Archive for April 22nd, 2010

Storm disgrace only hurts the fans

As you would have undoubtedly heard by now, the Melbourne Storm have been stripped of two premierships, three minor premierships, all of their competition points so far this year, are unable to accrue any further competition points this year, and have been fined $1.6 million dollars for systematic breaches of the salary cap totalling at least $1.7 million over the last five years.

I can’t help but feel very sorry for the fans of the Melbourne Storm right now. They, of all people, have the most right to be angry, and should be the most upset by the atrocities committed by the club’s management, and it is them that it hurts the most.

The fans are the innocent victims; they are the people who supported their club in what is already hostile territory, and they have now not only lost two premierships and three minor premierships, but have absolutely no good reason to attend a single match for the rest of this year. The Storm can not gain any points this year, can not be lifted off the bottom of the ladder, and quite frankly have no reason to bother putting in any effort on the field. The only reason they might even think about playing well is to try and prevent their hometown supporters from deserting them.

The corruption, fraud and blatant dishonesty of the powers-that-until-today-were at the Melbourne Storm deserve everything that is thrown at them. Whether criminal charges can be laid I do not know, but I have no doubts that, given the nature of the cover-up, and the devastating results of the scandal, News Limited, owners of the Storm, have every right to sue the people responsible for this travesty. And I hope they do. In fact, I hope the NRL as a whole join in.

The damage to the game is immeasurable. The NRL has worked long and hard to stamp out this sort of nonsense after the breaches of the salary cap in 2002 by the Bulldogs, and has now had all of that hard work undone by a bunch opportunistic creeps in suits. It takes a lot to make NRL Chief Executive David Gallop sound disheartened, and today he sounded absolutely shattered. His work over the last eight years has been trashed, and it was obvious that he was distraught when he fronted the press conference this afternoon.

Fans have every right to follow in Gallop’s footsteps here. This is a shock to the Storm fanbase, and to the NRL supporters in general. The entire game has been brought in to disrepute, and I wonder how long it will take the game to recover. I suspect it will take years, and for the Storm, even longer, if they recover at all.

As I said earlier, the Storm are in hostile territory. Melbourne is AFL territory, and given that the team now have the better part of the year to be unable to play a game which means anything, it could be years before the team has a decent supporter-base again, and I really do think it’s going to be struggle for them to survive over the next few years.

As many of you will know, I’m a Bulldogs fan. I was devastated by the Bulldogs’ salary cap breach and its consequences in 2002, but I was lucky in comparison as the season was almost over. The Storm find themselves in a much worse position, and with all the excitement of weekends filled with AFL down there, Storm fans would have to be very loyal indeed to continue supporting their team.

I do hope that the Storm can rebuild and recover in an honest manner, as it would be a shame to lose them from the competition due to the actions of a corrupt few. That, however, is a long-term thing. What is of more importance now is finding out who knew, how much they knew, and taking swift and decisive action against them.

In my view, everyone who is found to have been knowingly involved in this (and if it includes players, then so be it) should be sacked, fined, and banned from any involvement in the NRL for life. There can be no room for this kind of disgusting act. For those that were involved, I can only say “sack them all and sack them now”.

2GB, as one would expect from the nation’s leading NRL broadcaster, were all over this story this afternoon. Jason Morrison’s show crossed live to the press conference and then had the reaction from chief NRL commentator Ray Hadley, followed by that of callers and others. Here, courtesy of 2GB, is the audio of the press conference and Hadley’s reaction as heard on the Jason Morrison Drive Show.

Download MP3


April 22nd, 2010 at 09:08pm

Time limits for the dole

After the maternity leave fiasco, it’s nice to see Tony Abbott making some sense again.

The idea for firm time limits on the dole (the payment for people who are unemployed, are not students, not retired and not ill or disabled) has always seemed like a good idea to me, especially seeing as in the area where I live, there seems to be an endless supply of drug-fuelled dole-bludgers who manage to stay on the dole by attending job interviews for jobs which they have no intention of getting, thereby fulfilling their payment requirement of appearing to be looking for work.

