The NT intervention:

Director of the Centre for Civil Society, Vern Hughes, writes: What precisely is Crikey’s ongoing campaign against the Northern Territory indigenous intervention in all about? Whatever it is, it’s clearly not about the state of indigenous children, which is appalling even by some of the worst third world standards. The actual horror of child abuse, domestic violence, drunkenness and other substance abuse in remote indigenous communities is never explored by Crikey, or reported in any detail. That sorry story doesn’t quite lend itself to the Crikey style of journalism. Instead, Crikey reserves its ire for Howard and Brough. These are the real villains, say the Crikey warriors. Wrong. The real villains are the bureaucrats, journalists and PC brigade who stymied debate about life on the ground in remote indigenous communities for 30 years. Anything critical of black dysfunction was called racist. This same moral cowardice still prevents Crikey from campaigning against child abuse and domestic violence in black communities with any conviction. The moral vanity of the white progressive is a curious phenomenon – it permits a shameless scorn for the primary sources of our moral capital (church, family, voluntarism) while investing abstractions such as indigenous “rights” with a holiness more befitting some bizarre religious sect. What else can explain the Crikey drive to convince the world that Mal Brough is evil?

Our pollies are all heart:

Colin Cowell writes: Re. “Rudd’s hale and hearty next to no-ticker Beazley” (yesterday, item 7). Talk about shooting yourself in the foot or should that read heart. The media coverage of Kevin Rudd’s heart valve transplant proves only one thing that the leader of the opposition does have a heart. Whereas the opinion polls are reflecting that a majority of Australian think that John Howard does not have one.

Geoff Boxer writes: I am 70 and have seen governments come and go but the one thing stands out. Liberals make hard necessary decisions that put the Country on the right track; GST, changes in Super, Workplace relations, etc. Then when things are going well the electorate get complacent, vote in Labor and when things start to go pear shaped vote back in Liberals. I also believe The Labor Party will do anything to get back in power. Silly little dirty tricks pretending Liberals are putting out stories about Rudd’s heart problem when it is obviously a Labor smoke screen. Quite honestly I cannot understand why people cannot see through Labor.

“Quiz kid” questions lower national debate:

Peter Lloyd writes: Re. “Politicians as quiz kids” (yesterday, item 9). Richard Farmer shows great commonsense in recommending our leaders adopt a dismissive attitude to the “quiz kids” questions that are so beloved of our facile media and the infant school standard its overpaid “journalists” bring to the national debate. But this is not an option for the men and, occasionally, women who have risen to the top in such a culture. When Kevin Rudd pretends he’s going to do something about supermarket prices, journalists would be right to laugh in his face. When John Howard throws up the latest excuse for our troops being in Iraq, he would be dismissed in the most irreverent terms. If they want leadership to be theatre, they’d better remember their lines.

Raise your standards, Crikey:

Christopher Kernahan writes: Re. “Tell us this Kevin, what’s the tax on a loaf of bread?” (Yesterday, item 6). Yesterday, Christian Kerr wrote: “The longer the Labor leader has to spend on the campaign trail, government figures feel, the more chance he has of running into a c-nt in a cake shop.” I am absolutely appalled that you would distribute the newsletter with such profanity. Save it for the change rooms or the football field where it is accepted by the thugs and half-wits who populate them – it is absolutely beneath you use it in electronic media in such a throw-away, casual manner. Raise your standards, Crikey.

Christian Kerr responds: It’s a quote from Paul Keating. Raise your historical knowledge, Christopher.

Swift boating Mike Kelly:

John Lawrence writes: Re. “Who does Dr Phelps really represent?” (Yesterday, item 14). Peter Phelps’ broadside at Mike Kelly was reminiscent of the Karl Rove inspired attack on John Kerry’s war record as a Swift boat commander. Just when Kerry appeared to have an electoral advantage compared with George W’s sporadic attendance with the Champagne unit of the Texas Air National Guard, Rove, the master political judo practitioner, turned his opponent’s strengths against him by organising the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth to smear Kerry. In American parlance, he swift boated him. Have Peter Phelps and the Libs been swotting up on some of Karl Rove’s strategies? Perhaps they will organise the Iraq Vets for Truth? After all Eden Monaro is the bell weather seat. Prepare for a bit more swift boating.

