Peter Faris QC writes:


It is obviously impossible to calculate exactly how many young people
in Australia would have died from heroin overdoses if the 8k of heroin
the Bali 9 sought to import reached our streets. In my view, one death
would be too many. The Bali 9 were prepared to knowingly risk lives of
others and their own. They did it, not for principle or for their own
addiction, but for money. They gambled and lost. I have no pity for
them. As for the original issue of the AFP’s obligations, it surely
must be agreed by all that the AFP did not breach the law (the Federal
Court said so!). If people want the law changed so that the AFP do not
cooperate with foreign governments, then let them do so. Maybe the ALP
or the Greens would take up this issue as part of their policy. But I
think not. Basically, the whole argument can be stripped down to this:
(1) the AFP did not break the law and (2) this is a moral issue not a
legal issue so attitudes are determined by our own individual views of
(a) heroin importation and (b) the death penalty. I expressed my views
on those issues. Fortunately there still remains a right to think and
speak freely in our PC society.


Greg
Baxter, Director of Corporate
Affairs at News
Ltd, writes:

Being lectured by Crikey about
ethics and professional conduct is akin to being assaulted with wet lettuce.
But, for the benefit or your subscribers News Limited’s Code of Professional
Conduct is alive, well and about to enjoy a renewal. The code has long been
available to all staff, is posted on each of the divisional intranets, is
provided to new recruits – as is a version of the code for non-editorial staff,
and is part of any editorial employment agreement under an AWA. Additionally,
the company regards all editorial staff as also bound by the MEAA code. The
latest edition of our code was started late last year and is ready to go to the
printers next week. In the near future it will be available as a printed
document as well as on our internal websites. Margaret Simons and the individual
she spoke to at News will be welcome to a copy. As for the “nobody” who “seems
to know it exists” when she finds them please let us know and we will happily
furnish them with a copy. Meanwhile, please send us a copy of Crikey’s code, the
one with the large picture of the glasshouse on the cover.

Neil Shand writes:
Our most sincere congratulations on the “editorial” yesterday. It
exactly encapsulated the simmering, furious state of our minds; ever
since we heard it was planned; of course he was not great, only
successful, you perfectly hit the nail on the head like the good
journalists you are! Flags at half mast – my stomach is churning. What
a waste of public money and effort. I was drafting a similar letter to
the SMH ;- no use sending one to the Oz or Tele. Keep up the good work
we are glad we subscribe; the least I can do is promise to renew when
due.

A Perth Squatter writes:
Can’t agree with your belittling of the “big fella.” Good on Kerry
Francis Bullmore for making a success of his life and contributing big
time to business and the media in Australia. Sad to see Crikey being so
narrow-minded and not paying due respect to a great Australian.

Paula Maud writes:
Misha Ketchell backs up Gawenda’s attack on Leunig with implications
that his cartoon was anti-holocaust (yesterday). Sorry but
did I miss something? The images in the cartoons show two
figures: one an unfortunate Jew about to enter a Nazi death camp and
one of a contemporary Israeli Jew acting on his government’s orders.
The cartoon is clearly a comment on contemporary Israeli “foreign
policy” not a denial or belittling of the holocaust. Perhaps the
question Leunig is suggesting in the juxtaposition is “How could this
switch have come about, that a people who were so brutally oppressed
could return so suddenly as violent oppressors themselves?” If Misha
finds the contrast of the images unsavoury perhaps he should consider
where the bigger ghetto is being created now – in Palestine or Israel.
I’m all for acknowledging the past but let’s not let our sentiment and
feelings for a past generation blind us to how things sit today.

Niall Clugston writes:
So Misha Ketchell smells Leunig’s blood and joins the pack with Gerard
Henderson, Michael Gawenda, and Piers Akerman. Exactly why does
the cartoonist have “quite a bit of explaining to do” at this point in
time? The cartoon itself was drawn three years ago, and everyone admits
Leunig was the victim of a hoax. How ridiculously unfair can you
get? By the way, despite all this confected outrage from
outsiders, Israeli Jews often compare Israeli actions in the Occupied
Territories to Nazi practices. And so what, if Iran has seized on
Leunig’s cartoon? I’m sure they’ll seize on Dateline’s report on Abu
Ghraib. Should SBS (and Crikey which reproduced some of the images)
censor itself?

Tony Kevin writes:
A great piece by Alex Mitchell, the Sun-Herald‘s State Political
Editor (yesterday) – a must for the files. He omitted one
important area of cooperation in his listing of areas of crime where
the AFP and Indonesian Police agreed after the Bali bombing to
cooperate more closely, even to the extent of setting up
Australians to die in Indonesia. The area that must be added is:
cooperation against people smuggling. This was formalised at the first
Bali regional conference on people smuggling but was already in place
by early 2002. The AFP will contiunue to protect whatever the
Indonesian police may have done under the Australian-instigated people
smuggling disruption program in Indonesia, to disable or sink
asylum-seekers’ boats that were bound for Australia, and the Indonesian
Police will protect their Australian AFP-DIMIA paymasters’s suspected
associations with this illegal and probably lethal program. But let us
not forget – though 353 innocent people drowned on SIEV X on 19
October 2001, our AFP continues four years later to see nothing, hear
nothing, say nothing. It is hard to retain respect for such a tarnished
official Australian agency. But I hope Alex is right about the
decent cops in AFP who won’t go along with such things. Let us hope
that one day, some of them will blow the whistle on what really
happened to sink SIEV X.

Joe Weller writes:
Readers are being a bit hard on Mick Keelty, suggesting that he has
blood on his hands. It is only a little blood compared to the fate of
the tens of thousands of East Timorese who were sold out by our
Government. We have a strong tradition of selling out to the
Indonesians; Mick was only following normal practice.

Andrew Heslop, a Marketing & Communications Consultant, writes:
Crikey’s media editor Margaret Simons gently alludes to a (now
widespread) practice best showcased by an old journalistic adage
steeped in the passage of time – Si Dubitatis Vosmet Interrogate.
Roughly translated it means “When in doubt, interview each other”. As a
young wireless employee at the late 5DN 972 it was impressed upon me
early on that we never, ever wanted to interview journalists and
reporters on-air about what they thought of a situation – and this was
commercial radio! Fact yes, opinion no. Oh how we have moved on in 21
years.

Democrats Senator Andrew Murray writes:

Since the November 2003 Senate Economics Estimates hearings I have run
a campaign through the ATO/Treasury Estimates hearings for them to
recognise that this share buy-back scheme is a great (and unwarranted)
cost to the taxpayer. The answers I got were defensive and at
times evasive, but eventually the message was received that at least
it’s cost should be recognised. As a result of my pressure, Treasury’s
2005 Tax Expenditures Statement has a new addition – p76 B9 Off-market
share buy-backs. Est cost 2004-05 $530 million. I further
discussed the matter – gently, this time – at yesterday’s hearing (see
Senate Economics Committee Hansard – ATO session). It’s time this tax
concession was ended. There are much better uses for such largesse

Norman Abjorensen writes:
We’ve heard arguments about Queensland and Tasmania being the
political turncoat capital of Australia, but if you go back in history
I believe Victoria is arguably Australia’s leading territory in this
regard. What other state can boast a former Labor Premier who later
joined and became a minister in, of all things, a Country Party
Government? It was none other than the almost forgotten Ned
Hogan, twice premier of Victoria in 1927-8 and 1929-32. Expelled from
the ALP over the Premiers’ Plan split about addressing the Great
Depression, Hogan retained his seat as an independent, later joining
the Country Party. When the Country Party stitched up a deal with Labor
in 1935 to cut the United Australia Party (predecessor of the Liberals)
out of office and govern in a minority with ALP support, Hogan became
minister of agriculture, serving until he retired in 1943. Tom
Hollway, Liberal premier 1947-50, was deposed as leader and in 1952 had
two of his supporters in the Legislative Council vote with Labor to
block supply to the Country Party government. Hollway, with five
supporters in the lower house, was commissioned by the Governor to form
a government, which styled itself Electoral Reform, to secure supply,
which it did. It then lost a vote of confidence and fell, after just
three days. The saga did not end there. Hollway left his seat
of Ballarat at the next election to run against the man who supplanted
him, Les Norman, and defeated him in his suburban seat of Glen Iris. A
few years before this, in 1945, just after the Liberal Party was
formed, the party’s deputy leader and a senior minister, Ian
Macfarlane,
became premier in a bizarre situation in which five members of the then
government crossed the floor and voted with the opposition. It led to
unprecedented confusion at the ensuing election when the Liberal
premier was opposed by his own party, and lost. Even Tasmania’s two
turncoats, Lyons and Lowe, barely rate on this scale of tergiversation.

Justin Randles writes:

I’ve been a Crikey subscriber since 2001 and I believe that Hugo Kelly has a
point. The daily email I subscribe to and have thoroughly enjoyed for many years
is just not as feisty as it was a year or so ago. Of course, this is a
subjective point of view and it’s tough to put one’s finger on it, but where are
the snide remarks? The pithy comments? The chip-on-your-shoulder vicious attacks
on stupid and/or conflicted CEOs? The undergraduate humour? Would the new Crikey
publish the political nicknames list? Maybe so, but I get the impression that
you guys have moved on. I used to regularly
forward Crikey’s insider news and gossip to friends in the industry – I haven’t
done that for at least six months. Surely that is a reflection on how Crikey’s
content has changed? Whether the calmer,
more professional Crikey is better or worse for your business objectives is up
to you – it’s your e-zine. But, regardless of your burgeoning subscriber
numbers, I would have thought that being the type of online publication that
gets forwarded on is good for business. No doubt Hugo Kelly
is a complicated person. I believe your claims that his interpersonal
relationships in the old and new Crikey bunkers were strained on a regular
basis. But from a reader’s point of view, I would prefer it if, internally at
least, his views were not rejected out of hand. I rarely read Hugo Kelly’s
pieces, but his observation that subscribers have to wade through
40 items of news to find a couple of nuggets is, for me at least, spot
on.

Angus
Grigg writes:

I must agree with
what Hugo Kelly said in yesterday’s Australian – Crikey has become boring.
Forget the analysis of business and politics, which is nothing more than the
reactive space filling. Give us what is happening around town – find some fresh
news.

Deb Wenham writes:
I buy Crikey because it does put noses out in
Canberra. I was worried Crikey would be nobbled – I hope this is not the
beginning.

Stephen Mayne writes:

Multiplex have been in touch to say they never actually downed tools on
Federation Square when there was a dispute about cost over-runs with the
Bracks Government. Okay, let’s just say they slowed down a bit,
something Grocon didn’t do as disputes emerged over the MCG
construction job ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Peter Fray

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