Today’s typos (house pedant Charles Richardson casts an eye over the howlers in the last edition of Crikey): Friday, item 22 — “she correctly deduced that fighter jets are designed to attack ground targets …” – er, no. As Wikipedia succinctly puts it, “A fighter aircraft is a military aircraft designed primarily for attacking other aircraft, as opposed to a bomber, which is designed to attack ground targets …”

Andrew Parker, managing partner of Parker & Partners Public Affairs, writes: Re. “The lobbyists begin lobbying about lobby regulation” (Friday, item 8). I hope Richard Farmer isn’t put in charge of the new lobbying registry he pines for because accuracy might be its first casualty. I worked for John Hewson after the 1993 election and worked for the NSW Government, not Jeff Kennett some 1000km away. I’m for transparency and promoting professionalism but let’s have some commonsense and accuracy injected into this debate rather than more Brian Burke hysteria.

Aaron Hall writes: Stephen Mayne wrote (Friday, item 17) that The Australian had an exclusive with the front-page picture of Liz O’Neill. Ummm, no, The Canberra Times also ran the same pic.

A retired airline pilot writes: Re. “Garuda’s wind excuse is just hot air” (Friday, item 2). Ben Sandilands’s piece may well be quite right, but he is totally out of line in coming to these conclusions on the basis of very early interviews with passengers, etc, instead of waiting for flight recorder evidence, (however bad Garuda’s accident rate might be). 1) Deleting the identity of a crashed aircraft is “standard practice” – Garuda have done nothing unusual here, and it has been done by other major ‘respectable airlines’ in the past. 2) Windshear. He is absolutely right in saying that it is a well known problem, and definitely part of the training routine in any airline pilot’s regular flight simulator training. Windshear varies considerably from incident to incident, and many of the simulator scenarios are taken directly from the ‘black boxes’ of aircraft which have had severe windshear encounters. Even when anticipated, an experienced pilot may have difficulty in maintaining control in a severe case. (It is quite easy to increase the severity to such an extent that control will certainly be lost.) The point is that it is not something which can be practised, so that it can be assumed that recovery from a windshear encounter can be guaranteed – It only gives you the experience which will help you on the day. 3) Responsibility. If windshear was encountered, the training is that a ‘go around’ be performed; likewise, if there is a flight control problem – Hold off and sort out the problem, until a safe landing can be achieved. If the pilots did in fact ‘press on’ in spite of windshear, or merely got it all wrong on this approach, this will be evident from the flight recorders – then indeed they should be held responsible, together with the airline.

Anne-Marie Villiers writes: Re: Garuda’s wind excuse is just hot air (9 March, item 2). I wasn’t aware that the investigation was complete, so how does Mr Sandilands know that there was nothing wrong with the aircraft? The investigation team will, I’m sure, investigate all possibilities in their efforts to identify the causes of this tragedy. Anything you read before the investigation report comes out (in about two years time) is just speculation and by definition uninformed.

Peter Sheppard writes: A few years ago I flew from Denpasar to Lombok with Merpati in a converted (extra size added) – wait for it – an Australian built Nomad. They were banned even without foreign modifications. I felt somewhat reassured though when told by an expat Aussie sitting next to me about the foolproof navigation redundancy they had at their disposal being if the nav system went down they just did a visual on the blue Merpati tail planes embedded in the mountains along the route. This trip was the only time I have flirted with death to my knowledge.

