Padraic Murphy

Nov 7, 2011

The Hun’s war on reading

The Herald Sun's Padraic Murphy deserves a spe

Pure Poison IconThe Herald Sun’s Padraic Murphy deserves a special mention for this ridiculous anti-Greens beat-up.

Taxpayers foot Greens Senator Scott Ludlam’s book bill

What’s this? Has Senator Ludlam been using parliamentary allowances inappropriately to support a book he’s writing or selling, as another parliamentarian was once accused of? No, it’s actually worse than that:

Senator Scott Ludlam slugged taxpayers more than $4500 in a year on books and publications

That is a lot of books, how is he getting away with it?

Parliamentary rules allow senators to spend up to $4870 a year on publications “of their choice for purposes related to parliamentary, electorate or official business, but not commercial business”.

So Scott Ludlum is just doing something he’s entitled to do, what’s the big problem? Thankfully the Hun spells it out for us.
Murphy doesn’t seem to like what the Senator is reading.

Murphy lists some of the titles that are supposed to bring taxpayers into a rage.

Pornography of Power: Why defence spending must be cut; How to Make Trouble and Influence People, a book celebrating disruptive protest; and The Bittersweet World of Chocolate, billed as a guide to socially responsible chocolate cooking.

Because we all know that there’s nothing more upsetting to taxpayers than Fair Trade chocolate. But there’s more:

Senator Ludlam also claimed $13.63 for a copy of teen fiction novel Tomorrow When the War Began

Outrageous, he’s not even reading books for grownups.

The Herald Sun asked Senator Ludlam about the spending and whether taxpayers got value from the purchases, including the $44.50 claimed for Fifty Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International.

Situationist International is an obscure movement of revolutionary Marxists in 1950s France that sought to overthrow capitalism.

He’s reading history books? If that doesn’t prove that he’s a danger to democracy then what does?

Strangely enough, Murphy didn’t provide any comparisons to ALP, National Party or Liberal Party Senators so that readers could see whether or not Ludlam’s bill was out of the ordinary, and he didn’t tell us what they’ve been reading. I wonder what’s on the book list of some of those other senators? Has Mary-Jo Fisher got a copy of Winona Ryder’s biography? Is Cory Bernardi putting together a collection of Geert Wilders’ writing? Are there any Liberal Senators who’ve got their hands on a hundred and sixty eight copies of Battlelines? Did former Senator Steve Fielding buy any books at all?

The article could have simply said “We don’t like the Greens” and readers would have been just as informed as they were after reading this sad attempt at whipping up a bit of outrage.

(H/T Jason Wilson)


40 thoughts on “The Hun’s war on reading

  1. surlysimon

    Moc @ 37
    The original 917s were bit fragile but amazingly quick, to deal with the heat in the engine they made the valves hollow and filled them with liquid sodiun. One of the most unusual 917s is the one known as the “Pink Pig” A french designed special

  2. Shane Maloney

    The apostrophe – I know

  3. Shane Maloney

    ALR survey of politician’s favourite reading.

    It’s the Bible vs Lord of the Rings vs Bill Heffernan

  4. Matthew of Canberra

    surlysimon @36

    The 917 really was an astonishing car, wasn’t it? Everyone here needs to go and read about the 917. 12 cylinders, air-cooled, the most successful racing car ever made.

    There’s a video on utube of some american chaps getting one started after they take delivery of it from europe. It hadn’t run in decades, so it took a bit just to get it to fire. What’s most amazing about it is to see how much of the car is engine. It’s like the engine is actually the structure of the car, in a way you don’t often see. It just looks industrial-strength, which is what you need when you’re going to put it in a race like le mans or can-am.

    It’s also got a ruddy-great fan on the top.

  5. surlysimon

    MoC @26
    Re the Veyron, lets not forget that BMW was getting 1200 Bhp out of a 1.5 litre production engine in the 1990s. Their F1 engine had used 1601 blocks at their heart, 100,000 miles old and nice and settled in, and at the aptly named “Grenade” setting gave more BHP than the dyno could handle. Not much use in a road car though.
    Porsche were getting 1000+ BHP out of the 917-30/40 back in 1973 and it was a mere 4.5 litres with two turbos and bugger all lag.

    The trick with the Veyron has been making the power useable on the road.

    Sorry very OFT but…

  6. Matthew of Canberra

    “I’m actually a bit concerned about how little most of our parliamentarians read.”

    It’s pretty narrow, isn’t it? The reading list of the “regional” MPs (let’s call them “wood ducks”) is more eclectic than the latte-set read. But I don’t see a copy of “archeological diggings” or “make” anywhere.

  7. AR

    Better to burn/shred a book than read one.

  8. Bondles

    MoC, Christine Milne picked up some New Scientists.

    Quadrant is fairly popular (but less popular than The Monthly)

    I’m actually a bit concerned about how little most of our parliamentarians read.

