From yesterday’s NASCAR Daytona 500, this is what I call a spectacular crash.
(h/t Fox Sports)
This happened shortly after another crash had placed the field under a yellow caution flag. Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his car, seemingly due to a mechanical malfunction of some sort, and careered in to the back of a truck which had a jet engine on it which was being used to blow debris off the track.
Amazingly, nobody was hurt. This always amazes me as an awful lot of careful planning and design has obviously gone in to the whole car racing industry so that people can usually simply walk away from incidents such as these.
The couple hundred gallons of burning jet fuel damaged the road surface so badly that it took two hours for the track to be fixed up to a usable state. It wasn’t great, and the drivers did mention that it was still a bit rough, but the fact that it was usable at all a mere two hours after such a large and intense fire is quite extraordinary.
The race had a number of other spectacular crashes with multiple cars flying all over the place, and set a few records too. It was the first Daytona 500 to be held on a Monday night, and was also the first in history to finish on a Tuesday morning. I have my doubts that the V8 Supercars here in Australia would bother continuing later in the day if there was going to be a two hour delay to fix a melted track.
It is now official. Julia Gillard has won the Labor leadership ballot by a margin of 71 to 31. It’s a convincing victory and should be enough to shut down the Kevin Rudd party-damaging machine for a while.
This gives Julia the comfort of knowing that she has the support of the majority of her party, and the ability to quash concerns among the independents that she might not be able to have a stable government.
The questions now though are twofold:
1. What will Kevin Rudd do. He promised to move to the backbench quietly, but will he? That’s not exciting or important enough for his liking…I expect to either see him bide his time on the expectation that he will challenge again next year, or he will go to the crossbenches and hold some sort of influence with one of the deciding votes of the parliament.
2. What will happen to the Kevin Rudd supporters, especially the ones who walked in to the caucus room with him? If Kevin stays in Labor, then I expect his supporters to be shuffled out of important positions. A cabinet reshuffle might not be a bad idea anyway.
An exciting day, that’s for sure, but did it achieve anything useful? Probably not.
The media are all gathered outside the caucus room. I’ve been flicking between TV stations and was watching Nine for a while. During that time, they had a shot of the media gathered outside the caucus room with a Seven reporter (update: it was Alex Hart) prominently in the foreground of the shot, on the phone to someone.
Whoever he was on the phone with must have told him that he was on the rival network as he stopped, turned to the Channel Nine camera, smiled, and waved.
The media have descended on the lawns of Parliament house, from their Sydney abodes. Here is the view.
Sky News on the right, Sunrise on the left.
Sunrise hosts on the left, interview a politician on the right. Why not just bring him in to the tent?
Sunrise hosts Melissa Doyle and David Koch
Rob Oakeshott being interviewed by Ten, whose hosts are back in the studio.
The Today Show’s Karl Stefanovic with someone (Update: it’s former advisor to Kevin Rudd, Lachlan Harris).
It’s almost a tent embassy of its own.
I can’t see the ABC, but I’m sure they’re here somewhere.
I think it’s a radio stunt as this person appeared to come from the general direction of the Mix 106.3 car, and was giving an interview to someone on the phone, but it looks like Karl Stefanovic gets at least one vote to become the next Prime Minister.
Update: Here’s Kevin
Update: Tony Abbott has arrived, and looks set to appear on Sunrise after Kevin.
Another update: Look at the media swarming around the Sunrise tent with Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott there.
And my goodness, aren’t they excited when he tries to get to his waiting car.
A final observation: After Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott appeared on Sunrise from out the front of Parliament House, Kevin Rudd was driven to Parliament in a government car, but Tony Abbott walked. Remind me who was supposedly more environmentally friendly?
I have been asked (not here, but elsewhere) to predict who will win today, and how many votes Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd will receive.
By the looks of it, only 102 Labor MPs will be voting today due to one of them being absent. This means that 52 votes are needed for there to be a winner. The main problem I see for both sides here is that, if the result is not a landslide (and I am not expecting a landslide) then the loser can cling on to some credibility and make this happen all over again later in the year. For stable government, a landslide is required. Without a landslide, I expect a general election within the year.
