The media is the message

It’s been an interesting week in the election campaign – the Coalition’s Abbott showed why he’s unlikely to become a monk with a foul mouthed tirade at the health ministers’ debate, Peter Garrett unwittingly revealed Labor’s intentions to just “change everything” when/if they get into power. And Peter Costello and Wayne Swan traded barbs while in Townsville…

“Mr Swan is one of those cyborgs who repeats the same line in the hope that the media will pick it up”

“Sightings of Mr Costello in Townsville are about as rare as sightings of Migaloo”

The role the media plays in the election has also been under a bit of scrutiny with a few people whinging about favouritism – and incompetence.

And no surprises on the last one… here’s a paragraph from the SMH website today

“Man turns himself into police after another man was shot twice in the head in Sydney’s north west”

Vigilante justice? Or a bizarre case of metamorphism… or perhaps a typo.

Rudd is famous for his glass chin (and wax ear) when it comes to media criticism – he scored points this week for his humour when handling questions on the wax incident after the video of his waxy snack made it onto Jay Leno’s talk show. He lost points for refusing to talk to Townsville’s most popular radio breakfast host on 4TO because it’s the wrong demographic. Rudd is pandering to the young vote – possibly at the expense of everyone else.

Queensland’s state pollies – particularly the Labor ones (who can still count on the support of Liberal leader Bruce Flegg) had a rough week. Following leadfoot MP Andrew Choi’s admission that the beeping speed monitor just fades into the background when he’s speeding Deputy Premier Paul Lucas launched an extraordinary attack on the media. It seems he thinks it’s unfair that pollies have to face such intense scrutiny while journos don’t have to disclose anything about their speeding record. He’s kind of missed the point – journos don’t drive around in government funded cars or get paid to reduce the road toll like the Parliamentary Secretary for Roads.

Robyn wants me to tell everyone that she’s got a black eye. I want to make it clear that she needs to have my dinner ready on time… and point out that indoor soccer seems to be a dangerous game for her to play.

Further letters from Edward

Climate Change
Peter Garrett and Malcolm Turnbull, the two great hopes of the major political parties, had a debate on climate change yesterday. I fear the election campaign will be dominated by an issue that is really not Australia’s battle to be fighting. Climate change will probably continue occuring despite our efforts given the meagre contribution we make to global emissions. While our output is high per capita the US, China and India – and even the sheep in New Zealand – have more to answer to than we do. I’m sick of the issue and I don’t see why we should harm our economy by stopping our industries when global climate change will still cause the drought/flood conditions we’re facing anyway. Sure, we have a responsibility to look after the environment – but the government has a responsibility to look after its people. It’s not butterflies and hurricanes people – closing down our coal industry will not have any significant global impact while other countries continue to run theirs.

David Hicks
Issue two on the political agenda is the plight of unconvicted terrorist David Hicks, why he’s any more worthy of public support than any other Australian citizen incarcerated on foreign shores is beyond me. The guy’s an Al Queda insider and will eventually be tried, and quite frankly he deserves to be there. What about the Bali 9? what about Schappelle? I saw a group of protestors standing on a corner today calling for his release. Talk about a wasted effort – what does a protest in Townsville have to do with the plight of an Australian war criminal/terrorist under US control – again, not butterflies and hurricanes… If people want to make a difference why not take a meal to a refugee in one of the Australian facilities – their only crime is wanting the freedoms and protections afforded Australian citizens (slightly ironic) they don’t necessarily want to blow anyone up. That’s a worthy cause and I’m sick of stupid activists who think their voice will make a difference. Actions make a difference – and according to the cliche, they speak louder than words anyway. If you’re that worried about Hicks go launch a rescue mission, I’m sure Osama wants his general back. Hicks is an embarassment to Australia – not because of the government’s inaction but because of his actions, he chose to side with the bad guys.

Speaking of bad guys… my pen pal Edward wrote back to me after I revealed I’m a venture capitalist… for those who missed it, Edward generously agreed to raise my commission to the exact level he’d already offered. I suggested I’d be able to find suitable investment arrangments in Australia for his share of the profits:

Thanks for your comprehensive response.
Meanwhile,i thought you would have send the informations i requested from you such as 1.Your full name 2.Your private telephone and fax number3.Your address4.Your present occupation
Though you said that your email was slow but please remember to
include them in the reply to this mail to enable give you more necessary
information regard to this transaction.
I will be very happy if you will really find a good business where where this fund will be invest in your country.
I will be waiting for your urgent response.
Best Regards,
Edward Nkanga

I replied to his email with the following:


I’m sorry I haven’t responded until now. I’ve been very confused. I’m not sure exactly why you need these sorts of details to complete the transaction. I think If I am to give out such personal information I need some assurances that the money is real and that I will receive my percentage. I don’t want to appear greedy but I’m worried by the risks involved and don’t want to be hurt in this deal. My uncle Geronimo, a descendant of a Native American tribe, always said that I should never trust a man named after a prince of England so I am understandably wary. This does seem to be a fantastic opportunity to do business and I’m not completely adverse to taking risks in business ventures. My work as a business venture
capitalist and stock broker means I’m often involved with risky deals. My cousin’s brother’s cousin is an investment adviser and he says the internet is the next big thing when it comes to finding new investment opportunities. I guess that means I should trust you when it comes to doing deals like this. I only hope that you are worthy of this faith that I will put into you. Or I will hunt you down with the vengeance of 1000000 bumble bees. It is in the best interest of both parties concerned that you respond to me as quickly as possible so that we can continue making this deal. But like I say, I need real assurances that you still intend to go ahead with this transaction and would suggest that due to the risks involved in the procedure my percentage should be say 40% of the profits plus a return on future
investments in my country. Changing my name has severely confused a number of my clients and my close family who think I’m stupid to take these measures so early in the process. I believe it is better to act first and deal with consequences later – I tell you this so you know the lengths I am going to to help you out with your business deal.


