Month: May 2019

JEFF CORBETT: Keeping up with Jones

THE cyber-generated assault on businesses that advertised on the Alan Jones 2GB show has had a devastating impact on the advertisers and the radio station.
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That assault, whipped up through Facebook and other social sites, is nominally at least in response to Mr Jones’s vulgar statement that Julia Gillard’s father died of shame because of her lies, and it does appear increasingly that the anti-Jones campaign has a political purpose rather than being merely an expression of protest.

It is likely, too, that the use of tens of thousands of viral emails to overwhelm and even destroy the advertisers’ computers is more than civil protest, and I would not be surprised if that is put to the test soon.

Still, it is a powerful use of new media and suddenly the old media is vulnerable. Is it censorship or merely people expressing outrage? Here’s what you had to say.

Peterk: “Jeff, I think what Jones said is far more offensive than anything you have said, although a few middle-aged overweight bikies might beg to differ. The reality is that money from advertisers is what keeps the shock jocks on air. Whether 100,000 people or 20,000 listen does not matter if the 20,000 buy more. It is the obvious Achilles heel and it’s not the first time nor will it be the last that advertisers have flexed their muscles or been targeted by campaigns. The problem for Jones is that firstly he didn’t apologise (he never used the word sorry and played the victim himself) and, secondly, he has run similar campaigns against others all through his career. He, like many so called opinion columnists, are mouthpieces for political parties and Jones has been as vitriolic and hate filled as any.”

Abundance: “I have a sneaking suspicion that Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and John Laws are the same person. They certainly all have the same double digit IQ. Maybe that other damn fool, Kyle whatzizname, is their offspring. I choose not to listen to any of them. It’s all utter drivel. A great way to boost the productivity of Australia would be to pull the plug on almost all media. Let’s face it, there’s not much fair dinkum journalism any more, especially now that Jeff’s going to take the mash brew hobby to full ahead both engines. Radio shows, almost all television, and most claptrap on the internet is an utter waste of life.”

Directeur Sportif: “Welcome back from hols JC! I heartily approve of the campaign over Mr Jones’s comments. The new media changes the way we interact with those who make public comment, whether they are public figures or merely contributors to a blog. In the past if one disagreed with comments made in the media one wrote a letter to the editor, or a lodged complaint. It was completely at the discretion of the recipient to print or acknowledge it, even if there were thousands of them. The general public would be none the wiser. There is nothing new about consumer boycotts, but in the age of new media they are much easier to coordinate quickly and importantly keep in the public consciousness to sustain momentum. For the companies concerned it becomes not only a moral but an economic choice.”

Danielle Jones: “I am really angry at Alan Jones but not for the expected reasons. Yes what he said was abhorrent and cruel. No-one, no matter how disliked, deserves such trolling (yes it was trolling, those words are exactly the kind internet trolls spew forth). But my anger at Jones is far more political. His idiotic diatribe has garnered sympathy for a politician who far from deserves it.”

Mike King: “Self-righteous indignation is Jones’s stock in trade. I accept that he has done much for charity and that he is highly successful in his field. I just don’t like listening to him and bristle whenever I hear snippets of one of his rants. I was reasonably ambivalent about him until the Cronulla riots, but I believe his behaviour in the lead up to that was beyond the pale. However, as despicable as his Gillard comments were the attack on the businesses, large and small, that advertise on the network is unfair. For most small businesses they are looking at ratings numbers not content when they advertise so they are not endorsing his commentary. This attack on them is bullying, plain and simple.”

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Sincero’s Cox Plate trial

READY: Sincero is in fine fettle. Picture: Jonathan CarrollTRAINER Steve Farley showed his confidence that Sincero is well and truly ready for tomorrow’s $400,000 group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000 metres) when he said yesterday, “the Wyong wonder is on track”.
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The five-year-old gelding’s chances have been greatly enhanced after short-priced favourite Manighar suffered a leg injury at trackwork in Melbourne yesterday that has ended his spring campaign.

“He is ready, and this is the defining race of the spring for Sincero.

“He would have to be competitive for me to go on with him as a Cox Plate runner.

“Really, I think he is a top-two pick on Saturday.

