Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Aussie Bitch Fest Shocks Brits!

Viewers of Britain's Dancing On Ice 2011 are up in arms over Australian choreographer Jason Gardiner's remarks to contestants. Jason is a judge on the show.They reckon he's far too bitchy and mean. Some have even started face book pages to get Gardiner sacked although few people have joined.

While Jason makes panelists like X Factor's Simon Cowell  look tame, he's standard fare for Australian TV where he honed his art.

Visitors from the UK and USA are often shocked at the sheer bitchiness that passes for normal discourse between colonials.

Where this was inherited from we aren't too sure.  It's been speculated that  it developed in the first hundred years as working class Irish, East End and other British convicts developed a sort of secret language to speak derogatorily about their British jailers without them understanding.

Gardiner trained at the Australian Ballet School and New York's Steps academy and the Actor's Centre in London. He's choreographed West End shows and worked  with Kylie Minogue, Elton John and Shirley Bassey as well as appearing on dozens of English TV shows.

He's actually a nice chap off stage without a hint of the bitch about him and his act is pretty deliberate.
Producers must absolutely love him for the ratings.

Jason follows in the footsteps of local performers like the late Bernard King-one of the nicest and kindest people to meet in person but wow-could he dish it out when on the judging panel of a talent quest. Beneath Dame Edna's mega star exterior runs one of the most vicious and bitchy dialogues ever uttered by man.

Below are 3 videos- one is Jason Gardiner ticking of competitors. It's pretty tame stuff compared to local shows.

The following is the wonderful Bernard King who could talk through mud and have an audience collapsing in tears of laughter. He demolishes a hapless contestant on the 80's Pot Luck (fast forward is recommended)

The third is really how the contestants should settle matters - take a leaf out of broadcaster Ron 'Won'Casey page when he got stuck into former pop star Normie Rowe on the Midday Show.
(note the wonderful and very British Diana 'Bubbles' Fisher wife of Sir Humphrey Fisher-in the background saying "no no no!")

The High Cost of School Bullying

While the Seven and Nine TV networks bicker about each other nicking parts of their respective interviews with the lads in the famous case of school bullying that swept the world when a film of the fight was posted on youtube, we can reveal the true price:

Amount paid by 7's A Current Affair to the older boy who is hit by the younger boy      : $40,000
Amount paid by 9's  Today Tonight to the younger boy who hits the older boy               : $40,000

Monday, March 28, 2011

A "When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife ?" Moment

The verdict is in and Labor has been removed from the NSW political landscape having captured a probable 21 seats while the Coalition have at least 64 seats. There are oddities as usual in this state election. Although the Greens picked up over 10% of the vote they won no seats while the Nationals with just over 12% win 17 seats.

For all the doomsday predictions in the media this isn't too different to the '96 John Howard election when he crushed Federal Labor in a 'landslide' which reversed itself within 3 years with Labor winning over 50% of votes in '99 but still failing to take office. It does mean however that it will be a probable 8 years before Labor has a hope of winning although the voters belief that the Coalition is going to deliver them Paradise has the power to backfire badly.

 Common wisdom is that huge landslides really mean little in the way of a party's power to govern but do mean the electorate expects much and heaven help those who don't deliver. The claims of a mandate complicate matters when no-one actually knows what the Coalition intends to do apart from widen one highway as they announced. Labor had 11 new young MPs elected which gives them a chance to quickly re-invent itself.

As usual the local media-particularly the giant News Corp tabloids have performed woefully and spoken in soundbites that resemble Liberal Party press releases and have let new premier Barry O' Farrell slide into office without revealing one single policy.

The Fairfax Media, publishers of The Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne's Age newspapers seem desperate to descend to the same levels.

One report we noticed in the last days before polling was this piece about a well known personality who features on the Shuttle often-private investigator Frank Monte who stood unsuccessfully for the NSW upper house.

The Shuttle spoke to Monte yesterday and he was still annoyed. The previous week he had mentioned to us a tale of how the Herald had phoned him and asked why he was standing for politics.

Frank Monte

He gave them a quick run down of his policies and revealed that in the past he had worked for two state premiers and believed he could do a better job himself

The journalist's reply was "oh everyone around the office says it's only so you can get your hands on the electoral rolls."