  9. Tomus Barava

    MoC @ 27

    Exactly, I’m tempted to write to Emeritus Professor of Law David E Flint AM and notify him that it would appear on the surface that many of our politicians are mistreating or misusing our flags.

    smpc @ 30

    “filthy bookists” – There’s the headline for Murphy’s next expose.

  10. smpc

    So far only Ludlam seems to have spent anything on books.

    A bunch of them bought books during 2010. Jodie Campbell bought a stack, including some hilarious titles (my favourite: Ultrasimple Boat Building). Joanna Gash bought a couple on WWI, Kelly O’Dwyer again bought quite a few (inc. another one about the ANZACs, two copies of the Melways, and two volumes of Open Society and its Enemies). Andrew Laming appears to buy nothing but books. Other past filthy bookists include Ian Macdonald, Sue Boyce, George Brandis, and Russell Trood, though by and large they didn’t declare anything more than ‘book’.

    I suspect there are many others, but my method was only ever going to turn up a fraction of them. You could have fun substituting other words for ‘book’ and seeing what turns up.

  11. Matthew of Canberra

    TB @27

    How any flags does one need? A flag, properly cared for, should give many years of service. What are they doing with these things?

  12. Fran Barlow

    MOC …

    Ok … I went on the car tour. Fascinating stuff. Loved the Koenigsegg CCXR running on ethanol biofuel (E85) … whew! What a beast!

    Even more interesting is that the company is going to bring out something called a “Quant” — a solar electric sports vehicle with a range of about 500k, 0-100 in about 5.2 seconds and a top speed of about 170 in the old mph format.

    Perhaps I’ll have to save up for that one … 😉

  13. Tomus Barava

    Looking through a few of the listings in smpc’s gold mine has been interesting.

    So far only Ludlam seems to have spent anything on books.

    What is it the coalition and flags?
    For example:
    Wyatt Roy $5652+ on flags
    Warren Truss $6300+ on flags

    I want the Hun to run a story on this ludicrous flag waving waste of taxpayers money!

  14. Matthew of Canberra

    Re: the veyron.

    I’m an occasional reader of Evo and Car, and allegedly the “full bore” standing start is reputed to consume 6000 euros worth of rubber.

    I’ve been scratching my head about that engine, though. Everyone bangs on about it, but 1000hp from eight litres isn’t exactly mind-blowing. Porsche is getting that (see RS 4.0) without any supercharging. Power isn’t the issue. It’s building a car that can RUN with that power and deliver it to a billionaire moron customer (because, let’s face it …) with regular servicing intervals and a 3 year warranty. But quite frankly, that engine’s got to be good for way more than it’s producing now. Not that it makes any sense to do so.

    And they probably won’t. According to one article (interview with the guy who runs bugatti) their test driver has (from memory) “done 258MPH and he is not pleased to do it again”

    The other end of the scale is way more interesting. See what radical can do with a motorcycle engine, or caterham with practically anything with 4 cylinders. Or if you really like detroit iron, have a look at this monster:

  15. Angra

    Shit – just read the details and weep.

    0-100 kph in 2.46 seconds.

    Top speed of the Super Sport or SS (unfortunate name)

    431.072 km/h

    Fuel economy average – 29 L/100 km

    Admittedly not very green.

    Like a Spitfire engine on a go-cart.

    However on the Top Gear test track is was subsequently beaten by an Ariel Atom V8, the McLaren MP4-12C and the Lamborghini Aventador.

    Tough shit Bugatti!

  16. greenfiend

    Great article (Yours Dave, not the Hun’s!).

    Thanks for the link smpc. I just checked Tony Abbott’s expenses, and apparently he spent about $10,700 on the rental of shredders at last year’s election.

    In other words, he spent more than double the amount Ludlam spent on books, but on DESTROYING publications.

    Can’t wait for the next election. Abbott is certain to lead us into the new renaissance!

  17. Tomus Barava

    smpc – that is a gold mine of info
    Tony Abbott subscribes to Crikey

  18. Matthew of Canberra

    A quick scan says it’s a depressing reading list overall. The “regional” MPs and senators seem to have a much broader interest in journalism, the city-folk largely confining themselve to the oz and the local tabloid (and the advertiser, which is a tabloid really, despite its long-ago aspirations). I think we’ve found our inner-city elites, folks.

    So far the only MP I’ve found with a declared interest in the sciences is maxine mckew, with a subscription to new scientist.

    But it seems that reading the economist as as cosmopolitan as it gets. Apart from one MP with a crikey subscription, of course …

  19. Angra

    For some background info –

    (I’m jealous)

  20. Matthew of Canberra

    “Worse, it looks like Ludlum has been wasting taxpayer money on The Australian!”

