidy, Gabrielle Chan, Anna Clark, Charles Firth, Nikki Gemmell, Chloe Hooper, Erik Jensen, Wendy McCarthy, Kate McClymont, Mark McKenna, Karen Middleton, Indira Naidoo, Kerry O’Brien, Bruce Pascoe, Ben Quilty, Julianne Schultz, Margaret Simons, Jeff Sparrow, Christos Tsiolkas, Marion Wilkinson, Arnold Zable.
Not a political conservative among this lot. Take, for example, The Mungo Panel session named after the leftist Mungo MacCallum of recent (Byron Bay) memory. As mentioned in the last issue, it involves Barrie Cassidy (ex-ABC) talking to Karen Middleton (The [Boring] Saturday Paper), “Red” Kerry O’Brien (ex-ABC) and Margaret Simons (of the Melbourne Sandalista Set) discussing “Has the Media Lost Its Mojo?”.
Now MWD is not into prophecy. But it is most likely that the Cassidy/Middleton/
O’Brien/Simons soviet will say “Yes, the Media has lost its Mojo and doesn’t know where to find it due to Rupert Murdoch” on this issue – or something like that. How boring can a writers festival session get?
MWD advises avid readers not to head to Byron Bay in August. There are easier ways to fall asleep at 1.15 pm on a Saturday than sit in on a BWF segment in the northern NSW sun. Listen to the replay of Jonathan Green’s Blueprint program on Radio National, for example. This is sure to lead to a Zzzzzzz moment.
Your Taxes At Work – since the 2022 Byron Writers Festival is funded principally by the NSW and Commonwealth governments.
* * * * *
Until next time.
* * * * *