Monthly Archives: May 2013


Foco Nuevo in June 2013

[When] Friday, June 7, 2013 [Time] 8:00pm [Place] Kurilpa Hall, West End The monthly informal concert hosted by Jumping Fences. Guest artists for this month are Robin Etter-Cleave & Brian Brett, and Clare Quinn. Robin Etter-Cleave and Brian Brett have … Continue reading


Though the 17 Group is a secular group with no affiliation to any religious group, it is of course friendly to the born-again Community of Queensland Originists. Not for the first time therefore does it accommodate its loyal members who … Continue reading

Racing authority takes away Gai pocket money

Guilty trainer Gai Waterhouse is fined by $5500

Gai despite a broken Jack of Hearts

“Fail to report to the stewards any condition or occurrence that may affect the running of a horse in a race” sounds a serious offence.
Yet top Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse is found guilty of just that and fined $5000, a week’s pocket money for her. She was also found guilty of not writing horse treatment in her school notebook – the one with National Velvet on the cover. That cost her $500 so she might have to go a few days without a hair-cut.
The charges followed a problem with More Joyous before the running of the All Aged Stakes on Saturday, April 27. Easing favourite More Joyous ran second last. 
Before the race the mare’s owner John Singleton provoked the inquiry with a public blow-up against Waterhouse during which he said he had been told by three people the mare could not win. Singleton was fined $15,000 making him roughly three times as naughty as Waterhouse.
You would think Waterhouse would be grateful with the result – and perhaps she was – but she unloaded with a classic spray.
Not fair, she said about losing her pocket money.    
The whole hearing is unfair. I have been treated like a third-rate person and my family has been dragged through the mud, through the mire.’
Pretty dramatic that mud-and-mire business if a trifle redundant.
But of course the former actor is not a third-class citizen. She knows the Queen of The British Commonwealth, Elizabeth II.
‘Even the Queen says to her racing manager, “What is going on with Gai Waterhouse in Australia?”,’ Waterhouse told the inquiry on Monday, Australian time.
Waterhouse trains one of the Queen’s nags in Australia, or ‘Orsetraylya” as Royal Liz might call it.
The best riposte to that Waterhouse umbrage came from a Sydney lawyer who had represented former jockey Allan Robinson at an earlier stage of the inquiry.
Yeah that ol’ Queenie munching the Rice Bubbles.”Geezus Phil what’s happened to Gai?..Can we pardon her?” #racingincrisis@brentzerafa
No need for a pardon, New South Racing has almost given her one.
Gambling in Oz


Australian crime-solver Steele Hill takes a break from murder and perfidy to investigate the sighting of Martians by his friend Felicity. This story is from the upcoming Bent Banana Books anthology Serendipity. Please pass on the link to your friends if you enjoy it.

Bernie Dowling
Petrie, north of Brisbane, winter, 1995
FOUR-year-old Ryan was teasing his sister, 6, patting her back quickly and repeatedly, as he had seen a mother do forcefully in the supermarket when her child was choking on a lolly.
Chloe accepted her brother’s game for a while before calling for intervention from Mummy. Flick Sailor brushed aside locks of her long blonde hair from her pretty oval face, revealing creases in her forehead, marking her 29 years of life in Queensland. ‘Ryan, stop teasing your sister.’ Felicity, better known as Flick, looked across at her son before continuing to rearrange a pile of bills, jotting down figures on a notepad and shaking her head at the impossible financial obligations.
‘I wasn’t giving her tea,’ an offended Ryan said.

