The Age and Andrew Jaspan:

The Age Independence Committee writes: Re. “Andrew Jaspan? 235 Age journalists can’t be wrong” (Friday, item 2). The Age Independence Committee objects to the publication in Crikey of three audio extracts from last Wednesday’s meeting between the editor-in-chief, Andrew Jaspan, and the editorial staff. Such proceedings are confidential for a very good reason: this confidentiality enables people to speak their minds on sensitive matters without fear their remarks will be circulated outside the meeting. To publish audio extracts from the meeting undermines this confidence. It also breaches the rights of those involved in that the extracts were reproduced outside the meeting without their knowledge or consent.

Rudd and China:

David Robinson writes: Re. “China does the trick for Rudd’s polling” (Friday, item, 10). I have been at pains to understand the PM’s high poll ratings. After all, Kevin Rudd has done nothing other than superficial grandstanding since the day he took office: such as, the asinine apology to aborigines, putting pen to the pointless protocol on climate change, inviting 1000 people to pretend to do his job for him, raising that great deflector from real issues — the republic, and most recently “bravely” telling off China over Tibet — and then in the next breath “moving on” from the Tibet issue! None of these has any effect on the day to day lives of Australians (or Tibetans!) So why, I kept thinking, does this inconsequential little twerp get historically (hysterically) high poll ratings? And then the answer struck me. The Australian people want Kevin Rudd to keep skimming along at the edge of a hundred different issues at great speed. Because then he is unlikely to do anything real that might upset the national life that the Howard government left us.

Stuart Snowden writes: As an Australian who is partially detached (I have lived overseas for a decade) his taking up of the Tibet issue in China does not strike me as unusual. While I do read that he is Blair incarnate (as someone living in the UK I sincerely doubt this is correct) from what I understand from his background, particularly his childhood, his championing of more humanitarian causes really comes as no surprise. I would expect a more humane approach to the world than we have seen from governments previously.

Steve Fielding and Christianity:

Willem Schultink writes: Re. “Senators caught up in the Fielding Filth Filter” (Friday, item 4). I suppose I should be used to Bernard Keane’s diatribes against anyone who has a different point of view than he has, but he was just a bit too offensive with his description of Steve Fielding’s beliefs as a “bizarre monotheistic cult”. Steve is a Christian, and Christianity is the major religion in Australia. It is neither bizarre nor a cult, though it is monotheistic. In his intemperate outburst Bernard has not only insulted Steve Fielding, he has insulted every Christian. He has also shown his ignorance of the difference between a cult and a religion, and his ignorance of the nature of Christianity as a mainline religion.

Indigenous Australians:

John Mair writes: Re. “Australia Divided: Indigenous Australians v the rest” (Friday, item 18). Stop sawing sawdust. Everyone knows the problems; everyone knows the statistics — stop the ‘shock, horror’ and create a platform for solutions. That’s what I thought Crikey was all about.

First Dog on Gerard Henderson:

Robert Manne writes: Congratulations on your Dog on the Moon re Gerard Henderson’s breakfast memo to his wife re the problem of the boiled egg. I laughed till I wept. Can I encourage Henderson watchers to try to acquire the latest issue of The Sydney Institute Quarterly where there is a 5000 word or so attack on me. Almost one third is devoted to an inaccurate account of my political record as an under graduate forty years or more ago. Does he really not realise that no one cares? It turns out that Gerard is still smarting from the fact that I was one of the editors of a magazine that rejected something he had written in 1969. He has obviously been brooding on this slight for four decades. Unfortunately Henderson’s record of my perfidies as an adolescent is incomplete. He fails to mention that in Year 10 at Camberwell High School I delivered a talk on Karl Marx which was generally favourable. The problem of Gerard Henderson can be expressed most pithily like this. How can someone with the mindset of a secret policeman and the sense of humour of a funeral director be taken so seriously?

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