Christian Kerr really hit a nerve with his column When shrubhuggers attack. See the passionate responses below:

Attacking the shrubhuggers

I was amazed to read your diatribe When shrubhuggers attack. The criticisms are to my eyes thoroughly unbalanced – Global capitalism (read unbridled) IS a major problem for the world, and the Liberal party IS the party most likely to ignore the results of their actions.

Why don’t you rate the environment movement by the right-wing economic policy? – Or could you go so far as to embrace to opposite view that we could actually improve and sustain our economy with Green measures?

Just because the there is a movement called ‘Green Left’, does not make all ‘greenies’ socialist. Note the ‘Liberals for the Forests’ movement. Clearly, the ‘green movement’ has had a closer relationship with the labor movement over the last 20 years, but this is an ideological issue for the Labor party – not the Greens. Traditional labor concerns about restrictions to employment can however be balanced by stopping the more exploitative activities of, in particular, mining and forestry. These industries have themselves been the issue of job losses through mechanisation – not the green restrictions.

Specifically, the report about the reef was remarkable to me as it did not actually say that the Australian outlook is good – only that it was ‘looking up’. A long way from adequate – but at least better than the others which are looking disastrous.

In particular, if any of these environmental outcomes can be attributed, then they should be attributed to the green movement, who has consistently lambasted governments of both persuasions. These organisations are required to counterbalance the almost ‘pure’ econonomic (ir)rationalist movements in vogue at this time.

Dismissing members of the Wilderness society as possibly ‘ferals’ is doing your own credibility a disservice. A feral as I understand the term is not interested in any other thing than their own immediate survival. Most so-called ‘ferals’ I know (I live near Nimbin) are actually more than the simple label that is applied – they are in fact active conservationists as well, looking to preserve the miserable remnants of once great forests.

James Fuller

CRIKEY: Read Christian’s column here – When shrubhuggers attack…

Shrubs and wedges

Looks like Christian Kerr has fallen prey to another of John Howard’s giant wedgies (Christian Kerr, 8 Dec 04).

Since when is criticising a government (or an opposition for that matter) bias? Isn’t that what non-government organisations are supposed to do? Isn’t that called functional democracy? The truth is this government has a shocking record on the environment – with policies driven by sectoral and electoral self-interest. John Howard may have any eye on the history books but he sure as hell doesn’t give a hoot about his environmental legacy.

We’re all intelligent people so let’s be frank – any mug could see the ALP was going to lose the last election. Given this the smartest thing environmentalists could have done was back the government wholeheartedly. Suck up to them. Kiss their butt. Just like in 1996 with Telstra and the NHT – yes? Hmmm… I’d rather sleep with a rattlesnake.

Think about it, you’ve forgone the corporate salary, the boozy lunches and the flashy cars for a life of bicycles, public transport and two-sided paper usage and every day you’re shouting at the top of your voice about issues that you feel are important – to you, your kids, and their kids as well. Do you stop shouting just because one person in the group has made up its mind not to listen to you? Of course not! You carry on. You keep shouting and hope someone is still listening.

If Crikey and the Howard Government (one and the same by the look of this commentary) didn’t like Labor’s environment policies during the last election they should talk to them – not to environment groups. Environment groups were just doing their job – suggesting policy solutions, criticising bad policy and welcoming good. Perhaps Christian Kerr should re-read his Politics 101 textbook and remind himself of the definition of democracy before he becomes completely complicit in this government’s attempt to silence dissent through nasty schoolyard bullyboy tactics.

Eco Friendly

ACF and Labor

So John Connor denies any formal link between the ACF and the ALP, but actions speak louder than words. At the 2001 election, the ACF targeted 10 or 11 marginal seats on various environmental issues. Only one of those seats was held by the ALP, even though each of the 3 major political parties held a number of marginal seats.

The ACF can say they are politically unaligned but they need to explain why they usually focus their attacks against the non-Labor parties.