I could see that Flick was on the verge of losing it and offered half-hearted mediation. ‘Maybe Ryan does not know what teasing means.’
‘You’re no help, Steele. Ryan knows what to tease means. I am always telling him not to tease his sister and I have explained what it means.’
This was Chloe’s cue. ‘Mum, Ryan’s teasing me.’ The girl sobbed softly and slowly upped the ante to full-blown tears.
‘See what you’ve done.’ Flick was accusing me, not Ryan.
I was about to defend myself when 9-year-old Justin called from his room, ‘Mum, where’s my Marilyn Manson T-shirt. I have sports tomorrow and I need it.’
Despite Justin’s continual insistence to the contrary, it was not really his room; he shared it with his brother. Mother and daughter had the other bedroom of the small rented house – small by Australian standards, perhaps not so much by European.
Justin and I were mates. When he told me his physical education teacher refused to allow him to wear his Manson T-shirt in sports, I pretended to be appalled. The predominately white-on-black logo had splotches of red. Justin was in the Red team for sports.
I suggested he tell his teachers he would take them to the international court of justice in the Hague if he was not allowed to wear his somewhat red T-shirt. I did not think he would do it. To be fair to me, he did not actually.
The note Flick showed me from PE teacher Mr Pendleby said Justin had threatened his teacher with the tennis court of justice in the Hog. Felicity was hopping mad at me. I always seem to be in trouble with women. It takes me a great deal of reflection to understand why. Usually I do not bother with such tedious self-criticism.
On that winter evening, I did ponder whether my visit to Flick’s to see the Martians was wise. Flick’s car registration had run out earlier in the week. I suggested Flick and Ryan could ride with me in the front of my one-seater Holden EH ute. The older kids could travel in the tray.
Flick said I was the most irresponsible man in the world. That hardly seemed likely but the prospect made me laugh. Felicity pulled the punch just as I retracted my head from the blow’s obvious destination.
‘We’ll go in my car,’ she said.
‘I’ll pay your registration tomorrow,’ I offered.
‘I know you haven’t got any money Steele. Whenever you win at the horses, you have that silly smirk on your face. It’s not there.’
Wow, I should teach Flick how to play poker. She has a powerful read and her financial troubles could soon be over. But Flick does not like gambling. Her dead-beat ex-husband, Howdy, was a jockey as well as being thousands behind in his maintenance payments. The jockey still rode his share of winners though nowhere near as many as when he was Brisbane’s top hoop a decade earlier. That was when Flick and I bonded over a race fix demanded by her father who had kidnapped his own daughter. It’s a long story and there is no time for that now. We had Martians to see.
‘I brought a cassette tape. Does the cassette player still work in the Falcon?’ I asked. Flick owned a 1988 Ford Falcon, 24 years younger than my Holden EH, though not as reliable.
‘Of course it works. If it didn’t I’d buy a CD player. I’ve got plenty of tapes so I don’t need yours.’
‘Yes, but I have one with Lady Madonna on it, in your honour.’
Lady Madonna? Is that a Madonna song, Steele?’
I thought she was taking the piss. ‘Lady Madonna,’ I said. ‘Children at your feet…’
She shook her pretty head to signal zero recognition.
‘The Beatles,’ I said.
‘Oh Steele, what are you listening to that old shit for? You’re younger than me. It’s embarrassing.’
Ever since Flick caught me watching a 1940s Hollywood film noir on video, she has treated me like a cultural deviant. I cannot remember what movie it was, possibly The Big Sleep or The Maltese Falcon. I have seen each a dozen times. I should add it was in the privacy of my own flat where Flick sprung me. And I had made no effort to turn off the video player before I let her in.
In that year of 1995, I had sat through a double feature of videos in Flick’s house. The first was Pocahontas and the second was Waterworld. Flick said the Disney ‘toon Pocahontaswas for the kids. Who knew whom the Kevin Costner second feature was for – possibly Martians. Felicity’s fave song of ’95 was Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, even though the R&B singer forgot to button his shirt for the video. Obviously R&B does not stand for ‘robe and  button’. And I am copping flack for film noir and the Beatles.
Lady Madonna packed up the unregistered Falcon with the kids, dressed against the winter chill, and me. The engine spluttered into life. Flick received a single-parent’s benefit from the government but had to work two part-time jobs to make end meets. Her father, retired Russian trainer Bill Smith – don’t ask about the English name – could help little financially but he did baby-sit when Felicity went to work. She did not tell her father about the Martians. He had kidnapped her in the past and he might concoct some crazy plan to make money from the aliens’ visit.
I should say at this point I don’t believe in aliens. Flick does not believe in aliens. We were going to look for them and I guess you can blame me for that.
Flick told me she was probably tired from five hours of paid baby-sitting the night she saw the spaceship land in the bush off Narangba Rd. She did pull over at the side of the road and watch the pulsating silver light around the ship. She did not actually see the Martians.
‘How did you know they were Martians,’ I asked.
‘I never said they were Martians. You did, Steele.’
‘They could have been Venusians,’ I said.
‘I never said they were Martians. You did. And what the hell are Venusians.’
‘From Venus. I think that’s what they are called. But they were most probably Martians. They are more common, I believe.’
I am not sure why I said that. Neither of us believes in Martians.
We drove to where Felicity thought she had pulled over. In the car’s headlights we saw recent car tracks on the clay beside the road. They could have come from the Falcon.
Flick pointed towards an area about 100 metres into the bush. There was a small circular clearing among the gum trees. A spaceship might land there but it would have to be tiny. Martians are small, aren’t they?
I asked Flick how old was the car battery if we wanted to shine the high beam on the spot in the bush.
‘The battery is two-years-old, but we have come all this way, so we have to take a chance.’
She swung the car to fully face the spot, put the lights on high beam and turned off the motor.
‘Maybe you should have kept the motor running, I said. ‘Might be less strain on the battery.’
‘You think?’
‘Dunno. I know nothing about cars. Leave it for the moment.’
Justin was the first to complain from the back seat. ‘What are we doing here?’
Ryan wanted to go home to watch television and Chloe said the dark was scary.
‘Steele’s lost something,’ Felicity told the children.
I said to Flick I heard her say ‘his marbles’ under her breath.
She denied it and laughed. ‘But I was sure thinking it. The Martians must have given you the power to read minds.’
I opened the passenger-side door.
‘You’re not going in there alone, Steele. Are you mad?’
I put on my best attempt at the earnest voice of a star of a low-budget sci-fi film. ‘We must end this thing.’
Ryan pleaded from his corner of the back seat. ‘I want to go too.’
That was not happening as Felicity had activated the child-proof locks on both back doors. As Ryan whimpered, Flick told me to hurry.
The grass was higher than it had looked from the car. I was glad I had worn boots but I trod carefully. The clearing too was larger than it seemed from the road.
The grass was flattened, though not in a circle. It was more like the vegetation had been trampled along a series of parallel paths. I leaned over to see if I could discern a crater. I though there should be a crater and some burnt areas around it, as in 1950s sci-fi movies. I heard Flick yelling at me to hurry up. I turned and my boot kicked a note on the ground. It was rectangular, about six inches long and a couple of inches wide. It looked like it bore someone’s portrait inside an oval. I pocketed it.
Back at the car, I inspected the note in the headlights. It took a while to figure it out as I had never seen the like of it in my life before. Flick asked what it was.
I hopped back in the car and said, ‘The Martians left their calling card.’ I placed the note in front of Flick’s face. ‘Lady Madonna, meet Benjamin Franklin.’
‘Is that monopoly money?’
‘I think not. If you take this US hundred-dollar bill to the bank, tomorrow, I believe the kind banker will give you enough Aussie moolah to pay your registration.’
‘You don’t think the Martians kidnapped someone and the victim dropped their money.’
‘Possibly,’ I said. ‘But I would put my money on your good fortune coming courtesy of an American tourist venturing from the beaten track.’
We went back to Petrie and Flick put the kids to bed. Over coffee, we amused each other with fantastic tales of how the money landed in the bush at Narangba.
Neither of us had another Martian adventure, ever.

