The best political emails to crikey of the week.

Laborite says sell Telstra

Dear Crikey Team,

This is the first time that I have logged onto your website, since reading about it in the Oz. I think it is excellent. I shall subscribe.

Even though I am a staunch Labor supporter (particularly Mark Latham) I find your political/economic views quite realistic. I note your views on setting up an alternative right wing party, I can’t wish you too much success because I feel the current political climate is a great opportunity for the ALP to adopt a very Clintonian economic perspective on economics (welfare in particular) and pick up some Lib voters.

The Libs are odds on to lose some of their Yuppie/Professional supporters to the ALP, as per what has happened in QLD if they keep flirting with PHON. All the ALP has to do is tone down the “Class Warfare” policies of the ’98 election and forget about the bush. Why go chasing votes in RARA where the voters will whinge no matter what is done for them? These people have difficulty grasping economic reality. If they are dumb enough to bother with PHON, is there any hope for them? The ALP may as well go for the city Yuppie/Professional vote with policies on Tertiary education/R&D etc that appeal to the “Brain Drain” phobia of urban Australia. (Isn’t it scary that the $A is close to record lows yet many resource prices are at quite reasonable levels?)

If the ALP is feeling really brave they could go through with the privatisation of TLS. Can anyone honestly believe that it will still be in majority government control 5 years from now? RARA is going to get shafted whether it is fully privatised or not, urban Australia (where, funnily enough, the majority of Australians live) is hardly going to be happy about subsidising RARA.

On the issue of PHON, I think it is bizarre that so much energy is spent decrying immigration, when emigration in the next few years of university graduates and professionals, will be more of a worry. I’ve noted many articles in the press about Law/Commerce/IT etc graduates being recruited straight overseas and not even bothering working in Australia. A big sleeper issue on the Brain Drain, I think would have to be the pathetic salaries offered to university graduates by Australian companies. (30-35K, at our tax rates and our currency value? You must be joking!)

All in all, it is frightening to think of what Australia could be like in 10 years time if whoever in government panders to the economic Neanderthals of RARA.

Kind regards, Matthew A

Crikey: Selling Telstra is one of the most obvious policy decisions to take. If not, why don’t we buy back Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank. The key is regulation not ownership and Labor, the Dems, the Greens and One Nation should wake up to this fact and stop believing in fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Make this by-election types pay

Dear Crikey,

When our shonky pollies such as Hawke, Keating, Fahey, Kennett, Moore, Borbidge and Court cut and run after a loss or demotion we not only get saddled with paying for the by election but have to put aside valuable weekend time to vote for another factional arsewipe. In the good old days when unions still had a smidgin of muscle a call out from home resulted in a minimum of four hours pay. Include in your new party’s manifesto a clause to make the bastards pay all the expenses of the electoral commission plus a call out fee for voters and you’ll romp in.

Rog C

Crikey: Yeah, you tell ’em Rog.

Murdoch will not give Graham Davis a go


It is my belief that the Courier-Mail will not print the letter by Graham Davis. I have sent a few ‘anti-Labor government’ comments via email to them and had them edited to reflect only the comments not bashing Labor.

I think that the people of Queensland are not hearing the whole story. Why buy Murdoch’s press?

Kelly W

Crikey: Well, they say that Beattie rings editor Chris Mitchell every day. If the Courier Mail does run the letter could someone let us know. I’ve had a response from an email to a senior editorial exec on the paper.

Whining Democrats ignore Howard’s mandate

Dear Crikey,

What a sad, navel-gazing bunch of self-servers the Democrats are – if the Crikey email truly reflects mainstream Dem views. Where does the national interest crack a mention? Do the Dems want to revert to a pre-GST Australia where hard work was penalised through swinging income taxes? An Oz from which too many of our best people fled as tax exiles (too many still do, thanks to Lib/Nat pussyfooting over our still too-high personal taxes)?

