Maurice Reilly, Chief Executive, National Press Club of Australia, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 6). Crikey published the following tip:

Bill Shorten’s April Fool’s Joke on Disabled Voters! Bill Shorten — the Parliamentary Secretary for Disability Services will be speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra on 1 April. Yet the National Press Club offers no disabled access to the upstairs restaurant and bar!

The downstairs area (which is only open when a keynote lunch is on) has no disabled access to the podium, and no disabled toilet access. The ABC’s mobile audio-visual van parks over the disabled parking bays alongside the Press Club during televised luncheons. (No disabled parking!)

Why on earth would Bill Shorten choose a venue that to date has appalling disabled access? Possibly he’s all form and no substance? Is there any chance that Ken Randall, Tony Melville, Laurie Wilson, Michael Brissenden, Misha Schubert and David Speers will ask Mr Shorten to explain himself?

Not likely, they’re on the Board of the Press Club.

Your tip regarding the wrongly claimed lack of disabled access at the National Press Club has seriously misled your readers.

I would invite your correspondent or tipster to visit the National Press Club and inspect the following:

  • The dedicated disabled toilet on the ground floor
  • The disabled entrance from the Car park which has dedicated disabled parking and importantly

The disabled lift that allows access between the floors of the Club.

Like many old buildings throughout Australia, the Press Club was built before standards for disabled access were in place. The club over the years has invested in improvements to ensure at least ground floor disabled access was available. In recent times the disabled toilet facilities have been upgraded and a lift installed for access to the first floor lounge and restaurant.

Contrary to the Crikey report, the lift will be in operation in time for the address by Minister Shorten.

While there is no disabled access to the podium on a permanent basis when one is required for a disabled speaker the staging is altered to accommodate this.

The false claims in your item require an immediate retraction. You may also wish to inform your readers that the National Press Club has also become an affiliate member of the Companion Card. This is a program where the carers for a disabled person are provided free access to events.

Marcus Einfeld:

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “The persecution of Marcus Einfeld” (yesterday, item 13). I watched the Four Corners interview and read Greg Barns piece yesterday. Einfeld has more front than Myer in appearing in the Four Corners interview. He thought he was doing his “mea culpa” quite well, until late in the interview when asked about evidence that he had used the same Ms Brennan’s name to escape traffic fines on previous occasions — using Statutory Declarations which were accepted by the Authorities.

Confronted with this, he stumbled about using a string of implausible lawyerisms (must have been another mistake — couldn’t remember — if he had done it would have been wrong — it would have been another mistake etc, etc). Einfeld was lying again in a bare faced and insulting manner. Insulting, because he tried fooling a national television audience who are not easily fooled most of the time.

What we have here is a case of monumental hubris. The man was so inflated with the big idea of himself that he could do no wrong. Trivial annoyances like traffic fines were to be brushed away with casual lies. Why take the risk? Because he thought he could get away with it. Who would question the honesty of a celebrated federal court judge, do-gooder, and national living treasure? Having got away with it once or twice — why not a third time?

Should a judge be held to a higher standard than the ordinary citizen? Well of course he should. He judges truth as a professional practitioner — a highly honoured one at that. Should we not expect a truthful judge, when he is called to account? The judgement and sentence of Einfeld was fair and in the public interest.

Steven McKiernan writes: Greg Barns get a life. Bob Hawke when PM got sussed when he appeared in a ComCar vehicle not wearing the safety equipment supplied. He coughed up the fine.


David Epstein, Executive General Manager, Government & Corporate Affairs at Qantas, writes: Re. “Mick Keelty: master of blame dodging” (yesterday, item 1). Bernard Keane claims “…that Qantas apparently doesn’t mind you using your mobile phone while in flight if you’re a large, muscular male with a group of mates”.

This is both gratuitous and untrue. A simple inquiry to Qantas would have enabled Bernard to discover this and, perhaps, avoid the temptation to retail the slur.

