Bob Carr’s backflip on Brogden apology
Wednesday August 31st 2005, 8:30 pm

image: ABC LatelineA number of bloggers are today accusing Bob Carr of backflipping on his refusal to accept Brogden’s apology- but there’s just cause for Carr’s public change of heart.

A suicide attempt is infinitely more important than a political stoush. Bob & Helena Carr are smart enough to know that all threats, or worse, attempts at suicide must be taken quite seriously. Bob & Helena certainly never wanted Brogden to die. They rightfully illustrated in their indignant refusal to accept Broggo’s apology just how offensive his remarks were, particularly for a community leader.

I would have gone a bit further- a person who behaved as Brogden did simply has no place in Australian politics. Even in the corporate world, any sensible manager who had an employee who behaved as Brogden did would have sacked him before such employee behaviour made the company liable for facilitating sexual harassment.

Carr was a bit generous with Brogden today when he said, "The world accepts that all of us make mistakes and he’s got a big future as a politician, a member of this community and as a father of his son, Flinders." I very seriously doubt Brogden has a future as a politician. 

It should be noted that the racist jab at Helena was not the Carrs’ first experience with unseemly behaviour from the NSW Liberal camp, well and truly out of the bounds of political discourse. The Carrs’ statement today is all the more generous when you consider that it was an ex-Brogden staffer who was charged with threatening life and property, conveying false information and two counts of public mischief after Carr received threats last April which set in motion a full security response in the NSW Parliament.


Groggo’s suicide bid- media’s fault?
Wednesday August 31st 2005, 2:10 pm

image: Sydney Morning HeraldABC is reporting Liberal MP Peter Debnam has blamed the media for driving Grogden to suicide. "I would have thought he [Mr Brogden] would have got some credit for doing the honourable thing on Monday morning," Mr Debnam said. "Instead he suffered a devastating front page yesterday, Tuesday, and was about to suffer another devastating page this morning."

Debnam fails to realise that John Brogden’s problems were caused by John Brogden. Moreover, Groggo elected to remain as the MP for Pittwater, making him fair game for reporting.

There was most definitely a public interest to be served by exposing this man’s sexually aggressive behaviour with women, as well as his apparent propensity for alcohol abuse. The way the voters- particularly female voters- of the Pittwater electorate are represented in the NSW Parliament would certainly be affected by both matters.

Women cannot expect their interests would be taken seriously by a man who behaves with women as Groggo clearly does.

Nup. The Tele was totally in the right to publish what they found.


Brogden implodes, tries suicide
Wednesday August 31st 2005, 8:53 am

image: of the publication of more tales of Grogden’s bad behaviour around women, the disgraced former NSW Lieberal Party Leader apparently sucked up a bottle of gin and tried to slash his wrists. Groggo was rushed to hospital after police found him unconscious in a back room of his Mona Vale offices late last evening.

Groggo’s father-in-law and former Lieberal Party State Treasurer, Frank Hooke, is reported by as having been so concerned in 1999 about Groggo’s behaviour around female staffers that he had recommended that 25-year-old Suzanne Tulloch be moved out of his office because rumours had run rampant about her relationship with the former Lieberal leader. Tulloch denied that her relationship with Groggo was more than a friendship.

The Daily Telegraph reports today that Grogden quit the NSW Lieberal Party leadership in part because the sexual harassment of female journalists and his racist jab at Helena Carr reported on 29 August were apparently only a small sample of his poor behaviour towards women. More information has come to light about Groggo’s behaviour at a 2003 Christmas party, where Groggo was reported to have asked two women to have sex with him.

What I find stunning is that so many women have kept Groggo’s sexually aggressive behaviours and alcohol abuse quiet for so long. Grrrls, if men behave in abusive fashion with you, they’ll treat other women like that as well.  Reporting behaviours like Groggo’s is paramount to stop the abuse of other women.




Sexual assault… or just ‘harmless fun?’
Tuesday August 30th 2005, 11:19 am

it's NOT just a little harmless fun. In the vast majority of the stories in Australian mainstream meeeeja about the fall of Grogden,  the aspect which is played most heavily is the dismissal of Helena Carr as a ‘mail-order bride.’ While the former NSW Lieberal Party leader’s gaffe regarding Helena is certainly heinous and by itself warranted his sacking, very few stories are covering the angle of the sexual assault and harassment of two female journalists. Bloggers are doing a better job in raising these issues, but I’m a little surprised at the paucity of coverage even among this group.

Groggo did what all sexual harassers do when confronted with their deeds; he dismissed and minimised his unwelcome sexual advances as ‘all harmless fun.’ Worse, the mainstreams are in large part letting him do this without question, accepting his diluted apology to the women. If you’re truly sorry about something, you express your remorse without qualification, you don’t try to evade, minimise or dismiss a complaint. You’re either sorry about your behaviour and intend to change it- or you’re not.