Gaza – Byron Friends of Palestine

Event: Mullumbimby-Brunswick Heads Paddle Event
Date & Time: Sunday, 26 May, 0730-1600
Participant: Byron Friends of Palestine
Contact: Gareth Smith (Tel: 6680 7360, 0422298165)

On 26 May, Byron Friends of Palestine will symbolically deliver medical equipment and water purification units on its Gaza Aid Flotilla kayak, highlighting the international Gaza Ark relief initiative which aims to draw worldwide attention to the illegal* Israeli blockade and to export Gazan goods on its own boat.

• Gaza is the world’s biggest prison with 1.6 million people besieged by Israel’s land, sea and air forces since 2007.

• In 2008 Israel launched the 22 day Operation Cast Lead offensive against Gaza using the most advanced weapons including white phosphorus and depleted uranium. 1300 were killed and 5,000 wounded. Then Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon described the extent of death and unprecedented destruction of civilian infrastructure across the Gaza Strip including hospitals, schools, mosques, civilian homes and United Nations (UN) compounds as “shocking and alarming”. Daily attacks against Palestinian families are still continuing.

• Australia, as a member of the UN Security Council and close friend of Israel, has a special responsibility to pressure Israel to lift its siege. Additionally, it is obligated under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention “to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts”.

• Gareth Smith, Byron Friends of Palestine, hopes the flotilla action will raise public awareness about what is happening in Gaza and what Australians can do about Israel’s brutal occupation of Palestine.

*Israel is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention: Articles 2, 27, 33, 53, 55 and 56(1).


Speaker from Gaza tonight

6:15 at the QCU, 16 Peel St, South Brisbane Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects, is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip. She was born in … Continue reading


news from ray jackson – indigenous social justice

time again to join the e-world. for some 16 days of a crashed white-mans-magic box (and many many thanks to jp for his assistance in bringing it back to life), including an 8 day stop in hospital to work on … Continue reading


The last of the Semites

Al Jazeera has removed this article from its website. Al Abunimah reports: “Massad told The Electronic Intifada that he had ‘received confirmation’ from his editor at Al Jazeera English that ‘management pulled the article.’ The last of the Semites by … Continue reading


On the 65th Anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba

The Nakba: Ethnic cleansing and displacement of the population Nakba in literary terms means a natural catastrophe such as an earthquake, volcano, or hurricane. However, the Nakba in Palestine describes a process of ethnic cleansing in which an unarmed nation … Continue reading


Mulivaikal Remembrance Day

This event marks the fourth anniversary of the extremely violent end of the Sri Lankan civil war, which featured many war crimes, resulting in massive suffering for civilians of all sides, but most particularly for the Tamils, who were targeted … Continue reading


Vale Ross Watson

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Ross Watson – a leader of the 1982 Commonwealth Games protests and founder of the Murri school and of Murri radio (fm 98.9) in Brisbane – died this week. Ross was coordinator of the Black Protest Committee and editor of … Continue reading


Refugee Excision Bill in Senate today or tomorrow

Dear all The Government’s excision bill is on the Senate schedule for today (14 May 2013), though it probably won’t actually come on until tomorrow. Senator Hanson young will be moving the three amendments enclosed, which seek to amend the … Continue reading

No big finish but beaut racehorse inquiry

Singo, Waterhouse charged but Johns, Hayson, Robinson evidence comes to nought

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be lawyers

Make ’em be trainers and bookies and such

Chris Murphy

RACEHORSE owner John Singleton copped a guilty plea but Gai Waterhouse is protesting her innocence.
As I predicted in earlier posts, Waterhouse and Singleton were both charged at the NSW Racing inquiry into the failure of millionaire mare More Joyous.
If I had that sort of excellent form for punting on horses, I’d be a wealthy man – and probably not writing this report.
Singleton has come out of this affair quite nicely. He was talked out of putting $100,000 on his failing horse More Joyous. He was fined 15k for bringing horse racing into disrepute. He is 85 grand in front and enjoyed himself immensely playing the lovable larrikin.
As loyal readers of my posts will remember, I predicted trainer Gai Waterhouse would retire or scale down her racing empire, after the inquiry. By an unexpected circumstance, I could be proved right for the treble.
We all expected Waterhouse to be charged for not doing her homework by omitting from her exercise book treatment on More Joyous. She left it out of her essay What I Did in My Stable this Week.
She was charged with that but also with the far more serious offence of ‘fail to report to the stewards any condition or occurrence that may affect the running of a horse in a race.’
Most of us thought Waterhouse would escape this charge as her vet gave evidence that More Joyous’s ailment and treatment were ‘routine’
But that conditional ‘may’ can be a real bastard. Now Waterhouse has to prove the condition or incidence had zero probability, within a margin of error, of affecting the performance of More Joyous. Waterhouse has pleaded innocence and her lawyers will argue the toss next week.
Gai ran true to recent form and, indignant, she said she had done nothing wrong in 20 years, a claim Mother Teresa might have had trouble substantiating in her best two decades.
The stewards found no fault against Waterhouse’s bookmaking son Tom.
They fed peanuts to the elephant in the room, the rumours about the direction of the evidence of football Immortal Andrew Johns, ex-jockey Allan Robinson and brothel owner/ big punter Eddie Hayson.
Johns tried to please everyone by saying Tom Waterhouse told him the bookie did not like the chances of More Joyous. Johns said Waterhouse never said the horse was ‘off’.
The smart money was on Johns saying this but colourful Sydney lawyer Chris Murphy begged to differ. Murphy was representing ex-jockey Robinson and the lawyer had expectations of exposure of dirty deeds.
Murphy tweeted, ‘Some days I wish I wasn’t a lawyer. This is one of those days. Think I’ll go take a long hot shower.’
He was disappointed in Johns. ‘Please disregard anything positive I may have ever tweeted in positive expectation re Andrew Johns. He had his chance,’ he tweeted.’
Without support from Johns, Murphy nixed additional evidence from Robinson after stewards refused to bring back punter Eddie Hayson to the room to hear what Robinson had to say.
Befuddled readers are wondering what Hayson has to do with this inquiry. I could tell you but the defamation lawyers are circling. Suffice to say Hayson and one other person are central to the conspiracy theory which Chris Murphy believes to be true.
If Gai Waterhouse is found guilty that theory may yet get its first full public hearing.