Never ones to let the facts get in the way of a good whinge, the Dems conveniently overlook the fact that the Libs/Nats had the GST as a central plank of their election platform. They said, before the election, what they would do if they won. They did win. They had a mandate, mate.

The Dems might not like it but that’s the way our democracy works, flawed as democracy may be. At least leader Lees recognised the mandate and chose not to obstruct the tax changes completely, although she did her best with her exemption hotchpotch. Incidentally, Dem exemptions are why we still tax employment in Oz. It’s called payroll tax. It would no longer apply if the Dem fairies had any inkling of what’s best for the national interest, not to mention what’s best for young Australians who can’t get a decent job.

Are the Dems saying that Howard’s earlier ‘never ever’ throwaway precluded him or any other politician from later changing their mind or going to the people with a different policy proposal?

The Dems’ asinine and reactionary political logic would have seen Curtin relying on the Poms to defend Australia in 1942, Hawkeating keeping the exchange rate fixed forever and Don Chipp remaining a lifelong Lib. At least we got to vote on Howard’s tax changes. And do the Dems expect Beazley to nationalise the banks when he wins the next election? After all, bank nationalisation was Labor policy in the Forties, so Dem logic says it should remain so in the Noughties. Come to think of it…

It’s sad that, like Hanson, the Dems offer no solutions. Both are spoilers. Neither outfit’s mantra, “keep-the-bastards-honest” or “get-rid-of-the-bastards”, has or will create a better Australia, or get jobs for our kids, or pay pensions for the deserving. The saddest thing of all is that the federal electorate will probably buy the Dems’ ‘case’. It’s no different from Hanson’s ‘case’ and the latter’s had some success lately.

Where’s the vision, people? And where are your policies? How will you make Australia better?

Why the hell should I vote for you?

yours, etc, Winifred Lambert

Crikey: The really are a bunch of tree-hugging, tax and spend lefties in many regards and maybe it is time they were put out to pasture by the voters.

Will Murray win most from Democrat spill?

How sad to read that Moral Meg, doer of the GST deal, will be leaving. I was interested to read that Murray could be considered. He is the neo-Liberal who drove the GST deal! Remember all those lovely images of Mum, Dad and the favoured son – Lees, Murray and the man I miss most, your mate Cherry – sitting at that table, with Murray doing all the pseudo-economic waffle at the pressers following the deals; “I’ve always wanted to be a Liberal, now I can be”.

A vote for Murray is a vote for everything the Democrats have stood for this past two years. Once they broke core election promises (taxes, books, etc) they became the bastards, sadly. Except for Stott-Despoja and Bartlett, who stood firm at great personal expense. Who could figure the media campaign against poor old Tash?

Thanks for these updates – saves the wading through of the morning papers. So hard to find news under the entertainment stories.


Crikey: Now it sounds like Aden is the man and this certainly sounds the most logical move to Crikey.

Gun laws, Hanson and the Democrats

My dear Crikey, love your work. But one thing I must take issue with is your (and everyone else’s) view of gun laws. Whenever there is talk of Hanson we hear people say “Don’t vote for her in the federal election because we’ll have assault rifles in the streets”. But under Section 51 of the Constitution the parliament can’t legislate on guns (except for their importation).

I just hope that your new party doesn’t continue with the myth of One Nation’s gun laws and actually puts a bit of truth in the debate. On the Derocrats homepage they make a song and dance about truth in political advertising, yet at the last federal election they were telling voters that a vote for One Nation is a vote for assault rifles and a vote for the Derocrats is a vote against assault rifles. ‘Years ahead’ they tell us. Years ahead in lies.

yours, Dale

ps I don’t like guns. The police shouldn’t even have them.

Crikey: Crikey is perfectly happy with the gun laws as they stand today. No changes required. We also believe the widely accepted Port Arthur story, unlike Pauline’s gun-nut backers.

Does Howard go easy on Reith?