    Most of them have. But it appears that tony’s a crikey fan 😉

  21. Angra

    smpc – thanks very much! That’s worth mining for ages.

    Shows how selective journalists can be.

    How can Abbott spent $169k p.a. on a car? Does he drive a Bugatti Veyron?


    Tony Abbott – Car costs – $169,631. Office facilities – $164,453.

    Bronwyn Bishhop – Car costs $39,088. Office facilities – $126,663.

    Joe Hockey – Car costs $29,416. Office facilities – $117,948

    Bob Brown – car costs $29,004. Office facilities – $53,119.

  22. Jeremy Sear

    Worse, it looks like Ludlum has been wasting taxpayer money on The Australian!

  23. smpc

    Bondles – there must be a public register of MP’s expenses claims available somewhere, but I don’t know if it’s on-line.

    It most certainly is. Enjoy.

  24. Brizben

    If the right can’t burn books they will burn the book allowance.

  25. Matthew of Canberra

    Gibbot @4

    Anyone packing “catcher in the rye”?

  26. Matthew of Canberra

    Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?

  27. Jay

    Fran Barlow,

    Won’t be published. I tried this morning pointing out the same as Dave. Nothing but tumbleweeds and crickets chirping.

  28. Fran Barlow

    I wrote this in response:

    [What a lot of nonsense you offer Mr Murphy. If the allowance is open, then nothing improper has occurred. It’s a pity that your employer’s unalloyed animus towards the Greens and determination that they should be “destroyed at the ballot box” has prompted you to print this sub-intellectual piece of reactionary trolling.

    Have you no self-respect? Can you look into a mirror without wincing at who stares back?]

    Not sure they will publish it.

    BTW Dave, it’s Padraic Murphy.

  29. Fran Barlow

    I’m betting a whole swag of L-NP MPs have multiple copies of Plimer’s Heaven & Earth, probably purchased from the Minerals Council. Anything to boost sales …

  30. shepherdmarilyn

    Today the OO are going with Catholics clogging the court, some pilgrims – all 153 – still won’t go home.

  31. Lord Barry Bonkton

    Howard ,B. Ex senator bought a book ” Is the world really round “

  32. Howard,B.

    Did former Senator Steve Fielding buy any books at all?

    Too cruel. *snigger*

  33. liliwyt

    MOC @ 6 – I thought that link was going to take me to an Ayn Rand fanzine.

    The reality was much, much better.

  34. Matthew of Canberra

    I’ve got everything I need right here:…/atlas_creation/atlas_creation_01.php

    No need to buy anything.

  35. Angra

    Bondles – there must be a public register of MP’s expenses claims available somewhere, but I don’t know if it’s on-line.

    Note also this report from July in Adelaide Now that shows Peter Slipper (LIB) is the highest expenses spender.

    “DEPUTY Speaker Peter Slipper spent three days in New Zealand on a “study tour”, attending two meetings.

    The senior Liberal MP also racked up $31,805 in family travel in just six months, documents tabled in Parliament show.

    This was nearly double that spent by West Australian Liberal frontbencher Mathias Corman, who racked up $16,896.95 in family entitlements.

    Opposition health spokesman Peter Dutton spent $16,322.75, while Attorney-General Robert McClelland paid out $15,584.07.

    Mr Slipper, who yesterday was briefly in the Speaker’s chair, curiously also booked around $5000 in family travel in a 24-hour period last June.

    The flights – to every mainland capital – were not used and have been credited to him for future use.”

    Also Johnny Howard was the biggest spender of the ex-PMs, having a bill for $158,917 for just six months to last December 31.

    Not much fuss about this in NEWS.

  36. Gibbot

    Has Mary-Jo Fisher got a copy of Winona Ryder’s biography? Is Cory Bernardi putting together a collection of Geert Wilders’ writing? Are there any Liberal Senators who’ve got their hands on a hundred and sixty eight copies of Battlelines? Did former Senator Steve Fielding buy any books at all?


    Now I’m picturing Pyne with the Magic Faraway Tree, Rudd with Where’s Wally, and Mirabella with a really old, beaten up copy of Lolita.

  37. Bondles

    On the upside, great photo of Scott. Damn that man is handsome.

    Anyone know where the Hun got this story? Did they specifically FOI the Greens, or is there a published list somewhere of what books all MPs and Senators have bought with their allowance? If there is, it would make for fascinating browsing!

  38. paddy

    LOL Pure gold! Even better….Gold with a chocolate coating. 🙂

  39. Steve354777

    This seems to be a common practice in the Murdoch tabloids. Another example was yesterday’s story in the Daily Telegraph about People Smugglers ‘clogging’ courts in SW Sydney. Assuming about 100 to 150 such cases per year across Australia (two or three per boat), SW Sydney’s share might be one or two a month. Critically, the Telegraph didn’t say. This seems to be a clear example of using the dog whistle to push a political agenda.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details