Andrew Beecher, General Manager, Marketing & Business Operations at carsales.com.au, writes: Re. “OMCGs: the real, lurking Australian terrorist threat” (29 September, item 1). I have to write in defence of what was a fairly cheap shot at an event that we hold in the highest regard, being the MRAA Toyrun. Carsales.com.au has now been involved as a major sponsor of the Toyrun for two years. Not only do many of our staff and management participate in the ride, but we all work on the charity fund raising aspect also. Last year alone bikesales.com.au presented a cheque for over $6,000 to the Salvos – all money generously donated by a bunch of people that had no other agenda apart from getting together as a community and giving something back to society. The Toyrun has an atmosphere just as family friendly as any event – in fact more so due to the very nature of the type of people that are prepared to get up on a weekend close to Christmas, after spending their own money on sometimes excessively generous gifts for underprivileged kids. No other group of road users even attempts this sort of community minded event, and I’m personally disgusted to have a flippant and ignorant comment from an unnamed source attempt to tarnish an event that does nothing but good.

Jim Hart writes: There is no indignation like a minority group defending itself against criticism of a minority of the minority. Earlier in the week it was Muslims saying not all Muslims are terrorists and rapists. Yesterday it’s motorcyclists saying they are not all terrorists and drug barons (item 13 and comments). Well yeah, I think I can work that one out for myself. Sure the original article in Crikey was tacky, badly written and not very informative, and yes the references to toy runs and accountants definitely belonged in the Andrew Bolt school of journalism. Nevertheless it was very clearly referring to the subset of motorcyclists known as outlaw gangs – you know, those big hairy guys with too much attitude and leather. Oh sh-t now I’ve insulted all the other 99% of big hairy guys who aren’t terrorists and drive Barinas.

David Scott writes: It’s nice to get confirmation from the scientist (yesterday, item 2) who actually did the work that Bolt is playing fast and loose with the facts in his global warming denials. Readers may be interested in this analysis of Bolt’s 10 “inconvenient truths” by a scientist at the University of New South Wales – his conclusion was that 6 of Bolt’s “truths” were wrong and 4 were not wrong but misleading.

Gary Price writes: I too was intrigued by Andrew Bolt’s latest climate change article so I checked as many of his assertions as I could. The statements that I could check were all misleading. For example, his item eight referred to a refutation that global warming was contributing to increased frequency and intensity of major hurricanes. The attributed quotation came from an article in The Washington Post. The thrust of the article was that a range of scientists in several institutions specifically agreed with Al Gore’s movie on this point. However, the journalist phoned one known skeptic and included an single sentence from that telephone conversation in the article. Thus Bolt misrepresented the meaning of the article by taking that single statement out of context. It seems likely to me that Bolt gets his talking points from one or a few organizations that provide a climate change contrarian news clipping service. Is anyone aware of a similar thing operating in the other direction? So, for example, I could google Mr Bolt’s quotations and discover the truth behind them, without having to spend Sunday morning checking his assertions from scratch? The sad thing is that so many older people believe what he writes.

Kevin Ford writes: Re: “Where’s the evidence that migrants refuse to fit in?” (yesterday, item 8). Irfan Yusuf contrasts “3,500 non-integrating Muslims” with “at least 20,000 members of the Exclusive Brethren whose leaders have been accused of being party to a host of illegal activities”. The problem is that he focuses on 1% of the Muslim community while tarring 100% of the Brethren community. Now that’s a real chalk-and-cheddar comparison.

David Tiley writes: “A local filmmaker hoping to get film funding” (yesterday, comments) is pretty spot on about the confected debate re film funding v film marketplace success v the best twenty Oz films according to the Nine audience, except in relation to funding agencies. Until recently, FFC funding was triggered basically by marketplace interest; the problem for newer indy filmmakers was the gruesome fact that no distributor or industry investor would take them seriously due to a chronic disinclination to invest in novices. The major component of the funding system does everything it can to run by commercial rules. It is true that some state agencies and the AFC run on more cultural and artistic rules, but they aint the major players. In development, they may well skew the system towards “quality” criteria, but the marketplace won’t fund development at all, for new and interesting players, except in strange places like Sundance. The argument about project manager CVs isn’t true either, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. In the other states, the pool of available people tends to be less experienced, though I am speaking very generally. The success rate of films funded outside the system is brutally low. We don’t notice them because they are outside the system. In almost all cases, the script is to blame. There’s a lot of enterprising filmmakers, a heap of skills, plenty of great performers and technicians – the problem is in the hundred pages handed to everyoe with a title on the front. It is important to hold this discussion because good filmmakers shouldn’t be held back by myths.

Niall Clugston writes: Regarding the recent comments on the Australian film industry, perhaps the way to reconcile the pro-market and pro-subsidy cases would be to subsidise tickets to Australian movies, rather than film-making. This way the small local industry would have a chance of competing with Hollywood without the public forking out money for films they don’t want to see.

Gordon Wakelin-King writes: It’s instructive to pretend, as I once did, that you have a modest hatfull of money to invest in an Australian film. Try, as a walk-up investor, to find some way of doing this. You won’t. The film commissions offer no suggestions, or information of any kind to link potential investors with potential projects. I seem to recall “Hoges” flogging shares in the early Croc files to the general public. Novel concept – asking sensibly and politely for the investment you want. That bloke with the “commercial” film that the funding bodies won’t touch, is a prospectus too much to ask for?

Mark Scott writes: Re. “Meat pies and other mysterious foodstuffs” (yesterday, item 3). So what if a meat pie is mostly offal? Meat is meat, regardless of which part of the animal it comes from, with the exception Mad Cow disease harbouring spinal column. It is better for the environment for society to use a whole animal than just the desirable bits and tossing the rest away. Just in case you were wondering – I had bangers and mash for dinner last night.

Colin Cook writes: Re: “The political advertising debate we have to have” (yesterday, item 9). We certainly do need to discuss this; there is much cause for concern – opaque donations, no “truth requirement” etc – but my particular beef is the lack of controls on how the political parties spend our, taxpayers, money – in comparison with all “western” countries – and their virtually unlimited supply of it. If the two major parties want the per capita allowance raised there is nothing to stop them. And they use our money by the bucketful to keep their media friends happy. Military/industrial complex! We have the media/pollie complex. I would commend Sally Young’s The Persuaders: Inside the hidden machine of political advertising as a definitive guide on how we Australians are being taken for a ride by the Labor-Liberal “cartel.”

Steven Deare writes: Chris Canty made a blunder when he called the Melbourne Tiger’s home court “The Cave” (yesterday, item 22). The nickname is actually “The Cage”. Guess he was too excited about his “caving in” puns. It’s easy to say the NBL doesn’t have the crowds it once did, even more so if you’re from Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane. The strength of the NBL though is in its smaller city clubs. Townsville, Cairns, Adelaide and Wollongong all consistently draw healthy crowds. It’s just getting the attention of the major metro cities that’s harder for the NBL. However, the league’s current CEO Rick Burton is its best in a long time. He’s revamped the finals format, helped add Singapore and get a bit of TV exposure. Hopefully this season more people will realise they should give a basketball game another go.

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 (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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