Simon Bush, CEO, Australian Visual Software Distributors Association, writes: Re. “Media coalition ready to fight Coonan’s ‘dog’s breakfast'” (yesterday, item 5). My information supports Margaret Simon’s intel today that the government is quickly re-drafting the legislation based on the outcry. It appears that Senator Coonan did not consult with ANY content providers, nor it seems with her colleague the Attorney-General responsible for classification policy and the OFLC. Certainly the Australian Visual Software Distributors Association has not been consulted whom I represent. What DoCITA’s actions demonstrate is a) the Department’s closeness to ISP and telco’s generally at the expense of content providers, b) the lack of wider consultation with those same content providers who will be impacted by any restrictions – we know the ISP’s and telco’s will not accept any legal responsibility for what goes over their networks (at least not without a fight), and c) how anachronistic the classification and ratings system is in this country. You have the Classifications Act and the OFLC responsible for theatrical and home entertainment films, and games – but only if they are appear in theatres or on DVDs – magazines and books. The Broadcasting Act covers TV content and the Telecommunications Act for ISPs (internet) and mobile phones. In a world of convergent media something needs to be done about this crazy situation and in this case more is less and the proposed bill by Senator Coonan by all reports is a poor attempt.
David Havyatt writes: Lobbyists get a bad press because of the way our politicians choose to do politics. Instead of there being regular frequent open inquiries, most public policy decisions are “announced” after some brief private consultation and usually a political analysis – will the decision either (a) be easy to implement through the parliament or (b) have a rocky road but provide an opportunity for “differentiation”? But as for the wild accusations that Rudd was somehow involved in a long planned exercise, a dinner on 1 August with an invitation of 28 July is the ultimate in short run events, and is entirely consistent with the Rudd description. The invitations I’ve received from lobbyists and backbenchers to attend “functions” with frontbenchers are typically organised much further in advance. As for the conclusion that it must have been well prepared because Rudd spoke on China – heck, the man does that stump speech everywhere, including last year’s ALP Business Forum. The person I feel sorry for is Senator Ian Campbell, who lost his front bench position for just doing his job. Meanwhile, a host of frontbenchers haven’t lost their jobs for NOT doing their job – Downer for not inquiring into AWB, Ruddock for not representing an Australian citizen illegally interned in the US, Peter Reith for not telling the truth about children overboard, etc.
Nigel Devenport writes: For the whole term of the Howard Government we have watched incompetent ministers get away with blue murder while suffering no chastisement or penalty. Kids overboard, AWB, the list goes on. Poor old Ian Campbell, who copped the friendly fire from Costello’s gutter rhetoric, falls gallantly on his sword with about three seconds consideration and consultation. The whole affair is jaw-droppingly cynical and appalling in its contempt for the Westminster system and the voting public of Australia. Incredibly, Howard has plumbed new depths of political expediency and hypocrisy.
Jon Case writes: The Prime Minister and his attack-dogs can spin it however they like, but all I see in Minister Campbell’s “resignation” is the ultimate in political hypocrisy and expediency. I believe the Australian public is well beyond buying his arguments against Mr Rudd, and can well remember throughout Howard’s Prime Ministership the blatant avoidance of “Ministerial Accountability” for the litany of governance and policy failures published in Crikey and elsewhere. This history makes a mockery of his (Howard’s) feigned self-righteousness. The Prime Minister is trying to claim the moral high ground through Rudd’s lack of judgment, Costello’s performance, Campbell’s sacking, but instead finds himself in immoral quicksand that could well sink his already nonexistent credibility.
John Kotsopoulos writes: When Rudd realised he was being set up by Burke he cut off all contact and a fourth meeting proposed by Burke never eventuated. I still want to know when Costello is going to be made accountable for his stupidity in getting Campbell sacked and besmirching any number of WA business types for having dealings with Burke. What a political genius this bloke is. No wonder Howard is hanging on like grim death.
David Best writes: The Kevin Rudd affair over the Brian Burke meeting is getting boring. I have been talking to colleagues at work and none of us actually understand why it was a bad thing to meet with him. We also cannot understand why one of Howard’s ministers has been sacked over the affair. When has it been illegal to meet someone in this country whether they be a criminal or non-criminal? I think this story has gone on too long and increased my distrust of politicians in general. To me, the Howard government is coming across as overly desperate and Kevie as overly sensitive.
