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The Correspondent September-October 2003 PDF Print E-mail
The Correspondent
(Journal of The Foreign Correspondents' Association)
September-October 2003


Newsletter Index Bridge Climb to Sponsor FCA by Mark Chipperfield
BridgeClimb for the Climb of your Life
The Foreign Correspondents' Association has signed a 12-month sponsorship agreement with tourism operator BridgeClimb Sydney. BridgeClimb, one of Australia's most successful and innovative tourism companies, will sponsor the FCA website allowing the FCA improve and expand its online services.
Apart from the sponsorship deal, the two organisations will collaborate by holding a number of joint promotions and other events over the next year.
Annabel Porter, media and promotions executive at BridgeClimb, says the company is looking forward to working with the FCA and welcoming many more overseas climbers.
"BridgeClimb is pleased to announce its sponsorship of the FCA website. Some 60 per cent of people who climb the bridge are international visitors, so we hope that by communicating with Australian-based foreign correspondents we can keep our overseas markets informed and interested in BridgeClimb -- certainly one of the most unique attractions in the world", she told this correspondent, who helped broker the deal. Annabel said that any FCA members who had not already experienced a BridgeClimb should contact her directly to arrange a visit (phone 02 9240 1120 or email ).
The news has been much welcomed by the FCA. Of course, the money that we have got is important but there are many other positive spin-offs for the FCA. For a start, it gives us direct access to BridgeClimb -- very useful if you want to do a story or organise for a visiting colleague to climb the bridge. Such access would be at a premium during international events such as next month's Rugby World Cup.
The new agreement also means that the FCA will now have access to all BridgeClimb media releases -- members will be the first to know about any major story involving Sydney's most famous icon. Since it first opened for business in 1998, BridgeClimb has won virtually every tourism award available in Australia and continues to attract climbers from around the world. Earlier this year, the one-millionth ticket was sold.
The new website sponsorship is to be formally launched at the Malt Shovel Brewery in Camperdown next month with a beer tasting and tour of the brewery conducted by head brewer Dr Chuck Hahn.

Newsletter Index Anna Lindh: a life cut short by Agneta Didrikson
On a beautiful sunny September morning, terror again showed its ugly face in Sweden. The same ice cold panic as that of a Friday night in February 17 years ago spread in my stomach and heart. For a journalist the assassination of a minister has two sides. When Olaf Palme was shot, the journo in me took over and I will always feel that the special issue of our paper that we put together on a cold winter Saturday was the top of my journalistic career.
Anna Lindh
 Anna Lindh, 1957-2003
I was then the foreign editor and it was before internet and email times..
This time, however, things were very much different. Anna Lindh was not Olaf Palme, although she had gone to political-school under his wings. Anna was a bright and beautiful woman in the prime of her life. A mother of two young boys, a brilliant minister of Foreign Affairs. Even Alexander Downer liked her in spite of the fact that she was on the left side of the labour wing and a woman full of laughs. She was the Swedish face abroad, and a beautiful face at that. But she charmed her fellow international ministers not with her looks but with her brains and wit. She could speak her mind to any of the big boys Berlusconi, Putin or Bush. And she did this because she knew what she was talking about and she had a passion for human rights, democracy and equality -- A woman who should have become our first female Prime Minister (given that Labour would probably win the next election).
This time the journalist in me felt sick and I was very happy not to be part of the special issue (see picture) my paper put out. Instead, I could be a normal person, a mother and grandmother and I could cry with the rest of the Swedes and international friends of which Anna had many. From reports I can see, the police have arrested a suspect. Let's hope that he is the one and that he was a weirdo, working by himself. A new unsolved assassination is not what Sweden or any country needs these days!

