Sunday 22nd March 1998

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Recent stories exclusive to  (how to) subscribe/rs of the Australian National News of the Day:

News Limited bucket opposition to the MAI. 21st March
The proposed privatisation of Telstra 16th March 1998
Queensland State Candidates meet the people 15th March 1998
One Nation, the First Year 12th March 1998
Pauline Hanson tackles the MAI in Parliament while the media re-writes history 10th March 1998
Feature: How did the Hanson phenomenon start? 8th March 1998
Presentation on "the level playing field" that ain't 7th March 1998
B A Santa Maria on Australia pre- and post- Hawke. 6th March 1998

Current topical links (available to all readers):
[Links to the MAI] [Queensland One Nation State Election website]
[Sign the "I'm so sorry Pauline" book]

Archive of weekly features (available to all readers):
[The Canberra Column] [Economic Rationalism]

Today's Headlines
an Aussie's viewpoint on Australia's first daily Internet newspaper.
Since October 1995

Pauline Hanson endorses 17 One Nation state candidates

Last night I was lucky to be able to attend a meeting at the Beenleigh Police Youth Club at which Pauline Hanson endorsed 17 candidates in the upcoming Queensland state elections. Pauline Hanson (seen right) spoke on a range of issues for about forty minutes to about 300 guests.

The sudden revelation of the groundswell of support at the state level has freaked out Queensland's premier, Rob Borbidge, who has called on voters to continue to vote for the Coalition or the Australian Labor Party - ensuring more of the same.

Borbidge said to a meeting of the party faithful at Bundaberg yesterday, "It is choice, either a Labor or Coalition Government."

Pauline responded by saying that Borbidge was in desperation mode, "Borbidge is a desperate and a dishonest man. He has no right to call the voters of Queensland his own. The state election will prove they're not."

David Oldfield, Pauline Hanson's adviser said, "What right has Borbidge to tell the voters how not to vote and demand that only the National Party or the ALP run this state?"

Later today I will be updating the Queensland State electoral web site (with the new candidates).

Bob Hawke finding the life at the top quite profitable.

Now what does any self-respecting ex-Labor Prime Minister of Australia do after he has screwed up the country and embraced multinationals, economic rationalism and the philosophy of "greed is good"?

Quite simply, when he is not trying to put the powder under the patriotic stance of Pauline Hanson and One Nation, who ALP members now say represents the views of the party twenty years ago, he is travelling the world. Not travelling for fun and pleasure... no travelling the world for profit - using his influential role and contacts to his own betterment.

Last week he signed up a deal with China reportedly worth Au$1.3 billion for Pan Australian International Investment Pty Ltd - a company that he now chairs.

Now don't waste your time trying to find the company on the Internet, and no, the Australian Securities Commission web site tells us that it is not, despite its name, an Australian company.

The deal gives Pan Australian a key role in assisting the main developer, Zhonghuan Investment Development (Group) Co Ltd, to raise an initial US$100 million for construction. According to a director of Pan Australian, Harry Tu, Bob Hawke is one of three directors and shareholders in the company - the other being a Chinese businessman, Guo Xiang.

At the signing ceremony Hawke said that the apartment development in the north-western Putao district of Shanghai would be aimed at the middle class citizens in the region. Over 1.75 million square metres of apartment space is involved - housing some 65,000 people.

"I am very confident in the future of Shanghai's real estate industry. Medium level housing will particularly sell-well in Shanghai," Hawke said.

The deal follows hard on the heels of the race between Hawke and that other snivelling money-grabber, Paul Keating, to secure an insurance license with China. Hawke acting as National Mutual's contact and Keating as Colonial Mutual's. The deceit of these two men is best reflected in the international Financial Services Industry Agreement (FSIA) signed under their government. The FSIA opened up Australia's insurance industry to foreign investment and ownership - today 82% of Australia's insurance industry is foreign owned. This is what is called big time pay-back for past assistance from the big-wigs in the insurance industry.

Kim Beazley senior was spot on when he referred to the likes of Hawke and Keating as the scum of the middleclass... self-seeking, self-serving and as morally corrupt as they come.

Murdoch under fire in the US

Media baron Ted Turner, who has compared Rupert Murdoch to Adolf Hitler, lost his battle to stop the man from acquiring the LA Dodgers baseball team.

Late last week Murdoch signed a deal worth US$300 million resulting in this comment from the Los Angeles Times:

"What does Murdoch want?" Murdoch is burrowing into the fabric of Los Angeles, joining its most powerful circle of insiders. "... the effort left fans disillusioned and the sport in ruins".

It goes on to describe Murdoch.. "a bruising, right wing outsider... a global drifter... considered one of the most singularly ruthless business executives in the world. Murdoch is fearsomely tough and willing to employ his companies in the services of his ambitions and interests."