I was puzzled as to why Howard didn’t dump Reith, then I realised that he probably knows where a few bodies are buried. As for the phone lark – one could be excused for thinking that as is usual with pollies it was seen as a way to get a bit of extra free benefit. Pity his son was such a dickhead. Dubai would be an interesting story if Reith told of Howard’s involvement. Another rort that Howard is involved in is the fact that while his family lives at taxpayers expense, probably fair enough, his eldest is employed by a Sydney legal firm and still lives at home. At our expense.

I have tried four times to get some response regarding this special case board and lodging without success. Therefore my feeling is that Howard had to be easy on Reith because he has his own little perks.


Crikey: Unlike Peter Beattie, Howard is extremely conservative on what he says about his dodgy colleagues. It’s not in his nature to dump on his mates publicly but you’re right in suggesting Wreath would know where the bodies are buried.

More truffles for Crikey readers?

In answer to your correspondent’s ‘cri de coeur’ (20 Feb), actually the “sort of person Crikey (by which I assume he/she means Hillary’s column) is written for” may not actually be the sort of person who actually reads Crikey. One of the great things about the Internet is that it is available to people in a fairly wide socio-economic range, and the quality of the journalism on Crikey makes political ideology a non-issue.

The “isn’t it just absolutely dreadful” hand-wringing reflects poorly on Hillary’s alleged status as a tough-minded journalist.

The commentary about the AB demographic that reads Crikey is kind of fascinating. Elitism seems to be a bit of a creed for Ms/Mr/Mrs Bray. Pardon me while I signal the waiter for another plate of truffles.

Look, I’m used to Hillary’s rantings over the terrible iniquities of us financially Luddite socialists, but don’t bother trying to get us to sit with you upon the ground and tell sad stories about the death of kings. Tell you what. I won’t jump with you from Storey Bridge, but I’ll come and watch while I sip my budget Chardonnay (CD price range, rather than AB). If Hillary wants to moan, then moan. Just don’t assume we’re all beating our breasts also.

Best regards otherwise, Ben

Crikey: Hillary is an economically rational Liberal with a heart, which is the best type of politician going around. No union stacking, no government rents, no rorting, but plenty of compassion where the markets fail us. Now why on earth do you call yourself a Socialist luddite Ben?

Our favourite bunch of lunatics

Dear Crikey, some observations. The Queensland result must be a blow to One Nation. It won 11 seats in 1998, and despite the escalation of rural anger, it only managed to win three seats this time. On the back of it failing to win a single seat in the WA Lower House, this has been a bad time for our favourite bunch of lunatics. (And yes I do know that they stood in less than 50% of available seats this time.)

In my humble opinion, One Nation did not pull in the votes because Queenslanders, unlike Western Australians, have had a taste of One Nation, and seen them for the clowns that they are. This must have put quite a few voters off.

We do have the privilege of pay-TV, and frankly, the coverage was an embarrassment. With it all over bar the finger-pointing by 8pm Melbourne time, the commentators had nothing to do. The rest of the night was spent talking to every One Nation and City Country Alliance candidate they could find, and replaying the Borbidge speech in between.

I think the final word must go to our glorious PM for shitting himself after the WA election. His comments on the Woodside sale prove that he does not deserve to be our PM. If it is so bloody important to keep ‘icons’ like Woodside Australian-owned, then what about Qantas and Telstra?


Crikey: It was Labor that sold 49 per cent of Qantas offshore and Beazley who wanted to sell Telstra. We’d have more Aussie business icons if the environment had been more pro-business over the past 213 years. Instead we all go to the beach and flog off the farm to maintain our leisure-focused lifestyle.

Send in the Sledgers XI against Hanson?

As a Melbourne lad living in London, I must say what a joy it was to find The Bigot is back – not! It has taken an outstanding year in the sporting arena to distract the people I meet in my travels from the debacle that was the republic referendum. Accusations that our cricket team is arrogant are easily deflected given their current form, but how does one explain Pauline? It must rank up there with trying to sell Apartheid as a good idea, not so long ago.

