Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Latham on Nine is a disaster. So who’ll take responsibility?” (yesterday, item 19). I think there is a contradiction in Crikey‘s campaign coverage.  On one hand, you bemoan the “hollowness” of the election, and on the other you howl with the media pack in the universal vilification of Mark Latham.

For all his faults, Latham actually stood for things, and there was a time Crikey respected this. The Latham Diaries was a frank exposé of the very political wasteland that Crikey writers have been describing. Latham may harbour a grudge against Kevin Rudd, but then the Labor Caucus doesn’t seem too fond of him either.

I’m not saying that Latham or any other so-called maverick should be given free rein. But it’s reprehensible for an avowedly alternative outlet to sign on to the blackballing by an insidious insider’s club of anyone who bucks the system.

There are plenty of such broadsides in the rest of the media — notably from Damien Murphy of Fairfax who doesn’t seem to be able to write a column without saying how irrelevant Latham is. Crikey doesn’t need to be an echo chamber.


Christian Kent writes: Re. “OPEL goes to the outer suburbs: at last, the Coalition broadband policy” (yesterday, item 1). Tony Smith and Andrew Robb have some misplaced faith in HFC and DSL, and the carriers’ inclination to make it “faster and faster”.

My area has last month been reduced from 4.5 megabits to 3 megabits, a reduction of 33%, and the new waterside apartments up the road are at 2 megabits — the reason given was increased customer take-up causing cross-interference.

Will the Coalition’s DSL Optimisation Program really add new DSL head-ends to increase speed to 12 megabits by reducing the DSL distance?  That is a *lot* of small separate areas.

This is at Sydney’s Olympic Park, which is barely 10 years old, and where neither Telstra or Optus were inclined to lay HFC cable.  You can see how they regard HFC as yesterday’s technology when the last suburbs were added about 4-5 years before the Sydney Olympics, completely missing the athletes’ village.

Family First:

Sergio Freire writes: Re. “Why Family First is wrong on gay rights: dis-endorsed candidate” (yesterday, item 4). David Barrow’s ex post facto justification for declaring, on oath, his opposition to legal recognition of “same sex” relationships is an exercise in humbug. The legal recognition of same sex unions is antithetical to Family First’s core values. So much is evident from Family First’s website, in which the party describes “family” as “grow[ing] out of heterosexual relationships between men and women”.

Mr Barrow could not have been in any doubt about Family First’s position on the matter. It is utterly illogical, if not disingenuous, for him to assert that he agreed to the proposition put to him — that he was opposed to the legal recognition of “same sex” relationships — because he did not agree with the premise of the question, by reference to some bizarre, idiosyncratic taxonomy of the words “same sex”.

Charles F. Kane writes: Family First has made a HUGE mistake disendorsing David Barrow. He is the best politician ever, ever.

How else could he retrospectively justify his express opposition to “same-s-x couple’s access to adoption of children” and “legal recognition of same-s-x relationships” by claiming “the expression same-s-x doesn’t necessarily mean anything…a same-s-x couple can just mean a man and a woman who are the same s-x as their parents”?

David, please pretty please with sprinkles on top write another article tomorrow, explaining how “opposite s-x” could easily mean two men facing each other.  I’m having a terrible time convincing my nearest and dearest that my favourite movie “Super Stud Meatfest 8” involves only those of opposite sex.

The Greens and Melbourne:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Battle for Melbourne: Labor scrambling for union cash in Greens fight” (yesterday, item 3). At last someone seems to have  taken a bit of a serious look at the seat of Melbourne.

For weeks Labor has been going all out for the marginals in  western Sydney and Queensland, while appearing relatively complacent about the southern states. And yet in 2007 the Greens gave Lindsay Tanner a serious run for his money. Tanner was one of the best things Labor had going for them, but Cath Bowtell doesn’t have that personal track record and Adam Bandt  is looking pretty good.

You didn’t have to be Antony Green to see that coming even before the election was announced, so how come the Bowtell team is suddenly passing the hat round now with barely ten days to go? But it’s policies they need, not donations.

Like many who welcomed Kevin in ’07 I’ve watched in disappointment as principles and ideals got trashed, dropped or diluted to insignificance so as not to scare the Murdoch-reading masses. If Labor loses Melbourne it will serve them big-R right. And they should keep an eye on Melbourne Ports too.

Spoken and authorised by Jim Hart for the disaffected voters of Melbourne.


David Long writes: Re. “Rundle: the topic is cancer — the 2010 election and the collapse of political legitimacy” (yesterday, item 2). One day, one hopes, Guy Rundle will look back at the over-written pretentious twaddle he writes for Crikey and think it’s, well, over-written pretentious twaddle.

He needs:

  1. An editor.
  2. An enema. And;
  3. To stop trying to convince us he thinks he’s some sort of unrecognised and misunderstood Antipodean Jack Kerouac/Tom Wolfe/Hunter S./O’Rourke hybrid writing for heathens who’ve never left these fair shores.

Gay marriage:

Blair Martin writes: Marcus Vernon (yesterday, comments), thank you for continuing the debate, though I am a little confused by the style in which you mount the arguments you champion. But, thanks to Crikey we have a forum in which to argue the areas of interest.

I did read your piece at length and I haven’t misinterpreted anything you have said, I did ask for you not to continue with insulting remarks, however you choose to do so (the reference to “left wing, single, atheist woman” is particularly incorrect in two areas and again carries what appears to be your trademark in belittling opposing views with juvenile commentary).

To read through your latest comment though is somewhat disheartening as while you say you respect the opinions of others, you comment on each and everyone in a very snide way.

Dismissing the Equal Marriage Rights Rallies (and Marcus, they are held more than just once a year), the poll on Equal Marriage Rights and even my comment about social networking (where I said it was ONE of the MANY methods to be used to present the case for equal marriage rights) and if you doubt the value of social networking to quickly influence opinion, take a look at the trouble Family First Queensland Senate lead candidate Wendy Francis found herself in with her ill advised tweets and the furious reaction that caused a significant backdown.

Perhaps all of what I could say to rebut each of your latest claims and comments could be summed up with this challenge to you Marcus — you seem to enjoy sitting in your ivory tower hurling chamber pots at those below working to change society, so, how about coming down to join us and share the comments you have made to make the changes we want?

Instead of hooting from the gallery, get on the stage with the rest of us and actually be useful in making a change that will benefit society. And no, Marcus, I am not waiting until the next election — I started a long time ago agitating for change and will continue until change happens.