Sunday Telegraph Editor, Neil Breen, writes: Re. “Tax office G-men on the case of the mile-high escort” (yesterday, item 3). I just read the piece by Chris Seage regarding the tax office looking into the financial affairs of Lisa Robertson. His ATO source said he found it “hard to believe” The Sunday Telegraph did not pay her for the story. I can assure yourself, Chris and his ATO source we did not pay Ms Robertson.

Early Crikey columnist, Dan McNutt, writes: Re. “Howard’s C-130 dash: all the angles” (yesterday, item 2). Just read your C-130 aviation cinematographer expert’s story on the scam of the Rodent being ushered off the plane in southern Iraq. I was immediately suspicious when I didn’t see any body armour being worn. I was suspicious earlier when I saw the CH-47 footage in Afghanistan – same deal – no body armour being worn (it’s compulsory! Trust me, I know). So this means the footage is all “staged” so that when the aircraft lands, they all take off their protective gear and get a camera on the tarmac to catch it all as if they are normally dressed. It’s a f-cking scam. And you know why? Because the Rodent looks a complete dwarvish twerp in body armour and helmet, just like the Moir cartoons. Can’t have that bad footage for our Glorious Wartime Leader, now can we? This is reminiscent of Macarthur coming back to the Philippines – his “landing” from the landing barge was filmed and re-filmed about five times.

Troy Rollo writes: Re. “The PM, the p-rnographer and ‘face time'” (yesterday, item 13). Norman Abjorensen asks, “Most are hard-headed deal-makers who want something done, something not done or something stopped. What category did Phillips fit into?” The meeting was shortly after the Spam Act 2003 had passed through the Parliament. The p-rnographer was also one of the biggest spammers in the country, so there is a good chance he was seeking to get the Spam Act repealed. On the other hand, he could have just been giving the PM spamming tips given his son Tim’s spamming for him shortly before the 2004 election.

Barry Rosenberg writes: So John Howard has little lunches with a violent p-rn king. He also has exclusive meetings with the Exclusive Brethren. What a breadth of interest!

John Hayward writes: Re. “The Tasmanian Government’s pulp mill stone” (yesterday, item 18). Wes Young’s account of the Gunns pulp mill furore makes it all sound fairly humdrum, rather than the political reprise of Lord of the Flies which it is. Gunns boss John Gay and Premier Lennon are two very simple men who want what will be the largest pulp mill in the world and have no time for the intricacies of environment or economics, much less democratic theory. They are untroubled by the facts that virtually all the new mills are in South America, where production costs are about 65% of those in Tasmania, which is already the most intensively logged area of the OECD, even before the 84% increase over last year’s harvest that will be required for the pulp mill. What they do understand is a simple fact – that hefty donations to the major parties can make thorny problems disappear as if by magic, to be replaced by subsidies fit for a king.

Peter Ellis: Re. “Is the immigration media blackout back?” (yesterday, item 6). International Migration Organisation staff would be upset to hear Australia’s minister for immigration refer to them as “effectively an … NGO”. As its website says, IOM is “an intergovernmental organisation established in 1951”. There’s a world of difference between an intergovernmental organisation, that happens not to be with the UN, and an NGO. That’s what the “N” stands for. You’d think Mr Andrews would have got his facts right on that one by now.

Mike Burke writes: Re. “The Gallery goes flying into danger” (yesterday, item 1). Here we go again. I couldn’t agree more that there needs to be serious scrutiny of the media’s demand for freebies on VIP jets because politicians get ’em as a perk so why shouldn’t the essential media, and so on and so forth. The fact that any media are carried on VIP planes at all is the scandal, not that they are not. The only tolerable outcome of this bit of self-indulgent bullsh-t would be for all media of any kind whatsoever to be banned from being carried on VIP aircraft at any price. At least that way we’ll kill two sorts of corruption at once. Want to compromise? OK, let’s settle for a pool of the bare minimum of the three – print, radio and TV. One print journo, one each for radio and TV, with appropriate technical staff. Fixed. Next?

Mark Byrne writes: Mike Burke (yesterday, comments) asks for a summary of what is wrong in William Broad’s article attacking Al Gore’s movie. A compelling critique of Broad’s article (highlighting many of the errors and distortions) has been prepared by a team of climate scientist here. An error from a local angle, which may be less visible to international climate scientist, is evident when Broad uses the claims of Bob Carter as an example of a concern… from “moderate” scientists “with no political axe to grind”. The distortion is that Bob Carter is a long-time well known climate sceptic, member of the right-wing think tank The Institute of Public Affairs, and Howard Government favourite going back months to when Howard’s cabinet was even more dominated by the climate skepticism mantra pushed out by entrenched interests.

