Showing posts with label The Sydney Morning Herald. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Sydney Morning Herald. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 July 2019

And the answer is ...

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson

Most of yesterday's information was obtained from  Jason Steger's "If Boris Johnson fails in his bid to become British PM, he has a fall-back plan", which appeared in Spectrum (The Sydney Morning Herald, June 29-30). Thanks Jason!

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Oh, the irony! Human Rights Commission appears to have received a s18C Racial Discrimination Act complaint from a Twitter troll. **WARNING: Offensive Language/Graphic Image**

Snapshot from ABC Media Watch Episode 28 on 11 August 2014

Excerpt from Mike Carlton’s The Sydney Morning Herald column on 24 July 2014 which elicited a very hostile response:

The onslaught is indiscriminate and unrelenting, with but one possible conclusion: Israel is not fighting the terrorists of Hamas. In defiance of the laws of war and the norms of civilised behaviour, it is waging its own war of terror on the entire Gaza population of about 1.7 million people. Call it genocide, call it ethnic cleansing: the aim is to kill Arabs.
As none other than Malcolm Fraser tweeted this week: "If any other country went to war killing as many civilians, women and children, it would be named a war crime." But it is not, although the UN is asking the question of both sides.
Yes, Hamas is also trying to kill Israeli civilians, with a barrage of rockets and guerilla border attacks. It, too, is guilty of terror and grave war crimes. But Israeli citizens and their homes and towns have been effectively shielded by the nation's Iron Dome defence system, and so far only three of its civilians have died in this latest conflict. The Israeli response has been out of all proportion, a monstrous distortion of the much-vaunted right of self defence.

Carlton asserts he was then subjected to a barrage of abusive emails on his Gmail account and I tend to believe him. Unfortunately, in tit-for-tat, he was less than polite in his replies.

News Corp now reports that two 18C Racial Discrimination Act 1975 complaints have been received by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Unless there has  been a third complaint, the second complainant appears to be Simon Goldstein (@simongolds), who until his Twitter account was suspended last week (presumably for offensive, abusive, racist language and graphic images) described himself as a Jewish-Australian teen, UQ student, anti-Hamas, Pro-Israel, Young Liberal! Brisvegas, QLD.

This is the last photo of himself Simon posted on his account and this is his message:

Simon's account appears to have a distasteful history: 

Unfortunately, I rather suspect that the Human Rights Commission will never be fully aware of the pressure that trolls hunting in packs can bring to bear, especially if they are encouraged by the attitude of Murdoch’s minions.

On the other hand, I'm sure the Liberal Party is well aware of the vile side of the Young Liberals organisation and appears to tolerate its members' excesses. 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

'like a cane toad in a rose garden'

Sydney Morning Herald columnist Mike Carlton has provided some wonderful imagery in a piece he wrote about Chris Kenny, a scribe who pens pieces for The Australian.

In today's Herald Carlton wrote (in part):

The Tories and their army of media toadies wage their war on the ABC with increasing fury, sniping here, a charge from the big battalions there.
Whimpering in the trenches is one Chris Kenny, once a factotum to Lord Downer at the peak of his global glory, now a minor columnist for The Australian and a hugely unwatched talking head for Sky News. As he tells anyone who'll listen, he is much insulted by a Chaser comedy sketch on ABC TV last September which showed him Photo-shopped, pants down, apparently in carnal congress with a canine.


Queensland's finest legal mind, the saponaceous George Brandis, is also up in arms. As federal Attorney-General, he is outraged by the ABC's mockery of Kenny. But, perversely, he remains bent on removing section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, thus clearing the way for Melbourne's village idiot, Andrew Bolt, to resume his racist sneering at indigenous Australians. So it's OK to rubbish black academics but not Murdoch hacks.
It was hilarious watching Soapy bluster his way around this daft contradiction on Q&A last Monday. Seated next to the fragrant Lisa Wilkinson, squat and unblinking, he looked like a cane toad in a rose garden. No doubt he would defend to the death my right to say this.

