News Ltd.

Aug 4, 2011

One piece of news; two somewhat different approaches

The Age:

The Age:

News.com.au:

There’s nothing in that story showing the breakdown of the $108 billion worst-case scenario – you have to click twice to the right of the image to get this picture:

It’s a pretty good argument for reading more than one media outlet, isn’t it?

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41 comments

41 thoughts on “One piece of news; two somewhat different approaches

  1. Bellistner

    Re monorail. It’d depend on if you elevated it or not. If you elevate it, fugedaboudit. The cost would skyrocket (all that concrete). If it was on ground level, dunno, but almost certainly not cheaper. The only high speed monorail around is a short MAGLEV in China.

  2. Will S

    Last night on the news saw that renowned socialist Barry O’Farrell giving in-principal support to the idea of fast rail…

  3. GavinM

    Makes sense to me Fran 🙂

  4. Fran Barlow

    [Yes a monorail — if they’re looking at spending 108 billion anyway, I wonder how much more or less a monorail would cost.]

    Surely it would only be half, as there is only one track? 😉

  5. RobJ

    Only if Homer is driving.

  6. GavinM

    “You can go for a half decent walk on a train before having to turn around…”

    Yep, to the restaurant car and back 🙂

    Yes a monorail — if they’re looking at spending 108 billion anyway, I wonder how much more or less a monorail would cost.

  7. RobJ

    But what we really need is a, monorail, Monorail, MONORAIL…

  8. RobJ

    [A 3 hour trip though I could live with, even in economy]

    You can go for a half decent walk on a train before having to turn around…

  9. Fran Barlow

    [the business model for HSR seems to assume the airlines aren’t going to cut fare prices to compete.]

    I think that is a fair assumption (no pun intended). You don’t start a price war that you can’t win, and there’s simply no way that the operators, having sunk that kind of money into the project and having accepted very long times to recover the value of the asset are going to allow the airlines to win. The state’s pockets will be deeper.

    It’s one thing to compete with another airline on price — you might win that one — but you can’t compete with a $100bn asset on margins that are as modest as the airlines are now running on domestic routes.

  10. Fran Barlow

    @GavinM

    [So are you saying it’s wrong for the News.Ltd article to give the full possible range of the cost Fran – a range that has been sourced from the government’s own report on the project?]

    Not at all, but the more useful information — how much will it probably cost — is unclear. More data is needed, but News Ltd has a regime change agenda..

    [Just as an aside the report also says that travellers “could” pay from $99 to $197 per ticket from Melbourne to Sydney — they “could”, therefore, also pay more, or less.]

    The fact of the matter is that unless you book well in advance, airfares are not like the “Melbourne from $69” one sees advertised. If you want to travel within about three days and come back when you want a few days later, then the cheapest flight is into Avalon airport (include $35 round trip cost) and you are going to be paying at least $200 return + bus fare, not including bags — and even that asumes you don’t care when you depart and arrive. If you want it wehn others are typically goiong — first thing in the morning or in time to get home before it is late, expect double that fee or more. There were some flights on Jetstar when I went to Melbourne in April that were $325.

    As to time, the effective downtime is closer to three hours when you include check in, and baggage check out at the other end and the bus ride into town.

    The carbon footprint for the train is of course going to be much smaller per person — not only because much less weight per passenger is required and you don’t have the enormous energy draft taking off. In 2036, it is likely that Australian stationary energy systems will be a fraction of existing co2 intensity, and far less intensive per pound of lift than than aircraft fuel.

    Of course, other pollution will alos be much smaller as well.

    Given also that almost all aircarft fuel will be imported and all aircraft are built and will largely be maintained offshore, there are also trade advantages from shifting passengers to fast rail.

    Finally, this is an asset that will be useful for perhaps 100 years and it is across that kind of time span that one ought to recover the sunk cost of the asset.

  11. GavinM

    Thanks guys — given that the costs given for the train tickets are also one-way we could be in for some interesting competition if and when the rail is built.