Some men just don’t understand that they have no natural right to sexually access women. These case studies in the HREOC website demonstrate the level of denial that many men exhibit in the course of sexual harassment or assaults. 

Sexual harassment is fairly narrowly defined but can be comprised of quite a number of actions, including:

  • * unwelcome touching;
  • * staring or leering;
  • * sexually explicit pictures or posters;
  • * unwanted invitations to go out on dates;
  • * requests for sex;
  • * intrusive questions about a person’s private life or body;
  • * unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person;
  • * insults or taunts based on sex;
  • * sexually explicit physical contact; and
  • * sexually explicit emails or SMS text messages.

I have yet to see a publication of any acceptance of the apology proffered for Groggo’s unwelcome advances by either Angela Cuming of the Sun-Herald or Justine Ferrari of the Daily Tele, though Ms. Cuming tells her tale here.

The tone of Cuming’s story bewilders me- it’s as if she’s on trial, having to prove her case that she was actually sexually harassed. Cuming’s story is even titled I’ve been around long enough to know a proposition, as if she is answering a question as to whether or not she knew what sexual harassment and assault truly are. She closes the bit with a pointed notation that she was deeply concerned with how she was approached, as if to demonstrate injury…. as if she had to!

I can see why Cuming felt like she had to provide justification, though. Quite a large percentage of men refuse to accept that bawdy jokes or relatively innocuous physical contact can leave a woman in an imbalanced power situation feeling so disturbed that she will change her behaviours, in many cases dramatically, either to avoid future contact with the harasser or to steel herself for frequent repeats of the unwelcome behaviours if the harasser cannot be avoided. 

Sam from over at QueerPenguin peels off the layers of the onion left undisturbed by the mainstreams. He notes that this event took place a month ago… and does not appear to have been reported in any way by Cuming or Ferrari. We’re talking about working journalists here, folks, with something newsy at the ends of their noses. However, it isn’t too hard to work out that if these journos had filed formal complaints about Groggo’s advances, they would have found it nearly impossible to report the NSW political beat in the future.

Quite a number of men are fundamentally insecure and won’t be direct with women about their potential availability. Too many men test the waters of sexual availability of women in nefarious ways, with ribald jokes or relatively innocuous physical contact like an arm around the woman’s shoulders. These rituals are constructed to leave men the option of dismissing their actions as anything but what they are, should objections be raised.


 image: Bob Carlos Clarke

Particularly insecure men can be angered to the point of meting retribution if a woman rebuffs them, as though a natural right had been denied them. Women who are not compliant and controllable are a threat to men who harbour these misconceptions. Almost all men who go down this path will dismiss their behaviours and minimise the woman’s disquiet.

Guys, if there’s any part of ‘no’ that you don’t understand, it’s time to rethink your behaviour.


Find the Beaz
Tuesday August 30th 2005, 8:51 am



Somewhere in this photograph is the leader of the opposition. 

Keep looking, you’ll find him.


It’s all those Diet Cokes
Monday August 29th 2005, 5:04 pm



images: The Sydney Morning Herald 

The SMH reports: Mr Brogden said he rarely drank in public. "I am known for drinking Diet Coke at the dinner table at all sorts of events."

Diet Coke must make your face look more round and the whites of your eyes a tick yellowy, then.

I can’t quite figure out what it is that prevents Phydeax, even in sobriety, from realising that it wasn’t just ‘harmless fun’ when he sexually assaulted two female journalists a month ago.

It’s likely the same cognitive problem that kept him from resigning as MP for Pittwater when he resigned as Leader of the NSW Lieberals this morning. 

Long term effects of Diet Coke, I guess.


Pheatherweight Phydeaux on the rocks
Monday August 29th 2005, 11:36 am

BRRRRRRAAAPPPPPP!! ya know ya want me babeeeRecently retired NSW Premier Bob Carr nailed John ‘Phydeaux‘ Brogden in one after the drunken NSW Lieberal Party leader racially slurred Carr’s Malaysian born wife Helena as a "mail-order bride" and sexually assaulted a couple of female journalists at a recent knees-up in Sydney.

"My wife Helena has higher qualifications and a more substantial career than this featherweight of mediocrity will ever have," fumed a justifiably angry Bob Carr.  Carr said Phydeaux’s remarks about Helena were a "cruel insult against all Asian women." 

Phydeaux and two male NSW Lieberal staff members had attended the Australian Hotels Association’s piss-up a month ago at the Sydney Hilton’s Marble Bar. After a half-dozen beers, Phydeax played grabass on Daily Telegooph reporter Justine Ferrari and also put his arm around and propositioned yet another female journo from the Sun-Herald!

Phydeaux, you grand old party dog! You really think women dig you…. don’t you?