Sauce Source: SMH, 15/3/14

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Another north coast voice on the wider stage

Letter to the Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 March 2014

Beware the glass house

I see the G8 is likely to be cut back to G7 in response to Russia's actions in the Crimea (''Australia may use G20 role to pressure Putin'', March 4). Will this necessarily lead to a further drop to a G5 as the West tries to evade accusations of hypocrisy by no longer ignoring the illegalities of the British and American invasion of Iraq?

Perhaps Putin's real offence was in ignoring correct protocol by not first alleging that Ukraine had weapons of mass destruction. Without this important first step others might think that its aim was just to try to maintain contact with its Black Sea naval fleet and naval base, or in the case of Blair and Bush, just to steal some oil. The world is much more forgiving if at least the courtesy of a plausible excuse is given beforehand.

Dermot Nunan 
Maclean NSW

Saturday, 22 February 2014

About those Coalition promises

A Clarence valley resident's view of the Coalition's promises

Work Choices: "Dead buried and cremated?" This has now become Tony Abbott's biggest lie yet. SPC were offered $25 million if they would put their workers back on the minimum wage only, which is $16.90 per hour, meaning a loss of $15,000 to $20,000 per year, which would send these workers who are paying off home and car loans bankrupt. Another proposal that Abbott is making is that the workers can trade off their penalty rates if they wish to change their hours of work. This is the start of the smashing of the conditions that we the unionists fought for over the years so that our children and grandchildren will be entitled to a decent day's pay for a fair day's work. This could eventuate into being the demise of all workers' rights.

Promises that were made before the election seem to mean nothing to this Coalition. What they told the electorate to get elected is completely different to what they are doing since they were elected.

Charles Lincoln Gulmarrad

Source: SMH, 22/2/14

Monday, 19 August 2013

Leaders Debate 11 August 2013: Did Fairfax media massage the facts with not one but two dodgy montages?

Here are two photographs attributed to Andrew Meares and published by Fairfax media outlets which purport to show Opposition Leader Tony Abbott discovering  that Australian Prime Minister Rudd had notes on his lectern at the National Press Club on 11 August 2013.

Here is a third photograph of Rudd and Abbott shaking hands on the night.

Who else is somewhat suspicious of the similarities in Abbott’s posture and his position on the stage in all three images.

Could it possibly be that the first two photographs are in fact montages created for dramatic effect?

Saturday, 4 May 2013

A blast from the past

Does the name Neville Newell ring a bell? The letters editor of The Sydney Morning Herald awarded top marks to Newell's contribution and gave it the pole position.

Windsor's dignity turned on the light

So it appears that now a National Disability Insurance Scheme levy will have bipartisan parliamentary support (''Green light for the NDIS as Abbott comes to the party'', May 3). Good news indeed. Good news coverage for this positive move from the Opposition just 24 hours after Tony Abbot's expressed indifference and Joe Hockey's hostility.Why not any credit for the person whose words shook the perennial negatives from the Opposition ? Not undoubtedly because they were about to be rendered irrelevant by the Independents surely. Thanks, Tony Windsor MP, your speaking up frightened some ''humanity'' into our federal opposition.

Neville Newell Brunswick Heads

Source: SMH, 4/05/2013

Pic credit: Parliament of NSW

Thursday, 28 February 2013

About that stench in the Clarence Valley (No, not the flood mud!)

Today's Sydney Morning Herald reports:

Speed fine MP could be charged for lying on oath - barrister

A leading Sydney barrister has raised doubts about whether authorities properly investigated what criminal charges could be laid against the former state MP Steve Cansdell.

