Tasmanian Labor:

Ross Butler, the Labor Member for Franklin, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (30 April, item 9). Who in Labor has “written off the fifth Franklin seat to Vanessa Goodwin”? I talk to many Labor members, including so called high ranking people in Government and the Party and I can’t find anyone who has written off the fifth seat. Why repeat untrue crap unattributed to specific people?

This is not to deny the obvious, that the recent electoral boundary changes makes it a little more difficult (by about 1.3 percentage points, I believe) for Labor to win three seats based on past voting patterns. What is the evidence “Ross Butler appears to be just enjoying the ride”? I have been delighted to hear, in fact, quite a few reports that recognise I am working very hard, serving the people, doing traditional constituency work.

I know the truth. It is a rare week where I work less than 70 to 75 hours. I got used to hard work and long hours as a teacher and school principal for 38 years, then in real estate as a consultant for three years.

Swine Flu:

Ross Harding writes: Re. “Swine Flu: don’t forget to wash your hands kids” (Friday, item 15). One wonders how much of the other stories in Crikey are inaccurate. Andrew Crook wrote:

Over in Adelaide, Crikey understands that Serco bus drivers operating in the city’s northern suburbs have been told that if the WHO makes good on its plans to raise the threat level to 6, they will be required to boot off anyone caught coughing without a mask. Serco has ordered box-loads of masks so drivers can dispense them before non-infected passengers catch the lurgy.”

That is a bit strange as it seems Serco doesn’t operate in Adelaide any more.

Safety At Work blogger Kevin Jones writes: Given that Kevin Rudd has advised everyone to wash their hands, it is useful to note that the veracity of this universal precaution is being questioned in relation to influenza. Personal hygiene is important and it has many important positives but medical professionals are searching for the evidence of its role in controlling the spread of influenza.

Nigel Brunel writes: I rang the swine flu info line but all I got was crackling.

Ray Wood writes: If you have swine flu spend the night in a smoke-filled room and you’ll be cured.

Tony Ellis writes: It’s not that long back that there was a greater chance of pigs flying than of a black man being inaugurated as president of the USA. Then, 100 days after Obama’s inauguration… swine flu…

Anthony Thomas writes: From left to right: Fish Flu; Monkey Flu; Religious Outbreak (a horse-borne disease); and Swine Flu:

Richard Pratt:

Ross Copeland writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. Marcus Einfeld lied about a minor traffic offence. If he had just paid his fine there would not have been a blip on the radar. For his crime he finishes up in prison, is stripped of his OA and is pilloried by the commentariat.

Richard Pratt knowingly stole millions of dollars from fellow Australians over a period of years and lied about his crime. He is fined heavily but an amount much less than what he stole, lives at home until his death, is praised by many powerful people for his good deeds and now there is a call for his OA to be restored.

Methinks the scales of justice are sadly askew here.

At the end of the day I think Marcus Einfeld will be judged to have made a far greater contribution to society in terms of intellect, time and personal wealth than Richard Pratt.

Kevin McCready writes: Re. “Crikey’s cardboard controversy” (Friday, comments). I loved the coffin. I haven’t laughed so much for a while. Well done!

Matthew Brennan writes: Golly! And they say that the Yanks don’t understand irony. Perhaps Crikey should have used the words “an appalling, appalling lapse of taste”.

The Queen’s Day attack:

Chris Hunter writes: Re. “Rundle: on the ground at the Queen’s Day attack” (Friday, item 1). Everything made perfect sense in Guy Rundles article on the Queen’s Day attack until the peroration: “…emphasising that violence comes from within society, not without.”

As Guy referred to the GFC as a likely motive for the insanity that provoked the attack — well, was Enron a local product or actually an American energy company based in Houston, Texas?

Strictly speaking there is no “within society” and no “without”.

The true genesis of events is entirely interactive: “Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em, and little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum”.

Chelsea Mannix writes: I am sorry but I just can’t understand how no one commented on Rundle’s article on Friday. Was it not the funniest thing on Crikey for the week?

He is brilliant, sometimes he loses me but having spent the day reading Iraq War dissent pieces for a paper I have due and Rundle featuring regularly in those readings it was refreshing to read his very very amusing article live from the Netherlands for which I hope he gets his Pulitzer.

Please pass on my thanks!

The Monthly:

Dave Long writes: Re. “Rundle: The Monthly’s knife fight in a dinghy” (29 April, item 20). In excoriating Sally Warhaft, and describing her supporters as clowns while backpedalling from his previous digs at Robert Manne and Morry Schwartz, the never-knowingly-underwritten Guy Rundle seems to have decided to use Crikey‘s columns to apply for the vacant Monthly editorship.

