Saturday, August 31, 2013

Black-like meme

Time was when you could recognise an Aboriginal quite easily. They weren't wearing trousers.

These days, with loins covered, it is so much more difficult to be certain. This is important because no white Australian wants to commit the social faux pas of offering poisoned flour to the wrong sort of person, which can give grave offence.

The fetching young lady at the centre of the photo above, the fittingly named Ms Lilly Brown,  is an Aborigine for sure. You can tell because she is flanked by two other Aborigines, and if her tribal companions are not enough, then that Indigenous scarf is irrefutable proof. After finding a Business degree just a bit too hard, she packed her dilly bag and went global walkabout with a lovely blackfella scholarship to underwrite extended stays in Canada and Cambridge.

Still, racial identification would be easier if she left her trousers off, like the fellows below.

Seriously, as there is no indication either dancer has obtained a foreign-study scholarship, how would anyone know they were Aborigines otherwise?

(H/T to Nilk at Catallaxy for her remarkable clairvoyance.)

Attendent. Always.

The Silly Moaning Herald's chief Saturday story -- the most important news in all the nation if placement and prominence on the home page are a guide:
That little blue line at the end of the blurb goes to a fierce defence by Tom Allard of Labor's economic management, in which he expends many words alerting readers that they have never had it so good. Clear on that, men and women of Australia? So don't you bloody well grumble anymore about $1.52-per-litre petrol, which is what The Professor forked out yesterday to feed the Bunyipmobile. And those electricity bills? Well don't mind them because, as quoted cost-of-living expert Ben Phillips noted not so long ago, Carbon Tax compensation more than alleviates the pain. Oh, the other expert Allard finds is Ipsos' Rebecca Allard, a "former ALP member who resigned in disgust at branch stacking." Missed out on pre-selection, did you, Bex?

Plus there is ex-Gillard butt boy Stephen Koukoulas and, just to round things out, Ross Garnaut.

Things are strange at the Silly, because after a news column that reads like an editorial, we get an editorial whose summation of Rudd's dire stocks reads like a news story, as it methodically lists all the mis-steps, lies, evasions and treacheries that will see the moon-faced psycho slapped silly and back again next Saturday.

But being the Silly, of course, facts aren't allowed to crimp a true believer's time-on barracking, as the editorial's headline demonstrates.

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Drum goes schtum

What is happening at The Drum, now under the supervision of Young Chip? If the site manages two updates a day it is an oddity. On its homepage right this minute an entire slab of columns has not been updated for weeks. Now it is true that Tim Dunlop is a remarkable writer -- there are few like him, that's for sure -- but is his prose so not-to-be-missed that an article published on July 11 needs to be kept in the front window, perhaps in perpetuity?

Why is this happening, or not happening to be more accurate?

Could it be that Young Chip has imported the languid pace and timing of his former nice little earner at the Sydney Writers' Festival, which required little more than ordering in some flagon whites but once a year and, when the pressure was intense, putting little bits of cheese on sticks?

Or maybe Mark Scott has ordered Young Chip and The Drum to lie doggo, to not bring too much attention to one of the best arguments for de-funding the ABC since the cancellation of Bellbird.

Then again, perhaps it is the ABC's generous employee benefits package and the many opportunities it provides for not going to work.

After the knifing of Julia Gillard, there must surely be a certain withered someone locked for her own good in the attic and in need of Young Chip's psychiatric nursing and general geriatric care. No doubt the blanket baths must be more fun than a Tim Dunlop column, but what of the public's right to further updates on the sort of man Clementine Ford dreams will one day sweep her off her feet?

Death's dowry

Archeologists must have a term for the accumulation of bright and shiny things intended to equip the departed with all the luxuries and necessities required for a comfortable afterlife. They are know as grave goods when dug up, but what they are called when the future star of Time Team's excavations still had flesh on his or her bones is anyone's guess. Death's dowry, perhaps.

Whatever the official term, The Age has added another adornment to its imminent epitaph, having just won 2013's Newspaper of The Year, which it announced on this morning's front page beneath a headline proclaiming that is Number One. In addition to being unable to report the news without bias, it seems The Age is also innumerate, as the steaming pile of its daily offerings much more closely resembles number two. 

Here is how the folks at the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association explained their logic (plus some incidental observations).

Fairfax Media newspaper The Age has been crowned the 90,000+ circulation Newspaper of the Year, concluding the 2013 Future Forum.

