One last scare campaign with interest:
Hugo Leith writes: Re. “Errington: One last scare campaign?” (Yesterday, item 9). A fair bit has been written on how the interest rate rise will help the Coalition. That may or may not be so, but Howard is doing it all wrong and is offering Labor a golden rhetorical free kick, should they wish to take it and convert. The incredible flaw in Howard’s response to the rate hike is that he attempts to boost the government by referring to wage pressures. He cites the RBA’s own statement on monetary policy. Howard says that the government will fight inflation by keeping wages in check, and that Labor dismantling WorkChoices will make inflation worse because it will drive up wages. What this actually means is that Howard will keep the real wages of millions of working men and women lower, so as to fight inflation. This is actually his message, and his plan. While it may have some appeal to economists, especially of the trickle down (or voodoo) school, this is basically the same thing as telling lower paid people that for the good of the economy, including the rich, they will have to take a hip pocket hit. In the narrative of a government out of ideas, it says something that Howard’s policy for fighting inflation is simply to cut the real wages of the working poor.
Niall Clugston writes: Wayne Errington’s comment that “Rising interest rates killed off any chance Paul Keating had for re-election in 1996” just adds to the mythology on the issue. Apart from an interlude in 1994, interest rates were falling throughout Keating’s prime ministership, and didn’t change at all between Howard’s accession to the leadership and his election victory.
Tim Mackay writes: John Howard is asking for 18 more months as PM. Can someone (anyone?) at Crikey (or even a Liberal supporter among your readers) please, please answer me this: What specifically is John Howard seeking to achieve as PM in those 18 months that Costello as PM could not achieve?
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
Doctors’ wives and North Sydney:
Catherine Rytmeister writes: Re. “Comrie-Thomson: Doctors’ wives green by association” (yesterday, item 11). Could we please cut the “doctors’ wives” rubbish? This language is patronising, patriarchal, offensive and downright dumb. Women have made up their share of the numbers in medical degrees for some years now – but do we ever hear derisory talk of “doctor’s husbands”. Grow up, wake up, and substitute some analysis for the mudslinging. No, I am not a doctor – not yet – I am studying for a PhD, working full-time and I am a single parent. Oh yeah, and I’m 70% union thug too, as I’ve spent 14 of my last 20 years being involved in my union! And I live in Bennelong. Silly me, if only I’d thought to get myself a wife to vote Green and worry about the distant workers. My life could have been so much better!
John Robinson writes: Paul Comrie-Thomson would be certain that you’d fall off the edge of the flat world and be eaten by demons if you sail too far away. Once you make up a “fact” you can justify all sorts of strange stuff. It might be just possible that North Sydney has a high proportion of young people, starting in jobs, looking to buy a house, starting a family. They could feel vulnerable in their new or casual jobs, unable to imagine their way to an uncertain future. That’d make WorkChoices seem like a bad idea too. Gosh, looking up a teensy bit of demographic data might even make that conclusion seem likely. No. Make stuff up. Much more interesting.
Padraig Collins writes: A protest vote for the Greens is utterly pointless if your number two goes to the Liberals. Anyone thinking they are making any sort of caring statement by voting 1 Greens, 2 Liberal is delusional. On a Northern Beaches polling booth in the state election in March I observed a sizable number of people who could roughly be considered doctor’s wives take both the Liberal and Greens how to vote forms while turning their nose up at those from the ALP, Christian Democratic Party and others. Many of them arrived in 4WDs too. Utterly delusional.
The Oz and interest rates:
Jack Grealy writes: Re. “MacCormack: Howard embraces “faith-based reality” on interest rates” (yesterday, item 8). In fact – if wasn’t for George Megalogenis’ and occasionally Paul Kelly, I’d have dumped the Oz weeks ago. And if anyone should be kicked where it hurts it’s Dennis Shanahan. The Oz’s claim to be a national paper that talks for the nation can only be based on circulation – certainly not a pragmatic, objective and even point of view. Why would the Libs need to pay for advertising when they’ve got the Oz in their pocket?
Tamas Calderwood writes: David McCormack (yesterday, article 8) writes that “No-one… has ever lost money overestimating the stupidity of ordinary Australians”. I guess this makes David either A) an extraordinary Australian or, B) stupid.
Turnbull on gay super:
Robert Humphreys writes: Re. “Turnbull on gay super an important step – so where’s Rudd?” (Yesterday, item 14). While I have much respect for Rodney Croome’s long time activism on behalf of full equality for GLBTI people in Tasmania and across Australia I think he is way too kind on Malcolm Turnbull. It is not surprising that on the eve of an election in which Turnbull could well lose his seat of Wentworth and any future hope of becoming Prime Minister that he makes a public “splash” about superannuation reform for gay people. Remember that Wentworth contains a high concentration of GLBTI people and he will be desperate to shore up support in his electorate. The Howard government despite attempts by individual Liberal MPs to seek support for gay law reform has consistently demonstrated its hostility towards equity for the Australian GLBTI community. The ALP is hardly any better – especially with Kevin Rudd as its leader. The one major party that has consistently stood up for justice for GLBTI people is the Greens. It is for this reason amongst many others that they will get the deserved backing of a large proportion of Australia’s GLBTI community. Maybe then the Liberals and Labor will finally get it…that homophobia and ignorance are just no longer acceptable in 21st century Australia.
