Clarification:

An item in yesterday’s Tips and Rumours incorrectly implied that Victorian MP Bernie Finn might have created an impression of religious or racial intolerance in responding to a Facebook poll asking respondents why they took issue with US president Barack Obama. Mr Finn had replied “because of his policies” not any of the other options displayed.

Asylum seekers:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Latest wave of boat people: push or pull?” (yesterday, item 1). The government is indulging in greater rants against people smugglers, claiming to be more humane in treatment of asylum claimants, and that the current surge is a result of crises around the world. The first point is a distraction, the second untrue, and the third disingenuous. Some news for the government expect the number of people arriving by plane and boat to continue to rise, as these people are very aware that landing onshore will give them entry to Australia and citizenship in a few years (The Australian 10 Oct and numerous other editions).

The rapid growth in onshore arrivals will eventually completely displace those offshore applicants (i.e. the 11.4 million poor ones stuck in wretched camps around the world) because whether knowingly or not Australia now has a “means” not a “needs” based asylum system. Rather than a humane policy, it is inhumane as it actively discriminates against equally needy people, but who do not have the means to land in Australia and be processed.

The onshore arrivals are disproportionately from sources like China (as they have the means) whereas the most desperate such as from Sudan, Somalia and the like are substantially underrepresented. How long will be before the Opposition and the media focus on this, and possibly eventually the government will change the policy to a ‘fair and humane’ policy.

Gavin Greenoak writes: Re. “Rundle: Rudd, Ruddock and the deep, dark currents of fear” (Wednesday, item 1). Guy Rundle wrote: “…a modern indifference to the suffering of others based on selfish and foolish notions that occupying an island-continent somehow means we can pick and choose our engagement with the world.”

I do not understand this. I occupy a house, and carefully picking and choosing who I do and do not invite to stay, depending on my resources, bedrooms etc, is critical to my responsibility to its occupants, and their well being. The moral high-grounding of this essay is unfortunate to say the least, as it is indifference to this care, which will with complete certainty lead to the suffering of others.

Wayne Smith writes: Justin Templer (Wednesday, comments) makes for an interesting balance to the issue of asylum seekers. As for terrorists, John Shailer (Wednesday, comments), I’m sure their sponsors can afford plane tickets for them. Shouldn’t you be arguing for better airport security or screening of foreign students? Or are you suggesting that people from poorer societies are naturally more inclined to become tair-rists?

One thing I’ve not seen emphasised in the Australian media is a the relatively few illegals/asylum seekers living in/processed by Australia compared to many European countries. I don’t see the shrill voices of European nationalists calling for iron walls around their borders, despite their countries receiving asylum seekers in the hundreds, not tens, of thousands.

Oh, how hard it has been to be an ordinary Australian this past week…

Daniel Batt writes: Re. David Gothard (yesterday, comments). You know, I don’t want people like David in Australia. Too bad he is here already. Maybe he was joking. If not, people who would have Australia disregard the UN Human Rights Charter and the UN Refugee Convention belong in xenophobic dictatorships that practice such Kafka-esque policies to David’s heart’s content. Give me a Sri Lankan on a leaky boat with a grasp of decency and humanity any day.

Sri Lankans:

Bertie Pillai writes: Re. Wednesday’s editorial. Your editorial piece on the “interview” of Joseph Jagadeeswaran, a Sri Lankan currently in Indonesia was contrived to trivialise the suffering and oppression of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. They are entrapped in Nazi style concentration camps living in fear of rape, torture, hunger and humiliation. They are in no mood to enjoy the nuances of cricket-the sport of gentlemen as implied in the interview.

If I am to hazard a guess, the interviewee is not among those, in the grounded cargo boat, awaiting resettlement to Australia. The International Community colluded with the Sri Lankan authorities to crush the Tamil resistance. There is a moral obligation to resettle Tamils in countries safe for them.

I am disappointed in your inept attempt to mislead your readers from the horrendous plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. They are seeking a life free from fear; cricket is least of their concerns.

Romola Sebastianpillai writes: I vehemently disagree with your line of questioning and the replies you have given that say these words are by Joseph Jagadeeswaran. The Tamils are one of the most oppressed people in the world killed , raped and given bad treatment by the Sri Lankan Govenment. I am not willing to accept that these answers were given by a Tamil who has come from a very brutal regime.

