Saturday 29th of November 2014

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by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-11-29 08:23



From Andrew Ford (Award-winning composer, writer and broadcaster)


I read Louise Evans’ Fairfax op-ed piece on Monday morning with a mixture of interest and revulsion. The latter response was partly because I knew that, at that very moment, a large number of my ABC colleagues, some of them friends, were receiving redundancy notices. But I also felt sickened by the tone of the piece, particularly when it came to the cartoonish portrayal of Radio National. It’s easy to mock, easy to mention “yoga classes” and “fresh produce” from Paddy’s Market. I was a little surprised not to read the word “latte” in among the clichés.

For nearly 20 years, I have worked for the ABC two days a week as the presenter of The Music Show on Radio National. Louise Evans was my manager for six months. I was especially pleased Fairfax published a photo of her, because it finally allowed me to put a face to the name. She may have been my boss, but unlike those who came before her and after, she never invited me to meet her.

The picture she draws of my colleagues and me is not one that I recognise, but I have to say Ms Evans is right about one thing. You wouldn’t find some ABC work practices in ‘corporate Australia’. Here’s an example.

One of the most popular interviews on The Music Show in 2014 was with the 84-year-old soprano Marni Nixon. In addition to performing with the likes of Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, she was also the singing voice of Deborah Kerr in The King and I, of Natalie Wood in West Side Story, and of Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Her wide range of activities seemed just right for our Saturday morning show, and I’d wanted to interview her for some time.

Now Marni Nixon lives in Manhattan, and RN was never going to pay for me to go there. But I was due to be in New York for a few days in April on other business, and offered to squeeze in the interview. My producer made contact, and while the dates didn’t quite work, I found that if I delayed my flight home by a day we could meet. Ms Nixon didn’t disappoint. She even gave me an impromptu blast of ‘The Rain in Spain’, though, sadly, after I’d packed away my recorder.

I paid for the extra night in the hotel myself. I paid all my travel costs, including the taxis to and from her home on the Upper West Side. I paid for my meals. And I recorded the interview on a day that I was not working for the ABC – at least not being paid to work. I also researched the interview in my own time. When I got home I actually enquired about claiming the taxi fares, but after it was explained to me how much form filling would be involved, I decided to cut my losses.

I recently told this to a friend of mine in ‘corporate Australia’ and he informed me I was mad. But what I have just described is not especially unusual. I have done this sort of thing plenty of times before – nearly all the overseas interviews you may have heard on The Music Show have been recorded at my own expense. If you ask my colleagues – Geraldine Doogue, Robyn Williams, Natasha Mitchell, Norman Swan, Phillip Adams – they will all be able to tell you similar stories and regale you with details of flea-pit hotels or nights spent on friends’ sofa beds so as to save the ABC money. The fact is that Radio National is to some extent subsidised by its employees, and we do it because we believe in the place and want our listeners to hear the best minds discussing the most interesting ideas. That’s why we work there.

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See above: the louise talks shit...


Gus: I meant to say that If you do a sterling job because you enjoy your work, it's not real work, is it, according to the slave masters?.. Thus according to them, you should not be paid for being happy. No. For these floggers you need to be miserable, in debt and kneeling before them as they condescend to throw you three Konfettis for entertainment and some spilt swill you have to lick from their boots. That will be your reward. According to their beliefs, you can inherit the earth when you're dead.

by Gus Leonisky on Sat, 2014-11-29 07:03


The federal government would gain new powers to set out what it expects from the ABC, raising fears of political interference in the national broadcaster, under a recommendation of the confidential Lewis review.

And some services now provided for free may attract a user charge as the government looks to rein in costs and clip the ABC's wings.

The Lewis review into the ABC and SBS has recommended the Minister for Communications issue each broadcaster with "a statement of the government's expectations" relating to "financial management and transparency".

A leaked copy, obtained by Fairfax Media, also reveals Peter Lewis identified a number of efficiency measures that have not been taken up by the ABC or SBS, which would be highly controversial with viewers and within the broadcast industry. 

These include outsourcing most of the ABC's production, scrapping the retransmission of the ABC and the SBS on Foxtel's cable services (which could have implications for viewers with poor reception), scrapping digital radio and charging for the ABC's iView service.

