Brough’s bills – 500 pages of pure insanity:

Jim Gobert writes: Re. “Brough’s bills: 500 pages of pure insanity” (yesterday, item 1). I am not sure I did the right thing by subscribing to Crikey. I get quite depressed and annoyed reading the things in your newsletter… There are in NT some 60,000 Aborigines & Torres Straight Islanders. The Federal government’s intervention will cost some $500 million in the first year. That is some $10,000 per person per year… how can this possibly be true? How can less than 24 hours be given to review of this 500 pages of legislation the mandates this? Even worse – how can Rudd be so terrified of presenting any sort of target to Howard that he is rolling over and supporting this?

John Poppins writes: The content of the Aboriginal Intervention legislation is attracting a great deal of criticism. An even more important issue appears to be missed. The process for dealing with the legislation is the most blatant perversion of parliamentary process and considered democracy that I can recall in my long life. Overnight notice is farcical. Voluminous legislation clearly has not and cannot be carefully considered from a spectrum of viewpoints, widely discussed, and wisely amended. It must be withdrawn or deferred for careful public consideration. All politicians who accept this legislation within a month of its release are guilty of gross contempt of democratic and parliamentary processes.

Graham Bell writes: This bill is nothing but a 500-page suicide note for the unity of the Commonwealth of Australia. When it goes through, it will be a starter’s gun for a world-wide scramble to grab the resources and assets in the lands that used to be Australian. Sovereignty, “independence”, massive “investment” and “support” will be thrust on groups of Aborigines & Torres Straight Islanders, whether they want it or not. Good one John. Last Prime Minister of a united Australia.

Matthew Weston writes: Chris Graham, I keep seeing you and your ilk criticising the federal government’s intervention in the NT, and I repeat my question to you and your ilk, what would you do differently to what has been done in the past or what is being tried now, enlighten us, share with us the massive, overwhelming power of your truly amazing ability to sit on the sideline, and criticise, and take a punt, make a suggestion, offer an alternative, proffer up an different path, issue a possibility for discussion, table an idea, utter a thought. Or perhaps it’s great to be on the sideline, maintain the status quo, bemoan that its terrible, and offer nothing, cause there is a great industry in that, lots of people have made a lot of money, had great careers, saying a lot, and changing nothing.

Pasquarelli – Colourful, over the top, and a complete scream:

Steve Johnson writes: Re. “Pasquarelli: Hanson was more persecuted than Haneef” (yesterday, item 15). It was great to see John Pasquarelli given some air time on Crikey. The constant reminders of Labor’s dominance in the polls was getting boring, and Crikey’s efforts to maintain interest in what appears to be a foregone election, while admirable, wasn’t holding me. Pasquarelli’s rant in defence of La Pauline’s treatment at the hands of the despicable Beattie Government, on the other hand, was like catching a Dame Edna special after a week-long diet of ER. Colourful, over the top, and a complete scream. Get him back so we can keep an eye on him.

Andrew Tanner writes: Oh, that John Pasquarelli. Oh, my sides. Here’s a good tip for Crikey subscribers – read John’s latest spittle flecked missive aloud in the deadpan voice of Sam Kekovich (a la his meat eating ads). It’s a hoot – kept the office in stitches all lunchtime.

Ian Pavey writes: When I arrived at the words “balance and objectivity” in John Pasquarelli’s uber-rant, the coffee I was drinking did a U-turn and came out my nose. Good one John – only you could write that with what I presume was a straight face.

Larissa Andelman writes: I really don’t want to read this kind of racist offensive sh-t in Crikey. You are no ABC so there is no need to show balance? If I wanted to read neo fascist kind of views there are media/organisation webs I could subscribe to. It’s just made me sick in the pit of my stomach!

