Author Archive

New Media Shames Old

The last 15 years of media appear to be a story of print’s decline and broadcasting fragmentation. But that’s just the sort of creative destruction you expect in a mature industry with a big technological component. A deeper change is the emergence of an alternative accountability media. This change has fully revealed the way the […]

Gonski GosPlan Comeback

We need to address our education failures. Our government needs to recognise that money won’t do it. And to realise that GosPlan-like 15 year  targets  plastered over  a dysfunctional system will achieve nothing. It is a iron law – perhaps Falk’s Second Iron Law – that public sector producers will always claim poor quality product […]

Basket Weavers Bow Out

A bizarre generational divide has emerged while I’ve been working the streets for the current local council elections. When you’re handing out for a centre-right party in the Sydney’s Inner West, you expect abuse. When I started a few years ago, old timers told me to take tissues to deal with the spit. The young […]

Beware Bullying

Our social and media treatment of bullying needs an urgent examination. Nothing says that more than the fact that I feel I need to tread carefully and express myself with caveats and qualifications.  And that’s not because of current celebrity travails and defamation laws. The bullying bandwagon is definitely short of space; from MP speeches […]

Dissent Is Only Good If You’re Winning

The New Left is overplaying the outrage game so badly that in years to come it will be a study in propaganda failure. Away from the shaping and scolding of their teachers, one can imagine the teen contempt students would have for the constant shock, outrage, inhalations and fake swooning our opinionistas  pass off as […]

Whingeing That Their Choices Have Consequences

Recent research apparently shows if you don’t contribute to superannuation, you have less superannuation. The way this bombshell has been reported is an absurd example of the unwillingness of the self-absorbed to accept that their choices may involve trade-offs. It is also an example of the unthinking way journalists writing in what used to be […]

Gleeful Embrace of Others’ Suffering

Mark Thoma is an ideological economist. Most are; economists in general come to economics with their politics fixed, looking to rationalise what they already believe (harsh call). But Prof Thoma is up there with econ-shrieker Krugman, and occasional over-the-topper Brad DeLong. Thoma approvingly quotes another economist, Robert H Frank, writing in the NY Times about […]

ABC: Criticise Any Government But Ours

So the ABC is whingeing about their news site being blocked by India on the grounds it may stir up public unrest (read, ethnic violence). I await with unrealistic expectation that the ABC will defend other Australians’ rights to speak in a way that embarrasses the Australian government. And I await the equally important statement […]

Self Defeat – The Essential Finkelstein

One of the joys of watching policy development is how it completely ignores the infinite flexibility of the people it seeks to regulate. Every policy should go through a rigorous Response Scenario attack from the most creative public-private team imaginable. Just to work out what the best-and-brightest would do to subvert the policy goal. And […]

Getting Service Culture Horribly Wrong

There are times when you walk into a hotel and you like the feel they’ve gone for. When it’s obvious the designer and hotelier have got together and worked something out. Spent a fortune on fitout and on extras; built an atmosphere and set an emotional tone that makes a stay memorable. And then you […]

Who Else Said ‘Gloves Off’ for the Media?

Our Prime Minister and her caucus are putting themselves in dubious company with the demand that it is time for "gloves off" in dealing with the media

Hume of the Week

Following this  statement from history-challenged and (thankfully) outgoing MP Steve Gibbons, I can only hope that everyone keeps Mr Hume’s comment in mind: It is seldom, that liberty of any kind is lost all at once. Essays, Moral, Political, and Literary (1741)  Essay 2  : Of the Liberty of the Press What is so depressing […]

Media Verbs

Redefining verbs, media-style. Proper nouns do make it into the dictionary: Mrs Malaprop and Mr Crapper provide a couple of examples. Given time, some of our media performers may make a similar contribution. [Update: use in a sentence and 12+ added]  To Hartcher: to devalue your own reputation while seeking to protect that of a […]

Competition And Local Press Freedom

I’m all for a competitive media sector offering a range of choices to media consumers. But in one case media competition can actually make it harder for media outlets to publish fearlessly. Regional and suburban newspapers, local radio and website directories all rely heavily on local Council advertising. And, on occasion, on grants. All Councils […]

Interesting Idea, Lousy Source

Voters don’t realise that electing a new government has the limited effect of changing about eight people in a single Minister’s office, who may oversee 15,000 entrenched public servants. So Godwin Grech’s suggestion  of a post-election spill of all SES-level public servants is worth considering. Pity that coming from him it undermines its own argument […]