I don’t support the idea of completely banning the dole for people under 30 years of age, although I would be in favour of tighter restrictions on the dole for people under 21 years of age. At that age, quite frankly, it’s a case of study or work.. If parents want to fund their adult offspring’s leisure, then so be it, but the offspring shouldn’t expect the taxpayer to do so.

The plan from Tony Abbott and the opposition, apparently, is to limit the dole to six months. This seems perfectly reasonable to me, and should be more than enough time for people to get back in to the workforce, even if it means going in to a job other than one which they would prefer. They can always change to a different job later on if necessary.

The idea of the dole is not to act as an income from which one can live, but to act as an interim safety net, accompanied by one’s savings, to get one through a brief period of unemployment. People who are working and paying taxes should not be expected to pay for the lives of those who are capable of working, and choose not to work.

Paul Howes, boss of the great socialist empire known as the Australian Workers Union, calls this whole idea a “Sarah Palin moment” and, for once, I agree with him. Where I disagree with him, is that he thinks this is a bad thing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Sarah Palin is a great conservative figure with a great understanding of the economics which help countries to thrive, and I’m sure that Tony Abbott would be delighted by the comparison. Personally, I’d call it a “Stan Zemanek moment” as the late Stan Zemanek battled for this type of sensible policy for years.

Now, I’m sure that people (it’s happened before) will point at me as an example of why this policy can not work as I spent much of last year out of work. The fact is, I was looking for work for almost all of the time that I was out of work last year, but I had saved enough money beforehand to avoid needing to rely on the public purse. Things were tight for a while, but I did not, at any stage, receive a government unemployment benefit. There were a few times where I almost took a job which I didn’t really want, and if it had been necessary, I would have taken those jobs, but I was fortunate that small amounts of ongoing work, and an eventual more permanent job made it possible for me to get by without needing government handouts.

It’s true that I had to learn a lot more about budgeting and sacrifice during this time. In fact, for large portions of the year I went without a car. It is this sort of careful planning and budgeting which makes government handouts, for the most part, unnecessary in the long-term and hopefully for most people, in the short term.

I fully understand that there will be some people who need the financial assistance during a period of unemployment. That’s fine and that is what the dole is for. But as I’ve already said, the dole is a temporary measure, and should have firm time limits on it.

As Sean Hannity would say, “when you’re unemployed, it is your job to find a job”. It is on this basis, that dole payments should be made. A temporary helping hand while you get back on your feet.


April 22nd, 2010 at 12:50pm

The David Oldfield switcheroo is confirmed

Ever since just before 2GB sacked David Oldfield so that they could replace him with his predecessor Jim Ball, the rumour mill has been on overdrive with news that Oldfield would simply be switching with Jim and be taking over 2UE’s overnight show. As usual with this kind of rumour, it was half true. David is indeed coming to 2UE, but not to take over their overnight show which is now quite comfortably being anchored by Mike Jeffreys, but rather to bolster their fill-in roster.

This was confirmed within the last day without dates by the emergence of a Facebook group dedicated to David’s emergence on 2UE, and I have now received this information from an anonymous but reliable source. It reads like an extract of an internal memo, so I’ll copy and paste it verbatim.

I’m pleased to announce that David Oldfield will be joining us for several weeks in May, filling in on Drive and Nights.

David will step in for the holidaying Two Murrays from Monday May 3 – Friday May 7. He will then move to nights for two weeks filling in for Stuart Bocking.

Most recently David was 2GB’s overnight host – prior to that he had an extended stay in both state and federal politics.

Could a permanent shift be on the cards for David in the not-to-distant future. Given his performance on 2GB overnights, and pending a decent performance in his fill-in roles, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen.


1 comment April 22nd, 2010 at 12:43am


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