Philip Nitschke, Exit International, writes: Re: Sophie Black and Thomas Hunter’s article on censorship (2 March, item 14). The authors should get themselves down to their local Borders. Final Exit by Derek Humphrey is and has been freely available in Australia for 15 years, unlike my book — The Peaceful Pill Handbook — that lasted a full three weeks on the shelves before the Attorney-General and his mates in Right to Life forced a review, and got what they wanted — a total ban.

Tim Le Roy writes: Re. “Everything you need to know about tree-based carbon offset schemes but were afraid to ask” (2 March, item 12). As our pollies strut the climate change stage showing off their latest green outfits to the cheers of the merchant bankers, who are priming their plasma screen trading desks, consider the unknowing poor schmucks who will effect this transfer of wealth. In his defence of tree planting Murray Griffin gives credibility to other carbon offset schemes. For example, wind mills, the high-profile green altar of many a pollie. It may amuse some readers to know that there is not a single study (by independent experts) that proves that when the wind is blowing the brown-coal generators of the La Trobe Valley back off their burning of coal. This is because wind energy is so fickle you could not boil a kettle reliably, let alone a shut down a power station in anticipation. Even more amusing is that the June 2006 power production figures for the Wonthaggi wind “farm” show that it consumed more power than it produced for 16% of the time. What the? Oh yes. And yet these schemes get a river of gold directed their way by Canberra and Spring Street, irrespective of whether they offset emissions or not, paid for by unsuspecting voters. What lollies will Mr Costello hand out in his “Climate” budget to match Mr Rudd’s economically suicidal green promises?

Gary Cook writes: I would have thought that Tony Abbott’s comment about “supping with the Devil” applied most accurately to last weekend’s lunch at Kirribilli House when John Howard and his cabinet entertained Dick Cheney.

Bob Johnson writes: Re. Bank fees. I asked a relative who was a bank manager about fees and this is the answer I received: “I had authority to refund fees but it came out of one of our branch’s suspense accounts for which we were accountable. Although we had authority to refund most fees, if we went over our allocated limit for refunds, our branch would fail that area, which would penalise the whole branch from any incentive awards or bonuses etc. A lot of people don’t even realise they have been charged – the banks make huge amounts of revenue from those fees!”

Peter Hogan writes: Your exposure of the banking fees rort seems to have been successful. Well done. How about looking at the legality of another business practice which seems like a rort to me. Some businesses work on a prepaid credit system but put a time limit on the credit. If you haven’t used up your credit in a certain time they just take what is left of the credit. Money for nothing. Examples are CityLink and prepaid mobile phone contracts (mine is a Telstra CDMA phone). How legal is this? Why should they be allowed to take your money when no service has been provided? If it’s about administration costs then charge an admin fee.

Andrew Harding writes: Re. “Time to shake up the stateless 7.30 Report” (2 March, item 17). Glenn Dyer is 100% correct. What a criminal waste to see someone like Quentin Dempster stuck in that godforsaken Friday night spot; it’s especially saddening for anyone who remembers the role that he and The 7:30 Report played in explaining, and yes shaping, Queensland politics in the 1980s.

Clare Thompson writes: Glenn Dyer is absolutely right. In Perth we have a daily paper that is a drivel ridden scandal sheet and otherwise very limited local media. A strong democracy requires a competitive and strong media as well as honest politicians. One goes with the other in my book. If we had a nightly 7.30 Report at the least there would be some hard hitting and in depth coverage of what is actually going on in boomtown, rather than the occasional view from the east when it all goes so terribly wrong. Oh the irony: in the 1990s when WA Inc was covered nightly by the local 7.30 Report – who was in the chair? Alan Carpenter.

Correction: An item in Friday’s Crikey headed ”I gave Rudd a helping hand” confused the Western Australian seats of Cowan and Kalgoorlie and MPs Graham Edwards with former Kalgoorlie MP Graham Campbell. This was very wrong.

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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