Stephen Forshaw, vice-president public affairs, Singapore Airlines writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). Saw your item on the return to Melbourne of one of our flights on the weekend, owing, you said, to us “forgetting to load any water for the toilets”. This is wrong, and could have easily been checked with us. Soon after departure of the affected flight from Melbourne, the crew noticed that water flow stopped. This involved all water, to the toilets, drinking fountains and galleys. The pilot spoke by satellite phone with our engineers in Singapore to try to determine the cause of this water flow, as the water tanks on the aircraft were almost full, and had been checked in Melbourne. The crew tried a number of fixes to the problem; all without success. As it was a long flight, with a full passenger load, the pilot elected to return to Melbourne for maintenance support. While the aircraft could have flown on to Singapore without compromising safety, it would have been quite uncomfortable for the customers on board. We’re following up with matter with the aircraft’s manufacturer, Boeing, because checks on the ground couldn’t identify a cause, and water flow resumed normally when the aircraft took off again. Trust you’ll see your way clear to include this correction: the cause was not as you described at all.
Bernard Boerma writes: Re. “Zimbabwe leaders’ children in Australia: who’s here” (yesterday, item 1). I think it was disappointing that Crikey named the children of Zimbabwe leaders and their place of study in Australia in the article. The key issue here is not the identity and location of these young people but the fact that the Australian Government allows them to study here. I’m afraid Crikey has lost the high moral ground on this issue as far as I am concerned.
Michael Fisk writes: Occasionally I think it’s time I stop freeloading on Crikey. There are moments when a wave of guilt wafts over me and the thought occurs that it is time to tell my mate to stop passing on her copy, that it is time to part with some of the folding stuff to become a respectable member of the (Crikey) community. Then I read contributions like yesterday’s item one. So, the sins of the father should be visited upon these innocent children, according to Crikey. Robert Mugabe is a thug, but that does not mean his kids have forfeited their privacy. What public good is served by naming these people, and in two cases, the university they attend? You grubs, to borrow a word from Alan Jones. What your attention has done is expose these young people to harm given the anger that many feel towards the Mugabe regime. Grow up Crikey and learn something that grown ups well understand — just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Guilt, I’m so over it. Time instead to praise the geeks who invented the email forward button.
Mike Smith writes: I agree with the sentiments behind deporting the kids, but to publicly name them? If they personally had committed a crime in Australia, you wouldn’t be allowed to name them (child court system prevents this). Bad enough to have names like Pride, Praise and Passion, and have to attend school with these monikers.
Bob Peterson writes: Re. “ACMA’s Alan Jones report: What it really said” (yesterday, item 19). Margaret Simons writes in respect of the broadcast of 7 December, that ACMA concluded that on this day, Jones both vilified people on the basis of their ethnicity, and incited violence. There was no finding of “incitement” of violence or brutality. Clause 1.3(a) of the Code was found to have been breached but only in respect to broadcasting a “program that was likely to encourage violence or brutality”. “Incite” was specifically not the breach of Clause 1.3(a). There is a serious legal difference and consequence between “incite” and “encourage”, Alan Jones has indeed gotten off lightly in the ACMA findings.
Paul Howell writes: I imagine that the indignant braying choir of Alan Jones apologists in your comments section (yesterday) similarly spend their time pompously spouting about “balance” at the ABC and railing against demonic “Howard Haters”. Whilst in reality the discomfort they experience in the underwear department occurs whenever they encounter those inclined to point out the bleeding obvious shortcomings of those currently governing this country (and, an inevitable byproduct, their sycophants in the meeja). I’ll take Stephen Mayne & Co over the creeping tabloidisation of the SMH/Age any day. Carry on, Crikey, I’ve lurked for a long time, but the cheque will shortly arrive. Promise.
David Lenihan writes: Re. “Just how big is the union push against WorkChoices? This big …” (yesterday, item 2). The article implies, “The vast majority of unions have imposed special levies on their members to fund the Your Rights at Work campaign over and above existing activity”. The word imposed gives the impression union members have no choice but to pay the levy. Not so. I belong to a large union in Western Australia and there is no pressure to pay the levy, one can pay it or not pay it. The decision is entirely the choice of the member. That so many have decided to pay it, about 75 cents a week, is an indication of the feeling against these disgraceful IR impositions. Now the word fits.
