Andrew Lewis writes: I’ll have to throw in a protest over Julie Bishop’s award as s-xiest female politician (yesterday, item 1). While she seems to have the physical attributes, for mine she can’t escape the private school, Miss Goody Two Shoes, school captain, never had an impure thought prissiness. Sorry to disagree folks, Julie may be easy on the eye, but I doubt there is a s-xy cell in her body. The reference to Princess Diana is instructive, as Diana had the same puke-making effect on me. As for nominations for Helen Coonan, I can only remark that by revealing who they find s-xy a person may be revealing more about themselves than they intend. Only a conservative could find either the prissy Bishop or the matronly Coonan s-xy. Kind regards and best wishes for Xmas and the New Year to the Crikey crew and all the readers as well, even the poor conflicted Bishop-admiring souls.

Christopher Young writes: Helen Coonan as one of the s-xiest pollies – what the? (As another s-xy pollie once put it – “please explain”!)

Alan Hatfield writes: Re. “A day out with my local member” (yesterday, item 12). It was encouraging to read “A day out with my local member” by 14-year-old Forbes High School student Will Moisis. (The story itself was the encouraging bit – a lot of the content was actually quite depressing !) Our public school system can’t be all bad if it is producing students of the calibre, initiative and insight of Will Moisis, to say nothing of his remarkable self-confidence and directness of approach. The teachers who are producing this sort of educational output should be considerably recognised and rewarded. More power to their collective elbows! Sadly, I bet John Cobb has gone on his way thinking how well things went at school this day. It is most unlikely that he ever reads Crikey!

Kurt Andersson writes: If Will Moisis is an example of the next generation then I can sleep soundly in my bed. Good on you mate, keep it up.

Ebony Bennett, Media Adviser to Bob Brown, writes: I am amazed at Christian Kerr’s ability to turn any win for the Greens into a bad news story (yesterday, item 15). The Greens, and Senator Brown in particular, have been having a great week. First woodchipping giant Gunns Ltd dropped its case against five of the Gunns 20, including Bob. Then the Greens secured a third seat in the Victorian Upper House. Then on Tuesday, the Federal Court found that logging in the Wielangta Forest was in breach of the federal environment laws and on Wednesday it awarded Senator Brown full costs of the case, which he had taken on personally because no one else, including the Environment Minister, was prepared to do it. I do not believe that the environment movement is anything other than overjoyed at the outcome of this case. But Senator Brown’s success does not make the EPBC act first-class environment legislation. If the legislation was stronger in the first place, or if the Environment Minister could be bothered to enforce it, the case may not have even been necessary. It should not have fallen to a Greens Senator to do the job of the Environment Minister, but Senator Campbell should now uphold the law by prosecuting Forestry Tasmania. Seasons greetings to everyone at Crikey, but please excuse me for being somewhat anti-Green for a moment and wishing Christian Kerr a big fat lump of coal for Christmas for putting a dent in my holiday cheer.

Norman Abjorensen writes: Steve Johnson’s gentle chiding (yesterday, comments) of Christian Kerr over his use of the term “Kruddy” while not nicknaming the prime minister in the same piece has highlights the pitfalls of getting colloquial, to be sure. It was just such an inconsistent use of a slang moniker that led the very critical Noam Chomsky to suggest that President Harry Truman was a racist. His evidence? Truman once referred to his communist opponents as Uncle Joe (Stalin) and Mousy Dung (Mao Zedong), prompting the Chomsker to ask why only the white European got a harmless reference and the Asian one a slighting one.

Anthea Parry writes: Mike Burke (yesterday, comments) wants to know why whole weeks have gone by without Christian Kerr being seriously, and serially, abused by the kiddies. Mike, we abuse Christian Kerr constantly. Just for some reason, Crikey occasionally publishes comments on other topics. Dunno why. And I object to being called a kiddie – I’m old enough to have two of my own, and think Christian (and his ilk) are doing their best to destroy their future.

John Spresser writes: I am getting tired of the fundamentalist raw capitalist message that is coming through from Crikey. It is Economics 101 and I expect from crikey a balanced point of view – not one that says: “A free market will fix everything.” It does NOT. When the market goes into excess, millions of lives are affected and then the taxpayer picks up the tab. So let’s hear a bit more balance in your economic message. I can remember what some journalists said about Japan in the early 90’s. It was a special case and would go on for ever. The crash came and ten years later they are just coming out of it. So it will with us as the deals, the debt, the current account, and the greed is now at intolerable levels. The journos just preach the mantra “The market will fix all” while the finance industry feeds off of the billions that go into super each year. It is either lazy journalism or something a lot worse. So Crikey, raise the standard of economic reporting with a bit of balance – if I want hype I will listen to Canberra and the Finance Industry.

Suzy Waddell writes: Perhaps it has always been around, but “working families” seems to have suddenly become the choice phrase of pollies trying to appeal to the masses. Problem is, it actually excludes quite a few of us: single men and women, non-working families, retirees with no “working” family members, etc… I’m sick of hearing it over and over again in speeches and soundbites. Oh well, I guess as a single girl I can assume all of those new policies aren’t for me.

Ange Kenos writes: As a husband, a father, and as a sports coach I utterly cannot stand Shane Warne and cannot wait until he is never again heard or seen. Do you forget that he accepted a bribe from an opposing team? He claimed it was a weather report and we have no PROOF to the contrary but he still accepted what he knew was a bribe from his opponents. Do you recall the no smoking contract that he signed with Quit? A 16-year-old boy photographed him breaking it and was threatened with being bashed by the great athlete, according to allegations published in the Herald Sun. Or what about his many cases of adultery AND the fact that he openly lied to you and me about doing so? Warne used his fame as a cricketer and his travelling as part of the team to chase married women, then texted them from his mobile or left messages on answering machines. By misusing his athletic access, contacts and fame he is far worse than anything Gary Ablett did and yet Ablett was hounded for years because of another tragedy. So when I hear people calling for things to be named after him, I feel rather sick. No thanks, no Warne Stand.