Monte scoffed at the idea and responded that the majority of his work is now corporate investigation where local rolls are of little use and indeed, he spends more time working in the USA than Australia. And the very idea of spending $30,000 on a political campaign to get a copy of the electoral rolls was pretty silly.

Having set up the scenario (as our headline explains) -the Herald duly printed the outrageous slur without one scintilla of proof apart from some hacks in the Herald office deciding that must be the case. Office gossip became news.

Solomon Lew
 When the DJ's harassment case broke last year Monte announced (and it's presumed that it was a deliberate strategy by the client) that he was investigating the girl who made the claims which were eventually settled with no admissions made by the ex-DJs boss Mark McInnes who was recently described as the "disgraced" former DJ's CEO. Disgraced ?. Who says so ?. Certainly not Solomon Lew who just hired McInnes for a salary of $5.5M to oversee his fashion empire.

As we reported last year- during the infamous Versace court case, Donatella Versace said in an Australian High Court witness box in 2001 while being questioned by Monte's barrister, that she had never, ever taken drugs but just 18 months later revealed in Vogue that she had been addicted to drugs before and after Gianni Versace's murder.

Learned legal minds say that had Donatella told the truth about her drug use the trial's outcome may have been entirely different and in Monte's favour. The Herald amongst other newspapers got stuck into Monte at the time and have used every opportunity to bash him in print ever since.

They have gone strangely silent since the new verification that Gianni was indeed murdered as Monte had originally said-by the Mafia and which concurred with local confidential Miami police reports at the time that voiced the same suspicion .

Saturday, March 26, 2011

We Love Our Bollinger

When Bollinger began as far back as the 16th century in the Champagne region of France, no-one would have thought that by the 21st century Australia- a nation that didn't even exist then- would become the 3rd largest consumers of the excellent fizz outstripping the USA which languishes at 7th place. With our population at about 23M compared to the USA's 300M that means we certainly appreciate the premium French champagne.

Guy de Rivoire
We learnt this fact and others on Monday evening at the Inglis Stables in Randwick when Bollinger threw a pary hosted by their marketing expert from France, Guy de Rivoire.

 The occasion was a shindig to try out 3 excellent vintages and Monsieur Rivoire had flown in from the centre of the Champagne district , Reim for 4 day visit.

Inglis Stables
One bit of good news-the rumours that Inglis will be moving their world famous stables that host the top horse breeders and owners who fly in from all over the world -to Windsor in the outer suburbs are a furphy and they are staying put where they are. Another piece of NSW history saved from  property developers.

Even better news was that Mr Rivoire informed us that Bollinger will be promoting a whole lot more in one of their most important markets. We intend to help them out !

As Lily Bollinger said of her tipple when she took over management of the vineyards in the 1940's :

"I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty."

An excellent motto to live by !

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Memorium- Elizabeth Taylor

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation website carries the following message :

We mourn the loss of legendary actress, businesswoman, and fearless activist Elizabeth Taylor. If you want to honor the memory of Elizabeth, you may do so either by making a contribution in her name to the foundation or by posting a personal message here.

The legendary actress died tonight with her family by her side.

Was It A Homophobic Slur ?

Ever since Aunty- the Australian Broadcasting Corporation came under sustained attack from right wing zealots in the '90s over it's perceived 'left wing' bias , it's bent over backwards to apologise to just about everyone with a gripe while at the same time attempting to emulate the vacuous commercial TV networks.

Christopher Pine MP
Watching the excellent Q &A program on Monday evening the Shuttle noticed one tweet-they run across the bottom of the screen while various politicians and public figures get grilled in front of a studio audience.

The Manager of Opposition Business Christopher Pine MP had responded to a question and the tweet said :
"Does Pyne really light up when he's talking about men in uniform?".

We hadn't really noticed if the rather effete Liberal Party member Pine did 'light up' nor is it of much interest despite the persistent rumours.

Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convener Sarah Rogan has said "It is a cheap shot," and that the ABC should know better and that the comment was "playing on the stereotyping of gay men". Aunty jumped to attention and apologised for running the tweet.

