Jack Marx responds:

Jack Marx writes: Re. “So this is where Fairfax draws the line on its blogs” (yesterday, item 5). In Margaret Simons item yesterday, Fairfax Digital editor-in-chief Mike Van Niekerk was quoted as saying: ”Jack has had plenty of advice on this. He has been asked to submit his content for editing and he insists on posting it directly.” This is an utter lie. If it is not, Mike should present the email(s) and/or the date(s) of the phone calls wherein such instructions were conveyed to be disobeyed. They were not.

The Haneef verdict:

Peter Funnell writes: Re. “Greg Barns: a victory over guilt by association” (Special Haneef edition, yesterday, item 1). The Federal Court has in most emphatic fashion, dismissed the Minister for Immigration, Mr Andrews’, reasons for cancelling Mr Haneef’s visa. Mr Andrews judgement as a Minister in the Howard Government is exposed as feeble and pernicious. The decision is scathing of Mr Andrews and all that the Howard Government sort to draw from what they thought was an election gift. Andrews position as a Minister is untenable and he should resign without further delay. But standards of Ministerial accountability being what they are these days under Mr Howard and given that the entire Haneef episode seemed to have been infected with too much of politics and too little of what is right and fair by our law, or the product of good investigative police work, it is most likely that Mr Andrews will survive for the time being in his portfolio. The Haneef matter was and still is a police matter. That’s where it should have remained. Instead, Mr Andrews appears to have made every effort to distort the truth, mislead the public and the courts, obfuscated and acted in a fashion that put all our freedoms at risk. He failed and we are fortunate that the Australian legal system was able to bring it all to a crashing halt. Now perhaps the police will get about their investigations without interference and an eye for the detail. Next time around perhaps the AFP Commissioner will stand up and call it just the way it is and assist aspects of law and order beyond the needs of craven politicians. This has been a fearful glimpse of what can be in a nation where politicians do not hold our civil liberties and respect for the law at the forefront of all their decision making.

Ian Pavey writes: Re. “Peter Faris: a rubbish judgment that leaves the law an ass” (Special Haneef edition, yesterday, item 2). According to Peter Faris, the judgment is ” …truly a triumph of form over substance”. Leaving aside Pete’s silly spleen-venting and sour grapes, let’s remind ourselves that Kevin Andrews is a trained lawyer and as such should have known full well that he was skating on wafer thin ice, on both form and substance. What Spender J has splendidly done is remind the government that the law isn’t simply a piece of putty that they can mould into whatever shape they want. In other words, form is vitally important, indeed central, to the proper and fair functioning of the law. Expedience and “near enough is good enough” are no substitutes.

Bruce Armstrong writes: Apologies, but your correspondent, Peter Faris QC seems a little more concerned with legal detail than seems appropriate. I am asking myself two things; 1) why is he pursuing this matter with such vigor? 2) What’s in it for him? Good on Crikey for publishing his views, but gee, an innocent, exonerated, professional with nothing to hide deserves to be left in peace. Let’s grow up and live with our government’s mistakes, and then get on with the things we are good at. And to Mr Faris, stop worrying, there are more important things to worry about. Our own turf is not in such great shape.

Michael Copeman writes: Jeffrey Spender was the lead defence counsel for Stuart and Finch, the pair convicted of the Whisky Au Go Go arson (which killed 15 people) in the early 70s in Brisbane. Stuart and Finch loudly protested their innocence after conviction, with support from their legal teams. Stuart eventually died on a hunger strike in jail. Finch was released, and went back to the UK … where he confessed that he and Stuart were guilty.

Kevin Rudd, Scores and the press:

Bernard Freedman writes: It must surely be a measure of how dull life is in Australia that so much print, television, radio and blog space — not to mention Crikey space — has been wasted since last Sunday on the Kevin Rudd visit to Scores which must be the most boring story of the century.