The paper goes on to say that Murdoch "defied analysis... he is the proprietor of salacious tabloid newspapers, who disapproves of dirty jokes".

"He has big business here and he will do what he has to do to take care of business," said one of LA's influential politicians.      

Ethyl Corporation shows the way ahead for MAI.

Last year Ethyl Corporation was prevented from supplying a fuel additive in Canada. The Canadian Parliament ruled that the additive be no longer used in petrol because they had been advised it was detrimental to public health. The exclusive patent and distribution of this additive being held by Ethyl,

Ethyl Corporation sued Canada in Ottawa under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a multilateral treaty similar to the MAI which allows foreign investors to take governments to an international court. On Friday, we have been, told Ethyl  Corp was awarded $US251million ($373million) in damages by an international court. A decision which cannot be challenged by Canada.

Now come on News Limited, keep telling us MAI is good for Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the following on 7th March 1998:

The retrenched Cobar miners who brought their swags to the front lawn of Parliament House this week, protesting at their treatment by a multinational company, would have been shocked had they known the Government was negotiating an obscurely named treaty aimed at giving more rights to foreign investors.

The bright moment of what must have been a soul destroying time was when Pauline Hanson joined the miners, mixing freely with the... as Peter Mackay recently reported magical moments inspired by a magical woman.

Making the news" -
an indepth exposé of media and political collusion at the highest possible levels in Australia.


Anne Scott lodges complaint after losing selection for Oxley.

Anne Scott lodged a complaint with state ALP secretary Mike Kaiser on Friday accusing him and four others of breaching party rules and contravening policy. She said yesterday that her complaint cited 13 breaches of Labor Party rules.

Kaiser said in response that Mrs Scott's complaint "smacked of sour grapes". He said that nothing would change the fact that Bernie Ripoll had been selected saying, "The voters of Oxley would much prefer the party to be concentrating on the difficult task of winning back the seat."

Mrs Scott claimed that the Labor party in Queensland was run by a small group which controlled the administration of the party. She said that anyone who put up their hand in opposition to the group would be excluded from pre-selection.

Other respondents to the action are the ALP's national secretary Gary Gray; Queensland branch general returning officer, Joan Budd; Australian Workers Union Secretary Bill Ludwig and Bernie Ripoll.

Mr Kaiser said that the complaint would be heard by a tribunal made up of party members which would hear evidence from both sides.

Beazley fails to get Dodson on side.

In a classic politically correct move ALP leader Kim Beazley tried to get leading Aboriginal figure Pat Dodson to fill a Senate vacancy in the Northern Territory for the next Federal Election. Dodson recently resigned in a huff from the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR) causing Channel 9s A Current Affair host, and CAR member to threaten to resign for the umpteenth time.

Beazley flew to Dodson's home in Broome, Western Australia to ask him to take over from Bob Collins. Dodson turned Beazley saying that he did not want to leave Western Australia.

Rod Kemp on the MAI

Here is an extract from a letter by Kemp in this weekend's Australian:

Despite the many claims to the contrary, Australia’s exceptions to the proposed treaty would remain in place as long as the Government so determines.

The Government would not agree to the MAI if it did not permit exceptions or if it required that exceptions must be repealed after a particular period of time.

Indeed, the government will not agree to this, or any other treaty, unless it is demonstrably in Australia’s national interest.

email the editor

You say:

Subject: Courier Mail on the MAI 21 March
The Editor
Courier Mail

Stuart Sontier
31 Calgary Street
New Zealand
21 March 1998

Re your article in the Courier Mail 21 March 1998

As a public newspaper, it might be worth your while to pay your journalists enough to do rigorous research before they commit to print. With the internet, your articles are available to the world, and poorly written pieces only do you a disfavour.

Some points of clarification:
It is not enough to imply that the MAI is needed because the OECD say so. If the MAI is needed by Australia, let's see a cogent argument for it, not "it will provide a level playing field for investment"

This is the same line that is spun in NZ, Canada etc, but when confronted to give an example of how foreign investment has been disfavoured in OECD countries, the Canadian Business Council on National Issues had none, and a representative said "There are not very many blatant examples in the OECD countries of barriers on investment."

Critics of the MAI do not necessarily reject all foreign investment as you imply. But they do say that the MAI allows indiscriminate inflow of investment, with little possibility to vet particular investments for suitability. And the performance requirements clauses in fact remove any performance requirements form foreign investors.

Do you teach your journalists the theory of reportage? Or did anyone else in their educative development? This following does not belong in a reputable paper (I'm assuming you would like to be classed as such). I quote:
"This kind of alarmist view is being peddled by the fringe political groups, many of which see the international finance as a ‘Zionist world conspiracy’. "

"Alarmist" "fringe" ? - these are the words of propagandists.