It's an odd comment coming from an organisation that joined in the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras just 3 weeks ago where 10,000 participants pretty well ran through the gamut of every 'sterotype' possible from the chubby Harbour City Bears-awash with tattoos, chains and studs, every variant of drag queen the mind can imagine, Thai Lady Boys by the dozen and Bondi lifesavers by the truckload-buffed and bronzed to a ridiculous level not to mention the leaders of the parade-Dykes On Bikes who once went topless much to Reverend Fed Nile's chagrin but since several gay lobby groups have criticised them now wear the most unattractive brassieres

man in uniform
Nor were most of those participating  sterotyping various groups-they were deadly serious. That's what they like and whose business would it be for anyone to imply that if a chap fancied other chaps in fatigues with a chest full of medals, that it's a "stereotypjng gay people" ?. The fact is that the gay world is full of mincers and a lot of other different types.
There are times when Gay lobby groups dictate to the masses just what it's all about. When the closet door was left open, some very boring and pedantic people came out.

If Pine-who the Prime Minster Julia Gillard once called The Mincing Poodle in Parliament was into men in uniform (and we have no idea if he is) why would it be homophobic to point it out ?.

 Lobby groups should remember that achieving equality does not mean conformity.

More worrying was Pine's comment when dishing a former Kevin Rudd staffer that Saddam Hussein had operated 'human shredding machines', a claim since dismissed as a fallacy yet one used to invade Iraq and kill tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens. Including probably many gays and lesbians.

Village People fan
For a reminder of a time when the closet door was still firmly shut and the Gay Fun Police hadn't been invented, and when things weren't so complicated-here is the group that the Shuttle encountered twice-once at the infamous  downtown New York club The Mineshaft and again years later in the Houses of Parliament in London at a party hosted by a British MP Norman St John-Stevas (above)- The Village People and their homage to men in uniforms:

Village People - In the navy (version originale) by scorpiomusic

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Priscilla Is a Hit in New York (but not with the NY Times)

New York Social Diary
Priscilla Queen of The Desert has opened in New York with the following revues :

Manhattan's leading society bible New York Social Diary : "....the energy of the cast, the entire ensemble is unstoppable. You don’t even want an intermission; you just want them to keep going, like never leaving the dance floor. And when it was over, the audience was screaming, whistling, whooping, yelling, and of course, applauding "
 New York Magazine : "a well-above-average drag show with the pink afterimage of a plot, and three superbly sincere leads who fleetingly convince us we’re seeing an actual musical with a real emotional arc. This being drag, the illusion is enough." Swenson, "chief sustainer of this illusion," is characterized by Brown as "disciplined."
The New York Post : "it may look a bit ramshackle at times, but 'Priscilla' has a big, joyous heart."
The Salt Lake Tribune : "The stage version is a jukebox musical, loaded with disco classics (it opens with "It's Raining Men," and "I Will Survive" ends Act One) and wild costumes designed by the team -- Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner -- who won an Oscar for the movie's outlandish clothes."
Not so happy was the New York Times : " the "hyperactively splashy show wants so desperately to give audiences a gaudy good time that the results are oddly enervating."

The stage version of Priscilla has completely revived the fortunes of it's writer and the director of the 1994 movie Stephan Elliot.

Elliot's first film Frauds with Phil Collins and Hugo Weaving received praise at the '93 Cannes Film Festival.

He then teamed up with Fraud's producer, the Penfold's Wine heiress Rebel Penfold Russell and they  struck gold with Elliot's original story of Priscilla, the tale about 3 drag queens travelling in a bus to Alice Springs.

 Riding high on the Academy Award 's success for the film he was offered dozens of projects including  a James Bond film. Elliot found Hollywood hard to take and retreated to London 

Taylor in Woop Woop
  He returned to Australia and filmed the odd Welcome To Woop Woop with legendary actor Rod Taylor which was panned in his home country but praised again at Cannes. Woop Woop was inspired by Taylor's performance in the 1960 film The Time Machine.

 A thriller- Eye of The Beholder with Ashley Judd and Ewen McGregor was a financial success although critics hated it.