The OECD:

Rosemary Pridmore writes: Re. “Australia struggles to keep up with the Joneses: OECD” (yesterday, item 13). Thanks for telling us the whole picture. It is quite alarming that many media outlets are prepared to focus on just one part or side of a story. It’s cheap and easy, and perhaps lucrative, to take up the position of a party who has the drive or self-interest to present an opinion or angle ready to go to press/on air. Thank goodness there are still avenues that provide the public with a broader perspective. It would be nice to think that a majority of Australians are out there questioning and thinking independently. Please maintain your independence and thirst for the full story.

Flint, Bennelong and soft Labor votes:

Steven McKiernan writes: Re. “Flint: Labor’s Bennelong vote could go soft” (yesterday, item 8). This election campaign is set to go for more than five weeks and one wonders at the long term ability of Dave Flint to maintain a cogent argument for longer than a couple of minutes. Aimless, humourless, priggishly rabid and basically pointless. His rigid adherence to Tory cheerleading in his spray in Thursday’s Crikey leaves one wondering if he should stay away from the blue pills and try the red, the evidence is they aren’t working.

Tim Suttor writes: It may already have drawn comment, but isn’t there a rather basic problem in the assumption drawn by David Flint that only coalition voters answer yes to Morgan’s “heading the right direction” question. I’m no pollster, but surely the question itself is so vague as to make it useless for practical purposes. For example, a Labor supporter might easily consider that the trend towards a change in government is itself “heading in the right direction”!

Lisa Crago writes: David Flint wrote: “The Speaker, David Hawker, has the requisite gravitas and has risen magnificently to the challenge. Completely impartial, he takes no insolence from either side.” Well, I had to read this paragraph more that once. This statement is so unbelievable and incorrect that I wonder if David Flint watches the same Lower House Parliament that we do, or even reads Hansard. The Speaker often loses complete control of the House and I recommend that David Flint compare statistics of ejections from the house with past Speakers before he makes such a factually unfounded comments. Yesterday was a fine example of just how rattled David Hawker becomes, oh so often. I thought it common knowledge that he has been labelled the “squeakers” with good reason.

Michael Byrne writes: I live in Sydney’s south western suburbs. Rusted on Labor but with a new age pocket of Liberal in the northern end of Hughes (Vale). I too am seeking understanding in the poll figures coming out. Rather than using techno-talk as in “soft voters”, I rather see we Australians, as a people, are pussy cats. We do not like hurting anyone who has had a fair go at something. Especially as fundamental as running an economy, maintaining a sense of security without being over the top and generally being decent about things – notwithstanding the anti-Howard bleaters’ view from their strange “imagineering” world. As pussy cats we use the polls to give a little nip – “don’t take me for granted” …I think there is still is a feeling that Kevin Rudd has a lot of old Labor baggage (“we can legislate a world of love and justice” ) standing out of sight until they attain power. In ordinary speak; an analysis of things as they are with the polls is that the many little nips of us pussy cats will not become a big lick for Kevin on election day.

Pokies et al:

Graham Anderson writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 5). Your anonymous tips and rumours correspondent really should check their facts. There is a vast difference between PUB licences and CLUB licences. Club licences have to be sold into the government pool. Another club wishing to purchase from the pool has to pay for three and surrender one and undertake a social impact study on the effect of the acquisition of more licences into their area. An expensive business and not a lay down misere for approval. With the great number of clubs going broke or being amalgamated in the State the pool is awash with pokies for sale and you would be lucky if they are worth any more than $15,000 per licence. The addition of an extra 160 of them would drive the price to rock bottom. 40 million bucks? Dream on!

Jim Adams writes: In “Tips and rumours”, your man states that a PME in clubs are worth $250K, they are actually worth around $60K for a block of 3. You can only sell machines in blocks of 3, where two go to the new club and one is forfeited into the government pool. Thus 60 machines are worth 20 times 60, or $1.2M. The PMEs are the registered club’s property, not the football club’s, they are not the same legal entity, so Russell and Peter don`t get a cracker assuming they can convince the board of the club to sell the PMEs.

