||Issue No. 184||27 June 2003|
To the Victors The Spoils
History: Nest of Traitors
Interview: A Nation of Hope
Unions: National Focus
Safety: The Shocking Truth
Tribute: A Comrade Departed
History: Working Bees
Education: The Big Picture
International: Static Labour
Economics: Budget And Fudge It
Technology: Google and Campaigning
Review: Secretary With A Difference
Poetry: The Minimale
Satire: Howard Calls for Senate to be Replaced by Clap-O-Meter
The Locker Room
The Story in General
Thinking of America
No News Is Good News
Senator Richard Alston takes up a seat in the Tool Shed this week after he stopped kissing Rupert Murdoch's posterior for long enough to announce that he was taking what remains of Telstra down to the pawnbrokers.
The Minister for Electronic Dooverwackies and Pretty Pictures, Richard Alston, continues to show himself as being out of his depth after stepping on a rake a couple of times this week - over Telstra and the Federal Government's attempts to privatise its information services to Rupert Murdoch.
Not content with the highest concentration of media ownership this side of Burma, Alston has embarked on an attempt to put a dagger through the heart of what remains of media freedom in Australia.
Despite his attempts to buy off a number of independent senators, the latest change to the media ownership laws were amended in the senate. The provision that a media proprietor (read Rupert Murdoch) cannot own every media outlet available was deemed unacceptable by Alston.
Heavens! Without Rupey on side this lying, cheating disgrace of a government may actually be help up to some scrutiny in the way it treats ordinary Australians as a cash cow for its rich mates. If Alston gets his way we can look forward to the dumb xenophobia of FOX News and the New York Post becoming standard fare. Intellectually challenged media players such as pontificating serial lunatic, Piers Akkerman and blowhards like Paddy MacGuiness will pass themselves off as informed debate. Australia deserves better.
This is the man who believes the ABC is "anti-American". Since when is it incumbent on an Australian government minister to defend another country's interests? His frustration at anything approaching robust debate of government policy is astounding. Open debate is obviously something to be stifled, which is in keeping with his desire to limit media diversity in Australia.
The dumbing down of the news-media is in Alston's interests of course. This way he may be able to keep up with current affairs.
It was a stroke of genius by Howard to select a Minister for Information Technology who would struggle with programming a VCR, thus eliminating any leadership threat from the anyone abreast of the cutting edge of technology today.
While Alston is obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer it is his deficiencies in grasping the fundamentals of technology that make him a perfect patsy to flog off a major piece of publicly owned infrastructure to the highest bidder. After all, it would only be fair considering that what loosely passes as Telstra management loaned him a Plasma screen TV so that he could keep in touch with the issues that affect ordinary Australians.
Anyone who owns a telephone knows that the problems with Telstra are not solely the provision of broadband services to "the bush". Many people can't get a decent service in metropolitan Sydney. The problem lies in Telstra's slavish devotion to the market and gouging its customers ahead of providing a decent, affordable and accessible standard of service.
Alston knows that a privately owned Telstra will abandon any pretense of owing the community anything in the way of a service obligation. Telstra staff will be slashed further so that the telco's senior execs can grow fat on their unearned bonuses. Of course we can't expect Alston to be concerned by this as has already stood by while Telstra treats its staff like so many cattle at the saleyards.
Meanwhile, as Australians are increasingly frustrated with the standard of service they receive from telcos, Senator Alston sits there dribbling out of both sides of his mouth.
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate is a tool of the highest order. At least Judas, after betraying his fellows, had the decency to hang himself. Alston will merely pocket the pieces of silver in a shameless attempt to buy this shoddy administration a further term in government.
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