And the lack of journalistic investigation is alarmingly apparent in your accusation that "many" of the groups see a "Zionist conspiracy".

Not only do I take extreme offence at this accusation (and ask for apology) it is most assuredly incorrect. While you refer to the use of the internet, you could have easily used it yourself and found that MAI opposers are a diverse collection of individuals and groups, with differing philosophies, but generally with tolerance for all peoples of the world. You might like to explain how a supposedly talented journalist managed to go so far off the rails.

And I reiterate that an apology is outstanding for your offensive claim.

You divert attention from the issue of sovereignty by trying to redefine it. It is nothing to do with the limited set of laws you say Australia will still be able to make.

My Collins Dictionary says of sovereignty "Supreme and unrestricted power, as of a state."

Perhaps you could explain how your definition means sovereignty is kept when Australia is limited to making laws on "taxation, corporations powers, labour and environmental issues"

Incidentally, the editor of the Canadian Financial Post stated that each time Canada has signed one of the 300 treaties of the past 90 years "you surrender a sliver of your sovereignty."

And the OECD itself points out that "as with all binding international agreements, this will moderate the exercise of national authority to some degree."

You say that "they will not be able to discriminate against foreign investors", but the MAI itself does this. Foreign investors will have the opportunity to use a special disputes tribunal. Domestic investors, and governments will not.
You refute the secrecy of the MAI negotiations by stating that the OECD has the full text on the internet. As you state, negotiations began in 1995. The OECD only put the full text of the October draft up on the internet in November 1997. This is the first draft and one of the first mentions of the MAI, publicly, from the OECD. How do you account for the 2 years between the OECD's apparent release of information. With a bit of digging, any journalist could have found that Canadian MP's for the most part had never heard of the MAI before mid-1997; most Australian MP's were unaware of it even in November. NZ MP's also became aware of it for the first time in late October 1997. The Australian Government have been most reticent about making any draft available until very recently. Your own Treasury department was still denying the existence of the MAI in October 1997, when Scott Burchill made enquiries.
Sure, the documents are in the main available now, but that has been due to the pressure brought about firstly by Canadian individuals and groups, and then gradually by others around the world.

You say "After each stage the OECD issued a detailed progress report."
These reports were certainly never released publicly, and never released in the confines of any parliament. They perhaps were released to the few members of each country's negotiating team and the minister of trade. Canada's own Trade Minister Sergio Marchi told reporters some of the criticism of secrecy was justified. 'This thing has been done in stealth for a long time...I think it's true that previously the government kept it too close to the chest.'

So until you can provide documented evidence, the evidence that the MAI was negotiated in secret for 2 years stands.

Another quote, showing use of propaganda in your newspaper: "hysterical, biased and ignorant campaigns"
Use of these terms in fact points to the paucity of your evidence so far. The term hysterical could be more correctly aimed at your journalist's ability with words. Unfortunately, the same name-calling and deprecatory comments are used both in Canada and New Zealand, by newspapers and MP's. If you can prove that opposition to the MAI is ignorant, do it with facts, and a detailed reading of the draft texts. That does not appear to have occurred to your journalist in this case. At least most of the opposers of the MAI have had a good look at the text, and can point out examples which perhaps justify their concern. Name-calling does not contribute to the dialogue, does you no justice as intelligent, thinking reporters, and most of the public will be aware of the way propaganda uses words similar to yours when it has trouble raising a decent argument to the contrary.

That will do for now.

Having been involved in the media over a number of years, it saddens me to see poor quality journalism, and I attempt to critique and criticise it when necessary. This article and numerous others in newspapers around the world, concerning the MAI, have been poorly researched and badly written. Its not that I want to see you opposing the MAI. I want to see forceful argument for your views, not trivialisation. And it does anger me to find myself included in scurrilous, incorrect, accusations of a serious kind.

I hope you can find some use in this piece and again I call for your apology for this charge of "Zionist" bashing by many MAI opposers.


Subject: Charlton's Conspiracy Theories


News Limited's journalist Peter Charlton still hasn't changed. Every time I have read a report from this guy I have noticed his constant use of ridicule and mis-information. To any rational person, the bitterness he displays in his reporting can only damage those views he supports.

Keep up the good work Peter Charlton.

Peter W

Subject: Comments on Australian News of the Day

"No, absolutely not. This kind of alarmist view is being peddled by the fringe political groups, many of which see the international finance as a ‘Zionist world conspiracy’. Their views are ignorant, ill-informed and dangerous."

Dangerous to whom? The welfare state for the rich?


Subject: usurpation #2

Dear Sir,

A favourite talk radio host of mine recently said, "Between federal judges and pigeons, it is getting more and more difficult to keep the courthouses clean".


john hamilton

Personal trivia, from the global office:

Another perfect day in paradise. Cool overnight.

Have a good one.

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