Justin Brennan writes: I am a wheat grower from the Mallee region of Victoria and I am in favour of total and immediate deregulation of Australia’s export wheat marketing system. I was interested by Michael Pascoe’s comment that it is still early days in the single desk debate. There is far more support for deregulation amongst wheat growers than the AWB cares to admit. Approximately 20-25% of Australian workers are members of unions. Approximately 20-25% of Australian farmers are financial members of Grains Council of Australia affiliates e.g. NSWFF, VFF etc. Those who believe in the single desk join these organisations. Those who want choice generally do not join these organisations. As a consequence, the GCA affiliates have historically supported the single desk view. In the eastern states growers have access to a deregulated and vibrant domestic market. West Australian growers have a tiny domestic market. However, WA growers warehoused approximately 75% of the states recent wheat harvest. This was an effective plebiscite of WA growers views of the single desk, these growers wanted choice on the export market. It is my view that growers all over Australia crave choice in their marketing options. In the three wheat harvests from 2003 to 2005, AWB Pools only accounted for 35% of GrainCorp receival. The proposed demerger of AWB Limited and AWBI will not work. It needs a majority of A class farmer shareholders in each state and a majority of B class commercial shareholders. Under this scheme AWB Limited would be the uncontested monopoly provider of services to AWBI (the Pool). it is in effect a Claytons demerger. The demerger you’re having when you’re not having a demerger.

Barry Chipman, Tasmanian State Manager, Timber Communities Australia, writes: Again I state that Tasmania is leading the way in addressing greenhouse with a reduction of 25% in greenhouse gas since the Kyoto base year and the two comments wanting to hide this fact is typical of those opposed to sustainable forestry and value adding of our timber resource. Ebony, the adviser to Green Senator Brown, seems to completely misconstrue forestry with deforestation (Friday, comments), so it is little wonder her boss continually makes the same “mistake” in his campaigning. As for Marshall Roberts he might like to share with your readers the fact that one of the two members of the pulp mill assessment panel, Dr Raverty, a pulp mill expert, resigned after the Tasmanian and Australian Greens demanded he be disqualified from the panel due to an apprehension of bias due to his association with CSIRO as the Greens sort to argue against major findings and models created by our premier scientific organisation. Let me say again forestry is greenhouse friendly, planting trees removes GHG and value adding our timber by using greenpower is sustainable development at its best!

Niall Clugston writes: In your introductory sideswipe (Friday, editorial) at Amanda Vanstone’s belated embrace of Hawke’s goal of “Asia literacy” you suggest Bahasa Indonesia is one of a number of “Indonesian dialects”. In fact, Bahasa Indonesia – the “language of Indonesia” – is the official language and the only rational one for Australian schools to teach. To suggest otherwise is like suggesting Vanstone should brush up on Sicilian in preparation for her rumoured “Italian job”. Rather than discussing ambitious education projects, perhaps the media could inform themselves and their audience about the basics of Asia – and perhaps spend less time on the sideshows of the American electoral circus!

Rod Metcalfe writes: Regarding Ms Vanstone’s call for Australians to speak an Asian language – I note that Kevin Rudd is fluent in Mandarin. Are any Government MPs?

John Taylor writes: I see that Marcus Padley reckons Cyclone George “ran a muck” in WA. If he’d listened to Amanda Vanstone and learnt Bahasa Indonesia from Kindergarten, he would have known that it actually “ran amok”.

Brad Ruting writes: Re. John Button makes a good point about the need for a car industry to stay in Australia – namely the flow-on benefits of technological development and innovation into other sectors, such as defence and medicine (Thursday, item 14). Yet it is time for the government to stop intervening in this industry. Don’t the politicians realise that the more they continue to coddle car makers (through extending tariff reduction deadlines, hinting at employment targets, providing funds and incentives for various operations, etc) the longer it will take them to adjust to the real world and become competitive? Sure, car makers provide jobs, but when after so many years this production is only viable with government protection and assistance, it’s a pretty clear sign that resources are being used inefficiently. The status quo is muting the incentives that global competition provide. If we all want to help the Australian automotive industry and our wider high-technology manufacturing sector, we should be investing more, as a society, in education and research through universities and organisations such as the CSIRO. John Button was right, all those years ago, to phase-out tariffs from the car industry with a well defined timetable and assistance in the transition – but it would be a mistake, and against the original character of the plan, to blur that timetable and make the assistance permanent. To the government: skills, not picking winners, please.