Trevor Best writes: So you can accurately list indiscretions of a legion of politicians. Your columns also tell us that there is no political percentage in exposing such indiscretions, but then it is conveniently overlooked that no-one on the coalition side wants to say anything about it at all anyhow. It is only journalists who have tried to beat the whole thing up. And what class of people are the most gross serial sleaze artists in their private lives? Did someone say journalists? Surely not.

Geoff Russell writes: Why would anybody think that Rudd’s attending a strip club implied support for stripping or the demeaning of women? Politicians attend all manner of functions and pretend to look interested and the prime aim is usually to ingratiate themselves with some or other interest group. I know of one politician who would attend about four church services each Sunday. Were they religious? Not particularly, but a Christian’s vote is as good as any other. I knew another who hated cats but ended up as patron of a cat club. That’s the way politicians are. Rudd was just doing his duty and being gracious to his host — it’s a tough job being a politician.

Mark Riedel, from Darwin, capital of the pole dance, land of the free, writes: Crikey, are there really blokes out there over the age of 30 who haven’t been to a strip joint and copped a bleary eye full and spilled one in their lap? Mates, get with the bloody program. Where I come from if you don’t go once a month the missus thinks ya queer.

Rudd & Scores- Cut the blokey crap:

Perry Gretton writes: Re. “Cut the blokey crap — Rudd’s indiscretion is serious” (yesterday, item 6). Your UN wonkeuse treats the issue as if Rudd is a serial strip club attendee. One swallow doth not a summer make. It was an isolated incident that wouldn’t have occurred had Rudd not been with the big-drinking Col Allan, notorious for frequenting seedy establishments. UN wonkeuse should direct her concern to the New York Post or, better still, Rupert Murdoch.

Clinton Barnes writes: A UN wonkeuse disclosed that they are neither “Christian, ALP, Coalition, Green, right, left, femo-nazi, or doormat”. So I assume that they are the only one left, a centrist Democrat. I can disclose that I am a Democrat.

Drinking and private lives:

Chris Gibson writes: Re. “Kevin Rudd and alcohol induced blackouts” (yesterday, item 19). Perhaps what has changed for Glenn Milne is that he too is a little worse for the demon drink and forgets what he has written in the past. If his drunken display at the award night is anything to go by, getting on the turps has caused him to forget that people have private lives. And if Kevin’s wife was OK with him then what the hell has it to do with the rest of us.

Christian Kerr and his Liberal Party loyalty pathology:

Damien Anderson writes: Re. “It’s not time, it’s the economy” (yesterday, item 2). I agree with Christian Kerr’s central theme that the economy is important to voting intentions but, I suspect, not in the way either the Government or he thinks. It could be the “you never had it so good” simply doesn’t fit with the evidence of people’s lives. I suspect people have ceased believing highly manipulated unemployment statistics which consistently ignore the regional (non-metropolitan) basis of unemployment. They may have given up wondering how low official unemployment rates equate with the employment experiences of school leavers who are often consigned to years of low paid, menial, part-time work. Or maybe they question inflation figures which seem to understate painful price increases in housing and staple foods because of reductions in marginal CPI groups like financial services or household services. I suspect the Government’s problem is that our leaders believe these things actually mean something when much of the public believes they’re part of a pea and thimble trick which they’re not going to win. I don’t think the Government gets it. Maybe Christian doesn’t either.

Cameron Sharrock writes: Chris Kerr said: “Who do you think is more capable of handling the economy? Peter Garrett? Julia Gillard? Kim Carr?” A biting piece of rapier logic, Mr Kerr, sure to rattle those silly people who seem determined to vote Labor in spite of what you tell them. Except for one small thing which may bear some further investigation – it seems that none of those people you just mentioned would actually be in charge of the economic policy of a possible Labor government (oops). That would be Wayne Swan, the current Shadow Treasurer and only bloke currently sitting in the house under the hill who holds an advanced degree in economics (not the lolly-wrapper one they give out with law scrolls).

