SCHNITFIGHT: Cold war over hot schnitties | Ramping revisit | Stay-up Santa | Gather round for a footy PhD

This week we tuck into gas versus electric schnitzels, prove ramping is for everybody, high-five a pumped-up Mall Santa and blow the whistle on a weird new scholarship.

Dec 08, 2023, updated Dec 08, 2023

Deep-fried feud

Mike Rann was a hardball player during his decade in power, but he has been notably kind to his Labor successors in his political retirement.

This week, however, he sent a strong signal that he’s not happy with the Malinauskas Government’s friendly and supportive approach to the gas industry.

In a speech reported by InDaily on Wednesday, Rann compared the gas companies to big tobacco.

“Fossil fuel companies hyping the benefits of gas, as if it’s a newly discovered climate solution, remind me of the tobacco industry’s embrace of vaping. It’s all hot air,” he said in the Don Dunstan Oration.

Within minutes of InDaily’s story being published, the state’s chief spruiker of gas – Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis – was on his favourite social media platform, X (formerly known as Twitter), to pump up the importance of the industry.

Because of Elon Musk’s increasingly weird oversight of X, readers would have to click the link to know what the hell Koutsantonis was talking about.

It was an article about AHA boss David Basheer’s claim that South Australians might have to pay $40 for their pub schnitty if the industry was forced to use electric appliances instead of gas (a weird claim given the relative efficiency of modern electrical appliances).

Koutsantonis was also ladling on the gravy in his intimation that schnitzels would be banned – which no-one is suggesting.

There is pressure from many quarters, however, including this week from the Adelaide City Council, to ban new gas connections as a climate change mitigation measure.

Rann certainly believes the age of gas investment should be over now, with the world running out of time to escape calamitous climate change.

A cold war about a very hot topic.

Big Weber captures Town Hall

City councillors also waded into the gas appliance debate this week.

But before any member weighs in on any matter at Town Hall, it’s important to check for and publicly declare anything that could constitute a conflict of interest – no matter how small.

That’s why InSider was so impressed on Tuesday when Deputy Lord Mayor Phil Martin made the following grave announcement.

“I declare a conflict of interest before I discuss gas: I have a Weber – and I love it,” Martin said.

The unashamed, Big BBQ-backed councillor then proceeded to grill council’s strategy to electrify the city, declaring it “underbaked”.

“I don’t disagree with the principle but I think we’re racing ahead of what is the legislative environment in South Australia,” Martin said, presumably fearing for the future of his North Adelaide cookouts.

“We have a government that is not committed… [to] a ban on the installation of gas, much less conversions.

“The government is rightly, I imagine, cautious because it’s going through all of the permutations associated with a ban on gas installations and conversions to electricity.”

High steaks for Phil Martin over his love for a gas Weber. Photo: Angela Skujins/CityMag

Martin tells InSider he owns a Weber Q – “my second” – and cooks all red meats in his courtyard “because I dislike the smell associated with cooking red meat in the house”.

As for his signature dish on the grill? Scotch fillet (bought from the council-owned Central Market, of course) coated in olive oil with truffle and cooked for two to two and a half minutes a side at high heat, then served with freshly picked and chopped parsley.

Martin adds that his “modest culinary skill” extends to a whole fish wrapped in foil, smothered in soy sauce and sliced spring onions.

“I’m hoping I won’t have to hide the Weber from the authorities should there ever be any attempt to ban gas barbecues,” he said.

“I can’t imagine life without it.”

Ramping the ramping reviewer

After AFL star Patrick Dangerfield was left ramped outside the Royal Adelaide Hospital earlier this year, it should come as no surprise that South Australia’s health crisis can affect anyone at any time.

But InSider was still caught off guard to hear that an eminent health veteran appointed to review alarming claims about management of RAH ramped and emergency department patients has himself experienced the dubious joys of languishing with chest pains in an ambulance outside the RAH.

Dr Bill Griggs, the RAH’s former trauma services director, now retired, was more than happy to tell reporters on Thursday about how it felt being stuck outside his former workplace, hoping he might make into the inner sanctum where doctors and nurses live. So near, and yet so far.

Dr Bill Griggs

“One of the joys of getting older is I have some lived experience of ramping,” Griggs said at a press conference alongside Health Minister Chris Picton, who was fronting up to his second “no way to spin this” media crisis of the week.

Griggs continued: “I had some chest pains last year and called an ambulance and ended up being ramped at the Royal Adelaide.

“Tempting as it might have been to ring someone that I knew inside the hospital, I knew that the system is what the system is, so that would be quite inappropriate.