To be clear, if the loser receives more than 35 votes, then I expect to see a general election before the year is out. If the loser receives more than 45 votes, then I expect to see a general election called within the next six months.
My prediction for today is that it will be close. I expect Julia Gillard to win, but I don’t expect her to get more than 62 votes. I predict that Julia Gillard will receive between 59 and 62 votes (inclusive) and Kevin Rudd will receive between 40 and 43 votes (inclusive). If I have to pick an exact figure, then I’ll go 61-41.
I seem to be expecting a closer vote than many are, but I doubt that Kevin Rudd would have wanted this unless he knew that he could command a respectable number of votes. To the same extent, Julia wouldn’t have called the leadership spill unless she believed that she would win. I think there are enough people in the Labor ranks with fond memories of poor-but-higher poll numbers under Kevin Rudd to want to give him another chance, but not enough who want to return to his style of dictatorial leadership to make it happen.
Meanwhile, I note that Padders has interviewed a “Parliament House insider” over at The Right Aussie, and they are both expecting a much clearer victory for Julia Gillard. The “insider” is predicting a 74-28 win for Julia, while Padders is predicting a 70-32 win for Julia.
Oh, I forgot to mention what I think will happen if Kevin Rudd becomes Labor leader. That one falls squarely in the “general election to be called within six months” basket.
Maritz sent this one through last night. It’s nice to have her back on deck, especially on a day like today
I am do think that Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Julia are much like married couple. They do both of fighting and do sometimes have ideas of different, but at end of day they are much almost same and will forget that they have the different. It will be then that they can be do continue of bad for country, but I am do think that time will come when again they have the fightings and then it will be almost time for to see that they are not much happy and will then have to have big spectacle of public of worses than is currently.
With Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Julia it is much the worses and is almost to divorce, and this could be bad for short time but then good as almost bring might do electings which could be good for having people of public do votings away from the badly governments of Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Julia.
I am previously of from the Russia and was not think I would do find government bad as was old Soviet Russia but the Mr. Kevin and Mrs. Julia and Mr. Bob of Green is all bad as much as Soviet. Different as was always much secret in Soviet Russia but here is in public and is some ways as much bad without doing all as much of badly thing as by making government do look of bad it does the not stable of country and this can be do make many problem. It can be do take secret problems of much and many more to bring as much as bad as this government of Mrs. Kevin and Mr. Julia and Mr. Bob can be do have done.
Also worry is United Nation which is big place of communist people who are much bad and I am do want all country to do the boycott of the United Nation. It is much worry of if Mr. Kevin can be doing be of Prime Minister again as he is much happy with United Nation and this is can be do cause big of problem for country.
I have not ever much done do see this happen of with Mr. Tony and Mrs. Julie of oppositions, but I am do think there was sometimes different between Mr. John and Mr. Peter of government previous, but was much always private and of not public spectacles until newses did causing problems. I am do think that Opposition are much better at being team and doing works for good of country and not for only good of self.
Please to have goodly time of before and after the votings and also I am do hope that country can be doing goodly as is time of difficult. Also soon is electings in of the Russia and is would be much good for Mr. Vladimir to be doing winnings as he can be do stopping influte of United Nation which can be do much cause badly for country.
Ms. Maritzkrozlavsky Throrglasnishozly
Well it’s finally arrived, the day of the great circus meeting. Later today the clowns will meet under the big top on the hill in Canberra to vote for a new ringmaster.
Did you know that both of them are magicians? Both of them recant magic phrases such as “moving forward” “let me say this” “clean energy future” and “Mr. Speaker”, and without fail, every time they utter one of these magic phrases, money vanishes from the Treasury coffers!
I’m tipping that Julia will stay in charge, but regardless of the outcome, I don’t think anything will change for the better.
