Archive for November, 2007

From the desk of John Laws

John Laws wrote an article in today’s The Daily Telegraph. Here it is.

John Laws signs off

By John Laws

November 30, 2007 12:00am

THIS is a very difficult time – and to put pen to paper is somewhat like writing one’s own obituary.

With the exception of my wife and family, the most important thing in my life is about to come to an end.

It was a difficult decision to make, and it may well have been unwise.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first, and more than likely won’t be the last unwise thing I will do in my life.

I have always endeavoured to be fair and, to my knowledge, I have never gone out of my way to deliberately hurt anyone.

I can only trust I have succeeded.

I have been hurt, many times, because of my own stupidity; many times because I felt I was being dealt with unfairly.

I have often said, admittedly in semi-jest, that the 11th Commandment in Australia is “Thou shalt not excel”.

If there’s a country in the world in which you can excel, it is Australia, and if you do, and according to many I have, be aware that excellence comes with a price, as does honesty.

But, no matter what the price, it’s worth paying.

I have watched the formation and development of communications in Australia. I have seen communications improve, and I have seen them decline with gutter journalism, and lower than gutter broadcasting, but I am proud to have been part of an industry where excellence has been predominant.

We have some of the most capable journalists in the world in this country and we enjoy to a large extent freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It’s rarely abused, unlike in many other countries.

It is a comforting feeling, but not one of complacency, to have made people happy and to have been relevant in the lives of so many.

It is also, in a convoluted way, a comforting feeling to have angered people, to have incited them to think differently about a topic.

There have been many who have strongly objected to the way in which I have incited people. I have had death threats – plenty.

I have had people want to jail me – plenty – from the highest criminal court judges to twisted, malicious, small-minded individuals fighting their own minds for their place in the world. But their wrath, their anger, their vitriol, has simply powered the adrenalin into what could have been a very lazy mind.

I can’t say I love all my listeners – I don’t know all my listeners.

Nor can I assume that all my listeners love me. Many have listened despite the fact that it is me.

I can say that those who have communicated with me since I announced my retirement have shown what I know to be a genuine affection.

In some cases theirs is a love which has left me astounded but very happy.

If I have been able to give you even a small percentage of the happiness that you have given me, then it will all have been worth it.

What will I do without you?

I have spent almost 55 years walking a tightrope with no safety net.

It’s time to get off.

Full stop!

2 comments November 30th, 2007 at 02:00pm

Farewell John Laws

It’s hard to believe, but after all these years John Laws has switched off the golden microphone, hung up the golden headphones, and set off for his retirement with his wife Caroline.

I can’t think of any more fitting way to say goodbye to Lawsie, than by running the Musician Of The Week award early. Roger Miller, and the feature song is the one Lawsie has signed off with for years and years and years.

Goodbye and good luck John, I can’t say much more than to say that if I spend much longer writing this, the keyboard will short circuit because of the amount of liquid falling in to it right now. Goodbye John, and good luck.

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Let me be a little kinder
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me
Let me praise a little more

Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me

Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver
Let me try a little harder
To be all that I should be

Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Let me think more of my neighbour
And a little less of me

Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for

Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker
Think a little more of others
And a little less of me

Samuel

2 comments November 30th, 2007 at 12:02pm

The Seven News Cross to Lawsie’s Final Day

I just watched Seven’s cross to the 2UE studios, and it looks like 2UE have provided a camera in a particular spot for the live crosses, and another camera with audio for studio vision…both Seven and Ten have crossed from the same spot with the same slightly fuzzy vision, and, along with Sky News, had the exact same crystal clear footage of Lawsie in the studio.

It was good to see Ann sanders is still presenting news for Seven, I always liked the news she presented alongside Ross Symonds.

2UE are now running a special tribute to Lawsie…only twelve minutes of the king to go.

Samuel

November 30th, 2007 at 11:49am

Daniel Sutton at 2UE for Ten News

I decided to switch on Ten News (as the first morning news bulletin of the day) to see what coverage they would have of Lawsie’s final day on the air. They did a live cross to the 2UE studios, and I thought it was very fitting that the Ten reporter at 2UE was none other than ex-2UE reporter Daniel Sutton.

I’m not sure whether to check Nine or Seven News at 11:30…as I intend on capturing Nine News tonight, I’ll check Seven News in a couple minutes.

Samuel

November 30th, 2007 at 11:29am

Lawsie’s Final Day crashes MyTalk!

