Asylum seekers:

Frank Lucy writes: Re. “Ruddock takes us back up sh-t creek with a pipeline” (yesterday, item 1). When Philip Ruddock was elected to federal parliament in 1973, his ambitions would have been many, and probably extended (in his wildest dreams at least) to becoming Prime Minister. How sad that in his political twilight he is instead someone whose only contribution in public life, the only way he can get exposure, is to warn of the dangers of swarthy foreigners flooding our lily-pure country.

Whenever the opportunity arises the man simply cannot help himself. Recall his last five minutes of fame several months ago when he warned that Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer should not be granted a visa. (Hint: she’s a Muslim.)

On the topic, if the word is getting around the globe that Australia is now a “soft touch” for refugees, who has been spreading it? It can only be two organs: our Coalition parties; and that masthead of ye olde White Australia, The Australian newspaper.

Good on you Crikey.

Peter Blackband writes: I applaud Bernard Keane’s article in yesterday’s Crikey on illegal immigration. There should be a lot more coverage of the illegals that come through the airports on concocted documentation or the overstayers. I note today that Malcolm Turnbull is playing the illegal boat people political game again and it sickens me to the core to hear the race card continuing to be played.

If there should be any emphasis on so called “boat people” it should be on those that do the organising and transporting for financial gain; and perhaps on what is happening to find those who have overstayed the period permitted by their documentation.

Marilyn Shepherd writes: The capacity of the P&O Oceania is 2106 passengers, plus about 500 staff to cater to their every whim. Refugees on boats to Australia in 2 years.? 1809, so far. And most have been accepted as refugees and allowed to stay including 100% of the Afghans and almost all the Iraqis and Tamils. In 20 years that equates to 15,500, or about 15% of the MCG’s capacity.

It is time the media and politicians just stopped whining and remembered that refugees have nothing to do with border security but are covered by a legally binding humanitarian treaty that has been accepted international and Australian law since the 1950’s.

And no matter how much fiddling is done with policy that has not changed and will not change because it would require being the first western nation, or any nation, to withdraw from a guarantee to protect refugees from persecution.

Justin Templer writes: Re. “It’s chicken Kev when it comes to asylum seekers” (yesterday, item 14). In his emotionally charged piece on asylum seekers and the beastliness of the Australian government Greg Barns is full of fine words such as morality and obligation, humane and sensible — but short on solutions to anything more than a convenient boatload of asylum seekers.

To assist in charting his moral compass Greg should choose one answer to the following proposition: If the Australian government adhered to the Barns guidelines of morality, obligation and humanity it should grant refugee status to all asylum seekers who manage to (a) reach Australian territory unaided, (b) reach a neighbouring territory, (c) reach an Australian diplomatic mission, (d) reach the steps of a chartered Qantas jumbo which will be waiting at a local airport. If your answer is not (d), why not?

Is it that more than a handful of refugees make the moral course less obvious?

John Shailer writes: With now 32 boatloads this year, dumping 1600 illegal immigrants on our shores, it is clear Kevin Rudd has lost the plot on border protection. Having precipitately overturned John Howard’s tough border security and anti-terrorist laws, Kevin is now spinning like a top with claims the influx is due to a worsening overseas refugee problem.

Most of the illegals come from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The war with the Tamils has ended in Sri Lanka, and the Taliban have been forced back to remote parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan, considerably reducing any need to flee persecution in these countries.

When, regrettably, the first successful terrorist attack occurs on Australian soil, I wonder how Kevin (“the buck stops with me”) will justify his current lax policies!

Why is the media so unKindle?:

Sam Spackman writes: Re. “Book industry has to accept the Kindle: it may be a bumpy ride” (9 October, item 5). Why has all the coverage of the Kindle coming to Australia been so negative? The Australian headline says there will be “Eyestrain could singe Kindle early adopters“. This article says that the Kindle may be hard to read in some conditions. This is, of course, the whole point of e-ink.

It is like print, which is also hard to read in some conditions, like total darkness. The article also complains that 200,000 titles “sounds like a lot” but is really more like maybe the number of books you have sitting on your bedside table. Not many at all!

The SMH makes more complaints. This article quotes Malcolm Neil from the Australian Booksellers Association who is somewhat disingenuous in saying that “some” books will be available to the Australian market. At least the Australian states that actual number, 200,000 books for international customers will be available. The article goes on to say that this “some” amount of books will be reduced further because the Kindle will not support some other formats of e-books. Except that it will still always be able to read the books from Amazon, and PDFs that Dymocks “quietly” sells.