Elliot & Olivia at Tropfest
And just as he was to begin working on a film based on the failed nuptials in Venice between Qantas trolly dolly Prince Lorenzo Montesini and Melbourne heiress Primrose 'Pitty Pat' Dunlop ( Lorenzo eloped with the best man and left the bride at the altar) Elliot had a skiing accident which put him out of action for 6 years until his 2008 production Easy Virtue with Colin Firth brought success again.

With royalties flowing in from the stage version of Priscilla which is still playing in London's West End, Stephan Elliot is now able to choose his own projects.

Stephan  is currently in Sydney filming another story he has written-A Few Best Men with Olivia Newton John, English actor Kris Marshall and 'Twighlight' star Xavier Samuel due for release next year.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

PI Monte Gives It All Away & Prince William Party Endorses Him

soon to be ex-Premier Keneally & Prince William
The famous private investigator Frank Monte who is standing for this Saturday's NSW State election has announced that if successful he will donate his yearly salary of $170,000 to a number of charities including Breast Cancer, St Vincent De Paul and an AIDs charity.

Monte says he has been  financially successful over the past few years and derives a comfortable income from a number of ventures so will not take his parliamentary salary.

With back room jockeying heating up Monte finds himself in the fortunate position of being courted by a number of independent candidates and parties anxious to do preference deals.

One-the NPMP, the No Parking Meter Party has already offered to direct preferences to Monte and this is when candidates often find themselves in the winning seat.

With the NPMP fielding 18 candidates our calculations show the PI could pick up over 30,000 preferences and may well take a seat in the Legislative Assembly.  He's also received an endorsement from the Monarchist League nicely timed to co-incide with HRH Prince William's successful tour of QLD.

With voters turning on the ruling Labor Party and with the Coalition expected to take power, voters often hedge their bets in the upper house where they may vote against the party they voted for in the lower house-the Legislative Council. Whoever rules NSW, they usually have to negotiate with a hostile upper house to pass legislation.

And if Monte finds himself a law maker in NSW where will that leave him in the infamous Versace trial where nearly ten years ago Donatella Versace claimed in the Aust Federal Court on oath that she had "never used drugs" while just a few years later gave an interview to Vogue Magazine saying that she had been "addicted to drugs before and after her brother Gianni's murder".

 Donatella and Santo Versace sued Monte over his book claim that the mafia had murdered Gianni Versace. Now the powerful Anti- Mafia Office in Rome have opened a case file on Gianni's murder and one person has already been arrested. The top US CBS show "48 Hours" recently contacted Monte and are preparing a special on the Versace empire which promises startling revelations.

This story is just beginning....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Priscilla's Debut In the Big Apple

Tony Sheldon

On Sunday evening the successful Australian musical Priscilla Queen of The Desert opens on Broadway at the Palace Theatre with a host of Aussie stars in attendance including Guy Pearce who starred in the original film, Jackie Weaver and the show's writer Stephan  Elliot who will accompany Olivia Newton John to the premiere.

The brilliant Tony Sheldon who wowed them in London, Canada and New Zealand takes the lead role again and Better Midler is co-producer of this production helping fine tune it for a US audience

By all accounts the New York production has been receiving an enthusiastic reception during the week of previews.

What of the girls who inspired the original story and film ?.

Simone Troy and Monique Kelly were the two stars of Les Girls, the Kings Cross all male review that packed out a theatre in Sydney during the 1960s and 70s. Every night of the week the two drag stars trod the boards on a tiny cramped stage and presented a gala performance to a wide-eyed audience of heterosexuals who couldn't quite believe the dozen sexy, leggy gals with hips and boobs before them were all men.

Simone and Monique tried several times to leave Les Girls but the theatre's owner, the Kings Cross crime king-pin Abe Saffron had them both beaten up.

Eventually the pair managed to set out on their own  as the novelty of Les Girls wore off and the show went into a decline in the early 1980s.

Simone had ambitious plans and financing his own show set off to London and the Wimbledon Theatre with 12 strapping Australian lads who transformed nightly into gorgeous leggy beauties.

Wimbledon Theatre
 The production was a sight to see as the Shuttle did on the opening night. With little cash left Simone was unable to promote the show and the audience consisted of about 200 local residents of nearby nursing homes bussed in with free tickets.