    I’m with you on Jetstar Rob, but Virgin seem pretty good — at least I’ve not had any bad experiences with them…Maybe I’m just lucky 😉

    I don’t mind the rail trip to Sydney either — 1st class anyway, but I’d never do it in economy again, at least not on our current system.

    A 3 hour trip though I could live with, even in economy 🙂

  12. Coldsnacks

    Oh, and Bernard Keane once again takes a sledgehammer to HSR in today’s edition. Though he has a point – the business model for HSR seems to assume the airlines aren’t going to cut fare prices to compete.

  13. Coldsnacks

    “How much is an air ticket from Melb to Sydney on Virgin or Jetstar ?”
    One way:

    Virgin: $88

    Jetstar: (Avalon)$39-259 depending on day (Friday is $259, Tues/Wed is $39)

  14. RobJ

    “How much is an air ticket from Melb to Sydney on Virgin or Jetstar ?”

    But you get what you pay for, ie you will not be guaranteed a seat because you hold a ticket on an aeroplane, dunno about Virgin but Jetstar seem like a shonky operation to me. I’d most certainly prefer to ride to Sydney via train especially if trains don’t go all .stupid on security like airports have. $99 -$197 seems very reasonable to me

  15. GavinM

    “If you use qualifiers like “as much as” or “up to” (looking at you BO’F) you can say anything.”

    So are you saying it’s wrong for the News.Ltd article to give the full possible range of the cost Fran – a range that has been sourced from the government’s own report on the project ?

    Bearing in mind the Age article also gives it — although of course in staying true to Fairfax’s usual standards, it is unable to give consistent figures within the same report.

    I reckon the line is a great idea too, although I’m not sure about the increased amenity under flightpaths bit — I think you’ll find there’ll still be plenty of aircraft flying between the cities — and well worth the cost of construction, although I’d be very surprised if it didn’t exceed 108 billion.

    Just as an aside the report also says that travellers “could” pay from $99 to $197 per ticket from Melbourne to Sydney — they “could”, therefore, also pay more, or less.

    How much is an air ticket from Melb to Sydney on Virgin or Jetstar ?

  16. Fran Barlow

    oops If you use qualifiers …

  17. Fran Barlow

    IOf you use qualifiwers like “as much as” or “up to” (looking at you BO’F) you can say anything. If my school catches fire there could be up to 100% morbidity and the toal loss of facilities. Will there be? Unlikely. Probably 100% will escape and the fire will be contained.

    Personally, if the HSR only costs $AUS108bn, I’ll be pretty happy. At 6% interest, and allowing the money would be borrowed in tranches, the cost would be very manageable and almost certainly offset by savings in fuel, road trauma, road maintenance, increased amenity under airport flight paths, increased amenity for commuters from Newcastle and much else.

    Oh and there would eb a pile of engineering and construction work which would dovetail nicely with the other infrastructure work we need to do.

  18. Coldsnacks

    You need to bear in mind that Ben writes from the air industry’s perspective and he’s shitting bricks because he knows intercapital VF rail is going to clip its wings.

    Oh, I’m aware of where he’s coming from – but that doesn’t make the questions any less important.

    I also wouldn’t be sounding the death knell for air travel between Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne. If the ticket price quoted by The Age is accurate (using Melb-Syd one way, as an example), rail travel would set you back more than what Virgin Australia/JetStar* charges

    *Jetstar is dependent upon what day of the week. Weekends cost more than Tuesday/Wednesday

  19. LacqueredStudio

    Coldsnacks:

    You need to bear in mind that Ben writes from the air industry’s perspective and he’s shitting bricks because he knows intercapital VF rail is going to clip its wings.

    I think it’s a great idea though. I hope Adelaide’s next on the list.

  20. liliwyt

    So a piece of infrastructure that has been debated for at least 20 years is going to cost a lot of money? Yeah, I can see how that would be cause for concern /sarc

  21. Max Power

    What fairfax and News Ltd have in common is that they’re both sh%t.

  22. quantize

    Let’s not reality get in the way of inciting more idiotic baseless commentary and right wing rage!

