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Snippets from the darkside of the moon

Out of a habit that dates back to 1964, I still trot along to the local newsagent each Saturday morning to get my copy of The Weekend Australian. Over the years in several overseas postings I would have to wait until Monday morning to get my copy after it had been air-freighted to its destination at great additional cost : I remember a newspaper vendor in Singapore being very annoyed that there were so many newspapers in Australia that she was obliged to stock, one for every state capital and a couple of extra thrown in for good measure.

Nowadays The Australian and The Weekend Australian seem to have lurched to the Right as I seem to have been dragged to the Centre although I’m still a little confused about Right and Left .

Anyhow, here are a couple of snippets that I picked up on today over a espresso and a piece of carrot cake.

We’ve been reading and hearing recently that Peter Dutton appears to have a penchant for admitting au pairs [defined as :a young foreign person, typically a female, who helps with housework or childcare in exchange for food, a room, and some pocket money.] into Australia even though they arrive with the wrong visa and with the stated intention of working for one of Dutton’s mates. In an idle moment I wondered why Mr Dutton didn’t extend his broad discretion to gardeners or dog-walkers or other such useful bods. Well, Matthew Denholm in the Oz has a breathless and exclusive exposé that seems to explain it all.

It appears that the well heeled families in the leafy suburbs of our inner cities have worked out that despite the massive subsidies that taxpayers give to child-care centres such as those operated by Mr Dutton and his family it’s still a costly exercise to plant their offspring in long daycare and it can be much cheaper to bring in a young foreign person ideally from Europe and it just requires a phone call to Pete (old mate, long time no see !) to facilitate this.

According to the Oz, long day care [8am to 6pm] runs in at about $125 a day per child or $1250 for a five day week pour les deux enfant. Whereas, you can pay an au pair around $300 a week plus bed and board (evidently the don’t each much and can get by on a croissant and lentils on alternate days) and you get the kids looked after, they learn a European language, the beds are made, the dog walked and dishwasher emptied. The main drawback is that they do seem to attract young males so it pays to keep the hose handy but otherwise, an absolute snip and you don’t even have to join the Liberal party, but a donation is always welcomed.

Other columnists are saying that Morrison must seize his mandate and resist any pressure to go to an early election and he must focus on his agenda : anything wrong with that statement ?

Another snippet from The Weekend Australian is in a weekly opinion piece from that well known humorist and raconteur, Gerard Henderson who is busily rewriting history for us : he tells us when talking about the many failings of Malcolm Turnbull – a man he held in great esteem just two weeks ago – that Shorten and Labor had successfully framed Turnbull as a multi-millionaire who lived in a harbourside mansion and was out of touch with average Australians and that this contributed to Malcolm’s demise. Gerard has a track record of inexactitudes, indeed David Marr has to make a cameo appearance on Insiders periodically just to keep Gerry on the straight and narrow.

Of course,as we all recall, it was former Abbott minder Peta [don’t call me Pete !] Credlin who coined the term Mr Harbourside Mansion for Turnbull, nothing to do with Labor.

Have a good weekend !


PS :If you have been concerned about my use of French words in this oeuvre and you think I am being pretentious twit, all I can say is : pretentious ? moi ? absolument pas !

PPS: Yes, I know espresso is Italian – ciao !


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  1. helvityni

    To my way of seeing The Australian has been very much Right wing for a long time now…I used to buy the Weekend Oz, keep the section about Arts: book/ movie/play reviews etc. and bin the rest when stepping out…

    When it first appeared it was different, I read it all, I had two good journalist friends writing for it then.

    As for Henderson I enjoy watching him when paired with Marr, not otherwise….

  2. New England Cocky

    Hmmmm …. there has been unusual movement in Australian politics over the past couple of years. Suddenly, apparently out of nowhere, several conservative politicians have been exposed as members of the clandestine Barnyard Joke School of Philandering, and many of these epiphanies are for MPs having electorates sitting on valuable mining resources. Like, CSG; think Barnyard’s two grazing properties on Santos CSG leases in the Pilliga Scrub near Narrabri that on a good day might support one sheep to ten acres.

    But Barnyard’s Campaign Manager knew better as CEO of Eastern Star Gas, that was sold on to Santos for a nice profit.

