In this column, I will show you how to get freebies online – from newspapers and music – for free.

Freebies online – I’m also going to increase your chances of winning a prize at your next school, club or church fundraiser! After that introduction, just try skipping to the next page! You know you can’t!

Did you notice what you paid for The Sunday Mail this weekend? It’s just gone from $2 to $2.50! This 25% hike comes just weeks after the introduction of a paywall on the paper’s website.

The Courier-Mail and The Sunday Mail have introduced what News Corp Australia (the former News Limited) calls a ‘metered digital subscription’. You get a limited number of articles for free, more if you register, but after that you must pay. Even News Corp Australia’s Quest suburban newspapers – free when delivered to your door – are part of this ‘metered’ paywall when viewed online. Around the country, it’s a similar story. And not just the Murdoch press. Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have just introduced paywalls.

There’s a very good reason for newspapers going down this path – with fewer people paying for the physical newspaper, and with revenue from the classifieds shifting to various websites (real estate, cars, second-hand goods, etc.), there is less money for journalists and the quality of news is under threat. Indeed, Jonathan Holmes used his final words on Media Watch to suggest: “Whatever your politics, or your preferences, start subscribing to at least one media website. Pay just a little to keep real journalism alive.”

But there is an alternative for those who are steadfastly against paying for news. All you need is a Brisbane City Council library card and you can have unlimited free access to over 2,000 newspapers and magazines from around the world. Visit, enter your card number and you’re away. (Any resident of Queensland can join a Brisbane City Council library – you don’t have to live in Brisbane). You won’t get updates throughout the day, as you would with online access, but for someone who just wants to read the paper over breakfast, it’s all you need.

Once you’re a member of a Brisbane City Council library, there’s another online perk. Every week, you can download three free songs. Four library cards in your house? That’s twelve free songs every week.

But wait, there’s more and this next tip comes from a politician! You’re about to gain a huge advantage next time you play Heads-and-Tails at a fundraising event! Heads-and-Tails involves someone tossing two coins and participants guessing which way the coins will fall. Everyone stands up to ‘bet’. Hands on your head for heads, hands on your backside for tails and one hand on each (head and bum) means you’re guessing one head and one tail. Anyone who is incorrect is eliminated, then the coins are tossed again, until there’s a winner.

At this year’s Graceville State School trivia night, we were on a table with local state MP Scott Emerson. Scott’s obviously been studying these games at the myriad events he attends so just before Heads-and- Tails, he whispered to my missus the secret that would double her chances with every toss. He explained there are four possible combinations: Head-Head, Tail-Tail, Head-Tail and Tail-Head. If you go for heads or tails, there’s only a one-in-four chance you’ll be right. But if you put one hand on your head and one on your bum, you’ll have a two in four chance (you’re covering both Head-Tail and Tail-Head)! And that’s it.

Nikki did as Scott suggested and won the prize – which happened to be a very flash bottle of wine donated by the local federal MP Graham Perrett. Now who would have thought two politicians in a room could be so useful? Bottoms-up!

Finally, Cheryl Stevenson’s email sums up reaction to my column on John Murdoch and his Happy Bus: “What a wonderful man! The world needs more positive people like John”.