What they witnessed resembled a Busby Berkley musical with a tall and colourfully lit staircase down which the 12 beauties-Simone leading the charge-descended in a flurry of long legs, feathers and sequins. Half way down the staircase turned into a waterfall as the audience sat transfixed.

Let's hope the New York critics are kinder to Priscilla than the one London critic who attended Simone's Les Girls Wimbledon premiere and who slammed the production in an outrage that female impersonators-and colonial ones at that., were  gracing the hallowed boards of Wimbledon
On the up-side the British travel company Saga Holidays that specialised in pensioner vacations gave the show a raptuous write-up and organised day outings to the show.

Simone eventually retired to the Gold Coast in Queensland and Monique still lives in Kings Cross.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Armistead Maupin's Snub at Weird Restauarnt

Armistead Maupin & Christopher
 Famous American write Armistead Maupin who was in Sydney recently as a guest of the Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras has told of how his partner Christopher was refused entry to the men's room in an Alice Spring's restaurant by the name of Bojangles

Christopher had asked to use the gents and was told the restaurant didn't have one and after pointing out an obvious sign that said "MEN'S" not far away was told "that's for real men only".

The Shuttle met Armistead while he was in Sydney and if we had known he was heading for the interior we would have warned him. The Northern Territory and Alice Springs have a shocking record of racism against the Indigenous community who lived there for eon's before white men ever entered the scene and especially this hokey lot with it's embarrassing mock American diner named after an American street performer.

 Maupin wrote the series of novels Tales Of The City set in San Francisco which were turned into a successful television series. The TV series was way ahead of it's time and precursor to hit shows like Queer As Folk.
He is regarded as one of the great American writers.
But what was he doing in Bojangles ?. One look at it's website shows what a ghastly place it is crammed with idiotic pseudo American West decor with pictures of motorbikes, real guns and silly half-saloon type doors.

It even insults the memory of a real outlaw who bucked the system-Ned Kelly ( it has long been rumoured that when the bodies of the Kelly Gang were recovered from the Glenrowan shoot-out they were dressed in female clothing)

One can also buy stylish souvenirs like a stubby holder, t-shirt or jacket emblazoned with the Bojangles logo although the Shuttle has always been perplexed why anyone buys a garment that advertises a business. Surely they should pay you to wear it ?

And hopefully a sick bag comes with the menu which features Camel, Crocodile, Kangaroo, Emu  and  presumably for "the real men" (read- big fat truck drivers and overweight tourists ) : " For the serious meat lovers there are six steaks available including "The Big Bugger", a 600gm T-Bone steak and Bo's famous Beef Ribs." There is a delicious irony in the fact  a restaurant that insults a gay man also proudly features a dish named The Big Bugger !

A stomach pump costs extra and take your Medicare card in case of that inevitable heart attack after shovelling that much meat down your throat !

Versace Mafia Murder Claim Heats Up

News comes that there may be some startling revelations about the mighty Versace fashion empire soon.

Earlier we reported on the new book "Metastasi" by respected Italian investigative reporter Gianluigi Nuzzi in which he said that the feared and  notorious Italian Calabrian mafia N'Drangheta had murdered the fashion house creator and designer Gianni Versace. The book has become a huge best-seller in Europe and the Anti-Mafia office in Rome immediately announced an investigation. Nuzzi's source was a good one- a former mafia godfather turned whistle-blower who a Rome mafia investigator said had always provided true and solid evidence which had helped convict dozens of mafia criminals.

Nuzzi's claims were similar to those made many years before by the Australian private eye Frank Monte who worked for Gianni in New York investigating employees who Versace thought was on the fiddle. Monte published an auto-biography The Spying Game which included the mafia murder tale and all hell broke loose.

He soon found himself in the Australian Federal Court being sued by Santo and Donatella Versace in a bizarre case where they spent millions of dollars to have Monte's book pulped. Ironically when Monte re-published his book without the mafia murder claims the publicity from the trial helped it become a best seller in Europe.

As we exclusively reported- Donatella while replying under oath via satelite and surrounded by lawyers- to questions from Monte's barrister Clive Evatt QC said she had "never used drugs" yet just a few years later she said in an interview in Italian Vogue which was reprinted throughout the world that she had been addicted to illicit drugs long before and after her brother's murder and that friends like Sir Elton John had helped her go to a clinic to recover.

