Ken Nguyen writes:
I have long respected Gerard Henderson’s work, but in
the spirit of constructive criticism I must say that his statement on Friday
(Item 2) that “Chris Masters seems to believe that Alan Jones can only be fully
understood if his s-xual history is revealed” is an unfair pre-judgment of
Masters’ work. Like The Australian, Mr Henderson would do well to wait until the
facts are in before describing Masters’ years of work as “bollocks”.

Lindsay Went writes:
Michael Pascoe tells us that oil prices
have ‘long since departed from fundamentals’. World Oil production has
increased only 10% since the year 2000, it increased only 1% from 2004
to 2005 and current production figures indicate that production is
unlikely to increase by even 1% this year. That drop off in the growth
rate of production is the fundamental cause of higher oil prices.
Geopolitical issues only influence the price because supplies are
tight. Production isn’t going to increase much over the next few years
and will almost certainly start to decline by 2011. Oil prices are
going to stay high and get a lot higher. Mr Pascoe needs to explain why
oil prices are so divorced from the fundamentals. Since they aren’t, I
wish him luck. Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2006

Tim Le Roy writes: Carlo Carli opposes free public transport
in Melbourne saying it will benefit inner surburban (I suppose
non-Labor voting) residents (7 July, comments). How does this rest with
Carlo’s public support of wind energy to benefit none other than union
super funds? Or milking people $800 a year for the luxury of parking
cars in the city? Bracks’ government ministers are quite happy to scam
voters for some green agendas but not others.

Tony Ryan writes: Following on from what
Scilla Rosenberg says…”Chris Masters was commissioned to write the book by the
ABC, contracted to write the book by the ABC, delivered the book to the
ABC”.—- how is it that an ABC employee can now go off an flog the manuscript
to another publisher. Who paid Chris Masters while he was writing the book? If
it was the ABC, the IP remains with the ABC.

Robert Strachan writes: Re Wayne Sanderson’s “The glorious unfetttered history of Kevin
Donnelly” (Item 18, 7/7) I, too, have noticed Kevin Donnelly increasingly being given enormous
exposure in the News Limited papers to constantly criticise state Labor
Governments and education in Australia. His opinion piece in today’s The
Australian was simply accredited as “director of Education Strategies in
Melbourne, taught history and social studies for 18 years”.
NO mention of
being a Liberal Party candidate or being (generously) paid by the Coalition
Government for a report on education. Donnelly weakens his arguments about teaching Aboriginal history
by straying onto dangerous ground with his Windschuttle-like “black armband”
jibes.

Andrew Austin writes: If I’d have known Crikey published
Gerard Henderson’s crap I never would have subscribed. Doesn’t his biased John
Howard view of the world get heard enough already through Channel Seven and
Fairfax? I
genuinely like to hear both sides of any argument but I find his very selective
use of facts without even acknowledging any information that doesn’t fit into
his/Howard’s views nauseating. My view of journalism is it should speak truth to
the powerful and by and large Crikey seems to make a better attempt at this than
the mainstream media, which is owned by powerful people who should have the
blowtorch applied to them. Gerard Henderson faithfully speaks on behalf of the
powerful and to me you demean yourselves by publishing
him.

Stephen Lewis
Matthews writes:
“There are plenty of reasons why Jones can be criticised – Stephen Mayne
outlined them in Crikey yesterday.” Wrong. Stephen Mayne confirmed to me yesterday nothing more than professional
jealousy about Alan Jones. He expressed disappointment that David Flint could describe him as principled
…is the sum total of S Mayne’s contribution. I willingly restate my belief that Alan Jones is a man of principle ..and the
fact that he is a man of influence is to the benefit of all of us.


Doug Pollard, Editor, Melbourne Star (The GLBTI
newspaper of Melbourne) writes:
Outing is always justified for
prominent public figures who conceal their s-xuality whilst acting, speaking
against and/or obstructing the interests of the GLBTI community. I’m not sure
that Alan Jones has ever directly abused his position, but he is very successful
at propping up the ultra-homophobic government of John Howard, to the detriment
of the gay community. And in promoting the interests of fellow closet queens
eg David Flint, who repays the support with interest. Would Flint have got where he
was/is without Jones spruiking him to the PM? How many more closet cases has
Jones manoeuvred into positions of influence? From where they have done zilch
for their brethren? Maybe that’s cause enough to explore/expose this upmarket
gay mafia?

Matthew Wills writes: Jane Nethercote’s article about Tony Abbott and Australian health policy
requires a massive injection of research and reality (7 July, item 5). While not a Roman
Catholic myself (Jane gives away her own anti-Roman Catholiic sentiments, and
poverty of religious education by using the term “Catholic” in the way she
does.) the bias in this article is quite palpable. What does she mean
by “strong links to Catholic organisations?” Did
these people go to a Roman Catholic parish school? Have they worked in a
Hospital or University which has a Roman Catholic heritage? Did they marry a
Roman Catholic? Or God forbid are they a Roman Catholic? Perhaps some of
these health professionals are associated with one of the other Catholic
Christian traditions, eg Anglican, Uniting Church of Lutheran? About 70% of
Australians in the most recent sensis declared some affiliation to these
Catholic traditions. The irony of all this
is that traditionally Roman Catholics have been more closely associated with
sympathy for labour party policy. Perhaps the intersting times are already upon
us, but its just that some journalists cant see it because they are looking for
the biases in everyone else except themselves.

