Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme:

Alex White writes: Re. “Make the world pay: Turnbull’s plan for cheaper carbon” (yesterday, item 1). I’ve noticed it is fashionable for Crikey to publish CPRS-bashing articles from the Greens Party and others (e.g. Bernard Keane).

There is no doubt that the CPRS is less than many people hoped it would be — especially the excessive industry assistance. The simple fact of the matter is that the CPRS is better than nothing, and lays the foundations for stronger, more robust action, CO2 emission reductions, renewable energy investment and green job creation in the future.

Those bashing the CPRS, such as Senator Milne from the Greens Party have yet to offer a serious alternative. Instead, the Greens Party and other CPRS-bashers have fallen alongside the worst elements of climate sceptics, who oppose any carbon emissions whatsoever.

The CPRS is not revolutionary, but does create the structure for future emissions reductions. Those who want the CPRS voted down, such as Senator Milne, need to come up with a genuine alternative, rather than just 10 minute protests, 30 second ads on TV or pithy statements such as “The Greens are there in Parliament arguing the case for meaningful action.”

Senator Wong and Labor are in there actually trying to deliver on outcomes that will protect the climate. The Greens Party and other CPRS bashers need to put up, or shut up.

Ben Aveling writes: There may or may not be an argument for subsidising energy production, and other things. But to base a subsidy on the amount of pollution created, rather than the amount of energy and public good created, is madness. If you want to subsidize pork consumption, reward the production of pork, not the production of pig shit.

I would prefer a system whereby existing polluters are given handouts of carbon credits based only on their past pollution, independent of future increases or decreases. That would at least create incentive to reduce emissions. And it would be cheaper than underwriting the cost of ever increasing imports of foreign carbon credits.

Cheap as they may be now, they will not stay cheap, not if they are tied to real reductions in carbon emissions.

Stern Hu:

Les Heimann writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Stern Hu may not be seen for quite a long time to come. China does not approve of industrial espionage. China — as we know — is not a democracy. In a democracy, obtaining trade secrets and spying on your competitor is cause for cigars, whisky and backslaps in our board rooms. Not so China as these industries or trading units are seen as part of Chinese national assets, ultimately owned by the people and thus “spying” is a crime against the nation. We are different because of our history and culture determinants.

However, we too should regard our public companies as “national assets”. After all they are owned by us as shareholders. Our proud history demonstrates that the financial barons have always ruled selfishly and allowed the masses to — ostensibly — regard themselves as owners but in reality we are merely suckers sponged on by our baron class. Thus whilst a starving man caught stealing a loaf of bread to feed his family was sentenced to life in a penal colony, robbing information from a business competitor was (and is) an achievement worthy of promotion and recognition.

“Thou shalt not steal”; an excellent rule for a peaceful society that respects property. That China punishes those whose ethics in business are considered uncivilised is a good thing. That our democracy rewards this type of approach truly demonstrates our barbarism. In this it is indeed an interesting contrast.

Letting Labor get away with it:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Godwin Grech was the model of a Howard-era bureaucrat” (yesterday, item 14). The federal Labor regime continues to get a free pass on scrutiny due to utegate.

This diversion is covering a huge number of scandals federally, and in several states. In Queensland a former minister is convicted, and corruption of money for favours continues, and the creditable Tony Fitzgerald QC is scathing of that state Labor regime. NSW Labor is so corrupt that we just yawn now. Tasmania is creating an independent corruption process — a tad late. In WA Brian Burke never goes away. In SA Mike Rann seems to have had his comeuppance with exposure of payment of public monies to failed business mates, success payments to former Labor MP’s and fundraising which has a buying favours flavour about it (no wonder they resist a ICAC).

The federal ALP has approved $6.4B of discretionary grants of taxpayers’ money in the first six months of this year ($35m a day, or about twice aged care spending per day), a rate about five times that of the Coalition per day when in election mode, or about nine times that over the 2002-2007 period. One ALP classic nearly $3m for a Labor Party shrine at the Tree of Knowledge in Barcaldine.

The best is the $672m of federal taxpayers’ money to fix indigenous housing in the NT. Credit to Alison Anderson the former ALP minister and aboriginal for highlighting the spend of some $70m (presumably on mates, consultants, and those who donated to the ALP) but not a single house built yet!

Reporting suicide:

Former Fremantle Herald editor and media consultant Brian Mitchell writes: Re. “Last minute injunction leaves 60 Minutes flat footed” (yesterday, item 16). Reporting suicide remains one of the big taboos of journalism — and should be broken.

