The Democrats:

David Thackrah writes: Re. “The Australian Democrats: the last of the honest bastards” (Friday, item 16). The media have never given the Democrats any credit for the “ethical policies” they espoused. I recall Senator Coulter talking about global warming and he was a scientist. Natasha took over his Senate-ship. Now we debate matters like global warming, carbon credits, green issues and lower taxes all brought on by AD policies. Beyond that time The Gallery never bothered to analyse the dedicated work the Balance Party put into righting negligent legislation by faithfully amending miles of Howard Government Acts or by walking down the corridors and demanding sanity. They were a party who delivered “balance” in dealing with the boring legislative stuff and their staff worked their butts off. All poo-poo-ed by The Gallery and media like Crikey — you won; but they may just re-appear, there is still a party out there! The parliament had the privilege of Senator Murray’s wisdom during the past twelve years — a Rhodes Scholar who cares about children and the abuse thereof.

Macquarie Bank:

Tom Richman writes: Re. “Can Macquarie’s tollroad float survive the tumbling market?” (Friday, item 4). In light of the Prospectus for the $1.2 billion BrisConnections tollroad float revealing that the Macquarie Group’s component of this Public Private Partnership (PPP) will receive over $100 million in fees maybe now is time to legislate the following: These fees will be returned to the Government, with interest, should the financing, operation or performance of a PPP fail due to its Prospectus containing purposely falsified, withheld or misleading information, e.g. erroneous traffic flow or toll projections. Repayment would also occur if there is found to be major conflicts of interest during the bidding process, unrevealed past criminality, including those that only resulted in fines, or where there are undisclosed signs of over leveraging by a project’s broker or sponsor. This is not to say that BrisConnections has done anything untoward, but experience with, for example, “problematic” traffic flow forecasts on similar projects elsewhere, should compel us to be “safe than sorry.”

Senate s-xualisation inquiry:

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Senate s-xualisation inquiry: how adland had its way” (Friday, item 3). Basing a whole article on an invented leaked email is about as low as anything I’ve ever seen in Crikey. The fact that it was, as the article said, a plausible leaked email, is no excuse at all. Either you are journalists who can be bothered to research your stories or you are not worth reading. I can make up my own imaginary stories. This was beyond shoddy.

Kirill Reztsov writes: What was the point of Clive Hamilton’s article? Will other Crikey contributors start making up leaks too?

Jon Stanhope:

Mikey Hughes writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 8). I am tired of the media sticking it to Stanhope. He’s a good guy, one of the most principled politicians this country has to offer. He stood up for gays, and human rights in the face of the Orwellian Howard and his grab bag of assorted uber powers for the executive. He stood up for the right of public servants to be protected at inquiry during the bush fires even though he knew he would take a massive hit for it. Hell, how many other pollies have ever stripped down to the underdaks and saved the life of a crashed pilot trapped in a dam? Stanhope further knew we not only needed a prison but major changes to educational infrastructure and bought them both into being despite massive opposition because he knew it needed doing. What did the Libs offer last election? A dragway. Stanhope gets it in the neck time and time again from media because they don’t get it that he puts principle first — News Ltd, Channel Nine, and Crikey all having had a go at him. The tips and rumours you’ve been spreading sound nothing more than young Libs drip feeding speculation to their benefit.

Carbon tax:

Trevor Best writes: David Bowyer (Friday, comments) suggests that under a carbon tax regime, companies would modify their processes so as to minimise tax. If soft drink manufacturers were facing a tax, it would be proportionate to each of their outputs, and I would wager that since processes in the industry are fairly uniform, the first outcome would be price rises across the board to the consumer. In a carbon trading regime all soft drink manufacturers would face proportionate outlay, with the same result. Who bears the cost, the sucker sucking soft drinks? So on throughout the entire economy?

Niall Clugston writes: David Bowyer misses the point. In supporting “carbon trading” over a “carbon tax”, he argues that “carbon trading entails the regulator determining the desired level of carbon emissions and the market determining the price of carbon”. In other words, “carbon trading” delivers a given level of pollution rather than minimising it. If a business does reduce its level of greenhouse gas pollution, it can then “trade” this to another business. A tax, on the other hand, encourages minimisation of emissions and can easily be increased. Notably in Thursday’s Crikey, Alan Kohler also supported the tax strategy.


Joseph Palmer writes: The official figure of 200,000 migrants entering Australia a year quoted by Adam Schwab (Friday, comments) is very misleading. This figure excludes 70,000 temporary migrants on 457 visas, 135,000 backpackers on 12 month working visas as well as business migrants and overseas students. With the present government drastically increasing the migrant intake, there will be a significant worsening of the present housing and rental crisis.

Tiwi islands:

Bea Favell from the Tiwi Community Campaign, writes: Re. Willem Schultink (25 June, comments). If it actually was “the indigenous inhabitants of the Tiwi Islands who are the prime movers here”, it doesn’t necessarily follow that those Tiwi “prime movers” have ended up with the Tiwi College they originally dreamed of for their children and grandchildren. Willem, are you actually serious in implying that “the indigenous people themselves” decided that imported white evangelists missionaries are really the “most appropriate to their culture”? For a better picture of those missionaries check out the teachers and house parents blogs (here, here here and here). 


Michael Nolan writes: Re.”Qantas peace talks loom amid litany of cancellations” (Friday, item 12). As Crikey is determined to include a Ben Sandilands feature about Qantas every day, as well as a couple of related “Tips and rumours“, is it too much to suggest an “aviation” section to corral these reports for those with such a fixation? Have a forum, call it “Flightey” if you must, and allow those with only a passing interest to skip over it with ease, or to dip in once a week to see which flights were delayed globally.

Channel Seven:

Debbie Turner, publicity manager at Channel Seven Brisbane, writes: Re. “Media briefs and TV ratings: Channel Nine No News, Newman boost” (Friday, item 24). Just a correction to your ratings story in the “News & CA” section. Glenn Dyer wrote: “Seven News again won nationally and in every market but Brisbane.” Please note that Seven News did actually win the ratings on Thursday night the 26 of June in Brisbane. Seven News continues its dominance with 17 out of 17 ratings weeks wins.

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