  23. Coldsnacks

    Next door, Ben Sandilands at “Plane Talking” seems to suggest the numbers are a load of phooey: http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2011/08/04/the-high-speed-rail-study-and-the-fairy-tales-that-threaten-to-derail-it/

    A network in which the stations and access costs alone could exceed the market value of the entire Qantas group in just one major city raises some questions, including how it could possibly cost up to $3 billion for terminals that are routinely built for under half a billion dollars, and sometimes under $100 million, in airports all around the world.

    How would the entire project cost between $61 billion and $108 billion in today’s dollars depending on route and station locations when the estimates for extending Sydney’ M4 motorway to the edges of the main CBD with a branch to Port Botany and Sydney Airport is between $12-15 billion?

  24. Jeremy Sear

    “I went to buy some lunch today, but discovered it was going to cost me money.

    I immediately called my local News Ltd. newspaper to inform them of this.”

    Quite right. Why should you have to pay for your lunch? Your $15 is probably less than 0.0002% of the revenue that business will collect between now and 2020. No reason you should contribute until some much bigger group of people pays much more.

  25. Daniel

    I went to buy some lunch today, but discovered it was going to cost me money.

    I immediately called my local News Ltd. newspaper to inform them of this.

  26. quantize

    The entirety of the Murdoch media stable should be viewed as only a source of right wing opinion….because all the stuff posing as ‘news’ is in fact only editorial..they have no standards and are beholden to no one..It’s just shameless politicking from top to toe.

    They repeatedly report climate science as nothing like what the actually sources actually say and don’t give a F…its just meat for their grinder.

  27. fredex

    ‘would’ versus ‘could’ [and ‘should]
    In their headline Ltd News claims the link ‘would’ cost the maximum estimate of $108 billion.
    That is a definitive statement. ‘Would’ says that the maximum ‘will’ occur, not might/might not.
    They ‘should’ [thats an ethical word] have used ‘could’.
    Because it is not absolutely definite/certain/sure that the maximum estimate [$108 B] will eventuate.
    It ‘could’, then again maybe it might not depending on …..

    Simple choice of words reveals bias.

  28. GavinM

    I think your reading far too much into the headlines — you will note it says “…As Much as $108 billion” not definitely $108 billion.

    There’s also no criticism of the project in the article itself.

    All of which is irrelevant to Jeremy’s original inaccurate claim that

    “There’s nothing in that story showing the breakdown of the $108 billion worst-case scenario”

    that I was answering.

  29. calyptorhynchus

    Perhaps, now that dead-tree newspapers are dying out, they will start teaching journalists a new format for articles:

    Headline
    Picture (if any)
    internet links for the source documents the article is based on
    list of additional research conducted (personal interviews, phone calls &c)
    actual article

    I think some (or most) journalists would find this a bit of a challenge.

    On another note I read the booklet that the Government has produced explaining its climate change policies: it quite succinctly skewers the Liberal propaganda myths.

  30. GavinM

    Ok Aldaron,

    In the Fairfax video they claim the cost will be from $61 billion to $81 billion but in The Age article they say from 61 to 108 — so, which is it ?

    Their headline might be accurate, but I can’t help but wonder about a paper that can’t get the figures consistent within the space of a single article.

  31. RobJ

    [just a difference in presentation styles I’d say.]

    Oh so true, and whilst the Age in my opinion is an average newspaper, it’s magnitudes better than any News Ltd offerings in this country.

    In this case one headline is positive, the other negative and because I believe Australia’s rail infrastructure is sub par for such a wealthy nation I’d take the Age’s positive outlook on this issue any day.

    Rail travel over such distances makes much more sense than air.

  32. Aldaron

    [Umm, yes there is — its in the text of the article. Perhaps you should try reading instead of just looking at videos.]

    I did. The problem is the headline.

    [Nothing sensationalist in the News headline at all — its as accurate as The Age headline, only that it is focused on a different aspect of the story.]

    That’s right. As usual, News Ltd takes the “Oh look, the gubment is spending all your money!” angle, as opposed to “Oh look, the government is looking to provide low-cost, efficient, more environmentally-friendly travel options.”

  33. GavinM

    Hello Corvus.

