Rudd – hypocrisy, Col Allan and Seinfeld’s bubble boy:

Rob McCourt writes: Re. “Rudd Scores affair: muck that won’t stick” (yesterday, item 2). Well Richard Farmer I suggest you ask John Brogden if the public or the press care about drunken behaviour. Private behaviour can (not must) be an issue in the voter’s minds. The public will not mind the odd indiscretion as long as it is not a sign of weakness. We do not like weak leaders. We also will put up with a degree of hypocrisy. They are politicians after all. But the purer the picture that is painted the more we will dislike the imperfections when revealed. There is no blanket rule and it is a question of balance. Unlike your reporting Richard.

Martin Gordon writes: Hypocrisy will always undo you. Kevin Rudd wears his committed Christianity a little too obviously as his essays and speeches demonstrate, and this New York night out will not matter to most people, and should not matter. But if you are a believer it will no doubt damage Rudd’s standing amongst them, and some women. He was only a week or so on a national broadcast preaching his Christian credentials, now he is revealed to be a hypocrite.

Peter Burnett writes: I’m not too worried about Kevin Rudd cavorting with honest working girls in New York. I do, however, have concerns about his other poor choice of companions – why is the Opposition leader hanging around with a notorious Murdoch hatchet man like Col Allan?

Nick Place writes: When you say politicians of the future will need to be like Seinfeld’s bubble boy, that would be the same bubble boy who crudely demanded Elaine show him her t-ts. So really, we’re just talking about today’s Kev, plastic-wrapped.

Guy Rundle captured the whole scenario perfectly:

Liz Swanton writes: Re. “Of Glenn Milne, biffo and Babette” (yesterday, item 4). Have just sat here almost crying with laughter at Guy Rundle’s incisive piece on politicians and the slip club. Just love it. Well done. Captured the whole scenario perfectly. Keep up the good work.

Rob Williams writes: If you keep this up I am going to have to buy next years subscription.

Rudd’s statement and nit picking:

Chris Gibson writes: Re. “Rudd: blokey bonhomie obscures responsibility” (yesterday, item 12). Whether in Mr Rudd’s statement, he said I take full responsibility is at the top or the last line is neither here not there Mr Kerr, you are nit picking .The fact he said “yes” I did go, “yes” I was a little worse for wear, “yes” I was a fool, “yes” I did tell my wife is more to the point. Unlike some we can name who have no recollection at all of what happened a few years ago (e.g. Mr Costello on a dinner with journos). And who bloody cares. Mr Milne of all people should be the last to cast a stone after his performance.

Steve Martin writes: It certainly won’t cost Rudd my vote for what it’s worth. Talk about a storm in a tea cup. And even if Downer was the culprit in leaking the story, so what, that unfortunately is politics these days; if the gloves are coming off I imagine there will be some quaking in their boots on both sides. And as far as the report that Mr Rudd was told to keep his hands to himself. That would probably one of the half truths that get around. I’ll bet that all patrons entering the “Club” are told window shopping only, hands off the merchandise!

Barry Rosenberg writes: So a few years ago, Rudd went into a strip joint. About the same time, Howard went into Iraq. Give me Rude over War anytime.

Viggo Pedersen writes: Man bites dog; Australian gets drunk and goes to strip club. Get real you lot in the Fourth Estate. There is an election coming and there are many issues worthy of intelligent discussion.

Flint on Rudd:

Simon Hoyle writes: Re. “Flint: Rudd between a shredder and a hard place” (yesterday, item 17). I’m a bit confused about claims that ditching the Government’s workplace reforms will – to quote David Flint – see union bosses “restored to their former dominance” and that consequently it will abruptly stop the economic growth we’ve lived through for the better part of the past decade. My confusion stems from the fact that for the vast majority of that decade, we were subject to an IR model quite different from the one that exists under WorkChoices (or whatever they’re calling it now). So I fail to see how returning to a system more akin to the one that fostered 10 years of economic growth can be a bad thing. And if that model includes a role for unions – members and bosses – then so be it. Perhaps someone – Flint? – could dispel my confusion.

