Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Trademark attorney: the tobacco companies have no case on plain packaging” (yesterday, item 11). Good analysis by Glen Gordon of the tobacco industry’s concerns about the government’s intention to require plain packaging of cigarettes.

There’s something else odd in the companies’ arguments. They insist the current packaging does not increase sales and does not attract young people to smoke; so it’s not obvious what damage will be done to the companies by using plain packaging and no reason to provide even a dollar of compensation.

Indeed, if we believe the companies, we must expect they will make bigger profits when they save the cost of the fancy packaging. Perhaps they should just shut up (it’s the turn of the mining sooks now anyway).

Arley Moulton writes: Re. “Smokers revolt! How the cig tax will hurt the working folk” (yesterday, item 12). Lionel Elmore wrote: “The votes of many could have been ‘preserved’ by removing advertising from packets first to measure its impact and then staging the increase in tobacco tax over time.”

Haha! Was Lionel Elmore able to write this and not end up on the floor rolling around in laughter? Stage an increase? The way this government spends I’m not surprised the tax was raised that night.

All I can say is that for the amount of hospitals, roads, welfare payments etc that my smoking pays for then you better be damned sure I get A grade service at said hospitals due to my smoking related illnesses later in life and not say one word about it because remember, I paid for this thing four times over now, probably ten times by the time I need to use it.

“Drovers cat” writes: Lionel Elmore, I am also a smoker. But despite, like you, my no doubt imminent horrible death as a result and thus also being responsible for everything from causing 150 new and incurable diseases, killing everyone within a five-kilometre radius of me with passive smoke, causing the nation’s combined health budget to swell by 2000%, consuming 4000 different poisons (apparently, although I think it used to be about 10) and probably the breakdown of Middle East peace talks, I prefer to get my facts right, too.

The increase of 25% is, I believe, on the excise, not the whole price.

Mining tax:

Harry Cohen  writes: Re. “The games people play: a credibility gap yawns again for miners” (yesterday, item 20). Amongst the lies you have drawn attention to in the media, is naturally the one about job losses as a result of the resources tax. As if the mine owners care. People have short memories.

There has been no mention in the media about the scandalous treatment of the workers formerly employed at the nickel mine at Ravensthorpe in the south west of WA. Both Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun were devastated by the sudden closure when nickel prices fell and 1800 workers lost their jobs. Many young people lost a lot of money that they had invested in businesses.

It cost BHP-Billiton over 2 billion dollars to build and led to 3.5 billion dollars in write downs.

Catherine Deveny:

Cathy Bannister writes: Re. “Death by tweet: the Deveny dilemma faces every media practitioner” (yesterday, item 4). Bernard Keane says: “I can’t figure out the logic of [Deveny being sacked over the Logies tweets rather than her Anzac Day tweets] either, except that Bindi Irwin is somehow more important than the Diggers. I mean hell, who knows, maybe some people actually think that.”

At the heart of this all is a real 11-year-old girl. She’s still just an innocent kid, no matter how much she has been exploited by her family and the cynical marketing team of Australia Zoo, and perhaps even because of that she is owed some protection.

Far more than the Diggers who’ve suffered much worse in war or that anti-Anzac movement in the 1970s, than they do from some twit with an iPhone. That said, Deveny deserves a slap, not the sack.

Denise Marcos writes: There’s a wise maxim we should all heed — including off-duty journalists and commentators. Before committing a comment to print (or tweet) apply the litmus test of whether you would want it headlined on the front page of a major newspaper … or, even more dire, featured on ABC’s MediaWatch.


Alison Peters, Director, Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS), writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 7). When the Wood Special Committee of Inquiry into the NSW Child Protection System was handed down in late 2008, one recommendation was to introduce income management. The NSW Government did not support that particular recommendation, one of only a few recommendations that it did not support.

NCOSS welcomed the NSW Government’s position on income management at that time and continues to do so. As part of the “COSS Network” NCOSS also supports ACOSS position of opposition to compulsory income management and welfare quarantining. Some may view us as having been “silent” but only because the NSW Government has said it will not be introducing such schemes.

The Government are well aware of NCOSS’ position on this matter and know that should their position change NCOSS will certainly be making our voice heard.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey