Crikey readers’ January musings:

Australia Post feeble forwarding service

Just wondering if I am the only one having so many problems with Australia Post these days. I have moved a couple of times over the past two years and have had a mail forwarding service in place.

The first forwarding service began in January last year and all was going well until July when I was expecting some Kindergarten related mail for positions in the next year and all was quiet. Upon ringing Australia Post to find out what was going on they looked into it and rang back to tell me that they had run out of my forwarding labels – and therefore my mail had stopped being forwarded!

The second incident occurred over Christmas when I put a hold on my mail whilst I was away until the 29th of December. When I returned there was no mail delivered for a couple of days and we had to ring up to get them to deliver the mail that they had been continuing to hold on to a week later.

The third incident happened when we moved in the middle of January and I again put a mail forwarding service in place for six months. I was surprised to receive a letter from Optus stating on the envelope that it was in relation to Australia Post, when I was sure I had not ticked any boxes to pass on my personal information to anyone. When I rang to find out why my information had been passed on I was told that even though I had not signed my name to allow Australia Post to notify certain organisations of my new address, I had not ticked the box two questions later when it states:

As part of your Mail Redirection Service, we can send you valuable information which can help you in your new home – such as free offers, discounts, and information about other products and services from Australia Post and participating businesses. Tick if you do not want to receive this free information.

So in the one case you have to opt in to have personal information passed on, yet further down the form you have to actually opt out to have information passed on. I was told by Australia Post it was my fault for not reading the document properly. I find this to be very deceptive behavior and wonder what the Privacy Commissioner would have to say about it.

Lastly, in our new (and final) home we are still receiving the previous occupants mail on a regular basis – even though they have* paid* to have a mail redirection in place!

I am sure there must be many more experiencing the same problems with Australia Post just waiting to have their say through your fabulous website, I was bemused to see that Australia Post were sponsoring the Australian Open this year, surely in a monopoly service this is a complete waste of money when they obviously need some serious help.

Michelle Andrew

Jackman on Kevin Rudd

I find the reference to Christine Jackman’s story on Kevin Rudd running for the Labor leadership incomprehensibly offensive.

Firstly, the claim that “If any other reporter made an error like that, they would be in deep strife” is downright bizarre and shows a deep misunderstanding of the newspapers. Anyone who has ever had anything to do with newspapers knows that newspaper editors rarely “punish” reporters for being bold enough to write a story, based on good sources, that may, for a range of reasons, not happen as predicted.

The idiot who wrote this sexist commentary (and we all know things like this often fill the crikey bulletin) then followed it by the comment “I wonder what will happen to her when she is called in by her editor and soon-to-be-husband for a spanking?” It is about here that I started feeling ill, angry, and frustrated. As far as I understand it, Jackman is an employee at The Australian. She’s also a woman, and she also happens to be the editor in chief’s partner. Since when do all these factors combine to mean that she should be sexually degraded and “spanked” by her partner because he is a powerful man in the newspaper she works for?

By all means, contributors have every right to point out journalistic mistakes, inconsistencies or whatever else. But comments like this are fuelled by misogyny and sexism.

Australian Day awards

You complain that no Lefties received Australia Day Honours. Which Lefties do you suggest should have received Awards or should the Left get Awards whether they earn/deserve them or not? Like the often unjustified praise for Gough Whitlam, Kim Beazley or Peter (I know there is a problem and I am going to fix it, but often does not) Beattie? There must be good people out there from the Left, but who are they?

There seems to be plenty from the Left who are busy dumping on Australia and John Howard, with some saying Australia is a dreadful place to live in, but still live here. As far as I am concerned these people, dumping on Australia, have disqualified themselves from receiving any Australia Day Award.

And I am sure John Howard wears their criticisms as a badge of honour. Piers Akerman should wear your vendetta/criticisms as a badge of honour.

In my view Lleyton Hewitt should also wear criticisms as a badge of honour, he is an outstanding ambassador for Australia and an excellent role model in the tennis world. We are very fortunate to have him.

And the Press Council (which definitely does not deserve a “badge of honour ” ) continued to show how irrelevant it was when it supported your ” Legendary ” Tim Palmer’s appalling behaviour over the Roth teenager daughter, murdered by a suicide terrorist. Tim Palmer is “legendary” for the wrong, Roth, reasons.

And another thing, has a conservative ever won a Walkley Award, or are they just for the self praising/promoting Lefties?

Peter Priest

Lynton Crosby’s Order of Australia

Lynton Crosby’s distinguished service to humanity deserves much more than a mere Order of Australia Award. After all, this man was a key player in the 2001 Tampa and the children non-overboard scandal affairs, each in its own way a triumph of humanitarian values in the Liberal Party tradition (which also happened to ensure a spectacular election victory for the Coalition). And your report of 25 Jan shows our Lynton, on loan to the British conservatives, has lost none of his skills with the wedge.

For achievements well beyond the call of conscience, I propose that Crosby receive the inaugural GROAN award (Grand Rodent’s Order of Australia – Nepotism class). He deserves no less.

Greg Bowyer

Howard exporting xenophobia

The long run of the do-nothing Howard-Costello government riding the wave of economic reform implemented by the Hawke-Keating governments seems to be coming to an end. With our balance of trade figures over-shadowing the “debt truck” we need to look at all options for future exports, but your packaging of material relating to Lynton Crosby’s role in the Conservative Party’s election campaign makes me think that we need to draw the line somewhere.

Only the Howard Government could make exporting xenophobia and the cruel, inhumane treatment of asylum seekers seem a realistic option – so many employment opportunities for former ministers as well. One can only begin to imagine the consultants’ fees Philip Ruddock and Amanda Vanstone would attract.