Expensive deeds

Courting again

Murphy, Robinson add spice to Waterhouse/Singleton stoush
ACERBIC lawyer Chris Murphy highlighted today’s racing stewards inquiry as a defamation-free zone where trainer Gai Waterhouse described his client Alan Robinson as “trumped up little jockey”.  Robinson and football legend Andrew Johns will appear at today’s inquiry to say whether they told owner John Singleton his mare was “off” and could not win the All Aged Stakes at Randwick.
Singleton said the information initially came from Waterhouse’s bookmaker son, Tom.
John’s is likely to repudiate such claims but Robinson with the assistance of lawyer Murphy will maintain his.
Murphy has already slammed the Waterhouses after the first day of the inquiry last week.
The snobbery of racing’s royal family (the Waterhouses) .. they turn me sick,” Mr Murphy told ABC radio.
He added, ‘Gai is a failed actress who married a perjurer.”
As is their want, the Waterhouses threatened legal action against Murphy who will enjoy unbridled freedom on today’s perjury free zone.


Even when Alzheimer’s had stolen her ability to know who we were, my mother could still surprise and delight when those pesky brain messages got it right. On a visit towards the end, as we walked into the sitting room … Continue reading


Foco: Student Worker Alliance in Brisbane in the late 1960s

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This is a talk given by Peter Cross at a meeting of the 17 Group on 7 May 2013 about the Secretary of the Trades and labour Council, Alexander Macdonald’s role was in building links between the Trades Hall and … Continue reading


This Saturday: Revolutionary Action launch BBQ

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Revolutionary Action launch BBQ Saturday May 11, 12 noon Orleigh Park near the CityCat stop (look for the red balloons!) all welcome Phone: 0400 720 757, 0401 586 923

Respect is the word

Gai Waterhouse erupts in extraordinary outburst against John Singleton in defence of her son Tom
We are family

AT the Sydney racing inquiry trainer Gai Waterhouse berated owner John Singleton for intemperate language to threaten her career and that of her bookmaker son, Tom. She proceeded to strafe and possibly down her career with ill-chosen words.

Owners, trainers and jockeys are almost as crucial to the racing industry as gamblers. Waterhouse showed scant respect for her complementary industrialists when she said,
It’s a trumped-up little jockey, a brothel owner and a footballer, and that’s itThat’s why we’re here, that’s what our livelihoods are swinging on in front of you today. They’re the people who are discrediting my son, my husband, and myself.”
Grammarians and advocates of indiscriminate language would bristle at little jockey, a reference to retired jockey Allan Robinson. But grammarians and the politically correct mostly have not the cash to buy racehorses. Ex-footballer and current TV commentator Andrew Johns has. So too do many professionals and business people who regard champion footballers and even jockeys highly, an esteem seemingly not shared by Waterhouse.
The brothel owner in question is Eddie Hayson, a big punter who reportedly owes Gai’s son Tom millions of dollars in gambling debts.

Football Immortal Johns sparked the affair by telling Robinson and Hayson the Singleton owned, Gai Waterhouse trained mare was “off” and could not win the All Aged Stakes at Randwick.

Jones, who said he got the info from Tom Waterhouse, has agreed  to front the racing inquiry on Monday  as has Robinson. Hayson has until Friday to agree to appear.
If he persists to dodge the investigation, Hayson is likely to be banned from every racetrack in the world, perhaps for life.  That would be a heart-wrenching punishment and he does not need Gai Waterhouse belittling him on top of it.
The trainer reserved the unkindest cut of all for owner John Singleton. As well as telling her supposed mate of 35 years he should have shut up, she offered a comparison to explain the failure of his much loved mare More Joyous. “Maybe she’s a seven-year-old mare and she’s old – like you!” Waterhouse said.
She knows full well More Joyous (foaled 20 August 2006) is a 6-year-old. She probably made the intentional error to grab Singleton’s attention for the barb to follow.
Singleton is 71-years-old. Many racehorse owners are around that age, retired and having fun before they go forever to the spelling paddock in the sky. A lot of owners will take exception to that Waterhouse remark and I am sure chief steward Ray Murrihy will mention it in his summation.
It is ironic that Gai Waterhouse retained a dignified silence before the inquiry while Singleton and Tom Waterhouse traded verbal slings.
In one day at the inquiry Waterhouse has blown all her credits of public goodwill.
It would not surprise me to see her retire or vastly scale down her racing business. The Gai 58-year-old said too much.

