SMH blog 2006-8

I had a newsy blog on the Sydney Morning Herald website between 2006 and 2008.

Election 2007: the wrap-up

It is with great pleasure that I present my analysis of where the 2007 federal election was won. Lesser commentators will reserve their post-mortems for November 25, or perhaps election night itself if they type quickly. But let the record show that on October 18, more than five weeks away from polling day, I was the first with the comprehensive analysis that explained not only why the result happened, but what it was in the first place.

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Man-child, 30, seeks to join Entourage

I know I’ve joined the fad a little later than some (as my brother keeps reminding me), but I’ve become a huge fan of Entourage, the HBO show about the young Hollywood star and his three homies from New York who are kickin’ it in LA. And while I’ve been enjoying the antics of Vinnie, Drama, Turtle and E – so much so, in fact, that from now on I am going to insist on being known on the streets as ‘D’ – I can’t help asking one thing. Can I join somebody’s entourage already?

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Telstra: making it easier for Labor

John Howard should be careful what he wishes for. He pushed so hard for so many years for Telstra to be privatised and independent, and vowed to turn Australia into a “nation of shareholders” by encouraging mum-and-dad investors to snap up a slice of the national telco. Well, there are 1.6 million Telstra shareholders (I am not among them), and guess what? That’s a substantial voting bloc. And Sol Trujillo knows this. Which is why his company is trying to mobilise them in marginal electorates to try and get the Government to give Telstra an even more dominant market position. Sorry, I mean, let Telstra bring better broadband to all Australians.

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Putting the ‘e’ in Joey

So, Andrew Johns – sorry, Andrew ‘Joey’ Johns – was busted with ecstacy. And at a party, what’s more – not in a desperate attempt to enjoy watching a Newcastle Knights match, which would have been more understandable. No – his defence was that someone had put it in his pocket. It’s amazing how often drugs seem to mysteriously appear when high-profile people are out partying. Don’t tell me that Michelle Leslie’s mysterious friend “Mia” has been up to her old tricks again?

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The citizenship test’s a trivial pursuit

I may have unfairly maligned Kevin Andrews. Sure, he’s bungled the Haneef investigation, but the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship has been ever so industrious in the other side of his portfolio. Working together with the Prime Minister, who’s long tried to codify Australianness despite the public knocking back that constitution preamble of his, Andrews has finally provided the definitive answer to the complex, loaded question of what it is to be an Australian with a handy booklet. Apparently being Australian is all about mateship and cricket. What a surprise from the Howard Government.

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Haneef is a character test for all of us

andrewsmikes.jpgThe Haneef case is back in the headlines again this week, and with Kevin Andrews promising to appeal against the decision to overturn his ban on the good (or otherwise?) doctor’s visa, and the family’s determination to take it to the High Court if necessary, we’re more or less guaranteed it will stay there. I don’t know whether Haneef is a terrorist mastermind or not. But, like many, I strongly suspect the latter, and his recent decision to release the whole of his second interview transcript seems to help him establish this. The case raises important questions about where we, as a society, draw the line between national security concerns and our values as an open, welcoming community. And, so far, like Andrews when he tries to explain why he doesn’t want Haneef here, we just don’t have good enough answers.

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Can you get double or nothing on the ASX?

I wish I could find it in my heart to find a little more sympathy for the nation’s shareholders, I really do. But the news that the All Ordinaries has dropped 10% in the past 19 days, thereby officially counting as a “correction”, had a certain bitter irony to it. Because despite all the endless energy pumped into financial reporting, stock analysts and the business media, despite all the incredible intellects that devote themselves to plotting the trajectories of numbers, the sharemarket is, at the end of the day, a casino. No wonder the Packers are good at business.

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All aboard for Kev 2.0?

I’m not sure that this is the reaction that Labor’s webmasters were aiming for, but I couldn’t help wincing a little when I took my first tour of It looks so much like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton‘s sites, with the red and blue colourscheme that’s universal in American politics. And the decision to call him Kevin throughout the site, like he’s our friend, is really quite cringe-inducing, even though it’ll probably help to make him seem more accessible. I blame Sunrise.

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