NRL and pokies:

Sam Highley writes: In yesterday’s Crikey, writer Jeff Wall states: “In recent years, the salary cap has evened up the position, but the clubs which today have successful leagues clubs – Penrith Panthers is one of the largest and most successful clubs in NSW – still have an advantage over clubs that don’t.” Erm, the Penrith Panthers finished dead last in this years NRL competition. I’m not quite sure what advantage the flourishing Panthers Leagues Club has provided them in this respect?

No culture warriors, just philistines:

Assoc Prof Edward Scheer, school of theatre, performance and cultural policy studies, University of Warwick, Coventry, writes: Re. “Australians are an arty bunch after all” (yesterday, item 24). In his piece from yesterday’s Crikey Ben Eltham says that “attacking artists on welfare plays well to the culture warriors like Bolt”… all true. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds the terminology “culture warriors” increasingly repugnant. Bolt et al (there’s a long list and a number of them are serving on the boards of some of our key institutions) are high profile bullies whose weapon of choice is, as you say, the “dog-whistle”. Hardly the stuff of warriors. With respect to art and culture they stand for nothing. They argue no case. They belittle any achievement in our fragile and under-resourced cultural sphere as it reminds them of the scope of their ignorance. It’s time we stopped pandering to their mini-me neo-con agenda and called them by their true name. They are not warriors. They are philistines.

The long and winding road of Phil Spector:

David Havyatt writes: Re. “Long shadow cast over Spector’s classic work” (yesterday, item 21). Guy Rundle might be right in his concern that the Spector murder trial will taint his music forever. I for one am just glad that The Beatles got around to re-engineering Let It Be so that we can hear the Spector free version of Let It Be Naked. All I want now is a DVD of the movie (or even a reproduced movie if they kept all the hours of film that were shot).

A tasteless editorial:

Michele Stephens writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. “What’s that smell Sarge?” Of far greater importance is how Qian Xue Xun’s father was allowed to take her out of New Zealand. Her mother had a parenting order giving her exclusive custody of her daughter and supposedly preventing the father from making contact with either his wife or his daughter. Why then did the automatic computer-generated alert to Customs fail to prevent the father taking his daughter out of the country? The mother’s fate should have been detected the day the father tried to leave New Zealand.

James Tremain writes: I thought your editorial/intro yesterday was utterly tasteless and demonstrated poor judgment.

Mayne v Murdoch:

John Parkes writes: Having read the comments of Mark Wallace (yesterday, comments), I have to agree. I would not have used the personally offensive language he used, but his comments reflect my views. I have not renewed my subscription – and yes, I’m a sort of hypocrite in that I continue as a squatter – but two things offended my sensibilities, Stephen Mayne’s personalising of his criticisms of Rupert Murdoch, and the constantly biased attitude of Crikey to the global warming debate particularly the failure to publish equally the many nay-saying reports to what may be only media hype similar to the rubbish fed us by the same media types about the Y2k bug. I’m not claiming that you are necessarily wrong in either case, just blatantly biased in the presentation of your case, and in the case of Murdoch needlessly personally offensive.

Tim Ford writes: With regards to comments by Mark Wallace, I for one find Stephen Mayne’s stories rather interesting and somewhat informative.

Crikey balance:

Peter McDonell writes: Re. Yesterday, comments. A philosophy lecturer some 50 years taught me that when you haven’t a substantive reply, attack the speaker. Well done Steve Johnson! I have no need for your advice, or a need to read opinions in the Australian, nor am I related to any politician. I have many contemporaries with whom I exchange and refine my views. Real life people with first hand, rather than vicarious, experience gained over adult participation in the business world for about 50 years. By the way you also got my name wrong. Mark Jones, an interesting list of matters inflationary, and at least you got my name right. Can you also remember when we had 18% home interest rates under a Labor Government? Would that be inflationary? Note too that I didn’t mention unsubscribing.

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name – we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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