Reporting on people who kill themselves, investigating the reasons why and exploring potential for solutions — if indeed there are any — is all legitimate journalistic practice. The self-imposed decades of censorship has served little good; people, particularly young people, continue to kill themselves at alarming rates. Other than health professionals, police and affected families, the public might be surprised at just how big a killer suicide is. After all, the media tells us all about heart disease, cancer and other big killers. Why not suicide? It can’t be that much of a problem if it’s not making headlines.

The self-censorship exists because there is evidence that reporting on suicides leads to copycat suicides. I am no expert and can’t deny this possibility exists, but surely only in the minds of those contemplating the act anyway? Does not reporting a suicide remove from others the desire to end their own lives? Or do they just wait for a more opportune time?

Society is a complex weave and requires risk; we don’t suggest lawyers should stop defending alleged criminals because of the risk the defendant may kill someone. Neither should we expect journalists to not report legitimate news because of a risk someone may be upset by it enough to kill themselves. We all have our jobs to do. It is a journalist’s job to report news, not behave as if they were a social worker or psychologist.

If reporting on suicides leads to copycats the response from authorities should be to try and prevent suicides in the first place, not censor the reporting of them.

Mitchell Holmes writes: I didn’t watch 60 Minutes on Sunday night but the abrupt pulling of one segment explains a lot about the timing of the following show. The commercial stations, particularly Nine and Seven, usually run chronically late with programs in evening prime time. However, Rescue Special Ops started running on Nine at 8.30pm, not between 8.35pm and 8.40pm as per normal.

According to your story, Nine had already filled the cancelled segment with ten minutes of a news break and extra ads. So the last resort when the network runs out of stop-gap ideas is apparently to run a scheduled program at its advertised time!

Nigel Brunel writes: I never watch 46.5 Minutes and I hardly watch Nine anymore — it does not surprise me that this dinosaur is more interested in ratings and selling advertising than the welfare of our youth.

Francis Collins:

Keith Binns writes: Re. “Evangelical Christian heads world’s largest biomedical research organisation” (yesterday, item 15). I’m not surprised that Francis Collins elicits strong emotions. I own his book and he is a firm believer in evolution (because that’s where the evidence is), which upsets the Christian fundamentalists, but also a firm believer in God, which upsets the scientific fundamentalists who insist that their reductionist viewpoint is the only one permissible.

In The Language of God he is equally scathing towards both. But the fact remains that he was in overall charge of a scientific enterprise that will go down alongside Quantum theory and Relativity as one of the top scientific achievements of the twentieth century and that, I think, is the nub of the angst.

The fundamentalists on both sides feel betrayed by someone who they think should be one of them. What was that Martin Buber said about the fear of the other?

First Dog on the Moon:

Greg Williams writes: Re. Shaun Cronin’s draft multi-purpose complaint form (yesterday, comments). This suggests First Dog is even-handed in his treatment of all religions, by virtue of implying there would be complaints over First Dog’s somewhat obtuse reference to a Global Caliphate (which, of interest, attracted exactly nil negative responses to the Islamic allusion because, presumably, there was little or nothing to directly criticize.

For instance, I note FD wasn’t game to slip in, e.g. (to cite a recent example) a hand-job reference in that strip.

Can Shaun in fact point to one First Dog put down of Islam? Jews? Atheists? Buddhists? Hmmm, that would seem to leave just…?

The point being (correct me if I am wrong) First Dog isn’t game to make bacon jokes for Passover. Nor suggestive elephant jokes for Siddhattha Gotama’s birthday Etc. All he can manage is an extremely innocuous Global Caliphate reference, and somewhat pathetically tries to highlight he has made a biting hit on Islam.

But there is an opportunity for First Dog to establish a reputation of fearless capacity to sling off at a religion other than Christianity: … only 39 days to Eid, First Dog.


Shirley Colless writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s political bite-sized meaty chunks” (yesterday, item 12). If certain political sections of the great German democracy are so concerned, how can the Australian trade representatives organise to export Australian rabbits to Germany? Or do they need a passport, export licences, etc., and how far do these have to go back to the English clots who brought the blessed bunnies into western Victoria a century or more ago have to verify that these bunnies can actually be exported under EU laws into Germany? Ha!


Nicolas Brasch writes: Re. “The Angry Flyers Lounge” (Plane Talking, Crikey Blogs). There has been a lot of (negative) comment in Crikey over the past few months about Tiger Airways so I thought it was only fair to relate my recent experience.

My family and I flew return from Melbourne to the Gold Coast last week with Tiger. Both flights left on time (indeed, one left 5 mins early); the cabin crew were helpful and friendly; and the flights were comfortable.

I have flown Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Tiger in the past 12 months and my experience with Tiger was at least as good, and probably better, than all the others, particularly Jetstar which has let me down a number of times.

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