Based on some feedback, I have decided that in order to make these Sunday Bits posts a bit easier to navigate, they will now contain a list of contents, and headers at the start of each section. I hope this makes it easier for you to read the bits that interest you, and skip the ones that don’t, rather than simply skipped the entire post due to a small section which doesn’t interest you.
In this edition:
* A prediction for tomorrow’s Labor leadership showdown
* The first radio ratings of 2012
* 2UE dumps their only weekday ratings winner of 2012
* Why telecommunication monopolies are bad
* A review (well, almost) of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
* Mount Majura in the fog
A prediction for tomorrow’s Labor leadership showdown
Tomorrow morning at about 11am we will know, one way or another, who will lead the Australian Labor Party for at least the next few days, and who will probably be sworn in as Prime Minister when Governor-General Quentin Bryce returns to the country on Thursday or Friday.
My prediction is that Julia Gillard will win, but not because she is a better leader. I expect her to win on the basis that the agreement with the independents and the Greens was made with her, and not with the Labor Party. Julia Gillard was very clever when she made sure that the agreement was made with herself and not the Party as it helps to secure her position as leader, a position which she would have known would, at some stage, come under threat due to the tenuous nature of minority government.
Electing anyone other than Julia Gillard as Labor leader potentially puts the agreement with the cross-benches under threat, and could potentially lead to a new general election. At this time, based on current opinion polling, Labor do not want to risk an election which is likely to see them annihilated.
For the record, I doubt that the Greens will ever back out of their effective coalition with Labor, as they really need Labor more than Labor need them, but the independents are another story as they might see disassociating themselves with the current disorganised mess as a way to secure their seats.
On the off chance that Kevin Rudd or some other as-yet unnamed contender takes over the Labor leadership, they have the advantage of having the Governor-General out of the country until at least Thursday, giving them time to negotiate to keep the independents and the Greens on-side…because it would be terribly embarrassing and destructive to themself and the Labor party to take over as Prime Minister and then immediately have an election called due to a no-confidence motion succeeding in the parliament.
Also, while it is true that a state governor could swear in a new Prime Minister in the absence of the Governor-General, I doubt that it will happen as a new Labor leader won’t mind waiting a few days to shore up the numbers.
On the whole, it wasn’t a great survey for commercial talk radio. In Sydney, while 2GB remains on top of the ratings by four whole percentage points, they did lose ground, losing 0.8 percentage points. 2UE went up by 0.3, mostly on the back of weekend ratings, but lost ground on most weekday shifts and remain a fair way down the ratings pile.
The biggest winner was Triple J which went up 2.7% to 7.4%. The biggest loser was 2DAY FM which went down 1.6% to 8.3%.
Last place belongs to ABC NewsRadio on 2.2%.
In Melbourne, 3AW remains on top but, like 2GB, took a bit of a hit. MTR lost ground in every timeslot, although it is worth noting that some of the survey period took place while MTR were taking extra programming from 2GB, so the next survey will give a better indication of how the local news cutbacks have affected MTR. Interesting, for the first time in a very long time (many years I believe), 3AW’s Neil Mitchell did not win his timeslot. He lost 3.5 percentage points in the morning timeslot, dropping from 15.7% to 12.2%, meaning that the local ABC station’s Jon Faine is now winning mornings on 13.7%.
The leaderboard in Melbourne:
ABC 702: 12.3%
Fox FM: 9.6%
Gold FM: 7.4%
The biggest winner was Nova which went up 1.5% to 8.5%. The biggest loser was shared between Fox FM and Melbourne’s 91.5FM which both went down 1.3%, Fox to 9.6% and 91.5FM to 2.9%.
Last place went to MTR1377 and ABC NewsRadio, both on 1.4%.
In Brisbane, 4BC bucked the trend for commercial talk stations, going up by 0.9 percentage points.
The biggest winner was 97.3 which turned a narrow lead in to a massive one by gaining 2.4% to sit on 14.1%. The biggest loser was Triple M which lost 1.7% to drop from 4th to 5th, drop out of double digits, and sit on 9.4%.