Greg James, QC, who is a retired Supreme Court judge, believes Mr Cansdell could be charged for making a false statement on oath under the provisions of the Crimes Act for his admission he lied on a statutory declaration to avoid losing his driver's licence.
Mr Cansdell, who was the member for Clarence and parliamentary secretary for police, quit the NSW Parliament shortly after the 2011 election after the admission. He said one of his then staff members, Kath Palmer, was driving when his car was caught by a speed camera in 2005.
NSW Police announced last October it would not lay charges against Mr Cansdell, stating Ms Palmer had ''declined to be interviewed''.
Ms Palmer's solicitor denied this, claiming that while Ms Palmer declined to be formally interviewed, she offered to make an ''induced statement'', which would protect her from prosecution.
In his opinion, requested by the NSW opposition, Mr James said that, subject to proof the statutory declaration was falsely sworn, there is ''a sufficient basis to investigate whether the staff member as a principal and Mr Cansdell as an accessory had committed offences …''
Mr James notes the police and DPP have the discretion not to proceed, but says: ''It is hard to see that those discretions have been properly applied … without a detailed consideration of what evidence might be available having been conducted.''
The shadow attorney-general, Paul Lynch, said the government had ''questions to answer about the lack of investigation''.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

An update on Steve 'Houdini' Cansdell

Sydney Morning Herald journalist Sean Nicholls is like a dog with a bone. And for that the public (and those in the NSW electorate of Clarence in particular) should be most grateful.

Cansdell, the disgraced former MP for Clarence, has pedalled off into the sunset with his taxpayer-funded booty (aka a state parliamentary pension) despite significant questions remaining unanswered about his involvement in Cansdellgate.

Nicholls wrote:

Lessons from political Houdini

The award for the most outstanding public escape act of recent times must surely go to the former member for Clarence, Steve Cansdell.
You recall Cansdell: he was the former professional boxer and parliamentary secretary for police who became the O'Farrell government's first political casualty only months after it took office.
The then 60-year-old quit Parliament after his admission that he had falsified a statutory declaration to claim a staff member was driving when his car was snapped by a speed camera.
Cansdell was trying to avoid losing his driver's licence. Despite the incident occurring back in September 2005, he fell on his sword in September 2011, amid a chorus of sympathy from his Nationals colleagues.
Cansdell was "paying a very heavy price for a lapse of judgment six years ago", the leader of the Nationals and Deputy Premier, Andrew Stoner, said at the time.
Only later did it emerge that shortly before Cansdell put his hands up, the staff member in question, Kath Palmer, had blown the whistle on the episode to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
So if Cansdell was not quite pushed - he claimed he quit to save the government and the party from embarrassment - he was very firmly nudged.
Not only had Palmer alleged the statutory declaration fraud, she alleged that Cansdell had also rorted a parliamentary staffing allowance by wrongly claiming it for the period she worked on the 2010 campaign of a Nationals colleague, Kevin Hogan, who was contesting the federal seat of Page.
And so began a very strange - many would say disturbing - series of events involving the ICAC, the police and the Speaker of the NSW Parliament that remain unresolved to this day.
In October last year, just over a year after Cansdell walked into Grafton police station with his lawyer to make his admission, police announced they had concluded their investigation into the statutory declaration matter.
"NSW Police Force will not instigate criminal proceedings," they said in a statement.
What had happened? The statement explained police from the Coffs-Clarence local area command had identified the woman who signed the declaration but that "she declined to be interviewed by officers".
Futhermore, it added, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions had said it was "not satisfied there are reasonable prospects for conviction for a Commonwealth offence".
For the NSW police, that was the end of the matter. But they omitted a couple of key details.
While it was true Palmer, through her lawyer, had refused to be formally interviewed, she had offered to make what is known as an "induced statement" - one given in return for indemnity from prosecution.
According to Palmer's lawyer, Mark Spagnolo, the police had earlier made it known they intended to charge Palmer with perverting the course of justice for her role in the false statutory declaration. Any admission in an interview was likely to lead to her being charged.
Police deny she was threatened with a charge but their decision to refuse her offer to supply an induced statement was rather ambitiously twisted to become Palmer "declined to be interviewed".
Second, the Commonwealth DPP claimed it had been verballed. It said it had simply advised the NSW police that they were not satisfied it was a Commonwealth offence - a subtle but important difference.
Things became even more intriguing when it emerged the ICAC had referred the allegation that Cansdell had rorted his parliamentary allowance to the Speaker of the NSW Parliament, Shelley Hancock, who was technically Palmer's employer.
The ICAC referred the matter "for action as considered appropriate". But no action was taken for a year by Hancock, until Spagnolo released the letter publicly through Fairfax.
After that Hancock, who is also the Liberal member for South Coast, promised that parliamentary officers would "review the material" sent by the ICAC. This included a spreadsheet containing the dates on which Palmer alleged Cansdell submitted claims for the allowance that differed from the days she worked. That was last October.
What has happened since then? Hancock passed the matter to the executive manager of the Department of Parliamentary Services, Rob Stefanic, who responded that he was "unable to reach any conclusions regarding the veracity of the claims made by the former electorate officer".
Stefanic added that because, in his opinion, the allegations were "of minor significance", that so much time had elapsed and that both Palmer and Cansdell had resigned, no further action should be taken "in the absence of more conclusive information". (Never mind that the allegations, if proven, are similar to those which saw two former Labor MPs, Angela D'Amore and Karyn Paluzzano, branded corrupt by ICAC.)
When Hancock was asked if the Parliament would contact Palmer to request "more conclusive information", she said it would not.
"As Ms Palmer did not make a complaint directly to the Parliament, the Parliament will not be contacting the complainant for further information."
So, 18 months since Palmer made her official complaint, there the matter lies: a tangled mess of contradictory claims, dead ends and official inertia.
Palmer is understood to be considering whether to pursue the matter with Parliament or drop it altogether to get on with her life.
Spagnolo has called for an inquiry into the police handling of the matter. The silence has been deafening.
Cansdell now says he has gone bankrupt.
And, while there is no suggestion he is implicated, the man he is alleged to have helped out by fiddling his taxpayer-funded entitlements, Kevin Hogan, has won Nationals preselection to contest Page at this year's federal election.
As a lesson in the frustrations of being a political whistleblower, it doesn't get much more instructive than that.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald, 19/1/2013

