Michael Cope, President of the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties, writes: Re. “If OJ did it, the law should be able to do him” (yesterday, item 7). Peter Faris’s comments are on the Double Jeopardy rule are astonishing to say the least. Firstly he dismisses 800 years of jurisprudence without a jot of reasoning. Then he proceeds to tell us in relation to the Carroll case that “the police obtained credible evidence that Carroll had lied on oath”. Obviously Mr Faris has not read the decision of the Queensland Court of Appeal on the perjury trial. The “credible” evidence consisted of a rehash by four new experts of material presented at the first trial in which the new experts took a diametrically opposite view from the earlier three on a key factual issue and an alleged confession to fellow inmate who quite plainly was not in the jail when and where the alleged confession was made. This whole debate is a classic example of bad cases making bad law. The Court of Appeal judgment makes it plain that even without double jeopardy Carroll would be a free man today.

Niall Clugston writes: People like Peter Faris – and the NSW Government – who oppose the double jeopardy rule (Crikey, 20 October) should address the contrary argument – rather than just citing O J Simpson – before we jettison a human right that has existed since the Middle Ages. Without this protection, a citizen could be put through a barrage of trials until a jury finally convicted. The potential for abuse of power is obvious. Then again, freedom from torture, the right to silence, the right to cross-examine, and habeas corpus have similarly been abandoned.

Keith Williams writes: Re. “Experience is Beazley’s greatest weapon” (yesterday, item 3). While I agree with Richard Farmer that experience is “Beazley’s greatest weapon”, is the experience of being a three-time loser really all that valuable? Yes, Latham was always a risky proposition, but that was more to do with temperament than age or experience. Rudd, by contrast, has been the ALP’s best spokesperson for a number of years and is well known and respected (for a member of the opposition). Industrial Relations will be a major factor at the next election regardless of who is ALP Leader. Add Rudd’s ability to articulate a position without getting lost in hyperbole, something Beazley seems unable to do, and we might have an electable opposition.

Cameron Bray writes: The vacuity of the press continues to astonish me. Attentions spans that would embarrass a goldfish, pack mentality and a chronic inability to distinguish between transient and important. So Beazley momentarily confuses Karl Rove with Rove McManus – and suddenly he is unfit for office. Whereas having no control over AWB, naively employing flawed, politicised “intelligence” to justify war – then being complicit in the the botching of the peace, misreading the facts on SIEV-X and being bemused at a spate of takeovers 24 hours after passing new media laws… well, government ministers never have “seniors moments” – just Alzheimer’s careers.

Dr Mark Hayes writes: Re. “If democracy threatens, call on the Anzacs” (yesterday, item 13). Charles Richardson’s comments are simplistic and not helpful to assist Australians to better understand what’s really going on in the Region where, like it or not, we’re the local Superpower. A leading Solomon Islands journalist once explained Australia’s role in his country to me (and this can apply to Tonga as well): “When you’ve fallen into a deep hole, you need a long rope with some big, strong fellers at the end of it, to help you get out of the hole”. Fair enough, and we’re very good at that kind of urgent intervention. But the Tongan situation, and the Solomons, and probably Fiji as well, also should remind local politicians about the Rule of Holes: “When you’re deep in one, stop digging”. It helps nobody – us or Islanders – for simplistic analyses and responses to be foisted on them, such as the pro-democracy movement being solely responsible for Tonga’s travails, or Fiji’s teetering on the brink of a coup because the military boss is crazy, hates the PM, and the PM hates him. Not that Mr Richardson argued for these positions, but his analysis erred on the other side, bagging Australia for allegedly propping up governments best left to topple, such as in Tonga. If I might offer two of my analyses as more nuanced and informed – here and here.

Peter Shaw writes: Re. “Milton Friedman’s problem with Scandinavia” (yesterday, item 14). After reading yesterday’s Crikey I felt I couldn’t let Guy Rundle’s article pass with comment. While Scandinavia does fly in the face of some of Friedman’s prescriptions, Friedman’s explanation of why is quite reasonable. Scandinavians are culturally industrious and Scandinavia is ethnically homogenous (although this is changing). Their industriousness means they can afford the welfare state and being homogenous they are politically comfortable with the consensus necessary to maintain the welfare state. People are generally happier to pay the high taxes that maintain welfare if the recipients are family members or people like them, it’s human nature I guess. Wisconsin and Minnesota actually bear out Milton’s hypothesis. Over the last 50 years these states have had a net immigration of minorities attracted by jobs and the relatively generous (compared to the rest of the US) welfare available in those states. Not surprisingly these states now resemble the rest of America in their unemployment. Time will tell if Scandinavia will follow the same path. If Guy could name a country that has successfully maintained both high immigration and high welfare then he would perhaps have a point!

Drew Turney writes: Re. Daylight saving. Not many people know daylight saving was created during the industrial revolution so factories could operate for an extra hour without having to draw power for lighting from an infrastructure that couldn’t handle it. While country-minded pollies argue about how much it’s going to upset the chooks or how many of us are going to take time off to go surfing, maybe we should calculate how much fossil fuel pollution will be saved by the extra hour the world’s workplaces don’t need as much electricity?

Gerard Gleeson writes: All the States have it wrong. There should be daylight savings in winter when we actually need an extra hour. In summer, nature has already provided a longer day and who wants daylight till after nine o’clock anyway! 

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Peter Fray

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