Michael Zerman writes: Re. “Hey Facebookers, it’s what you signed up for…” (Yesterday, item 3). Geez kids, far be it from me to complain about life, but internet whingers are the end. Was anyone forced to join Facebook? Any broken or twisted arms? Did people pay to have their “profiles” hosted or launched on Facebook? Did any of the Facebook Whingers swap songs, CDs or other pirated material without paying royalties to artists? And then brag about their cool file-sharing activities? Do Facebook Whingers dream of electric sheep? In fact, are Facebook Whingers sheep, electric or otherwise? Get off the bus if you don’t like the route.
Turnbull and Garrett:
Katherine Stuart writes: Re. “”I object.” The election debates we’d like to see” (yesterday, item 16). Malcolm Turnbull’s dire warning in his closing address in the Press Club Debate today described Peter Garrett and Labor as potentially being seen as a “soft touch” by other countries (our near neighbours?). He talked about the tough decisions that will need to be made. Basically what I heard was that he was talking about bullying, or being bullied. Winners and losers. How did cooperation and negotiation become “a soft touch” when we all know how important it is in our daily lives? How would any of us survive even one day if there wasn’t massive amounts of cooperation and negotiation going on every minute of every day? From the way we negotiate traffic (human and vehicular) on our way to work, to the services that are provided to us on trust until we pay our bills – things the vast majority of us do every day without question! Where there is an entrenched belief in being “right” or “wrong”, or that there are always “winners” and “losers”, what you get is war (at various levels), death, and destruction. For generations. Is that what we want for our country’s future?
John Hayward writes: That Peter Garrett is taken seriously on climate change by any percentage in double figures is alarming. As Garrett and Turnbull are aware, Gunns has been claiming that the mill will have a negative contribution to greenhouse emissions. This is based on the Tas-quality logic that the wood-fired power generator they are planning will save on the other sorts of fuel the mill would otherwise use. The fact is that even after 80 years, a plantation has only a third the CO2 storage of an old forest. Remember that 15 years is the average life of a plantation, that the mill will use 80% native forest for at least the first five to ten years, and most probably for as long as they can get away with it. While the mill will burn .5 million tonnes p.a. in its generator, that leaves close to 10 million tonnes that will continue to be burnt as waste on the forest floor.
Richard Oxborrow writes: At 12.30pm yesterday the ABC TV program advertised in my paper was Pie in the Sky. I switched on, and sure enough, there was Malcolm Turnbull talking about clean coal.
Bravo, First Dog:
Margot Saville writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (Early Campaign Edition: Day 24, item 5). Thursday’s First Dog on the Moon was the best ever. To quote (again) from Hunter S Thompson “The prevailing wisdom today (1972) is that any candidate in a standard brand two party election will get about 40% of the vote. The root assumption here is that neither party would nominate a man (sic) more than 20% different from the type of person most Americans consider basically right and acceptable. There is no potentially serious candidate in either major party this year who couldn’t pass for the executive vp for mortgage loans in any hometown bank from Bangor to San Diego.”
Towing the cow:
Geoff Perston writes: Stephen Woods wrote (yesterday, comments) that one of Howard’s problems was “cow-towing to the religious right…” I’m not too sure about towing cows to any single group in particular, but I am pretty certain he’s been pushing the bull to everyone else!
Mike Smith writes: Re. “Cricket Australia blacks out the rest of the world” (yesterday, item 6). So, AAP, if I walked into an art gallery, and started making high resolution photos of the art there for sale, I should expect to do this without paying anything? Freedom of the press has nothing to do with it. You are photographing a performance put on by CA. They own the IP rights.
Letters from Gerard:
Patrick Garson writes: Re. “Letters from Gerard” (yesterday, item 24). Jesus Christ, would Gerard Henderson please shut up already? Reading every week about this nitpicky, he said/she said, “in 1971 I ate a chocolate biscuit, but far leftist Blah Blah said it was an iced vovo” crap is terrible. If someone wants to take down Rupe, they should just forward one of these epistles to him: Judgement Day would have arrived and the man himself would long since have passed on from boredom. Whichever ancient communist has disputed Gerard’s tie colour in 1923, his subsequent mewling only serves to highlight how pathetically voracious his ego is. Sacrifice a goat to the thing and be done with it Gerry; we don’t care so why should you?
Tom Mitchell writes: I dare say one day Gerard too will be dead, but just how soon probably depends on how long God can forestall the inevitable. I don’t think He’d be in any rush to admit Mr Henderson to the choir eternal for fear of a takeover.
Louise Crossley writes: For once (only) in my life, I’m with Henderson on this. I don’t think Crikey or its readers – certainly this one – have the slightest interest in this self aggrandising, posturing drivel from both contributors.
Law and Order: Special writers unit:
Ernie Biscan writes: Re. “Gore and Ordure: The writers strike explained” (yesterday, item 26). Guy Rundle needs to catch up on Law and Order before he starts writing scripts for them. Briscoe was written out some time ago – Jerry Orbach, the actor who played him, died. Cue the Law and Order patent “doink doink”.
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.