Due to the sheer number of people trying to access the 2UE/4BC etc website MyTalk, it appears to have crashed under the load.

The MyTalk administrators have temporarily taken down the full version of the website and replaced it with a rather simple list of links to the webstreams. Unfortunately due to the load video streaming is not available, but the audio stream is.

MyTalk Special Edition!

I’m sure it will be all over the television news tonight, but the first few minutes of the show were broadcast live on Sky News, and News Limited have put a copy up on their website. Click here to see the first few minutes of John Laws’ final show.

Samuel

November 30th, 2007 at 10:30am

Best wishes John

Good morning Lawsie.

Best wishes for your retirement John. I will miss you immensely as you have been a common factor throughout my life, and I am ever so used to hearing you every morning. Not hearing you ever again in the morning is bad enough, but I'm also going to miss the punctuation to my day that "El Presidente" and Roger Miller's "Less Of Me" have provided.

I had the great pleasure of chatting with you a couple years ago, it was one of the highlights of my year, and I was surprised by the number of people who commented to me in the days after that they had heard me talking to John Laws. Oddly enough, the question I got asked the most was how long I had to wait to talk to you!

By the way, it's been bugging me for a year or so now so I hope you don't mind me asking. What was the name of that robot thing that you used to chat to many years ago?

I would especially like to thank you for being there for me when I was bed ridden for a week or so in 2003, and for being there just about every other time I have turned on the radio in the morning. Thank you for the Cuckoo's Nest (whatever happened to that clever bunch), and for nurturing the co-driver, and for your great jingles, and for your services to radio (tell Kevin '07 to get you knighted!) and a really big thank you for just being yourself day after day after day, and bringing so much entertainment to my life, and to the lives of millions of others.

I'll miss you greatly John, but I hope you have a really great retirement, and please come back once or twice to fill in! I'm sure Clive won't mind if you fill in for him once or twice on the overnight show!

Have a really great retirement, and thank you John, there will never be anyone quite like you again. (It's hard to hold the tears back as I write this, I don't think it will hit me for another couple of days that you're not coming back).

P.S. Please leave a forwarding address with 2UE…I have some drawings and a christmas card to send to you.

Best regards, and kind wishes for a fantastic retirement,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

1 comment November 30th, 2007 at 10:00am

An Era Draws To A Close

As I write this an era is just about to begin to end, as John Laws’ final broadcast of his 54 year career begins on 2UE, 2CC and about 70 other stations across the nation.

2UE and 4BC will be streaming his final show, and with daylight saving it wouldn’t surprise me if 4BC have it on a delay on an hour.

It is hard for me to believe that today will be the final time that I’ll hear El Presidente and “Hello World” at 9:05am, and have the day punctuated at Midday by “be kind to each other” and Roger Miller singing “Less Of Me”. Admittedly Lawsie has gone on holidays before and I haven’t had these events in my life, but he has always come back. Knowing that it will never happen again is going to be very strange indeed.

I will be listening to every second of the John Laws show this morning. It, as I said, is the end of an era, and I do not intend on missing any of it.

Anyway, John Williamson produced the following song as a tribute to John Laws a few weeks ago. John Williamson, amongst others, has produced many jingles for Lawsie over the years, but this one is especially for his retirement, and whilst the title is not clear, I think it is fair to say that it is “You’ve Pulled The Plug At Last”.

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Samuel

2 comments November 30th, 2007 at 09:03am

Department Store Queues

Good evening Stuart,

Just in reply to your comment about the aisles getting smaller in department stores such as Kmart, I generally try to avoid the department stores where they have a whole heap of checkouts at the front of the store as I end up spending much more time in the queue that I spend in the rest of the store. I much prefer the stores such as Myer and David Jones where each department has its own checkout.

If I have to use the stores with checkouts at the front then I will usually try to use the "entertainment" checkout towards the rear of the store so that I can walk straight out, or favour the stores that have introduced self-serve checkouts, such as Big W.

Actually I think the self-serve checkouts are a great idea as they generally take over some space which was previously used by the fifteen or so checkouts that were never open anyway. I was never able to understand why the department stores would have roughly twenty checkouts, and only ever use five of them.

P.S. If you see Glenn Wheeler before tomorrow afternoon, remind him to take a parachute!

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

1 comment November 28th, 2007 at 08:30pm

Severe Storm and Flash Flooding warning (Update: Warning no longer in effect)

I really need to see about setting up automated alerts for these weather warnings…at the moment it’s either a case of me hearing the warning or seeing inclement weather. Tonight it’s the latter.