    “One would assume that’s because The Age is a Melbourne paper, while News.com.au is nation-wide.”

    Don’t Victorians travel to Brisbane or will Victorian taxpayers only be contributing towards the link from Melbourne to Sydney ?

    Aldaron

    Jeremy seems to be implying that the News.Ltd article is trying to hide the figures by making readers click twice on the first image — just a difference in presentation styles I’d say.

    Not everyone can watch and listen to videos in their office — me for example — so the powerpoint slides are better for some.

    “there’s far more detailed information given in the News.Ltd article than in The Age.”

    “No there’s not. There’s a sensationalist headline and a Powerpoint slide. The Age article has an accurate headline, a video explaining the whole thing, and a Powerpoint slide”

    Umm, yes there is — its in the text of the article. Perhaps you should try reading instead of just looking at videos.

    “As is usual, News Ltd buries facts behind sensationalist headlines.”

    Nothing sensationalist in the News headline at all — its as accurate as The Age headline, only that it is focused on a different aspect of the story.

  34. Catsidhe

    [Also, I’m slighly concerned that the Gold Coast has disappeared off the face of the Earth.]

    Wishful thinking?

  35. Lord Barry Bonkton

    $108 Billion to get to Melbourne from Brisbane ? is that a return ticket ?

  36. both kinds of politics

    […] by Chris, on August 4th, 2011 The difference between Fairfax and News Ltd? Let’s start with this… Link, […]

  37. Aldaron

    [Which is why they have the first picture numbered as 1 of 3 and the little clicky arrow to the right.]

    Which is why Jeremy said exactly that.

    [Why doesn’t The Age article show the breakdown of costs for the Sydney to Brisbane leg — at all ?]

    It does. There’s a little self-starting video that runs automatically when you load the page. Perhaps you should watch it.

    [Yes you’re right Jeremy it is — there’s far more detailed information given in the News.Ltd article than in The Age.]

    No there’s not. There’s a sensationalist headline and a Powerpoint slide. The Age article has an accurate headline, a video explaining the whole thing, and a Powerpoint slide.

    [I’m assuming you mean there’s nothing in The Age article showing that breakdown, because the News article at least gives the upper and lower range of costs per leg for the entire construction.]

    So does the Age article, if you can be bothered looking at it properly (which is essentially what you’re arguing FOR with the News Ltd article)

    As is usual, News Ltd buries facts behind sensationalist headlines. At least this time they’re not telling outright lies, I guess we have to give them that. It’s a nice change.

  38. Corvus

    [GavinM

    Why doesn’t The Age article show the breakdown of costs for the Sydney to Brisbane leg — at all ?]

    One would assume that’s because The Age is a Melbourne paper, while News.com.au is nation-wide.

    Also, I’m slighly concerned that the Gold Coast has disappeared off the face of the Earth.

  39. GavinM

    “you have to click twice to the right of the image to get this picture:”

    Which is why they have the first picture numbered as 1 of 3 and the little clicky arrow to the right.

    Why doesn’t The Age article show the breakdown of costs for the Sydney to Brisbane leg — at all ?

    “It’s a pretty good argument for reading more than one media outlet, isn’t it?’

    Yes you’re right Jeremy it is — there’s far more detailed information given in the News.Ltd article than in The Age.

    “There’s nothing in that story showing the breakdown of the $108 billion worst-case scenario”

    I’m assuming you mean there’s nothing in The Age article showing that breakdown, because the News article at least gives the upper and lower range of costs per leg for the entire construction.

  40. returnedman

    There was another exchange with Murdoch at our last fateful meeting that is worth recalling. He had asked how the Herald Sun’s main competitor, the venerable Melbourne broadsheet the Age, was faring. Told that some doubted it would be around in another five years, Murdoch gritted his teeth and said: “That has to be our goal.” It was another reminder that while Murdoch and News will tolerate competition, they much prefer market dominance. Monopolies? Even better.

    From “Man bites Murdoch” by Bruce Guthrie

  41. Bellistner

    It’d be interesting to see what the cost of two new airports, or the cost of a total upgrade of the highways between the cities would be.

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