Foxtel CEO Kim Williams writes: Reading the closing line of Glenn Dyer’s story “Foxtel v The World” (yesterday, item 14) was an amazing experience. He wrote: “For whatever reason (I think pressure from the Nine Network and PBL), Foxtel will not even deal with Ten and Seven on the basis of the arrangement it struck with Nine to go it alone in its abortive $780 million offer for the contract which Seven matched and won late last year.” This is patent nonsense, as Glenn would know from the media statement FOXTEL sent him about this topic, and the subsequent discussion he had with FOXTEL. The FOXTEL statement said clearly: “FOXTEL’s 4-live-game offer to Seven and Ten is the same as that which FOXTEL made to the Nine Network in Nine’s bid for the 2007-2011 AFL rights which was accepted by the AFL. However, Seven and Ten had a pre-existing “last right” contract with the AFL that enabled them to “match” the Nine offer and ultimately secure the TV rights. In summary, FOXTEL is prepared to pay more for AFL, but only if it receives more live games on better conditions than it currently receives.” I can only assume Glenn took the time to read and consider our statement. He should at least have reflected our views for balance. Drawing the conclusion that he did defies both fact and logic.

Stuart Hickson writes: Mr Kerr has today managed to sink to a new low; linking the Greens and Bob Brown with an advertisement for a fund raising position at the Wilderness Society. I would submit that this link only occurs in the mind of Mr Kerr. Added to that, what is wrong with the Wilderness Society having a fund raiser? All charities do. But then I suspect that Mr Kerr is on the side of those in the Howard government who would like to remove charitable status from any organisation that lobbies against the government, while keeping it for friends of the government like Hillsong and the Exclusive Brethren.

Tom McLoughlin, principal of Ecology Action Sydney (private foundation, no tax deductibility, never sought), writes: The Wilderness Society is definitely a worthy tax deductible conservation NGO. The Wilderness Society to my knowledge has never claimed it is “a charity”. What it claims to be is an environmental not for profit organization accredited by the federal department of Environment as worthy of tax-deductible status. What Kerr’s whining really amounts to is a general agri and resource industry desire to destroy wilderness natural heritage. If that’s what he really means why not have the courage to just say it, and be the real redneck that he is? In summary there is nothing really valid in preventing environmental NGO’s electioneering including at polling booths. They are not the Green Party.

Graham Bell writes: Christian Kerr was only partly right in naming “an ageing population” as one reason for the failure of Aust Defence Force recruiting. Wrong about “low unemployment”. Wrong about fear of being sent to Iraq or Afghanistan. Why were the two significant and obvious causes of recruitment failure not even mentioned? First is two decades of recruitment practices that were akin to “trying to find virgins in a brothel”, that is, imposing unrealistic and downright masturbatory “standards” that excluded thousands and thousands of willing and suitable recruits. Word has spread. Australia needs troops who will serve and who will fight; it does not need somebody’s fantasy … or wet dream …. of The Perfect Soldier. Second is that many many families in Australia have had a member harmed by successive governments’ callous treatment of its war veterans. Word has spread here too. For every slick ADF recruiting ad on TV there are several loud voices at home saying “Don’t be a fool; look what they did to your Uncle Bob” … and the ADF lost the battle on the home front years ago.

Michael Wunderlich writes: Australia would like 500 new recruits a year but will the history of “police deployments” come back to haunt current veterans returning from doing similar service. Asking someone to have a career as a soldier is fine, but Australian history of post-service is lamentable . “Esprit de Corps” is gallant but telling 24 year olds to reengage in civilian life after four years service without transition training is and will be a repeat of history. A suggestion is an “opt in / opt out” enlistment where post service / relates to apprenticeship, graduate and degree opportunities that show an appreciation for service done. In return, ongoing Reserve service from Regular veterans would expand the resources of the Defence Force and the Australian Taxpayers contribution.

Will Hamilton writes: As a student learning history at school, I think it is important to know the origins of our nation and how we developed. Some parts may be boring but it still is important. I am lucky enough to have history as a stand-alone subject unlike some schools, and I believe my school’s history program is beneficial not disadvantageous. I believe all schools should adapt a stand-alone course on the important facts of Australian history.

Barry Everingham writes: Howard can prevaricate as much as he likes — the viceroy’s traditional job has ceased to exist — Christian Kerr is totally right (yesterday, item 8); as usual! Howard’s latter day affair with anything do with khaki has become an obsession; he is like Lili Marlene — underneath the lamplight by the barracks gate. My association with Yarraluma goes back to the time of Richard Casey, one of great viceroys in both Australia and Bengal, India where he was governor during World War 11. In my Canberra days he would often “send” for me and we’d chat in his study overlooking the lake. He told of his frustration with some of “his” ministers – in those days they stuck to the form and the purists must be spinning in their graves when Man of Steel refers to “his” government – whose legislation went before him for signature and approval. “Many’s the time I sent for them and told them to explain it,” he revealed. In those days the job had clout. It’s hard to imagine Jeffery pulling rank of Howard, but he can and he should. He’s a distinguished and gallant soldier and his wife Marlene is a gracious and charming woman. I don’t hold with the office of viceroy being maintained or retained, its a scandalous waste of money but Howard’s contempt for it is equally as scandalous. Howard’s manipulation of the Vietnam War ceremonies this week bordered on sacrilege; Howard was old enough to serve but he hadn’t honed his own sense of patriotism in those days. He didn’t have elections to fight.

