Fortescue Metals AGM:

Eamon Hannon, Exploration manager, Fortescue Metals Group, writes: Re. “Time for Twiggy Forrest and Fortescue to grow up” (Tuesday, item 29). Dear Mr Mayne, I sat in front of you at the Fortescue AGM and I must say I was impressed by your eye for detail and professionalism of questions. That was until I read your article and it dawned upon that you are none of the aforementioned. Please allow me, good sir, to correct you: 1) My name is Eamon Hannon, not Eamon Parry. 2) I was not wearing a t-shirt, rather a freshly dry-cleaned white collared shirt. I am a geologist not a banker. 3) I did not specify any grade of material, though I did repeat to the share holders the exploration target for 2007 that has been publicly shared with numerous institutions et al for the best part of this year. Therefore, as a fellow advocate for transparent reporting I suggest that you should be more diligent before you go on the public domain.

Sol deserves his pay:

Telstra’s Director of News Services, Andrew Maiden, writes: Re. “Trujillo’s million’s just don’t measure up to performance” (yesterday, item 33). Adam Schwab argues that the salary of Telstra CEO, Sol Trujillo, should rise with shareholder returns. Adam can hardly complain, then, that Sol’s remuneration has increased by 26% over the same period that share price has risen 25%. That’s an extra $3 million for Sol in return for adding $15 billion to shareholder wealth in the past 12 months.

Wentworth and the Overington affair:

Lionel Cranenburgh writes: Re. “Ickiness and ethics in the Overington affair” (yesterday, item 3). Journalists are fair game for pollies on the hunt for fame if not fortune. Journalists need to keep their guard up at all times as they could easily become the story. I can’t judge motives in this case but words seem to speak louder than actions here.

Peter Hall writes: Possibly I am naive but I find the thuggery evidenced in Caroline Overington’s antics in Wentworth disgraceful and shocking. There is something seriously amiss in News Corporation’s editorial culture.

The Greens candidate for Wentworth, Susan Jarnason, writes: Re. “Bursting the Wentworth soap bubble” (yesterday, item 18). The real Wentworth campaign isn’t any form of soap opera. You can largely thank “colour” journalists for that impression, and the need to fill newspapers given the lack of genuine policy debate between the major parties. But I can’t let Mr Kerr get away with a totally baseless accusation of “Greens skulduggery on the sidelines”. Perhaps he thinks it’s no longer acceptable to campaign in the traditional fashion, with leaflets, events, forums, stalls and meeting with as many voters as possible. All with a focus on the issues not getting space in the mainstream election coverage, and all on a very modest budget. That’s what my campaign amounts to, and if that’s now “skulduggery” then it’s a charge I’ll happily plead guilty to.

Christopher Ridings writes: If the Wentworth electorate is turning into a soapie for the election, you will have to add to this colourful mix, the Australian Democrat candidate, Pierce Field who turned 18 in June probably making him the youngest candidate in this Federal election. “The Kid” isn’t at all fazed by the challenge judging by his forum appearances, and his preferences could well tip the scales. Oh to be young and to have all that power.

Borders, Hillsong and the Mercy Ministries:

Marcus Anderson writes: Re. “Borders passes the hat for anti-gay, pro-life charity” (yesterday, item 2). It should be a crime for unqualified persons to offer psychiatric/psychological help to people with “mental health issues”. Amateur psychiatrists are the most dangerous kind of idiot. Mercy Ministries clearly have a religious agenda, but to proselytise that agenda onto people with “mental health issues” is the lowest of the low. Religion is a matter of choice, not a condition of charity. That is basic. These hypocrites need to be outlawed, the sooner the better.

Nigel Pope writes: As always, this article uses “pro-life” as a pejorative. The writer then states this: “In other words, although it isn’t spelled out, abortion doesn’t seem to be offered to the girls as an option.” Why should abortion be an option? How does a woman’s desire for convenience trump a baby’s right to life? Three cheers for any charity that provides an alternative to the altar of convenience on which 90,000+ babies are sacrificed each year in this country. Also, why should a Christian charity be forced to suggest abortion as an alternative? I understand that the writer is probably some young post-modernist who acquires her morals and ethics from a daily smorgasbord, but for many people abortion is so fundamentally wrong, so fundamentally evil, that it must never be considered. This is the problem with post-modernist “lefties”: the only ones that they believe are not free to exercise their conscience are those with a conscience. Thus arguing in favour of the atrocity of abortion is OK; arguing for the sanctity of life is not. What an abomination. I wish Mercy Ministries every success.

China cooling, tough times ahead:

John Craig writes: Re. “Uh oh … Is China heading for a crunch?” (Yesterday, item 1). If this happens, it would presumably turn the looming recession related to the global credit crisis into a fair-dinkum depression. What Glenn Dyer suggest seems quite possible. I have been working on updating data about the prospects of a crunch in China that I first prepared some years ago (see China as a Bubble – which remains a work in progress). Australians could face the “hardest economic landing” that it is possible to imagine. Generations Y, X and the Baby Boomers could get the shock of their lives – and perhaps regret their willingness to accept unrealistic populist rhetoric about economic development and governance.