Bernie Masters
Independent MP for Vasse

Collusion and the ACF

The ACF can’t help themselves can they? I quote from the letter:

“First of all, ACF is not linked with ALP or any other political organisation, it is an independent non party political organisation. During the recent election it did not advocate a vote or issue how to vote cards. Prior to the election ACF had good access to the Government, Opposition, Greens and Democrats.”

Are they really serious? The ACF, WS, WWF and Greenpeace etc are linked to the Green political party in the same way the union movement is linked to the ALP: they provide support (including funding) through both direct and non direct methods. Most of this is in the form of targeted cynical negative advertising: “we are in an environmental crisis and the only party that can save us is the GRE_NS (fill in the blank to get the answer).

In the last few years organisations like WWF funding (mostly government!) has risen by over 500% and many of the “environmentalists” have been appointed to senior grant and government positions. Does any reasonably intelligent thinking person really not understand this is a direct result of preference and other back room deals. To use one example the (very anti farming) ACF’s Tim Fisher is a member of the following (mostly tax payer funded) farming related boards:

Murray–Darling Ministerial Council’s Community Advisory Committee; Land and Water Australia (a director); advisory board for Pratt Water; Murray-Darling ‘Living Murray’ process; Community Reference Panel, Native Vegetation Program Committee; Watersmart (Victoria) Strategy Committee; National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality NRM Reference Group; Land and Water—Australia’s River Contaminants Program, Social and Institutional Research Program Management Committee, Board Audit Committee; Future Landscapes Program Management Committee (chair); Riparian Lands Committee (chair); and the Myer Foundation’s Water and Environment Committee.

The recent choice of a scientist to the ACF will be very interesting to see what happens when they have to support rubbish like:

“The once mighty Murray River is dying, on current trends Adelaide drinking water from the Murray River will be too salty to drink two out of five days by 2020.”

When figures from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission in September 2004 showed very clearly that the Murray River has become progressively less salty over the last 20 years. In fact there is less than half the salinity that there was 20 years ago.

Prof Jon Jenkins MLC
Outdoor Recreation Party

Where is Crikey’s political balance?

Crikey’s ongoing bias and vilification directed against the democratically elected Howard government reflects the massive myopia, disbelief, grief and stress displayed by the media in general. You are starting to become as shrill and irrational as Kingston and Ramsey. Strongly advocating one political party over another constantly, as Crikey does with the ALP, is not good business practice. You are pissing off a number of your paying customers.

Hugo (hooray for Kevin Dudd) Kelly and Christian Kerr’s (pin up boy for the hydrocephalus left) ongoing tears about Labor’s FOURTH loss in a row is now becoming quite boring.

For the sake of balance and more importantly, for the sake of your business, accept that Howard has won, and start focusing criticism on Labor not tears of woe and advice on how to get into government. Christian used to refer to Latham as mad or drunk, once he became leader, this turned to abject sycophancy. Hugo, in a recent article claimed that Rudd had “done over Downer on a range of issues”, yeah right Hugo like what, advanced UN ass kissing or code-sending behavior to anyone with a lower IQ than him? Downer has performed magnificently in his current role. He is about to become our longest serving Foreign Minister ever, his opinions, contacts and abilities are respected globally. Read the recent Wall Street Journal profile as an example. If you love the ALP that much boys apply for one of the many advisors jobs the opposition front bench currently has on offer.

Our democracy is strong, Crikey just can’t handle the outcome. Lift your game before other subscribers ask themselves the question I did, “Who would waste money to subscribe to this biased crap?”

Former subscriber
William Calvin

Carmen Lawrence and the Marks Royal Commission

The “Howard Hater” of the Lawrence debate response to “Lisa Liberal” was note worthy in its refusal to refute any of the allegations in Lisa’s rather lengthy land detailed documentation of the Lawrence affair.

He/she did offer one piece of sound advice “stay on message”. It’s pretty simple really, the questions were posed, “Is Lawrence a liability to the party.. well even her comrades ensured she stayed hidden through out the election campaign!”Did she lie in the Easton Affair “Maybe, maybe not, but her memory lapses are…nagh not even going to bother with that one. Is there reason for anyone to be concerned about involvement or otherwise in the WWM scandal?