There is a marked difference between vitriol and sat


Building Workers celebrate May Day in May!

“We all got it wrong!” my friend told me over the phone after he saw the 6 o’clock news on TV. The Queensland Council of Unions. All the unions. The ALP. The Greens. The Left. We all marched on the … Continue reading

Entertaining racing inquiry wins

Singo Waterhouses slug it out and they should let us watch on TV
It’s a phar lap to the end of this tail

OWNER John Singleton was drunk. Racehorse More Joyous was “off” and unfit to run. Trainer Gai Waterhouse forgot the required paper-work. Someone at a television station helped rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns with his homework. No one laid a glove on ever-smiling bookmaker Tom Waterhouse but discussion of his betting records wait for another today.
Today, Monday, Australian time, the New South Wales  Racing inquiry rose above salacious expectations reinforcing that racing stewards were spoilsports in not allowing it to be televised.
So far no one has dug out any huge scalp but it was satisfying to hear trainer Gai Waterhouse  and her bookmaker son Tom yelling across the stewards’ room that John Singleton’s drunkenness was the reason they were all there.
The official reason was Singleton had publicly declared at Randwick racecourse that trainer Waterhouse had told book maker Waterhouse Singo’s champion mare More Joyous could not win the All Aged Stakes.
More Joyous duly vindicated Singo’s prediction to finish second last.
Gai Waterhouse became indignant during the inquiry in the NSW capital of Sydney. She described Singleton’s accusations as “outlandish”. When asked with  whom she spoke about More Joyous’s condition, Waterhouse snapped, “What are you implying?” The point of the question was obvious and unworthy of her umbrage.
The trainer had to admit an error in that pre-race treatments of More Joyous were not recorded in the mare’s logbook. This is not as serious a breach as it first sounds because both the trainer’s and owner’s vets had signed off on the treatments described as routine. The treatments did not come within the gamut of the major naughty of not reporting directly to stewards a horse’s illness, injury or treatment which might affect its performance.
This exchange between Chief Steward Ray Murrihy puts the issue into perspective.
Waterhouse:  ‘‘We never tried to hide anything,”.
Murrihy: ‘‘I’m not suggesting you did, but it’s important those records are accurate.’’
Translate that into the trainer awaits a hefty fine – hefty by you or my standards, not so much by those of the cashed-up Waterhouse clan. As with all matters horse racing, some people were tipped off. Before the inquiry a few reporters said Waterhouse would be fined. The rest of us could not see why. Now we know.
Mother and son both accused Singleton of being drunk when he accosted the trainer before t.he race. The owner said he had had only three beers. An unkinder remark from Gai Waterhouse was that Singleton had so unsettled More Joyous jockey Nash Rawiller that he rode a bad race. This was really turning the affair on its head. When Singleton approached Waterhouse she was discussing riding tactics with Rawiller. We all saw on television that the jockey looked like he was praying the earth would open up so he could hide in a hole
But the trainer was on shaky ground when she said Rawiller had a bad ride as he gave More Joyous the run of the race behind the leader. The alternative tactic of challenging the front runner Rain Affair could only have ended in the eventual winner All Too Hard winning more easily. Singleton said Rawiller had a great ride and I think most of the racing crowd would agree.
Singleton seemed to have mellowed at  the inquiry, admitting to bookmaker Tom Waterhouse Johns had told him he planned to back More Joyous. Yet Singo stuck with the unravelling story that Johns said on the Saturday of the race “the horse is off”.
“It’s his favourite expression … (he meant) it’s not going to win,” Singleton said. John’s favourite expression, doesn’t that suggest it was a throwaway line, apparently first offered by the ex-footballer over many beers at a footy game on Friday night.
Johns had recanted but Singleton made light of that “I thought someone’s been eating the dictionary or someone at Channel Nine has been improving his  vocabulary.”  To be fair to Johns he does like to introduce a casual big word into his football commentary and sometimes he gets the meaning right.
You can’t help but feeling chief steward Murrihy is enjoying himself at this inquiry. He asked Singo why he had not brought his concerns to the stewards.
“All I had was hearsay from an ex-jockey and a famous footballer,”Singleton replied. Kaching! That’s the sound of the steward’s cash register accepting a substantial fine from the racehorse owner.
Murrihy even managed to top master of the one-liner, Singo. For the first time, stewards exercised new-found powers to access telephone calls of the witnesses. “They do provide an interesting matrix,” Murrihy said. Perhaps he was referring to The Matrix movies. They were certainly interesting but ultimately impenetrable as to meaning.
Thankfully, the inquiry continues.