It is still selling more than 90,000! At the current rate of shrinkage, the Age   will be ineligible for this category by the end 2015. Allowing that it survives that long, of course.

The award topped off an impressive year for The Age, where it thrived under a tough climate for newspapers around the world.

The PANPA people must have been thoroughly intoxicated when that release was drafted, or have the Macquarie Dictionary people redefined "thrived" to mean the 27,000 fewer daily copies sold this year than last.

“Difficult commercial decisions were embraced with confidence by the editorial team,” judges said.

The Professor once "embraced with confidence" a firm and apparently eager woman, only to be knocked silly by her boyfriend. For the Age, substitute "reality" for the wiggly young thing's beau.

“Impressive results showed the success of always placing journalism first and foremost.

Yep, they really were on the squirt.

“The executives and all the teams at The Age deserve this to be their year.”

And it will be their year, too! Nothing boosts annual earnings so much as a big, fat, juicy redundancy cheque.

The awards ceremony topped off the 2013 Future Forum, a gathering of some of the most brilliant minds across the newspaper industry, after two days of interactive workshops, lectures and presentations.

"Brilliant minds", eh? Let's see how brilliantly those minds shine when Abbott PM ends all Federal Government advertising in Old Media rags, which will serve them right.

Centuries from now, when the Age's barrow is excavated, the PANPA trophy will suggest it went to its grave respected and beloved. As long as the undertakers don't include Fairfax's latest numbers amongst the grave goods, that is

Good Prime Ministers play golf

Tony Abbott and his friends are doing so well they were able to get by without a Bunyip's help this past week. Still, commando-fit as he is, he will need a brief spell of R&R before erasing the legacy of six years' misrule.

As therapy, the Professor can recommend the many fine golf courses around Echuca. Especially this one.

It is Rich River, just a few miles on the wrong side of the Murray. Even without 72 virgins per hole, it is as close to Paradise as you can get.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

It's Demetriou who needs banning

Somewhere in a parallel universe a former wingman of no better than moderate competence, but with a definite gift for self-promotion, has assembled in the same room the presidents of all the clubs in the sporting organisation he heads. The Wingman has been flexing some muscle lately, leaking highly damaging assertions about one of the club's coaches, evidently in the belief that he is both the sporting organisation's untouchable supremo and the tubby essence of the very game itself. Standing at the head of the table, he begins by telling the assembled presidents that a cancer is eating the heart out of the code and that he takes their support as a given.

At that precise moment, one of the presidents first raises a hand and then, as he begins to speak, lowers it to point an accusatory finger at the Wingman.

"The cancer is you," he says. "You are the one who has turned a beloved, homegrown game into a vehicle for personal aggrandisement.

"You are the one who, when Gillard tried to take away our pokies revenue, told us to shut our mouths and cop it sweet, so keen were you to curry personal favour with a corrupt government. No doubt you believed that betrayal would do you some personal good."

Then another president rises.

"You are the one who has crusted our sport with sideshows and politically correct absurdities. We all want to see Aboriginal players do well, but smoking ceremonies and pale "aunties" in possum coats do nothing but patronise and insult them. Would you have demanded the Christian Minister Doug Nicholls venerate the Rainbow Serpent just because he happened to be black?

"Moreover, you are the one who has denied our clubs the services of players whose private activities in their own time have outraged the politicians and lobbyists.

"Will you now remove from the record books the names of a three-time best-and-fairest who could not keep his trousers hitched when schoolgirls were around? Will you also erase all mention of another giant of the game, one who did hard time for theft and fraud?

"You, Mr Wingman, are scum indeed."

Yet another president rose to speak, the sound of his scraping chair muffling the thud as the Wingman's jaw hit the table's top.

"You are president of a winter code, yet you flit off to America at the height of the season to pursue a better job and a bigger cheque. You are the president who winters on Lake Como every year, when our sport needs you, or someone more competent, in the throne room."

By now the Wingman, accustomed to the deference and gratitude of tame reporters prepared to parrot any and every slur against his enemies, is stammering, trying and failing to form a coherent word. His attempts are rudely cut off.

"You are the man who has shown not the slightest concern that the cheapest seats at this year's Grand Final will cost a staggering $180! Is this how you make sure a fine sport remains 'popular'?"

The dam breaks. Now the gripes flow like rain in the drainage gutters of storied local grounds no longer used. The Wingman's mouth remains as empty of words as is the magnificent Princes Park of spectators -- the former a blessing, the latter a testament to the contempt in which the Wingman holds both clubs and fans

Arrogance. Deviousness. Intrigue. Egomania. Greed.

