22/05/2007 - 22:00

What's McGinty up to with The West?

22/05/2007 - 22:00


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Attorney - General Jim McGinty’s battle with The West Australian newspaper last week was absurd and very disappointing.

Attorney - General Jim McGinty’s battle with The West Australian newspaper last week was absurd and very disappointing.

For a Labor minister who has largely kept beyond unnecessary controversy, he courted it in the most unlikely of fashions.

By threatening, in somewhat of a hollow way, to stall new laws to protect journalists and their sources, he succeeded only in inviting hostility from other media – towards himself.

If he really had intended to isolate The West from the rest of the media – something the newspaper can often do very well on its own – then he failed dismally.

Alternatively, perhaps there was another motive? After all, Mr McGinty is as wily a politician as they come.

Some think he was attempting to neuter The West’s attacks on him in his other role as health minister by distracting attention from that sector. A real Machiavellian might suggest that, by turning on the newspaper, it will make all future reports on the state of the health system look like sour grapes.

Who really knows what the intended result was. Whatever the case it was inappropriate and did the attorney-general more harm than good.


Great drama or an opportunity missed?

I was intrigued to watch the ABC’s Bastard Boys the other night – well, the first half anyway.

Without seeing the second instalment I can’t entirely pass judgement on the show, but from all accounts its portrayal of the various characters didn’t change much on the second night.

Unlike many I talk to and whose opinions I read, I don’t share the intensity of feeling about the ABC that makes so many claim it has a left-leaning bias. I’m sure there’s something there but nothing that any intelligent person can’t generally filter out.

In the main, I feel much of the concern about the ABC is harboured by people whose impressions were formed a long time ago.

Having said that, however, I was really disappointed by what I saw of the Bastard Boys. It did seem especially biased towards the dockyard workers, a group that was known for its criminal activities and complete disregard for its role in the Australian economy.

The apparent lack of imagination, the simplistic stereotyping and departure from the seedy-yet-interesting truth of the dockyard practices was unforgivable.

That was not my ABC at work. It’s a pity to have missed such a great opportunity to have properly examined an important stage in Australia’s economic history.


The bigger picture

The lifestyle issue still runs hot at the moment, but I had to laugh at the words of a Perth executive this week, pointing out how many things there are to fix but that we instead spend the whole time arguing over a sports stadium.

He was quite right.

Sport is a great unifier but it’s also an obsession that attracts more attention than it deserves.

Right now there is a great big fight over where and when a giant and expensive piece of public infrastructure is going to be built.

While different parties argue over the merits of each site – often with their own bias clouding their thoughts – many would argue there are just more important things to get on with while the self-interested fight it out.

I’d rather see the Perth foreshore developed. At least that would be an asset for everyone, not just for those whose sporting codes happen to have crowd-pulling clout, for now.


Hindsight's great

I hate sounding like I knew all along, because I didn’t, but our article two weeks ago on Collie being at the heart of the water debate seemed all the more prescient when the state announced a desalination plant a Binningup.

Binningup is a stone’s throw from the Wellington Dam and it is clear that the scale of this water source cannot be overlooked for long.

It is too saline for drinking right now, but work is being done to improve it, and desalinating dam water would be a lot cheaper and energy efficient than extracting salt from seawater.

Geographically, therefore, it is a good move. I am less convinced that an energy guzzling water boiler is the cleverest way of ensuring we have water, but it’s clearly the most palatable for the electorate, for now.


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