Popular Crime in publishing

Penguin Lulu and others shake down the desperate author

In criminal law, fraud is intentional deception made for personal gain
Guest post from David Gaughran
Posted on May 4, 2013 by davidgaughran
Writing is a glamorous occupation – at least from the outside. Popular depictions of our profession tend to leave out all the other stuff that comes with the territory: carpal tunnel syndrome, liver failure, penury, and madness.
Okay, okay, I jest. I love being a writer. Sharing stories with the world and getting paid for it is bloody brilliant. It’s a dream job, and like any profession with a horde of neophytes seeking to break in, there are plenty of sharks waiting to chew them to bits.
Publishing is a screwed up business. The often labyrinthine path to success makes it much easier for those with nefarious intentions to scam the unsuspecting. But it doesn’t help that so many organizations who claim to help writers, to respect them, to assist them along the path to publication are actually screwing them over.
Before the digital revolution made self-publishing viable on a wide scale, the dividing lines were easier to spot. Traditional publishers paid you if they wanted to buy the rights to your novel. Self-publishers were people who filled their garages with books and tried to hawk them at events. And vanity presses were the scammers, luring the unsuspecting with false promises and roundly condemned by self-publishers and traditional publishers alike.
Today it’s very different. The scammy vanity presses are owned by traditional publishers who are marketing them as the “easy” way to self-publish – when it’s nothing more than a horrifically expensive and terribly ineffective way to publish your work, guaranteed to kill your book’s chance of success stone dead, while emptying your bank account in the process.
Some of you might think: hey, it’s just business. Caveat emptor and all that. And don’t these people know how to use Google?
That’s easy to say from our position of experience. Do you remember how naive you were at the start? Do you remember just how badly you wanted to get published? Do you remember the crushing grind of the query-go-round?
I’m not surprised people get scammed. When you want something so badly, and you can’t seem to make progress towards that goal – no matter how hard you work – you start to go crazy. You get desperate.
And it’s much harder to tell the scammers from the legitimate organizations when they are owned by the same people.
Take Penguin-owned Author Solutions, one of the worst vanity presses out there. Here’s how they hoodwink inexperienced writers into using their horribly expensive service.
If you Google a term like “find a publisher” the results are littered with sites like (which I’m not going to link to because that will help their SEO, but you can cut-and-paste that address).
The website purports to be an independent resource, helping to pair you with the most suitable publishing company. Or as they put it:
dedicated to helping both first-time and experienced authors identify the most suitable indie book publishing company for their book. With the information you provide about your book and goals, FYP makes a recommendation as to which indie book publisher has the best publishing package to help you reach your publishing objectives.
Below this message is an online questionnaire asking you about your book. When you have completed that and handed over your phone number, the site makes a recommendation based on your answers.
Except the only companies recommended are Trafford, AuthorHouse, Xlibris, and iUniverse – all of which are scammy vanity presses, all owned by Author Solutions. And, fitting with the rest of the pattern, is just one of many (many!) such sites owned and operated by Author Solutions, purporting to make independent recommendations, but only recommending Author Solutions companies.
I have sympathy for those hoodwinked by awful companies like Author Solutions. The dividing lines aren’t as obvious as they were. And inexperienced writers naively assume that a company like Penguin has their best interests at heart. Maybe it’s the cuddly logo.
Newsflash: Penguin doesn’t care about writers
When Penguin bought the world’s biggest vanity press for $116m last July, many people in the publishing business gave them a pass. They claimed that Penguin would clean up the cesspool. But instead Author Solutions CEO Kevin Weiss was given a seat on the Penguin board.
A seat on the board!                                                    
Emily Suess wrote an excellent guest post here back in February, detailing how the slick Author Solutions scam hadn’t changed one bit since the Penguin takeover.
It’s now almost a year since Penguin bought the company (instead of buying, say, Goodreads, but I digress). It should be clear to everyone now that Penguin has no intention of changing Author Solutions’ scammy approach. In fact, Penguin just announced plans to take the scam global.
Penguin has been looking under the Author Solutions hood for 10 months now. Its conclusion was this: we can make this bigger. We can take this scam on the road and start exploiting writers all over the planet.
And Penguin is still getting a pass for this crap.
The Penguin Omerta
The Publishers Weekly piece on Penguin’s aggressive expansion plans for Author Solutionsmakes no mention of the company being a universally reviled vanity press that has cheated 150,000 writers out of their savings.
This is something I’ve been noticing for a while, and Publishers Weekly isn’t alone. The pieces in The BooksellerGalleyCat, and Digital Book World also make no mention of the widespread criticism that Author Solutions has attracted, nor do they mention that the company is currently the subject of a class action suit for their deceptive practices.
More disturbingly, my comment pointing this out appears to have been scrubbed from The Bookseller, is stuck in the moderation queue on Digital Book World’s piece (despiteexplicitly stating that they had posted it).
The reaction at the London Book Fair was similar. No-one from traditional publishing wanted to talk about Penguin’s ownership of Author Solutions. No-one wants to talk about how a supposedly legitimate publisher now owns the most successful author scamming organization on the planet.
These guys are probably taking their cue from the New York Times, who won’t mention anything remotely critical about Author Solutions, but are happy to spend lots of time showing them in a positive light (like hereherehereherehereherehere, and here).
Writer Beware
The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) has done sterling work over the years warning writers away from people like Author Solutions both on their own site, and through their industry watchdog Writer Beware.
However, I would love to see them go one step further.
Remember those awful Random House digital-first imprints? Public pressure forced Random House to change the horribly one-sided terms it was offering writers. That result was achieved after Writer Beware blogged about it, SFWA president John Scalzi followed up, and SFWA itself threatened to de-list Random House as a qualifying market.
What Author Solutions is doing to writers is far, far worse.
Isn’t it time to do something about this? Isn’t it time to threaten to de-list Penguin as a qualifying market if they don’t clean up Author Solutions?
Hands Up If You Don’t Own A Vanity Press
There’s only problem with this approach. Where do you stop? Because you would have to threaten to do the same with all these guys too:
1. Simon & Schuster hired Author Solutions to run their own scammy vanity press – Archway Publishing. If that wasn’t enough, they then offered a bounty to bloggers to lie about the company.
2. Harper Collins-owned Thomas Nelson have their own crappy vanity operation called West Bow Press – also “powered” by Author Solutions.
3. Harlequin, never afraid to turn down a penny, jumped in the game a few years ago. Author Solutions provided the white-label vanity operation for them.
4. Showing that it’s not just the larger publishers, Hay House contracted Author Solutions to set up Balboa Press – another scammy, crappy, overpriced vanity press.
If it was down to me, I would threaten to de-list all these guys until they cleaned house, but Penguin would be a good start, given they (a) it all comes back to Author Solutions, (b) Penguin owns Author Solutions, (c) Penguin has shown no interest in addressing concerns, and (d) Penguin is planning a massive expansion of the Author Solutions scam.
Writers Digest & Lulu
I’m sure Digital Book World’s reluctance to mention the problems with Author Solutions has nothing to do with the fact that they are owned by F+W Media, which also owns yet another crappy vanity press – Abbot Press (which has some of the worst prices out there).
In a refreshing change of pace, this crappy vanity press is not actually powered by Author Solutions. Abbot Press is a division of Writers Digest. Yes, that Writers Digest.
If that catches you by surprise, I’m sorry to say that Writers Digest went over to the dark side a few years back, and now spam their subscribers with crap like this.
I’m sure Author Solutions was disappointed to miss out on that deal but at least they can console themselves with the new partnership they struck with  Lulu last month to provide premium (i.e. overpriced and ineffective) marketing services to Lulu customers.
That’s right. Lulu made a deal with the devil.
How Can We Fight Back?
Penguin think they can continue to ride out the storm, ignoring the criticism and collecting their ill-gotten gains, but if we make enough noise, they will have to respond. That starts with sharing this post, or, even better, blogging about it yourself.
But it also means reaching out to inexperienced writers and trying to steer them away from these crooks. We need to get the message out that self-publishing is not the impossible task it’s painted as. Sarah Woodbury has a helpful post on the basics here, and I have another here. Feel free to point newbies to them, or write your own.
Each time you see an article talking about Author Solutions and not mentioning all the issues, comment underneath and call them on it. Even if the media don’t change their one-eyed approach, readers will see the comments.
If you’re a member of a writers organization like SFWA, RWA, or MWA, ask what they are doing about Penguin. Ask them why they haven’t threatened to de-list Penguin. And keep pressing them! The SFWA (and the RWA) were really strong in response to Random House. We need the same from them again.
150,000 writers have been screwed over already. I think that’s enough. Don’t you?
Thanks David and here is the ironclad promise of Author Solutions