Ashley Manicaros writes:
It seems to me the demise
of the Democrats is almost complete. Given the current Federal Parliament make
up and the various state representation they have slipped into obscurity with no
apparent path to return. At their peak they were a party that ‘did keep the
bastards honest’. For me there was no greater achievement than following the
1993 election when the Democrats forced the Keating Government to make changes
to the various tax increases proposed. In that instance they ‘kept the bastards
honest’ because the ALP had campaigned against increasing any taxes. But since
that moment they have been on a downward slide – made even harder by their loss
of control of the Senate. Holding sway in the Senate allowed them to influence
policy and legislation. In my opinion this created a policy vacuum because they
were constantly reacting to the major parties agenda’s without setting their
own. Once the independents gained control in the Senate, the voters worked out
the Democrats could not influence as they used to – from there it was a populist
downhill slide. The most successful political parties across time are those
which stand for what they believe in and hold true to those views regardless of
the outcome. The Democrats need to decide where they stand in the political
scale. Are they to the left or the right? The middle road is too wishy washy and
voters want stability. The Greens and Family First have very definite political
agendas…easily identifiable by voters…but the Democrats don’t. The Democrat
manifesto is a convoluted maze that is lacking a leader with enough policy nouse
to lead them. Their future is not bright.

Todd Jones writes: Thanks Roy Travis (7 July, comments) but Mr Pascoe (item 11, 6 July) did
not need to draw a conclusion regarding the innocence of Mr Hicks. The Prime
Minister and Attorney General and Foreign Minster have all made it clear and/or
proceeded on the assumption not only that that Mr Hicks is innocent (a
presumption the rest of us are entitled to even if caught standing over the body
with a knife) but that indeed he could not possibly be convicted of any offence
against the laws of Australia. Sadly it seems the debate is much more about
whether or not Mr Hicks is ‘human’ enough to deserve basic human rights and
whether or not he is ‘Australian’ enough for us to expect that the PM and
cabinet might a give a toss whether or not he is treated according to basic
standards of fairness. If anything is extraordinary it is that after more than
4 years of (at best) very hard time and (at worst) torture, it remains to be
seen whether or not David is human enough and Australian enough for us to care
as a community.

John Gordon writes: Alan Jones’s s-xuality is relevant (7 July, editorial), and in the
public interest, because of his ability to deliver election victories to the
homophobic John Howard. There’s no double
standard in relation to outing Alan Jones. If Alan Jones is gay, then he ought
to stand up for the rights of other gays. He shouldn’t deliver victory for a
prime minister who wants to continue discriminating against
gays.

Dolour Keller writes: I think that it’s a mistake
to get sidetracked by Alan Jones’s sexual procilvities. Most of
us are not interested in his sex life but are VERY interested to know
how he has managed to obtain such an inordinate amount of influence
over the movers and shakers within the Australian community – that’s
the real story.

Grace Pettigrew writes: Crikey editorial was pathetic,
supporting the Henderson line on Master’s book on Jones. Masters’ book
is a biography. Is Crikey seriously suggesting that a biography
published in the 21st century should avoid mentioning the subject’s
s-xual orientation? Masters’ book is about power and political
influence, and when two of the most powerful men in Australia (former
ABA chair David Flint) and Alan Jones are writing soppy love letters to
each other, that’s something I want to know about. Anyone who has not
been asleep at the wheel for the past 20 years knows that Jones is gay,
and anyone who doesn’t (probably most of the dozey old geezers who
listen to
him) will either ignore the news or rationalise it away. This is not a
case of “outing” Jones, that’s Henderson bollocks. He was outed years
ago. The simple fact is that Howard’s ideological warriors on the ABC
Board moved to protect Jones, a fellow traveller, and they made a
stupid mess of it – not surprisingly as the latest bunch of
appointments appear to have little between the ears. Henderson is just
running interference for his ideological mates – and Crikey has lost
the plot.

Tim Mackay writes: Oh my
goodness, the comments from Michael Milken’s PR officer about the “great man”
made me laugh. How quickly we forget what the presiding judge in Milken’s trial
had to say to the “great man” when sentencing him: “You were willing to commit
only crimes that were unlikely to be detected…When a man of your power in the
financial world … repeatedly conspires to violate, and violates, securities
and tax business in order to achieve more power and wealth for himself…a
significant prison term is required”. Mike was subsequently banned for life from
the securities industry and a 10 year term was recommended (he served only about
22 months – nothing pays like white collar crime!). Note the judge’s deliberate
use of the word ‘repeatedly’. Since that time, through his foundation (the
Milken Institute), Mike has done more than found a think tank; he has also used
his wealth to buy himself a new public forum. But of course, this raises the
question about where rehabilitation ends and self-promotion begins

Kay Fisher writes:
Christian, it really is a bit rich that you,
of all people, complain about ‘activist journalists’ not being capable
of objective reporting. Have you not yet noticed that rather a lot of
people sometimes find *your* reporting wanting in objectivity precisely
because of your partisan preferences?
Jeeez. A bit of reflexive consistency here, please. Of course we
inevitably all have bias’ but surely that’s okay as long as we operate
with integrity when we engage with those who challenge our views and
‘evidence’. In any case, i suspect I am not the only who thinks
that it is remarkably irrelevant to be seeing the Timor political
crisis through the rigid prism of Australian left-right factionalism:
surely there are other issues you can fight about?

Peter Fray

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