Then, at last, the most telling charge of all.

"Earlier this year, when Gillard needed a distraction from her AWU scandal, you stood with many of us on a dais and decried 'the blackest day in Australian sport'. According to what you said then, our game is riddled with drug cheats, which you have done your worst via leaks, and on the basis of the confused evidence, to demonstrate.

"You also endorsed the view that match-fixing was rife and that organised crime was a looming threat.

"As you have made the consequences of that first allegation so much worse than they needed to be, bringing our sport into disrepute, and as you have produced no wisp of evidence to support the later accusations, I move that you be dismissed from your office. Further, I move that your severance package consist only of a one-way ticket to Lake Como, issued on condition that you guarantee never to return."

The presidents' hands shoot up as one and the great game is saved.

Later, as the presidents congratulate themselves on saving their sport from a usurper, one of the merrymakers, somewhat short-sighted, mentions that the code should never, ever have appointed to high office a man who wears a fur coat.

"That wasn't a fur coat," he was told, "the Wingman is just a fat, hairy wog."

Alas, all of this happened only in that parallel universe. Back in Melbourne, the Count of Como continues his reign of error, untroubled and unconstrained.

May the Great Bunyip help footy to survive him.

UPDATE: One of these people knows and cares about footy. The other spends two months every winter in Switzerland.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spencer Street "suicide march"

In the current edition of The Spectator, Neil Brown shakes his head at the sad daily spectacle that is The Age:
I did not know whether to laugh or cry last week when I read two pronouncements from the Fairfax stable. The first was a headline in the Age: ‘Royal Mail appoints new chef’. It illustrates that the Age is no longer a newspaper but a lifestyle magazine that is besotted with the incestuous food culture and the celebrity gods who rule it. There is no law against headlines like this, but it highlights the absurdity of a commercial organisation chasing a narrow section of the community to the prejudice of the majority, its real potential market. Even stranger is that it continues this suicide march despite collapsing circulation and share price. The Age forgets that the readers it needs to survive are not the minority who pay $100 for a meal prepared by a celebrity chef at some over-priced clip joint, but the majority, the normal average citizens who simply cannot afford such luxury or self-indulgence. But the Age has, sadly, long lost any sense of representing normal, average citizens.
There is only thing to regret about the passage: The Spectator was fetched to the Billabong from the newsagent only today, whereas it was formerly available of a Friday morning. It seems the distributor now delivers on Mondays, meaning less good reading to enhance the weekend pleasure of a comfy chair.

Tom Switzer, who edits The Spectator, should do his utmost to see Friday distribution restored. It would be in his readers' interests, hence his own. It is just wrong to be kept waiting for Rod Liddle's thoughts on the Affair of the Racist Handbag, quite possibly the funniest thing any of us will read this year.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sell the ABC? No, let's torture it to death

Joe Hockey is copping grief for saying the Coalition would not sell the ABC, as if this was some sort of betrayal. Actually, it's a testament to the future Treasurer's acumen.

How could you sell the ABC? Any potential buyer would look what must be at least a cool billion (and probably more) in severance benefits and run screaming from the table. No matter how much those who love to fantasise about handing the walking papers to Young Chip, Red Skelton and all the other incestuous fruits of an organisation now run by mates for the benefit of mates, it just can't happen that way.

Make the public broadcaster carry ads -- that's not a bad idea. Neither is making those Friends of The ABC show just what their friendship is worth by donating to keep, say, the Artscape wankers or First Tuesday Book Club on air. That's what the Americans do with their Public Broadcasting Service and that seems to work OK.

They could even run raffles and competitions. Win a date with Old Scrotumface! Scoop the pool by nominating how many times Tony Jones will interrupt! Guess what present Mark Scott will give his mentor, Fred Hilmer*, on Godfather's Day! Have your name tattooed on Marieke Hardy! Hire out Jon Faine as a kiddie-party clown! The possibilities are endless.

The ABC cannot be sold, it's impossible. But come September 8, that doesn't mean we can't have a lot of fun with it. You know, just like cats with the mice they capture.

Give us strength, Great Bunyip, to torment the living daylights out of that rotten, rancid outfit.