At home Monte had been pilloried by the local media who hung off every word from the two Versaces seemingly bedazzled by their celebrity status.

 Not one of those who then wrote so forcefully of how Monte had allegedly defamed the good Versace name bothered to follow up on how Donatella appears to have thumbed her nose at Australia's highest court. Either she lied in court or she lied to Vogue. Santo Versace said he would sue anyone who repeated Gianluigi Nuzzi's claims. A spokesperson for Nuzzi's office says no lawsuit has been forthcoming.

The Shuttle can now exclusively report that an associate of the Versace company has been arrested in Italy and another high profile one is under investigation.

To be continued....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Partying at Swifts, Babs & Frank Sinatra

To Swifts-the spledifourous folly of a mansion in Darling Point.

Nearby Wolesley Road in Point Point  may well be the  "9th most expensive street in the world"  but Swifts is the most valuable private home on the continent.

It was for sale about 10 years ago for $40M with no takers. It's valued at around $85M today, clipping home loan's boss John Symonds recently built Point Piper house that cost a whopping $70M.

 It comes with several acres of park lands and a  mansion that has it's own ballroom with a Juliet balcony. Swifts is owned by the Moran family who have a nursing home empire. Doug and Greta Moran paid a lazy $12M for the property in 1997 and spent another ten restoring the derelict house.

 Our spy disguised as a potted aspidistra tells us the house has been divided into 4 apartments with the feuding family members living in the different quarters. The Morans have had their family disputes but at least they have a nice pad and the kids haven't left home.

Swifts was built in 1841 by the Eton educated Sir Robert Tooth who made his fortune from brewing beer in the colonies. He wanted a bigger ballroom than the NSW Governor and he got one. Sir Robert eventually retired to London where King George V created the Tooth baronetcy in honour of the families charitable works. Tooth was also one of the first to give his employees paid holidays, sickness pay and a whole range of benefits. 

The wonderful hand-painted on glass adverts for Tooth's beer that adorned hundreds of pubs (above) were mostly destroyed during the 1970's-the few remaining ones are worth a fortune.

Edmund Resch,an Austrian born brewer purchased the property from Sir Robert but never quite enjoyed the social cache of the Tooths. Edmund was considered rough and common.  It eventually became the home of the Catholic Archbishop before falling into ruin and being rescued by the Morans.

singer Wes Carr & Charlotte Gregg
On Friday the Cornucopia Committee held their annual charity garden party at Swifts. These 'society' charities are often given a rough time in the media but they really do good works. Everything is donated- from services to food, alcohol (Pommery champagne) and the committee ladies work really hard raising hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to go towards child protection.

The wonderful opera singer Mark Vincent sang (as did Maria Venuti) racing identity Angela Belle McSweeney MC'd and Texan born designer Charlie Brown organised a fashion show. A rain shower failed to dampen spirits although the ballroom furniture supplanted around the garden was hastily brought inside.

a sun shower
Nor was there a faux pas like the one in 1994 when the Cornucopia's honorary international ambassador Barbara Sinatra was presented to an audience on a boat cruise.

Babs was in town with her husband Frank Sinatra when she agreed to speak on a summer day cruise around the harbour. She was well known for her charity work in the USA and Australia especially for raising funds to help abused and neglected kids.

As she sat at the head table on the boat the time came for Mrs Sinatra to give her speech. The MC, a rather dotty lady got up to announce her and after shushing the audience said :
"I would now like to introduce Mrs Barbara Sinatra. Barbara and Frank Sinatra have been heavily involved in child abuse all their lives "!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Distant Cousins ? # 4

John Galliano- fashionazi

Emily Pankhurst-feminazi

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Wit & Wisdom of Rupert Murdoch !

 An Occasional Series:

2004 : Speaking to shock jock Alan Jones on Radio 2GB Sydney :
 "The Iraq war is going swimmingly. I expect oil to be half the price by next year "

Oil price: 2004 : approx $40 a barrel
               2005: approx $70 a barrel
               2011:  approx $98 a barrel

2010 : Speaking at an Australian Smart Business series of lectures after being introduced as "one of the most successful Australian businessmen ever"

"in a few years it will be possible to have all the energy we want from economic cheap nuclear plants..it will be safe..there will not be an energy waste problem..we don't have to rush into a lot of mad schemes fouling up the country..windmills and other crackpot ideas...."

