Where’s the AWB scandal?:

Anthony Dale writes: Re. “No charges laid yet over AWB. How convenient!” (Yesterday, item 2). I thought the item on the AWB scandal was good — perhaps excellent would not be too strong. But my cynicism, and despair at the ignorance/stupidity of the majority of Australians, knows no bounds. Whilst I am sure Vaile and Downer should both have resigned, or been sacked, over the AWB matter, Howard would cause that to happen. A prime minister who readily lies to parliament will not sack his deputy or one of his chief anti-Costello mates. The AWB scandal was appalling and I am most disappointed that Rudd has not really referred to it in this election period — if indeed he has made any reference at all.

David Williamson:

Michael Byrne writes: Re. “David Williamson: Howard, morning walks and the ghosts of 1969” (yesterday, item 1). David Williamson’s contribution displays well and truly the bile that rises from the gut of intelligentsia/commentator Australia in dealing with contemporary Australian politics. An immediate benefit of having John Howard as Prime Minister for the ordinary family is that the first spew of bile is targeted at him rather than at we urbanites who love our footy and the kids’ sport, the local club, a punt, plasma TV, and who, of course, gross ignorantly voted down the republic. Mr. Williamson displays no credibility when he elevates a disloyal comment against the PM to a wholesale slander from his Party, when he ridicules a man who displays good health habits to all Australians, and when he displays bad habit of using extreme language in describing issues that are exercised in the cut and thrust of the democratic politics of the day and mixing them up with the few that may be of true moral concern. It almost makes one want to vote Liberal just to hear the caterwauling of these characters.

Climate change:

Allan Lehepuu writes: At Myall Lakes National Park (NSW) there is at one feature, a NPWS interpretive panel informs the visitor that seventeen thousand years ago the shore line at that point was thirty kilometres to the east (i.e. sea level at that time was a lot lower) and how the rising sea level had changed local indigenous ceremonies. An oceanographer from ANU recently described on local ABC radio 666 a “paleo” Lake Alexandrina at the mouth of the Murray River, sixty meters below the current sea level. From my HSC geography we were taught that Sydney Harbour is a drowned river valley. Makes the new IPCC prediction on sea level change quite small. It may be labouring the point but climate has always changed, is currently changing and will no doubt change again. Sea level has risen and receded many times in earths geological past with the coming and going of the Ice Ages. Bjorn Lomborg argues that it will be better to adjust to the change rather than spending our treasure on futile efforts to reverse the current trends in climate. But there is one thing that every scientist agrees on, more research required and more funding please!

Geoff Russell writes: The IPCC Fourth Assessment doesn’t quite predict that the world will end tomorrow but, for us Aussies there is a spine chilling graph on page 288 (Chap 3) that should be made into a fridge magnet and sent to every voter (see attached). This graph, in conjunction with plenty of other data, indicates a basic change in the El-Nino based weather see-saw and indicates that we will see more and hotter droughts. About 80% of what is produced by the Murray Darling Basin is exported, and that entire raft of exports may very well end if not tomorrow, then during the next decade. And if I were looking for anybody to blame for a decade of “work to rules” and “go slow” on climate change which gave this graph a helping hand, then the Bush/Howard coalition would be front and center. It’s a pity we can’t vote Bush out on Saturday as well.


John Redeker writes: John Howard’s supposedly soothing comment “the world’s not going to end tomorrow” just distils for me the evidence of how out of touch he really is – there’s just a total lack of urgency in his attitude to climate change, and he wouldn’t move anyway if it looked as though it could hurt his precious economy. Even Shakespeare all those years ago pressed the right button, when he talked about the “tide in the affairs of men” – and the perils of missing such a tide. John Howard started missing tides a long time ago – why should the nation pay the price for that? Out with the old school, the “tried-and-failed”. A drover’s dog could have brought the country prosperity in these ‘mineral-rich’ times. Now it’s high time.

The campaign issues that aren’t:

John Watherston writes: Re. “The campaign issues that aren’t” (yesterday, item 19). I haven’t heard anything from the major parties about the proper funding of the states – the lack thereof has caused many problems whilst the cash is stashed in the filing cabinet. No need to mention the high price of oil contributing to CPI increase, do something about it by reducing excise; don’t force parents into making claims for school expenses, give the money straight to the schools so they don’t have to charge fees etc. in the first place. What about the Public Service getting some acclaim for the supposed good economic condition, Costello (Howard includes himself but forgets his contribution would be zero if his time as Treasurer is examined) like all ministers can’t carry it alone. And how about dispensing with the House of Representatives, it would eliminate a lot of pork barrelling.