    The movements have been at NSW level also. Kevin Humphries, Member for Barwon, the seat formerly held as a life sinecure by his former father-in-law, Big Wal Murray, has decamped the family home to set up tent near his Narrabri office … to be closer to job opportunities when he “retires” from Parliament at the 2019 NSW elections? Is there another more amorous motive? Meanwhile Wal’s daughter, the exuberant Mayor of Moree has followed the Poorlein Hansen career path into the fish & chip industry.

    Then there is the recent “Et tu, Scat?” moment for Muddles Turdball when the praetorian guard stomped around Parliament House bullying, hectoring and being even more unpleasant than usual to ensure that a popular Prim Monster was removed because he didn’t want to have the IPA running the country that he had been elected to run. Naughty Rupert!!!

    Bring on the 2018 Federal election so that we may judge this NLP misgovernment and find it severely wanting.

    The sudden concern about family absence has also occurred on the coast at Port Macquarie where former NSW National$ prefer Adulterers Leader Stoner become so concerned about being absent from family that he retired from the Parliamentary trough. There is more to this story than told in National$ press releases.

  3. totaram

    Ha, ha! It was through reading the “Education” section of the Australian, two decades ago, that I learned that they were just liars and cheats. I would read about some issue in Universities and find from my own lived experience that what they were saying was completely false. Then, when I wrote off a response to their article protesting that it was untrue, I found that my protest would not be published. No reason given!

    One lives and learns! It seems there are enough gullible dupes who will never learn, but there is some evidence that this number is declining. Hurrah!

  4. Kerri

    Terence Mills I cannot believe that you would voluntarily put any money into that ageing ballsac of a
    “Businessman” Lord Molloch? Or The Sun King as he is known?
    If you must read the product of the shorter (and older) of the celebrity couple at least go to a cafe where it is free and he only gets a portion of the profits for his words of untruth.
    This man approved of his staff downloading the text messages of an abducted teenager giving her parents false hope that she was still alive. He doesn’t deserve to be in business let alone making a profit and it is only the diligent efforts of the paying public to not pay this immoral gutter snipe that will put him out of business. The politicians fear their positions way to much to go in hard against the nasty old slime ball.
    Please take a moral stance.
    Imagine our politics without News Corpse muddying the waters to suit their own agenda?
    Don’t support anything Murdoch.

    With you totaram.

  5. guest

    Thank you, Terence. Any Murdoch publication is full of “snippets”.

    Like Helvetyni, and like you, Terence, I have read the Weekend Australian, especially overseas, in order to keep up with things Oz. But in recent times I have composed most of the paper and used only what I want. I believe at least one long-serving editor converted the newspaper into a propaganda outlet for right wing purposes, including the IPA.

    As well, as part of its propaganda, the newspaper is too full of bile and vitriol against any one or thing which opposes its hide-bound ideological obsessions.

    Consequently even its letter page from correspondents is full of echoes from the bunker because the readers in thrall, designated “the informed Australian”, seems to know nothing different.

    One snippet this week is our favourite education pundit, Dr Kevin Donnelly, who has been complaining ceaselessly since the early 1990s about falling standards in education. He has taken the axe to “Shift to ‘radical’ curriculum” with the by-line: “Push to focus on contentious 21st-century skills in classroom.” But then anything new in education is for Kevin a “fad”.

    For him, only “traditional” education and “only books” of the Western Canon, of course.

    Then Paul Kelly wisely opines in the “Inquirer” section on Coalition disunity: “Liberals doomed without truce”. The by-line states: “PM and party’s fate rests in the hands of the brawling sides.” This is especially insightful and a red excerpt elaborates: “Having put Morrison into office after burning through Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull as leaders, the Liberals would affirm their death wish if they now begin burning through Morrison.”

    I wonder if they are listening at all, even with the repetition of the message.

    And then from Greg Sheridan, ever the optimist: “Morrison prepares to take his place on the international stage.” By-line: “He is assembling a strong team to help deal with global challenges.”

    And then a comment from a Queensland correspondent echoing Murdoch propaganda on climate change: “John Stone (“Two-horse race – the Paris race to ruin”, 14/9) described the nonsense of pandering to countries smaller than drought-stricken country towns…First, get water to the inland, make the desert bloom, then we will have the capacity to help others without the need for false claims that somehow we are responsible for the climate…”

    The real culprit, apparently is volcanoes, especially ones under the sea. Thank you, Rupert, for your fake news.

