Adam Lyons writes: Re. “Bringing Hicks home” (yesterday, item 4). The list of people who want to see David Hicks remain at the Guantanamo hell hole was incomplete by a long way. By their inaction every member of the coalition who fails to speak out on this important subject must be counted as a supporter of this gross injustice. It is an injustice to David Hicks and a greater injustice to Australia and Australians.

Keith Binns writes: Nothing demonstrates the moral and ethical poverty of the Federal Government more than the treatment of David Hicks. It is frightening that a so-called democratic government is so contemptuous of the rule of law. They have thrown out principles that go back to Magna Carta.

Chris Colenso-Dunne writes: Re. “Tony Abbott’s antediluvian beliefs” (10 November, item 8). Guy Rundle has clearly touched on a few raw nerves, judging by the response of Crikey correspondents (yesterday, comments). But the point that Rundle was making is valid: like it or not, our religious beliefs help define who we are and how we act – the Federal Minister for Health is a good example. I’m sure I’m not the only one who shakes my head in disbelief when I discover that another Hollywood celebrity has joined the Scientology movement. Why? Because Scientology is nutty and you would have to be a nutcase to join. Roman Catholicism, while not up with Scientology in the nuttiness stakes, isn’t too far behind. The 1854 dogma of Immaculate Conception, which many Australian Roman Catholics confuse with the Virgin Birth, is probably top of the RC nuts but the more venerable dogma of Transubstantiation would be a close second. Religious beliefs matter. What our leaders believe matter. Ergo, our leaders’ religious beliefs matter. We demand that MPs declare their financial interests: we should also insist they reveal what religious teachings they believe.

Mark Bahnisch writes: Re. “Now controlling Congress, will the Dems ratify Kyoto?” (yesterday, item 13). Nahum Ayliffe suggested yesterday that the incoming Democrat Congress might ratify Kyoto. His analysis of whether or not this is a good thing for them, or whether it’s feasible, is all moot. The US Constitution gives the President the power to recommend to the Senate that treaties be ratified. Unless Bush decides to sign up, there’s nothing the Dems could do except pass a non-binding resolution urging him to do so.

Grant Corderoy writes: “I usually only reply to insults from experts. You are a rank amateur” was the brief (but predictable) email response from Mike Carlton to me when I dared criticise a recent article of his in the SMH. Based on this response it would appear that Mr Carlton must regard Gerard Henderson as an “expert” given the sudden (lengthy) response from Mike to Mr Henderson’s criticism of his SMH article about Alan Jones (Crikey 31/10/06). As for me, Mr Carlton is indeed correct, but this “rank amateur” will continue to write to those ageing commentators such as Messrs Henderson and Carlton to ask that they properly report on the real issues and not continue to peddle old grievances that matter not to the general public.

Jim Hart writes: Re. “FOI reveals the push to kill Jonestown” (yesterday, item 3). Just when I thought the obsession with Jonestown couldn’t get any sillier Margaret Simons and Crikey play the FOI card and claim that it wasn’t a conspiracy but (worse – shock, horror) conservative management. So perhaps someone at the ABC was worried that publishing the book might be a bad financial move. If so, it sounds to me like someone was doing their job. As for Jonestown “rivalling Harry Potter on the bestseller lists”, J K Rowling must be sh-tting herself.

Cathy Bannister writes: Re. “So I married a psycho: Peter Carey’s ex-wife tells all” (yesterday, item 6). Jane Nethercote obviously hasn’t read Peter Carey’s Theft, or she’d know that it is not about a messy marriage breakdown. The marriage breakdown in question is a very small side issue in a convoluted tale of intrigue in the art world – although it does go some way explain the vulnerability and mental state of character Michael Boone. To suggest that the whole book is about the divorce, however, possibly gives more credibility to Summers’s claims than they deserve.

David Wilson, Executive Director of Watercooler, writes: Glenn Dyer yesterday (item 22) referred to an ABBA special which aired last November on Seven and hosted by Ian “Molly” Meldrum. If you are referring to the program titled ABBA’s All Time Greatest Hits which screened on on Seven on November 13th it was in fact hosted by my business partner and client Ian “Dicko” Dickson and not Mr Meldrum. The Seven offering was indeed packed with “more panache” (as you put it) and a quick look at the rankings for that date will also confirm it was a more popular program with viewers than last night’s offering on Nine.

Simon Tolhurst writes: Re. “Clive James’s unreliable memoirs” (10 November, item 15). In relation to Guy’s criticism of Clive James’ reminiscences of meeting the S-x Pistols – while it’s true Sid wasn’t a member of the Pistols at the time, he was very definitely a member of the entourage. And the Pistols appearance on the Bill Grundy program, as Guy should remember, included rather a lot of the entourage as well (notoriously, Grundy attempted to pick up Siouxie Sioux, which lead to the “dirty old man” comment). So it’s incredibly plausible that, yes, events did play out exactly as Clive remembers them. Just because Sid wasn’t a member of the band, there’s no reason to assume that he wasn’t there.

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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