Super funds:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Crikey Crib Sheets Part 1: Policy Comparisons” (yesterday, item 5). Can any of your experts comment on the safety of the nation’s bulging superannuation funds? Presumably Peter Costello wouldn’t want to change the system he so recently set up with all its tax-friendly provisions. But what about Our Kev? Would he risk alienating the greying voters by taking a teensy little slice, say 15%, out of their self-funded pensions? No point asking him this week of course, and next week he’ll be busy ratifying Kyoto, but maybe next year… or will he wait until his second term? Any bets?

Rudd chooses Rove:

Stuart Mackenzie writes: Re. “1.368 million reasons Rudd chose Rove” (yesterday, item 11). Having been put firmly back in his box on Sunday morning by Julia Gillard, Barrie “Jilted Lover” Cassidy proceeded to demonstrate the complete irrelevancy to most voters of the ABC’s Insiders with his first question to Labor’s Deputy Leader. Why did the ALP campaign launch start late? Give us break, Barrie – who cares? If that’s the sort of in-depth media scrutiny the so-called serious media wants to inflict on Kevin Rudd, no wonder he’s getting away scot-free. Instead of whingeing about the blandness of the campaign, and how badly treated by the party spinners they are, sizable parts of Australia’s news media need to have a good look at their own performance and how they have contributed to this lamentable state of affairs. The connivance of the camp-followers accompanying the party leaders on their daily fly-in photo ops, and the pathetic acceptance of the rules for the televised leaders’ debate, are just two examples of a press gallery that are so “embedded” with the armies of politicos you can barely see the soles of their feet.

Peter Lloyd writes: Great to see Crikey noting the significance of Barrie Cassidy sooking about Mr Rudd blowing him off for a night with Rove. However, the most amusing tanty for me was from the soon-to-be-obsolete Andrew Bolt, disgusted that Rudd turned over Insiders for- egad- “a show like Rove!?” Checked the contents of the rag you spin for Andy?

Me too:

Russell Bancroft writes: Last week a woman fainted in front of the PM. Yesterday, a student fainted next to Kevin Rudd. Just another example of me-tooism. I am surprised it took this long for the ALP to copy what the Libs have been doing.


Phil Garratt writes: Re. “Flint: Will Rudd finally face some media scrutiny?” (Yesterday, item 10). Primus inter pares to you too David, whatever that means. Crikey is the last place I would have expected to remind me of my lack of Latin and your use of it here only reminds me of how out of touch you are.

John Addis writes: Yesterday there were two studious responses to a David Flint piece that actually engaged with the good professor’s thoughts – I hesitate to use the word “argument”. Is this a sign that the Crikey readership, embroiled in the heat of the campaign, are losing their sense of irony?

Mark Manders writes: Hey, Crikey, who are John Shailer and Melanie Matthewson? (Yesterday, comments). Maybe acolytes of David Flint? Or the last two people in Australia who genuinely believe the Liberals? But I admire your attempt to preserve the “balance”: when nearly every serious political commentator has given the Howard government less than Buckley’s, import a couple of Howard huggers to spruik the Coalition. Good ruse!

Steve Johnson writes: John Shailer, Melanie Mathewson and David Flint are amazing in the consistency of their pro-Government messages. Peter Costello was articulating exactly the same messages this morning on ABC RN. What a coincidence. It seems incredibly hypocritical that these arguments being utilised to stick with the Coalition in 2007 are 1) That the Coalition are experienced governors of the nation and the Opposition is not; so by definition we should stick to the experienced team and 2) That the Coalition are the only responsible financial managers and the Opposition, by that definition, cannot be responsible financial managers, as if the argument was some golden key choice in a fantasy quest.


Guy Rundle writes: Re. Steve McKiernan (yesterday, comments):

Steve McKiernan should choose
– or count – his own words with care
line three, four syllab-

Ken Porter writes:

Into the last straight
Kevin leading by a nose
Not his, Bill Lawrie’s.

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