Matt Price writes: In your editorial last Friday you wrote “… in the words of PBL chairman James Packer yesterday, Crikey has a lower burden of proof than the rest of the media, publishing whatever it pleases and claiming bankruptcy when challenged in the courts (a claim that is factually wrong).” Would it hurt to take just a couple of sentences to explain why it’s factually wrong? “Not operating to proper journalistic standards” is a claim that seems to get thrown at Crikey quite a bit. It may be baseless, but given that it’s come from someone like Packer it seems worth a rebuttal. And it’s a bit patronising of your readership to ask us to take statements like “this is factually wrong” at face value.

Crikey editor Misha Ketchell responds: Crikey has never resorted to bankruptcy to avoid facing up to its legal obligations. Twice, under founder and previous owner Stephen Mayne, Crikey was found guilty of defamation, and on both occasions he paid the damages awarded by the court. Under Australia’s defamation laws we meet the same burden of proof as everyone else. We stand by our stories and when we’re made aware of errors we correct them prominently and quickly. We are confident that Crikey’s current editorial standards are at least as high as those practised by PBL, if not higher.

A disinterested tax lawyer writes: Re. “Let’s have a debate about PBL’s $30m tax bill” (27 October, item 2). Can understand your outrage but it is possible that PBL could have been making large revenue profits and still have capital losses available because a revenue gain does not use up a capital loss. Only a future capital gain can use up a capital loss. The accumulated capital losses won’t be in PBL Media but in PBL itself as it will be PBL (being the head company of a tax consolidated group) which will be making any gain or loss from the “sale” of PBL Media (which I note looks more like a recapitalisation). And for their source – ever heard of a little company called One.Tel? From memory it was PBL who held this investment and I suspect quite a large proportion of the Packer’s share of the $1b loss would have been on capital account. If they haven’t made significant capital gains since this point these capital losses are probably still there.

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Nick Shimmin writes: Friday’s Crikey email gave a startlingly clear example of the sad double standards of the commentariat in Australia. Compare the writers’ views (and the media coverage) of two stories – Sheik Hilaly’s offensive comments, and the appalling s-xual assault of the teenager and selling of the DVD. Everyone in Crikey and elsewhere is instantly willing, in the face of Hilaly’s comments, to start generalising about Islam and “the Muslim community” and its attitudes to women, just as everyone was desperate to do in the dreadful pack rape case in Sydney. So why don’t all the same people argue that the DVD saga was evidence of general Western Christian attitudes to women? Peter Faris even goes so far as to say those who defend the criminals are typical of the views of the (white Christian) male legal profession, without taking the next logical step. One can only speculate on the media frenzy if the Werribee assault had been committed by a group of Middle Eastern boys. We are always happy to generalise, label and point the finger at the “other”, but pretty damn reluctant to look in the mirror. I look forward to those who make the (quite justified) attacks on Hilaly being just as eloquent in their attacks on Christian fundamentalists who accuse women who have legal abortions of being murderers. The comments are equally obscene.

Terry Kidd writes: I applaud Sam Stafford’s comments (27 October, comments) about the recent utterings of Taj Din Al-Hilali and their relevance across the wider community. I believe that Sam is entirely correct. Forget Al-Hilali’s religion for the moment and consider the tone of his words, they are simply a justification for male violence against women. Let’s be clear, there is and can never be any such justification. It does not matter what form of attire a woman adopts, where or when in the world, regardless of the majority public view in such places, whatever she wears a woman must be safe from male violence. Humans being humans, the male may think many thoughts but you may not voice them or act on them. Al-Hilali has sought to offer males justification and that is indefensible. The man has a history of statements that seek to justify violence in many forms by Muslim men, whether it be against “unbelievers” or women. I no longer accept that he is, or has been, misunderstood or misrepresented. He obviously holds the views he preaches as the truth as he sees it, and is hopelessly out of step with a society that seeks to be tolerant and law abiding. Either that or he has totally failed to learn from his past mistakes and is therefore dangerously incompetent. Either way Sheik Taj Din Al-Hilali is not the God-fearing man he claims to be and is not fit to be a spiritual leader.

