Just how many things can Crikey get wrong in one report?

Speechwriter for the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources David Murtagh writes: Re. “An emission mission” (yesterday, item 6). Just how many things can Crikey get wrong in one report? It’s not a tip and it’s not a rumour. And it isn’t new. It is from the 2005-06 Annual Report (it’s been out for almost a year) and it’s not the Department of Environment and Water Resources. It was from the Department of the Environment and Heritage (which should have told you how old the Annual Report was). If Crikey wasn’t so eager to bag the Government at every opportunity you wouldn’t make these dopey mistakes. Checking things occasionally might also help.

The 1967 referendum and Brough’s laws:

Executive officer of the Northern Territory statehood steering committee Michael Tatham writes: Re. ‘Brough’s laws: a downside of the 1967 referendum” (yesterday, item 4). Greg Barnes is incorrect when he writes that in 1967 Australian electors voted to give Aboriginal Australians the right to vote. Aboriginal people were given the right to vote in Commonwealth elections, not by referendum, but by a simple Act of Commonwealth Parliament in 1962. He also states the Commonwealth could not act as they have without relying upon the Races Power. Arguably, the Territories Power (S.122) means that until the Northern Territory becomes a State, the Commonwealth continues to have the power to legislate for the Northern Territory as they have this week. The Bills now before the Commonwealth Parliament drop the Commonwealth Minister directly into existing Northern Territory legislation including an ability to direct Northern Territory public servants. Northern Territory legislation such as the Associations Act, Local Government Act, Liquor Act, Crown Lands Act, Police Administration Act, and the Special Purposes Leases Act, all laws debated and passed by the democratically elected Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, are being substantially amended by another parliament which is much less accountable to the people of the Northern Territory by virtue of the Territory having just four of the 226 parliamentarians in both Commonwealth houses of parliament.

AnTEP Adelaide coordinator, University of South Australia, Bruce Underwood writes: It would be remiss of me not to comment on the current Commonwealth Government’s intervention in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. Whilst many agree with a focus on and a concentration of police, health workers and funds in remote Aboriginal communities there is also widespread disagreement with the heavy handed approach to intervention being taken by the Commonwealth Government. It would appear Mr Brough is genuine in his desire to do something. However will history show that his method works? Also what has the Commonwealth Government done for the last ten years? Well it doesn’t matter does it? Mr Brough will not be in the job in five years time and will not have to live with the consequences! I however having worked with and in remote Aboriginal communities in South Australia for fifteen years have to live with decisions I make and the consequences. I know that adequate funding; good policy and working with communities are the only way to success. As part of the Anangu Tertiary Education Program (AnTEP) I have had to deal with the death of students and graduates and other failures but also the success of students who have gone on to become educators and leaders in their communities. That success has come slowly because of genuine relationships with communities, hard work and continuity of programs. Blowing old tough ideas once again into remote Aboriginal communities is not the answer. Provision of genuine resources and consultation is.

People are collecting houses like our grandparents used to collect stamps:

Michael Walker writes: Re. “Rates are up – you never had it so good” (yesterday, item 1). It must be agreed that one of the major items driving up house prices and hence leading to an increase in mortgage defaults is the unfair tax advantages enjoyed by property investors big, small and in between. People are collecting houses like our grandparents used to collect stamps and this is having a very negative effect on the economy and, therefore, community at large. Why doesn’t the government take a measured approach towards scaling back or eliminating these tax advantages and leverage such advantages more in the favour of the owner/occupier? It couldn’t happen overnight, but taking an incremental approach over 10 years, to the scam that currently is negative gearing, would allow existing investors time to re-assess their individual situations and act accordingly. Surely this would see some sensibility return to the real estate/housing sector and enable first home buyers to be just that – first home buyers. Who knows, we may even see the abolition of the first home buyers grant and other gimmicks as a consequence. And a 25 basis points interest rate rise need not necessarily see extra hundreds of families put on the financial scrap heap.

The contenders for PM will be like a WS Cox Plate field:

John Spehr writes: Re. “Could Costello PM be the last Howard rabbit?” (Tuesday, item 2). Peter Costello MUST have concluded by now that these polls can’t ALL be wrong for such an extended period; also that ten to twelve weeks as PM at least gets him into the history books and his portrait on the wall of Parliament house; and even more certain, that realistically, by the time his possible turn comes up again, the contenders for PM will be like a WS Cox Plate field! Mark Latham gave Labor a positive electoral ‘hit’ when elected leader. The Coalition figures, indicate six years at least of opposition, so any change at this eleventh hour can hardly do much further damage. Moreover, Costello might be able to gain some ground, if he decided to concentrate on positive policy announcements instead of the current Coalition obsession with anti Labor rhetoric, which the public either doesn’t hear, or doesn’t believe. His age similarity to Rudd would be worth a few points for starters. Howard has always maintained he will stay until he is told by his Party to move on. “It’s Time.”

