The myth of Bob loves Adolf:

Reference Librarian at the Australian Prime Ministers Centre, Old Parliament House, Campbell Rhodes, writes: Re. “Rundle: Howard wants reconciliation … with Bennelong” (Friday, item 3). In his article in Friday’s Crikey, Guy Rundle refers to Menzies’ endorsement of Hitler in 1938. This isn’t technically true. What he actually did was admit that Hitler had “ideas, many of them good ones” but did observe a fundamental lack of liberty in Germany and found it unsettling that Germans seemed to be OK with this. He thought Berlin was cold and drab, and described Hitler as “not an administrator [like] Mussolini”. Possibly he was naïve, and very possibly he wasn’t seeing the whole picture, but I wouldn’t call his comments a ringing endorsement of Nazism. This information comes, by the way, from A.W. Martin’s biography of the man himself. Martin mentions Humphrey McQueen’s Gallipoli to Petrov as the source of the “Bob Loves Adolf” myth and says that the myth is just that, and that the McQueen book isn’t accurate. So, even if I’m wrong, at the very least there’s some doubt about this. Sorry to pick up on it, but it’s my job.

Seven won Brisbane:

Channel Seven Brisbane publicity manager Debbie Turner writes: Re. “News & CA” (Friday, item 27). A correction to the News & CA section in Friday’s Crikey where you stated: “Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Brisbane, at least at 6pm, ABC News was tops in terms of viewers in Melbourne.” Seven News in Brisbane won the 6pm timeslot on Thursday night (11 October) with 265,234 average viewers beating Nine News by 41,841 average viewers.

Total Individuals

Total Individuals

Total Individuals

Total Individuals

TARP

TARP

CSHR %

CSHR %

BTQ7 Brisbane

QTQ9 Brisbane

BTQ7 Brisbane

QTQ9 Brisbane

265,234

223,393

38.70%

32.60%

In Brisbane, 7 News – 7 Days has now won 31 from 32 ratings weeks and this year is on track to win the ratings year for the first time in 20+ years.

Howard doesn’t deserve applause:

Pamela Curr writes: Re. “Kerr: For all his failings, the PM deserves applause” (Friday, item 1). Sorry, I am holding on the applause until John Howard pulls the military out of Indigenous lands, commits to a program of building houses by aboriginal workers who are trained and mentored to do so, provides potable water to indigenous communities, provides well equipped schools and engages and trains aboriginal women to assist teachers so that the children see how their mothers are respected and involved in their education and consults with indigenous communities to see how their lives and their children can have a viable fulfilling healthy future. It is easy to stand up amongst friends at the Sydney Institute to promise something at the eleventh hour that he may not be around to honour- it is another thing to fulfill the promises after the election. He had 11 years.

David Liberts writes: Am I the only person who thinks that a mention in the Constitution’s preamble seems to be worth less than two thirds of three fifths of bugger all? If it goes ahead, what changes for anyone? Who sits down to read the Constitution? Why does it have to happen now and why couldn’t it have happened much earlier? Most importantly, how does it do anything to enhance the lives of Aborigines or progress the reconciliation process? It’s not a bad thing, just a very small thing. Christian Kerr’s suggestion that we should congratulate the Prime Minister for doing something was surely written satirically, intending to highlight how little the PM has done to meaningfully assist Aborigines for the last 11 years (despite his 1998 election night promises).

Lynda Hopgood writes: Christian might be a believer in Howard’s conversion on the road to Damascus, but I remain highly cynical. 30-odd years of comment on the public record opposing reconciliation, land rights and self-determination tells me that you need to look to other explanations for this apparently extraordinary back-flip. It wasn’t hard to find: all of a sudden he stopped talking about preambles to the Constitution and started banging on about how he isn’t going to say sorry. It was all about the wedge, folks; the dog-whistle to the (unfortunately) many in our community who are strongly against a formal Government apology. Labor will – it is Party policy and has been for many, many years – and Howard wants to hear them say it explicitly in the hope that those little “Howard Battler” chickens, who flew away a year ago when Rudd became Leader of the Opposition, will now come home to roost.

Peter Burnett writes: Christian Kerr says we should give John Howard “the benefit of the doubt” over his statement on reconciliation. Sorry, but when I heard Dennis Shanahan talking of Howard’s “Damascene conversion”, I though it meant that Honest John was telling his mate in Washington that they should bomb Damascus rather than Tehran.

Barry Rosenberg writes: Didn’t I read on Crikey that the NT invasion is a prelude to a land grab and the miners are circling? So first a land grab then a vote grab? The PM deserves applause? No way.

Gary Carroll writes: Give us a break Christian, the old fox is now asking us to pity him. Boo Hoo, I’ve seen the light. Well it’s a freight train called the election.

Cynicism everywhere over preamble:

Willem Schultink writes: Re. “If you do the crime, Johnnie…” (Friday, item 5). So, Chris Graham, editor of the National Indigenous Times, reckons Mr Howard is cynical. A case of the pot calling the kettle black? That level of cynicism reflects a closed mind that can do the indigenous people no benefit at all.