Matt Hardin writes: So if China slows and the world gets fewer cheap consumer goods and Australia sells fewer resources at lower prices, does this mean the dream is over and its back to running a “normal” economy? In that case, could the people who p-ssed the boom money up against the wall please explain to the next generation who will wear the “down turn” what happened?

David Flint:

Peter Rosier writes: Re. “Flint: How will a Rudd government handle immigration?” (Yesterday, item 11). My goodness, Flintie the Mintie’s at it again. Like the sweet, he seems to go on forabsolutelyever. I would have thought that his particular balloon would have long since burst, but no. Put simply, his attempt at turning immigration into a secret Labor rort to boost the party’s electorate falls on its own sword. Just in case you didn’t get it, David, under the current government, immigration has been running at very high levels and, rather than be sourced from under the whispering spires of Oxbridge, these new New Australians tend to come from South East Asia, South Asia and the Middle East with a spattering from Africa until Andrews felt this group to be too . . . well, too . . . something (now we’ll never find out!).

Well said, Guy Rundle:

John Walters writes: Re. “Cheerful postmodern lying has finally crippled Howard” (yesterday, item 5). Well said, Guy Rundle. Your articles are always worth reading but this one was superb. Very perceptive. Thank you.

A sad and bitter rant:

Nathan Quigley writes: Re. “MacCormack: Nats stick to the script, shameless pork handouts ensue” (yesterday, item 9). David MacCormack’s vitriolic rant against the Nationals yesterday was sad and bitter enough in itself to render unnecessary of any of the many objections that could be raised against it. He does at least seem to appreciate that the Nats work hard in the interests of their constituency, and answer only to that constituency and not the “mainstream media”. Welcome to the Westminster system, Mr MacCormack and remember (as galling as it may be) that in seats such as Maranoa and Cowper Barnaby Joyce’s “conception of contemporary Australia” is pretty much the reality.

Batting for a draw:

David Lenihan writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Crikey suggested Rudd should take up Howard’s challenge for a debate on surpluses. Why should he? At the start of this long drawn out campaign, Howard’s choice of six weeks, Rudd invited the PM to three debates, declined. It will be one and one only he retorted. Now the old fella is in an almost hopeless position and he sees a straw that may just keep him afloat a bit longer. Rudd will I presume turn his back and let that absurd proposition slip by. Howard had his chance to debate further, he refused, the game is in the last innings and he only has the tail-enders to get the runs required. But the Coalition hasn’t been too clever in this whole business; surely there isn’t a secret plan to ensure Howard loses? It’s starting to look like it.

Harold Holt:

Norman Abjorensen writes: Re. “The gathering darkness behind Holt’s sunny smile” (yesterday, item 7). Some smart-ass will do this for me no doubt… but I inadvertently killed off poor Harold on 17 November not 17 December 1967… That’s pretty heartless: robbing a troubled and drowning man of his last 30 days on earth!

Cameron Sharrock writes: Harold Holt is a bit of a folk hero of mine, being a fellow free-diving spear fisherman (until it killed him! Hardcore!) and all, so I reckon I should add something to the Japan/submarine/suicide/murder/kidnap/assassination/shark theories out there. It goes like this: Cheviot beach is one dangerous-ass beach, with submerged rocks, rips in every direction, massive undertows and changeable conditions even on a calm summer’s day. He went without a buddy into rough conditions, so my money is on alien abduction… sorry, I meant “drowning” (amazing how often I confuse those two).

BHP and Rio:

John Macdonald writes: Re. “Gilbertson’s foresight vindicated by BHP’s Rio move” (yesterday, item 31). Am I missing something or have Glenn Dyer and Adam Schwab both made the mistake of nominating a price that BHP is bidding for Rio? It is a 3 for 1 scrip bid so they pay in paper, not cash. If there is a price it is the proportion. BHP’s share price has strengthened relative to Rio since 2003 so BHP is bidding less now than it would have then in a scrip bid. So Gilbertson was not so bright. And in a falling market the proportional fall of the two companies is anyone’s guess and nobody can say BHP would be better off waiting for the market to weaken and Rio to get cheaper.

John Laws:

Adam Lyons writes: John Mair (yesterday, comments) regarding John Laws was almost correct. He says Laws really believed in, and was loyal to his advertisers. Maybe one exception, he changed “When you’re on a good thing stick to it” to “When you find a better thing change to it.” He was paid to see the new product better. But then he was after all only a shock jock, a well paid shock jock, but a shock jock just the same.

Channel Nine:

John Taylor writes: Re. “Media briefs and TV ratings” (yesterday, item 28). The Nine network has for many years used the slogan “Still the one”. This year they are obviously “Two”. But I don’t know if you’ve noticed they’ve been using their new, 2008, slogan on the cricket for some time: “It’s great to be 3”!

An appreciative Haiku:

Huey Benjamin writes: Re. “Rundle’s morning haiku” (Early Campaign Edition: Day 31, item 6).

Guy’s nib brushes ink
haiku takes flight
soaring perfection!!

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