Brad Ruting writes: So, Shane Warne’s retiring from a life that consists of playing cricket, with a few drugs, girls and mobile phones on the side (editorial, 21 December). What an inspiration! Australia is a truly great country, where a national icon consists of a slob who throws a ball for a living.

Andrew Dempster writes: While Warne is retiring and going out on top and at the right time, spare a thought for perennial bridesmaid Stuart MacGill. I for one am hoping that selectors throw the ball to MacGill and give him a chance to take his 200th wicket in Test cricket – he’s currently sitting on 198 wickets from 40 tests, all done in the shadow of the greatest legspinner of all time. Warne obviously can’t be replaced – but surely it’s time to give MacGill a go?

Diana Carroll writes: Re. “The Great Plastic Bag Hysteria – turns out they’re not really bad after all” (yesterday, item 24). Thank heavens for Michael Pascoe and some words of reason in the politically correct hysteria about plastic bags. It irks me enormously that the legislation to ban plastic bags has effectively given retailers, especially the big two of supermarkets – Coles & Woollies – a huge windfall. The SA State Government estimates plastic supermarket bags “cost” each household $10-$15 a year in the price of their groceries. The supermarkets have never said they will give this back to shoppers through reduced prices; if they did the impact on your weekly shopping bill would be hard to notice. So why doesn’t the legislation force the retailers to give that money back to the environment we apparently care about so much? At the moment, it’s just a massive government-sponsored windfall for the retailers as we poor consumers fork out for yet another “green” bag. $10-$15 a year multiplied by 7.5 million households would see between $75 million and $112 million donated to environmental projects. That would plant a few trees!

Bob Weston writes: Re. “The Government’s Kyoto figures don’t add up” (yesterday, item 9). The Government’s media release fails again to point out that Australians lead the world in greenhouse gas emission per head of population. The 2006 ABS publication “Measures of Austalia’s Progress ” lists our 2003 carbon dioxide equivalent emission as 27.5 tonnes per head per annum. This is some 30% higher than the average corresponding emission for a citizen of the United States. By contrast, the value for a Chinese person or an Indian is three to five tonnes per year. It is hard to be proud to be an Australian when we won’t join Kyoto because at present it does not ask China and India to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

Prof Jon Jenkins writes: I usually read the diatribe in “State of the Planet” with some dismay. Mainly because the “social” engineers like McHugh extract the “scare ’em to death” parts without explaining the science. But the article on rising sea levels and disappearing islands is a simple little one that most people, even those not au fait with the vagaries of integro differential computer models, can understand. The article relays a report based on work by CSIRO about rising sea levels. Now stay with me, people, this is really simple: as we emerged from the last Ice Age over about 10,000 years the seas rose about 120m (about 20-30m higher than they are at present). So that’s an average of 120,000mm/10,000 years = 12mm/year. Now this was all natural and we [humans] had nothing to do with it. In the work on which the sinking islands is based, apart from neglecting the land level changes in the most active tectonic plate region on earth, the worst estimate is 2-3mm year which is about less than a quarter of the completely natural rate last time we had a warming. Nothing that has happened, whether it be temperature rises, sea levels, glacial movements etc, is “out of the ordinary”; it has all happened before, much more violently. The rest are just the predictions of grossly inaccurate computer models.

James Crotty writes: Re. “The Rockefellers move in on Tasmania’s prestige property market” (yesterday, item 5). Good as it is to see Tassie rate a mention in Crikey, and even better to think we have our fair share of unexposed scandals, Margaretta has got it wrong to suggest there is something untoward in the recent tender of University surplus housing. I, like a number of other Tasmanians, looked at the tender and its lease back requirements to the Uni. I did my sums and figured I could not afford to subsidise Uni students for a period of 12 months at well below market rates before I could even attempt to book a profit on sale by selling off the hugely substandard housing stock or even in the longer (much longer term) by edging the rentals to cash flow positive rates. If it’s any help, on my calculations Margaretta’s disclosed purchase price was six figures over what I regard as commercial sanity. If there is any suggestion of commercial impropriety or plain idiocy it was in the decision to tender the entirety of the holding rather than a progressive release to the market. But that was the Uni decision not the Rockefellers’. No, there is nothing to worry about in the propriety stakes beyond yet another example of cashed-up first world citizens coming to a smaller economy and being able to apple-pick assets that they can afford to sit on until they make a profit. I think that is called globalisation, or some other word which is a euphemism for keeping us in thrall to capital-rich countries. Wake up Australia before we sell all the farm.

Peter Wotton writes: Funny how the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria (and the Sydney Jensenites) is fiercely opposed to homos-xual activity, which is not mentioned in the Gospels, but tolerates polygamy which is condemned by Jesus Christ. There is not a lot of consistency with these supposed Bible based Christians. The excuse is that polygamy is tolerated because it is a national cultural practice in Nigeria.

Sally Haynes writes: Re. John Bevan’s comments on blood donations (yesterday, comments). Sorry to hear donating blood was too inconvenient. I hope you don’t bother to ask for a blood transfusion in your hour of need.

Robyn Winslow writes: So, John Bevan won’t donate blood because he has to make an appointment to do so. Become an organ donor. Appointments not necessary and the world will momentarily revolve around you.

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Peter Fray

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