  6. wam

    last century I sometimes on holidays,(too dear at home) bought a weekend Aust for the bridge chess and xwds now if i travel on a sat the paper is free and I admit to hiding it under the lap top but I leave it on the plane.

    ps ‘..the dog walked and dishwasher emptied. ‘ sounds like the jobs for a labor staffer.

    It was rumoured the rabbott got 46 votes 38 for nobody and 9 informal. He showed empathy with the trump arithmetical method and announce a 75% approval.a normal count suggests that he didn’t get the rquired 50%+1 one quote ‘anyone interested in the party knows this bloke has got to go.

  7. Terence Mills


    The question is, who in Warringah is interested in the Liberal party when they couldn’t even rustle up an alternative candidate.

    Is there a good independent who could save this electorate from another term of Abbott ?

  8. Kronmex

    Back in mid to late ’80s in Brisbane there was a newsagency that brought in papers from all over the world and when I was on my lunch break I would wander down and buy…GASP!…SHOCK!…HORROR!… the English version of Pravda. Why? It was a fun piece of Soviet propangda to read and the horrified looks from people as I walked back to work while reading it made my day worthwhile. That’s what The Australian is now except it’s right wing, LNP propaganda and not fun to read.

    Oh yes, I was told by my supervisor in the registry (of what was then known as Australian Construction Services (federal department)) that, “Under no circumstances was that Communist garbage to be left on my desk where the public might see it and it could also upset my fellow workers!” Needless to say I took no notice and would leave it on my desk with the title page prominently displayed and propped up on some books facing the main counter. He would put it in the top drawer of my desk if I left the office. I stopped doing it after about a week because he was becoming more and more agitated and was told by someone that in all the years they had been there they had never seen him so worked up about one of his minions causing problems.

  9. wam

    Terence, the rabbott was elected unopposed but if they publish the result and some primary school liberal counts 46+38+9=93 and 46×2 is 92 which is less than the required 50%+1 for preselection. The new ballot may have a female challenger????

  10. Ross in Gippsland

    After Wazza Fairfax’s shambolic takeover attempt and Fred Hilmer started the decline of Fairfax I turned to The Australian, which must be said was not that bad all those years ago. When working on assignments overseas I would log on to the web version of The Australian to keep abreast of events in Oz and to follow Matt Price. This was around the time comments on the articles began and Matt Price was the best, a treasure trove of good humour and seriously gut busting funny comments. Sadly Matt Price is no longer with us and now you wouldn’t buy The Australian to help light the fire on a cold winter’s night.

  11. Diannaart

    In 1964 I didn’t even know the The Weekend Australian existed, we were a Sun household, I do recall loving Keith Dunstan and Weg cartoons.

    In the 70’s I was strictly an Age reader, occasionally I splurged for the weekend Australian, but my choice until about 10 years ago was always Fairfax.

    Recently, as others have noted, there has been a lurch to the big “R” Right and lets not forget the wonderful choice of the Internet – I no longer have to trot to the newsagent, besides there’s not a great deal to lug home anymore.

    Last time I spent my hard earned on anything Murdoch, I was returning from Tasmania in 2012, via sea, and my choice on board was between Murdoch’s rags – Fairfax missing at sea. The Australian was worse than, words fail here, it was just so full of outright lies and deliberate slagging of anything remotely suggestive of Labor … back to my smart phone and the internet.

    There are those who argue the Internet is full of rubbish. True. It takes discernment, critical thinking and curiosity to find the gems which do abound (insert plug for AIM here). Everything has changed irrevocably (unless climate changes to a global increase of greater than 2 degrees or someone presses the shiny red nuke button) and the days of printed news are almost gone.

    I really appreciated Terence’s question:

    Other columnists are saying that Morrison must seize his mandate and resist any pressure to go to an early election and he must focus on his agenda : anything wrong with that statement ?

    Which simply raised more questions for yours truly.

    How does Morrison have a mandate?

    He has not held an election, don’t mandates require public endorsement?

    If such a mandate exists, what is this mandate?

    Could Morrison’s mandate simply be his agenda, which appears to be not going to an election because he knows Labor would romp it in. As guest opined above, such action would be the death knell for the Libs.

