Iemma’s NSW power politics:

James McDonald writes: Re. “Caucus torn, conference resolute, Iemma, er, powerless” (yesterday, item 1). Alex Mitchell on the ALP as it snaps Iemma’s leash over privatisation: “[The line taken by the major editorials] completely ignores the fact that the vote was carried overwhelmingly by rank and file delegates from party branches as well as those from the unions.” So what? To a non-member, an ALP vote is a resolution by a private organisation which the present Executive are members of. Certainly worth listening to, but that’s it. The ALP is not the Upper House, nor is it the Supreme Court, nor is it the Governor, nor is it even the Federal Government. The Party has a right to a say, as do the Church, the Chamber of Commerce, and the staff of Crikey, but trying to undermine parliament goes beyond having a say. Regardless of whether Labor is on the side of the angels or whether the privatisation should go ahead, now we have an even bigger question: What organisation was voted in by the electorate last year and has legal authority to govern the state of NSW? What organisation is actually now governing it?

David Havyatt writes: Alex Mitchell and Mungo McCallum (“Mungo: Will Iemma crash through, or crash?”, yesterday, item 2) are the only two commentators who I have seen who have pointed out that Iemma was not rolled by the unions at the conference, as the seven to one vote clearly means at least three-quarters of the delegates from the SECs and FECs also opposed the “privatisation” moves. The real question remains “Why did Iemma choose the crash through course?” He could have started slower describing all the things he could achieve after sale and built support, or he could have tried the Hawke approach of an ambit of claims approach (e.g. propose full sale and negotiate back to the leasehold model). This is married to the “why is Michael Costa Treasurer?” (or, given his record a Minister at all). The usual take is that Iemma is a Sussex St puppet, but that was the bunker from which the opposition to privatisation was organised. And the real question (to be resolved after this was written, but perhaps before Crikey is published) is whether the members of the parliamentary party really understand that their already slim re-election prospects become zero if the unions and the branches aren’t in there for the fight.

Geoff Russell writes: What is the real reason Iemma wants to privatise power? I’d suggest that he has worked out that if you own the power industry and it fails to deliver deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next 5-10 years, then you will carry the can. But if you privatise it, then you get to blame somebody else.

Budgeting on Lindsay Tanner’s childhood:

Michael Potter writes: Re. “Budget 08 antics take a bizarre turn” (yesterday, item 4). Bernard Keane was right to call into question the necessity of Lindsay Tanner baring all regarding his tough childhood. How Tanner managed to keep his head together despite the odd thrashing in boarding school, abandoning God, discovering the Labor Party and giving marriage a good work out will no doubt inspire many. If the budget turns to custard then Tanner’s housemaster will have a lot to answer for. If Tanners still smarting from yesteryear’s real or imagined injustices I suggest a few cold showers in Canberra’s winter should fix it. Also, I appreciated Bernard mentioning, as a working journalist, recent references to the nation’s “working mothers ” presumably those drawing a wage as opposed to all those who work at home for no wage. Can we expect Kevin 07 to introduce us soon to “working kids”, “working artists” and of course let’s not forget – “working seniors” – the new demographic covering all those across Australia washing dishes or buying Jim’s Mowing franchises as they try to track down their lost nest eggs from Sydney to the Cayman Islands.

Same-s-x rights and gay marriage:

Paul Gilchrist writes: Re. “Dear Kevin: what’s the big deal about gay people marrying?” (Yesterday, item 13). Rodney Croome asks “what’s the big deal about gay people marrying?” I’m old enough to remember the swinging sixties (well, maybe the swinging seventies) and back then, the trend was to condemn marriage as a useless piece of paper. It was a left-over religious anachronism that had no place in an enlightened society. Now, Rodney says he wants same-sex partners to have “the blessing of the state for their union” and he wants them to “share in an institution”. Why is the piece of paper suddenly so important? Is it just a craving for acceptance? Religious people view marriage as a sacrament, is that the reason Rodney wants marriage for same-s-x couples? Is marriage then going to be used as the claim for the right to same-s-x IVF? If that is the case, what about the right of the IVF children to a father and a mother, or do the rights of these children not count?

Maree Whitton writes: Re. “ACT gay registration: keeping queers out of the pound” (yesterday, item 12). I just wish that the governments of the day would cave in to the gay community and allow for gay marriages. I personally am sick and tired of listening to male or female homos-xual couples demanding the same rights as heteros-xuals. I would have liked someone to ask the entire population to vote if we want the fabric of our society to change so that a woman can may a woman, and a male marry a male. I don’t think homos-xuals think that the rest of society should have any say in the matter of changing our lifestyle. But I falter, please change the laws and let anyone marry whoever they want. The homos-xuals will be no different from heteros-xuals. There will be no further need for the Mardi Gras or gay bars, because we will be the same and there will be no need to stand out in the crowd crying out for special understanding because they will have everything that heterosexuals have, and there will, no longer be the need to know what s-x you prefer because no one will care – we will all be the same.

Safety management in Australian skies:

Stan van de Wiel writes: Re. “Virgin and Jetstar go head to head over Launceston” (yesterday, item 6). Launceston Airport is known for its fog related problems at this time of year and procedures exist for “missed approaches” which we assume both pilots followed. An Air traffic controller would certainly enhance safety in such a situation by dictating the pattern/spacing to fly. But like Avalon Airport, safety is now relegated to affordability and a lot of luck. This is safety management CASA-style. The CEO of CASA put out an excellent booklet on safety management and to quote “a ‘system’ for managing safety … to exercise due care and diligence” and “the sad fact is that absolute safety – that is, no accidents or incidents – will most likely never be achieved. But we can strive to reduce them.” So, managing safety is really about risk management which means trying to prevent bad events from happening, or if something does go wrong, or slips through the cracks, trying to minimise the consequences of the event. Safety management – it’s about accepting that things will go wrong and about controlling risks to a level that is acceptable.

Rundle in the US:

Les Heimann writes: Re. “US 08: Hillary appeals to the Homer Simpsons” (yesterday, item 5). Guy Rundle’s item on Hilary was just too cute. Yes, your writing is entertaining Guy but now you have entirely lost any vestige of objectivity. You are supposed to be a journalist not another Barack Obama sycophant. The fact is that the shallow do not rule the world. Please, please, we do not need Mr Cellophane running the USA. Oh, and Guy you really need to bone up on where the wheel turns — it now turns inexorably toward Hilary, or haven’t you noticed?

The ASX:

Matthew Gibbs, manager of corporate relations at ASX Limited, writes: Re. “Can the ASX query itself?” (Yesterday, item 24). “Can the ASX query itself?” asks Glenn Dyer. The answer is “no” and for the very reason Glenn mentions – conflict of interest. ASIC supervises ASX’s compliance with the listing rules, and has been doing so ever since ASX listed on itself in 1998. The arrangement is one of the means by which ASX manages the conflict of interest perception.

More please:

Gareth Cleeves writes: Re. “Logies: keeping abreast of gravity” (yesterday, item 7). Much more of Simon Hughes please — this kind of stuff is why I subscribe.

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