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The Sydney Morning Herald

The Diary

Author: by MICHAEL IDATO and LEESHA McKENNY
Date: 14/10/2010
Words: 1079
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: News and Features
Page: 26
Bonhomie gave way to mauling

'Good morning, Alan, and thank you for those kind words," began the Arts Minister, Virginia Judge, after Alan Jones's introduction on 2GB yesterday. They were, however, to be his last. What followed was an on-air mauling about the government's failure to immediately agree to rename the Sydney Opera House theatre after Dame Joan Sutherland, as suggested by the Opposition Leader, Barry O'Farrell. It since has. But not before Judge pointed out how quickly the issue had come up ("Death does happen quickly, Virginia," shot back Jones). Or suggested a commemorative Dame Joan Sutherland opera instead. She also pressed her need to first speak to the family. "We didn't speak to the Anzacs when Bob Carr called it the Anzac Bridge," Jones began, recounting how the Glebe Island Bridge got its new name. Jones said he told Carr of the idea after it was suggested by one of his listeners as a great way to commemorate the Anzacs. "And Bob Carr said: 'Great idea. I'm going to do it and give you no credit,' " Jones recounted. "I said, 'I don't care. We don't care who gets the credit. It's a great idea.' " Carr wasn't listening yesterday. But he told The Diary he didn't recall locking Jones out of the idea, which he did first hear on the show. "To the best of my memory I didn't say that, but I mean, it's a long time ago now - it's 15 years ago," he said. And Judge can take some comfort to learn that, unlike her on-air slaying, that name change wasn't a swift one. "We did need [the RSL's] approval and they took a bit of time about it," Carr said.

SHAGGY DO STORY

When the Seven Network newsreader Sarah Groen trimmed her locks, the resulting scandal was dubbed "Hairgate" and she was issued with network-approved extensions pending regrowth. There appears to be a more generous regime in the network's drama department, where the Home and Away star Josh Quong Tart will soon return with shorn locks. Quong Tart cut his trademark shaggy do and grew a beard for his recent stint in the Sydney Theatre Company production of Our Town at the Opera House, surprising everyone with his new, debonair look. His bosses on the top-rating soap were so impressed with the leaner, suaver look that they have given him permission to keep it - for the moment. His change of look "suits the storyline", a Seven publicist told The Diary, but as with all things in Summer Bay, the forecast is never certain. The new do stays, she added, "for now".

THANKS PRANKS

The self-described shareholder activist Stephen Mayne is on his way to New York for tomorrow's News Corporation AGM, and he's bearing a gift for the media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The former Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie has provided a signed copy of his book, Man Bites Murdoch, published after his wrongful dismissal by News Ltd earned him more than $580,000 in damages. "Dear Rupert," its reads, "thanks a (half) million. Regards, Bruce Guthrie." Mayne said Guthrie wrote the inscription at the end of his Melbourne book launch (with Ray Martin looking on), but the idea was a leaf out of someone else's. The 2008 tome of a former journalist, Bruce Dover, Rupert's Adventures in China, describes his meeting the former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten at function hosted by Patten's publisher, Macmillan, in Sydney, where Dover similarly offered to forward a copy of Patten's memoirs to Murdoch. His book had been unceremoniously dropped by a News Corp subsidiary, HarperCollins, in 1998, allegedly due to Murdoch's fears it might damage his commercial interests in China. Although a settlement sum paid to Patten was never disclosed by the company, his inscription revealed Patten's level of appreciation. "Dear Rupert," it read. "Thanks a million. Warm regards, Chris Patten."

WOW QUEST

Big names are being rolled out to support Australia's bid for the 2022 World Cup. The Australian director Phil Noyce, whose movies include Rabbit-Proof Fence, Patriot Games and Salt, was spotted filming on Bondi Beach with Ian Thorpe yesterday. The footage will be part of the 30-minute bid to FIFA in Zurich in December. "The whole thing is top secret because we want to be able to wow FIFA," a Football Australia spokesman told the Herald's Garry Maddox. Half an hour after last Saturday's Australia v Paraguay friendly match, Noyce filmed a batch of Socceroos, including Tim Cahill and Jason Culina, Matildas and fans at the Sydney Football Stadium. Australia's rivals for the World Cup bid are the US, Qatar, Japan and Korea.

Matt Buchanan is on leave.

GOT A TIP? Contact diary@smh.com.au or 92822372.

A BIG DAY FOR BIG SHOTS

IT has horses, it has chariots and it has the voice of Russell Crowe.What is bigger than Ben Hur you ask? The answer is Ben Hur: The Arena Spectacular, whichwas unveiled to media yesterday with what is best described a whole lot of horses ass. In keeping with the spirit of the occasion, Diary offers you five historical figures whose lives, and stories,would also be best told in an arena spectacular.

Abigail, The Arena Spectacular: The life of the 1970s television sex kitten, featuring Russell Crowe as the voice of Abigail. Featuring two enormous papier mache bosoms and topless dancers.

Ben Stiller, The Arena Spectacular: The life of a Ben who is more familiar to the under-25s than Ben Hur, featuring Russell Crowe as the voice of Ben Stiller.

Alarge-scale adaption of his magnum opus Zoolander, featuring topless dancers.

Godwin Grech, The Arena Spectacular: The life ofAustraliasmost famous political animal, featuring Russell Crowe as the voice of Godwin Grech. Costarring the Holden Precision Driving Team in the role of anOzCar fleet, adorned by topless dancers.

ShaneWarne, The Arena Spectacular: The life ofAustraliasmost famous cricket pantsman, featuring Russell Crowe as the voice of ShaneWarne. Cue huge inflatable cricket(ers) balls and topless dancers.

WHATS ON TODAY

_ HSC exams start.

_ The Commonwealth Bank chief executive, Ralph Norris, to address the Committee for Economic Development of Australia at theWestin.

_ Sydney Sexpo opens at the Hordern Pavilion and Royal Hall of Industries.

_ OPEC annual meeting begins in Vienna.

_ Bank of Queensland to announce its full-year results.

It will have a big impact.

On publicity levels, that is. The Qantas chief executive, Alan Joyce, delights in Oprah Winfreys decision to hop aboard a flying kangaroo bound for Australia in December.

 
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