Always Gai and often chatty but Mum’s the word now

Gai Waterhouse clams up though the boys John Singleton Tom Waterhouse and Andrew Johns have their say
Gai Waterhouse was an actor but she was not in this film.
Angelica Huston and John Cusack played Mother and Son 
in this one. 
The young woman on the right was not one of John Singleton’s six wives.

LEADING Australian racehorse trainer Gai Waterhouse has been the darling of television media for the past two decades. Put a camera in front of Mrs Waterhouse before a big race meeting, you know you are going to get big smiles and unbridled optimism that one of her horses will win the big. But not this week. Gai Waterhouse has clammed up.
In a double whammy of gloom for the television mob, racing stewards have refused to open up to the cameras Monday’s inquiry into the performance  of millionaire mare More Joyous, trained by Waterhouse until huffed-up owner sacked her – the trainer not the horse.
Stewards opened an inquiry into the poor performance of More Joyous finished second last in Saturday’s All Aged Stakes at Randwick racecourse.
But even before the race, an irate Singleton approached an obviously peeved Waterhouse who tried to ignore Singo’s accusation the trainer’s bookmaker son Tom had told three people More Joyous was crook and could not win. Singo later said one of the three was former rugby league champion Andrew Johns.
Tom Waterhouse went to social media to say Singo was mistaken and he was considering suing him. Much older Singo repeated his accusations to old media.
Some might have thought the loquacious Gai would come out swinging in defence of her son. But Mum’s the word.
This is a pity. Players in the drama, radio-station owner Singleton and Andrew Johns, are portrayed in the media as lovable larrikins. But Gai Waterhouse is the most interesting player in this comedy thriller.
Gai Waterhouse, 58, is the daughter of all-conquering Randwick racehorse trainer T.J. (Tommy) Smith. She took up modelling and acting, appearing in the Australian soap opera The Young Doctors. As the young and the restless did in those still-swinging seventies, she moved to London and appeared in the Doctor Who story The Invasion of Time.
Gai figured the odds of a successful career in acting and returned to Australia where she worked in her father’s stable for 15 years.
Her blog sums up those years and what came next:
After a 15-year apprenticeship with her father, the legendary TJ Smith, and a prolonged battle with officialdom, Gai was granted her licence to train thoroughbreds in January 1992.”
She does not expand on the prolonged battle with officialdom, but some sense of injustice, if not gender bias, seems implied.
It was a case of Gai being punished for the sins of the husband and his father. Hubby Robbie Waterhouse and Father-in-law Bill, both bookmakers, had their licences pulled in 1984 for “prior knowledge” of the Fine Cotton ring-in.
Perhaps it was in the genes .and Waterhouse has been a leading trainer for most of the past 30 years.
Gai Waterhouse has not said a direct word about the subjects of Monday’s inquiry. Television cameras were on the pair when Singleton gave her a huge verbal serve before Saturday’s big race. She appeared to not return a word to him.
She is reported to have had a phone conversation with son Tom, after the races.
It seems to have gone something like this.
Gai: “What did you tell people about More Joyous?”
Tom: “Nothing, I told them nothing, Mum.”
Gai: “Okay.”
End of conversation.
She was a guest speaker at the Warrnambool race meeting on Tuesday but she ignored questions on the brouhaha.
Of course, what the former actor did say has been interpreted as if they were Shakespearean references to the affair. “Put your head down, keep your bum up, keep your mouth shut and that’s the key to success,” Waterhouse said.
She also said Tom, as she had done, just wanted to please his father. Wow, was this a reference to the stoush as a tragic challenge to the Smith and Waterhouse dynasties. Well, we all know Singo/ Macbeth/ Cassius/ Iago mainly wants to please himself. In the past he has largely succeeded. Maybe not this time.

