Election ’07 – the wrap:

Carmel Gandy writes: Re. “Winners. Losers. And what next?” (Special election edition, yesterday, item 1). Almost to the end, the leaders of our two major parties seemed to think the Government of Australia would go to the highest bidder. Perhaps they should have just put it up on eBay and saved everyone a lot of trouble.

Jon Jenkins writes: The fact that we act like lemmings and vote for either side of politics is telling of the value we place on democracy. But God help us now with end to end ALP: get ready for massive increases in everything from electricity to taxes to fuel to food to interest rates to unemployment etc. And prepare yourselves for sickening pandering to the unions who control the ALP and the Greens who will control the Senate. Contemplate small business’ preparing dismissal notices enmasse because they know that soon they will not be able to employ without risking an unfair dismissal suit. But at least we can take solace in what Julius Caesar said: “we get the government we deserve”.

The speeches:

Martyn Smith writes: Christian Kerr in Sunday’s Crikey remarked that Howard’s and Rudd’s speeches on Saturday night “contained no eloquence” and “were pedestrian”. People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, Christian. Since when was Hilary Bray an arbiter of good taste, good writing or anything else? As a matter of opinion, I thought Howard was dignified in defeat (and I detest Howard) and Rudd was humble but businesslike in victory (and I know little of Rudd). They seemed sincere. Whilst we didn’t get the Gettysburg Address, it was a civilised handover of power, important to Australia’s democracy, and did credit to both men, who must have been exhausted and drained after a hard campaign.

Richard Frawley writes: Although eloquence was a missing factor in Ruddkin’s speech, it was the complete lack of emotional depth and lack of mental agility that was also distressing. How much Ruddkin cares about anything other than this hollow victory, only time will tell. I have my suspicions that it will not be long before the walls and roof of parliament house are painted beige.

Marilyn Shepherd writes: Jesus weeping Crikey team. Give Rudd a bloody break. Howard has never given a decent speech in his life and has destroyed the whole damn country in the process.

Terence Hogan writes: How pleasing it was to see the Howard government and John himself removed from power. How disappointing it was to hear the mind-numbing string of tired clichés that was Kevin Rudd’s victory speech. And if “tired cliché” seems a bit of a tautology I can only say that these items were particularly tired. To say it was ‘uninspiring’ just doesn’t cover enough ground. I thought Rudd’s maiden speech on becoming Labor leader was soporific enough, but that improvement would surely come with time. Nope. I had to leave the room, go and play with the dog and remind myself that life wasn’t meant to be anywhere near perfect.

Vacuous puff and spin:

Tony Barrell writes: Re. “Flint: El momento de verdad” (Friday, item 7)I was fascinated to read David Flint’s last column for on Friday which ended with this wonderful (death) sentence: “Australians, in that moment of truth tomorrow, are not likely to dispatch one of the best prime ministers in the history of the Commonwealth, merely because of this vacuous puff and spin.” “Vacuous puff and spin”. He couldn’t have been talking about himself and Crikey by any chance could he?

The endorsement business:

Julian Zytnik writes: Re. Friday’s editorial. What’s this: “we don’t see Crikey as being in the endorsement business…if we were though…” business? A bit like the oft-quoted “I’m not racist, but…” or Jai’me King’s “No offence, but…”. Just come out and say it! This is exactly the kind of limp faux-prevarication we expect from less edgy and more hedgy media. Just today I spoke with a friend about the long, wandering Age editorial, and said about the independent sites: “I bet yr bottom dollar each one of them will issue a blunt, clear, direct assessment and recommendation”. You’re pretty clear in your assessment, but why fall at the final hurdle and wimp out on an endorsement? Seems ironic given all the flak your correspondents have dished out at papers like the SMH in 2004 for fence-sitting. If you have convictions, have the courage to express them.

Mayne and Higgins:

Cathy Bannister writes: Re. “Stephen Mayne: The Higgins Diary that wasn’t” (Friday, item 22). Should the unthinkable happen and Stephen Mayne not take Higgins (cough, cough), he ought to run for anything going from by-elections to the Caulfield Cup. It worked in NZ for Tim Shadbolt, the former student radical and enthusiastic marijuana user with a history of 33 arrests, who ran for Mayor of Waitemata City in New Zealand just because he didn’t want the incumbent to win unopposed. God knows how, but he won, serving two terms before the city was abolished. After that, he heard that the Mayor of Invercargill had died, and he decided to chuck in his hat. He won, despite the slogan: “I don’t care where, as long as I’m Mayor.” He remains Mayor of Invercargill to this day. Therefore the trick’s to find somewhere with no opposition. The ACT Legislative Assembly springs immediately to mind…

Indonesian fishermen:

Steve Martin writes: Re. “Indonesian fishermen and ‘Australian’ fish” (Friday, item 28). I went into a local fish shop on Thursday here in Darwin to buy some barramundi for tea. In their freezer there was Australian barra and imported barra.The local barra was $3 a kilo more than the imported fish.I enquired off the staff where the imported barra came from;Indonesia I was told. The staff member explained that the imported fish was actually caught by Australian boats, but in Indonesian waters (presumably under License). The fish has to be landed in Indonesia and then exported via the fishing boat that had caught it; hence imported fish. I make no comment on the morality of this or it’s veracity, but it does make you wonder when Indonesian fishermen claim that their livelihood has been taken away.


Harold Thornton writes: Julia Vietch (Friday, comments) writes: “The cabbies carry people who can afford to pay for taxis, are in a hurry and like convenience.” As an ex-cabbie, I can assure you that ain’t the case. It’s the outer-suburban battlers who buy taxis the most, on account of the fact they can’t afford cars, and public transport is so dismal. In Brisbane, the welfare-housing ghetto Inala rank is the busiest in the metropolitan area. Business people use cabs to go to and from the airport, and to get home after a night on the tiles. Battlers use them to go shopping, to take the kids to and from school etc etc. Short trips with the flag fall a high proportion of the fare – cabbie heaven.

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