Ark Tribe case:

Ava Hubble writes: The long-running Ark Tribe case is scheduled to return to the South Australian Magistrates’ Court on Monday. As reported in Crikey, Tribe is accused of failing to attend an Australian Building and Construction Commission inquiry in 2008.  If found guilty he faces a six-month prison sentence.

The Commission’s power to compel workers to attend its inquiries and answer all questions put to them, including queries about colleagues, employers, unionists and union meetings, was endorsed by Julia Gillard when she was Labor’s minister for Employment and Workplace Relations. She cited the ongoing need for a “tough cop on the beat” in the construction industry. But the Commission’s powers, particularly its power to deny construction workers the ancient right of silence, have been condemned by the Greens. It will be interesting to see where the independents stand on this issue.

The election:

David Edmunds writes: Re. “Lessons from the last days of the Labor government” (yesterday, item 1). I think Bernard Keane has let the appalling communication ability of Labor determine his views on its “culture” and “philosophy”.

There are two themes that this Labor government has maintained.  One is social justice and the other is a future orientation. In terms of social justice, they trashed work choices and implemented a fairer system and they placed a great emphasis on health. The commitment to education is a long-term Labor commitment. Labor in just these examples shows an attitude to productivity that profoundly differs from that of the coalition.

The coalition sees the predominant path to productivity through squeezing more out of workers, where Labor sees this path through a commitment to a better trained and more efficient workforce and better infrastructure.

The coalition has now defined itself as not being Labor and nothing much else.  It seems to me that it is this side of politics that is bereft of a guiding philosophy, and it will be interesting to see where it goes now.

Edmund Maher writes: Re. “The Oz has trouble keeping its story straight” (yesterday, item 10). Bernard Keane’s articles in yesterday’s edition were outstanding. Like him I was deeply offended by the scurrilous commentary all through the election by the Australian newspaper. Its coverage was biased, inaccurate and deeply offensive, so much so that I cancelled my subscription to the Weekend Australian and have not regretted it once.

Like Bernard I am convinced that the mining companies plus Murdoch deliberately set out to destroy the Rudd Government. This does not mean I think the Rudd Government was great as I think Rudd himself was too much of a “one man” band and suffered from hubris. It is just that as Australians we deserved better from the media and none of them (especially Channel Nine) came out of it well.  It has been said that we get the Governments we deserve. If so, God help us.

Well done again Bernard. It is always a pleasure to read you. Also thanks to Crikey for your excellent coverage.

James Burke writes: A congratulatory dispatch by Brian Loughnane…

Well comrades, it appears that, despite a ferocious campaign against fearsome odds, our attempt to install Tony Abbott as Prime Minister has fallen short. But we should not be downhearted. Our efforts, however futile, were a wonder to behold.

Many performed superb work, especially of course our News Ltd pals, who bravely overcame any loyalty to the ALP despite decades of humiliating sycophancy by Labor leaders.

Tony himself somehow managed not to eat his own head during a gruelling few weeks on the stage.

But those who really shone in the effort to consign Labor to the political dustbin are those who, after years carrying on seemingly normal lives as ALP apparatchiks, answered our call at the hour of need.

I don’t have space to mention by name all those selfless souls who spent many painful hours either fogging the judgement of Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, or simply running amok in a frantic effort to make the ALP look silly. Whether turning their backs on Labor tradition; on their own policy commitments; on basic morality; on common sense; or on a viable future for human life on Earth — this valiant Fifth Column showed an unerring commitment to trashing the Labor brand.

A special mention is due to the (as yet unnamed) genius who first proposed the “Timor Solution”. This policy presented Julia Gillard as ruthless, unprincipled, hypocritical, politically spineless, contemptuous of liberals and progressives, administratively incompetent, and so diplomatically inept as to bring into question her ability to be PM — and all this only a few days after she took over!

If we failed to reach the lodge in the end, we cannot blame these diligent strivers. Vale.


Beryce Nelson writes: Whilst the swing away from the ALP was 2.9% the real swing was away from all the Parties with almost 6% voting informally and more than 22% not voting at all.  If those who chose not to bother voting are fined by the AEC there will be enough money raised to fund the next election!

Whoever gets the nod from the Three Amigos all the major Parties will have to work very hard to rebuild any sort of trust relationship with the people. The unfair dismissal of Kevin Rudd and the banality of the campaigns conducted by the two key contenders has left the electorate in a very sour mood.

Any more “clever” antics would incur a political backlash they had forgotten we were capable of.

Andrew Haughton writes: Neither Labor nor the Coalition seem to have grasped that the electorate is very unhappy with both organisations.

Men’s March to Stop the Violence:

Erica Higgins, CAAMA Radio 8 KIN fm, writes: Re. “Stopping the Violence … and the traffic in Alice Springs” (Monday, item 11). Bob Gosford wrote:

“…apart from brief coverage on local ABC TV and radio and a short grab on the Nine network via its local affiliate station Imparja, the event received no coverage in any print or electronic media anywhere.”

In regard to coverage of the Men’s March to Stop the Violence in Mparntwe Alice Springs it was covered by the Indigenous Media here at Caama Radio and you can always check our website for news on Indigenous issues.

Iraq and hung parliaments:

John Worcester writes: Re. Bruce Graham (yesterday, comments) who wrote that Iraq “may eventually evolve into a working federal state, with very limited central power” reflects a view that was taken up by some early in the aftermath of the incursion.

It was my view (unpublished) but it was also expressed at the time by John Howard. Of course, being John Howard, he was howled down over his prescient comment by the “usual suspects” from the intellectual elite.

It seemed to me to be the only rational solution for such disparate political elements.

Jonty Este:

Charlie McColl writes: Re. “A pain in the a-se: a diary about living with cancer … prose and cons? All pros” (yesterday, item 11). Jonty Este wrote: “Journalists often talk about a “good get”, when hard work or luck delivers them a really good story that no one else has found and I must say I would love to have had more of them in my career.”

I think Jonty’s cancer story is his latest “good get”. So, get good Jonty, real quick.