Newsletter Index Archer: Eco-warrior & Sydney celebrity by Sid Astbury
Sharing an enthusiasm for the natural world is what Professor Mike Archer is all about. As a lad, he scooped up snakes to take to school and show his chums. Now, as director of the Australian Museum, he's got millions of things that interest him on display. It's the country's oldest and biggest collection. And it's right in the heart of Sydney.
His joy in show and tell is undiminished. Members of the FCA discovered that in a session with him on preserving biodiversity. Another impression is that he delights in controversy. It's a powerful tool to generate publicity and raise awareness.
Remember cloning the Tasmanian tiger? To some it seemed the mother of all publicity stunts. Why not raise Jimi Hendrix from the dead instead? But the thylacine thing grabbed headlines and got people thinking. It was classic Mike Archer. A man on message. A man on a mission. Journalists come away from some briefings with notes that don't contain a single useable quote.
Professor Mike Archer
 Professor Mike Archer
It always seems such a waste of time for the speaker. Quotes tumble out of Archer. He could get a job in public relations if he tired of curating.
To be quotable it helps to be iconoclastic to say something that at first seems outrageous but which makes sense after a bit of thought. It's also important not to hedge statements with provisos that gut their meaning. You have to be declamatory, pithy, sure of yourself.
The notion that humans should leave nature alone is rubbish" was one Archerism deserving of the Stabilo. Another was: "Wilderness is an impractical, historical and biological nonsense". I also liked: "There are no logical arguments against the sustainable harvesting of kangaroos".
It's not that Archer is a contrarian. To lots of people it makes sense that kangaroos and other locals are better suited to the wide brown land than cows and other blow-ins. What marks him out is a lack of sentimentality. Yes, we should annihilate introduced species, he says. But we should also eat possums if they are superabundant.
A lack of sentimentality, a respect for business principles and a certain abrasiveness mark out Archer. Making money is not bad. Challenging the wrong-headed is good. Being nice isn't important. Archer gets exasperated with those who don't share his enthusiasms. He told us that he rang a Sydney council to ask what preparations there were to cope with the monster 120-metre wave a research student said we should expect every 600 years. It seemed to surprise him that panic didn't break out.

Newsletter Index Ramos Horta: FCA Exclusive by Mark Chipperfield
Nobel laureate Dr Jose Ramos-Horta revealed that East Timor would like to settle its backlog of human rights cases by holding a South African-style Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
Addressing the FCA last month [August 25] the East Timorese foreign minister was remarkably candid about the problems facing his fledgling nation.
Fresh from a trilateral talks in Adelaide between East Timor, Australia and Indonesia, Dr Ramos-Horta said East Timor did not have the judicial resources - nor the spiritual strength -- to put before the courts everyone accused of committing crimes during the Indonesian occupation. Such a process would also harm East Timor's new relationship with Indonesia, he said.
For this reason, Dr Ramos-Horta wanted to establish a Truth & Reconciliation Commission which would give victims (or their relatives) the chance of confronting their enemies, and of having the truth publicly acknowledged.
Ramos Horta
 Ramos Horta
"What I propose is an impartial international Truth Commission appointed by the secretary general of the United Nations," he said. "I believe only this will allow us to put the past behind us."
Dr Ramos-Horta said that under the South African model very few people were actually tried, but hundreds of perpetrators were forced to face their victims.
This idea was being pursued by UN human rights commissioner Sergio Vieira de Mello before his tragic death in Baghdad, he said.
Talking to a small but enthusiastic gathering at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Angel Place, Sydney, Dr Ramos-Horta said it was more important for East Timor to confront its pressing economic problems (unemployment, infrastructure and institution-building) rather than wrestle with the ghosts of history.
The charismatic freedom fighter said the immediate challenge was to sign an agreement to develop East Timor's considerable offshore oil and gas reserves, an asset valued between $A20 billion and $A30 billion.
Under current plans, Australia will take 10 per cent of the royalty revenue from the Bayu-Undan gas project, with the remainder going to the people of East Timor.
Money from the project is expected to start flowing into East Timor government coffers by 2005.
"It would nice if John Howard turned into Mother Theresa one morning and decided to give everything to us, but I do not really believe such a thing will happen," he joked.
In a wide-ranging address, Dr Ramos-Horta discussed a variety of topics, including his support for the United Nations, the necessity for going to war with Iraq, East Timor's improving relations with Indonesia and his special affection for Australia a country where he spent many years in exile.
"The greatest single asset we [the East Timorese] have is the Australian people," he said.
Over the next few months Dr Ramos-Horta will be speaking to a range of possible overseas investors, including many from Australia, about business opportunities in East Timor.
Coffee growing, eco-tourism and fishing are just some of the projects on the drawing board.
"East Timor is the most successful example of nation building in the history of the UN, but our institutions remain fragile," he said. "Overall, however, I remain very optimistic about the future of East Timor."
The FCA would like to acknowledge the support of Warwick Chuck and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in staging this event and Jacob's Creek for supplying the wine.