*After Uncle Fred was finished with him, Scott was a natural for the ABC: rotten content with not even the pretense of an obligation to make money 

A FURTHER THOUGHT: One fruitful area for investigation -- very uncomfortable investigation -- must surely be how the ABC goes about hiring its, er, talent. Do Marieke Hardy's parents put in a good word for her? Or consider Julia Baird. Freshly returned from the US, where she helped shunt Newsweek into oblivion, she appeared fleetingly in the Silly, but no jobs there with all those lay-offs. Then -- hey, presto! -- she's all over the ABC, compering the Drum and popping up all over the place.

So who hired her? Where was the position-vacant ad published? If it was published, who drew up the required qualifications ("candidate must by blonde, good looking, have helped ruin a venerable magazine and be no taller than 163cm now less than 161cm...." You get the idea.)

These are questions it will be so much fun to have answered!

The "so completely true" Fairfax dirt on Abbott

Not to go on about Fairfax, but it’s hard not to if you are an adult. Here is a company that used to be of the left but was still relatively sane and semi-reliable in the retailing of information. Yes, they had Alan Ramsey doddering away and A Dill Horin very lightly paraphrasing the latest plea for cash, understanding, and more cash on behalf of ASSWIPE (Australian Society of Social Workers Inventing Problems Everywhere). And of course there was Margo, whose tenure at the original Web Diary probably marked the point where Fairfax abandoned any pretense that sanity was a prerequisite of employment.

Poor Margo is long gone but the madness continues, albeit with a greater grasp of the apostrophe, and it can be observed at Daily Life. Now it is not a bad idea having a website for women, who like to read about shoes and celebrities, salads and what the stars have in store for them. Daily Life has all that, and you can only imagine such material attracts its fair share of readers. But being Fairfax, leaving it at that would have been too sensible, so the company installed an editor who gussied up the standard offerings with a bevy of prolix harpies, all given free rein to go on at great length about the things modern women need to know. “Your Vagina Is Not a Car”, for instance. One of the site’s more memorable scoops, such news must have come as a gross disappointment to a certain small subset of DL visitors who imagined they would no longer need to hail cabs.

How anyone could publish such piffle would be a great mystery but for the suspicion that DL’s editrix, the ardent Sarah Oakes, is even more unhinged than the writers she hires.

Take her yesterday offering as an example, “Is Penny WongThe New Ryan Gosling?” Not unless he is a hypocrite, which may well be the case, and a lesbian to boot, a somewhat less probable attribute. Ms Oakes vapours through several paragraphs that explore and expand her theme before climaxing with the name of Tony Abbott on her lips (emphasis added):

While Penny Wong has the credentials to be a new Australian gay-feminist superhero we're not sure she'll gain the international traction of your-boyfriend-Ryan-Gosling. However she's definitely a candidate more worthy of a Hey Girl Tumblr than say, Tony Abbott, who's parody version is kind of a misfire. It's a sad fact that it would probably be a lot more funny if it wasn't so completely true.

As per a Fairfax editrix,  here is a sampling of “so completely true” stuff about Abbott, who is apparently a sex-mad lecher and, placing him entirely beyond redemption, a Catholic

Now remember, all of the above -- and scores of other, equally slanderous slurs -- are "completely true", at least as seen from the sheltered workshop for half-wit propagandists that Fairfax has willed itself to become.

Roger Corbett, Fairfax's chairman, once ran a large supermarket chain. How long long do you think one of his store managers would have stayed on the payroll if he or she had decided to stock the freezer cabinets with dog dirt and soiled toilet paper?

You've been warned

Eleven and a half minutes of glorious, raving, ratbag paranoia.

Our First XI is woeful, so it is good to know we can still produce wonderful fruitcakes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How many mates will he get to hire now?

There's good news...
This is Tim Soutphommasane's last regular column....
and bad news
He starts tomorrow as Race Discrimination Commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission
When Labor goes down on September 7 all the usual suspects will be generating excuses and explanations -- sexism, Murdoch, etc., --  which will give them something to do and, ideally, keep them too busy to do any further damage to the country.

But what to do with Tim the Race Hustler and many others, whose mates have buried them away in various gigs where they will continue to suck on the public teat while white-anting the Abbott government's efforts to repair six years of damage?