“If he doesn’t finish in front of the other main chances, or right near them, then I would have to rethink where I am going with him.

“But the way he looks this morning I would be bitterly disappointed if he doesn’t go close.

“I didn’t do much with him this morning, I didn’t have to to. All the hard work is done, and it is just a case of waiting for the race now and keeping him safe and sound.”

■ Newcastle trainer Paul Perry is preparing to launch an assault on the rich Melbourne spring carnival.

Perry has become legendary over the years for taking horses south and winning the big races over the spring, and in doing so bringing off plenty of big betting plunges

However, Perry has not had a runner in Melbourne during the spring since 2010.

The last big-race runner Perry had down south was Kirinata, which finished 12th of 16 behind Lion Tamer in the 2010 Victorian Derby.

This year he could be taking as many as four horses south.

Wouldn’t It Be Nice, which finished just behind the placegetters in the Breeders Plate at Randwick last week, could head south.

Perry said if Wouldn’t It Be Nice continues to please him he could go for the group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) on Derby Day at Flemington.

Perry will trial I Get Around and Stratana at Newcastle today, and if both go well they will go south to Melbourne for their first up- runs.

Hidden Warrior, which finished second at Canterbury last start, is also a possibility for Perry’s Melbourne team.

“They won’t be going for the big feature races, but there are some nice races down south for these horses,” Perry said.

■ Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy confirmed that Newcastle solicitor Paul O’Sullivan had approached him about gaining a clearance for Broadmeadow jockey Andrew Heffernan to resume riding.

Heffernan was stood down by stewards after he was named in an English racing conspiracy case.

“Heffernan’s counsel has made an approach for the standing down order to be lifted,” Murrihy said.

“We have asked for more information from the British Horseracing Authority before any decision can be made.

“That might come in the next 24 hours.”

■ Newcastle trainer Darren Smith believes Oakfield Commands deserves a chance at a Saturday city race.

Oakfield Commands will run in the benchmark 80 race at Rosehill tomorrow.

“It’s a hard race, but the horse is going well,” Smith said. “His two runs from a spell have been good, although in easier company.

“He should be at his peak now and I have always thought he would be up to this type of race in town, when the good ones have started shipping south for the Melbourne spring carnival.”

■ Top Newcastle jockey Andrew Gibbons will be hoping to reboot his great start to the new season at Rosehill tomorrow.

He has retained the ride on Mr Armstrong for John Thompson in the 1350m handicap.

Gibbons had an amazing start to the season when he rode 16 winners in the first six weeks.

“That was the best start I have ever had to a season, but things have got quieter over the past fortnight,” he said.

“Hopefully Mr Armstrong can help me get back to winning form. I had a lot of luck on this horse when he was with Wayne Wilkes.

“I won a Kempsey Cup on him and I was on him first-up in The Shorts.

“I told John that even though he got beaten easy, it was a good run.

“They kept me on for the Rosehill race and I am sure he can improve. He is more than just a handy horse.”

■ Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson admits he got a pleasant surprise when he got the call-up to ride Skyerush at Rosehill tomorrow.

The mare runs in the listed $100,000 Angst Stakes over 1500m.

“I have never ridden Skyerush before, but she is definitely a nice pick-up ride,” Thompson said.

“Hughie Bowman rides her, but he has gone to Melbourne, and Guy Walter calls on me every now and then to ride for him.

“They say there is a bit more rain due for Sydney and I just hopes it comes at Rosehill on Saturday. That would definitely help Skyerush.”

Thompson will also ride Myamira in the 1400m handicap. “I won on her a few starts back and she does have ability,” Thompson said.

■ Newcastle trainer Kris Lees is chasing a two-state winning double tomorrow with mares he believes have “struck their best form”.

Lees has sent Dream With Me to Brisbane, where she runs in race three at Doomben.

He will also have Sweet Talkin Woman at Rosehill in the 1800m benchmark 75.

“Sweet Talkin Woman ran into a smart one last start and has done well since,” Lees said. “Both have struck their best form and both look in the right races.

“Dream With Me should get a faster run race up there than she has been used to recently and plenty of speed will help her.”