You imply in this line of questioning that Tamils have no problems but they are arriving in boat loads to share the love of cricket of the Australian people. What a load of rubbish. and who is going to believe you? You may have fooled a few of the Australian public with your comments ,you have not convinced me or the majority of the Australian public as Tamils are so desperate that they will take any risk to get out of the brutal regime of Sri Lanka.

Climate change:

Andrew Glikson, Earth and paleoclimate scientist, writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Over the last 20 years or so, a small number of Australian climate scientists who have repeatedly issued warnings regarding carbon gas emissions and dangerous climate change, have been:

  1. Ignored by governments and industry.
  2. Some were silenced under pain of dismissal.
  3. Some lost their jobs.
  4. Most were largely or partly censored by the mainstream media (often under the pretext as if their letters and articles were “too alarmist”, or “too technical” or “too simplistic”).
  5. Subject to ad-hominem and ridicule.

Had the warnings been heeded in the early 80s, attempts at mitigation may have had a chance of success.

Sadly, despite confirmation by the world’s leading climate research organizations, the mainstream media continues to offer an open platform to dangerous disinformation perpetrated by so-called “sceptics”, or give a “balanced” treatment to both science and denial (as if every time someone says the “globe is round”, there is a need to have a “balanced” view “The Earth is flat”).

The media and those behind it have much to answer for, not least to the young and future generations.

Tamas Calderwood writes: Crikey’s call to arms on global warming is a joke. The world has warmed by just 0.6C in the past century and has COOLED by 0.1C since 2001. 1998 remains the warmest year – well, apart from the medieval warm period and 80% of Earth’s 4.5bn year history. We have record human CO2 production yet the temperature has refused to increase for over a decade. The Argo buoy program has recorded ocean cooling since 2003.

But facts be damned. Crikey demands lower living standards and a “terrified and appalled” population that must “sacrifice” and fundamentally change the way it lives.

One day soon, when the climate-scare bubble has burst, when humanity is richer and more prosperous than ever and billions have been lifted out of poverty by cheap and abundant energy, people will look back on today’s calls to SAVE THE PLANET from its 0.0004 concentration of atmospheric CO2, laugh and shake their heads. If it wasn’t for the fact that such austere, baseless hysteria could really hurt us I’d be in stitches right now.

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “Ship trails stop rainfall in its tracks” (Wednesday, item 16). Ben Sandilands wrote:

The theory advanced by the GISS and other atmospheric researchers is that the northern hemisphere, being populated by more shipping and more sulphate emitting industry, shows a lesser rate of warming than the southern hemisphere because of a differential caused by these larger sized reflective particles, which fall out of the atmosphere more rapidly than carbon dioxide.

An extensive statistical analysis by your correspondent Kieren Diment of both Hadley and IPCC data shows that the Northern Hemisphere had warmed more and faster than the Southern Hemisphere — which is the oft repeated orthodoxy of AGW. This analysis also shows the Hadley temperature data peaking and dropping over the last 10 years – more so in the Southern Hemisphere.

There is a dispute over whether this cooling is statistically significant. (Check Crikey‘s Climate Change Cage Match for details). The Hadley statistical analysis can be seen here.

GISS is a main source for IPCC temperature data. AGW theorists also contend that all that sulphate emitting industry was on the wane after 1980 when its cooling effects subsided i.e.; the cooling of 1940 — 1980 was mainly caused by heavy sulphate pollution masking the real CO2 GHG warming.  GISS is now suggesting that sulphate is back!

So either Sandilands has misquoted the GISS research, or GISS is having two bob each way — an extraordinary situation for one of the foundations of AGW theory —Hansen’s NASA/GISS.

Coffin Rock:

David Lightfoot, Producer of Coffin Rock and Wolf Creek, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Wednesday, item 7). Crikey published:

A new South Australian movie called Coffin Rock had its national premiere in Adelaide on Tuesday night. Made by the people who did Wolf Creek, it’s a Cape Fear/Fatal Attraction-style story of infidelity and stalking. Imagine the amusement when the credits rolled and the audience realised the small, non-speaking part of “female doctor” had been played by Sasha Carruozzo. Sasha is married to SA Premier Mike Rann, who is currently embroiled in what you http://climatekaraoke.pbworks.com/Hadley

Thank you for your comment on Crikey about the film’s premiere. However; I wish to make the following corrections if I may.

