Australian news, and some related international items

Union secretary Paul Howes paid to do a Murdoch media hatchet job on the Greens

Green-hating News Ltd confirms Howes on the payroll, Crikey,   by Stephen Mayne , 19 July 12,   Ever since Senator John Faulkner told Paul Howes to “put a sock in it” last Sunday, the frenetic media tart, AWU national secretary and political kingmaker has been surprisingly quiet.

It was Howes, a paid News Limited columnist, who teamed with the broader Murdoch press and fellow ALP young turk Sam Dastyari to launch an all-out assault on the Greens last weekend.

……… Howes….with a paid column savaging the Greens in The Sunday Telegraph

While many have criticised the tactics of Dastyari and Howes  — there is also an important issue about conflict of interest and News Ltd payments to Howes. When the HSU scandal was at its peak, Howes tweeted that his AWU salary is only $140,000. I asked the self-described faceless man on several occasions whether he’s on the Murdoch empire payroll courtesy of his weekly Sunday Telegraph column, but he’s declined to respond.

Sunday Telegraph editor Neil Breen cleared up the matter when he emailed this response yesterday: “Yes he is paid. ….Howes should disclose the precise figure, but it would probably exceed $20,000 a year.

So when you add the Murdoch payments (there’s the superannuation board fees too, but it’s unlikely he’s taking those) to Howes’ $140,000 AWU salary, the former radical Trot is arguably doing better than your typical 28-year-old working for the Millionaire Factory Macquarie Bank.

…….there is a legitimate question whether Howes should be returning the Murdoch moolah to his union considering he’s a full-time AWU employee and the column is written on union time.

The other problem with a unionist pocketing Murdoch cash is the stench around News Corp’s right-wing agenda and dodgy practices in Britain. As part of its power agenda, News Corp has long put emerging politicians on the payroll as paid columnists or delivered large cash advances for publishing deals.

Some argue this is a perfectly legal way to build relationships and bank balances, but there should be disclosure. …….

Howes was certainly very obliging in delivering a paid hatchet job on the one cause the News Ltd press hates above all else — progressive Green politics. But Howes has run into more trouble than just a public John Faulkner excoriation. Some progressive AWU members are equally unimpressed and have attempted to express their concerns through the union’s Facebook page.

Alas, Mount Isa-based AWU member Zane Alcorn had his comments blocked, so he set up his own Facebook page “for Australian Workers Union members & supporters to discuss progressive reform of the AWU re: union democracy and climate + social justice policies”.

The Sunday Telegraph assault on the Greens was described as follows: “Pretty damn sure Paul Howes has nothing even remotely close to a mandate from the AWU membership to be embarking on such a destructive divide and conquer mission as this. Note: reading this may cause nausea and vomiting. You have been warned.” *Disclosure: Stephen Mayne was not paid for this contribution



July 19, 2012 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, media, politics

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