I was once chatting to a black guy in a bar in New York. I asked if he had ever considered going to Australia. He replied “It is too racist down there.” This was before Hanson graced our political scene. What hope is there to create a good impression in the global community now? I am not suggesting for a minute that everyone is not entitled to their beliefs and their say, but for the media to portray Hanson in the manner they have openly promotes Australia as a brainless, racist, backward society. The last time that I visited the ‘Hanson Homeland’ near Toowoomba (five years ago) I had to wonder.

Instead of the major parties crapping on about what they are or are not going to do about fuel excise, I would much rather see some of that infamous Aussie sledging aimed at Hanson and her idiot hangers-on.

AJ in the UK

Crikey: Well said AJ. The foreign perception is the greatest disaster to come out of the Hanson phenomenon.

No number-fiddling at Treasury

Dear Crikey, something is amiss with Robert Garran’s story (‘The Australian’, 21 February) of a defence spending ‘fiddle’ involving the bringing forward of payments.

As Commonwealth Government hype tells us, the government’s new accrual-based accounting system reports Budget outlays in terms of the incurring of liabilities as distinct from the making of payments to discharge them. Thus, cash ‘fiddles’ (as used to happen) can no longer dress up the headline budgetary figuring. They are a meaningless exercise.

Could it be that senior executives of the Prime Minister’s department have yet to wake up to this new transparency of reporting, a much-trumpeted Coalition initiative? Which might explain the rather dopey minute that came to Garran’s attention. Someone should dob them in to Fahey and Costello.

yours sincerely, former Treasury insider

Crikey: Let’s hope you’re right in believing accrual accounting can end all budget window dressing and fiddling.

Some Qld Liberals still give a duck

“For the first time in a long time, I didn’t hand out how-to-vote cards for my candidate. I was the runner, went everywhere there was a problem, made sure booth workers were happy (as much as they could be) fed them, watered them and probably babied them a little.”

Let me say, I agree wholeheartedly – and I love “who gives a duck?” Can I have it please? As a committed and dedicated Liberal of many years, I am ashamed and have been copping it from all sides, via email and on the answering machine. It has upset me so much that I am screening my calls – what a blow.

I don’t know what will happen, but it bloody well better happen within the next three years because I want see my party stand on its own two feet, become a force to be reckoned and be in government in our own right, not in coalition. Enough – I am getting angry and pounding the keyboard. Thanks Tom, maybe I’ll see you at the party convention. You’d probably make a good president – go for it, you’ll have my vote.

see you, Maryann

Crikey: Someone has to pick the Queensland Libs off the floor. Maybe Tom would make a good Pres.

Pauline’s free publicity bonanza

Why do people who should know better (politicians, journalists, editors) continue to talk about and subtly promote someone like Pauline Hanson? In truth, as we all know, she barely can put two sentences together, let alone have a constructive thought for our national benefit! So the simple question, why does the absolute majority allow the absolute minority (previously noted) to promote their personal self-indulgence/benefit and irrelevant feel-good promotion, is totally unanswerable as well as totally beyond me! But the unanswerable is, what does it give Australia in the end? Zero growth at any level, i.e. social, moral or economic? Or is it our make-up, that we, as a majority, love to be travel along with any crap as long as certain minorities continue to accumulate their wealth and become the richest corpses in their respective resting sites!

Hells bells, what more can I say, apart from Australia, get real. In conclusion, as a believer in fair play, general probity, honesty, true commercial values and that people achieve their respective positions through hard work, honesty and ability, not through marketing – maybe just a dream of an ageing man. Golf tomorrow and with it comes only thoughts about the next shot!

Crikey: As journalists, we can’t ignore someone who gets more than 10 per cent of the vote with crazy policies. It reflects on all of us. I agree the fixation with her fashion sense is unnecessary but the political analysis can’t be avoided.