Andrew Lewis writes: What an interesting political dilemma these three meetings with Burke have created. The Liberals are almost peeing themselves with glee at the moment, but their strategy employs a significant risk. The public may just see through their sudden discovery of ministerial standards, after junking them about seven years ago when they were claiming too many victims. No doubt the Liberal Party has finally laid a glove on Rudd, but it seems a glancing blow at best. It shows how much the Libs were rattled by Rudd that they see this as a major incident. I doubt that the average punter who displays little interest in politics will see this as significant, but time will tell. Of course I am writing this just before some opinion polls are to be published, and could be looking a little foolish tomorrow, but is this the best that the Libs can do? They are in trouble.
Tom Cowen writes: Re. “Rudd, Burke and the WA CCC” (yesterday, item 10). I read Peter Faris’s piece on the Rudd-Burke matter and was bewildered at the complete lack of logic in the item. One example will suffice: Burke did not deliver the head of Kim Beazley to Rudd. In fact Rudd only received two of nine votes from his WA colleagues. This is unless, of course, Burke had immeasurable sway with members of the Labor Party in the eastern states, but I don’t think so. The piece was so lacking in any real analysis that I thought it must be comedy, but I am not sure.
Michael Fisk writes: For a moment, I took Peter Faris’s “Rudd, Burke and the WA CCC” piece seriously and was going to unpick his nonsense, paragraph by paragraph. That would have been fun, pointing out the obvious jurisdictional problems, and wondering just how Burke was going to fix the coming federal election. Then the penny dropped – Faris wasn’t wearing his “QC” badge of honour in his byline, nor had you hailed him as Crikey’s “legal correspondent”. Realising this had to be a piece by Peter Faris, comedy writer, I read the item again. Talk about a laugh! Thanks Crikey, although you’ll have to excuse me while I go change. These trousers appear to be damp.
Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “Major Mori’s split personality: showman or lawyer?” (yesterday, item 13). What a load of ponderous rubbish from Neil James, Executive Director of the Australian Defence Association. His prissy lecturing of Major Mori on the legal niceties would be great if the Hicks case had anything to do with legal niceties and the law. This is a political show trial and if Major Mori hadn’t been so vocal and strident in his pursuit of justice for Hicks there would be no prospect of him ever getting out of Gitmo. The fact that Howard can boast to his party room that he could get Hicks home any time he wanted and now news that moves are being made to get Hicks home before the federal election to save the PM’s bacon just shows what a farce this is. Mori should be given a medal. And Christian once again misses the point. The Mardi Gras display for Hicks was about obtaining justice for Hicks, not a comment on his beliefs. The fact Kerr seems to overlook is that you fight just as hard for justice for a person you dislike just as you do for someone you admire.
Brefney Ruhl writes: The US Prosecutor Davis does protest a little too much. The US and Oz governments have publicly branded Hicks as a bona fide terrorist & murderer for years. The commanders of Gitmo and the US prosecutors have likewise been all over the press for years labeling Hicks as among “the worst of the worst”. Even Ruddock called Hicks one of the world’s worst 20 criminals. This, a guy who has never fired a shot on a battlefield. Major Mori is in unfamiliar territory. Americans wouldn’t allow this to happen to one of their own because it isn’t legal. Other foreign governments argued vigorously for their citizens’ return, because it isn’t legal! Hicks has been hung out to dry by his own government. The Australian legal fraternity has shown its complete impotence in demanding justice. Maybe if Neil James whispered a little louder, it would make a difference, but I doubt it. Major Mori is the one lone American legal official who has stood up for his client on a public stage that is crowded with US prosecutors, the US and Oz governments and the compliant right wing media (especially Rupert’s empire), all baying for Hicks’s blood. That he is now being threatened for mounting this stage is totally indicative of the kind of justice Hicks will get. Mori deserves a medal in my book, but instead he’ll probably be drummed out of the service.
Ron Kerr writes: Jane Nethercote in her piece “Major Mori’s split personality: showman or lawyer” can’t have run across the old saying, “The only difference between a lawyer and an actor is that the lawyer writes his own script.” A good lawyer needs to be a good showman. The best are.
Geoff Russell writes: Re. “The ‘have your cake and eat it’ version of climate action” (yesterday, item 20). Ian McHugh missed the new addition to the usual mantra of “buy a hybrid car” and “buy new light globes” on Ten’s Cool Aid. It was meat and dairy getting a serve for the massive greenhouse emissions they generate. But, of course, Sandra Sully jumped in (twice) to defend meat, call for balance and assure people they wouldn’t have to give up sirloin. Why didn’t she jump in to defend coal? Or cars? Or air travel? No, the only thing she jumped to defend was meat. Did Meat and Livestock Australia pay her to do that? But you can always rely on Tim Flannery to ignore meat as a global warming issue, even when discussing methane he can ignore the single biggest anthropogenic source. Last night he even managed to link the destruction of the Amazon with global warming while forgetting to tell people that the Amazon is being cleared to raise cattle because 200 million Brazilians want to eat like Tim Flannery who wants to eat like a polar bear instead of the cunning little prey animal that is our revolutionary history. See the fascinating book Man the Hunted by Donna Hart and Robert Sussman.
