Abortion law:

Alister Air writes: Sinclair Davidson’s complaints against abortion law reform in Victoria are illogical. The sections of the law that Davidson refers to – 8(1)(b) — is an obvious and logical corollary to the preceding clause.

If a woman seeks advice from a doctor with a conscientious objection to providing an abortion, that doctor is ethically bound to inform that woman of her/his objection. So, then what? Davidson would suggest … nothing. The patient requests an abortion. The doctor says no. The end. This doesn’t actually make any sense, unless you see the doctor as the decision-maker here, rather than ensuring the patient makes decisions on her own health.

Modern medicine has, quite correctly, seen a relocation in decision-making from the doctor-knows-best model to one of giving patients information that allows those patients to make a decision. This is exactly what the law in Victoria supports. It is so obviously not a violation of s116 that even anti-abortionist organisations haven’t tried to take it to the High Court. If they did, they would fail. Freedom of religion would be violated if a doctor was compelled to perform an abortion irrespective of her/his religious beliefs. That’s not the case here.


Andrew Raff writes: Re. “ANSTO poll goes radioactive, quietly changes no to yes” (Monday, item 3). Great to see you guys getting into ANSTO regarding their blatant attempt to manipulate a survey.

I wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald regarding their political correspondents article regarding this issue. It appears that this correspondent is politically motivated and is also pro nuclear. These types of public media reports that are severely twisting and manipulating such nefarious results should be banned.

I give talks on the “totality of the Nuclear Industry; that is the “Nuclear Cycle” from Mining to Waste management, costs, subsidies, transport, safety and security — the “factual” reality of this Industry. It appears that most Australians believe that one just has to have a Nuclear Reactor to get electricity — which is far from the facts.

Fortunately, because of leered times required for such an Industry to come into being, and the massive (and rising costs associated) it is difficult to see Australia (unless severe media restrictions are put in place to give unbiased education to the public) getting a Nuclear Industry.

Hamilton, Higgins and hot air:

Tamas Calderwood writes: Re. “Hamilton: why I am standing for the Greens in Higgins” (yesterday, item 3). Six weeks is a long time in Clive Hamilton’s politics. On September 10th he proclaimed the “failure of our democratic system” to respond to his radical green beliefs and demanded direct action, explaining that “disobeying the law should be a last resort when all other avenues have been exhausted. And they have been”.

Hmm … presumably the federal seat of Higgins now means all other avenues haven’t been exhausted. But whatever — Bravo to Clive for embracing our 108 year old democracy and seeking election. Of course, should he lose at the ballot box he can continue to write books and articles and speak out, but he can’t start calling for people to disobey the law again. Even for a Green politician that would be just too hypocritical.

Emergency alerts:

An ABC corporate spokeswoman writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). The current Memorandum of Understanding between the ABC and state government in Victoria doesn’t specifically mention TV or online as avenues to broadcast “emergency warnings”, both platforms have however been integral to our service over the past years.

The ABC is technically able to issue state based warnings on television. Throughout the fires earlier this year, we ran numerous “crawlers'”on ABC TV in Victoria notifying viewers of the fires and to tune to ABC Local Radio — some of these crawlers also included specific radio frequencies.

A new MOU is currently being drafted and due to be finalised shortly that will incorporate all aspects of the ABC.


Justin Templer writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 8). A Crikey correspondent writes of Nathan Rees and his mad hatter’s tea party on the Sydney Harbour Bridge that hundreds of thousands of commuters were delayed due to the closure of the bridge — and then asks “What have we done wrong to deserve this ship of fools?”

Only God can answer that question but I do note that: Firstly, the bridge closure would have affected mainly Liberal voters living on the North Shore — Nathan Rees would not have lost a second’s sleep if a tsunami had carried them all away.

Secondly, the Harbour Bridge has been the whimsical plaything of Labor premiers going back ten years to when the people of New South Wales awoke one morning to discover that their bridge was flying the Queensland flag because Bob Carr had lost his State of Origin bet with Peter Beattie.

Telstra and 000:

John Taylor writes: Re. “This emergency response is brought to you by … Telstra” (yesterday, item 11). The item by Andrew Crook is easily the most stupid item you have published in the several years I have been subscribing. Mate, it’s “roger over and out”, it’s “10-4” , it’s “copy that”. What do you want them to say? God help us. “Advertising”? It couldn’t be further away from advertising in a fit!

And yes, let iinet, or anyone take over the service and see what sort of a mess it got into. At least Telstra has the scope to handle a Universal Service Obligation imposed on it. No one else does. So bear that in mind when you start smashing up Telstra.

Emails are dangerous:

Ross Copeland writes: Re. “Not clean, not dirty … Turnbull masters inactivity” (yesterday, item 10). Maybe the advice Peter Phelps gave to Liberal media advisers was appropriate but why oh why would you circulate it by email? Phelps has been around the traps long enough now to that is so risky because you just never know where it will finish up.

A shock:

Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “Are we witnessing the death of the shock jock?” (yesterday, item 19). Mike Carlton a shock jock? I think he’d be shocked to hear that.

Pedant’s post:

Tony Berry writes: When is Crikey going to learn how to use an apostrophe? It can be used to denote a possessive or a plural, but Crikey regularly fails to understand the difference.

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