Turnbull and the Republic:

Deborah Hurst writes: Re. “Tech savvy, tough and sleepless: the Turnbull I know” (Tuesday, item 14). Malcolm Turnbull’s seemingly recent decision that a Republic should not happen in the current Queen’s lifetime can be seen as part of a long history of his kowtowing to the pro-Monarchist elements of the Liberal Party to ensure his political career overrides principle. As the steward and figurehead of the Australian Republic Movement throughout the 1990’s, Mr Turnbull must take full responsibility of the glacial pace we have moved towards independence.

The Republican movement was hijacked to pave the way for his political career. Ardent monarchist John Howard set up the 1998 Constitutional Convention to ensure that the any move toward a Republic failed, whilst giving an outward appearance of neutrality. By going along with Howard’s charade, Turnbull, as head of Australia’s key republican group, effectively set the referendum up for failure. Instead of calling this distracting, ridiculous gab fest for what it clearly was always going to be, Mr Turnbull hijacked the issue to ensure the blue rinse set of Wentworth would not be too angry with him when he came to collect the political prize a few years later.

Turnbull’s proclamation of needing to stall on the Republic during Queen Elizabeth II’s lifetime is utter nonsense, and ensures that Australians will have to suffer the indignity of King Charles and Queen Camilla before the inevitable referendum and subsequent change takes place.

Benjamin James writes: Can Greg Barns please desist from repeating the same article with the same “information” on Turnbull? We know he worked with him on the Republican cause, we understand that he seems to sleep very little, but the rest is just hagiographic fluff, painfully close to puppy-love.

John Goldbaum writes: Re. “The Liberals hit the reset button” (yesterday, item 4). Malcolm Turnbull’s first two days in the job are a stark contrast with Brendan Nelson’s. Nelson was suckered into offering bipartisan support for Aboriginal policy whereas Turnbull stepped around the trap of offering bipartisan support for a republic. The first lesson in leading the opposition is to beware geeks bearing gifts.

Turnbull and the economy:

Justin Templer writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Your editorial mocks yesterday’s headline in The Australian: “Turnbull reclaims economy”. You say that this headline says troubling things about the quality of our political discussion and that Turnbull has reclaimed nothing. You are entirely wrong — the headline and the article in fact clearly illustrate that Turnbull has vision sufficient to rise above the petty squabbles that typify what passes for economic debate. Witness these two quotes from the body of the article in The Australian. Turnbull: “…our job is to empower and enable the enterprise, the dreams, the ambitions of Australians”. Wayne Swan: “(he) thinks alcopops is the noise that is made when he uncorks a Moet”. I would say that Turnbull is well on his way to reclaiming the economic high ground.

John Kotsopoulos writes: “Turnbull reclaims the economy.” Dunno how much cred a former merchant banker could have in today’s economic climate, particularly one who is still the target of massive civil litigation over his past behaviour. The current financial chaos emanating from the US also threatens to derail any chance of Costello moving to the private sector anytime soon. Looking on the bright side, had he been able to move earlier he may well have been looking for a new job already

Turnbull as a koala:

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “First Dog on the Moon” (yesterday, item 6). Under First Dog On The Moon’s magical crayon Malcolm Turnbull transmogrifies superbly into a koala, his essence captured. Being indigenous Australian the koala is a natural republican hence shares an important platform with the Member for Wentworth. Further similarities: photogenic and charming but inclined to rain on those who fail to handle with care. First Dog delivers yet again.

Wall St meltdown, work wanted:

Nathan Johnson writes: Re. “Wall Street II: Australia will lose billions on AIG and Lehman” (yesterday, item 21). Work wanted: Financial engineer and investment banker, willing to start at the bottom. Great with numbers, well multiplying them anyway.

WA, the Nats and the Libs:

David Lenihan writes: I agree with Roger Mika (yesterday, comments), it would have done wonders for WA Politics for the Nats to have broken away completely from the Libs. All that baloney about waiting for the best offer for the regions being the yardstick for who would be supported by Brendon Grylls, really! Does he really expect the electorate to believe that was the consideration? What about the big stick being waved over his head by big daddy Nats in Canberra. By his own WA Nats executive, by the well organised avalanche of calls to local Perth talkback radio by Libs and Nats alike. The pity is the play acting went on for so long and Grylls saw fit to continue the charade.

At the end of the day he caved in to the big boys who knew he was out of his depth and his appearance of being relaxed, untroubled and at ease with himself was probably correct. He had made his decision as soon as he became aware what was at stake. Back to bed with the Libs (there will never be a coalition between the Nats and the Libs, he declared pre election), oh sorry I thought that meant never. Guess it depends how big or small a fish one is, in the overall political scene. Appears our Brendon still has a good amount of growing to do.

Ross Copeland writes: Just so that no one else makes the mistake of referring to the WA Liberals and Nationals being in a coalition. The Nationals have insisted since the previous election that they would never again join a coalition with the Liberals and would stand alone; they have maintained that position since the recent election. Otherwise they would be letting down the people who voted for them. What they have now is a power sharing arrangement, not a coalition, so I hope we are all clear on that.

Costello:

Noel Courtis writes: Re. “Costello’s appalling record on Indigenous spending” (yesterday, item 13). Why do you keep having articles on Peter Costello? He is yesterday’s man. No one cares any more. If you have a personal gripe with him then write to him and write something interesting for my subscription money.

More flesh on the bones:

Peter Parsons writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks” “Malcolm knows renting” (yesterday, item 10). Yeah, okay Richard Farmer, maybe politicians’ accommodation allowances should be means tested. But that’s only the tip of a very big iceberg. What about all the rest of the means testing that ought to occur? Are there any journalists working on the meaning of middle-class welfare that has so lavishly occurred over the last decade — pensions, schools, health, sports’ institutes etc? More flesh on the bones and more investigation, I reckon. I am so sick of smart arsed comments.

Get real:

June McGowan writes: Re. “NASA chief climate scientist’s letter to Rudd: Stop building coal-fired plants” (yesterday, item 2). Don’t you think this is important enough for you to want to send it out to everyone to read, not lock it down as a “subscribe and we’ll tell you story”? You’re usually pretty keen to point out that we should get real about the whole business (witness your editorial on the economy in the same issue).

Send your comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ck-ups to [email protected]. Preference will be given to comments that are short and succinct: maximum length is 200 words (we reserve the right to edit comments for length). Please include your full name — we won’t publish comments anonymously unless there is a very good reason.

Peter Fray

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