You know it's bunkum

- because we told you -

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Editor in Chief and syndicating columnist

Frank Blunt





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Scene 1

Have you ever felt that the only news you ever got was the news they wanted you to read, not what you wanted to read?

Well it was. They wrote it, simple as that; wheeled out a boffin from one of the sheltered workshops for the academically gifted who said it was a huge breakthrough; dressed it up as a press release, emailed it off with a couple of jpegs, and bob's your uncle, in print next day on page 5; the truth. No-one ever thought to investigate whether it had been done before, or whether there was something better already available for a fraction of the cost.

You knew it was bunkum, because we told you; after we'd had a second go at the article a couple of days later when the hoo-ha had died down.

Scene 2

Have you ever finished reading a piece and thought, 'That's bunkum. Why didn't they send someone else out to cover the other half of the story?


We went round and got if for you. That's 'debunkum'.


Scene 3

Have you ever been reading an article and thought, 'this is bunkum; they're pussy footing around?' Are you tired of political correctness running amok? Are you sick of the same old stuff that panders and kowtows to the usual sacred cows, particularly the medical, research and farming industries.


Scene 4

How do you know a new Tom Cruise film is about to hit the circuit?  Every paper in every capital city is flogging off the same Hollywood sanitized profile of Cheshire Tom and his current family set up. You know it's bunkum. 


We told you he can't act, that the new film has the same plot as all the others and that once again you can expect him to show off how fit he is by running away from someone. Have you ever noticed that he's always running away, never toward or after! This film will definitely make less money than the last. It'll be lucky to break even. People are getting sick of him.


Scene 5

The Government announces that it's about to give the medical industry another billion dollar free kick. More protection or an industry that's overseen the greatest downgrade in community health standards in the last 2000 years.


You know it's bunkum. So do we. We were the only ones who had the guts to say it was another waste of public money that only encouraged people to stay in dreadful shape.


We were the only ones who told you that the burghers of Brunswick and Footscray would tear their hair out if they ever discovered that the money taken out of their pockets when TCF tariffs were reduced ended up in the pockets of doctors in Toorak.


This is one industry in desperate need of a dose of deregulation, deprotection and delousing; all of them free marketeers and negative gearers sucking $60b a year out of the taxpayer's pocket.


Give someone a white coat and a set of rubber gloves and next thing you know they've closed up the shop, put the fees up and forced the Government to make up the difference between what they charge and what their customers are prepared to pay. This is definitely a case of not just snouts in the public trough but carcases as well.


Float off the public hospitals I say and save Australian gvernments the bother of  organising an industry that should have the brains to organise itself.


It's bunkum.


Scene 6

It's a quiet day and some rag dredges an old story on hospital waiting lists out of the sent box, changes the names to protect the innocent and reprints it. You know it's bunkum. So do we.


We chased up the bloke who was complaining and found out he owns a couple of flats on the Gold Coast and has just purchased a new Mazda 6. It prompted us to write another article suggesting to the whingers  and bludgers that if they'd joined a medical insurance fund they could have had their toenails clipped 12 months ago.


Anyway, if the Government doesn't have the guts to bring in compulsory first party medical insurance with premiums rated against risk it's bunkum.


Scene 7

You know when the Reserve Bank is buttering you up for an interest rate rise. They leak stories to the media that will scare hell out of all the Wheatie eaters.


The mug punters out in the suburbs know it's bunkum.


The only reason why inflation is going up is because the price of petrol and bananas has gone out of this world - all due to Government policies - and because of the rate rises emanating from the Reserve Bank itself. Every time they put interest rates up we put up the rents on our properties. The Reserve then calls the rent increases inflation! Hello!


And where does the interest rate increase money go. Into the great banking black hole outside 65 Martin Place. Only a banker could get away with it. If you leave the economy in the hands of a banker the banks end up with the money. Who was the smart alec who though that one up?


Well interest rates went up. We can now expect the price of petrol and bananas to go down! Who thought that one up? When Keating deregulated the financial system and floated the dollar he forgot the big one - either giving the Reserve Bank the tools it needs to get on and do the job of governing the economy properly, or abolishing it and letting Treasury and Finance do it themselves.


Probably the latter. The Reserve Bank has proven itself to be a dud. With a limp and useless tool in its hand it's trying to solve 21st Century problems with 20th Century solutions. Doesn't work. They're mucking the system up, not fixing it.


Of course the dullards over in Parkes didn't realize that when they floated the dollar they needed to float the interest rates as well.


Costello and Swan are definitely lazy when it comes to economic reform. For as long as the Australian economy sneezes every time the US economy catches a cold, for as long as the balance of payments continues to blow out every month, and while the Australian stock market and interest rates follow the exact path of the US, a drovers dog could manage this economy.


For starters what the Government has to do is regulate the size of the deposit people have to stump up in cash for their house and car. That will start them saving their little hearts out. 20% would be a good place to start. It's too easy to get a bank loan for 95% of the asking price and flash the plastic for the rest.


Restrict the amount people can borrow relative to their income and get the banks to reduce, not extend credit on credit cards.


Or cutting out the Harvey Norman nonsense of letting stick go out the door without people having to pay anything for 3 years! That's just great for the Balance of Payments!


Focusing on the prime interest rate misses the point. It's the 19% interest you're paying on your credit card, or the 25% you're paying off on Myers and DJ's or the 30% you're paying GE credit that are the big problems. These interest rates are just rapacious and the Government or the Reserve Bank don't give too hoots in a hollow log about them.


To it's discredit, the Government and the Reserve Bank did the country a great dis-service when it fuelled the dramatic increase in house prices over the last few years. They just sat on their hands. Now, all of a sudden, just prior to an election they're running around trying to work out how to make housing cheaper. Sorry boys, the horse has bolted.


The state governments grabbed the GST and still kept slugging people for stamp duty and god knows what other taxes and charges and dramatically fuelled the increase in land prices by restricting the amount available for new housing. They can't have it both ways. Either GST or no stamp duty. They can't have both.


How rich is this. The Federal Government gives first home loan borrowers a grant. The states grab the money before it gets into their pockets.

Scene 8 Where's all the money going. I'm not absolutely sure but $60B is going into the hands of the medical and pharmaceutical power elite - and people are becoming more and more unhealthy by the hour. Hello! They're lining up in surgeries, pharmacies and hospitals around the country waiting for a quack fix.

Scene 9

You know all about the potato principle - you've been spudded! Have you ever felt that 80 percent the stuff you read is uncritical bunkum, just more drivel, cut and pasted by lazy hacks from a Hill of Drivel concocted press release? Of course you have, but you just wish that someone, once in a while would come out and say 'it's bunkum'.


Scene 10 - Medical breakthrough

Big announcement, earth shattering news. Reduce your risk of kidney dysfunction by 21%.


What they don't tell you is that that's the relative risk, not the absolute risk which is 1% reduction of risk. Or to put it another way, 100 people would need to take massive doses of diabetes medication for five years to reduce the risk of one person by 1%.


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Frank Blunt

Editor in Chief and syndicating columnist

































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