In last place, yet again, ABC NewsRadio on 1.5%.
In Adelaide, FiveAA lost ground but remained in second place. Of particular concern for FiveAA has to be their afternoon drive shift which lost a whopping 6.3% to drop from 1st place to 5th place.
The biggest winner was 96FM which went up by 2.4% to 11.8%. The biggest loser was 6PR which went down by 1.2% to 8.1%.
Last place went to ABC NewsRadio on 1.2%.
The one consistent thing across all of the surveyed cities is that NewsRadio is in last place. How thankful the NewsRadio staff must be that it is not a commercial operation, and doesn’t need to make money, because if it was, heads would roll and changes would be made. For the rest of us, who pay for NewsRadio through our taxes, what a shame it is that we are paying for a service that almost nobody listens to, when in other countries all-news formats have been made commercially viable…even without the advertising, NewsRadio could reach a much larger audience simply by making some changes that have been proven to work elsewhere, but as long as the tax dollars keep rolling in, there is no incentive to do so, as thus, they won’t.
2UE dumps their only weekday ratings winner of 2012
Back to Sydney we go, and 2UE’s perennial game of shuffles is on again. Sport’s Today, which was dumped at the beginning of last year, is back, albeit with two extra hosts. It reclaims its old 6pm-8pm timeslot, bumping Murray Olds and Murray Wilton who have shared the 6pm-9pm timeslot over the last year to mixed success.
The Two Murrays, combined with Mike Jeffreys until midnight (as the publicly available data goes from 7pm-midnight) lost 2%, the station’s largest loss. It seems quite bizarre then that The Two Murrays are being placed in to the weekday afternoon slot, formerly hosted by Michael Smith and recently hosted by Stuart Bocking since Smith’s axing, when Stuart Bocking delivered the station’s largest weekday gain of 0.6%. Even stranger, Stuart has been dropped from the schedule completely. He remains on the payroll though, as is expected to be retained as a fill-in host, but I think it’s safe to say that Stuart deserves better given his recent performance.
Sports Today starts tomorrow. It’s likely that Mike Jeffreys’ night program will start at the earlier time of 8pm. The Two Murrays start in their new timeslot in a week, so Stuart Bocking probably still has the coming week in the timeslot.
Meanwhile it is rumoured that David Oldfield might also succumb to the game of shuffles, to be replaced by a duo of Prue MacSween and Tracey Spicer. David Oldfield has failed to make a dent on rival Ray Hadley’s ratings, and I highly doubt that anyone can make significant inroads there, so I understand the move to an extent.
I don’t have access to demographic breakdowns of Ray Hadley’s ratings, so this is all somewhat informed conjecture based on the callers to Ray’s show, but I have always thought that Ray’s ratings primarily come from a male audience, and an older female audience. 2UE have clearly attempted to attract a younger audience, and I suspect that they have a shot at attracting a decent-sized 30 to 6o-year-old female audience with a duo of Prue MacSween and Tracey Spicer. This is a demographic which, to my ear at least, is dominated by FM music stations and possibly ABC 702, and as such lacks any strong commercial talk presence. Talk radio generally has a more engaged audience due to the nature of the programming, and thus if 2UE can successfully build a reasonably sized female audience in that timeslot, then they could attract a new set of advertisers. Alas, I fail to see how The Two Murrays could retain that type of audience, and think Stuart Bocking would be much better at retaining a female audience, as women seem to absolutely love him.
Why telecommunication monopolies are bad
On Thursday, Telstra suffered a rather nasty outage on their network, apparently caused by an issue between themselves and Dodo, which took down their entire Australian data network for the better part of an hour. This caused issue beyond Telstra as many other internet service providers use Telstra’s network for various bits of their connections, however as other providers also hook in to networks other than Telstra’s network, many were able to route around Telstra and minimise the disruption for their own customers.
Some providers, my ISP Internode included, had almost no disruption as Telstra are not their primary network provider.
It’s a bad thing when a large player has an issue, but imagine what would happen in the case of a monopoly. The monopoly goes down, and this takes everyone down.