Newsletter Index It was Bollywood all the way by Neena Bhandari
I was pleasantly surprised to find three out of the four cinemas at Cinema Paris in Fox Studios screening an Indian film, but what came as even a greater surprise were the long queues at the just concluded 10-day, first ever Indian film festival in a mainstream cinema here.
Sydneysiders were treated to the best Indian films of the past five years. From Oscar nominated Lagaan to Sathiyaa, `A Beginners' Guide to Bollywood Indian Film Festival' showcased a sizzling mixture of comedy, romance, action and drama.
"Bollywood is, indeed, the postcard to the world of Indian cinema and each of these films has a representative value and characteristics to make the Western audience understand why it is so different", said Mark Chamberlain, National Film Programmer at Hoyts Cinemas Limited.
He wanted the audience to leave their prejudices at the Box office and enjoy this pure escapism that Bollywood films offer. What Chamberlain finds most amazing is the sheer versatility of Indian actors and actresses, who are able to sing, dance, stage a fight and be lovers at the same time.
Sydneysiders
Sydneysiders warming up to the magic of `Devdas'.
Photo credit: NEENA BHANDARI
In recent years, Australia and New Zealand have become popular filming locations with Indian producers and directors and a natural corollary to it has been the growing interest of Australians in India cinema. "Indian cinema is so exotic --the music, the culture, the costumes. In Australia, there is a need for diverse cinema as we are bored with Hollywood," says Kerrie Casey, whose younger daughter was there with a group of students from the Bardic Drama school in Woollahra.
The credit for bringing Bollywood films into mainstream Australian cinemas goes to MG Distributions, a sister company of Melbourne-based Black Cat Productions. As Marcus Georgiades, Festival co-director and chairman of the company remarked, "Our aim was to introduce Indian cinema to Australian audiences, who have never seen an Indian film other than `Monsoon Wedding' and to build the potential crossover market".
The festival, which has been added to the annual cultural calendar, has certainly given Indian cinema the recognition it deserves.

Newsletter Index All set for `Tasting Australia' festival by Kirsten Fogg
It was lashing down rain outside, but up in the Sydney offices of the South Australia Tourism Commission things were warming up and the wine was starting to flow. Could it have been the mention of ``cocktail party'' that lured all these foreign correspondents away from their computers and into the stormy night? It worked for me.
As one of the newest members of the FCA, the evening was my first formal introduction to the hospitality of the South Australia Tourism Commission and to some of the wines they were showcasing for the annual ``Tasting Australia'' food and wine festival. It was also one of my first FCA events where I didn't feel like I was walking into a roomful of strangers.
As I savoured a Cabernet Sauvignon by Redman and grazed on floating hors-d'oeuvres, I chatted with John Innes, winemaker and general manager with Rymill, about the drought's impact on the vineyards and his marketing plans for Canada and the U.S. Wine exports from South Australia now make up 70 percent of the nation's total. The state has come a long way since 1845 when the first wine was shipped from Adelaide to Queen Victoria in London.
Ian Parmenter
 Ian Parmenter
I'm onto a smooth glass of Rymill, a 1997 Shiraz, when Ian Parmenter, raconteur, chef and director of the festival, is introduced. Parmenter, bereft of the trademark black beret, was born in London in the 1940s and discovered food after his family moved to Belgium when he was nine. The journalist turned TV director turned food presenter arrived on Western Australian shores over 30 years ago. Parmenter described his accidental plunge into food television with ABC over a decade ago. Much to his surprise, the program Consuming Passions, a one-man show filmed in his own kitchen, became a long running series. The Adelaide festival grew from an idea he had while attending a similar festival in Europe several years ago.
More than 30,000 people are expected to gather in Adelaide this year to attend the week-long festival and glean cooking secrets from personalities such as Scotland's Sue Lawrence, Rick Stein from the U.K. and Australia's Kylie Kwong. And for lager lovers, beer will be one of the key features for the first time this year. But there isn't any beer on hand, so reluctantly I try a little 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Hollick.
By this time my freelance career is starting to look up and I imagine myself gliding into the festival, wine-writer extraordinaire, hobnobbing with great wine masters and chefs. In South Australia, they do things in style.