Harmless fun?! It's common sexual assault, PhydeauxWhat’s truly stellar is that if you thought that Phydeaux’s treatment of women wasn’t bad enough when he’s pissed to the gills, check out his supposedly sober attempt at a recovery! Amazingly, Phydeaux at first in denial, told the Daily Telegooph’s Bruce McDougall and Luke McIlveen, "This is a grubby Labor Party personal attack," and "They should get out of the gutter." The Telegooph says Phydeaux later rang to admit he had made the remarks and had ‘showed interest in several women on the night,’ saying it was ‘all harmless fun.’ 

In some kind of a sick attempt at an apology, The Age quotes Phydeaux as saying, "I completely apologise for my tasteless and offensive comments, they are unacceptable, they are untrue and certainly do not not reflect the fact that she has been, and is, a very successful woman in her own right and was a very dignified first lady of NSW serving her husband over 10 years."

 We're not larfing WITH ya, Phydeaux...

 Bob & Helena Carr, July 2005

 image: The Sydney Morning Herald

Helena Carr is an incredibly capable and independent woman, a self-made millionaire after having had great success in the printing industry. In the 1980s, Helena was the Managing Director of Leigh Marden, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola Amatil, managing a thousand staff. Helena Carr certainly supported Bob over his unprecedented ten years as Premier of NSW, but you can bet your little cotton socks she never served him.

Remember folks, Phydeaux is the social Darwinist who wants to implement majority verdicts in your courts.

A kind word of advice to the Lieberals- sack Phydeaux TODAY.


UPDATE: Good news and bad news…. Phydeaux quits as NSW Lieberal Party leader but remains as the Member for Pittwater. Phydeaux reckons that by staying on, he’s helping the Lieberals win the 2007 elections…. HA!

Fiji drops gay sex charge against Aussie man
Saturday August 27th 2005, 9:33 am


Free at last

Thomas McCosker 

 image: The Age

You might never have heard of Thomas McCosker unless you read blogs. McCosker was arrested in Fiji in March 2005 on sodomy charges for having consensual sex with Fijian Dhendra Nadan, despite clear language in the Fijian constitution which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Gay activist Rodney Croome reports that a Fijian court has freed McCosker despite fears he might be re-arrested on pornography charges. McCosker’s digital camera contained bedroom photos when he went to police to report that Nadan had stolen $A1500 from him, only to have police arrest him and charge him under sodomy laws invalidated by the 1998 Fijian constitution.

ABC radio reports that McCosker is now on a plane for Australia and should be home in a matter of hours.


Bad news
Thursday August 25th 2005, 8:14 am


image: Peter Nicholson for The Australian

A journalistic ethics watchdog program like Media Watch is one of the very best uses of an independent national broadcaster.  I can’t think of any other ownership environment in which such a program could exist. A Media Watch story spares no offender, not the ABC nor even Media Watch itself; if MW gets it wrong, they’ll say so. Commercial broadcasters these days simply haven’t got the guts to examine their own practises in the same manner. The dismantling of media ownership laws, such that fewer people or corporations can own multiple media outlets, make the problem infinitely worse.

Whether it is Littlemore, Ackland, Barry, Marr or Jackson in the anchor’s chair, Media Watch can be counted upon to accurately point out abuses of mass media in Australia.  To the best of my knowledge, Media Watch is the only show of its kind in the English speaking world. MW performs an essential service for consumers of Australian mass media. Very few people have time to chase up all the background loose ends which indicate a story has been bent, contains plagiarism or otherwise violates the code of journalistic ethics. Aussies should thank their lucky stars for Media Watch- it’s literally the most powerful 15 minutes of weekly television in Australia.

Yellow Journalism‘ is a now dated term describing unethical journalism. Yellow Journalism includes the uses of sensationalism, jingoism or even outright falsification of news items, but as news media have become more sophisticated, so have the abuses. Yellow Journalism was employed to increase circulation or to drive the ideological agenda of the publisher.  The phenomenon takes its name from a stoush beginning in 1896 between California newspaper publishers William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, in which the first regularly published editorial cartoon, ‘The Yellow Kid,’ drawn by William Outcault, was the vehicle for each publisher to make outlandish and often patently false accusations of the other. Hearst in particular was quite aware of the power of unethical journalism. Hearst is widely thought to have caused the 1898 Spanish-American War. Hearst is noted to have said, "You bring me the pictures and I’ll give you the war."

Mass media absolutely does have an ability to effect real events in our communities. A public worried about Muslims and terrorism is ripe for picking by unethical journalists. 