Robert Gunning writes: Your recent argument (and those of correspondents Nicholson and Faris) protest too much in arguing that the Jihad Jack acquittal by the Victoria Appeals Court was much more than a coterie of lawyers and judges running their own race.   These people disagree with convicting terrorists before they have maimed anyone and combine this view with a deeply established view particularly held by defence lawyers that it is rarely safe to convict anyone faced with the might of the state (a state which they don’t believe ever really protects its citizens). All these players have a track record.  Justice Vincent, who was part of the Appeals Court that found for Jihad Jack, is still fresh from the all time achievement of acquitting John Elliot some years ago by using the same techniques.   First, dismiss the evidence.  Second, find the accused not-guilty for the lack of the evidence you dismissed.  Third, loudly proclaim your decision in advance.   In the Elliot case, Vincent basically told a parliamentary inquiry that corporate transgressors should not really be convicted by evidence from the National Crime Authority – despite what the law might have said.  And in the Jihad Jack case, Justice Vincent has been very free in saying courts should be very reluctant to convict – despite the costs to the victims.  Take his 16 October 2003 Sir Leo Cussen Memorial Lecture where says in easy recognizable code:
“Whether or not the various Acts which have been passed in the last 18 months or so constitute elements of a sensible response to the threat of terrorist activity in this country, or involve unjustified departures from basic principle, is debatable. What is apparent is that, in this new environment new balances and priorities are developing and there is a need for great care to be exercised.” Deconstructed this says “Courts should do their utmost not to convict” Thankfully not all lawyers have swapped sides.  But those lawyers and judges that have are loud and powerful.  Where they can, their track record shows they will acquit using every option in the book. 

Brad Lacey writes: Re. Charles Richardson’s comments on Wednesday: “I haven’t found a Stalin restaurant anywhere, but Soviet nostalgia is big business in eastern and central Europe, so if there isn’t one already then it’s only a matter of time.” (Item 14). Though it’s been some time since I was last there, I recall Republika, a bar on Smith Street in Collingwood, being decorated with all manner of Red related regalia, including a large Stalin-head cutout (checking the website now one notes the practically ubiquitous Che Guevara stencil). Perhaps totalitarian chic is the new black?

Eric Ellis, S- E Asia Correspondent (Singapore-based) for Fortune Magazine, writes: Not sure what constitutes a fad in the Crikey bunker or in the Linda Jaivin/Charles Richardson households but Singapore’s House of Mao closed about three years ago, after being open barely two, with no ‘peak’ ever having been achieved. Maybe it was because Hunanese hotpot, popular in a mainland winter, don’t quite translate to a nanyang climate that doesn’t really know what winter is. The site off Orchard Rd is now a boutique, so no trend there, nor even the hint of one. If there’s any Chinese trend being exported to foreign salons, its the distinctly un-Mao-like evocation of pre-revolution ‘Old’ Shanghai, a fashion more in keeping with thrusting modern China, where Maoism also seems to have been abandoned. After 1965 in Indonesia and four years of Pol Pot’s Kampuchea in the 1970’s, (Vietnam’s communism was of the Moscow-funded Marxist-Leninist inclination), Maoism never much captured anyone’s imagination in S-E Asia, largely because the tunkus of Malaysia, LKY of Singapore and Indonesia’s Suharto banned it. And after eating with colleagues in 2001-ish at Singapore’s House of Mao – where the supposedly funky Cultural Revolution iconography was as lame as the expensive tucker, ASEAN’s dictators made the right call.

Terry Costello writes: I’d never thought I would say it but good on ya Kennett for burying the Liberals in their own baggage. With a bit of luck the war between Kennett and Costello will consign Ted from Toorak and his toffee nosed Liberalist vandal mates to the dustbin of history before a single postal vote has even been applied for.

Rodney Worthington writes: I remember when Peter Costello hung on the coat tails of that failed party leader and incompetent pouting fop, Alexander Downer, with a kind of cringing sycophantic, but opportunistic leadership lust that nudged the hapless Billy Bunter forward, always poking his head out from behind to covet his own leadership possibilities should Downer stumble. When the inevitable happened and his aspiration was a reality he failed to capitalise due to the sheer terror that he might actually succeed. He has precisely repeated this modus operandi with John Howard as leader. But Howard is a manipulative hard line leader who relishes Costello’s sycophancy and who relentlessly exploits it. Again and again Costello pokes his head out from behind and periodically bleats about leadership “promises”, and again and again Howard Slaps him down, denies any “undertakings” and generally treats him like the Public House doormat; to which, time and time again, Costello capitulates. He makes Waylon Smithers look like a revolutionary. Party hacks and liberal party toadies have the unmitigated gall to assure Costello that his non-action will be rewarded and that such “loyalty” is the hallmark of a good future leader. Fortunately, the opposite is the case. Good leaders attain power by having supreme confidence in their Leadership abilities. They value loyalty but are not afraid to back their aspirations irrespective of personal or political loss. They either put up or shut up. Costello lacks all these qualities and then some. His actions are those of a born follower and eternal hireling whose slightest thought of leadership is preposterous and downright dangerous. The undeniable truth is that he has not seriously challenged for the top job at any time during the past ten years because he is terrified he might win and have nowhere to hide, snipe, sneer or smirk.

Queensland subscriber Peter Gibson writes: Re. “Pearls before swine, the Bledisloe for Melbourne” (yesterday, item 27). Could Michael Pascoe please explain why, in 2008 and 2010 when Australia hosts two Bledisloes, it makes sense to play one game in Sydney and alternate between Brisbane and Melbourne for the other?  To clarify my question; notwithstanding any other Australian city’s claim for a Beldisloe, why should Sydney be given preference over Brisbane for a greater share of games?

Colin Dorrian writes: Perhaps the ICC should appoint Darrell Hair to stand in the next series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka — neither side can accuse him of bias then!

Ella James writes: Crikey, your new logo… does anyone else think of St George Bank when they see it or is it just my over-branded brain?

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words. Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.