Brian Mitchell writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Your editorial yesterday was both inaccurate and unfair. Nowhere in the excerpt Crikey quoted from did Gillard say she wasn’t “having fun”. She gave an honest, unvarnished, un-spun answer to O’Brien’s question saying she’d prefer to be in Australia dealing with education policy than in international meetings. She acknowledged it was part of the job, and that she’d do it, but was simply being honest when she said she’d rather she didn’t have to. That’s not undignified, it’s refreshingly frank.

What is it with Crikey and the media generally? You whine relentlessly about being fed spin and media lines but the minute a politician speaks with open sincerity you slap them about the head. They’re not stupid, you know, they learn the best way to avoid getting slapped is to stop speaking honestly and to instead deliver safe, saccharine, meaningless pap when asked questions.

Very disappointed in you Crikey for becoming part of the problem.


Chris Hunter writes: Re. “Rundle: why Afghanistan is the non-un-post-war-war” (yesterday, item 5). Guy Rundle may have just hit on the answer, albeit sub consciously, on the issue of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan becomes the new Tibet — the Chinese take their turn at the wheel. We could have the grand handover, the original architects Bush, Blair and Howard officiating on the dais. To save added expense the Chinese military could slide into “our”weapons systems and intelligence. Ten Chinese for every Afghan, that should do the trick.

If they won’t bend to European democracy then dammit — become Afghanibet!

Interest rates:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Kohler: the globe is awash with new money” (yesterday, item 22).  Sorry, I don’t get it.  Why was “yesterday’s non-decision” on interest rates so puzzling?

Alan Kohler explains that a “statement of facts” by the Reserve Bank Governor (in Shepparton, if that’s relevant) convinced “most market economists” that he was “hinting” at a rate rise. Why don’t these undoubtedly intelligent and well-informed economists try a little logic? It is pointless and impractical for central bankers to announce decisions before they announce them.

Instead the financial arbiters confine themselves to gnomic utterances which defy analysis.  Firstly, they want to preserve their reputation for oracular exactitude.  Secondly, they want to keep their options open in case economic fortunes shift, up to the last moment.

In this instance there was no pressing need for action. If there’s a perceived risk of inflation, the RBA will raise rates.  It will lower them if recession looms.

That is all you know on earth, and all you need to know.

Welfare groups:

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Call off the razor gang and fix the safety net: welfare groups” (yesterday, item 10). Many good points made by the welfare groups but they have missed the big two. The ABS ‘Persons not in the labour force’ survey shows that we have a real unemployment figure of 2 million chasing around 107,000 vacancies so that there is no real point in getting the unemployed to train for, look for, nonexistent jobs.

No one in their right mind should believe the monthly unemployment figures, which are based on a political definition of unemployment, not an actuarial one. After all we have 1.75 million Australians on one of the six dole payments, which automatically makes the monthly claimed figure of 600,000 laughable.

The welfare groups should fight the manic desire to get Australians on welfare, namely the DSP, to work in part time jobs because we already have 1 million Australian not on welfare payments but want more work than on offer?


Gavin Greenoak writes: Could Guy Rundle (yesterday, comments) elaborate a little on his comment regarding euthanasia:

“As to being patronising towards the terminally ill — well, how would that work? It’s a situation many of us will find ourselves in. I’m suggesting that we all exist within a web of different personal and power relationships, and the notion of an “individual decision” is something of a fiction.”

In suggesting that individual decision making is something of a fiction Guy seems to be alluding to the existence of a responsible collective entity which will and should decide for me on grave issues like whether I should continue to endure intolerable pain or zero quality of life. The web of different personal and power relationships is something we are, implicit to the process of individual decision making, and not something egregiously added on or requiring collection.

I would suggest that this collective entity is something more than a refined political correctness, but also a far from fully conscious political strategy which would replace “informed individual decision making” for which freedom, integrity, and responsibility used to be at stake, with “conformed decision making” which like the coat derived from the measurements of everybody, fits no one.

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Free TV bans second pro-euthanasia ad in a month” (yesterday, item 12). Tom Cowie wrote: “The … commercial features … a voiceover declaring voluntary euthanasia as a right, similar to the right to vote…”

Now I see why there is opposition to voluntary euthanasia in Australia.

Climate change:

Nigel Brunel writes: Re. “Hamilton: more Aussie climate beat-ups” (Tuesday, item 10).  I’m sorry but this dribble from pilots, lawyers and now journalists who fail to read and understand the science borders on dangerous and is extremely arrogant.

To be blunt — unless you are prepared to bring forward scientific evidence that refutes what has been peer reviewed — then I suggest you move back into the cave you have been living in as ignorant ramblings are no longer valid or welcome.

In fact — ramblings about the science which you have not bothered to understand it belong in the basket occupied by people who believe the earth is flat and the sun revolves around the earth.

It’s now beyond the science — this is about (high) probabilities and risk management. If you faced similar probabilities in your own life or business that face the planet presently — you would take action — you wouldn’t sit around stroking your own ego and listening to the sound of your own voice.

The chance to move from a high carbon economy to a low carbon one regardless of the science is actually the opportunity before us – the benefits far outweigh the cost and its actually good business sense.

Here in NZ — we had the opportunity to listen to 3 lectures from Lord Stern — who in my view is one of the sane rational voices in this space. He looks at it from an economic perspective.

I urge all of you to take the time to listen what he said — which is — the time to debate the science is long gone but he urges the science to be tested over and over again. He also said debating from a point of ignorance is over.

The lectures can be downloaded here — insightful, rational and clearly lay the choices at our feet.

So please get educated — by all means challenge the science — that’s what makes it so robust — but do it from a scientific perspective — not some lazy gaze out the window why you are flying a bus. At least Tamas attempts to do that even though he talks through a hole in the Ozone layer.

Peter Fray

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