Although the SMH claims that the Kindle will be “less strenuous” on readers eyes. Presumably those not reading in the dark.

The SMH continues with another article about higher costs of $4 per book compared to those buying books in America. But doesn’t talk about the $20 saving from buying a hard copy from an Australian store.

Why the negativity to the Kindle? Well, the SMH does say admit to the following.

“Australia’s two largest newspaper companies, Fairfax and News Corp, have said they were unlikely to deliver their papers to the device.”

As Jonathan Holmes is so fond of saying, says it all really.

Water policy:

David Gothard writes: Re. “National Water Commission I: going backwards on environmental management” (yesterday, item 9). The Federal Government is tinkering at the edges by trying to re-allocate so that everyone gets a share of a scarce resource. No one seems to have thought of finding ways to increase the supply.

Water comes from clouds in the sky. Let’s increase the cloud cover and use Cloud Seeding to increase the supply. We have a great asset in Lake Eyre. Now virtually useless except as an occasional tourist attraction when in flood. Run a pipeline from St Vincent’s Gulf, through Lake Torrens and to Lake Eyre. Lake Eyre is below sea level and with a regular input of water to keep it constantly flooded, we would get massive evaporation. The clouds would move naturally to the North East and with cloud seeding, would increase the rainfall, especially across the Channel Country.

The Snowy Mountains Authority has had some success with cloud seeding and I feel sure this could be improved given more clouds. This is worth a try and could be a long term solution at relatively small cost. Seeing we are looking for a constant flow, a pipeline of two metres diameter should suffice.

As Lake Eyre is below sea level, the pipe could be laid horizontally and would flow continuously. It may take time to flood Lake Eyre but even the pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie eventually did what was required.

Let’s get on with solving our water shortage once and for all.

Obama:

Tim Villa writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Something that appears to have eluded commentators so far is the fact that whatever or whomever qualifies for the Nobel Prize is entirely at the discretion of the Nobel Committee. Nobody else is in a position to decide or even opine if the prize is deserved or not.

If the Committee sees fit to make the award, then that is the only justification that is needed.

WA:

Jeff Ash writes: Re. “Turnbull takes his potent template to the west” (yesterday, item 13). The Western Warrior wrote: “WA as a whole has never been overexcited about this whole Federation business, anyway … not to mention the natural conservatism of a state without civilised trading hours or daylight saving. Welcome to Perth; please turn your watches back three hours and your calendars about 35 years.”

Don’t tar us all with the same brush — some of us voted for Daylight Saving and Deregulated Trading Hours, it just the luddites and the nanny-staters are in the slight majority…

The Prince and The Pollie:

Luis Feliu, Tweed Echo editor, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). In your latest tips and rumours, mention was made of the Masters games opening, that the Danish prince was a guest of honour but “(no appearance though)”.

Funny, the Tweed Daily News front page yesterday splashed “The Prince and The Pollie” story about federal ageing minister and Richmond MP Justine Elliot’s “brush” with royalty at the opening ceremony.

So, as the daily news likes making things up, we here at the Tweed Shire Echo were wondering if this is true or not, or was it a frog?

Celebrity vomit:

Terry Towelling writes: Re. “Memo to the British Press: “husband” isn’t a dirty word” (yesterday, item 18). Amber Jamieson wrote: “Boy band singer Stephen Gately of Boyzone, died on the weekend. Apparently he choked on his own vomit after a night out partying. ”

Why do journalists insist on writing (ad nauseum?) that a celebrity has choked “on his own vomit”?

I am fairly sure no-one has ever choked on someone else’s vomit, so could we ask these professional writers to stop wasting valuable column centimetres on a redundancy?

Crikey: With the exception of Spinal Tap’s second drummer, Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs, you are absolutely correct Mr. Towelling.

Climate change:

Luke Butler writes: Re. “Crikey Clarifier: Copenhagen. What’s it all about?” (yesterday, item 11). So does this mean as suggested if C02 is not the problem and rather indications point more towards climate change being down to sun spot/solar flare activity, that carbon taxes have no basis or merit (other than more government money raising) and carbon credits is equally based on false precepts, public spin with more “bull” than any real science!

And it’s only been confirmed by evidence every single year since 1998 was our hottest year — with every year cooler in the 11 years since.

I’ll bet there are lots of vested interests, not the least being a whole bunch of juicily salivating tax collectors and their masters worldwide, who will want this story to go away very, very badly. I strongly suggest you pass this on before it does — and we are left with further unjustified taxes further crippling industry and “we the people”.

Over to you.

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Peter Fray

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