A chocolate correction:

Daniel Ellis, Corporate Communication Manager for Cadbury Australia, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). Crikey published:

It seems that the GFC has forced cost-cutting measures at Cadbury. The standard 250gm block is no more. The Top Deck block I bought yesterday was only 220gm and the Black Forest is now a measly 200gm. Of course the price hasn’t decreased despite the decrease in quantity. Cadbury have attempted to disguise the thinner blocks by substituting the paper wrapper for cardboard packaging.

I’d like to give you some more information about the 250gm block changes as per below.

The weight of the Cadbury 250gm block range has been reduced to 200gms (Top Deck and some other varieties have changed from 250gm to 220gm). We have not reduced the weight without reducing the price we charge retailers. By reducing the price we charge the retailers who sell our products, we are striving to ensure that our moulded range remains good value in the highly competitive chocolate market.

It is important to note that as a manufacturer, by law, Cadbury does not set the retail price paid by consumers. This is done by the retailer where consumers purchase the product.

The new cardboard pack is resealable which helps to reduce mess of chocolate fragments once the block has been opened. It is easy for consumers to tuck in the tab at the top of the pack and re-seal the chocolate and foil inside the carton rather than wrap both the foil and the paper of the previous packaging.

In addition, the research we undertook clearly showed that although both the cardboard and paper packs are recyclable, people are more likely to recycle the cardboard carton that the paper pack because the cardboard won’t be screwed up when it is empty like the paper packaging often is. (Consumer Research, The Leading Edge, April 2000).

Also, the new shape of the chocolate squares within the block have been designed to provide greater “mouth-feel” to enhance the chocolate delivery. It is also easier to break with fewer crumbs.

I hope this additional information helps clarify the changes Cadbury has made to its block chocolate range.

The Global Financial Crisis:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Quiggin: Greenshoots and question marks surround this Budget” (yesterday, item 10). John Quiggin comments that “Thus far, Australia has escaped remarkably lightly from the global crisis”. But really this isn’t surprising, given Australia’s relatively regulated financial sector and lack of reliance on markets in America and Europe.

The recession is coming to Australia indirectly, via Asia. This country is the last domino to fall. The statistical good news is not the light at the end of the tunnel but sunshine we are leaving behind.

Tasmania:

Paul O’Halloran writes: Re. “Arrests and felled titans as the Florentine cashes its chips” (yesterday, item 18). The situation in Tasmanian forests is nothing short of a tragedy. Globally significant high conservation value forests are being sacrificed for political opportunism and corporate greed. Tasmania already has one of the highest rates of forest clearing in the world. If Gunn’s pulp mill goes ahead, these rates will approximately double, as Gunn’s will also be exporting woodchips at close to current levels as well as feeding forests through its pulp mill and burn them in furnaces.

Old growth woodchips are currently being exported to SE Asia for cardboard manufacture and for burning in forest furnaces. No account of the other values associated with these unique forests is taken into account — the impacts on Tasmanian devil habitat, the health of Tasmanians from smoke from regeneration burns or the value of the carbon stored. We have an industry that is largely self-regulated, supported by planning laws, the Regional Forest Agreement and the Community Forest Agreement.

Forestry Tasmania is promoting a new “tourist” road into the heart of the largest temperate rainforest in the southern hemisphere, the Tarkine. It is my bet that it will be predominately a logging road like those in the Weld, the Styx, and the Florentine, as it will provide easy access to forests and make it more economically feasible to transport Tarkine old growth timber to woodchip mills and to the proposed pulp mill to the east.

There is a mad scramble in Tasmania right now by governments and the logging industry to strike into the heart of these forests, as they know these 19th century practices will be brought to a halt in the near future.

Let’s hope we are not too late. Let’s hope we can save something for the environment and for the economy. Let’s hope there will be something left for my children and grandchildren. We Tasmanians need help though to bring this madness of logging old forests to a halt, as the industry has been allowed to become just too powerful and too closely connected to government.

The Gassy case:

Jeremy Gans, Associate Professor at Melbourne Law School, writes: Re. “Some questions for the legal system arising from the Gassy case” (yesterday, item 23). Melissa Sweet doesn’t bother to tell Crikey’s readers why Gassy actually won in the High Court: because his first trial was marred by irremediable procedural errors, including the trial judge’s unlawful refusal to allow him legal representation.

The only “18th and 19th century concepts” and “ivory tower” thinking the Court’s decision was based on was the right to a fair trial, which persists even when everyone who matters (Sweet, the victim’s family, her colleagues) has decided that the defendant is nuts.

Budget 09:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Mothers’ Day Budget must honour the work of Australian women” (yesterday, item 12). I am grateful to honorary research fellow Liz Conor and for elucidating me on a couple of matters. First I was unaware that we live in an oppressively brutal totalitarian society where new mothers are “torn apart” from their babies and forcibly put behind office desks.

Secondly, in a brilliant demonstration of causality, Conor tells us that choosing to have fewer children has “profound effects on low levels of fertility”, which seems to say that having few children leads to having few children. Or does it? More logically a “profound” effect on low fertility should decrease the lowness, meaning increased fertility?

Then in the next item Eva Cox explains that the baby bonus of $3348.80 over a year is $8334.80 over 12 months. Which suggests that a “year” is now only 4.8 months, but that’s the GFC for you.

Greg Turnbull writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Hey, Crikey, I note your editorial claim: “Bernard Keane and economist John Quiggin — will emerge blinking just after 7pm and ready to file for a special extra Crikey email edition”.

What’s your secret? Everybody else will be in the lock-up till 7.30pm when the Treasurer gets to his feet in the House.

I would have thought that after all those years of fighting for the right to be included in the lock-up, your correspondents would have been happy to stay till the end!

Hanging threads:

Simon Wilkins writes: It’s one thing to complain about the news cycle, but while tRundling through Monday’s edition, I was reminded of a number of stories covered in Crikey over the last few years that now seem to have trailed off. What ever became of Caroline Overington’s Federal Election micromanagement (I mean coverage, coverage!), when does the BrisConnections fiasco next get resolved and what ever happened to that Costello chap? Maybe Guy Rundle can weave all these themes into a single column for our pleasure. Then again, maybe that adage about sleeping dogs applies…

Not the only one anymore:

Liam Downing writes: FleTch (yesterday, comments) wrote that William Bowe’s page is the only result you will get from searching “stratospherical defibrillators” on Google.

“Is” should have been “was” — as because of FleTch’s comment, there were two when I wrote this (and now possibly three, if this gets published).

Behold the currency of Google. And note that if you find a one result search not to publish it online.

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

Tamas Calderwood writes: I have three things to say in response to Clive Hamilton, Mungo MacCallum and Jennifer Morgan on global warming (yesterday, articles 5, 21 and 22): THE TEMPERATURE DATA, THE TEMPERATURE DATA and THE TEMPERATURE DATA!

The latest UAH satellite measurements show April was 0.09C above the 30 year average.

There were warmer months in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1988, 1990… You get the idea.

Since there is no global warming, I suggest their combined arguments be given a weight equivalent to the observed temperature increases; roughly… zero.

Peter Fray

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