Ross Copeland writes:

Alex Sanchez’s attack
(yesterday, item 19) on Kerry Nettle and the Greens is way over the
top. The message on Kerry’s shirt was clearly directed at Tony Abbot
specifically, not Catholics in general. Alex and some of his Labor
comrades may not like the Greens, but if Labor is to have any chance of
winning the next election they will need a good proportion of Greens
preferences in marginal seats. Greens members decide on the allocation
of preferences at a local level so ALP candidates will do themselves no
favours by launching virulent attacks on the Greens.

Margaret Morgan writes:
Why exactly are you offended,
as a Catholic, by “Get your rosaries off my ovaries,” Alex Sanchez? Me,
I was thinking of a bumper sticker reading, “Get your dogma out of my
uterus,” but Kerry Nettle’s slogan does have rather better assonance. I
have no problem with you, as a Catholic, having views about what I do
with my ovaries and my uterus. But when you think that because of your
religion you are entitled to decide what I do with them, well,
then we have a problem. And frankly, your being offended by a slogan is
nothing compared with how I’d feel if you had your way in limiting my
rights regarding my body and whatever tiny cluster of non-sentient
embryonic cells might be embedded within it.

David Lodge writes:
Sanchez should get over himself. If he is offended by the fact that
most women oppose one man, with a well known conservative agenda,
having complete and utter control over a drug which is available in
most other developed nations, perhaps he should stop paying attention
to the debate. This has nothing to do with free speech or offending
certain groups of people. It is about the centralisation of power.

Christopher Paul writes:

Crikey please explain what the point was behind publishing Alex
Sanchez’s vitriolic tripe attacking Kerry Nettle and the Greens in
general? His spite neither served as a news item nor as a salacious bit
of gossip. It was clearly a partisan political attack of the lowest
order that is quite simply beneath contempt. You’ve already got
Christian Kerr on the payroll. What do you need Alex Sanchez for? His
arguments can only lead readers to the logical conclusion that Mr
Sanchez is incapable of intelligent political debate and must therefore
resort to spiteful, incoherent rants. As he is described as a former
Labor adviser, I assume that he now works for Family First. As it
stands, the Greens are leading the RU486 debate despite only having 4
senators. They are well and truly punching above their weight. The ALP
have considerably more representation in Parliament and yet their
hapless members can’t even seem to make the AWB scandal taint Teflon
Howard. How pathetic.

A. Cameron writes:
wondering how unanimous the vote would be if the question and situation
was reversed, i.e. taking the decision off the doctors and putting it back
into the hands of the Health Minister? Especially Fr. Abbott. The level
of trust most people have in our politicians would make it an easy “no”
in the public at least.

Rod Raymont writes:
The RU486 debate has left a few male MPs looking like complete geese, not
least Abbott and Heffernan. (Barnyard is such a gibberer it’s not worth even
recording what he says.) Abbott looked completely stupid on the 7.30 Report last night as Red Kezz
demolished his arguments one by one.
Then there was Heffernan huffing and puffing that it would be legalised
euthanasia next – compulsory in your case I’d say Bill. I think the
women of the Senate were telling you to blow it out your a*se! My
understanding is that RU486 was not even on the list until then
Senator Harradine used it as a bargaining chip on some other issue –
in other words, this Government didn’t care about it until they had
to do a sordid political deal – what hypocrisy!

Daniel Fowler writes:
Surely Mr Mellor is joking
(yesterday, comments): “Apart from scale, what is the difference
between fags and condoms to get the money moving for our work and the
millions that are necessary to get hundred million dollar wheat deals
over the line? Nothing.” Perhaps it’s time we stopped referring to the
payments that went to Saddam’s regime as “bribes” and start framing the
discussion in terms of theft. A bribe implies that the briber is taking
a hit personally to ensure cordial relations with the bribee (as with
Mr Mellor’s smokes and condoms to his Indonesian associate). In this
instance there was no skin off the AWB’s nose in forking over $300
million to Saddam as it was not their money to give. The cash for the
“bribes” came straight out of the Oil for Food account, a fund set up
to help ensure the welfare of the people of Iraq, who at the time were
suffering greatly under the sanctions regime. AWB were complicit in the
theft of this money – a sum which I’d suggest could have bought a lot
of medicine for a lot of sick babies, instead of being funnelled to a
violent and corrupt regime. This is a crime of far greater moral
magnitude than a bit of palm greasing!

JackJacoby writes:
my parents came to Australia over 50 years ago, they came from a legacy
of persecution where they were victimised for the culture and religion
into which they were born. They came here because it was free,
relatively tolerant and where people could do what they liked (pretty
much) provided they didn’t impose their will on others or breach the
law. Over the years scores of cultures and religions have successfully
migrated to Australia and have been absorbed into the Australian
society without losing, for a moment, their ability to conduct their
lives whichever way they liked, provided it was within the law and
within the social value system that we considered so valuable. Muslims
around the world are upset because a cartoonist breached one of their
religious idioms. Fair enough, every one can understand they’re upset.
But to then argue that the cartoonist should not have breached that
idiom assumes that he knows what that idiom is. I for one, have no
interest whatsoever in learning about Islam. Why should I? That Muslims
live in Australia and are free to practice their religion without
imposing their idioms on me or others is good enough for me (and
something that I will argue strongly for). But why should I have to
know what does or doesn’t offend Muslims when I don’t know what does or
doesn’t offend the 100 or so other religions that exist in Australia?
What on earth makes Islam so special for non-Muslims? I know that if I
abide by Australian law and do not impose my will, beliefs or idioms on
others, then we will all live compatibly in one society. I don’t want
to learn the intricacies of Islam and I’m sure that most Muslims don’t
want to learn the intricacies of my belief system. This is a secular
society that values personal freedoms of many kinds. One is freedom of
speech (within the constraints of the laws of defamation), another is
the freedom to practice one’s religion provided that it does not impose
on others. Quite frankly, if Muslims are unable to handle the sort of
society Australia is, then clearly this is a society that does not
suit their religion and they should move to where their beliefs and
their social environment are more compatible.

Craig Turner writes:

Mayne wrote: “who can’t be named due to Chatham House rules”
(yesterday, item 1). Chatham House Rule. There is only one rule. Common
mistake, but that’s no good reason to repeat it.