News Ltd and the election:

Carolyn Whybird writes: Re. “Possum: the great unhinging begins” (Wednesday, item 2). Your bias is unbelievable. The Australian informed while the rest just backed Labor to the hilt.

How come the fact that the NBN isn’t even costed in the budget or the forward estimates didn’t appear in mainstream media? The Libs handled this badly but their idea is 120% correct. Who is going to pay for this? Certainly not the public. We are going back 20 years to a monopoly!

The biggest mistake was that the Greens’ policies weren’t put to the test. Did you ask for costings for the fast trains etc? That’s okay, just tax the people who work hard. Death Duties, now again that’s a great idea for the people who work hard.

There’s lots of things the media should have asked. Bet you didn’t!

Brett Gaskin writes: I was agreeing so much, my head nearly fell off reading Possum’s piece from Tuesday. It’s about time people starting calling out News Ltd for what they are — a partisan political organisation that uses media to further the ideology of their dear leader.

The fact that they are a media organisation is a moot point. The hysterical, and more often than not dishonest rubbish they serve up day after day distorts the political debate to the significant detriment of the country. That the ABC is now parroting some of the rubbish is truly heartbreaking. How the right shock troops must snigger at how they’ve got the ABC to do their bidding for them.

I’m sure the News journos don’t read Crikey, in case they do — a few questions:

  • Do they see themselves as journalists or lobbyists?
  • Do they see any difference between Fox News and themselves?
  • How do they accept being told what to write?
  • Do they sleep well?

Rosemary Swift writes: They’re after Julia Gillard on all fronts over at The Oz.  Not content with one of their female journalists highlighting her ear lobes during the campaign, yesterday Glenda Korporaal has another go at her for not carrying a handbag.

And just in case we need reminding that our PM is single and child-free, Korporaal manages to slip in a sly reference to the fact that:

“…our first female Prime Minister has never had to go through the tote-bag-as-mobile-nursery routine that is the lot of mothers of young children. Getting out the door involves an Everest-like expedition preparation with a hold-all crammed with baby wipes, bottles, nappies, clothes, snacks, Panadol and toys.”

Get over it girls. She’s a woman, she’s a Labor PM (yep, to be doubly cursed!) and she’s obviously a bit better organised than a lot of reporters.

Denise Marcos writes: In the interest of accuracy I now refer to the once reputable Murdoch flagship in a manner descriptive of the proprietor i.e.: The Former Australian.

Julia Assange and WikiLeaks:

Jehane Sharah writes: Re. “Rundle: WikiLeaks — I haven’t seen accusations, says Assange, as plot thickens” (yesterday, item 1). Your reporting of the Assange case is getting pretty disgraceful. I’m all for the presumption of innocence but that doesn’t mean it’s ok to trash the alleged victim of s-xual assault.

I mean, mentioning that she’s an activist and a feminist to raise doubts about her? What next? Was she wearing skinny jeans?

I almost didn’t renew my subscription because I found your reporting of the Bill Henson case so one sided. The same with the Internet filter.

Maybe you could address your reporting of the Assange case before you lose significant numbers of your female readership. It’s really off- putting.

Nath Haymann writes: Julian Assange is innocent and everyone knows it.

Jeff Ash writes: This whole Assange r-pe thing is shitting me to tears. I’m sure its wonk p-rn of a XXX standard but does anyone really care? I think the only thing newsworthy out of the whole saga is that Assange managed to get laid.

Guy Rundle writes: Katherine Stuart (yesterday, comments) makes a lot out of a minor error in her letter about my reporting on the WikiLeaks/Assange saga. Yes, she’s right — Assange was charged with the general misdemeanour of “ofredande” — harassment or misconduct, which may sometimes have a s-xual or relationship dimension, sometimes not (i.e. it covers stalking, yelling at someone in the street, being a jerk in the bedroom) — not sexuellt ofredande, a crime closer to our legal concept of child s-xual abuse.

But initial reports — including one in Sweden’s English-language paper The Local — claimed the charge against Assange as “s-xuellt ofredande” and, amazingly, I didn’t check chapter 6 of the Swedish penal code. But I absolutely stand by the idea that there are quite different ideas of the s-xual-legal interface in Sweden, than in elsewhere — even though (as I noted) most jurisdictions had now adopted the Swedish concept that discontinued or withdrawn consent constitutes r-pe.

CRIKEY: Crikey has written that Katherine Stuart (yesterday, comments) was located in Stockholm, Sweden. This in incorrect. Katherine is located in Melbourne. Her business is translating (Swedish to English) and editing and occasionally writing. Since almost all her clients are located in Sweden, she has a Swedish website, a Swedish IP-phone number and Swedish email address. The mistake was Crikey‘s.

Election wash-up:

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Labor could block Coalition law-making … but probably won’t” (yesterday, item 9).  Over recent days Crikey has carried some argument pointing to a possible mischief in the making given the competing egos in our present law making chamber.

It’s not hard to envisage a populist push coming from the Coalition and backed by the various independents supporting the more generous Coalition middle class handout parental leave scheme. We already hear some heady confusion over the Henry Tax Review/mining tax and some others. All this leads to whose running the country? Who determines the budget? How can a budget remain intact if it is financially dealt a death by a thousand cuts?

Really wonderful, ridiculous, mind blowing stuff for the media and gleeful thoughts for an Opposition party hell bent on rushing to the polls. There is no meaning in a promise to “guarantee supply” if it is cherry picked or chopped down to a negated and undeliverable nonsense.

Do we have a guarantee that the government’s budget — in its entirety — will be supported because if so the mining tax is absolutely locked in — if not, the whole thing is redundant.

Martin Gordon writes: With the new Labor-Green Coalition it will be a short term or a full term parliament and it could be good or bad for the long term aims of the Greens. Elsewhere in the world the Greens have fallen after a peak, and being exposed to scrutiny (often those seen as reformers are also hypocrites).

With Treasury the best approach may be to ignore it completely. Labor basically did this in 2007 and dumped its policies on Treasury the day before the election. This meant  broadband plans (which went from $4.7B to $43B in cost was never really scrutinised). Nor does scrutiny apply to Greens policies which are largely “pure” fairy dust.

The awe of Treasury seems unwarranted and if the miners are right the big budget black hole will be that of the new Labor-Greens Coalition. That would be ironic.

Minority governments can work, but they are rarely decisive.

Jack Waterford, of the Canberra Times, writes: Your Tom Cowie piece is, generally, a pile of crap, certainly as to any suggestion that the opposition could pass its own Appropriation Bill. Read S 56 of the Constitution.

The Governor General’s recommendation of an Appropriation Bill is an essential precondition of such a Bill being read. The GGs recommendation is not a prerogative matter, but a recommendation of GG in council. I.e. no Appropriation Bill can pass that the government doesn’t want to doesn’t sponsor.