A car park correction:

Shane O’Brien, ALP Councillor for Fifth Ward, Rockdale City Council, writes: Re. “Paving paradise in Botany Bay” (Wednesday, item 16). I have just read the article on Botany Bay and the Rockdale Council’s proposal to construct a car park. I am one of the five Labor Councillors that according to Alex Mitchell all want the car park constructed. In fact I am opposed to the car park and was one of only two Rockdale City Councillors who attended the public meeting referred to in your article, and spoke against the proposal.

This can be verified by Mr Sartor, Greens MLC, Sylvia Hale or Greens Councillor Lesa De Leau as they were all in attendance and all addressed the meeting. Further after being a Council organised information session on the new Code of Conduct and pecuniary and non pecuniary interests I absented myself from the chamber for the vote on the basis that I had attended ALP fundraisers at both the restaurants alluded to.

I respectfully request that your site rectifies the incorrect assumption that ALL Labor and Liberal Councillors support the car park as this is clearly not the case.

Do your bit for the War on Recession — spend!:

Julia Veitch writes: My summary of yesterday’s editorial: “Do your bit for the War on Recession – spend!” What I’d like to see the government spending on, to keep things going at least for some industries:

  1. Housing (population is still growing);
  2. Hospitals (people are still getting sick, and will get sicker as they age);
  3. Health care services (ditto);
  4. Primary prevention strategies — you know, footpaths outside your front door so you can take a walk, bike paths, better public transport, that sort of thing;
  5. Education, so people are able to understand and solve problems.

As for consumers, especially house owners (and landlords too), by all means spend, on:

  1. Sustainable, recycling technologies (bicycles, rainwater tanks);
  2. Retrofitting houses with all those useful gadgets to save water and energy;
  3. Losing weight (buying low energy, high fibre food — fruit and veg!) and getting fit.

And I want the government to:

  1. Give rebates to encourage spending on the right sort of things;
  2. Legislate to make buildings more energy efficient. I see house after house being built with air-conditioning, and with no thought of solar orientation to employ the free solar energy pouring down daily! An ignorant use of fuel which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
  3. Reduce the cost of education — a major, long term investment in a country’s future, by enabling people to make informed decisions and generally, be informed.

David Howe writes: Yesterday’s edition opened with the usual editorial rant on the story of the day, which in this case was the economy — however I am surprised to see Crikey entrust an economic revival to the whims of consumption. What prey tell are we expected to buy? More petrol because it’s cheap, or another new car because the auto industry is in a tiz? Perhaps we should just keep paying more and more for housing or get a new laptop every six months instead of every year.

It is somewhat shallow thinking and shows little imagination, something akin to Greenspan’s comments who said he was surprised by the economic collapse bought about by poor lending practices because such a thing had never happened before. Instead of focusing on what has made a few people rich and granted the rest of us eternal wage slavery, this little shakeup could be an opportunity to forge a better future where things like our planet actually get a run.

I can think of a hundred things that would employ us all and provide a healthy standard of living, but consuming mountains of crud and gobbling up non-renewable resources like there is no tomorrow isn’t one of them. Shame on you lot … I though you were different!


Keith Thomas writes: Re. “ABC Learning and childcare” (yesterday, comments). It’s so easy to get sucked into the breathless news and commentary that we can miss the social change wrought on Australian family life by the rise of the childcare industry and the progressive devaluation of parents raising their children. The first is an outsourcing operation subsidized by the government and requires a periodic set cash outlay. The other is unsubsidised hard yakka. It’d be nice to see the childcare billions going as (a) vouchers to all parents who passed a means test and (b) to visiting childcare workers who could check on quality and provide support. Of course, childcare consumers will say ‘we have to live in the real world’, but that’s — as always — just a glib excuse for refusing to think outside the square.

The Real economy:

Tom Richman writes: Re. “The real economy: Restaurants short the long lunch” (yesterday, item 15).  For a more balanced “angle”, your Long Lunch phone around might have included Brisbane dining possibilities, with their relative insulation from recession. For example, when I recently tried to make a Saturday booking for three at five of our high end restaurants, every one of them had no availability.

Crikey should know better:

David Havyatt writes: Re. “Media briefs: Fairfax digital propagating p-rn… German robots sell anything…” (yesterday, item 22). You finished your media brief yesterday with “would ISP internet filtering block out The Age” — the answer is a simple no because the filtering proposal is only about websites on the ACMA blacklist — it is NOT about dynamic filtering of content.

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