Now, aren’t you glad that in the not-too-distant future, everyone is going to be relying on the infrastructure of the National Broadband Network?
Ahh yes, the government-owned NBN Monopoly…is it any wonder that some worry about the possibility of the government having a “kill switch” for the internet once the NBN is in place? Even without a kill switch, the NBN will make us all reliant on a single network, which is precisely what the distributed nature of the internet was designed to prevent. It’s certainly not what I call “progress”.
A review (well, almost) of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
On Friday I went along to Dendy in Civic to see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a movie which is set during the cold war years and involves a sacked British spy being asked to investigate the possibility that there is a Russian spy embedded at or near the top of MI6.
The movie is quite dense, and requires a lot of attention. Turn away or lose concentration for a minute, and you will miss vital information. This is a bit of a problem as the movie also makes you think, and there’s not a lot of time between informative bits of the movie in which to think.
It’s a very enjoyable movie, partially because it doesn’t waste time explaining things which are patently obvious, and is therefore aimed at an audience which enjoys working things out for themselves.
Without giving away any detail of the ending, I will say that it leaves you somewhat satisfied, but still wanting more, and also leaves you thinking and putting together some of the dots that the movie doesn’t fully explain.
I enjoyed it, but want to see it again on DVD (yes, I am one of those people who has not upgrade to Blu Ray yet) so that I can pause and rewind the movie occasionally to check things.
The movie is rated MA, but I can’t work out why. “Strong Violence” is the reason according to the consumer advice, but the violence in the movie is really extremely intermittent and no worse than a shooting or two, and a beating. Even with the sex scenes, I see no good reason for this to be rated higher than M.
Four and a half stars from me. I would have given it five stars if the movie had taken just a bit more time to explain the ending. Then again, maybe it did, and I missed those plot points while I was thinking.
Mount Majura in the fog
Finally, a photo to leave you with on a mostly cloudy day in Canberra. It’s not from today, but was a nice sight earlier in the week anyway. Mount Majura, with the airport radar obscured by fog.
I was watching a bit of ABC News 24 a little while ago (yes, I know, me watching ABC News 24…it’s a very rare occurrence indeed…I was going to watch Becker on Eleven at midnight, but Southern Cross replace it with some el-cheapo clone of Quizmania so I decided to watch the top of the hour news instead) and while I was generally quite impressed with their coverage of the Labor leadership kerfuffle and a few other things about the way in which they are putting together news packages, there was one thing which I thought was really very odd.
A package about the leadership kerfuffle aired as the lead story on the midnight eastern news bulletin. At the beginning of it was a bit on how Kevin Rudd’s house is apparently the headquarters for his leadership challenge, complete with footage of someone who either was, or looked like, Bruce Hawker, walking through a gate. There was also footage of Kevin Rudd’s daughter and her partner walking towards Kevin Rudd’s front gate and having to almost battle their way through a pack of journalists who were asking her questions which she had no intention of answering. That’s fair enough, she did after all put herself in the public sphere on this issue by making a public statement on the issue on Twitter.
The odd bit came just after her and her partner walked through the gate. A voice can be heard to say “Oh my God, what a s***fight” (although they did not obscure it as I have). From watching it, it is entirely unclear whether this voice which was heard was that of Kevin’s daughter’s partner, or that of a journalist or other media person. There is no super to provide attribution to the voice, and no visible mouth emitting the words.
It was odd, but it’s News 24. Like any news service, stuff does occasionally slip through which perhaps shouldn’t, and given that it’s late at night I would not have been surprised if this had just “slipped through”…and I wouldn’t have minded.
But it didn’t just “slip through”. At 12:18 eastern, Lateline was replayed on ABC News 24, and at the start of Lateline was this same package, this same footage, and not surprisingly, the same mysterious voice uttering the same words.