  1. Although I did produce Wolf Creek — I’m the only one from that creative team on Coffin Rock — so it wasn’t made by the team of Wolf Creek BUT from the producer of it.
  2. Sasha (Premier of SA’s wife) actually has a major speech in the film and does not have a “non speaking role” as reported in Crikey.

Also, many of us very much like Crikey but have to admit the personal crack on Sasha and the Premier was a bit much.

Walkleys Shmalkleys:

John Harry writes: Re. “Walkleys schmalkleys: excuse us while we dine on these sour grapes” (yesterday, item 17). Sorry about the Walkleys guys, you definitely have reason to gripe. But don’t despair. Not sure whether any of the Crikey crew went to a (magnificent) lecture/presentation/ad/performance at the Victorian Arts Festival by that well known filmmaker, cultural polymath and egomaniac Peter Greenaway.

He was on about a lot of things but most prominently how we were moving from what he called a “text based” society to and “image based” one, and how (1) conventional film and (2) conventional print media were on their deathbeds. If print media die, presumably the Walkleys will as well, or at least the current judges will. So you can be comforted that Crikey and its ilk are on the right side of this tsunami; be patient, your time will come.

Although Crikey is in text, its diversity, brevity and (praise be) colour make it more image-like that all the tabloids. But it makes me think: why don’t you experiment with more images — not so much the static kind, but your own you-tube-like clips of writers presenting their copy, as one of many examples??

The meeja:

Kirsten Norvilas writes: We don’t tend to think of ourselves as living in any other time but this one. However thanks to a commercially minded frigid media we are being focussed on a one point perspective commentary of our daily lives, tied together with corny platitudes. Even the emotions pitched at us are corrupt. These sinew bonds which the media uses to relate us to one another, the social glue of denial, guilt, self-deprecation, jealousy and greed, is holding us in limbo of the facts of what is happening day to day.

From the moment we are born we are taught to juggle many fictions, which are managed by others friends and family, neighbours, bosses … which are gradually distilled and simplified for the 5 o’clock news of which bullsh-t and sport are top stories with a painful example of a stagnating society in the way of a “feel good” story. Australia has not yet reconciled its beginnings, let alone its independence post WWII; Australia is a small economy trying to matter to the world (just because we are a white settler colony).

The myopic, racist, gender biased, sensationalist, politic focussed media provides fodder for moral and Conservative debates yet when it comes to reporting the reality of events, latent and arising externalities, the network of relationships within society (from the street/bush to the city and up to the top floor) it’s as insightful as a dog chasing its tail.

Oh sh-t moment:

Jackie French writes: Re. “My ‘Oh Sh-t Moment’: Crikey readers tell” (yesterday, item 8). My oh sh-t moment? Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson, sometime in the sixties when I was still at school … a book about pollution, not global warming, but obvious that humanity just isn’t bright enough to manage a planet.

Now? Forget about minimising your carbon footprint. We need to strive for a negative carbon footprint. Yes, it’s possible and we do it here, but it would take more than 200 words to describe the various methods available.

WA:

Jim Ivins writes: Perth is a beautiful place to live, but in some respects it’s still just an overgrown country town. Which may explain why state National Party leader Brendon Grylls feels entitled to block Premier Colin Barnett’s latest attempt to extend trading hours in the city. David Hardie (yesterday, comments) reckons democracy should prevail in this debate.

Damn right it should: let retailers open whenever they want, so punters can vote with their wallets on Sundays and weekday evenings.

Can people over on the East Coast actually believe this is being debated? It’s so embarrassing! Still, at least the local bottle shop can open even if the supermarket next door can’t, so we’re never short of alcopops. Liquid lunch, anyone?

Paul Dwerryhouse writes: David Hardie wrote: “Damn straight! Premier Barnett should not let a minor thing like democracy stand in the way in his bid to extend trading hours.”

Democracy? Why were non-metropolitan Western Australians voting on whether Perth could have extended trading hours?

Queensland:

Jenny Sams writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 13). Richard Farmer wrote:

Queensland. It has slowly seeped into my consciousness just how big Queenslanders are about using the word Queensland. Most mornings when I do my little summary of what’s in the papers for Crikey, half the stories I list start with it. Quite peculiar as there is no corresponding state patriotism evident in the newspapers from the other capital cities. Why is it so?”

Richard Farmer wants to know why we say QUEENSLAND. BECAUSE they are so parochial up here, so much you cannot believe.

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