James Wade writes: Re. “Adelaide and Melbourne’s street circuits: who needs ’em?” (Friday, item 22). I myself am a resident of Norwood, with my unit located about seven hundred and fifty metres from the eastern fringes of the Clipsal track. I don’t really want to whinge too much about the Clipsal (I scored a corporate ticket for the Saturday races and had a great time…); but there are some serious inconveniences that I’m surprised aren’t taken into account by any cost-benefit analysis’, simply because costs to the public are too difficult to quantify. Personally, my experience is very similar to that of Andrew Maitland’s – my bike ride which normally takes 10-15 minutes is turned into a 35-40 minute trek. And worse than the time issue, as a cyclist, you are dealing with motorists that seem to be fairly unfamiliar with… near misses seemed to happen at least a few times each ride, which wasn’t fun… Not to mention the drunks that would come out in the evening and try and knock you off your bike! Also, in regards to those damn F/A-18’s flying overhead (I guess the worst thing about the Clipsal): as I said, I live in a unit which is about 750m from the track, and when these damn fighter jets flew overhead you would have to stop conversations (and sometimes change your underpants) for the durations of the displays… which is a pain in the a*se. I guess it’s hard to say though – it’s easy to whinge about the costs (which I guess are trivial), can anyone quantify the benefits to Adelaide?

Fred Hodson writes: I don’t know of any competitor or enthusiastic supporter of motorsport that likes street circuits, they are usually narrow, bumpy, unforgiving places to race and they don’t provide the spectators with value for money as a result of the poor view of the action. There is some sort of belief on the part of organisers and local authorities that having a race in the streets will showcase their town to the vast TV audiences that tune in – but the reality is that the viewers get very little idea of what Adelaide or Melbourne may be like, all they see is concrete barriers and temporary structures, it could be a construction site anywhere. The owners of permanent facilities are left without any sort of revenue stream from big events so have to eke out an existence from the club and state levels of the sport, which means that the tracks inevitably fall into a state of decay. All of which makes me wonder, who does benefit from temporary circuits? They would be the only ones that need ’em, not the competitors or spectators or the long suffering residents.

David Lodge writes: In regards to Andrew Maitland’s article on street circuits and the overall so called disruption from the Adelaide 500, I couldn’t disagree more. For the record, I am a proud resident of Adelaide and couldn’t think of anything worse than watching a bunch of cars drive around in a circle all day. All that aside, I cannot quite understand the opposition to a big event that attracts people, economic benefits and some sort of sense of state pride, that most South Australians haven’t felt since the state bank collapse. No, instead we get a whole article of whinging about traffic disruptions, lost open space and a few buses that don’t get to their destinations on time. At this point I think it is rather telling that Mr Maitland doesn’t refer to the Adelaide Fringe Festival in the same context, which is also using up parkland space, and closing off city streets.

Brefney Ruhl writes: Tamas Calderwood (Friday, comments) says many Crikey commentators don’t “draw a distinction between defending the rule of law and supporting Hicks”. This is demonstrably untrue. Most correspondence I have read here (and elsewhere) concerning Hicks is precisely about the lack of justice and the US and Oz govt’s handling of the case. Virtually all “anti-American” sentiment, including my own, is directed at American political & military conduct, fair game I would have thought! I was not aware that Hicks had in fact fired shots over the border, but nothing excuses the US army’s behaviour after he was detained. The torturous treatment he received is so far beyond the pale that most people can see the abject injustice (let alone illegality) of it.

Steve Johnson writes: A personal request to all correspondents of Corrections, Clarifications, etc: can we move on from responding to Tamas Calderwood? He (or she) is confused, inconsistent, and becoming annoyingly ubiquitous to Crikey! Calderwood has no idea of what Hicks has actually done, but his comment yesterday that “any reasonable person who looks at what he (Hicks) actually did won’t be particularly impressed by him” exposes Tamas cruelly. Instead of relying on Hicks’s boastful letters and the Web, perhaps he could limit his input to opinion only and leave the facts to those who actually have access to them, rather then create his own facts to support his arguments.

Kevin Cox writes: Re. “How to win politicians and influence people”. Is Henry Buck’s a Brian Burke client? Why else would Crikey allow an Ecuadorian hat to be passed off for the real thing. Crikey should let us know who has been making representations to whom, about what, when and in what order.

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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