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OPINION: CCTV proves ineffective at reducing crime

THE chilling, haunting final grainy CCTV images of 18-year-old Thomas Kelly on his first big night out in the Cross, and Jill Meagher tottering home from a Brunswick bar in the early hours, provided a fillip for the advocates of the roll-out of costly CCTVs in public places.
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They are high on Barry O’Farrell’s list of solutions for the alcohol-fuelled violence in Kings Cross and continue to be pushed as an answer for Newcastle CBD’s problematic alcohol-dominated night economy (“Camera safety”Herald 10/10).

We are witnessing a recent groundswell of popularity for the imposition of a quick fix.

Before we rush again for the high-tech cameras and sophisticated and manned surveillance control rooms that are being pushed by government and industry, it’s time to press the pause button and undertake a sober and dispassionate assessment of the relative merits and costs of CCTV.

What exactly are we attempting to solve by their widespread deployment and who pays?

We have the benefit of substantial independent international and national research that identifies two primary functions of CCTV – crime prevention and crime detection – the latter a key function of state government.

CCTV and ID scanners are seen by some as bearing all the hallmarks of big brother – Bentham’s “panopticon” – subjecting all to servitude through unceasing surveillance.

Should we be prepared to sacrifice individual civil liberties and privacy for the greater community good?

Such arguments seem incongruous in view of the amount of private information individuals already share on social media.

A 2011 Australian Institute of Criminology report found that CCTV had little crime prevention merit.

The most effective (limited) use may have been in car parks, to reduce incidents of car theft.

Dr Taylor from the Australian National University wrote recently that CCTV is least effective in preventing interpersonal violence and alcohol and drug-related crimes.

With the average number of standard drinks supplied to a violent offender (usually in a licensed premise) being 22 before they commit an assault, would they really care at that stage – or realise their actions may be recorded on CCTV?

So CCTV offers cold comfort to the victims of domestic and public violence, their families and friends.

It won’t, sadly, bring Thomas or Jill back.

In some cases, CCTV builds dangerous false hopes about the relative safety of locations.

Its promotion deliberately submerges and distracts from risks associated with the allowance of the heavy drinking that seriously impairs reasoning, judgment and awareness skills critical to personal safety. High intoxication contributes to most of both domestic and non-domestic violence.

High-profile alcohol-related violent deaths represent the small tip of the alcohol-harm iceberg.

Most of the harm associated with the dangerous availability and oversupply of alcohol is not strictly criminal related.

We have recently witnessed younger people (predominantly men associated with end-of-season sporting celebrations) dying from injuries when highly intoxicated, including falling from buildings, motor vehicle accidents, etc.

Public CCTV does not prevent an average of four young Australians dying each week from the oversupply and misuse of alcohol.

Newcastle City Council’s earlier proposed CCTV system was costed at about $500,000. Would it not be better for all to sensibly refocus on the proven, cost effective measures that prevent or minimise the primary catalyst of violence and associated harm arising in the first place?

Tony Brown is chairman of the Newcastle Community Drug Action Team, P&C president at Hunter School of Performing Arts and legal officer with the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Newcastle.

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OPINION: Good infrastructure boosts our beauty

WE all know Port Stephens offers a beautiful lifestyle in a treasured environment.
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MAGNETIC: Nelson Bay is typical of the Port Stephens environment that attracts residents and visitors.

Residents and tourists are attracted to the area’s natural beauty, the waterways and rural character.

As a council our challenge has always been balancing the management of our natural assets with increased development of industry and housing. Funding the infrastructure needed to service the growing community continues to be our biggest challenge.

In 2010 we developed the first Community Strategic Plan for Port Stephens and we saw an opportunity to fundamentally reform the operating structure of our organisation to ensure long-term financial health.

Since that time we have been undertaking a full review of the services we deliver, to ensure they match what the community values and expects of us.

Over the past two years, the council staff have been considering how services can be delivered at the right level and in the best way.

To date we have made almost $2 million in savings, thoroughly reviewed and inspected our assets and set achievable goals for the next 10 years and beyond.

There is still more work to be done. Our roads, for example, need improving across the board, but we need considered planning and best-practice execution, and financial support from state and federal governments.