Peter Carlisle writes: I’m no astute political analyst but it seems pretty obvious, even to me, that Howard’s call for a referendum on reconciliation is a sucker punch to draw Rudd into another “me too” which is entirely unavoidable, and leaves the impression of Howard as the forward thinker. Which he certainly is. Except the only thoughts he has for the future are of re-election. It’s such a safe move too. If the Liberals are re-elected you can bet the referendum will be set up similar to the referendum on a republic, so that the options we have to choose from are both undesirable and thus gets voted down and nothing happens. Oh so “clever”. It seems highly unlikely that he’s had a genuine turn around on this issue.

Judith Wheeldon writes: Chris Graham said it right and said it for all of us.

Saying sorry:

Julian Gillespie writes: Re. “Errington: Too little, too late, Mr Howard” (Friday, item 4). Legally I have often wondered though never researched the point conclusively, if whether or not the Howard government is concerned to say “sorry” because it may amount to an “admission at law” of the “misdeeds” (possibly) of “earlier generations” of government, since a government “at law” is seen to be an unbroken linage of responsibility, so therefore a present government could be held – upon an admission – to be liable for the actions of its’ “earlier generations” of government. Perhaps a “sorry” opens too many floodgates of legal liability; and perhaps were this correct, our present government perceives possible payouts as a consequence of such a broad admission, as electorally “back-lash” producing – as perhaps the electorate likes the idea of an apology, but may not like to pay for its giving?

Howard and the Wallabies:

David Havyatt writes: Re. “Flint: Favourites don’t always win … ask the Wallabies” (Friday, item 13). Well I’ll be buggered. David Flint has chosen to use a rugby analogy to satisfy himself that it is not all over for John Howard and co. But was it really just so he could work a reference to Alan Jones into his missive (again). He rightly calls Jones a “successful coach”, but the sustainability of that success was measured by his longevity in the role. The end of the article by Jones linked to by Flint reads “You can’t find an answer if you’re asking the wrong questions. We now are running off looking for a New Zealand coach. And there’s a panel to select the next coach. It would be interesting to ask the panel what they know about coaching. It appears as though the circle of defeat has already begun to form again. Sad indeed when the talent pool is undeniably so great. So much and so little is the current status of Australian Rugby.” The questioning of the qualifications of those appointing the coach is a bit of the standard Jones sophistry, by that approach the coach should clearly appoint themselves. And Jones probably still thinks that means he should anoint himself!

Peter Mansour writes: Sporting analogies suit David Flint like a bowtie suits a nudist. He says Howard “turned the tables on” Rudd. That metaphor applies to a winning outcome, not just an incidental event, as Flint has claimed. Then the fact that the favourites went down to outsiders England and France rather suggests the favourite is more likely to win the next contest. Anyway, when us sporty types are yelling “Go, Kevvy, Go”, I can just see David Flint neatly enunciating “Hasten, John, hasten”.

Barney Langford writes: Elections as a rugby game? What next? International relations as a quiz show? World poverty as opera? The ABA deliberations as farce? Crikey you have pretensions to serious journalism. Trolls should not be allowed to ply their trade here.

A reverse dog whistle:

John Held writes: Re. “Not New Labor, but Neutered Labor” (Friday, item 10). Is there such a thing as a reverse dog whistle? Perhaps the subliminal message to the left is: we won’t disagree with the Government on anything of substance like environment/race/capital punishment/… insert policy here… so as not to frighten the horses but if we get in, we will change things?

The right direction:

Craig Cadby writes: Re. “Government regains some ground: Morgan poll” (Friday, item 9). Instead of the ridiculous commentary of polls comparing voting intentions to the “heading in the right direction” question, the pollsters should simply ask “how likely is it that your voting intention will change between now and the election?” on a scale of very likely to not likely at all. A so called soft Labor voter could actually be a very hard Labor voter who believes that Australia is heading in the right direction because it appears John Howard is finally going to be removed from office.

Nick Xenophon:

Eric Flanagan writes: Re. “Xenophon sets the cats amongst the pigeons” (Friday, item 14). I wish Nick Xenophon every success in Canberra and have no doubt that he will be successful in his bid for a Senate seat. He has certainly been the slayer of giants as you put it. I hope his health can stand up to the challenge and that he will not be so selfless as to compromise himself in a manner that will see him unable to serve the best interests of the people of South Australia. I also hope that the Independent Weekly will now follow the causes of his running mate Ann Bressington because she has shown guts and determination in standing up for the Aussie battlers who want more than anything else to keep their families in tact. Her relentless support for victims of the Family Law Court system and our so called Child Protection agencies has made many of us feel as though we have a voice in parliament at long last – and not just a voice but someone who is prepared to take action and put forward solutions. She has also stood up for those who are trying to cope with a disability and she deserves the support of the media to expose the issues she has championed, often with no recognition or interest from the media. She may not be a “stunt meister” but she is genuine in her efforts.

Nothing silly about our Sol:

Andy Irvine writes: Re. “Telstra’s Next G network” (Friday, comments). The Next G stunt that people aren’t getting is that CDMA could hold even faint signal, but with Next G you get to call back four times even when signal is OK. This means four times the flag fall, three new minutes of call charges for each call and “excess internet access” fees for ANZ if you have to log in four times to do the banking. I am now getting texts saying if I don’t “migrate” to Next G my business lines will be cut off and I will lose my number. Nothing silly about our Sol.

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.