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
for FLASH FLOODING
For people in the SOUTHERN TABLELANDS, ACT and parts of the SOUTH COAST, RIVERINA, UPPER WESTERN and LOWER WESTERN Forecast Districts.

Issued at 6:57 pm Wednesday, 28 November 2007.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce very heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Griffith, Cobar, Canberra, Goulburn, Cooma and Bombala.

Heavy rainfall, (over 40mm in 30mins) has been recorded at both Snowball and Jerangle, (to the southeast of the ACT).

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
* Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
* Unplug computers and appliances.
* Avoid using the phone during the storm.
* Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.

The next warning is due to be issued by 10:00 pm.

If severe thunderstorms develop in the Sydney/Newcastle/Wollongong region or Canberra and Queanbeyan, a more detailed Severe Thunderstorm Warning will be issued to people in these areas.

Update: CANCELLATION SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING

Issued at 9:38 pm Wednesday, 28 November 2007.

Severe thunderstorms are no longer occurring in NSW and the ACT.
End Update

Samuel

November 28th, 2007 at 07:25pm

Starjump

Good afternoon Glenn and John,

Glenn, what a pity I won't be in Sydney on Thursday. If I was then I could stand at the bottom of the building and you would know there would be somebody there to catch you…although you've seen how small I am…you'd probably squash me!

Seriously though John and Glenn, it's a great initiative and I wish you both (especially Glenn) lots of luck. I'm sure you'll raise heaps of money for the starlight foundation, and perhaps if John thinks it's so easy he will have to repeat it on the weekend.

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

November 27th, 2007 at 03:00pm

Severe Storm Warning for a large section of New South Wales, and all of the ACT (Update: ACT no longer affected)

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
New South Wales
TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING
for FLASH FLOODING
For people in the CENTRAL TABLELANDS, ACT, CENTRAL WEST SLOPES, SOUTH WEST SLOPES and parts of the SOUTHERN TABLELANDS, NORTH WEST SLOPES, CENTRAL WEST PLAINS, RIVERINA, UPPER WESTERN and LOWER WESTERN Forecast Districts.

Issued at 3:23 pm Monday, 26 November 2007.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce very heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Orange, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Cobar and Bourke.

Cobar airport has already recorded 61 mm of rain in 2 hours today.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
* Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
* Unplug computers and appliances.
* Avoid using the phone during the storm.
* Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.

The next warning is due to be issued by 6:25 pm.

If severe thunderstorms develop in Canberra and Queanbeyan, a more detailed Severe Thunderstorm Warning will be issued to people in this area.

Warnings are also available through TV and Radio broadcasts, the Bureau’s website at www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 218. The Bureau and State Emergency Service would appreciate warnings being broadcast regularly.

Update 6:45pm:
For people in the CENTRAL TABLELANDS, ACT, CENTRAL WEST SLOPES, CENTRAL WEST PLAINS, SOUTH WEST SLOPES, RIVERINA, UPPER WESTERN, LOWER WESTERN and parts of the HUNTER, SOUTHERN TABLELANDS, NORTH WEST SLOPES and NORTH WEST PLAINS Forecast Districts.

Issued at 5:24 pm Monday, 26 November 2007.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce very heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Orange, Dubbo, Wagga Wagga, Tibooburra, Cobar and Broken Hill.

Cobar airport has already recorded 61 mm of rain in 2 hours today.

The next warning is due to be issued by 8:25 pm.
End Update

Update 7:57pm:
For people in the CENTRAL WEST SLOPES, RIVERINA and parts of the CENTRAL TABLELANDS, SOUTHERN TABLELANDS, CENTRAL WEST PLAINS, SOUTH WEST SLOPES and LOWER WESTERN Forecast Districts.

Issued at 7:50 pm Monday, 26 November 2007.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce very heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Orange, Dubbo, Parkes, Wagga Wagga, Griffith and Hay.

Severe thunderstorms are no longer occurring in the HUNTER, ACT, NORTH WEST SLOPES, NORTH WEST PLAINS and UPPER WESTERN districts and the warning for these districts is CANCELLED.

The next warning is due to be issued by 10:50 pm. (Unless it affects the ACT, it will not be reproduced here. See http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN65156.shtml for further updates.)
End Update

1 comment November 26th, 2007 at 03:56pm

That sounds about right

Jonathan Cainer, an astrologer I have previously written about as being a good story teller, writes something rather apt for my star sign today.

