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Essential Reading

ABC bias? What bias!

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In today's Media section in The Australian soon-to-be ABC chairman, Turnbull appointee Justin Milne, sees nothing that needs fixing:

But Mr Milne, who replaces James Spigelman in the $167,000-a-year job and commences his five-year term on April 1, praises ABC news and current affairs.

“By and large I think it does a magnificent job,” he said. “Roughly speaking, 50 per cent of the audience will think it is biased to the left and 50 per cent will think it’s biased to the right and it has ever been thus. The skill and test of the journalists and editors and staff at the ABC is to try to continually find that line down the middle.”

He made it clear it would not be his responsibility to be overseer of the corporation’s editorial output, saying he watches Q&A only “occasionally”.

“I think Q&A serves a purpose and it clearly stirs people up and creates an audience, which is part of the job of being a media organisation,” he said.

“But I won’t be sitting there with a score sheet. I think it’s the job of the board to ensure the ABC continues to provide the service that the Australian people want it to provide and that is to provide an unbiased view of politics and current affairs and the zeitgeist, and so that is certainly part of the board’s responsibilities.”

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

For those with a subscription, The Australian's interview with Milne can be read in full via the link below.

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Nutritious too!

zeg flakeys smallOur Prime Minister recently lectured gas producers about their "social licence", although it would be a fair bet that few of those present had a clue what he was talking about. Nevertheless, it seems that just such a document is needed in order to tap Australia's vast energy reserves and take to market a commodity that politicians -- like the green-minded Malcolm Turnbull, for instance -- have distorted to the point where blackouts are increasingly common and captains of industry talk of pulling up stumps and moving their operations to countries where a greater degree of sanity prevails.

To help gas producers obtain that social licence, Zeg has a suggestion. All they will need is a cereal box and a pair of scissors.

More via the link below.

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Lifters and weiners

kiwi lifterWaterloo is often said to have been won on the playing fields of Eton, a line attributed to the Duke of Wellington that he almost certainly never uttered. He did say, however, it would be impossible to record an entirely accurate chronology of his "nearest-run thing", as a publisher begged him to do, because any such effort would be as hopeless an undertaking as that confronting a social chronicler who set out to record the minute-by-minute history of a ball in which whirling revellers constantly changed partners and spirited dalliances unfolded unseen in darker corners. In this the Iron Duke was clearly in error, as the past 202 years have brought have brought countless re-tellings of the great battle, many of them very accurate indeed -- even when the author's chief objective has been to produce a bodice ripper in the empire-gown style.

Still, Wellington can still serve a purpose in providing metaphors that capture the essence of the great offensives of our day and age. Take the weightlifter pictured above, for example, who has just shattered four records and "made history", to quote the New Zealand Herald, by hoisting a combined total of 268kg -- a rather impressive 19kg better than silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia of Samoa. After five paragraphs of adulatory prose, we learn 

Hubbard's selection was a considered a pioneering moment in sport for the LBGT community. Further ground could yet be broken, with tonight's performance in Melbourne expected to go a long way to securing Hubbard's place in the team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games next year.

Ms Hubbard, who now calls herself Laurel, first competed under her birth name, Gavin, until re-assigning her gender some three decades later. That might strike some as unfair, but not the International Olympic Committee, which has determined that any competitor who transitions "from male to female must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 [nanomoles per litre] for at least 12 months prior to her first competition".

So bet on Ms Hubbard to be the short-odds favourite when she represents her country next year, as seems likely. And if she does go on to take the gold two things will need be kept in mind.

First, if you think Ms Hubbard enjoys a significant advantage in having spent her formative years flush with the hormones that produce masculine musculature, do not under any circumstances disclose which brand of beer you favour, as that may prompt a boycott by those who, while they may or may not not have switched genders, most certainly have elevated a screeching bitchiness to the prime and most obvious component of their characters.

And second, drive from your mind another of the Duke's aphorisms, one for which there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever about its provenance.

"Being born in a stable does not make one a horse."

Full details of Ms Hubbard's great victory on the front lines of the gender revolution can be read in full via the link below.

-- roger franklin

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