Less thinking, more gossip and ridicule

Gawd, all this political analysis is boring. Can’t we just ridicule all those interested in exercising power over their fellows, recognize that the majority of them suffer some crippling personality disorder, and be done with it. More gossip is the order of the day.

Crikey: I can’t recall Australia ever having two state elections in successive weekends but this current obsession will pass. And we continue to bollock all politicians and the political process generally, don’t expect to see any quality candidates put themselves forward. If you like democracy you should like politicians and politics.

Labor fish heads and freebies for farmers

Hello Crikey I’ve only recently discovered your wondrous site, as Athena appeared to me in a dream and sternly instructed me to read Crikey as often as possible… just kidding! I can’t remember how I discovered you but I’m glad I did. I hail from rustic Wollongong, and live in the federal seat of Cunningham, which has the dubious distinction of being the safest Labor seat in Australia (ALP 70% on primary vote at the last election). My local representative is Steve Martin, Shadowy Minister for Defence, Sport and (censored) who in my opinion is not a good local member. Then again, he doesn’t need to be, the ALP could stand a rotting fish head as a candidate down here and it would get elected. Isn’t compulsory voting wonderful! Just south of Wollongong is the seat of Throsby, which the ALP has generously bestowed on Comrade Jenny George, who hasn’t troubled herself with picayune concepts like actually living in the seat she is to represent. Isn’t the ALP is wonderfully feudal, with sons inheriting seats from fathers, and safe seats treated like lucrative fiefs to be bestowed on loyal Labor minions?

I agree with your comments about John Howard, there is no one more profligate than a desperate Liberal PM, I well remember that last year of the Fraser government – uuuuggghh! The May budget will have railcars of pork for the RARA’s, to help those tough, independent battlers on the land, who aren’t satisfied with their subsidised phones, postage, fuel, and price support schemes. No price is too high to support the man on the land! In the long-term I think it would be better if the Libs broke with the Nats permanently, and ran candidates in all seats. With a Liberal government we might even have a chance of some – gasp – Liberal policies, whereas sooner or later Coalition governments end up pandering to the RARAs, with conservative social policies and interventionist economic policies, to appease the likes of Bob ‘The Mad Hatter’ Katter, and his flat-earth agrarian socialism.

Anyhow, that’s enough for my first email, I would love to attend your Sydney bash to meet you guys and throw some money at you. I look forward to meeting you!

cheers, Geoffrey S

Crikey: Great letter Geoffrey. The only thing worse than a heavyweight from the NSW right is a lightweight from the same thuggish faction and Steve Martin qualifies for that title. I’d consider voting for the rotting fish head.

No racially-based welfare

“She wants to ban all food imports, put semi-automatic guns back in the community and she believes in cutting back race-related welfare.” She gets one out of three right then! “It’s okay to provide government assistance to white dairy farmers, but it is not okay to help Aborigines or refugees”. Only white dairy farmers would be helped by the One Nation suggestion? I didn’t know that. “I believe in an overall reduction in the total cost of welfare in Australia…” Is there anyone receiving welfare or other payments weighted due to their ethnic background, or who are part of the army of leeches feeding off refugee/immigrant and ethnic-based litigation who would support equality of support payments based only on need? “…not cuts that are race-related and designed to split the community.” Race-related welfare is already splitting the community – the suggested cuts could bring some equality to welfare, basing what people receive on their need. By the way, I don’t get any government hand-outs and have never even applied for any. It hasn’t been an easy line to stick to over the last couple of years but I believe welfare should be for those that really need it whether they are white, black or whatever.

John Williams

Crikey: You people who quote things back at’re such a nuisance some times. When I spent three months driving around Australia in 1997 it was blindingly obvious that our indigenous Australians are shockingly disadvantaged. Of course they need more welfare on average than the typical white fella. Welfare is for the disadvantaged and dispossessed. Let me guess John. Are you someone who welcomed the Japanese Emperor’s apology for war atrocities a generation later but don’t believe we should say Sorry to the Aborigines.