Stephen Lambert

The Age’s poor tennis coverage on Friday

After one of the great matches at this years Open the vast majority of Melburnians would have picked up the Friday edition of The Age and thought there was not any tennis last night at Melbourne Park. Roaming four newsagents in inner west Melbourne (Flemington) not a skerrick nor a peep, not even a progress score. Thought I’d check the front page j-peg on the website – same one as my edition – yet the report of the match is on the site.

Meanwhile the front page of the Herald Sun literally screams the result. One of Melbourne’s biggest events and The Age drops the ball. Match to News Ltd.


Channel 7 Tennis Coverage in Darwin

Glad to hear that the 7 network are bolting in the ratings during what is the most enthralling Australian Open in living memory. Pity that the local Channel 7 up here in Darwin can’t quite seem to get the point. Coverage has been coming on at 7.30 each night …….. Darwin time …….. a full 90 minutes and a couple of sets behind Rod Laver Arena live time.

Maybe they are just trying to make us feel as though we are treated the same way as Melbourne and Sydney folk. After all last nights epic Safin v Federer semi final finished at 12.30 a.m. ESDT and the coverage up here finished at 12.30 a.m. CST. Same, same isn’t it? Needless to say the folly in this has been pointed out to 7 management in a couple of stinging serve letters to the editor of the Northern Territory News which so far haven’t elicited a response from 7’s Fannie Bay headquarters.

Fortunately for those of us who like our tennis live ABC Grandstand have been doing an excellent job. Well done Aunty.

Given the status of tonight’s Little Lleyton v Rocket Roddick semi it will be interesting to see whether the comings and goings at Summer Bay or the re – runs of MASH (happy 69th birthday Alan “Hawkeye” Alda) get put on hold until next week so that we can get live or only slightly delayed visual coverage of what from a parochial Aussie viewpoint will be the biggest Oz Open match since Rafter took on Agassi in a semi several years back.

C’mon 7 Darwin …… Deal or No Deal?

The South Timor Correspondent

Stappleton on Jim Courier at the Tennis

I couldn’t believe it when I read Sports Editor Ross Stapleton’s praise of Jim Courier’s performance at the Australian Open. We must have been watching different broadcasts. Jim Courier was an absolute embarrassment. His appearances on the court were cringe making. His comments were generally banal and irrelevant. His demeanor was dumb and stupefying. It was only inertia that stopped me ringing Channel Seven to complain about him and ask them to get him off. Witty? Acerbic? Does Stappleton know the meaning of these words?

Ian Robinson

Nicole Kidman and AVOs

For my money, the glaring issue with the Kidman AVO situation is the growing misuse of Apprehended Violence Orders as a substitute gag order on journos or others with a legitimate right to information (although exactly why anyone really wants/needs to know intimate details of Kidman is a bit beyond me – all you have to do if you want to see her is go to the movies). This is the second time in less than 12 months we’ve seen AVOs used in this way.

There’s thousands of violated and abused people in our society who rely on AVOs as their last line of defence against actual violence, and it’s frankly appalling the process is now bastardised to the point where the rich and famous are using it as a cheap publicity stunt – Kidman doesn’t want privacy, as privacy would spell the end to her career.

David Donohue

Travellers beware: know your rights

(Now there’s two words that are about as Ocker as can be! – sorry I digress).

I just wanted to say that if the major newspapers & TV channels chased the story about the AG trying to muzzle the most harassed Australian around (Habib) to anywhere near the degree you have so far I’m sure the AG would have shut up long ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with hunting down terrorists and giving them a dose of their own medicine. But what is wrong with all this is the WAY this government is going about all this. Why don’t we just form a lynch mob and string him up if they ‘think’ he’s so damn guilty?! Sheesh the yanks are experts at that!

The manipulative deceit being practised by this Govt. over the last 3 – 4 years is so damn obvious I cannot fathom why more people are not up in arms about it. I just don’t get it.

I mean are people in this country so damn busy with work, family and other commitments that they cannot hassle people like the AG to bits (even in a small way) and make him treat those who are innocent until proven guilty with a little more decency? I’ve fired off my fair share of letters to no avail over the years.

If the man committed a crime of the nature that requires him to be put away in a camp that breaches the Geneva conventions in all manner of ways, then as a citizen of this country I want to know why! Show me the proof – it’s not enough to say ‘It’s classified’. Do they think we all came down in the last shower?

I want to know the RIGHT people are being caught – not just some patsy to satisfy some stupid politicians or beaurocrats ego!

Fair suck of the savaloid Johnny!

David Stewart

Quiet in Israel/Palestine Belies Truth

Israel/Palestinians appears relatively quiet these past few weeks. Few Qassams have been fired; and fewer targeted assassinations have occurred. Palestinian and Israeli deaths are greatly reduced, although too many are still dying.

Still, the Israeli “land grab” continues. Silently. Hoping we will not notice.

At least 74 houses will be destroyed in Palestinian East Jerusalem for The Wall. The Israelis claim they need a full 500 metres on both sides of The Wall “for security reasons,” so hundreds of Palestinians will lose their homes.

South of Jerusalem, The Wall will isolate four Palestinian villages, 18,000 Palestinians, and many properties of Palestinians from Bethlehem on the Israeli side of The Wall.

The Israeli Government secretly confiscated from Palestinians more than half the land of East Jerusalem, and will dispose of this land as it wishes. Land worth millions of dollars; no compensation paid to the Palestinian land owners.

Around Ariel and Kedumim, The Wall continues to be erected on Palestinian land, and Palestinians protesting this theft are arrested.

We are fooling ourselves if we believe that the Palestinians will “remain quiet” under circumstances like these. We must do what we can to stop this destruction and land grab, or risk more blood letting on both sides. The Israeli and Palestinian people have suffered enough already!

Judy Bamberger