March 26, 2013 | Graham

Dear Adela

I thought some readers might be interested in this link spam proposition from Omnibuzz Media and my response. We are getting an increasing number of these sorts of propositions, which suggests that they must be having some success somewhere, but operators like this are best avoided. While the money might be attractive – they’re offering us more to write an article for us than we could possibly earn from normal advertising displayed in one our normal articles – the search engine standing of our site, not to mention the credibility which makes us attractive for SEO purposes- will pretty quickly deteriorate.


Omnibuzz Media are [Should be “is”, not a promising start and on only the third word. GY] a new and exciting digital media and commercial outlet, who through in-depth market research, pair up appropriate promotional campaigns between brands and websites.

We have a highly skilled content team writing articles specifically tailored for your site on each campaign, with no spun or ‘re-hashed’ articles ever being used. These articles are open for editing by webmasters and never contain adult or inappropriate content.

Our payments generally range from 40USD to 75USD, but on some campaigns can be considerably more!

For March through to April, I have campaigns with a casino client and a poker brand I am working closely with (which is why I’m approaching you today), whilst members of my team are working on travel, technology, dating and fashion campaigns, amongst many others.

Would you like me to send you more information about the casino and poker campaign or forward your information to my colleagues for other campaigns running this month? It’s a quick paying and very simple opportunity to host top quality article content that i hope you will be interested in!

Looking forward to hearing back from you and building an ongoing working relationship that pays well every time.

Kind regards.

Adela Johnson

To which I responded.

Dear Adela,

 Your in-depth market research stinks. There is no way we would entertain this arrangement.



Posted by Graham at 11:03 pm | Comments (1) |
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March 25, 2013 | Graham

Climate skeptic in charge of climate

You’d expect me to be happy that Gary Gray has been made the minister responsible for climate change, but what was the PM thinking?

I’m happy because Gary Gray is a fully-fledged climate skeptic, and there should be more of us in positions of influence.

According to Business Spectator, in 1999 he said “the evidence linking human activity to climate change was ‘‘pop science’”. Now he is quoted as saying on Lateline that “he now believes that human activity is leading to global warming”.

Pity the interviewer wasn’t across her brief. This doesn’t make him a non-skeptic. If someone tells you that human activity isn’t contributing to global warming they are a nutter, not a skeptic.

All the skeptics that you should pay attention to agree that increased CO2 emissions warm the world. The question is to what degree, and what the benefits, as well as the costs, are.

The question he should have been asked is whether he thinks that temperature will rise by 4 to 6 degrees in the next century, as Christine Milne does.

The Lateline answer was a non-answer and proves that he is a politician and knows how to dodge a bullet, not that he is a supporter of the previous minister’s position.

It won’t take the Greens long to ping him on this, which will lead to further questions about the PM’s judgement.

Gillard has staked so much of her career on the carbon tax, to the degree that she has sacrificed any claim that she ever had to being honest.

So why appoint a minister to handle this area who is intellectually opposed to the scientific view underlying that position, and in so doing, undermine the perception that she is committed to that position, unless she intends to undermine that position in an attempt to crawl back into favour somewhere?

In effect, Gray’s appointment doubles up on her dishonesty. Not a smart position when she is entering an election campaign with the majority of Australians closing their ears to her on the basis that they don’t believe a word she says.

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March 23, 2013 | Graham

Some misogynists are OK

In a week when Julia Gillard declared her intention to play the gender card by telling parliament “Misogynist Tony is back”, and her intention to lift journalistic standards who do you think she would call first to discuss her re-election as Labor leader?

Leading female anchor Leigh Sales? Or a PC male journalist like Jon Faine from her home town Melbourne? Or?

The list is almost endless, but no matter how endless, you would think it would have ended well before it got to over-the-top misogynist and serial gender offender and mugger of community and press standards – Kyle Sandilands

This is the shock jock whose mind is rarely above his jocks and who’s been taken off air a number of times because his behaviour fails to conform to community standards.