Malcolm Turnbull:

Keith Thomas writes: Alan Kennedy (yesterday, comments) is unimpressed by Bernard Keane’s praise of Malcolm Turnbull’s “fine mind”. Both Keane and Kennedy are correct. Turnbull does have a fine mind, and until he took over the leadership, I too thought he had it in him to be a great prime minister, bringing his wide experience, relative lack of “baggage”, confidence, debating skills and the energy he has displayed in his electorate in powerful combination for the benefit of Australia. But he has been the last year’s biggest disappointment.

From the first day of his leadership he adopted the mantle of nit-picking pettifogger, exponent of spin, seeker of minute and transient party-political advantage and follower of backward-looking popularity polls. It’s my guess some party hacks/advisers preyed on his unfamiliarity with parliamentary leadership and told him “how we do it round here” and so dragged him down in a moment of his vulnerability to the level of the weakest, bullying, sniggering MHR and factional timeserver. C’mon, Malcolm, YOU tell ’em — and Australia — how it’s done around here — from today.

Jim Hart writes: Re. “John Farnham Cadbury’s gorilla remix gets the thumbs-down” (yesterday, item 19). It’s hard to decide which is more disturbing – that so many moronic you-tubers and twitterers think a Cadbury commercial is worth ranting about, or that Crikey thinks this counts as media news that warrants extensive verbatim quotes. Well actually Crikey wins because nothing should surprise me any more about what you call the social media with its single-digit collective IQ.

Crikey, WTF?:

Justin Templer writes: Obviously a busy news day at Crikey. Amanda Vanstone’s dog may have bitten someone and possibly chased someone else up a tree. Princess Mary of Denmark and her parrot had a bomb threat, the bomb possibly secreted in a truffle — this upsetting news excitingly reproduced in Danish to show that both the correspondent (very occasional Scandinavian correspondent) and Crikey are students of foreign languages. To lighten the mood the article also included a fart joke in the Scandinavian modernist style.

Guy Rundle covered recently-deceased English low-life Jade Goody and some rather confusing and mind-numbingly unimportant English political sleaze. Then a whole lot of YouTube and Twitter comment on John Farnham’s Cadbury gorilla — I think? (I nodded off at that point).

And of course the usual boring and obscure First Dog stuff — nibbles for try-hard intellectuals. Drawing a dog with thought bubbles and a few dry comments does not necessarily constitute humour or clever social satire, as most university students ultimately discovered.

The Huffington Post you ain’t, but you could be a sub-continental contender if you ratcheted up the thinking content just a tad each month.

For those correspondents who merely wish to twitter the solution is obvious…

Internet filtering:

Rob Pickering writes: Firstly — to address Verity Pravda (yesterday, comments) — we get that you’re “for” the proposed internet filter, even though technical experts across the world roundly condemn the filter as useless and detrimental to our internet performance. So whatever your reasons are, we understand your position.

However Mark Newton’s comments are entirely valid — because the list is “scattershot” and hits some sub domains only it very easily allows people who wanted a hit list to browse to undesirable resources.

E.g. the list might block “” but doesn’t block “” or worse, blocks “” but leaves “” accessible as the Wikileaks link shows that’s what the list does fairly well.

It’s obvious that Verity is a cheerleader for this filtering (are you the “real” Stephen Conroy in disguise?) however I think you should leave this discussion to people who know better than you on technical matters, as I’ve addressed your technical shortcomings in previous emails to this section and you insist on commenting on things that it’s apparent you have no real knowledge of.

Secondly — to address Mel Richardson (yesterday, comments) — I see things in Crikey daily that I’m not interested in and I just scroll through them to the next item without writing in to complain. I fully agree with Stilgherrian that this is a very important issue in Australian politics and while I might be a little skewed because I work in the IT sector I’m very happy with his insights to it. It’s rare to hear people qualified from a technical point of view commenting on these things and I appreciate his insights.

Edward Thompson writes: Verity Pravda suggests “if we plan the filter right we only need to install it on the transit links out of the country rather than in every ISP” Anyone with even the most basic of networking knowledge should be able to see the massive flaw in this statement. Which leads to the next question. Ill-informed, sock puppet or epic troll? I’m starting to think it’s the latter. But I’m ready to be proven wrong, if “Verity Pravda” would like to give us a quick rundown on how to whack Conroy’s nasty-things-and-naughty-bits sieve onto the Southern Cross cable, I’m all ears.

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