Thanks to Media Watch reporting, we know that through unethical editing, filmmaker Tim Noonan and the Seven Network’s Today Tonight prorgram have ostensibly encited Australians of European heritage to riot against immigrant Muslims and their Australian born children. The producer of Today Tonight, Peter Meakin, assured the young Muslim subjects of their ‘Muslims will never integrate’ hatchet job that their comments would not be used out of context nor in any way to defame them. Regardless, that’s exactly what the piece did- and raised enough anger among white Aussies to provoke violence or harassment against young Muslim men in Australia.

More than 100 years down the track, Yellow Journalism lives on. The tale of the Westside Turks spoof website, also brought to light thanks to Media Watch, indicates just how ready unethical journalists are to exploit community fears about Muslims, those of ‘foreign’ appearance and terrorism. Many bloggers who visit mgk saw the Westside Turks site as I did some weeks ago and had a good guffaw. However, The Hun‘s Ian Haberfield decided the descriptions of the violent exploits of the non-existent, young middle-eastern man stereotype were quite real- and tried to put one over on the public, looking to hook readers on their fears about these unfamiliar people.

The most valuable asset of a journalist or publisher/broadcaster is public trust. When a news organisation gets caught out abusing the public’s trust by bending the news, the public must be made aware. The offending organisation should pay, either with an apology/correction- or with big chunks of their audience. You can be sure that if a news outfit has lied to you before and failed to either be voluntarily accountable or held to account, they will do it again.

Bad newsies are only part of the problem. Every time you pick up a sensationalist tabloid paper or tune in to trash TV, you financially support the disinforming of the public for profit.


Pastafarians and evolution in your own back yard
Sunday August 21st 2005, 10:21 am

 and for my next trick I'll be turning water into wine 

image: Steve Sack for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune 

I really can’t believe the evolution debate is still going on in 2005. It has always smacked of antiquated lunacies like a ‘flat earth.’ While I acknowledge that I’m racing off into the land of ad hominem, my experience is that the complete wrongability of ‘intelligent design‘  is usually promulgated by uneducated inbreds who raise their kids in mobile homes in America’s Tornado Alley which all by itself should have eliminated these idiots by natural selection many years ago. The freaky part is that bible-whacking morons are YET AGAIN trying to force their fairy tales to be taught in secular American public schools, alongside Darwin’s evolutionary theories, using remarkably ignorant dismissals such as ‘evolution is only a theory.’

I had the argument in about 1989 (when I apparently had much more patience for morons) on a much smaller scale, with a cross-swinging fool I used to work for. I bet the guy the price of lunches for a week that not only I could prove evolution works, but continues- in his own back yard. I postulated that I could prove the case for evolution with a lawnmower, and all Hilljack Bob had to do was not mow his grass for 2 weeks. Bob swallowed the bait.

2 weeks later, I pointed out that there were no tall stemmed dandelions in areas of lawn that were frequently mowed, but there were dandelions which formed flowers close to the ground, on very short stems. The dandelion flowers which escaped the 3" mower blade height were able to form their flower heads fully and go to seed, thus reproducing. The dandelions which formed flowers on stems taller than the mower’s cutting height were not able to reproduce. Consequently, short dandelions were much more prevalent in the frequently mowed areas. The successful dandelions had adapted to the hostile environment by ‘finding’ a way to reproduce despite the conditions. A small genetic mutation caused these dandelions to produce mature flower heads on very short stems. This trait had been selected for broad reproduction by preventing the tall ones from developing mature flower heads- and thus seeds. Voila! Evolution in your own back yard.

Hilljack Bob refused to pay up. He declared that earlier mowing must have stunted the existing plants, causing them to have short-stemmed flowers. I insisted that there was a DNA difference between the plants caused by a genetic mutation and that this difference would show up in un-mowed progeny, in the same way that a man whose leg has been amputated will not father one-legged children.  I hypothesised that I could prove that the mutation existed in the DNA by raising new dandelion plants with seeds collected from the short and tall types. Hilljack Bob bit in again. I collected seeds from both types and grew about 20 of each in small containers. Every single time, seeds from short dandelions produced short progeny and seeds from tall dandelions produced plants which made flowers on tall stems; QED.

You’d think by now that I’d have proven my case and got a week’s worth of free lunches. Nope. Hilljack Bob changed the rules of the game. He insisted that ‘God had seen him‘ mow these dandelions and had induced the short flowering trait by His hand.

The moral of the story is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch when you’re dealing with someone who refuses to accept scientific method or facts deduced using the same.

Pastafarians have accepted that bible-whacking morons will introduce new rules when their belief-based ‘theories’ are proven wrong. Accepting the challenge to illuminate the ridiculous, Xeni Jardin over at Boing Boing has offered $250,000 $1 million to anyone who can prove conclusively that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, using the same circular, paradoxical logic and magical interventions proposed by creationists. 

Proponents of fairy-tales should look at this article from Scientific American.  Evolution is ‘just a theory,’ eh?

Be prepared for American creationists to invent some new rules.