Ken Henry:

Peter Wood writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 12). Richard Farmer claims that an “independent and impartial public servant does not come out and say that a ”free-rider” problem had made it virtually impossible to get governments to agree on global action to address climate change”, given the views of Tony Abbott.

But Dr Ken Henry is also an economist. There are at least two books, and scores of peer-reviewed journal articles, about the difficulties of getting global cooperation to address climate change because of it being a “free-rider” problem.

Independent and impartial public servants should base their claims on the peer-reviewed literature, rather than the views of Tony Abbott.

Gordon Pears writes: Richard Farmer could not be more wrong in his judgement on Ken Henry.  The “traditional Westminster civil service model where public servants were seen and seldom heard” is one of the many faults that make that system quite inappropriate for the 21st Century.  What Henry is doing is recognising that in this day and age he works not for a political master but for the Australian people as a whole.

And he recognises too that, when necessary, he should speak to them directly and tell them the truth – which is largely absent from the mouths of ministers and shadow ministers where climate change and water use are concerned.  He also differs from them in that he is intelligent, articulate, honest and committed.

I nominate Ken Henry for Australian of the Year next time round.

Tony Abbott and exercise:

Steven McKiernan writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (yesterday, item 12). While Richard Farmer gets fat watching his TV for even a small glimpse of Tony Abbott, consider the performance of the Australian track cycling team at the world championships.

Australian cyclists have won the men’s points race, men’s team pursuit, women’s team pursuit, women’s team sprint, men’s madison and women’s 500m sprint.  Cameron Meyer is now world champion three times over.

If only their performances received a fraction of the Mad Monk’s.

Andrew Haughton writes: A plea for more understanding. Tony is a Catholic seminarian brought up on sublimation. He’s just having difficulty kicking the habit.

Formula One:

Gabrielle Crittenden, Manager Corporate Communications, Network Ten, writes: Re. “Grand Prix headed for the major events scrapheap?” (yesterday, item 13). Whatever the future location of the Australian Grand Prix, the Formula One TV ratings are far from “disastrous”, as suggested yesterday by Andrew Crook.

The race audience was in fact 1.18 million and not 816,000 viewers. Crikey overlooked that the race was broadcast on ONE, as well as on TEN, which added 316,000 viewers. In fairness to Crikey, ratings for simulcasts only began to be split out this year.

Network Ten’s three-day coverage of the Australian Grand Prix on TEN and ONE was in fact watched by 4.6 million Australians, making this the most watched F1 event (Australian or international) since 2005.

In fact, with the simulcast of Sunday’s race delivering 14 per cent more Australian viewers than it did in 2009, you could go so far as to say the world’s most popular motor sport is enjoying a significant resurgence with Australian audiences.

Stern Hu:

Jean Webster writes: Stern Hu and colleagues have been sacked from Rio Tinto  because they breached the company’s ethics rules  by paying bribes, according to today’s media reports. They could only have financed their bribes in one of two ways. If they used company money, I’d hate to be a shareholder of a business that was so poor at financial control that nobody knew what they were doing. If they used their own money, then they should at least get points for loyalty and enthusiasm.

And who does the Reserve Bank boss think he is?:

Phil Amos writes: Re. “Sinophobia and the property boom” (yesterday, item 10). Bravo Glenn Stevens! The Global Financial Crisis has pushed the world’s central bankers into unfamiliar territory but surely none as unfamiliar as Glenn Steven’s appearance on Sunrise this week. It’s to his great credit that he is willing to take unorthodox approaches to get the message out of his worries about a housing bubble and ever more indebted Australians.

Like Kevin Rudd’s approach to reaching working families, the Governor realises you have to take your message to the public. He has obviously learned from Alan Greenspan’s contribution to the US housing bubble from keeping interest rates too low for too long.

If he can puncture the Australian obsession with property “investment” as the easy way to get rich then the country will be better off for avoiding the calamities we see in the rest of the western world’s housing markets.