Max de Mestre-Allen writes: Re. Chris Ridings’s comments on Christian values (27 October, comments). I disagree with Chris Ridings re his comments on the founder of Christianity. Christ did impose his views on others, particularly when he overturned the tables of the money changers.

Peter Whiting writes: Re. Chris Ridings’s comments on Christian values. Well said Chris. Your response should be a mission statement for Christian political groups.

Danielle Ecuyer writes: Re. “The Crikey list of climate concerned CEOs” (27 October, item 4). I wanted to congratulate Crikey on the excellent contribution from concerned business leaders re climate change. The Howard government’s stance is ill-informed and fails to address the major crisis with which Australia is and will be confronted: that is, climate change. Australia needs to set CO2 emission reduction targets, renewable energy targets, imitate a carbon tax and sign up to the Kyoto Treaty immediately. Australia is an embarrassment on the world stage as the highest per capita CO2 polluter. I want to encourage all business leaders to push the state and federal governments for an immediate introduction of these measures. As Sir Nicholas Stern highlights, the cost of inaction will greatly exceed the cost of action, not to mention the new job growth that will emanate from the emergence of new industries as we move to a greater renewable energy sector and more sustainable living. I am an ex-investment banker who has started a non-profit organisation to educate communities across Australia on Climate Change and how we can all successfully reduce our demand for fossil fuel energy. My website is and is being rolled out this week. I encourage everyone to join our Green Footprint Programme and start to make the difference as a carbon neutral individual.

Richard McGuire writes: For some time now Crikey has been turning up the heat on the government to get serious about climate change. Last Friday this drew a response from the naysayers, among them NSW MLC Jon Jenkins. Jenkins claims the climate change debate is far from over. To support this assertion Jenkins refers to a warning from the Russian Academy of Science about an oncoming ice age. Really? When is this ice age likely to occur? Next year? Next century? Maybe in a thousand or ten thousand years? Such minor details are important. It otherwise impossible to take such claims seriously, let alone put them into context. The current scientific consensus, which Jenkins chooses to ignore, warns that at best we have fifty years, to seriously reign in CO2 emissions. Since the Industrial Revolution, atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from 280 parts per million to 380 ppm. If nothing is done CO2 levels by the end of the century will be around 600 ppm. My challenge to Jenkins and other naysayers is to forget the left wing/greenie conspiracies and come up with what they consider to be an acceptable, liveable atmospheric CO2 level.

Sharon Hutchings writes: The critical debate about climate change should also examine animal agriculture and our meat-based Western diet. Meat production in Australia is a huge industry requiring significant amounts of land, water and energy in the growing, processing, refrigeration and transportation. Farmers either need to grow crops to feed their cattle, sheep, pigs, and chickens, or actually transport feed in. Why not grow more legume, grain and vegetable crops to feed humans directly instead? Ruminant animals such as cattle and sheep produce methane, which is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Their hard hooves cause more damage to our delicate topsoil than native animals. A single dairy cow can require up to 150 litres, sometimes more, of drinking water daily for milk production. One of the most effective things anyone can do to reduce their ecological footprint, and probably improve their own health, is to eat less meat and dairy, or go vegetarian. I feel for the struggling rural sector, but more lateral thinking and proactive solutions are needed. So, how about including some objective discussion and expert opinion (Professor Ian Lowe, Dr David Suzuki for starters) on the broader environmental impact of our dietary choices.

Tim Marsh writes: Re. Peter Scruby on energy, cycling and showers (27 October, comments). Perhaps Daniel Kogoy has a shower after riding to work, AND after riding home. I commute in excess of 40km total per day, and I can tell you I need those showers, especially when riding into Beach Road’s infamous afternoon seabreezes! Daniel seems neither illogical nor obsessive, but rather witty.

Colin Marks writes: Re. The shareholder who asked the questions everyone else wanted to ask (yesterday, item 18). I think it would help comprehension for your readers if Glenn Dyer would learn that there is quite a difference between a Board Meeting and an Annual General Meeting. He certainly managed to confuse me.

John Taylor writes: Re. “Out: HRH The Queen (back)” (27 October, item 30). Please note that the Queen is not Her Royal Highness, she is Her Majesty. Always HM The Queen, never HRH.

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