Newsletter Index Careers in Wildlife Film-making: a book review by Neena Bhandari
Careers in Filmmaking
Careers in Wildlife Film-making by Piers Warren published by Wildeye and priced at £11.95 + postage makes 187 pages of fascinating reading. It is a comprehensive guide to wildlife filmmaking with essential tips for those waiting in the wings and for those already in it. The potpourri of experiences, perspectives and advice from some of the greatest in the field are insightful and thought-provoking. It takes a wide angle to every aspect of wildlife filmmaking, "every job that may or may not be available" and lists the major festivals and relevant organisations and companies in the industry. It explores how advancement in technology is continuously changing the business, ending on an optimistic note.
Piers Warren is well known throughout the wildlife filmmaking industry as the former editor of Wildlife Film News and producer of wildlife-film.com. Although he has experience in many aspects of filmmaking, Piers has specialised in multimedia productions through his company, Wildeye. He has written several books and is regularly called upon as an Internet and communication consultant for wildlife film and conservation projects. With a strong background in biology, education and conservation, Piers has had a lifelong passion for wildlife films and has a wide knowledge of natural history. He is one of the founders of the international organisation, Filmmakers for Conservation and runs the FFC headquarters in Norfolk, the UK.

Newsletter Index 100% Pure Eenjoyment by Mark Chipperfield
Combining the ministerial portfolios of defence and tourism is the type of forward thinking that seems to typify New Zealand.
As the Hon. Mark Burton explained to foreign correspondents last month his government sees no great contradiction between promoting one's country and defending it from invasion.
"We have a profile of the ideal visitor we'd like to attract to New Zealand," he said. "He or she is discerning, affluent, inquisitive and wants to get off the beaten track."
Mr Burton was the keynote speaker at a special Tourism New Zealand presentation to the Foreign Correspondents' Association in Sydney on July 25.
Other speakers included George Hickton, chief executive of Tourism NZ and Wally Stone, chairman of Whale Watch Kaikoura, who gave a fascinating presentation about an unusual offshore Maori eco-tour in the South Island.
The timing of the event was impeccable a few days beforehand Joe Hockey, the Australian tourism minister, had berated industry chiefs, saying Australia should follow the example of New Zealand.
Brushing aside this flattery, Mr Burton began his speech with the rhetorical question: "How did New Zealand become the hottest destination in the world?"
Wally Stone, George Hickton, Mark Burton
From left to right: Chairman Whale Watch Kaikoura Wally Stone, Chief Executive of Tourism NZ George Hickton and NZ Tourism & Defence Minister Mark Burton.
Photo credit: URS BUCHER
The minister explained that apart from the success of its innovative '100% Pure New Zealand' advertising campaign, Kiwi tourism had developed strong grassroots support within the community; indeed, one out of every 11 jobs is now tourism-related.
"Our aim is that everyone who visits New Zealand receives a world class experience," he said. "And judging by the letters that come across my desk I think we're doing a pretty good job. People just love New Zealand."
The figures are very impressive: inbound tourism to New Zealand grew by 7 per cent last year, twice the world average for the same period.
Interestingly, New Zealand (which now earns $NZ6.1 billion a year from tourism) was also the first country in the world to establish a dedicated national tourism authority.
Mr Burton admitted that the global success of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy had played a major role in promoting New Zealand as a travel destination.
He also nominated New Zealand's "clean, green image" and its remoteness from the world's trouble spots as other important drivers.
"Our relative remoteness has turned out to be one of New Zealand's biggest draw cards", he said. "Especially for visitors coming from North America or Europe."
The FCA would like to thank Tracy Johnston and the staff at Tourism New Zealand, www.purenz.com, for organising such a worthwhile, enjoyable and informative event.
 
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