John McCombe writes: I think Christian Kerr has finally flipped his lid. His Liberal Party loyalty pathology just won’t allow him to admit that the Howard government has reached its “use by” date. The issue is actually John Howard. A critical mass of voters is fed up with him. For some it’s the lies, for others it’s AWAs, kids behind razor wire, sucking up to the worst US President ever, AWB, whatever. It’s Keating and 1996 all over again. Kevin Rudd’s readiness for government, his morals, his wife, his policies or lack of them, don’t matter. Look at the polls. People want this election brought on so they can be rid of Howard. Get used to it Christian.

Christian Kerr writes: I must be the only Liberal lackey who voted Labor in
2004 and is voting Labor this time around.

Lovely work Richard Farmer:

Liam Cranley writes: Re. “Howard spins the gravy like Herr Warne” (yesterday, item 15). Lovely work, keep it up; surely someone could actually map Libs many “commitments” to electorates? If had a similar map for last elections promises could get really interesting (are Victorians dearer than Queenslanders?), someone in PMs office probably has the set but I don’t think they’ll share.

Aspirational Nationalism:

Adrian Kitchingman writes: Re. “For ‘Aspirational Nationalism’, read pork” (yesterday, item 14). Considering Western Australia was, until recently, one of Howard’s last bastions, I find the Nationalisation tactic a little strange. It doesn’t take much for a lot of red blooded Sandgropers to start talking separation if there’s potential for more of their hard dug cash to be funneled over East. It might only be pub talk but I’ve heard of worse things deciding people’s votes.

Spot on about The Age, Crikey:

Simon Drimer writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Spot on about The Age, Crikey. “Dwarf’s p-nis caught in act”? A new website that looks like a Ladybird book, presumably because The Age’s readers are finding words too highbrow? Innumerable Carry-On-film-style, puerile double entendres and wickedly amusing puns about farting and other bodily functions in its article titles? What is this – Annual Camp for year 8 boys? And yet they sack the out-there but interesting and articulate Jack Marx for … just what exactly? Where are those clowns taking The Age I grew up with? I want it back.

Paul Hage writes: Hurrah, I have finally enjoyed an editorial. Maybe because I took similar umbrage at the lightweight nature of smh.com.au a year ago or so and wrote them an e-mail. Needless to say, the reply was rubbish about giving readers what they want, surveys say, blah, blah, blah. As a purchaser of The SMH and Age for 20 years, I now buy The Australian. You lefties at Crikey may not like it but it must be the leading broadsheet in the country now in how it throws resources at the big stories. Keep sticking it up ‘em. Diversity is important – from someone who doesn’t agree with the majority of your published viewpoints.

Ignored by the Australian Government:

Peter Roguszka writes: Re. “Brough ducks the dirty dancing in Yirrkala” (Monday, item 19). Regarding your story about the Yolngu leaders concerns about Brough’s meeting with Galarrwuy Yunupingu at one of his settlements in NE Arnhem Land which referred to descendants of the presenters of the Bark Petition. As unlikely as it seems the person most likely quoted in the article is Wali Wunungmurra who discussed this on ABC Radio National last week. Wali (if it is the same Wali Wunungmurra I knew some 20 years ago which seems very likely as he is a similar age to myself, in my fifties) has a full name of Walynbuma Wunungmrra which can be found as a signatory on the Bark Petition in Parliament House. Wali was a young man when he signed the petition shortly after the death of his father who had been the senior leader of the Dhalwangu clan with this role passing directly to his eldest son. It would seem that the reasonable wishes of one of the areas true leaders have been ignored by the Australian Government a second time despite the significance of the initial request becoming an icon of recognition of Aboriginal rights.

German Engineered:

Andrew Witheford writes: Sorry Darren Walters (yesterday, comments), but Ford use the line “German Engineered” to denote a product that is designed in Germany, but built in South Africa. Potentially misleading? Maybe. However, both BMW and Mercedes also build their compact car models for the Australian market (C-class and 3 series respectively) in South Africa. The way global automotive manufacturing is nowadays. They are all still designed in Germany.

Not funny:

Colin James writes: Re. “Kath and Kim rates its socks off” (Monday, item 25). Did anyone notice that Sunday’s offering was not, well, funny?

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