Earth Hour:

Scott Abbot  writes: I was playing the pokies at 7:30pm on Saturday night so I can’t say I took part in either Earth or Human Achievement hour.  Still, it appears to me Viv Forbes (yesterday, comments) has got it backwards.

The vast majority of humanities’ achievements have been due to, not combustive fuels, but a commitment to scientific principles.  By following these same principles (which include healthy scepticism), a vast majority of scientists now believe our continued burning of fossil fuels may be dangerously affecting our climate.

Given how far we have progressed using the scientific method, to now ignore the science on climate change would be the real insult to human achievement.

Crikey’s balance:

Tamara Foong writes: Why do I get the feeling that all editorial staff vote left of centre? I would like to see better conservative coverage in a positive light, particularly with graph representation on issues.

Also if you are going to continue giving Barnaby Joyce a hard time because he is conservative and in your opinion irrelevant, then perhaps you could every now and then highlight other high profile figures of political notoriety like Nicola Roxon who clearly hates General Practitioners and does anything in her power to make their medical practice harder and full of Red Tape. I work in the medical industry and I do not know a single GP who thinks that Nicola has anything but disgust and hatred for the role of the general practitioner.

Amongst the medical fraternity the dramatic increase in the Peer Services Review (PSR) audit process is being seen as bullying. Doctors are choosing not to charge for legitimate work just in case they are unduly investigated. It has the roll on effect of encouraging doctors to practice more defensive medicine.

Why isn’t Croakey reporting the dramatic increases of the audit processes of the PSR? Or how PSR staff are being given performance bonuses to force doctors to pay back money or face a 12 month in depth investigation into their practice.

I would like to see a more balanced editorial.

Footballers and PMs:

Terry Towelling writes: Re. “Video of the Day: How many PMs can a footballer name?” (yesterday, item 7). Hey, what about “how many footballers can a PM name”? I bet Rudd could name many a rugby league player, but apart from a few Vossies and Brownies and Blackies, I doubt he’d get past the Lions’ forward line.

AFL delayed coverage:

Baethan Mullen writes: Vince Mahon (yesterday, comments) doesn’t think the AFL is responsible for the delayed coverage for Friday night football on Channel Seven. I disagree. The AFL is at least, indirectly responsible.

At the time of the last TV rights negotiation, the AFL had the option — as it is saying it will exercise next time around — of ensuring the broadcasters of the game would show games live. The AFL simply had to accept a lower price for the product it was selling, as presumably, Channel Seven values Better Homes & Gardens more highly in the 7:30pm slot than it values live football. The AFL chose the cash over live coverage.

This time around, the AFL is talking the talk about live coverage. But it will be interesting to see if they fold (again) when the networks are backing up the trucks of cash to AFL House.

Ken Corbett writes: The assumption that Australians want free to air to carry major sport would be correct if we trusted FTA. But over many years and many examples (Seven’s Australia Open tennis this summer) we have seen Seven, Nine (particularly) and 10 all abuse the regulators privilege they enjoy.

As an AFL fan in Sydney I get great coverage from Foxtel that I am happy to pay for. The channel 518 coverage for games being done by 7 or 10 in the South was negotiated by the AFL as part of their broadcast deal. Smart move, as any NRL fan in the south will tell you as they get poor coverage of FTA games in the north.

Even live can vary with our wonderful FTA. I recall walking out of a Wallabies Test  at the Olympic Stadium (yes I like most sports) and called my friend regarding the amazing finish. He was watching the live broadcast by Seven and I ruined it as the game was still going . The many ad breaks simply meant the “live” broadcast ran many minutes behind by the end of the game.

Another example, I am also a Golf fan  and anyone watching Channel 10/One sports broadcast of golf recognises that the person running the local ad breaks has no idea about golf. They often stuff up key moments. Foxtel’s golf coverage by contrast is excellent.

Fox Sports simply broadcasts sport better, I am happy to pay. They deserve a reasonable playing field from our Government regulators.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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