Harold Thornton writes: David Flint’s hobby is to administer mouth-to-mouth to the stinking corpse of the British monarchy’s Australian franchise (that is what he’s doing, right?), so I suppose no-one will be surprised he intones that there is still life to be found in the Heiner affair. If he believes that, I reckon he’ll be interested in buying John Cleese’s Norwegian Blue parrot. Someone should tell the distracted old gent there have been more inquiries into this sad little business than into the fabled Roswell alien sightings. And while they’re about it, they should mention the shredded documents detailed staff grievances against management, not child abuse.

Brian Mitchell writes: Could Crikey please send a henchman around to stick forks in my eyes. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it but I’d rather be blinded than have to read anything else written by David Flint. The man is a walking, talking automaton for the Liberal Party and manages to even outdo Piers Akerman as a shameless Tory bum-sniffer. By all means Crikey, run credible conservative opinion, but no more of the Dreadful David Flint.

Dick Smith for PM:

Di Cook writes: Re. “Dick Smith’s $100,000 message for Kerry O’Brien: fix the skies” (yesterday, item 14). Can we convince Dick Smith to form a party and stand in the next Federal election? I for one would be prepared to help.

Stan van de Wiel writes: Since when does money play a role in Air Safety? If, as Dick Smith suggests, the situation at Avalon Airport in Victoria is unsafe, surely our “world best” Civil Aviation Safety Authority would have stepped in by now. Even though it is Air Services Australia who are responsible for the provision of Air Traffic Control it is ultimately the CASA who sign off on the safety of such a situation. The fact that CASA usually rely on the ATSB and a coroners report (refer the most recent case of Lockhart River) should be interpreted as “Pro active after the fact”. Dick should save his money or donate it to a “fighting fund” as when the inevitable accident occurs, no doubt the CASA will put all its legal resources to work to discredit the financially disadvantaged party, it could hardly prosecute its parent Qantas, owner of Jetstar the airline user of Avalon. Incidentally, on any given day there will be at least several dozen training flights through Avalon, (predominantly by Asian students, who unfortunately barely speak aviation English). It is this scenario which is of concern to most pilots, not only Dick Smith. In defence of the No Tower situation the majority of airspace users are capable of conducting themselves responsibly, this despite CASA.

Plantations tax and Gunns:

Lynn Hayward writes: Re. “Plantations tax and Gunns Ltd” (yesterday, item 18). John Maddock’s article, glosses over the fact that Gunns’ huge profits flow not just from selling managed investment schemes, but also from the below-cost prices it pays for public forest wood, which comprises about half the harvest volume. Even if the MIS tax exemptions are abolished, Gunns will remain a virtual monopoly buyer for several hundred thousand ha of private pulpwood plantation. Native forest in state forests have been pledged to Gunns as pulp for the next twenty years at prices which are undisclosed but have been reported to guarantee Gunns a profit regardless of the market. AFR column “The Prince” (10-11/08) notes that pulp from the Gunns mill will be uncompetitive v developing world rivals, largely shut out of the domestic pulp market by Paperlinx, and lacking the managerial nous to achieve their ambitious goals. ANU researcher Judith Ajani observes in her recent book, The Forest Wars that native forest logging relies critically on large subsidies, and political mates, to survive against plantation wood. Overall, Gunns has had a great, free, ride, but it has been in the legislative equivalent of Cinderella’s carriage.

Circumcision might be the kindest cut:

Sonja Davie writes: Re. “Circumcision might be the kindest cut” (yesterday, item 6). I wonder whether Pauline Hanson will ever come out with the comment that Jews living in Australia who wish to practise male g-nital mutilation (aka male circumcision) should go back to Israel. Seriously though, I have no problem with removing public funding from what is mostly a cultural practise. Anyone concerned with HIV (or any other) infection can still have the procedure at a public hospital by arguing medical need and private hospitals will no doubt continue to offer the operation for a fee.

