Asylum seekers:

Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Friday, item 11). Richard Farmer claims:

…I have seen no convincing evidence that that is the case for Tamils in Sri Lanka now that the Tamil Tiger terrorists have been defeated. I would expect that when claims for refugee status are investigated they will be dismissed and the economic migrants returned to Sri Lanka.”

One assumes he has merely been gazing into his navel for his information as a quick search on Google will throw up any number of reports about the genocide going on in the north of Sri Lanka from Humans Rights Watch, a US investigation and a EU investigation which will see Sri Lanka sanctioned by Europe.

On top of that the Tamils so far processed at Christmas Island have satisfied the authorities that they qualify as refugees who would be in danger of death if returned to Sri Lanka. And once again I wonder at people like Farmer who are so scared of boats but have no problem with the corporate people smugglers who bring in asylum seekers by the plane load each year.

Climate change:

Martyn Smith writes: Re. “At risk of banging on about this, we’re all going to die” (22 October, item 3). Reading Clive Hamilton’s paper on likely climate change is terrifying. Comparing it with Kevin Rudd’s prissy statements on the CPRS makes me even more frightened.

Kevin, bright lad though he is, clearly doesn’t comprehend the extent of the problem and the danger we are in. It’s as though we are in the opening scenes of a disaster movie or a John Wyndham novel (Day of the Triffids, Cracken Wakes etc.)

What “we” will do is probably sit like a rabbit caught in the car headlights, for we have no real leadership on the issue. I suggest Crikey prints Hamilton’s paper in full, so everyone else can be scared shitless as well. Misery loves company.

Mr Forbes, Chairman of the Carbon Sense Coalition, writes: Every day we hear some pious politician bleating about the end of the world unless we reduce our usage of carbon fuels like coal, oil and gas.

But every day we see them using taxpayers’ money to promote motor rallies, international sports functions, games, expos, carnivals, tourism and their own frequent jaunts to yet another conference in yet another posh foreign location.

Every one of these activities requires the burning of tankers of carbon fuel for its success. Are they fools, do they think we are fools, are they hypocrites, or are they just whipping up climate hysteria to disguise their greedy grab for more taxes on everything we use and more control of everything we do?

Tax cheats:

Kevin McCready writes: Re. “Tax Office won’t prosecute Australia’s worst tax cheat” (20 October item 1). It’s time to end the rort. The bureaucratic army, the skyscrapers and suburban front rooms full of tax accountants, the billions of hours wasted in filling out tax forms and GST schedules etc etc etc.

The savings to our economy by moving to a land tax (simple, undodgeable, equitable) and ditching the rest would be worth a huge chunk of our GNP. We could even save the health system. Land tax is not new but vested interests have prevented it becoming a widespread efficient reality.

I look forward to sensible discussion.

Pronouncing Tanjung Pinang:

Frank Lucy writes: writes: For some reason, Australian journalists are terrible at pronouncing foreign place names. They usually don’t even try to do it properly. The ABC apparently has a department dedicated to this stuff, but they have a very relaxed attitude. (Only SBS takes it seriously.)

In the news at the moment is an Indonesian place called “Tangung Pinang”. Here’s how it should be (approximately) pronounced:

“Tun” (rhyme with “fun”) — “joong” (rhymes with “put”) — “pin” (yes, like “pin”) — “nung” (rhymes with “dung”)

In fact, Aussie journos might be interested to know that rules similar to above apply to pronunciation of vowels in most languages other than English.

Learning to do these things right kind of indicates an element of respect. That’s always a plus when you’re trying to make it in the world.

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