The proposed "statement of the government's expectations" will fuel suspicions of potential political interference in editorial policy given the Coalition's well documented hostility to the broadcaster's approach.

In February this year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott used a radio interview in Sydney to complain, arguing "a lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's".

Greens senator Scott Ludlam said the suggestion "really crosses the line, especially with all the 'Team Australia' talk Mr Abbott has engaged in".

As the debate over the ABC's announced cuts continues to cause angst within the Coalition, notably for members from rural areas, Mr Turnbull is expected to release the Lewis report on Monday, when Senate committees hold more hearings.

In his speech announcing a cut of $207 million over four years from the ABC 10 days ago Mr Turnbull made an oblique reference to the controversial proposal. "An interesting insight from the efficiency study was that the ABC and SBS boards would benefit from a clearer understanding of the government's budget priorities and the outcomes that the government is seeking from its annual investment of taxpayers' money," he said

The proposal has been raised privately with the ABC board, which is understood to be strongly opposed to this level of intervention because it fears directions on where cuts should be made would amount to editorial intervention.

The Lewis report acknowledged that  "a ministerial statement of expectations would be controversial and could give rise to concerns that the government is intervening in the ABC and SBS for political reasons".



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Is your ABC is being shaped (hammered) to become a propaganda tool for the neo-fascist capitalist or what is known in this country as the ultra right-wing nazi zealots led by B A Santamarianic scientifically ignoramus Tony Abbott-the-Extreme-Liar... or is the ABC destined to become extinct to satisfy the ultra right-wing greedy zealot gamblers led by disinformative-scientifically-ignoramus Mr Murdoch?

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 19:51


Animals, too, go to heaven. That, at least, was one interpretation of remarks made b yPope Francis in his weekly general audience in the Vatican.

The endlessly controversial 77-year-old pontiff said: “The holy scripture teaches us that the fulfilment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us.”

The pope went on to quote from St Paul, St Peter and the Book of Revelation in support of the view that “what lies ahead … is therefore a new creation”.

He added: “It is not an annihilation of the universe and all that surrounds us. Rather it brings everything to its fullness of being, truth and beauty.”

Italian daily Corriere della Sera was in no doubt about his meaning. “It broadens the hope of salvation and eschatological beatitude to animals and the whole of creation,” wrote the paper’s Vatican specialist in an article published on Thursday.


I know. You should see the beatified pink-eyed slime in heaven and the specially designated giant cupboards for the cockroaches in St Peters quarters. Amazink... And poopa scoopa is automatic.

But above all, I believe paradise will eschatologically happen when people stop killing each others and manage the planet with better table manners...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 19:39


When veteran ABC broadcaster, Quentin Dempster, says "bye-bye" in his Queensland, boy-from-the-bush way next Friday night, it will be for the last time.

After more than 30 years with the national public broadcaster, Dempster told viewers on Friday night that he plans to go out with a "bang".

"Next Friday will be the final edition of 7.30 NSW," he said. 

"I will be leaving the ABC after 30 years to return to the private sector. It has been an honour to work with Australia's great and unique public broadcaster."

The ABC is abolishing local TV current affairs programs including 7.30 NSW.

"I think the ABC is making a big mistake in axing these shows and will have to revisit the deficiency in future years," Dempster said.

Within two hours of ABC managing director Mark Scott's announcement to staff on Monday that 400 jobs would be lost around the country, director of news, Kate Torney, called Dempster into her office to tell him he had no future role at the ABC.

"I will be among 300 staff retrenched in the first round of the ABC's cuts," he said. 

"This is a very emotional time for me.

"I have worked extremely hard for the ABC to faithfully use the opportunity it has given me."

On why he was being "sacked", Dempster says he "only ever sought to uphold the integrity of Her Majesty's institutions, the Parliament and the police, in Queensland and NSW." 

"That's not left-wing," he said. "There could be nothing more conservative.

"Why isn't Rupert Murdoch being sacked for phone hacking, invasion of privacy, intimidating the politicians, his tax havens and all those tits on page three? Just asking."


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 19:32


The hoarse whisperer, Victoria Police's Commissioner Ken Lay, was clearly miffed by the announcement, admitting on ABC radio that he had only been informed of the taskforce the night before.