David Havyatt writes: Re: “How I got a Prius: Senator Allison tells” (Friday, item 10). It just goes to show that even in the face of a bureaucratic nightmare, perseverance pays off. Keep asking the logical questions and eventually you’ll get a reasonable answer. There is a lesson in that for all aspiring politicians — especially those who currently (or want to) occupy ministerial benches — keep asking questions until the answer seems right, not just what is easiest to say or to sell. Suggestion: it also will work with the politicians’ own staff; find out what they really told the television network before denying things. It is surprising that Dr Peter Phelps (yesterday, item 12) couldn’t understand the gist of Senator Allison’s comments, these being that Kevin Rudd’s excuse for not having a Prius was entirely vacuous, that all you had to do was show perseverance. I did not read Senator Allison to be complaining, merely commenting, and I expect that Dr Phelps might like to retract his comments and especially his conclusion.
Roger Mika writes: Re. “‘Martyr’ video controversy plays into Ruddock’s hands” (yesterday, item 17). The media and the Attorney General has this back to front. Instead of all this outrage against him and his kind, why aren’t we all encouraging this Sheikh Feiz Mohammed to lead by example. It’s all very well that he preaches to sacrifice one’s life for their religion, so he should not ask others to do what he won’t do. If he won’t go and kill himself, then he is a coward. We must focus on his cowardice, not his ravings.
David Hawkes writes: Re. “Media briefs and TV ratings” (yesterday, item 24). Glenn Dyer’s comment about ABC’s The Abduction Club yesterday in Crikey, “Next week the ABC will have to start abducting viewers to watch it. It was pap,” is wide of the mark. It was a one-off: Curtin starts next Sunday at 8.30pm. Try harder Mr Dyer.
Woff Hill writes: Re. “Mason has surely run out of “chances”” (yesterday, item 21). Jeff Wall comments in one sentence that Mason’s actions reflect an “attitude … towards women”? Then in the next paragraph states “Apparently Mason’s anger was directed not so much at Michelle Keighran, but 2GB’s match caller, Ray Hadley”. Since when was Ray Hadley a woman? I have heard him called plenty of other things, some of them not far from the mark, but a woman? Perhaps Keighran, instead of going crying to the NRL/ARL should have gone and directed her complaint where it should have been directed — at her colleague. Hadley may have “serious clout in rugby league” in an Alan Jones sort of way, it doesn’t mean that every one (anyone?) respects him. Mason might be a bit of a boof head, and I don’t necessarily condone his actions, but in this instance I have little sympathy for the “press” either.
Barry Chipman, Tasmanian State Manager, Timber Communities Australia, writes: With Tasmania’s 3.2 million hectares of forest cover (not bad for a state that is only 6.8 million hectares is size) it looks like a classic case of Timber Communities Australia critic Peter Lloyd (yesterday, comments) just not being able to see wood for the trees. But more than happy to help Mr Lloyd move forward to find the “wood” he so keenly seeks as one thing Tasmania does well is grow and regrow trees (it was timber that attracted Cook and his fellow explorers to our shores) Tasmania’s renewable forests have been providing wood and timber ever since the French 1792 visit. From that first harvested tree at Recherché Bay to provide timber and charcoal needs, Tasmanian wood products can now be found throughout the world. At the national level just one example, much of the building timber for the pioneering gold rush town of Ballarat was Tasmanian native hardwood ship across Bass Strait in Tasmanian native hardwood constructed freighters. Our state has a very proud heritage of pulp and paper, Back in the 1930s, Tasmania led the world in producing newsprint from eucalypt. This proud heritage will continue with the Bell Bay pulp mill adding value to an existing sustainable harvest of our growing plantation resource and working forests approved for wood production. Tasmania is proud to be a world leader in meeting its conservation needs with 45% forest reservation measured against the 10% reservation target set by the IUCN and WWF.
Brian Derum writes: When I cancelled my sub last year because I could not stand the thought of my hard-earned pension dollars feeding either Kerr’s current addictions or the ridiculously overblown ego of “disgraced” former NCA boss and torture-buff Faris I confess I did so with some regret. Every now and then I check your free offerings to see if it’s worth forking out again but, alas, whenever I do one of that deadly duo turns me away to New Matilda, The Monthly or The Nation (US). None of these publications demeans ethics or insults intelligence like Kerr, for example, in his 13 April piece about the Sunrise (non-scandal) which quotes a Canberra insider and an informed source to kick the sh-t out of Rudd. Comically enough, however, Christian (not Muslim) is unable to disguise the style of these invisible and non-attributable reptiles who, it must be said, speak in a voice remarkably like his very own. Pathetic cowardice… either own the opinions yourself or don’t print them… but don’t expect me to subscribe to them.
Yesterday’s typos (house pedant Charles Richardson casts an eye over the howlers in the last edition of Crikey): Item 12: “… the Australian Democrats, spiritual home of Greg Barnes and David Hicks.” That’s “Barns”, not “Barnes”.
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