Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Sporting Legends

Some of our sportsmen deserve, by the way they play their respective games, the way they carry themselves in public life, and what they do for their sports after they’ve finished playing, to be given legend status. Two of those people have hit the news this week, for entirely different reasons.

Ron Barassi has been made Victorian of The Year for 2009. He was a magnificent sportsman, is a great bloke and has done an enormous amount for football over time. His award is well deserved.

Another Demons legend, Jim Stynes, has announced he has started the battle against cancer and is standing aside from the Melbourne presidency. It’s proof once again that this damn cancer doesn’t discriminate. All the best with the battle, Jim!

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The Age is reporting this morning that Muthiah Muralitharan will be turning out for Victoria to play Twenty20 cricket next season. This is cause for frustration on a number of fronts.

  1. Whatever happened to the honour of representing one’s state or country? I would have dearly loved to have had the honour to represent my state (either Queensland, Victoria or Tasmania) and to play for Australia would have been just magnificent. The extent of my representative career was to play both football and cricket for the Gold Coast. Which native Victorian with the same aspirations is going to be kept out of our state side by this clown turning up to play?
  2. How much are we paying him? Twenty20 cricket is an irrelevance. How many great Twenty20 cricket matches can anyone remember? In contrast, it’s very easy to remember the great test matches and performances within those test matches. If the Indians want to run their Premier League and pay players absurd amounts of money for not doing a hell of a lot, that’s fine. Given the irrelevance of Twenty20 cricket in Australia, why wouldn’t the money we’re paying Muralitharan go towards developing juniors or up and coming players in the state?
  3. If you’re determined to pick a marquee player, why would you pick a bowler who can’t bat? So we’re going to pay him to turn up and bowl (sorry, I meant chuck) 24 balls each game? He can’t bat and he certainly can’t field. Indeed, some of the under-10s I used to coach could bat better than this bloke. Surely the best option is a strong batsman or allrounder.
  4. Now here’s the biggy. Muralitharan is a chucker. Always has been. Always will be. Darrell Hair quite correctly called him for an illegal delivery all those years ago. Every one of those wickets he’s taken has been done illegally. So what happened? They changed the rules, rules that had been in place for our great game since its inception. Rules that stated that the ball needed to be delivered with a straight arm. Why did they do it? Just another example of the way the cricket community continues to pander to the sub-continent. This is the same sub-continent that brings us teams who threaten to catch the next plane home when their players are correctly disciplined. It’s the same sub-continent that brings us terrorist attacks on visiting teams.

Cricket Victoria – this is a really dumb idea!

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So what’s the extra Connex people on the platforms at Parliament station achieving?

The cynics amongst us might say it gives the company more visibility close to where key contract decisions get made. Wouldn’t it be better spending the money on having more suburban stations manned and making the service safer at night?

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The ever growing popularity of social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook has resulted in people taking up a lot more causes. Recent examples of this are the campaign to change a Twitter avatar to green as a form of protest against the alleged rigging of the Iran elections, and a plethora of Facebook groups ranging from bushfires, to cancer, to dogs as shark bait, etc.

Unfortunately, all this has achieved is to make it easy for people to claim they are supporting a cause, when all they are really doing is making a couple of mouse clicks on a computer. Tokenism!

In most cases, they are appropriate causes for people to support. Indeed, I’ve joined a whole bunch of them myself. And I’m as guilty of tokenism.

Isn’t it time for us to get a bit more genuine, a bit more serious about our support for appropriate causes? If we’re concerned about bushfires, as a minimum we should be donating money. But why not contribute some time to organisations like SES, CFA or Red Cross? Or a myriad of other organisations who are currently providing support to those impacted by the fires?

If we’re concerned about Iran, then why not donate to Amnesty International? Or better still, why not give them some of our time? Dogs? RSPCA. Cancer? Get out there and actively support the vast range of support organisations.

Next time you think about starting or joining a cause on Twitter, Facebook or the like, why not make sure it’s a group where you can say I actively did something for that cause. We need more people who are genuine about the causes they support and not just mouse clickers.

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The Age is reporting this morning that Fairfax is going to relaunch the National Times, as an online edition.


My previous blog entries probably give some clues about what I think about the Australian media industry in general. Generally low quality and constantly looking for sensation rather than strong analysis and reporting.

If Fairfax manages to give us the National Times as it was previously, it will be great. To quote Fairfax Media chief executive Brian McCarthy, “The National Times brand was synonymous with intelligent and thought-provoking journalism”.

The August launch is certainly something to look forward to.

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Australian media organisations – GIVE ME A BREAK!

  • How many human rights atrocities occurred?
  • How many children from third world countries died of malnutrition?
  • How many people died from cancer?
  • How many innocent people were attacked in the streets?
  • How many people were belted up by their partners?

While you have been giving these mindless nuff nuffs, and their respective entourages, the time of day.

This is an absolute low point in the life and times of media in Australia – Channel 9 for the way it is behaving and the other media outlets for the way, nay the fact, that it is even being reported.

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Australia has once again qualified for the World Cup, following a draw with Qatar overnight. This is a fantastic effort, qualifying for two World Cups in a row, in a sport that has not traditionally been a national strength. It speaks volumes for the progress football has made in recent years.

But it clearly doesn’t impress the ABC! I flicked the radio on at 7:00am this morning, specifically to hear what had happened. I would have loved to stay up and watch it on Foxtel, but wasn’t confident I could stay awake. I had to wait for the third sports story, about eight minutes into the ten-minute news bulletin. It didn’t rate as being more important than Carlton beating Brisbane in the AFL, and even worse, Port Adelaide beating Fremantle. Nor did it rate as being more important than the West Indies beating Australia in Twenty20 cricket, far and away the most unimportant and insignificant format of the game.

C’mon ABC Radio, lift your game! Last night was a significant event in Australia’s rich sporting history. And you dropped the ball in the way you reported it.

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The evidence seems to be mounting that the Country Fire Authority (CFA) is going to end up being the whipping boy as a result of the Royal Commission into the February fires in Victoria. The Sunday Age (May 31, 2009, page 3) is reporting that the CFA believes the senior counsel assisting the commission is “prosecuting” its members. It also reports the CFA is considering briefing its own lawyers as a result of its dissatisfaction with those appointed by the State Government.

I want to state my absolute support for the CFA, and all emergency services organisations involved in the fires. Victoria has never before had to deal with a tragedy of such magnitude. While every emergency service will identify areas that it could have done better, all emergency services personnel should stand tall.

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Here’s a screen grab from The Age web site today.

Is it any wonder we’re all depressed. My kingdom for a good news story!

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People who, through their declarations or actions in the public spotlight, deserve a place in the toolbox. (To be updated regularly.)

  • Matthew Johns
  • Sam Newman
  • John Howard
  • Alan Jones
  • Neil Mitchell
  • Jon Faine
  • Kyle Sandilands
  • Andrew Demetriou
  • Mick Malthouse
  • Ian “Dicko” Dickson
  • Andrew Symons
  • The Chaser gang
  • Gordon Ramsay
  • Tracy Grimshaw

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