The same Kyle Sandilands who used his radio show to call Newscorp journalist Alison Stephens “a fat slag” and a “bullshit artist” who should be fired from her job. Who went on to say: “Your hair’s very ’90s. And your blouse. You haven’t got that much titty to be having that low cut a blouse. Watch your mouth or I’ll hunt you down.”

That was in October 2011. By November that year acting on a complaint ACMA made a finding that “Sandilands has breached decency standards and his comments made last year about a journalist were deeply derogatory and offensive”.

Then there were his 2009 comments about Magda Szubanski who had just lost 25 kilos.

You put her in a concentration camp and you watch the weight fall off … like she could be skinny.

And there was his stunt later that year when he strapped a 14 year old girl on a lie detector, and amongst other things asked her about her sexual experiences after she admitted to having been raped.

Exactly how does this guy even qualify for a Prime Ministerial interview, let alone an exclusive just after one of the biggest days of her life?

And how does she square it against her charge that Tony Abbott is not suitable as prime minister because she alleges he is a misogynist? Or that the Murdoch Press needs to be reined in?

Is it that a higher standard has to apply to prospective PMs and live broadcast is different from print, or just that her only standard is what suits her at the time?

Perhaps she was just after the demographic that listens to Kyle and Jackie O, seeing as she’s lost just about every other one. But why would she think that their demographic would be interested in anything she has to say, given they’re obviously comfortable with Kyle’s Neanderthal level of hormonally charged repartee?

And how could she add to the revenues of the gutter broadcasters by appearing on their program? In the past advertisers have withdrawn their support from the program, but the PM has now made advertising spots just a tiny little bit more valuable.

Or perhaps she thinks enough time has elapsed for Sandilands to be forgiven, in which case perhaps her next momentous moment will be shared with Alan Jones.

I’m not sure why this incident hasn’t drawn more attention to itself. Perhaps it’s just a case that after the last week in parliament, most journalists are thinking she couldn’t top them. Well, I think she just has.

If you want to check out the full depths to which Sandilands has sunk, his Wikipedia entry (from which I drew details of these examples) is pretty good. If you want to check out the full depths to which the Prime Minister will go, just keep watching the news.

(Added 24/3/13 at 6:45 pm) And just when you think it can’t get worse, it does. Who hosted the Kyle and Jackie O Show’s Easter Egg Hunt at Kirribili House? Don’t need to answer that one really. Photo below is from the PM’s twitter feed. A couple of bunnies for Easter.


Posted by Graham at 1:40 pm | Comments (4) |
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March 09, 2013 | Graham

Surviving the GFC by being unfashionable

Could Australia have prospered post-GFC by ignoring the fashionable economic nostrums. While the chief retailers of high economic couture here in Australia urge us to abandon producing things for service industries (or worse green industries), Joel Kotkin points out that the opposite strategy has prospered best in recent years.

Something strange happened on the road to our much-celebrated post-industrial utopia. The real winners of the global economy have turned out to be not the creative types or the data junkies, but the material boys: countries, states and companies that have perfected the art of physical production in agriculture, energy and, remarkably, manufacturing.

And who are these winners?

The strongest economies of the high-income world (Norway, Canada, Australia, some Persian Gulf countries) produce oil and gas, coal, industrial minerals or food for the expanding global marketplace. The greatest success story, China, has based its rise largely on manufacturing. Brazil has been powered by a trifecta of higher energy production, a strong industrial sector and the highest volume of agricultural exports after the United States.

And when you examine large countries, like the USA, in regional terms?

Things are really looking up for the material boys here in North America. Over the past decade, the strongest regional economies (as measured by GDP, job and wage growth) have overwhelmingly been those that produces material goods. This includes large swaths of the Great Plains, the Gulf Coast and the Intermountain West, three regions that, as I point out in a recent Manhattan Institute study, have withstood the great recession far better than the rest of the country.

