The Burke Report #1

Liz Burke* rounds out the week in news and current affairs...

After a great deal of speculation and discussion, the new faces of The 7.30 Report were finally revealed today; though, like Nine Entertainment Co. (formerly PBL Media), the show is getting a new name: "7:30". That's a lot of name changes to remember for one week.

Lateline anchor, decided girl crush, and all-round awesome lady Leigh Sales will continue the reign of the redheads, replacing Kerry O’Brien after his 15-year stint as the current affair show’s Sydney-based anchor, while political editor Chris Uhlmann will take on the role as The 7.30’s Report’s 7:30's political editor in Canberra..

Sales told the ABC she couldn’t wait to bring the audience “the best interviews and the most important stories” and that she was particularly delighted to team up with Uhlmann, who said the new gig was a "tremendous honour".

I told the lady sitting next to me in the waiting room while I read the announcement via @OveringtonC that I was delighted to be able to watch Sales at a reasonable hour every night rather than having to stay up for Lateline.

With so much opinion and information circulating about the most recent chapter in the Wikileaks saga, it’s easy to get confused. Even a news hungry media glutton like myself finds it tempting to dump these international issues in the too-hard basket. But, basically, this time around, the self-proclaimed whistleblower website responsible for releasing the Afghan War Diaries and Iraq War Logs has uncovered and published some 250,000 US embassy cables revealing secret diplomatic backroom plans and frank assessments of various world leaders.

In the December 4 edition of Spectator, Toby Young writes: "Judging from the latest batch of WikiLeaks, American diplomats spend most of their time gathering tittle-tattle that they can then pass on to their superiors back in Washington." How awkward, not to mention embarrassing, and incredibly dangerous.

US secretary of state Hilary Rodham Clinton, who didn’t come out looking great in the latest leaks, responded to the site’s director and spokesman Julian Assange’s call for her resignation saying “this was a very irresponsible, thoughtless act that put at risk the lives of innocent people all over the world, without much regard for those who are most vulnerable,'' SMH reported.

Prime Minister Gillard shared similar sentiments in an interview with 4BC, describing the dump as a “grossly irresponsible and illegal thing to do” (more than 1400 of the files released mentioned Australia) before also weighing in on John-Paul Langbrook's comments to (our Lucy via Brisbane News) that his sister, Kate, "is one of a handful of women in the public eye who've built a career based on their intelligence, not just being pretty".

The incident (Wikileaks, not Prettyleaks) has also sparked debate and stimulated discussion among journalists regarding the information revealed, the role of the source, whistleblowers and their validity. On yesterday’s Drum TV, Annabel Crabb likened the magnitude of the incident and the influence of Wikileaks to a modern day equivalent of the invention of the printing press in terms of significance. The site has since been booted from its US servers by demand of and, already wanted in Sweden in relation to allegations of rape and other charges, Assange remains in hiding in fear of arrest and assassination.

Another representative figure unlikely to be seen again any time soon is the highly scrutinised CGI kangaroo that could have cost Australia the World Cup hosting spot for 2022.

Australia’s FIFA World Cup bid video was the source of much controversy, nitpicking and international embarrassment after it was shown to the FIFA panel yesterday, but has barely gained a mention in today’s headlines. At around 2am, according to the Sydney Morning Herald’s liveblog, the nation’s hopes were “shattered” when the announcement arrived, but by breakfast, it was as if it never happened.

Receiving a humiliating one vote from FIFA’s 22-man panel, a star-studded pitch featuring the likes of Hugh Jackman, Cathy Freeman, Paul Hogan, Ian Thorpe and Elle Macpherson, and of course that mischievous kangaroo, apparently wasn’t enough to out-do Qatar, where it was decided the Cup will be held. Ah well, the $45 million dollar investment is now an eight-minute embarrassment it appears the nation would rather not dwell on.

On that note, on to satchelnomics.

A trifecta of poor domestic economic figures this week indicated we still may not be out of those proverbial woods. The Australian Industry Group/Commonwealth Bank Performance of Services Index released today failed to indicate growth and September quarter GDP figures came in at a lower than expected 0.2 per cent in Wednesday’s report.

But what’s more fun than economic figures and business analysis? Shopping! Which, according to disappointing retail figures, we’re not doing enough of. Retail sales figures showed a slump of 1.1 per cent for October, a dismal forecast for retailers for the coming Christmas shopping season.

Culprits for the slump include the unpredictable and unseasonal weather, increase in online shopping (guilty), greater preferences to eating in than dining out (guilty), and a slow in the area that suffered the most in the retail breakdown, shoes and apparel (not guilty, I’ve been helping out there).

Meanwhile, Good Weekend said goodbye to some old faces in its revamped launch issue on Saturday. While I missed it (oops), Mrs Satchel was underwhelmed:

"In short: new fonts, more coverlines, more colour, rearranged sections, new sections ("You do what?", "Dictionary for the modern world"), no Maggie (or Stephanie Dowrick) and a new Mark Dapin headshot accompanying his now front-of-book column, which replaces "7.5-centimetre Mark, the godlike being who stood as a colossus between two columns of type on the back page of Good Weekend". Dapin is the magazine's main man (and by that I mean it's very blokey, unlike its girlie stablemate Sunday Life): he also wrote the Max Markson profile and the tsunami feature, too. Why not just call it "Dapin Weekend"?

Here's to a Dapin weekend to you.

Regular GWAS contributor Liz Burke* has Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Business(QUT) and has written for The Courier Mail, The Sunday Mail and ABC News Online.


Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman said...

That is great news regarding Leigh Sales and the 7:30 Report. She will be perfect for the role!