Paul Barry, author of the Shane Warne biography Spun Out, writes: Geez, You guys are hard up for a story. So Shane Warne has bowled me out has he? He says:

1. Spun Out is full of inaccuracies … BUT
2. He hasn’t actually read it … AND
3. He is not going to sue me or the publishers.

I think he’d need Darrell Hair as umpire to send me back to the pavilion on that one. But if Shane wants to point out these so-called “inaccuracies” (after reading the book) I would be happy to correct them for the next edition. As for giving to the Shane Warne Foundation, I choose my own charities, thanks. Last week, I donated a rare signed photograph of Sir Donald Bradman taken in the nets at the WACA in 1934. I’ll let Crikey know how much it fetches at auction and where the money goes.

The Australian reporter Natasha Robinson writes: Re. “Sorry about the beat-up, Jack” (yesterday, item 1). I find it incredible that Misha Ketchell ran an item containing such significant errors of fact without waiting to talk to me first or gain my response after unsuccessfully trying to contact me on my mobile and landline. These errors were: (1) I have not to this day discussed The Australian‘s story of the Jack Thomas appeal with Rob Stary. The only contact I have had with anyone from his office has been in the context of follow-up stories on the verdict. (2) I did not apologise for the story to anyone. (3) I have never called the story a beat-up.

Misha Ketchell responds: Although Natasha Robinson didn’t return my call before deadline, my source in Stary’s office stands by the claim that Robinson admitted her copy had been changed and during a phone conversation distanced herself from those changes.

Kath Wilson writes: Just an email to say thank you, thank you, thank you for your level-headed coverage of the Jack Thomas media circus.

Frank Golding writes: Well blow me down — an item by Peter Faris QC(yesterday, item 3) that I found both interesting and informative! Is this the new paradigm — a calm account of the key facts, man? Any more of that and I’ll have to renew my subscription after all. Also thought I’d say I found the new look of Crikey was attractive and easy on my old eyes.

Terry Kidd writes: I enjoyed your article about Peter Beattie’s campaign tactics (and agree with your closing view that they are wearing thin with the electorate). Everyone I have spoken to from construction workers to small business owners is heartily sick and tired of Beattie’s spin, distortions, “Me” approach and lack of action. They want to vote for an alternative but don’t see any. My daughter is about to vote for the first time and reports that she has discussed it with friends. It seems that the majority of her friends intend to vote “donkey” because they don’t like Beattie but also see no alternative. I am reminded of Beattie’s 2004 campaign where he asked for a mandate to fix child safety. He got his mandate. Yet on Tuesday, Department of Child Safety figures show 112 child deaths of kids who were known to the Department. The Coalition has not taken up this stick, which you would expect would be manna from heaven, to beat upon the “media tart”. Such is the lack of quality in an alternative. Beattie will be returned due to apathy and a lack of choice but it will not be a “win” because I expect that “informal” will be the highest vote winner.

Wendy McMahon writes: Re. Embryonic Stem Cell research. What concerns me in all of this debate is “who” precisely is going to be asked to sell their embryos? It’s not going to be us relatively wealthy, educated, white, western women. It’s going to be the poor, uneducated, women and probably manipulated into selling part of themselves so that “medical science and humanity” (read white, comparatively-wealthy, westerners) can benefit. I am concerned with the debate starting at the “visionary” level when really we have to ask the specific questions about where exactly are they going to come from: Footscray? Kew? South Yarra? Vaucluse? Campbelltown? Rio De Janeiro? Bombay? Jakarta? Where? We are all appalled by the occasional reports that there is an illicit trade in donor organs where the donor is killed in the process because the amount of money to be made is so great. I can’t help feeling we’re going down the same path with embryonic stem cells. Keep up the questions Tony Abbott. I want to know the answers too.

Richard McGuire writes: The dogs breakfast that is now the telecommunications scene in Australia is what you get when policy is driven by ideology. When Telstra decided not to proceed with the fibre to the node network, the government and their cheer squad in the commentariat, were “mugged by reality”. It is now obvious that if Telstra doesn’t build fibre to the node, no one will. So much for the mantra about competition. As for regulation, the ACCC has only ever been interested in driving down the price of telecommunications services. Where the money comes from to upgrade and maintain the network appears to be an afterthought. How long is the national interest going to be held hostage to the interests of “mum and dad shareholders”? Above the constant chatter about the share price only now are we beginning to hear that, just maybe, the government should retain ownership of the core network, namely the pits, pipes, poles, cables, exchanges and communication towers that span our continent. Surely it is time the national interest became prime consideration in the Telstra debate.

Sinclair Robieson, who covered the 1977 Australian tour of England, writes from London: Surely there is a major conflict of interest involved in the Darrell Hair furore. The question is: should he ever have been named to stand as an umpire in these (northern) summer’s Test matches? After all, Hair lives in Lincolnshire and has an English wife. He’s been both domiciled and resident in the UK for three years. How, then, can he be regarded as a “neutral” umpire in games where England are playing? Also, the fact remains that no evidence has emerged to nail any Pakistani player for ball-tampering. Sky TV’s 26 cameras around the Oval picked up nothing suspicious. Hair certainly will have to explain this away when Inzamam’s hearing eventually takes place. How convenient that the ICC’s chief referee couldn’t make it to a Friday hearing. Cynics like me might just conclude that, had this hearing taken place and Inzy copped a ban, the entire Pakistan team would have been on a plane home that night. Thus wiping out the lucrative one-day series and forcing the English Cricket Board to pay back all that lovely moolah to the punters. A last thought. It’s hardly a secret that Asian countries have long been unhappy about the present world cricket set-up. Would a ban on Inzy lead them to walk out of the ICC and set up their own body? Now that WOULD be interesting.

Linda Jaivin writes: Singapore’s House of Mao (“Turning Dictators into Restaurants” – Charles Richardson) is just one minor example of a fad for Mao-themed restaurants — the fad was huge in China itself, though it’s past its peak. In the Nineties I visited a restaurant in Beijing which wasn’t only dedicated to the memory of Mao, but to the Cultural Revolution. It even served “remembering bitterness” meals of fried locusts as well as the usual Hunanese dishes (Mao was from Hunan Province). The décor was rural poverty chic. It was packed.

Simon Brown writes: Your new header is garish and unsightly, sorry.

Andrew George writes: Re. the dump on the Lateline stories on Mutitjulu by “Darwin media watcher Bob Gosford” (22 August, item 4) is he the Bob Gosford who was legal officer of the Northern Land Council in 2000-1? If so why didn’t you tell us that? What’s his relationship with ALP’s Clare Martin and Warren Snowdon and his political and personal agenda? Gosford highlights Snowdon’s apoplexy that the ABC wouldn’t run his spin without question — quel horreur!. (Disclosure: I’ve got nothing to do with Brough and often disagree with Lateline but I want honesty about aboriginal injustice). This aboriginal abuse matter has provoked political defence strategies and Martin, Gosford, Crikey, Snowdon and Indigenous Times seem to disregard aboriginal women and children to apologise for existing networks and cover ups. Looking at the woman interviewed on Lateline, Prof Judy Atkinson, the support by NAAJA etc. I know who I believe. Don’t trivialise this issue with right political cr-p, Crikey. We don’t care about who was employed by Brough — we want the truth, and action. Rex Wild, QC, the former NT DPP, is co-chairing the inquiry into the sexual abuse of children in Aboriginal communities. Let’s wait for that and don’t channel distractions for damage control purposes.

Rob Gosford responds: I worked as a lawyer at the NLC for a couple of years but I can’t see the relevance of my employment more than 5 years ago to any comment I made re this matter. I have no relationship with Clare Martin, other than being a past constituent, and I’ve known Warren for many years, but hey, so do lots of other people in Darwin.

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