Kevin07 – where’s the Kev doll?

Martin Gordon writes: The Kevin Rudd campaign Kevin07 looks more like a Castro-like personality cult than a political campaign. Will we be seeing any substantial policy announcements or just more ‘policy statements’ only? Given the recent ALP interest in toys (Shrek etc) and food advertisements, can we expect to see a Kev doll too?

The Crosby/Textor leak:

Adam Rope writes: Re. “Studying the PM through the Crosby/Textor prism” (yesterday, item 15). Following many days of commentary from multiple points of view, about the recent leaking of Crosby/Textor’s polling advice to the PM on June 21st, has anyone else had the thought that the report was not only deliberately leaked, but done so by either the ‘tricky and clever’ PM himself, or by his department or the pollsters, upon his direct command? Did the report actually say anything about the PM that had not already been said in other media, and was fairly common knowledge, if not a common viewpoint, already? And who then really gained from its release?

Aren’t we supposed to be rolling in it?:

Elizabeth Chamberlin writes: Re. “DIAC: making every dollar count” (Tuesday, item 16). Will somebody please explain to me adequately and openly why, in such a booming bloody economy, DIAC is sending memos to their staff requesting they deal with the inevitable stress caused by their “current financial position”? Aren’t we supposed to be rolling in it?

Hey, I might even change my mind about something:

Welf Herfurth writes: Re. Larissa Andelman (yesterday, comments). She might not like what John Pasquarelli had to say, but as far as I know we are still a democratic society were people have a right to say what they like. For her to label him as a racist and fascist sh-t shows that she has no understanding of what democracy is all about, for example free speech and freedom of expression. I subscribe to Crikey to get a balanced view, not what a Packer or Murdoch wants me to think. That means that I have to be prepared to read articles I might not agree on and might even have to think about. Hey, I might even change my mind about something. But that is called having an open mind and being part of a democratic political society. If Larissa Andelman wants to live in a society were there is no need for balance she might want to consider to move to North Korea. If she doesn’t want to do that I suggest she better unsubscribe from Crikey, put her head in the sand and becomes part of the ignorant critical mass of the electorate.

Mark Scott – credit where credit’s due:

Malcolm Miller writes: Re. “No ads for the ABC, says Scott” (yesterday, item 5). Has Mark Scott been a victim of the rewriting of history? Why is there no analysis of his early brilliance as a (very) junior but clearly gifted pedagogue? The story begins: At the time of the Metherell “reforms” to education in the late ’80s the Chairman of the Board of Education or some such title was young Mark’s dad, Walter who, not surprisingly had had no experience with public education but was on the Barker College board of luminaries, his alma mater. He was the big admin kahuna of state education and Metherell’s go to man. Mark was a uni student at the time of the industrial disputes, who upon graduating in Education – and after the disputes had died down, was immediately employed in the NSW Dept of Education as a teacher whilst many thousands of unemployed and experienced teachers far senior to young Mark awaited such an appointment – the wait was usually about 5-7 years. With Merit- based selection a recent innovation of Terry Metherell it was only a couple of years before Mark soared elegantly to a principal’s job, setting a record in promotion whereby his experience was about three years whilst his peers’ experience for such a promotion was generally about 20 years. The only inconvenience being his appointment: Fairfield, NSW – surely an error. Maybe the DoE meant Fairlight and messed it up. So, clearly Mark is very talented and although totally without training in the media he has “made it” on sheer brilliance. Credit where credit’s due.

What a Muslim looks like:

Kate Finch writes: Re. “What a Muslim looks like, by The Daily Telegraph” (yesterday, item 18). Irfan Yusuf asked: “It makes me wonder: how would you illustrate a story about The Daily Tele‘s approach to Islamic issues?” Based on this example that’s easy: a bunch of d-ckheads mooning someone.

Aboriginal art:

Marlene Hodder writes: Re. “Aboriginal art popular at home and abroad” (yesterday, item 20). I find the recent reports on the popularity and value of Aboriginal art rather ironic. The Federal Government, in its ignorance and arrogance, is hell-bent on killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Brough et al seem unaware that authentic and important Aboriginal art comes from spirituality, connection to country, culture and the space for Aboriginal people to be themselves. It would be sad for Australia and the world if the remnants of the culture end up producing tea-towel art for the tourists to take home. Stop the intervention madness before it is too late.

Blushing apologies to Mark Scott:

Margaret Simons writes: Re. “Newspapers need strong proprietors to survive” (Tuesday, item 18). A few readers have pointed out, with various degrees of glee, that on Tuesday I accused ABC Managing Director Mark Scott of smooching journalists – including myself. I meant to say schmoozing, of course. Blushing apologies to Mark Scott and his contacts.

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