    I am not given to prayer (being an atheist), however I am praying to the great canine in the sky, bring on an early election.


  12. Kaye Lee

    Chris Mitchell ruined The Australian. He was editor-in-chief from 2002 to 2015.

    “Mitchell was named by academic Clive Hamilton as one of Australia’s “Dirty Dozen”; a list of people he believed to be “doing the most to block action on climate change in Australia”. He featured in editions of the list published in 2006, 2009 and 2014. In 2010, Mitchell claimed that he had been defamed by academic Julie Posetti in a series of tweets she posted from a journalism conference claiming that reporter Asa Wahlquist had said Mitchell controlled election coverage of climate change issues. Posetti refused to apologise when tapes of the conference seemed to back her version of events.”

    I know Chris. You could not find a more arrogant man. His certainty that he is always right is cringeworthy as he has very little in the way of facts to back up his loudly oft-expressed opinions.

  13. guest

    Interestingly, in this weekend’s edition of the WE Oz, the Magazine insert has 30 celebrated Oz citizens giving their opinions of past and future aspects of Oz society and politics and their own wishes and ambitions.

    A good number of them lament the lack of attention to climate change, the embarrassment of Manus and Nauru, political self interest, the plight of our Indigenous people, failure to acknowledge migrant success, neglect of mental health, our involvement in wars in overseas places, neglect of foreign aid, lack of leadership, inequality of women.

    One person, a successful business man, praised the Hawke-Keating government as ‘probably the best government Australia has had for a long time’. He also praised the Howard-Costello government for its stability, and ‘the way Rudd handled the GFC was also quite remarkable’. But he also said that Murdoch was admirable because he ‘brought the country into the world. We were isolated.’ But then this businessman is of the same generation as Rupert, so I guess he sees Rupert in a favourable light not all would support.

    I thought it quite remarkable that a Murdoch publication would allow any admission that the Left had done or thought anything of worth. Perhaps it is a turning of the worm as the present government falls in a heap!

  14. helvityni

    I wonder if I can still buy the WE Oz….?

  15. Diannaart


    I thought it quite remarkable that a Murdoch publication would allow any admission that the Left had done or thought anything of worth.

    The exception which proves the rule? Or, perhaps, an indulgence which may be used to pretend a form of balance?

    Perhaps it is a turning of the worm as the present government falls in a heap!

    Wishful thinking. Murdoch is not a worm for turning.

  16. Kaye Lee

    Murdoch hates to be on the losing side. Remember, he backed Whitlam in 1972 and Rudd in 2007 albeit then turning on both later.

  17. guest

    You are right, Dianaart and Kaye. Murdoch is a devious old coot. Makes big claims which are entirely false and then claims his fake news is just to stir up debate (controversy) while he claims he knew all along what was the truth.

    The current controversy – as if there was any doubt – is the matter of climate change. Some of the comments made by correspondents fed on Murdoch misinformation is a pitiful display of ignorance in public. Sad.

    A recent piece of scribbling attacks the EU for allowing criminals inside its boundaries. It prefers that each sovereign country firm up its borders, which means the scribbler approves of the actions of right-wing anti-migration activists. The scribbler neglects to acknowledge the despair voiced in the UK, for example, that Brexit got through because so many opponents did not bother to vote, thinking that it would never get up.

    We saw the same failure of the voting public in the US of A – so that white supremacist patriarchs are touting their ultra-right twisted obsessions , even to the extent of lectures in Oz, buoyed by the presence of Murdoch propaganda here in the Lucky Country (lucky we are still here). And Trump keeps on hi path of destruction.

    Like totaram above, I have read scribbling in Murdoch publications and known that what I read was false. I have wondered on what distant planet the reptiles live on. A business man who denies climate change without reference to science; a female scribbler who attacks women with venom and bile; a scribbler who has a kitbag full of snippets he repeats ad nauseam; a writer who is quite knowledgeable but who writes at such length that the message is lost; a scribbler who constantly refers to 1950s politics with weeping nostalgia…

    I will be saddened if Dorothy Parker at loon pond retires from her midnight frays against the Murdoch reptiles which she has waged over the years. Thank goodness for AIMN and your valued contributions, Kaye, and the correspondents like you, Dianaart, who maintain the rage.

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