Mark Freeman writes: It’s sweet that John Pasquarelli still sticks up for his old meal ticket, Pauline Hanson. What he fails to mention is that she did take public money in a way that should have been illegal even if it turned out (technically) not to be. Dr Haneef was clearly denied proper process available to Hanson, by means of improper political manipulation. I can’t say for sure he was innocent – but had process been followed we all may have been more certain. As for John’s comments about the recent stolen generation compo payout, he reveals a racism confused even for him. The payout was apparently based on blackness but objected to in part by the recipient’s whiteness! So what is it John, black or white?

Lisle Bryant writes: Pasquarelli is on the money here. We do not hear it as it is. We get Fraser’s and Burnsides propaganda and the media dumps the reader.

APEC, in Sydney, why?:

Brad Hill writes: Re. “APEC: Sydney, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…” (Yesterday, item 12). Has anyone wondered why we have to have this thing in the middle of Australia’s biggest city, of all places? Put it up at Yulara for god’s sake. Or Townsville. Or Launceston. Or possibly Maralinga?

Simone Reeve writes: Why can’t they have chosen somewhere remote for the summit? Like the outback? There are plenty of top class resorts that are more remote and they needn’t have wasted so much money, time and created more ill will. I can’t imagine protesters bothering to fly somewhere remote and bake in the sun. But of course the attendees want a water view.

Jim Hart writes: I can believe that our paranoid leaders and their zealous guardians of democracy would close three train stations in Sydney. But why on earth would they then move all three to Elizabeth Street? And come to think of it, how do you build a “ring of steel” out of concrete?

Gavin Robertson writes: From yesterday’s APEC item: “Circular Quay, Museum and St James train stations will be closed for three days and moved to Elizabeth Street.” That’s going to be some engineering feat! Are they going to move them back again after three days or will they be there permanently?

Usethetool from Neutral Bay writes: Come on Crikey — “Are you a Sydney resident who has an APEC gripe you’re dying to share?” — isn’t it all too easy to actively encourage NIMBYism and ask people to ‘gripe’ about speculated chaos around APEC? Pretty lowest common denominator sort of stuff. I am a Sydneysider who is quite proud that Sydney will be hosting APEC next month. Australia was the home of the first APEC meeting back in 1989 and as an engaged Asia Pacific economy it is fitting we do so again. The hysteria and whining, largely fanned by our media, about the inconvenience over a few days does us a disservice. Are we really suggesting Ha Noi can host APEC but that we can’t? Let’s remember the Olympic Games in 2000 – Sydney has a great track record of hosting world class international events and we are more than capable of doing so again. Many Australians probably don’t know much about APEC – mainly because all they hear is sensational reporting about protests and little else – but I think if we heard more about how APEC addresses issues such as how we can better tackle bird flu, make it harder for terrorists to operate in our region, improve how we can trade efficiently, help strengthen our financial systems and make it easier for small businesses to export and grow people might agree that was worthwhile. But hey, it’s probably all a bit boring compared to griping about rings of steel and Blackhawks.

Could Costello PM be the last Howard rabbit?:

Michael Carmen writes: Re. “Could Costello PM be the last Howard rabbit?” (Yesterday, item 2). What a brilliant move for Howard, to resign now. Because then he might claim, for the sake of history, that it was Costello who lost the election. Somebody ought to suggest it to him.

Les Sutherland writes: Just a thought…. if John Howard does pull a last-minute rabbit out of his hat and hand over to Peter Costello as PM, when would Costello go to the polls? Could he find a reason to defer going to the people until the last possible date, 19 January 2008? An election in ‘08 might be the one of the few ways to consign the “Kevin07” branding as last year’s. Or would this– an election campaign over Christmas – be seen as the ultimate in “mean and tricky”.

Paddy Forsayeth writes: Couldn’t agree more Christian. Howard, with a view to the future (his ‘legacy’) will pull the pin soon. In fact we might have the political “double dissolution” of all time where Howard resigns and loses at the same time.

Glen Daly writes: Please tell Christian that there is no “e” in “lightening rod”. I heartily support beating this rotten government with any rod to hand but please make it as heavy as possible.

Where’s the love for Tassie?

