Alex Mitchell writes: Re. “Exit the Accidental Premier … enter Della?” (Yesterday, item 1). In yesterday’s Crikey article on the NSW Premiership, I incorrectly said Health Minister John Della Bosca incurred a drink driving conviction last year. In fact, he lost his licence for six months following seven speeding offences.


Editor of the National Indigenous Times Chris Graham writes: Re. “Macklin advised not to consult Aboriginals over town camps” (yesterday, item 3). Yesterday, I wrote a story and it included the statement: “The Rudd government had demanded a five-year lease over the town camps in exchange for $125 million worth of upgrades to homes and infrastructure.”

Of course, the Rudd government had demanded a 40-year lease (with an option for another 40 years). It was a fact I reported in a breakout box that didn’t accompany the Crikey piece online.

The error has inspired Jenny Macklin’s office to announce that I have “conceded the article contains factual errors”. It contains one minor error, but which in no way goes to the veracity of the story (which Macklin’s office has conceded).

Victorian bushfires:

Andrew Lewis writes: Re. “Black Saturday revelations demand a complete rethink of fire science” (yesterday, item 10). I’m enjoying Frank Campbell’s coverage of the bushfire commission and his overall analysis.

Although living in Sydney most of my life, I well remember the days before the fires that engulfed Kinglake and neighbouring villages. We had days of warnings of the worst possible bushfire scenario in living memory. High temperatures for days in a row, a hot dry wind, a parched landscape etc. I remarked to my wife after one of these earlier weather reports that if I lived just about anywhere in Victoria I would be packing the car and working out my escape routes at the first sniff of smoke, let alone waiting until a visible cloud.

Brumby came out too early backing the CFA leadership. What leadership? There was none.

I despair for the poor members of the public looking for some guidance and direction from those that should have known better, but I can’t absolve them completely of responsibility for themselves. I just cannot understand how they could have seen, and filmed, clouds of thick black smoke heading anywhere in their vicinity, knowing the weather conditions, and not working out that this is far too big to handle no matter how many firefighters and hoses at your command.

I hope the Commission comes up with strong recommendations. I can’t see how anyone in a position of command in the CFA can remain after this.

Rudd and Mary MacKillop:

Justin Templer writes: re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite sized meaty chunks” (yesterday, item 12). Is it just secular sour grapes to be disturbed by the promise of the Australian Prime Minister to a couple of nuns (over a cup of tea) to raise the canonisation of Mary MacKillop with the Pope?

Mr Rudd apparently told the nuns that MacKillop would be a saint for all Australians. Not quite, Kevin. Around 27% of Australians ticked the census box as Catholic — in comparison 20% ticked “no religion”. This is not to mention other religions — Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, etc — some quite opposed to the Catholic doctrine.

To most Australians the idea of Mary MacKillop as a national saint is risible, if not downright offensive.

WA politics:

Sandgroper Matt Davis writes: Re. “News flash: Another Lib leader bites the dust” (yesterday, item 4). Charles Richardson, Colin Barnett “leading” the WA Liberal party to “victory” last October is untrue. The Parliament was hung after the last poll with neither of the majors able to form government. The Nationals had won the balance in the lower house with their ingenious “royalties for regions” plan — a kind of time travelling pork barrel.

There has been no formal coalition between cockies and tories in WA for some years but of course the Nats ended up supporting their old mates. The Libs have no mandate for this term and many sandgropers are starting to get nervous (our treasurer lost the leadership to Barnett after the whole “chair sniffer” thing blew up).

To say that Colin Barnett led the Liberal Party to victory in WA is very generous indeed, sniff!

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