2011 : Headline in The Sun newspaper- flagship News Corp publication (prop: R.Murdoch)

"Nuke meltdown threat amid 2nd blast warning"

Maria Reveals Even More Than Usual

She's not the shyest gal in town- Italian Australian singer Maria Venuti, she of the colourful outfits and the ginormous bosom.

Maria has hit 70 years of age and she's happy to tell everyone about it with a tell-all book : A Whole Load Of Front.

She told the Shuttle on Friday that she had an affair with the late American entertainer Don Lane.

It was an affair she had forgotten about as it happened in the 70's when she kept detailed diaries written in shorthand. Maria had forgotten how to read shorthand over the past 30 years and recently had them translated while researching her book and the memories came flooding back.

La Venuti is a regular in the clubs around the country and has a big fan base in Italy, Greece and Dubai where she is regularly flown to by Emirates Airlines.

Maria was also entertaining at the Cornucopia Committee's charity day at Swifts. She just started her set as the Shuttle left to the sounds of Volare screaming over the treetops of genteel Darling Point. Windows were being shut furiously.

Here's a treat for you-Maria singing All That Jazz !

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Liberal Senator In A Tizz Over David Hicks

Just days after we reported that David Hicks who spent nearly 6 years banged up in Guantanamo Bay, attended a party for the Wayside Chapel at Boomerang (and the Daily Telegraph said he was "partying with the jet-set), Liberal Senator George Brandis (left) has accused the ruling Labor government of not moving quickly to recover the profits from David Hicks's memoirs under the "proceeds of crime" laws because it "fears a backlash from the political left."

Oh really ?

Brandis was one of the chief cheerleaders of former PM John Howard who solemnly intoned in Parliament in 2003 that Iraq was awash with WMD and described in detail the non existent "human shredding machines" that Saddam Hussein was prone to use on his subjects.

David Hicks

Howard later indicated that Australian SAS troops had already entered Iraq weeks before a decision to go to war had been made- one he himself decided he had the power to make without a Parliamentary vote unlike our allies the UK & USA - and soon we were participating in a war that has seen a million Iraqis displaced and hundreds of thousands killed on a slew of falsehoods.

Does George Brandis honestly want a case to be pursued against Hicks over the  profits from his 'crime' ?.

 Most except the most pedantic accept that the reason Hicks pleaded guilty was  to get out of the hell-hole in Cuba where he faced year upon year of incarceration without trial.

The US chief Army prosecutor at Gitmo who resigned (one of at least 7) over the disgraceful legal tactics  there has said Hicks should never have been charged and his case was riddled with political interference from both Howard and George W.Bush.

The charges labelled against Hicks were a bizarre mish mash of gobbedlly gook that accused him of being an 'enemy combatant' in a 'war' which was, and wasn't declared and therefore after some Olympian leaps of logic the Geneva Conventions didn't apply to those captured.

A case against Hicks in an Australian court to recover any profits made from his book would surely bring out the most learned legal minds just itching to examine the role of a whole host of US & Australian politicians. The repercussions could be most unpleasant especially for George Brandis' (an intelligent barrister who parrots absurdities that he surely cannot believe) beloved John Howard. ( According to rumour Brandis once referred to John Howard as "that lying rodent Howard".He's never denied it)

Brandis may well find that what he wishes for may just happen. The outcome may not be what he desires.

Ben Ferencz

To read the Alice in Wonderland type case that was mounted against Hicks his Wikipedia entry is most illuminating.

## Now 90 years old the legendary legal mind Ben Ferencz was the US Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials and he sent several Nazis to the their execution after WW2. He eventually went to work for the International Criminal Court and has been an outspoken advocate for the rule of law during his distinguished career as well as a critic of various government's  illicit activities.
Ferencz gave a speech on the 8th March  titled :

### In a response to the Daily Telegraph's question as to why Hicks had been invited to the Boomerang party, a Wayside Chapel spokesman said "we were honored to have David Hicks as a guest as we were honoured by all who attended"