By contrast, the pin-up boy of the green energy crowd California, is broke and has a, mediocre economic track record.

So it wasn’t the world’s best treasurer who did it at all, but industries that have always been Australia’s strength and which, via the measures like the ill-conceived mining and carbon taxes, he has done his best to strangle.

Posted by Graham at 2:19 pm | Comments (7) |
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March 07, 2013 | Graham

Whatever happened to representative democracy?

This piece by Peter van Onselen is based on a huge misconception of how our system of government should, and does, work. I’ve had his theory of government put to me by my daughters and other non-expert voters, but never before by a professor of politics.

Talking about the resignation of Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu van Onselen says:

Removing a first-term incumbent leader should have been taboo after the turmoil that followed federal Labor’s decision to make such a move against Kevin Rudd.

…Voters do not like partyrooms removing elected leaders, especially when they are in their first term.

…Now the entire party will wear the result of Victoria’s next state election, not to mention the many tags that Tony Abbott and co have happily thrown federal Labor’s way for removing Rudd.

Who were the faceless men? Why did they “assassinate” a first-term premier?

What callous disregard for the voters. What chaos the government must have been in to do what it did.

All of which suggests that van Onselen, in common with many voters is confusing a presidential system they are familiar with from US television programs with the Westminster system that we actually have.

The proposition underlying this piece appears to be that electors choose prime ministers and premiers, not parliaments, and that having been chosen, the parliament is duty bound to maintain them in place until the next election, no matter how bad the choice may prove.

(Or perhaps van Onselen believes this is the case only in their first term, the piece is a little confused on this point).

Many electors may share that mindset, fostered as it is by media coverage that focusses on leadership and individuals, as well as US TV shows, but it is not the way the system actually works.

And just as well. The prime minister, or premier, is just the “first amongst equals”, and it is absolutely necessary that they be able to be dismissed by their parliamentary colleagues. It is those colleagues for whom we vote, not just to represent us, but to vote on who of their number will be entrusted to form the government.

Being able to turf a bad performer is part of the robustness of our system. If voters don’t like that, then they can take it out against their local representative at the next election.

Imagine a situation where the prime minister or premier could stay in place no matter what their sins? Where would that have left the Queensland National Party after the corruption of Bjelke-Petersen had been revealed? Should they have been obliged to stick by him to the bitter end, or elect someone to clean up the mess?

What distinguished the Rudd situation was that for most people Rudd was about as popular as he had always been, so they couldn’t understand why he was removed. This doesn’t apply to Baillieu who now adds potential corruption in his party to poor polling figures.

Which ought to send shivers up Julia Gillard’s spine as the Baillieu incident shows how a leader who has lost the confidence of their colleagues and the public, and how is mired in scandal and non-performance ought to behave.

Posted by Graham at 12:28 pm | Comments (8) |
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March 04, 2013 | Graham

Not Flannery again

You’d think that Tim Flannery would have given up the forecasting game after his claims that Australia was destined for perpetual drought have been proven untrue by the weather. But no, he’s at it again.

The agency’s chief commissioner Tim Flannery said the summer had been one of extremes, and was in some ways like an athlete who improves their baseline performance by taking steroids.

 ”The same thing is happening with our climate system,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

”As it warms up we’re getting fewer cold days and cold events and many, many more record hot events. So it is – in effect it’s a climate on steroids is what we’re seeing.”

All well and good except that global temperature hasn’t gone up and indeed was only the 10th hottest on record. Which isn’t saying much, because the record they are talking about is the instrumental record and we know from paleoclimate reconstructions that it was warmer 10,000 years ago.

So, it was hotter in Australia, but it must have been colder somewhere else to compensate.

Imagine what Flannery would say if I were to spruik global cooling on the basis of the temperature where it went down? He’d most likely claim that this was just weather, and that global warming is well, global, so weather doesn’t count.

Precisely. And neither does a hotter than average summer in Australia count on its own.

Posted by Graham at 11:02 pm | Comments (11) |
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