Matthew Auger writes: Peter Lloyd (yesterday, comments) ruins an otherwise valid comment regarding Hybrid vehicles by trying to claim that Sweden has an independent motor industry. Rubbish. SAAB Automobile is 100% owned by General Motors (the Truck/Aircraft divisions are separate) and Volvo Cars is 100% owned by Ford via the PAG – Premium Automobile Group (with Jaguar, Landrover and until recently Aston Martin). The actual models that these companies produce are based on platforms such as the GM-Opel Vectra or the Ford Focus. In fact, the V6 engine offered by SAAB at the moment is manufactured by Holden in Melbourne.

Wayne Robinson writes: “The cost of keeping analogue TV on the air” (yesterday, item 4). There is one problem with set top boxes (besides the technical difficulties of actually setting them up). I understand that they are always on, consuming power, unless you deliberately switch them off, in which case all the settings are lost. It hardly seems appropriate to be supplying power-guzzling devices when incandescent light bulbs are being discontinued just to save power and reduce greenhouse gases.

Chris Colenso-Dunne writes: The problem with designating someone or a body as left wing or right wing (yesterday, comments) is that they may be conservative on some issues while progressive on others, believe in controls on some forms of social or economic behaviour but not on all. The term “left wing” and “right wing” originally referred to either of the two wings of an army carefully constructed to the left and right of its centre, then by analogy to either of two political power groups sitting in the house of assembly to the right and left of a late continental monarch, Louis XVl. Today the term is still convenient in attributing membership to an actual faction within a party – such as the much talked about “right” and “left” factions within the NSW Labor party. More often though, just as “liberal” or “socialist” are frequently abusive in the US, both “left-wing” (particularly in the UK sneeringly as “left-wing intellectual” or, in Oz, crudely as “left-wing d-ckhead”) and “right-wing” are used and meant as pejoratives that tell us more about the name caller than they do about those so labelled.

Geoff Penaluna writes: Re. “Dark days ahead for Melbourne’s F1” (yesterday, item 20). Another negative article by Andrew Maitland with a header suggesting doom and gloom for Melbourne GP. I watched a Bernie Ecclestone interview on Channel Ten Sunday where he said he had missed two years (Maitland says four) and he suggested night racing may be the way to go. Having had the opportunity to meet Bernie last Thursday night along with a number of more experienced famous F1 drivers, including the three knights Stewart, Moss and Brabham, Bernie floated the idea of a night GP which had two potential positives. First was a live telecast to Europe where GP audience is the largest, and second, the advantages to Melbourne. A substantially larger TV audience and the first race of the year under lights guarantees greater exposure to Melbourne. Sure, there is a cost associated with lights, just as there was for the MCG. Does AM think the MCG should also be without lights? Ever been in East Melbourne at finals time where the roar of a goal can be heard literally miles away? Three days of practice and one night race at Albert Park… sounds great to me! It would be a change to read a positive Maitland article. Bernie Ecclestone has masterminded the growth of F1 and he does rely on all the events on his calendar being successful in order to continue that growth. Of course he has an agenda and I would much prefer his to Andrew Maitland’s.

Yesterday’s typos (house pedant Charles Richardson casts an eye over the howlers in the last edition of Crikey): Item 12: ” … a new policy adopted on Thursday …”, but then later on it’s “… yesterday’s NRL decision …”. If you’re going to recycle old stories, you need to be more careful with the dates.

Andy James writes: Re. Charles Richardson’s corrections in yesterday’s Crikey on Labor’s 52 seats in NSW. You are right about the two Hunter seats being excluded. The third seat to make it 52 would be Macquarie Fields, where the MP Steven Chaytor was booted out of the party after he was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

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.

Get Crikey for $1 a week.

Lockdowns are over and BBQs are back! At last, we get to talk to people in real life. But conversation topics outside COVID are so thin on the ground.

Join Crikey and we’ll give you something to talk about. Get your first 12 weeks for $12 to get stories, analysis and BBQ stoppers you won’t see anywhere else.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
12 weeks for just $12.