As the first popularly elected mayor of Port Stephens, I am thankful for a number of smart decisions made by the staff and previous councils, many of which I was proud to have been a part of.

For example, as councils in the Hunter and across the state begin looking into new waste technologies, it is pleasing to know that Port Stephens Council is well ahead of the game.

In 1998 we were the first council in NSW to introduce Advanced Waste Treatment technology, and today our residents and environment are continuing to see the benefits.

As other council areas begin to struggle with their landfill sites reaching capacity and levies and taxes needing to increase, I am proud to say that at Port Stephens we made the decision to use this technology almost 15 years ago.

Due to the forward thinking of the council in the late 1990s, Port Stephens is now in a sound position to manage the increasing landfill costs imposed by the state levies.

More recently, the restructured operations of Newcastle Airport now allow the airport to substantially increase its borrowings, pay dividends to its two majority shareholders (Port Stephens Council and Newcastle City Council) and allow for the introduction of third-party investment if required in the future.

As one of the fastest-growing regional airports in Australia, Newcastle Airport now plays a key role as a driver for our local economy.

Not only is it well positioned for significant future growth, but this structure enables an income stream to flow into the council’s revenue.

I take great pride in becoming the first popularly elected mayor of Port Stephens. I am absolutely committed to making continued smart investments and securing a strong bottom line for the generations to come.

It is an exciting time for us. I firmly believe that we have the best team of staff we have had in decades. Together they offer the perfect balance that many councils strive for and never achieve – fresh and talented enthusiasm, complementing a wealth of knowledge and years of experience.

This council has an opportunity to work together with its staff to build an even brighter future for the area.

We know what we need to do.

We have set the posts. We are aiming high and we are kicking plenty of goals . We are on the right track to a strong and sustainable future.

Cr Bruce MacKenzie is mayor of Port Stephens.

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POLL: Medical manager recalls night of Sari Club bombing

Bali bombings memorial
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SHE was surrounded by the dead and injured in the hours following the 2002 Sari Club bombing but what disturbed Katrina Maja the most was the realisation that a piece of paradise had been brutally violated.

‘‘It was just the shock of it happening in such an idyllic and peaceful place because the Balinese are very non-confrontational and very culturally and racially aware,’’ Ms Maja said.

A native Merewether girl, Ms Maja fell in love with Bali and a local man while on holiday when she was 20.

It became her home for the next 22 years.

In October, 2002 she was the acting manager of the Bali International Medical Centre, about a kilometre away from the Sari Club.

She had just pulled into the driveway on the evening of the bombing when she received a call advising her of a massive explosion.

‘‘We thought it might have been the petrol station behind the centre,’’ Ms Maja said.

‘‘I picked up the acting medical director who lived close by and we went to work.’’

More than 200 victims were brought to the medical centre over the next 30 hours for emergency treatment before they were triaged to other medical facilities on the island.

Ms Maja has chosen to forget most of the things she saw that night.

‘‘The power of the mind is very good. If I try I actually can’t remember [the injuries],’’ she said.

‘‘I can remember certain people and certain sounds, that’s all.’’

Ms Maja’s work continued for the next 10 days, liaising with Australian consul staff and working to help non-Australian victims who were not evacuated.

‘‘There were people who were helping the victims who needed counselling. Some of them had post-traumatic stress from working in the morgue,’’ she said.

Ms Maja’s actions were formally recognised the following year when she received an Order of Australia medal for providing assistance to the bombing victims.

She moved back to Newcastle four years ago with her children Yaegen, 17, and Talia, 14, and works for Hunter New England Health as an administrative assistant.

She will spend the 10th anniversary of the bombing in quiet reflection rather than travelling back to Bali for the official commemoration.

‘‘I don’t look back, I look forward,’’ Ms Maja said.

DON’T LOOK BACK: Katrina Maja and her children Talia, 14, and Yaegan, 17, in Merewether yesterday. She will spend the anniversary in quiet reflection. Picture Jonathan Carroll

‘‘I have been through the process of feeling for the victims. There’s nothing I can specifically do for them any more than I did for a couple of weeks after the bombing.’’

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