Labor deserved to win in Queensland

Dear Crikey, having acknowledged that you guys are a bunch of old Tories anyway, I can appreciate that you would be fairly pissed off with the result in Queensland. True to form however, you are clearly continuing to allow your own personal political views to cloud the issues at hand in Queensland. Still on your high horse and still calling Beattie and his team rorters, you continue to bark about what a disgraceful thing it is that Queenslanders should give Beattie another go – and with a bigger mandate. Although you do seem to have softened your stance – calling the ALP institutionally dodgy – rather than corrupt. I guess that was a concession from your side.

The fact is however that if you actually stepped outside the Golden Triangle for five minutes you might realise what most Queenslanders demonstrated they understood on Saturday.

The Beattie Government is moving Queensland away from its traditionally conservative base (too afraid to look at the big picture) to be progressive and to invest into its future, most notably as shown by the Smart State agenda, gay and lesbian rights, prostitution reform, stronger industry development and investment attraction performance and a much more friendly multicultural policy, in addition to the general requirements and responsibilities in administering the state.

In addressing your other sledge, unemployment has been falling. Historically Queensland has always had a higher unemployment rate due to factors including a higher participation rate, the impact of high interstate migration and its demographics. In any case, you could hardly argue that the government hasn’t improved employment levels and hasn’t been trying its hardest in word and action.

The National Party in government last time – the one you thought wasn’t too bad (and whom you said had nothing to do with the previous National Party government in the Joh era – even though many of the sitting National members were members of both governments and some of which have only just been thrown out) cannot claim to have achieved any of the points I have raised above. I’m sure even you would agree that in recognising the needs of its own constituency, the Nationals have never adopted a progressive approach to government and have continued – even in opposition, to focus on rural issues and counterproductive policies like loosened controls over land clearing and dismantling regional forest agreements rather than ways of ensuring that Queensland has a future economically in a rapidly changing environment.

You might say this is a bit of a stretch, given the Coalition agreement. However the fact is that the Queensland Liberals have always been the junior party in the state Coalition, and the thumping they took on Saturday proves how completely weak and out of touch they are anyway.

But why let these facts get in your way when responding to people who participate in your forum. When you haven’t got a sound argument why not just dub them once again as political hacks and cry foul for democracy. Frankly the Courier-Mail should have formed the Shadow Cabinet last time. But at the end of the day, Queenslanders will always be shrewd with their vote, and the result showed that most people – even many Liberals – felt that Labor had the capacity both as a party and as a government to best guide them through for at least the next three years.

A narrow majority might have given your argument some credibility. But a caucus in the range of 65-70 seats blows it out of the water.

My condolences to your Queensland colleagues. Labor may have once been reduced to a cricket team in the Queensland parliament. But the Liberals have barely got the numbers for a game of solitaire.

Perhaps there will be a few openings in web-based right-leaning political commentary.

All the best, Chris

Crikey: Enjoy your political monopoly Chris and good luck finding a job in the Rorting state. Sorry, I’m a bit feisty tonight after a long Sunday lunch with Mr G who flies out on a round the world ticket on Tuesday. Don’t take any of this personally

The agony of Queensland Coalition politics

Tom, I loved your article. Sorry you had to stand in the terrible weather for 10 hours for no good reason. I voted at 8.30am at a church in Buckland Road at Nundah (against Neil Roberts) and abused the Labor how-to-vote guy (who I think showed a little respect for me when I called Labor ‘scum of the earth’).

I can’t believe the people of Queensland believe Labor will do anything about the GST or the petrol prices, let alone believe in Beattie. The Beattie who has yet to release the Sheperdson Inquiry report, who supported Bill D’Arcy until d-day, and who let Hamill and Gibbs go quietly before the proverbial hit the fan.

Maybe you can tell me why the Liberals had Watson at the top in the first place and why the Coalition didn’t ditch ‘been there and lost before’ Borbidge before the election.

I am a little angry and wish there was something I could do.

Kelly W