Marshall Roberts writes: The incongruity of Channel Ten’s Cool Aid advertising slots for motor oil and air travel (as noted by Ian McHugh), pales against what we Tasmanians endure if we’re watching when the evening weather update screens. On one of the commercial stations, the weather break is sponsored by Gunns, the timber giant proposing a new pulp mill. This results in an almost nauseating irony when, while the wind howls outside or the lightning cracks overhead on another unusually muggy evening, the voiceover announces that “tonight’s weather is brought to you by Gunns”. Which in turn gets one to thinking… With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reporting a 90% probability that climate change is caused by human activity, how long can it be before insurers are challenged on their “act of God” no-cover clauses?
Noel Pidgeon writes: During last night’s Cool Aid I was amused to see Sandra Sully had flown to Japan to interview Al Gore. Considering the whole point of the program was to demonstrate how to reduce the production of greenhouse gas why didn’t they just set up a satellite link? Or was the point that the important classes can afford to purchase offsets and maintain their lifestyle while the rest of us must reduce our outputs by altering our way of life?
Chris Colenso-Dunne writes: Re. “The real cost of same-s-x discrimination” (yesterday, item 18). Stacy Farrar rightly advocates the removal of discrimination against same s-x couples but fails to acknowledge that not all adult relationships consist of only two people at a time. Some single and multiple households do not conform to the stereotypes of couples or one or two parents plus their sub-25-year-old children. Any variation of the partially cohabiting extended family is possible: siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles plus distant relations and friends, all to some degree interdependent. Further, the mainstream uncritically accepted stereotype of heteros-xual monogamy not only discriminates unfairly against same s-x monogamy but also ignores polygamous and polyandrous relationships in all their permutations. Despite once being commonplace, polygamy and polyandry have had a bad rap in recent centuries. In no small part this is due to the undeserved weight given in Christianity over the last two thousand years to the insistence on monogamy of the wealthy tentmaker’s son, persecutor, murderer, turncoat, self-publicist and propagandist, the unedifying Paul of Tarsus. Perchance many men and women today in Australia would be better off financially, emotionally or sexually in a stable multi-person relationship – but the tedious presumption of monogamy by heteros-xuals and homos-xuals alike ignores this.
Scott Leibhardt writes: Re. “AFL fans take note: No one cares what you think” (yesterday, item 22). Adam Schwab wrote, “… last week’s Geelong v Hawthorn match at Skilled Stadium drew a crowd of more than 9,000, forcing the club to throw open the gates to accommodate supporters.” C’mon Schwabby… it was Geelong v Richmond. And the anticipated crowd was 9,000. The actual crowd was estimated to be around 15,000. OK, it is true to say it drew a crowd of more than 9,000. It was more than 15,000 too!
Russell Bancroft writes: The scheduling of the Carlton v North Melbourne game on the Gold Coast this weekend makes sense in light of the fact that the teams will play each other there during the home and away season. Of course, what doesn’t make sense is that the teams will play each other on the Gold Coast during the home and away season.
Paul Ryan writes: It beggars belief why more people than ever are attending AFL matches. There is more pushing than your average gridiron game, the debutants are “rookies”, the players are flooding zones, the interchange is not far from being so big that a defensive six will replace an offensive six and vice versa, and the people who attend are the “fans”. There are more umpires than ever yet classy ball players are tagged, scragged and jumped on for no reward. And I can’t remember the last time I saw a half decent mark – the average player can’t get off the ground because of the handful of jumper his opponent has of him. Then you won’t get much change from $20 if you buy yourself and your son a pie and a drink when you know these items wholesale for a pittance while viewing the game from up in the bleachers. The AFL in its ivory tower and those who make their living from pushing the product, like the coaches and the commentators and other hangers-on, will never get the message if the fans don’t start staying away until the game embraces Australian culture and gives something back to the long suffering supporters.
Phillip Smith writes: I have to say that the AFL has done one thing for the fans. When the previous Channel Nine/Ten and pay TV deal was done, evidently the game couldn’t be shown on Foxtel until the free to air station had commenced broadcast. This meant to the AFL fans in Sydney could wait til midnight Friday night to see the game on Channel Nine or 12:15am to see it on Foxtel. A few weeks into the season the cries were heard and Foxtel could show the game on Friday night starting at 9.30pm. That is something, I suppose…
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