Friday, 4 January 2013

Great to see a former Lower Clarence resident continues to fight the good fight

Heckler in The Sydney Morning Herald is a column where contributors are allowed 450 words on what makes their blood boil. Today's piece, contributed by KJ, appears below. Well done, KJ!

''F--- the wildlife'' was the young man's response when I pointed out no motorbikes were allowed because it was a wildlife conservation area. Similar responses are given when I politely tell people about the ''No dogs'' sign for the same area.
Every summer I am so angry I write a Heckler, but it is not published because I am not witty or funny, and I don't live in Sydney. I just care about the natural environment. This year I am more angry than ever.
Every summer our coastal village is invaded by thousands of people who don't consider how their behaviour will impact on the natural environment or other people. Instead, it is a free-for-all. They leave their brain and manners at home, if they have any.
Garbage? Toss it out the car window or leave it on the beach; or in the gutter, for the next rainfall to wash it out to sea - and back onto the beaches.

Got a four-wheel-drive or trail bike? Rip and tear the dunes and beach habitat, even though vehicles are banned from all beaches in this area.
Camping? Bugger the designated areas in towns and national parks; we want free camping so we'll flatten any plants where we want go, set up camp then burn anything possible, even breaking down shrubs. No toilets so we'll do it in the open.
Fishing? Yeah, great fishing in clean, clear waters. We'll dump fish heads and garbage to harm marine wildlife or pollute the ocean and beaches. Catch as many as we can; we won't be back for another year.
Crowds? Man, we live in the city, we're used to crowds, we push and shove to get what we want. Single file on a walking track when passing others? Never.
Noise? We're used to noise. Geeze, isn't this place peaceful - turn up the music to block out the sound of the ocean.
Dogs? Oh, aren't dogs allowed unleashed, anywhere? The beach looks empty so it doesn't matter if my dog poos there. Cover it with sand or the waves will take it away. Tough anyone else who might want to walk there, or swim in the water, and my dog is always friendly so don't worry if it jumps up on you. And it never does anything wrong, so it is OK to take it into a wildlife conservation area.
Safe, considerate driving? Huh?
This year I am more angry than usual because the crowds are bigger, the traffic jams longer, the people louder and pushier, and the damage to the beach ecosystem from two errant vehicle incidents is immense. February cannot come quickly enough.
Karen Joynes