This really made me wonder whose words they were, because if they were the words of Kevin’s daughter’s partner, then I can completely understand leaving them in, although I probably wouldn’t have done so myself under the same circumstances as, although it makes it clear that the pair were not enjoying the media attention, we already got that information from the way they reacted as they walked through the press pack. But if they were the words of a media type, then they add no value to the story whatsoever and should not have stayed in as the pair were already well through the gate by the time the words were uttered, and even if they hadn’t been well through the gate, the words could have been obscured.
The Lateline website (linked above) provides a transcript of that section of the package.
TOM IGGULDEN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Kevin Rudd’s Brisbane home is campaign headquarters for his leadership tilt. It’s a family affair – even his expectant daughter came.
REPORTER: (to Jessica Rudd) Do you think he’s got a really good chance against Gillard?
REPORTER II: What do you think of Gillard?
JESSICA RUDD, KEVIN RUDD’S DAUGHTER: Sorry…
REPORTER III: How’s the pregnancy going?
REPORTER IV: Oh my God, what a s***fight.
(Again, I’ve obscured the word, they did not)
So it was a media person. Then why was it left in? What possible value could it have had? I could understand an oversight in the original airing of the package on Lateline, but this is the ABC we are talking about here, an organisation with more behind-the-scenes people and more bureaucratic signing-off-on-stuff procedures than most media outlets could even begin to imagine…if it was an oversight, it should, and I dare say would, have been picked up by someone and edited out before the package went to air again, and before the transcript appeared on the website.
But then, the transcript is on the website. The transcript would have been derived from the same text which produced the closed captions for the package. The very presence of those words in the transcript indicates that somebody decided that the words should be present in the package. That, I find odd. The fact that, after seeing that they were the words of a media person and not of Kevin Rudd’s daughter’s partner, somebody didn’t question it and have it removed before it aired again or before it went up on the Lateline website, is poor judgement. Admittedly, it may have been difficult to remove it from the replay of Lateline in markets which do not take it live, and dropping it from the video on the website would have been an awful lot of extra effort which may not have been worthwhile, but removing it from the transcript and from future airings of the package in subsequent news bulletins, would have been quite simple and prudent.
The reason this bothers me is that, like Mark Riley’s puns in Seven News’ political packages, the words add nothing useful to the story, but distract from it instead. The rest of the package, and indeed the rest of the coverage of the leadership kerfuffle was quite exemplary. I was particularly pleased by the fact that the reporter, Tom Iggulden, made sure that the staged cheering when Julia Gillard walked in to an office was reported as just that, staged cheering. He did this by showing footage of the supporters rehearsing their cheering for the media act…and this is the type of reporting that I have been waiting for as I have had a problem with the long-standing tradition of journalists watching people rehearse a “reaction” and then reporting it as “spontaneous”. Tom Iggulden deserves to be congratulated for this.
I won’t harp on about it any longer though, as I’m sure that every political journalist in the country has had a very long day and has a bunch of very long days ahead, and on the whole they do tend to be doing quite a good job of covering the leadership kerfuffle, which is itself a distraction in the middle of something important, as the job of governing the country is being neglected while the governing party try to work out how to govern themselves…and while I would argue that the country is probably better off for not having Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd meddling in the affairs of the nation for a while, it is also true that the country suffers when the incompetence of a government shines a light of uncertainty on everything that it is supposed to be managing, especially when the people who are vying for power are espousing policy positions which they have never espoused before, leaving us all wondering where they actually stand on anything.
It’s good to see the NRL commission making decisions, as the NRL seems to have lacked proper decision making for a long time, but I don’t like their decision to scrap the McIntyre system. I like the uncertaintly of the first week. I like the fact that only the top two teams are guaranteed a second chance. I like the battle among the rest. But, the decision has been made, and there are more important things in the world…
Sadly Kevin Rudd is one of them. Hopefully his resignation as Foreign Minister will help to bring down this farce of a government. The situation is so dire that you could see Simon Crean’s eyes light up when he realised that even has half a chance of being Prime Minister.
It’s ridiculous Andrew. We need an election. The people should decide this one, because it’s clear that the politicians can not.