Like it or not Lawrence is tainted goods and offers no challenge to any sitting government member. For a party groping for new electable talent, Lawrence is a luxury the ALP cannot afford. If the Royal Commission was a cheap trick engineered by Howard and co is not relevant. Until the ALP cuts loose the deadwood, the forgetful and the beholden, Howard will remain PM.

Instead of trying to defend Lawrence, Howard Hater and kind should be apologising to the rest of us for helping maintain an ALP that offers absolutely nothing in the way of alternative government. Here’s one more tip…Howard is the most preferred PM not because he is admired or respected, its because the ‘Howard Haters’ and the ALP’s own myopic vision combined with its compromised, minority driven members offer no bloody alternative.

Oh one last point, the term sanctimonious bastard springs to mind for any nitwit who dares accuse me or others of moral short comings because we happen to consider that rises in interests rates and the economy important to the welfare of my family.

Tom Collins

CRIKEY: Read Lisa Liberal’s column here – Revisiting the Marks Royal Commission

Mark Scott’s comments on The Sydney Morning Herald

How strange, I remember SMH/Sun Herald running a particular story on the Back Page in early November which contradicts Mr Scott’s rhetoric on independent journalism, in fact I am still waiting for a response on why they decided Rugby League Player Braith Anasta’s contract discussions a more significant back page story than the death of the much loved and truly “great” Australian Johnny Warren.

Maybe he can explain to me the significance and news agenda of this breaking story. Somehow descriptions of “courage and tenacity” should have been recognised and directed towards a more deserving owner on that day.


David Stratton: anti-censorship or anti-American?

The internet is abuzz with David Stratton’s coming out as a left-wing agitprop reviewer.

His reviews of Team America: World Police (meant by its creators as a savage satire in the same even-handed low-key manner as their South Park) on the At the Movies and Weekend Australian Dec 4-5 have outed his political line.

Reviewing the film Team America: World Police his major complaint is that the film mercilessly satirises the left Hollywood Mafia – Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon et al. Stratton sniffs that “whatever you think of their politics, they don’t deserve the bile, the Bush White House would admire the film’s message.” He then gives it one star.

Compare that with Stratton’s evaluation of the Mike Moore agitprop Fahrenheit 9/11. Even more tellingly in the same Weekend Australian article he gives 3 and a half stars for the “sickeningly sadistic thriller Saw“.

I find that Stratton tends to prefer leftish propaganda of the bleak or black armband style or “challenging” sexual testing of the bounds and always the nihilist anti-censorship line.

I see it as dangerous in that it’s actually censorship. Stratton is actually implying that the World Police film-makers should actually censor their film to be friendly to the Hollywood left. Leave aside the sharp contrast to Stratton’s take on Mike Moore or Australia’s Rabbit Proof Fence. I’m more concerned that this purported pantheon of film reviewing is actually behaving like the Stalinist agitprop experts.

It’s “David Stratton: Thought Police.”

Tony Stolarek

The benefit of Stratton’s transparency

Re Tony Stolarek’s David Stratton tirade: it has long been obvious to even the casual viewer that David and Margaret are lefties from way back. Big deal. The thing about David’s Team America review that undermines your paranoid ‘agitprop’ theory is that he was perfectly open about his political views and how they inflected his view of the movie, which is more than can be said of most reviewers of Fahrenheit 9/11 – find me one that wasn’t politically motivated, please!

Propaganda is dangerous (or effective) precisely when it appears to transcend the realm of opinion and masquerades as ‘news’. Critics and journalists with political views is inevitable and nothing to be afraid of, I’d be more worried if they didn’t care either way. Openness and transparency about these views is to be encouraged, not hysterically flailed at with Stalin-obsessed clichés, even if they did give me the best laugh I’ve had all day. You’re obviously a few years behind on David Stratton’s political ‘outing’, do I have to break it to you about the end of the Cold War too?

Louise Hardy

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