Friday, 18 May 2012

Strange coincidence

The stars must have been aligned this week for nit nose pickers. First, Jason Chatfield's Ginger Meggs appeared in Wednesday's Daily Examiner:

Then, Dr Joan Croll had this piece in the letters columns of The Sydney Morning Herald:

Credits:   The Sydney Morning Herald

Sunday, 8 April 2012

There's no party politics in local government, says voice of authority

Being Easter, there wasn't the usual gathering at the Table of Knowledge on Friday arvo. However, an extraordinary meeting was convened for yesterday.

Midway through the agenda Uncle Tom (remember, he knows everything about everything) made mention of a piece he'd read in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald.

The piece was 'Risky move is part of Labor's long game', which opened with
One year after the change of state government, council elections in September loom as the next big political contest.
For Labor, they will be a measure of how it has regrouped since the disastrous election result last March.
Like the Clarence byelection, following the resignation of the Nationals' Steve Cansdell, the council elections will also give Labor a chance to judge how the new Coalition government is faring.

Uncle Tom remarked, "The bloke who wrote that is dead-set wrong."

"Howzat?" enquired Big Bazza.

"What that bloke wrote might be right for elections in the metropolitan area but it doesn't apply here because we don't have any of that party politics stuff in our local government up here, or anywhere else in rural NSW," replied Uncle Tom.

So there you have it!

Uncle Tom, being a supporter of every and any thing to do with the coalition (but, admittedly, he's a true blue dyed in the wool National man) said it, so it must be true.

The last sighting we had of Big Bazza he was shufling off in the direction of his home, still scratching the back of his head, obviously bewildered by what he had learnt from Uncle Tom.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Newspaper nicknames

Readers of newspapers can, at times, be very cruel. For some, all they have to do to get their daily fill is stroll out through the front door and pick the day's copy up off the driveway (if the deliverer has been on target), out of the rose bushes or (and I swear this is true) if the deliverer has it really in for you, off the roof.

Column8 in today's Herald provides further samples of homework it set its readers. The task was simple enough. All that was required of readers was to tell the Herald (aka Granny) the nickname they gave their newspapers. Previously, The Courier-Mail was said to be the 'Curious Snail', The Cairns Post is the Cairns Ghost (it's thin and wispy at times), The West Australian is the Wet Alsatian and the SMH is The Sydenham Awning Herald ("it works better said than read".

Today, the Western Advocate is the Western Abdicate, The Canberra Times is The Crimes and our own local rag, The Daily Examiner, is 'the one minute's silence' (that's how long it takes to read it).
Our neighbours are somewhat kinder, they call it the 'Egg Timer' but Elsie, who lives up the street, calls it 'The Daily Exterminator'. At our place it's referred to as 'The Rapper' - most mornings it takes longer to get the plastic wrap off it than it does to read it, but that's nothing to whinge about. In fact, that task can be quite a challenge and test the grey matter a lot more than a Rubic Cube.

Note to DEX editor and staff: don't get your knickers in knots over those comments. DEX is just like our pet greyhound - you're 'family' and we still luvs ya, warts and all.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Preview of Granny Herald's changes to banner and editorial policy?

Dan Ilic provides a laugh with this alternative front page for the Fairfax media's flagship - The Sydney Mining Herald 
Click on page to grow the joke

Thursday, 22 September 2011

More developments in Cansdellgate

A report in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald  about Steve Cansdell being provided with a heavily discounted rental property for his campaign office during the last state election campaign (
"MP paid pittance to rent election office") has been followed up by The Daily Examiner today ("Low rent scandal hits Cansdell").

