Godwin Grech:

Nicca Grant writes: Re. “No-one forced Grech to concoct an email” (yesterday, item 1). Your commentary on Godwin Grech is no less ethically questionable than The Australian article you derided yesterday. You suggest in one instance that to interview a man currently undertaking treatment in a psychiatric ward takes journalistic advantage of his fragile mental state. And yet, Bernard Keane urges us not to “underplay” the fact of Grech’s hospitalisation, before continuing to pontificate on the motivations behind Grech’s behaviour; “a man who thinks he is a player”.

I don’t suggest Grech’s behaviour in this affair shouldn’t be examined and (rightly) condemned for the gross abuse of public office it was. On the other hand, there is something rather distasteful and tabloid about criticising The Australian for interviewing a mentally unwell man before putting the boot into him yourself, knowing full well that the statements he made, and upon which you founded your characterisation, were made at a time of severe mental distress.

No doubt Bernard, that alongside The Australian interview, your lead-foot, hypocritical commentary does indeed affect “annoyingly real people”. Perhaps you should take some of Guy Rundle’s advice and make “some allowance for human vulnerability”.

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Rundle: Turnbull is dead” (yesterday, item 2). That Godwin Grech has voluntarily hidden himself in a psych ward is evidence of his Machiavellian mindset. As well it helps to demonstrate a delusional concept of self importance and the results of who knows how long being duchessed by Liberal party incompetents. That an Opposition Leader and a senior opposition Senator (plus who knows how many others) were either “taken in” by the good Mr. Grech or egged him on is really the point.

The utterings of Grech are merely a sideshow. Turnbull et all should, in all decency, resign forthwith and slink off the political scene allowing this country to search for others who genuinely and honestly have a political philosophy attuned to the liberal values often trumpeted by those currently without the wit to translate them. A genuine conflict of philosophies is good for government and good for all of us. We do not have either side much involved in such at this time.

Instead we see the Grech’s of this world stuffing everyone around and allowing some elements of the mad side of the media to have a field day feeding their own ego’s and extreme agenda’s.

Peter Lloyd writes: I’m surprised none of your well-honed writers has picked up on the fact that the crucial link between Godwin Grech and Malcolm Turnbull is one Eric Abetz and his staff. Abetz is a Tasmanian Liberal. Like all good Tasmanian Liberals he is not just unable to accept the possibility of climate change, even evolution is suspect. They’d rather help extremist religious cults like the Exclusive Brethren than some over-educated Sydney upstart.

Like his Labor counterparts at the 2004 election, Abetz will happily turn on any party leader who threatens the local boganocracy. With no potential for national leadership or possibility of bringing anything meaningful to public life, party politics in Tassie is all about shoring up the position of your mates and their families, by making personal fortunes through the give-away of public forest assets.

Even if they suspected Grech, no doubt Abetz and crew realised the axe would hit Turnbull and they, zombie-like, would continue staggering on eating the brains of the nation.

Paul Gilchrist writes: It seems to me there is one obvious, simple and easily answered question in the OzCar affair that is never asked: “who gave the email to Steve Lewis, to publish on the front page of The Australian“? Grech says the Liberals did, Turnbull denies this, presumably thinking Grech gave the email to The Australian.

Surely this is not a matter of a journalist keeping his sources private. The information he received was a forgery and came from one of two sources.

Who is going to ask Steve Lewis, because none of his journalists will?

Sean Hosking writes: Godwin Grech is indeed Uriah Heap — the cloying humility, the earnest dutifulness, and the John Howardesque “I’m nothing but a good and honourable man”. Both officious and obsessive administrators with a penchant for fraud.

Grech’s recent attempts at self justification only go to further prove the point … Like Uriah, who similarly got busted, if he does end up in the big house he’ll no doubt become a model prisoner.

John Goldbaum writes: Ken Henry put a nut case in charge of a $2 billion government program and no-one in Treasury spotted how unhinged he was. It makes me wonder about the quality of the rest of the advice the government is getting from Treasury. Why do Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan assume they are getting the best advice available?

Did Treasury employ the Enron detritus? Are these the smartest guys in the room?

Gerard McEwen writes: Forget about Godwin Grech. I think Malcolm Turnbull needs to explain his involvement with Eric Abetz.

The University of Melbourne:

Christina Buckridge, Corporate Affairs Manager, University on Melbourne, writes: Re. “The University of Melbourne’s gender blindspot” (yesterday, item 6). The University of Melbourne decided not to submit an application to EOWA for 2009 because the criteria for the award had changed from previous years.

I did not blame natural attrition for the “discrepancy” but merely pointed out that the University is a large organisation which employs around 9000 people and that the attrition rate is around 10 per cent — and there was no “alluding to a greying army of 60-something male academics whose locked-in salary agreements compare favourably with younger female staff”.

What I actually did say was not as colourful — “because of the recruiting patterns of the 70s when higher education expanded it now has a lot of older male staff which distort its pay equity structure”.

We’re the devils!:

Mike Ticher writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). It’s exciting to see Mackey Park and the Marrickville Red Devils featured on Crikey, but I’m not sure exactly what yesterday’s tip is trying to tell us.

There is nothing secret about the proposals to upgrade the park, which are intended to replace its terribly degraded playing surface, provide better lighting, put in changing facilities for women and the disabled for the first time, and improve a children’s play area.

The plan is on the council’s website, as are the reasons for the removal of the trees you refer to (which are due to be replaced — here and here).

The football club supports the proposals, with some qualifications, and it is not “under threat of eviction”. Like the club, residents worried about any part of the plans have had the chance to express their views at community consultations, and can do so again at next week’s meeting of the technical services committee.

All in all, a pretty normal local council procedure, which should result in much better sports facilities for hundreds of children and adults. Or should Marrickville miss out on infrastructure funding because it is in the minister’s electorate?

Toilet graffiti:

James McDonald writes: Stephen Wong (yesterday, comments) wrote: “Your editorial invited Australians to hack into Chinese websites … using language such as ‘mentality of an 8-year old’ and ‘butchers’ and inciting Australians to retaliate by criminal actions may be dangerous.”

I have to agree. The intellectual aspirations of Monday’s editorial seems to have been, firstly, to test the theory that two wrongs make a right, and secondly to justify in full the torrent of rudeness which has been directed at Australia from China in recent weeks. Or maybe the writer just had enough of all this analysis stuff and needed to vomit up a bile of impotent ill-feeling. That can be really satisfying sometimes, can’t it.

As a piece of political writing, Monday’s editorial had the philosophical level of toilet graffiti but without the eloquent brevity.

It’s the sort of thing that turns up just when I’m starting to take Crikey seriously as a current affairs publication and not a student paper run amok.

Can I suggest that if, on any given day, you have nothing particularly insightful to write for an editorial — just don’t write one! There’s no law that says there has to be an editorial every day.

And to the person who wrote that masterpiece of childish stupidity: I hope you feel better, and it’s not too late to consider other career options than journalism. Something where passion and simplicity are favoured over research and insight. Federal politics comes to mind.


L M McIntire writes: Re. “AFL enters the tank end of the season” (yesterday, item 21). Despite Adam Schwab’s acceptance of the current commentators’ orthodoxy that “tanking” is a blight on the AFL there is little evidence to justify that view. The bizarre argument about tanking is:

  • First 18 games of the season — team X loses 16 games. Conclusion: team is hopeless.
  • Last 4 games of season — team X loses 3 games. Conclusion: team is not trying to win.

Maybe it loses the last few games for the same reason it lost most of the early games — it is just not as good as the other teams in the competition.

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