Louise Crossley writes: Re. “Sorry, PM, it’s just that they love him more” (yesterday, item 7). Did you leave out Lennon in Tasmania on purpose? If so, was it because he is even more unpopular than Howard? Or did you think that Tasmanian politics is totally irrelevant to the national scene? In either case, shame on Crikey!

Christopher J. Ward writes: Why wasn’t Tasmania included? We miss out on all the fun. It would be very interesting to see how Big Red fares against LJH.

Hiroshima Day:

Peter Wood writes: Re. “Did Hiroshima Day cause uranium stocks to bomb?” (Yesterday, item 29). It has been quite amusing lately to watch uranium explorers promise to find the next Olympic Dam on the smell of a few ppm U3O8 in an underground riverbed somewhere. It was interesting however to see that some of the stocks that were hammered the most were stocks that actually claim to have found significant quantities of uranium. For example, Marathon Resources (MTN – down 15.46%, up 0.93% the next day) have found a large quantity of low grade uranium ore at Mt Gee in the Northern Flinders Ranges. Mt Gee also happens to be an important habitat for the threatened yellow-footed rock-wallaby. I guess valuing a uranium stock involves multiplying the value of a resource by the probability that it will actually be dug up. I suspect digging up a mountain in the Flinders Ranges in order to export some uranium to India or China would not be very popular with SA voters either. Perhaps if Paul Lennon was premier of South Australia and Gunns was a uranium explorer things would be different.


Marcus Westbury writes: Re: Simon Rumble (yesterday, comments). Where did I get my figure of tens if not hundreds of thousands of pirate pay TV installations? By Foxtel’s own estimate in 2005: “…during an upgrade of the set-top boxes used by subscribers carried out at the end of 2003, between 10 and 15 per cent of users were found to be receiving a pirated signal”. That alone would put the figure well into the tens of thousands and I would suggest that the overwhelming majority of pirate Pay TV viewers were NOT Foxtel’s subscribers.

Mirrors and Van Gogh:

Roger Fry writes: Re. “How good are the so-called Van Gogh Museum experts?” (Yesterday, item 22). Artists often use a mirror when they paint a self portrait. People can also be shown back-to-front in photography because the film is round the wrong in the printer or projector. For males, the handkerchief in the breast pocket on the wrong side is often the give-away, as well as the way the coat sides overlap. For females, it can be harder to pick. When TV news used 16 mm, film with sprocket holes on both sides would sometimes be shown accidentally back-to-front. As a postscript, we can be puzzled when we see someone we know, or ourselves, in reverse – because our faces and bodies are not symmetrical, and therefore the reverse image does look different.

Melbourne’s spring carnival:

Jason Singh of Tattersalls Limited, Europe’s Leading Bloodstock Auctioneers, writes: Unfortunately the quality of the nominations proves very little unless those horses make the trip down under. I’d offer you a very good price now about Dylan Thomas heading to Australia. Why, when the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or the Breeders Cup Turf both look very winnable, would you go to Australia instead? And that is one of the biggest problems the Cox Plate/Melbourne Cup has in attracting the international stars. Both races clash with Breeders Cup Day in the US where the best European runners invariably head. Top class European middle distance horses (suited to the Cox Plate distance of 2000-2400m) invariably head to the Breeders Cup Turf (2400m) or save themselves for the Japan Cup (2400m) or Hong Kong International meeting (races over 2000m or 2400m). European stayers (suited to the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200m) don’t have the same international options though and with English prize money so low, the Melbourne Cup offers a great opportunity. However, with Racing Victoria still unwilling to pick up the travel costs for International runners (unlike Hong Kong or Japan), and the risk in getting your horse to perform at it’s best on the day (something many do not after such travel) means it is still a major gamble for many owners and as such, unlikely to result in the number of runners getting too numerous. But whilst the Cox Plate seems unlikely to attract too many runners from Europe, the horse Australians should be watching out for is the Hong Kong superstar Viva Pataca who is apparently being aimed at the race. He’ll give Marasco and Haradasun plenty to think about.

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