Peter James, a Grafton solicitor who is the National Party Grafton branch chairman, told the Daily Examiner the party paid $150 a week for his 40 Prince St premises that had been previously rented for up to $660 a week.
Peter James
The discounted rent paid by the Nationals for the office in the six weeks leading up to the March 26 state election has raised questions as to whether the arrangement complied with NSW political donation laws.

NSW election funding laws prohibit indirect donations of more than $1000 a financial year.

But Mr James said as part of the arrangement his company Naupe Holdings would subsidise the $150 a week rent so it reached the parties agreed market value of $300, thus putting it just inside the donation threshold at $900.

"They (the National Party) made an offer, which I thought was reasonable, and I accepted it," he said.

"I am committed to the party and I am committed to that side of politics and I was prepared to help them in terms of the rent.

"If that for some reason breaches, technically or otherwise, the provisions of legislation well so be it.

"But it was all done in good faith and I must say it's odd to be in trouble for generosity, as distinct from being in trouble for stealing the union's funds or whatever.

"That's the way I see it, but anyway people will make up their own mind."

Under the arrangement between the National Party and Mr James' company, Naupe Holdings during the election campaign, the Nationals received a $3060 discount.

The National's state director, Ben Franklin, told the Herald the donation due to the discounted rent for the campaign office amounted to $900, which was below the threshold.

The party calculated this on an estimated market value of $300 a week on the office despite the previous tenant paying $550.

"They made their own assessment, they felt for the use they were making of the premises, and the size of the area they were going to use, and the fact they didn't have exclusivity of the premises they thought $300 a week was a fair figure," Mr James said.

"And they felt if they paid $150 and the company donated the other $150 they thought that was a fair balance.

"In my mind I had empty premises and I was happy to receive some money for it and I was happy for it to be used for that purpose."

Friday, 26 February 2010

Bravo Patricia! Proud Yaegl woman socks it to Sydney media in defence of Yamba

In The Daily Examiner on 24 February 2010:

THE riot in Yamba on February 14 has attracted plenty of unwanted attention for the holiday town. A report in the metropolitan media at the weekend pointed the finger at Yamba's Aboriginal population as the cause of the town's problems. Today, Yamba Aboriginal leader and NSW Aboriginal Land Council member PATRICIA LAURIE responds.

IN the past week, mainstream media reporting of my community of Yamba has been inaccurate, sensationalised and ridiculous.

The reports relate to the arrest of 15 people on February 14 following a party at an industrial area on the edge of town.

During the incident several police were allegedly assaulted and two vehicles damaged.

Some media are calling it the Valentine's Day riots.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported over the weekend, 'Holiday haven one day, riots the next'.

'A thin strip of barbed wire running along a high fence-top behind The Sands resort says everything Yamba residents will not: this is a town divided', the report read.

'On one side of the street is a three-storey, gated complex of luxury villas and apartments with a lap pool, tennis courts and spa, and spacious private houses with neat gardens behind tall wooden barriers.

Across the road is a derelict moonscape; a barren paddock of dishevelled brick homes and abandoned weatherboard cottages.

Welcome to Yamba, one year ago declared Australia's best tourist destination ahead of Byron Bay and Port Douglas.

Last weekend the once sleepy North Coast fishing village at the mouth of the Clarence River was the scene of a riot in which party-goers allegedly danced on a police car, pelted it with bricks, then set it alight after being asked to turn music down at a shed on the fringes of town.

Publicly, locals put crime down to the sporadic police presence.

A dozen officers are expected to cover a population of roughly 20,000 spanning three towns and can take more than an hour to respond to triple-0 calls.

Privately, two groups are blamed: the local Indigenous population and the children of low-income seachange families.'

Unfortunately, the facts of this incident have gotten in the way of a story.

So here are a few inconvenient truths for media planning to visit Yamba in the future.

Firstly, of the 15 people arrested by police on the night, only three were Aboriginal.

Of the three arrested this week, only one is Aboriginal.