Pauline Hanson:

Nathan Maskiell writes: Re. “Pauline’s politics for pleasure and profit” (yesterday, item 15). I’d just like to say as a centre-left voter (except in the Senate) I have no problem, and in fact broadly support Pauline Hanson’s calls for a moratorium on Muslim immigration. It was John Howard who ran a successful law and order/immigration campaign in 2001 on the slogan “We choose who comes to this country and the circumstances they come”. It was the ALP who created the “White Australia” policy, albeit in very different times. Australians are very comfortable with a culture that has diversity throughout, whether race, religion or s-xuality but they also reject cultures that attempt to subvert Australian values like democracy, common law, egalitarianism and the equality of women. With the Australian Muslim Community up to recently supporting the extreme and seditious Mufti Hillaly, Australia is right to ask whether these are the type of people we want in our country. She was right on ATSIC, right on lax immigration laws and she is right on this.

Correction – Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler?:

Avviso Public Relations MD, Carolyn Grant, on behalf of Film Australia writes: Re. “The ABC’s Natural History unit becomes history” (Friday, item 22). The article refers to the Bogle and Chandler documentary broadcast on the ABC. Who Killed Dr Bogle and Mrs Chandler? was made under Film Australia’s National Interest Program in association with Blackwattle Films and with the assistance of ABC. It is a one-hour (56 minutes) documentary that provides an answer to one of the greatest unsolved cases in crime history. It was fully-financed by Film Australia, at about half the $1 million budget estimated by Glenn Dyer. The documentary was written and directed by Peter Butt, co-produced by Peter Butt and Kristine Wyld, and executive produced by Anna Grieve. It is the highest rating documentary ever to be screened on ABC TV and was winner of this year’s Logie for Most Outstanding Documentary.

Glenn Dyer should stick to writing what he knows about:

Simon Palagyi writes: Re. “Costello steps in to keep Ten local” (yesterday, item 23). Glenn Dyer should stick to writing what he knows about – and that is clearly not anything commercial or legal. In yesterday’s Crikey, he concludes that the FIRB conditions imposed on the proposed restructure of the Ten Group mean “any takeover offer for Ten would not be able to be completed or go unconditional because that would result in the company being delisted”. Yet, in the same article, Glenn tells us that the FIRB conditions “will have effect for so long as members of the CanWest Group of companies own a controlling interest in Ten Holdings”. So CanWest sells done to a non-controlling level, conditions fall away, takeover effective (subjective to whatever FIRB, ACCC or other regulatory approvals that the new owner may require).


Niall Johnson writes: Re. “TiVo no good says TiVo competitor” (yesterday, item 25). Not sure that Glenn has the story about TiVo and Sky quite right. I contracted at Sky for almost two years in the late 1990s on the Sky Digital project. I developed their user documentation and worked with engineering, communications, legal, etc. One of the last things I did was to start writing the specifications for what is the IQ box here. At that time some TiVo boxes turned up at Isleworth. From our perspective we were unimpressed with the TiVo. The interface was not good; the user experience was not good. The functionality we already had in our test EPG was far better than the TiVo offered (a lot of the text system functionality did not make it into the Sky digibox and did not appear until the later boxes). These all featured in Sky’s decision not to use the TiVO and develop the second generation STB (with the PVR functionality). Satellite has its own problems (lack of fast return path for interactivity, etc.) and, yes, the bandwidth issue may have played a role, but it was not the only reason.

German Engineered:

Darren Walters writes: Re. “Kath and Kim rates its socks off” (yesterday, item 25). Sorry Glenn, but it looks like you’ve fallen for the “German Engineered” line that Ford spruiks in its Focus advertisements as meaning they were actually built in the country of such automotive excellence as Mercedes and BMW. The Focus we get in Australia may have had the plans scribbled on in Germany, but the car is completely made in Pretoria, South Africa. Interestingly Ford announced it was moving Focus production from Africa to Australia by 2011 just last week. I wonder if the ads will change accordingly to promote the home-grown nature of the product.


Mark Day writes: Re. “Scores affair: a study in what makes a yarn a story” (yesterday, item 21). Margaret Simons, in Crikey yesterday and worse, in her forthcoming book The Content Makers, fails the first test of journalism: correctly spelling names. It’s Col Allan, not Allen. Tut tut.

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