You have this uncanny ability to make wrong things sound right. It is not just that you can look on the bright side; it is more as if you carry around a torch and a pot of reflective paint. This lets you add sparkle to even the most dreary situations. Though you are never deliberately deceptive, sometimes you summon so much enthusiasm that you become convinced about a debatable point.

I’m not a huge believe in astrology, but I think Jonathan hit the nail on the head today, especially if he is talking about my election prediction. (Coalition by two seats…could I have been more wrong?)

Samuel

November 26th, 2007 at 12:41pm

The Liberal Leadership

After finally going to bed at about 7am on Sunday I slept for about 24 hours which, considering that except for about an hour I had been awake since late Thursday morning, I think is quite reasonable. As a result I missed Peter Costello’s announcement that he will not stand for the Liberal leadership, and instead retire to the backbench.

In many ways, I think this is the best thing Mr. Costello could do. He is as much responsible for the loss as John Howard is, and I think John Howard’s endorsement of Peter Costello was the proverbial “final nail” for Peter Costello’s political career, which I think is a shame in many ways as he is a great treasurer, but also a good thing as it gives the Liberal Party a chance to “move on”.

I don’t know who will take over the Liberal leadership this week, it wouldn’t surprise me if Malcolm Turnbull gets the job, but I just don’t know. In any case I doubt that it matters as I think we may see a number of leadership changes between now and the next election, and it’s the leader at the next election that matters.

I only see two reasonable options. Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey.

I think that, if Labor mantain the relatively conservative position they were elected on for the next few years, then Joe Hockey will be the “warm, fuzzy and friendly” face of the Liberals, however if Labor shift back to the left then Malcolm Tunbull will be the “strong, conservative” leader.

It has been pointed out to me that Mr. Turnbull isn’t as conservative as he may appear, but I don’t think that’s what matters, it’s the fact that he appears to be conservative to the public.

Regardless of who leads the Liberal party, if they want to have any chance of taking back power in three years time, they will get out the broom and reposition themselves as a “new” Liberal party. I think people such as Alexander Downer and Phillip Ruddock will make it easier by following Peter Costello’s lead, and with any luck the same will happen to Tony Abbott, either voluntarily or by choice. In three years time, if the Liberal party know what’s good for them, will be a “new” party.

Julie Bishop strikes me as a good choice for the deputy leadership, maybe even the leadership, but I just can’t see her actually being voted in as leader.

Anyway, the Liberal party have a rather small minority, and they are going to spend at least the next three years, and probably at least the next six, as the sideshow. They have an interesting few years ahead of them. Hopefully for their sake, and for the sake of the nation having a decent opposition, they sort out their internal squabbles as soon as possible.

Samuel

November 26th, 2007 at 10:52am

Another Prime Minister…and another one to come?

Good morning Lawsie,

Your final week, a lot of us are going to be very very sad by Midday on Friday.

Anyway, congratulations on seeing in yet another prime minister…do you think you could stick around for the next one?

Regards,
Samuel Gordon-Stewart
Canberra

November 26th, 2007 at 10:00am

Election Jinx

I’ve just been having a look back over the last few elections and who I wanted to win them. I think it’s safe to say that I am an election jinx.

2004 Australian Federal Election: I have to admit that I favoured Mark Latham’s Labor Party. Thankfully I was not old enough to vote. Result: Majority Coalition victory.
2004 ACT Territory Election: Brendan Smyth’s Liberal Party. Result: Majority Labor government.
2004 U.S. Election: I was supporting the Democrats. Result: Republican George W. Bush returned as U.S. President
2006 U.S. Midterm Election: By 2006 I had swung back to the Republican party. Result: Convincing Democrat victory leaves George W. Bush a “lame duck president”.
2007 NSW State Election: Peter Debnam’s Liberal Party. Result: Morris Iemma and Labor returned to power.
2007 Australian Federal Election: Voted for and supported John Howard’s Liberal/National Coalition. Result: Kevin Rudd’s Labor Party win power with a majority parliament.

At this stage it looks like the jinx doesn’t necessarily count for people I vote for as Gary Humphries looks set to keep his senate seat. The jinx seems to have more to do with overall election outcomes, but we’ll have more data to play with after next year’s ACT Election.

Samuel

November 26th, 2007 at 08:42am

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