That means 14 of the 18 are non-Aboriginal.

Secondly, figures from 2008 from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR) reveal that the Clarence Valley Local Government Area – which takes in Yamba – has an assault rate below the state average.

Our region is not racked with violence. Our town is not divided.

It is calmer and more peaceful than most of the state.

The figures also reveal that assaults against police are below the state average in the Clarence Valley. But where's no news in that.

The headline 'Yamba a safer town than state average' is nowhere near as interesting as 'Community in crisis' or 'Town divided' or 'Beautiful one day, rioting the next'.

Here are a few more inconvenient truths.

The Bega Valley, way down on the Far South Coast of NSW, has almost precisely the same relative crime statistics as the Clarence Valley.

Can Merimbula – another coastal tourist town – expect the arrival of busloads of Sydney journalists determined to prove it's a community divided by race wars and juvenile delinquency?

The assault rate in Cessnock is higher than it is the Clarence Valley.

It's higher in Coffs Harbour.

It's higher in the Cooma-Monaro region which takes in the Sydney crowd heading to the snow in winter.

It's higher in Glen Innes, a sleepy country town due west of Yamba.

It's twice as high in Inverell, another sleepy country town due west of Yamba.

The rate of assaults is also almost twice as high in Campbelltown; in Manly on Sydney's lower north shore; in the Byron Shire.

But wait for it: the rate of assaults in the Botany Bay area – where the resident MP is the premier of NSW, Kristina Keneally – is higher than in the Clarence Valley.

Where are the headlines about NSW burning?

Surely our state's a tinder box?

A powder keg of racial violence waiting to explode?

Or maybe the media is just looking for something sensational to report, rather than wade through piles of crime statistics which tell different tales to those reported.

The rate of assaults on police in the Clarence Valley is identical to the rate in the Wingecarribee Shire, home to the wealthy Bowral community.

But there's no 'Bowral divided' story in the weekend edition of the SMH, just a piece about some shopkeepers lobbying to keep St Vinnies out of the main street.

In the Mosman area – another of Australia's most privileged regions – the number of 'liquor offences' is more than three times the rate of the Clarence Valley and four times greater than the state average.

So why no media campaign for a Federal Government intervention to stop the rivers of grog on the lower north shore?

It would have more factual basis than the rubbish we're being dished up about Yamba.

The facts are, the mainstream media coverage of the 'Yamba riots' has mostly been garbage.

It's designed to sell newspapers or improve ratings. Yamba has the same tensions all average Australian communities face.

Nothing more, perhaps a little less. The real beat-up is the mainstream media's coverage of our community.

Yes, there are occasional tensions in the town, just as there are in all Australian communities.

And, yes, those tensions sometimes run along racial lines.

Yes, Yamba has its share of assaults just like every other community in Australia, coastal or otherwise.

But is there room for improvement? Of course there is, just like there is in every other community in Australia.

And that's precisely what Yamba residents are working to do.

On the whole, our community is peaceful and cohesive.

Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people work hard at maintaining respectful, meaningful relationships.

The media will be disappointed to learn that no amount of misreporting is likely to change that.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Clarence Valley rabbit romance

In The Sydney Morning Herald's Column 8 last week:

''In this week's edition of the Clarence Valley Review,'' writes Col Shephard, of Yamba, there appears the following classified ad: 'WANTED. One dwarf floppy-eared MALE rabbit for about seven seconds, my female needs babies. This is a serious ad, please call 6646 … .' I wonder why it was thought necessary to include the 'this is a serious ad' bit.'' We know not, but are glad we're not a female dwarf floppy-eared rabbit in search of tenderness and romance.

Photograph of Mini Floppy-eared Rabbit from Google Images

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Column 8 is back online - finally, Fairfax sees sense

Fairfax has restored online access to The Sydney Morning Herald's Column 8.

Read it online at the Herald's site here.

Fairfax's archived copies of the column are here. However, the Wednesday 18 September 2009 column is not there. North Coast Voice's presentation of it is here.

Column 8's email address is