Also – If my request for a larger share of the profits offended you I would be willing to negotiate like all reasonable business men. As far as I can see we are equal partners in terms of the risk but it is you who created the opportunity so I
would be happy with a 60-40 % split.

He didn’t respond to that email, perhaps realising that I am not who I seem to be. I did not want to lose out on this opportunity so initiated further contact.

I’m worried that I have not heard from you since my last reply? I apologise if my lack of immediate trust offended you – but I really must be cautious these days because while the internet brings opportunities like this for respectable people to do business there are those who would use it for less honest means.

Please contact me as soon as possible.
My details are:
Tobias Walther Schranner
I do not have a fax machine and my telephone is currently out of
service – however you should be able to leave a message with my secretary
on +61 132 221
My PO box number is 42
I am a banker/venture capitalist/stock broker for my own private firm.

For those worried that I have provided a career criminal with my personal details, please not that this phone number is the number for the Commonwealth Banks telephone banking service… Edward was no doubt a little confused:

Dear Tobias,

Thank you very much for your response.I have gone through all your email with all seriousness and i very well appreciate the effort you have made in respect to this transaction.

I want you to understand the real essence of this transaction and at the same time give you further details regarding this transaction.With the details you provided i will go ahead and procure the required legal documents that will fully present you as the legitimate next of kin to the deceased.

I have tried calling you on the number which you provided but i kept getting a computer recorded message.I will very much love to speak to you so please i will like you to provide me a direct telephone number where i can reach you.

Meanwhile i will begin the process of procuring the legal documents.

I expect to hear from you soonest.

Remain blessed,
Edward Nkanga

Not wishing to disappoint Edward with his request to hear from me soonest I responded immediately.

Edward, I do apologise – that’s the best number to get me on through my current work with the bank I am unable to provide a further number at this time, hopefully my new office landline will be connected shortly. Would a mobile
number be suitable? Email is probably my preferred method of communication as I am often too busy to answer my phone.

I am preparing some contracts for further investment of your funds in the country and have some opportunities I would like to discuss with you in the future. Please could I also have your full name, address and date of birth for my records.


Only a little bit left

Climate Change is a buzz issue. The opinion pages of Australia’s leading newspapers have been filled with claims, ripostes and counter-ripostes as the debate on the changing climate, humanities contribution to the change in climate and whether climatic change is a change at all rages with no set end in sight. This media coverage and debates over Australia’s reluctance to sign the Kyoto protocol, the release of the Stern Report, and Peter Garrett’s appointment as Shadow Minister for Climate Change have all positioned climate change as a central issue in the upcoming Australian Federal Election.

That the climate is changing is undeniable – just like it’s undeniable that a large portion of Australia is in the throes of a long running drought. I’m not going to argue with that. However, I may have been miseducated but I thought we expected the climate to change from time to time. We have these things called seasons, we have meteorologists who forecast changes in weather – We’ve been taught that an ice age wiped out dinosaurs. If the world was once covered in ice, and now is not, it makes sense that the ice caps continue to melt rather than stagnate. The world’s climate is so finely balanced that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in China is said to cause a hurricane in Australia (ok so that’s just poetic hyperbole but it makes the point). What I will argue, along with my friend Benny, is that climate change should not be an election issue.

Ben’s analogy when arguing about why policy on climate change should not be a central election campaign issue related it to running an election campaign based on which party had the best plan to defend against alien and UFO attacks. Not because the issue isn’t real but because the issue isn’t an election issue. If the planets climate is changing there is very little that our country of 20 million people can do. While our fossil fuel emissions are fairly high per capita we’ve got nothing on the US or other “developing” first world markets. Our emissions are a small drop in the global bucket. Climate change is not a local issue, it’s a global issue. Campaigning on Climate Change is easy point scoring for any opposition party who can easily take the moral high ground and point fingers at all the areas that can be improved. It’s a popular issue thanks to the left wing media’s desire to pander to the stupidity and gullibility of the average consumer and it allows the opposition to be lazy. If climate change wins the next election for either party the electorate will have been dealt a disservice when other issues like education, health, roads and the strength of the economy should be firmly on the agenda. Sure, we could all be looking after the environment better – and we all should be. But go plant a tree or do your bit individually. Culturally Australian’s have a habit of bignoting our global importance based on our performances in the scientific and sporting arenas. We’re better educated than most countries and we tend to punch above our weight – but we’re small potatoes when it comes to population and associated issues. The election should be about the goverment which will best manage the country – not who will blow the climate change trumpet the loudest. If we educate our people better individuals will be better positioned to think about climate change and other issues. If we have better infrastructure our industry will be able to consider better environmental practices. Climate change is a spin off issue – not a root cause. Having a minister for climate change is like having a Minister for Philosophy or a Minister for the Ocean. Dumb.

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