Gai Waterhouse have had a great personal and professional relationship for 25 years. They have been seen together at many a garden party…


Special May Day Celebration Tues May 7

SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE SPECIAL EVENT MAY DAY CELEBRATION 6pm, Tues 7th May 136 Boundary St, West End (above St Vinnies) Come along to this special celebration hosted by Socialist Alternative. May Day is a celebration of workers struggle and to commemorate … Continue reading


Vale Tom

This gallery contains 2 photos.

Gonna go out walking Get some fresh air and sunshine One foot in front of the other Taking one step at a time Looking over my shoulder At that black dog following me Gotta keep on walking Lest he catches … Continue reading

Speak hastily and regret leisurely

Andrew Johns Tom Waterhouse John Singleton Gai Waterhouse:
The stars shine not too bright
Andrew Johns: “Matey, have I said too much?”

The Great Gatsby is the latest film from Aussie director Baz Luhrmann. He could follow up with The Great Gai, an epic saga of the horseracing feud of the Waterhouses and owner John Singleton.
One moral lesson from the tale is we all need to show more respect for words, or, in Rastafarian terminology, The Word, which is Holy.

In my last post I asked whether bookmaker Tom Waterhouse, son of The Great Gai, was loose with his words when he said he backed his Mum’s horse, More Joyous. To back a horse usually means putting money on it. Bookmakers get to drive Maseratis by taking bets on racehorses not by making them.
I surmised in my latest blog. Tom Waterhouse may have meant he offered generous odds about More Joyous’s main opponent All Too Hard which duly won the All Aged Stakes at Randwick racecourse on Saturday. As I wrote then, that is not the same as backing More Joyous.
It is not only Tom Waterhouse who needs to .more precise with words.
Owner of More Joyous John Singleton has said he took all his horses from trainer The Great Gai because three of his mates told him Tom Waterhouse had told them More Joyous could not win. Singleton implied The Great Gai had told her son as much.
So far, only retired jockey Allan “Robbo” Robinson has put up his hand for contacting Singleton.
But Robinson received his information, second, third or fourth hand, not from Tom Waterhouse himself.
Rugby league, the main football code in Australia, is at the centre of the timeline of the “who-said what to whom”. Rugby league players, coaches and supporters have long been known as gamblers. In the late 1960s and early 1970s it was rumoured that half the illegal SP gambling on racehorses in Sydney was owned by a rugby league coach. The rumour mill said a former Premier (state leader) of New South Wales controlled the other half.
Former rugby league champion player Andrew “Joey” Johns commentates for the Channel 9 television network on which Tom Singleton heavily advertises his sports and racing bookmaking.
On Thursday afternoon when Channel 9 was broadcasting a game, Johns had a quick conversation with Waterhouse at the match. 
On television a few days later, Johns said Waterhouse had told him More Joyous was “crook” an Australian expression meaning “ill”. Johns later said it was a poor choice of words and I believe him. Joey is a witty exponent of Australian vernacular but he is no latter day Shakespeare.
This is what I believe is a fair recreation of the brief conversation between the two last Thursday.
Johns: “G’dday, Tom. Whaddya like for Randwick on Saturday.” Joey’s a punter and he wants to back a winner.
Waterhouse is a bookmaker. He wants to see favourites beaten. “What I don’t like, Joey, are It’s A Dundeel. More Joyous and All Too Hard.” 
Bagman Waterhouse is yet to concede he bagged More Joyous on Thursday. But that does not matter. He could have developed a whirlwind romance with the prospects of his mother’s mare by Saturday.
Whatever Waterhouse said to Johns, the ex-footballer repeated a version of it to someone in a crowded room at the next night’s football match. Jockey Robinson, who was in the room, rang Singo on Saturday morning to tell him about it.
So no one is yet to substantiate Singleton’s version that he heard from one person, let alone three people, that Waterhouse had said More Joyous could not win.
Waterhouse spoke in his paid ad on television after the football on Friday night. He said he thought the long odds-on favourite It’s A Dundeel was not a good thing. He was proven right as it was beaten the next day. He said he thought All Too Hard was a good risk. He was proven wrong. He was ambivalent on More Joyous. He said it was a good chance but he thought the third favourite Epaulette might win.  
That television tape is on the public record and Waterhouse seems pretty safe from accusations of wrong- doing at Monday’s racing stewards’ inquiry
Joey Johns is lamenting his wrong use of words and I am waiting Waterhouse’s interpretation of backing More Joyous.
Trainer The Great Gai has said nothing publicly on the matter. Perhaps the Matriarch is the wisest of all.
And I get to play one of the greatest Australian songs of all time. I could barely be more joyous.