He was not consulted by either the Prime Minister or Napthine — and yet Tony Abbott extensively quoted Lay's Assistant Commissioner, Stephen Fontana. Hmmm…

Abbott made it clear that he and his buddy Napthine were calling the shots on this one:

“The [Victorian] Premier and I have established a joint police task force to deal firmly, decisively and swiftly with widespread corruption, violence and organised crime connections inside the construction industry.”

Such a pity that IBAC's deliberate judicial architecture is such that does not have the jurisdiction to investigate politicians.

Commissioner Lay is not above playing political games either. 

Victoria's latest crime statistics should have been released on Wednesday.

But a couple of months ago, giving time for his political interference to ameliorate, Commissioner Lay announced he was not prepared to release the statistics so close to the election. Really ?


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Kick Tony Abbott is the nuts and place Titanic whatizename last... see toon at top...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 19:17


Veteran journalist Quentin Dempster has announced he is leaving the ABC after a 30-year career.

Dempster made the announcement at the end of Friday night's 7.30 NSW program, a show which is being axed under the ABC cuts strategy outlined by managing director Mark Scott this week.

"Thank you for your support, story ideas and constructive criticism over all this time," Dempster told viewers.

"It has been an honour to work with Australia's great and unique public broadcaster."

Dempster joined the ABC in 1984, and was widely acclaimed for his reporting of the Fitzgerald Inquiry in Queensland and the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service.

ABC director of news Kate Torney said Dempster's departure was a "huge loss" and described his coverage of corruption in Queensland and New South Wales as "exemplars of the fearless and forensic journalism which has earned Quentin the respect and admiration of his peers and the gratitude of his viewers".

"Quentin is much loved and highly respected by audiences and colleagues alike. He has helped shape the ABC, on and off screen, over more than three decades," she said in a statement.

"The public is aware of Quentin's outstanding track record as an award-winning journalist. What they don't see is his commitment behind the scenes in mentoring, encouraging and guiding colleagues. He is passionate about the craft and role of journalism and is always keen to share his experience with those around him.

"He will be much missed. On behalf of the broader ABC family, I wish him and his family all the best for the future."


Here at YD, we can only hope that Quentin will be happy — possibly maintaining the rage he should feel at the present destruction (let's face it: IT'S NOT A RESTRUCTURING !) of the ABC and exposing all the forces of trickery that led to his early "departure". Dempster deserves a gold watch the size of Big Ben and we hope to see him sharpening knives somewhere else or read his enlightening views on that crap that has been going on at the ABC... and seem will be going on for a while — as the CONservatives of the Abbott Regime are still hell-bent at destroying the place to cinders...

One does not know though, Dempster may chose to go easy and retire in bliss away from the "mediacirkus" and all the porkie merchants he had to deal with nigh after night — all pretending to be politicians......


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 18:54


By Paul Cleary

The reach of the billionaire trucking magnate Lindsay Fox extends far beyond the distinctive red and gold Linfox trucks that operate on the nation’s highways in ever increasing numbers. His influence can be seen in the office of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, where a model Linfox semitrailer holds a prominent place on the bookshelf. When Abbott did live interviews from his desk in late 2014, the model truck sat above his right shoulder, while a portrait of Sir Robert Menzies and a Steeden football appeared to his left.

Read more: Roads to nowhere


eyebrows rule


by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 17:29


the palmerisation of ridiculous politics with affable buffoonery on a splot of turdy abbottery...


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We are please that no-one got seriously injured in the Brisbane storm. Quite sorry about his daughter's predicament... but in the light of this, Palmer should rethink his stance on getting rid of the only proper mechanism to reduce Australia's emissions of CO2... Bring the Carbon Pricing back... Tell your little mate Tony...

by Gus Leonisky on Fri, 2014-11-28 13:54

Conservative commentators appear to be growing increasingly frustrated with the Abbott government, as it struggles to present a coherent message leading into the final parliamentary sitting week for the year.

The Prime Minister said this week he wanted to clear a few policy "barnacles", but by the end of the week it remained unclear which barnacles he was speaking of.

It was a difficult week for the government, which faced criticism over mixed messages about the future of its GP co-payment, its broken promise not to cut the ABC or SBS and comments from the Defence Minister mocking the government shipbuilder.


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