“So I stayed there, and eventually I was inside.”

Let’s all just think about that for a moment. Or much longer.

Griggs and Professor Keith McNeil (unclear if he’s been ramped before) are expected to deliver a report around Christmas time on allegations made by doctors’ union president Dr David Pope that patients arriving at hospital on an ambulance are being prioritised ahead of sicker patients in emergency department waiting rooms.

SA Health denies the allegation.

He’s not falling down on the job (this week)

InSider would like to give a big Christmas shoutout to Rundle Mall’s inflatable and excitingly unpredictable Santa, who, as far as we can tell, has made it through a full week without being deflated, removed or covered in a green bodybag.

Face-down festive fun. The weirdly prone Mall inflatable Santa made it through another big shopping week without collapsing. Even though he looks like he has.

Regular readers of this column know that InSider has been keeping close tabs on the Santa’s deflationary antics this Christmas, which have already prompted questions at Town Hall, new security measures and headaches for Rundle Mall management.

But lest our relentless scrutiny of blow-up St Nick – oddly laying face-down as if he’s had three or four stiff eggnogs and crashed out – be misconstrued as one-sided coverage, we want to put on record that we were positively buoyed by Santa’s buoyancy this week. Christmas is back!

And buoyancy might be what is needed for the big bloke to survive this weekend’s rainstorm. InSider wishes him all the best (we’ll be watching).

Welcome back Peter

InSider was chuffed to see that Premier Malinauskas ticked off a list of accomplishments this week as he jetted back from Canberra into the middle of the ramping furore, and news that the state’s biggest company Santos is looking elsewhere.

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But InSider couldn’t help but note his checklist was for the city’s airport on federal land, national tax revenue handouts, and national healthcare help. Mendicant is our word of the week.

Leaked nudes at forefront of cybersecurity breach predictions

The cybersecurity landscape in 2024 is expected to be shaped by trends observed in dark web forums, according to insights gathered by NordVPN.

Contrary to the traditional focus on sophisticated attacks, NordVPN emphasises the rise of amateur hackers targeting regular internet users.

The top five predictions for cybersecurity threats in 2024 include a surge in leaked nude content, particularly from platforms like OnlyFans and Instagram, with criminals potentially using AI or deepfake technology for deception.

The second prediction highlights the increasing use of AI by hackers, leveraging tools like ChatGPT for more automated and effective phishing attacks.

The third trend anticipates a growth in amateur hackers, as demonstrated by discussions on hacking courses and tutorials on the dark web forums.

The fourth prediction emphasizes the rampant selling of customer data, with 55 per cent of discussion threads revolving around leaked personal information.

Lastly, the article warns against the reliability of biometric authentication, as hackers have reportedly found ways to bypass methods like selfie verification.

NordVPN suggests a multi-factor approach to authentication and mentions the emergence of passkey technology as a more secure alternative.

NOTE: In the spirit of AI and all things cyber, InSider decided to use ChatGPT to summarise this press release. Yawn.

Great work if you can get it

In partnership with Flinders University, the SANFL is offering an industry PhD Scholarship to undertake what it calls “innovative research into the sociocultural impact and legacy of AFL Gather Round on South Australian communities”, according to a job advert on SEEK.

Yep, that’s right. One scholar will get $35,000 a year for 3.5 years to prove that the Gather Round is good for the state.

According to the job ad, “this research will provide strong sociocultural evidence to inform policies to target game development initiatives, widening participation programs, and periodic strategic planning”.

“It will also offer opportunities to strengthen future bids for infrastructure investment to support anticipated participatory growth across South Australia. The study will provide SANFL with empirical evidence to support future proposals to retain AFL Gather Round in Adelaide, South Australia. Together we are seeking innovative solutions to this challenging area of research through this PhD project.”

InSider wonders what happens when after three years of watching footy, the PhD scholar determines the Gather Round isn’t worth the effort?

Stuff you should know…

No snark here, just a pat on the back. Adelaide all-female cheerleading club Skybound Elite has won its first national championship.

The club won gold at the Australian All Star Cheerleading Federation (AASCF) National Cheer and Dance Championship 2023 in Melbourne.

The squad, known as Empyrean, secured the Level 2 Open Non-Tumble gold medal with an impressive score of 95 out of 100. Which, knowing nothing about cheerleading, seems to be tremendous to InSider.

This is the Beverley-based squad’s first national win.

They are an all-female cheerleading gym that creates a space for girls and women to feel safe, included and empowered.

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