Regarding Monday’s commentary on the Sydney Morning Herald‘s rapidly dwindling world coverage, it’s worth noting the reduced SMH presence in London in the past few weeks. The Herald’s London correspondent, Paola Totaro, was otherwise engaged, at the Sydney Writers’ Festival the week before last, plugging the book on Martin Bryant she co-authored with her husband, Robert Wainwright. (And published by Fairfax Media incidentally). No-one begrudges correspondents taking leave (if that’s what occurred here), but how can Fairfax justify not having someone to fill in, especially in this instance when the MP expenses scandal warranted day by day coverage for an Australian audience.

Re. your “Rip and read” world coverage at the SMH, Monday, the Herald obviously doesn’t care that Crikey has noticed its dependence on overseas newspapers to fill its international pages. On the same day your piece appeared there were two pages of World News not one of which had any piece sourced by a Fairfax journalist. Every article came from the Washington Post (two), Telegraph (London) (two) Guardian (two), AFP (two) La Times, (three) AP, AAP. Sorry, there was one 80 word piece (not attributed to any source) in the World Focus column. Is this a record?

A friend of ours has been unemployed for six months, following his retrenchment in November last year. Shortly after this happened he approached Centrelink and based on the size of his payout and his assets was told to “come back and see us in 12 months”. Does this mean that he and countless others only just being retrenched now are yet to appear on the government’s jobless figures — and that the figures being quoted show only those who are unemployed and on benefits — not just those who are unemployed? If this is the case — it will be nine to 12 months before we really start to see the full impact of job losses that are happening now?

It’s great that the Adelaide City Council is spending big to get the recycled water in the parklands BUT I think when there is such a lot of unemployment it’s very wasteful to have this done on a Sunday when the workers are paid penalty rates. Yesterday there were five (maybe six) council employees working putting underground watering systems in the garden beds around the Aquatic Centre. When I spoke to them they said it’s cheaper to pay penalty rates than to employ temps and it’s such a big project they have to work on Sundays. Surely they could put an add on and employ two or three more blokes for the winter and still have the project completed in time for watering in September or October at the earliest.

Guns handed in during the recent NSW Police gun amnesty do not have any ballistics testing prior to being destroyed. If a criminal wanted to dispose of a weapon used in a crime, all they had to do was hand it in to police during the amnesty and it’d be gone forever – no testing, no matching to outstanding crimes, no questions. Too easy!