The (ongoing) election:

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Does WHK Horwath tell third parties they should seek independent advice on reports?” (Friday, item 2). Currently Tony Abbott is getting some stick for not submitting to Treasury costings of its policies. Given the state of negotiations with the independents this seems unwise, but given the unprofessional public service leaking of Coalition policies some reluctance is warranted. (As a public servant this dents the public service’s credibility).

The shrill Labor posturing here cannot pass without comment. The 2007 election saw the Labor virtually dumped all its polices on Treasury to cost less than 24 hours before polls opened. There was no independent scrutiny which might explain two major standouts, the $4.7 Broadband which mutated into a $43B Broadband, or the $1B school computer program which mutated into a $2B plus and still counting exercise.

The purpose of the Charter of Budget Honesty was to prevent a repeat of the 1996 disguised deficit which was unknown to the incoming Coalition government. It actually has some purpose; it is about transparent and accountable government.

Ralph Brading writes: Re. “Common sense from independents has conservatives deeply unhappy” (Friday, item 9). A prescient piece by Bernard Keane, particularly the last two paragraphs with the warning on dangers at the end of the track the main stream media is currently going down.

These thoughts led me back to 1977, the last time I trudged through the Australian Constitution searching for mention or a definition of political parties. To the best of my recollection I couldn’t find any,  This of course changed that year in respect of the Senate with the amendment mandating the filling of a casual vacancy with a member of “the same party, if it still exists”, after two conservative State Premiers had flouted the convention on this matter.

Does this then mean that constitutionally speaking all members of the lower house are ‘independents’, and their grouping into political parties merely another convention? Whether this is so or not the current Coalition outrage and the mouth frothing of their media running dogs (a conventional term from another political system) comes across as yet another example of the born to rule syndrome, in the same class as the two mentioned above.

Andrew Kensy writes: Re. “There’s no spinning this: the Coalition is scared of scrutiny” (26 August, item 1). I contacted the ABC after reading Bernard Keane’s piece in which he wrote:

“By the way, if you want conspiracy theories, why didn’t ABC News 24 broadcast it? Were they keen to ensure Abbott’s embarrassment, including his sudden departure under a hail of question from journalists, wasn’t publicly displayed?”

I enquired myself, as it seemed like a genuine query, although sarcastically posited. Here is the response I received:

Dear Mr. Kensy,

Thank you for your email about ABC News 24.

Unfortunately, no live feed of Mr. Abbott’s press conference was available and none of the broadcasters were able to show it live. We did replay the significant part of his press conference as soon as possible. It sometimes happens that press conferences are called at short notice or in locations that make it impossible to provide live coverage. Whenever possible ABC News 24 tries to broadcast such events live or to broadcast the full event or its substantive parts as soon as possible thereafter.

Kind regards,

Tony Hill
Manager Continuous News Strategy
ABC News

So not a conspiracy theory after all. Surely Keane has some contacts in the ABC who could have told him this? Or is there really a conspiracy at play, of which this is a mere cog, and I a small nut?

Andrew Haughton writes: We know that Senator Mark Arbib and ALP Federal Secretary Karl Bitar have successfully knifed two Labor Premiers, Iemma and Rees in NSW, and one Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

It looks like they will lose two elections, this Federal one and the coming NSW election and in doing so have ruined the careers of Julia Gillard and Kristina Kenneally.

So what’s the upside to these two senior Labor strategists?

The burqa:

Dale Allen writes: Re. “Lifting the veil on a witness in court won’t reveal her true feelings” (Friday, item 12). In writing about the burqa ban Shakira Hussein claimed that Sushi Das had described Senator Cory Bernardi and the Reverend Fred Nile as “stupid” and as “chasing the bigot vote.”

In fact Ms Das had done exactly the opposite and had said that the PC brigade had described Bernadi and Nile in these terms and had deplored those descriptions.

I am quite sure that Das would be happy to debate or discuss the Canadian ruling. The thrust of her essay was that no such discussion or debate is being held due to muddle headed PC thinking and or extreme conservative reaction

The wearing of the burqa is not a religious Islamic requirement it is a cultural construct with the apparent intent of restricting the contribution women can make to public life.

Lurking racism:

Justin Templer writes: Re. “UN set to give Oz a serve on our racial discrimination record” (Friday, item 15). Robyn Seth-Purdie writes that the UN’s CERD Committee (exercising oversight over our adherence to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination) might give us a stern talking to over our lurking racism.

The CERD Committee’s charter emphasises the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms and human rights. Upstanding exponents of these values among the 17 members of the committee are (with their rankings in the World Liberty Index): Algeria (135), Russia (124), China (146), Guatemala (92), Burkina Faso (111), Romania (63), Brazil (59),Togo (139), China (146), Pakistan (121), India (78), Turkey (84), Colombia (98), Tanzania (94), and Niger (101).  .

By the time that I feel that Australia is in need of a lecture from the CERD Committee I will be long gone and living in Togo.