One solution: dismantle the sinecures from the bottom up. Cut their funds, throw the inbred leftist luvvies into the street and tell them to get real jobs. You know, the sort where they pay tax rather than suck up others' contributions to the alleged public good.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Let's hail ALL Vietnam vets who beat their wives

Alcohol, perhaps too much of it, if that is possible, figured somewhat in Saturday night’s early recreations, which took on a foggier complexion when Young Master Bunyip arrived at the Billabong with some companions to reclaim from the attic sundry items of furniture and clothing. When one member of the party proved incapable of walking a wide desk through a narrow door – not that difficult if you go about it the right way and aren't prone to fits of giggles – the suspicion that marijuana might be to blame came to the fore, as did a subsequent offer to share what young people call “a number”. The Professor was warned not to draw too deeply, as those inexperienced in these things can “flip out” and make fools of themselves. Like, for example, not being able to fit a desk through a door.

When today dawned clean and Sunday sober, it seemed at first that an evening of drug and alcohol abuse had bequeathed no lingering ill effects. The world certainly seemed normal. The latest edition of The Age, for example, was a representatively wretched example of what arrogant morons can produce if given free rein, and on Insiders it was more of the same. Was Ol’ Scrotumface  just a tad down in the mouth? He certainly seemed that way, as did David Marr, whose customary lament that the rest of humanity is not so smart as he seemed freighted with a poignant resignation. Perhaps it was word of the latest polls, poor fellow.

But then came coffee and a closer look at The Age, and with it the suspicion that there might just be a little, lingering bit of that reefer madness clouding perceptions. This story about an Aboriginal who served in Vietnam and has suffered more for the experience than his paler comrades is a real head-scratcher. The point seems to be that former Lance-Corporal David Cook was hard done by, something the headline asserted: “War does not discriminate, nor should we”. Yet there was no evidence in the article that Cook has suffered, or did suffer, while serving under the emblem of the Rising Sun or later as a direct consequence of that period in his life. Indeed, the author, academic Noah Riseman, actually says khaki was the only colour which mattered during Cook’s two tours, skin tones being irrelevant to the business of keeping himself and his mates alive. Yet somehow the impression is left that Aborigines who served in Vietnam have been denied their special recognition.

Baffled by the story as published, a bit of Googling turned up some quite interesting information on Cook’s activities subsequent to his honourable discharge. Like the Age article it also was written by Riseman, and its details paint a rather different picture.

First, it turns out Cook won’t talk about his early life or memories of having been “stolen”, quite possibly because he finds it unpleasant to recall childhood neglect. And then things get even more interesting.

An admitted wife-beater who acknowledges his truculent attitude toward police brought grief upon his head, the further details of Cook's life, as summarised by Riseman, include his subject’s former propensity to whack people with iron bars. This habit earned him six years in jail. It appears that Cook is now a reformed citizen and doing good works protecting Cambodians from land mines, for which he should be praised. A column describing how a troubled man straightened himself might have had a point to it, albeit with less opportunity to pluck those ever-reliable victim strings.

The pastiche of inference Riseman assembles to suggest the Army was somehow to blame for Cook’s troubles can only be viewed as deeply, and perhaps intentionally, misleading. Cook was, by his own admission, a nasty piece of work, yet Sunday Age editors appear not to have been up for the due diligence of checking facts against comfortable and comforting preconceptions.

The Professor knows what he was smoking last night but whatever they hand out at The Age must stronger by an order of magnitude. Don’t bogart that joint, comrades. Save some for the receivers.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Murdoch! Murdoch! Murdoch!

YOU might imagine that Gay Alcorn, former editrix of the Sunday Age, would have on her mind at least one issue more galling than the boundless evil of Rupert Murdoch. Sexism, for instance, and the fact that at about the same her heroine, Ms Gillard, was frothing about Tony Abbott’s misogyny, the enlightened, progressive, sensitive, culturally advanced and highly principled Fairfax Media mounted a gynoputsch that saw her replaced by a man – sage correspondent Cameron Forbes’ little boy, Mark. On the same day in Sydney, her Silly counterpart, Amanda Wilson, was rudely replaced by another XYer, Sean Aylmer of BRW, otherwise known as the Very Little Book of Lists (and bugger all else). Aylmer and Forbes went on to preside over substantial losses in circulation, and have each since failed upward to loftier Fairfax perches. But no, Margo Kingston’s half-sister prefers to have a go at the opposition. Is it nature or nurture, do you reckon?

To be fair, Alcorn’s column in today’s comic isn’t 100 per cent unhinged. Early on in her ramble, she dismisses “media commentator” Tim Dunlop as someone who doesn’t know what he is talking about. The woman isn’t entirely loopy, just mostly (although, irony upon irony, in this instance Dunlop is correct: neither Murdoch, nor Fairfax, is anywhere near as influential as once they were).

But after that she is all over Murdoch like a rash (or should that be a Rebekah?), until finally, right near the end, she has this to say:

In the 2004 election, the Herald Sun published a story that said, among other distortions: ''Ecstasy and other illegal drugs would be supplied over the counter to young users in a radical policy framed by Senator Bob Brown's Greens.''

The Australian Press Council found, six months after the election, that it was ''irresponsible journalism'' that misled readers.

Brown said the article caused ''irrevocable harm'', possibly costing a candidate his seat. Whether Labor or the Coalition wins is up to the Australian people, of course, but don't pretend Murdoch's intervention can't make a difference.

Well, yes, the Press Council did say that, and still does in its archived rulings. But in the matter of the Greens’ then-policies on illegal drugs, the adjudication limits itself to these few specific words:

Additionally, regarding the headline on the article, Sen. Brown said that it was 'manifestly wrong' and that Greens policy was a call for 'a study of options'.

Unlike the big parties, The Greens have made their 2004 platform vanish. Try hunting it up via Pandora, Trove, Wayback Machine or Google and all you get is a 404 message. Perhaps they recycled it as mulch for mung beans. Whatever the old platform’s fate, the current policy document is quite concise in stating  that the party does “not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.” This is quite a change from the 2004 document.

The Web being a wonderful thing there are snippets and snatches of the 2004 Greens platform still to be found. The IPA, for example, published a lengthy analysis, with direct quotations, and this is still available. As the IPA is an organ of jackbooted intolerance and free-market perfidy, Alcorn would never dream of going there for enlightenment.

But what of Margo, surely she trusts her sis?

Well, at the post-Silly Web Diary, the one with all that ruinously expensive bolding, here is how one of Ms Kingston’s correspondents commented on the Herald Sun story, in theprocess quoting the now-disappeared 2004 Greens platform:

The first step in their policies is to de-criminalise drug usage. Nowhere, and this must be repeated, nowhere do The Greens advocate illegal drug taking.

The Greens’ policies state that:

The regulation of the personal use of currently illegal drugs should be moved outside the criminal network.

Drugs are a hot button issue, just the sort of thing to get a reaction. Greens’ policies acknowledges as much:

Drugs and substance abuse are complex issues and strategies need to acknowledge this complexity.

Other misleading statements in the 31 August article include the assertion that ecstasy would be supplied over the counter to young users. Real policy:

Investigations of options for the regulated supply of social drugs such as ecstasy in controlled environments where information will be available about health and other effects of drug use.

The Greens’ policy only talks of "investigation of options". It doesn’t state that their intention is to start issuing ecstasy, ad libitum, as soon as humanly possible. And why has the Herald-Sun said the drugs would be issued to "young users"? Are they insinuating that The Greens would hand out drugs like candy to children and teens?

Remember, the author is a Greens sympathiser, so speed-read through his rationalising commentary and dwell upon the directly quoted, italicised sentences, appraising them for what they are – everything the Herald Sun said:  The regulation of the personal use (not the elimination of personal use); information will be available (not information might be available)on the options for the regulated supply. The “option” isn’t to consider legalising drugs, it is ponder how best they might be distributed.

On marijuana, the writer acknowledges that the Herald Sun is spot-on:

With regards to the use of cannabis, the Herald-Sun is correct. The policy does support "the controlled availability of cannabis at appropriate venues".

The Greens policies also recommend "the decriminalisation and regulation of cannabis cultivation and possession for personal use, while monitoring its effects on the health of young people".

This is not as far out as it seems. Remember 1999, when Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett floated the same idea? The concept certainly doesn’t belong to the ‘loopy left’.

Many may argue this is all hair splitting. Yet it is important to make the distinction between a drugs policy that is advocating heavy regulation, education and research into the effects of certain drugs, legal and otherwise, against a completely irresponsible and libertine (sic) free-for-all, as the Herald-Sun would have us believe.

The Herald Sun attempted to appeal the Press Council ruling but was denied a further hearing. Perhaps it should now launch a second attempt by lodging a complaint against Alcorn’s column. Not that it would take such a step, of course. A paper that declined to appeal Judge Mordy’s shameful slagging of Andrew Bolt as a racist isn’t going to take action on this.

And anyway, by the time the Press Council brought down a decision, the Age will be available only in Newspaper Heaven, right beside the latest celestial editions of Melbourne's other vanished papers, The Argus and Newsday.