The Monthly — in common with the tiny navel-gazing fishbowl of Australian journalism — doesn’t need opportunistic sycophancy, more egos, self-indulgent opinion or even black skivvy wearers to survive and thrive, it needs good interesting yarns.

And Rundle first needs an editor before he becomes one. And some self-restraint.

Costello:

Edmund Moran writes: Re. “Budget deficits and the grand hypocrisy of Peter Costello” (30 April, item 1). Bernard Keane has aggressively attacked the ex Liberal treasurer for his “getting it wrong” with the tax mix. He then curiously blames Costello for the current deficit situation that the Rudd government has lowered itself into. Get real Bernard. In setting budgets you have to cut the cloth to measure at the time and in light of current trading circumstances.

The current budget deficit, in its attempt to stimulate consumer spending and reinvigorate the local economy will be proven to be a bigger mistake than the fiscally conservative Costello would ever have considered. Costello can be easily criticized mainly because of his political ineptitude, but your article this time, is off target. Infrastructure spending and the elimination of payroll tax (albeit a state function) would have protected employment.

Unfair dismissal is still another “employment retardant” chestnut Increases in unemployment, under current treasury directions, will cause the demise of the Rudd government Lets see what political compromises Swann comes up with in his new budget creation. It is unfortunate we tend to elect politicians rather than statesmen.

(A dictator is what is needed in our current turmoil on a short-term workplace contract!).

Thomas Flynn, Executive Director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy, writes: Re. “The republic: overcoming apathy to b-grade celebrity royals” (30 April, item 13). Jeff Sparrow, editor of Overland complains that Catholics are “explicitly barred from marrying into our royal family”. Not true. Royals cannot marry Catholics without losing their place in the line of succession, which is not the same thing at all. Speaking as a Constitutional Monarchist AND a Catholic may I say it does not bother me in the slightest that none of my co-religionists can be King or Queen of Australia?

Any chance the religion of the monarch would have affected the health of the Old Faith in England died with Mary Tudor. By the time a Monarch sympathetic to Catholicism took the throne the Protestant reformation had succeeded in stamping it out so decisively that there was no chance of return. In view of the usual secularist guff attacking the Pope on the Overland website (somebody called Jeff refers to Catholics as “jerks” here).

I must say I take Sparrow’s attack on anti-Catholic bigotry with a large fistful of salt.

Empowernet:

John Addis writes: The excessively punctuated ramblings of Empowernet CEO David Ross (Friday, comments) warrant a response:

Are women the population in general? NO.
Do women support and grow themselves? ONLY IF THEY ARE ALSO TREES.
When David talks of the “astute direction of the board” is he referring to himself? ALMOST CERTAINLY.
Does David have a passing familiarity with the semi-colon? NO.
Is the connection between Henry Kaye and Empowernet properly addressed in his response? NO.
Does anyone other than David have any idea what a “healthy value increase” is? NO.
Are Kathy Lette and Pamela Stevenson Connelly now regretting their decision to join the board? QUITE POSSIBLY.

Telstra:

Tim Mackay writes: Rod Bruem (Friday, comments) provides a sterling defence of Sol Trujillo’s reign as Telstra’s CEO. The way he describes the wonderful IT infrastructure that Sol singlehandedly bequeathed to Telstra reminds me of how the captain was able to masterfully re-organise the deck chairs on the Titanic. Such bold and risky decision making.

I have five words for Rod regarding Sol’s efforts as CEO “Look at the share price”.

NSW Labor’s motto:

Joy Storie writes: It was pointed out by a journalist encountered at a bus stop that euphemisms such as “tired and emotional” and “colourful racing identity” are traditionally applied in Australia to dubious characteristics or people.

Crikey should be able to come up with an epithet or euphemism to describe the present NSW Government. I suggest “The Hot Potato Government”, given its fondness for picking up issues, making announcements, then dropping and cancelling them.

I’m sure there are other suggestions lurking at the back of readers’ minds.

Climate change cage match (now with its own blog):

Stephen Magee writes: Re. “Scientists speak out: coal-fired power stations are responsible for global warming” (Friday, item 2). Thank God for Professor David Karoly and his “six other leading climate change scientists”! It’s good to know that, when the chips are down, scientists are ready, willing and able to step in and save us.

Who would dare question the wisdom of scientists or their superior ability to determine what is best for us? Well, anyone cognisant of the fact that it was scientists brought us nuclear weapons, biological warfare and the whole carbon-based Industrial Revolution in the first place …

By the way, am I the only one slightly amused by Prof Karoly’s modest description of himself as a “leading climate change scientist”? Is that “leading” as in “Take me to your leader”? His letter certainly reads like one of Klaatu’s speeches from The Day The Earth Stood Still.

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Peter Fray

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