September 24, 2003


Michelle Grattan of the Melbourne Age puts in a late bid for craziest line of the year:

The MV Cormo Express has become the Tampa of the live sheep export trade.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 24, 2003 12:30 PM

What else would we expect from Goggles Grattan?

Posted by: Bushy at September 24, 2003 at 12:38 PM

I must be missing something, but...what does that mean?

Posted by: Big Dog at September 24, 2003 at 12:43 PM

How about Michelle Grattan: the Tampa of Australian journalism... because she doesn't know where to get off.

Wocka wocka wocka!

Posted by: Andrew D. at September 24, 2003 at 12:44 PM

It's better than being St. Petersburg, I guess.

Posted by: charles austin at September 24, 2003 at 12:45 PM

Or -- worse -- Bradenton.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 24, 2003 at 12:56 PM

I'm with Mr Truss.

I went on a Club Med cruise once - like the sheep I put on weight and contracted scabby mouth. Upon return I evaded my girlfriends attempts to have me 'put down ' and eventually found a new buyer. We continue to live very happily together.

Posted by: Pig Head Sucker at September 24, 2003 at 01:03 PM

Truss is right- those sheep are having a good time; in fact, probably better than the Aussies who go on a P&O South Pacific Xmas cruise.

It's a contradiction in terms for the animal rights lobby to demand that the sheep be slaughtered. "Mercy" killing indeed! The poor sheep will be traumatised at having to stand by watching the slaughter and getting splattered in blood. And the sharks might get over-excited too.

Posted by: Freddyboy at September 24, 2003 at 01:12 PM

And The Age should give Michelle Kingston an immediate dip to get rid of her scabby-mouth.

Posted by: Freddyboy at September 24, 2003 at 01:14 PM

The Age has become the Marie Celeste of newspapers. Long ago abandoned, no-one home, drifting aimlessly, all at sea.

Posted by: Rob (No1) at September 24, 2003 at 01:19 PM

Maybe Bob Brown and Peter Singer could sell the sheep to Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. I'm sure Al Kaeda would be happy to eat anything at the moment.

Posted by: Maxi at September 24, 2003 at 01:24 PM

Michelle Grattan and The Age are important to none but their own dwindling reader base of 100,000 and falling, which represents about the same intelligence and perspective of the 50,000 sheep on board the Corma.

Let's get one thing clear for a start. The Saudis have reneged on a deal. It's their fault.

Now, about cruelty to sheep. Yes - ship transit can be rough. It's your moral choice, the death of a percentage of sheep, or the Third World starves. Same argument as GM corn.

But what was even rougher for poor old Lamb Chop was that not eighteen months ago, sheep were being shot in their thousands and buried in mass graves due to the drought which ravaged South East Australia 2001-2003.

Why? Because the farmer couldn't get a dollar each for them and couldn't feed them because sheep don't eat dirt.

Any outcome for sheep is better than that. While transporting large numbers of animals will always entail some casualties, the fact remains that Australian export processes are still of a high standard. But nothing will ever be 100%, despite the demands of animal activists.

Now let's discuss animal conditions in the rest of the world. Start me off, someone.

Posted by: ilibcc at September 24, 2003 at 02:10 PM


And Ms Grattan is the tampon of journo's.

Posted by: Bushy at September 24, 2003 at 02:29 PM

Fairfax is the "Titanic" of publishers.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at September 24, 2003 at 03:15 PM

It seems Ms. Grattan was endevouring to make a silly point; that a shipload of sheep refused entry to Saudi Arabia is comparable to a boatload of , would be, illegal immigrants refused entry to Australia.
I have concern for the suffering of those sheep, just as I have sympathy for the suffering of those humans attempting to illegally enter Australia. We have given temporary sanctuary and sustenance to the illegal human entrants; but the Saudi Arabian authorities say to the sheep "piss off & die" !
Ms Grattan, Somewhere in making your point you have lost reality.

Ms Grattan has outlived her use-by date.

Posted by: Gadfly at September 24, 2003 at 05:52 PM

She's mutton dressed up as ... mutton.

Posted by: pooh at September 24, 2003 at 06:03 PM

I'll have you know that Michelle Grattan was pretty hot before electricity.

Posted by: Habib at September 24, 2003 at 08:29 PM

It seems to be a relatively simple and straight-forward analogy to me.

The MV Cormo Express has become the Tampa of the live sheep export trade. Unable to land at their destination of Saudi Arabia, more than 50,000 Australian sheep, loaded in early August, yesterday remained in search of a third country to take them for money, or free.

How is that different to the situation of the Tampa, which was prevented from docking in Australia, while efforts were made to find a third country it that would take its cargo?

"Craziest line of the year"? Pfft.

Posted by: Geoff at September 25, 2003 at 10:16 AM

Hello Geoff, anyone home. The Cormo Express had the sheep on it when it left port, and the Saudis knew it was on the way. The Tampa picked up some free-loaders along the way, none of whom were invited.

Now if the Corno Express had picked up some malcontent, possibly disease ridden rams from New Zealand along the way, then you'd have a proper analogy.

Posted by: unit at September 25, 2003 at 02:40 PM


It's a valid analogy, I believe, in so far as you have a ships that are not allowed to land at their destination, and are then forced to look around for alternative ports to drop off their cargo. That's the story of the Tampa, that's the story of the Cormo Express. These are the relevant similarities, and hence the analogy holds in the context of the article, IMHO.

To try to extend any comparison too far (especially beyond the relevant context) will of course make any analogy fail. The origin of the cargo on either ship is irrelevant in this context. What matters is the similarities in the process of offloading that cargo.

It is, I believe, a simple and reasonable analogy that can be grasped quite easily by anyone with knowledge of Australian current affairs.

So, again I say "pffft" to Tim's observation that this is "the craziest line of the year".

Posted by: Geoff at September 25, 2003 at 03:07 PM


You asked how the cases differed and I told you. Given Australia was happy to take the Tampa's valid cargo, but didnt want the illegals who were NOT part of the cargo, then I think the analogy is dead.

Besides, I think the inference goes beyond your rather forgiving parameters. Grattan loves to try and make us all feel guilty about these issues...and herein lies the real reason for the Tampa reference.

Or am I giving her too much credit.

Posted by: unit at September 25, 2003 at 03:37 PM


Well we'll have to disagree then. I think it's a simple and valid analogy, you think otherwise. Fair enough.

Personally, I believe you (and Tim) are trying to take the analogy out of its context of the similarities in the process of offloading undesirable cargo. You may believe these are "forgiving parameters", but I think this is all the analogy ever actually alluded to. Whatever.

I think my "forgiving parameters" are quite a reasonable interpretation however, and Tim's original "craziest line of the year" assertion still deserves a rousing "pfft".

Posted by: Geoff at September 25, 2003 at 04:54 PM

I'll see your "pfft!" and raise it a "meh!"

Posted by: Pigfucka at September 25, 2003 at 05:27 PM