Peter Collins, Managing Director, Barton Deakin Government Relations, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 6). Yesterday’s Tips and Rumours section got its analysis of Barton Deakin wrong.

While I won’t deny being an “old stager” (a bit of water has gone under the bridge since I was leader of the NSW Liberal/National Coalition) it is quite completely incorrect to suggest that Bruce Hawker had any hand in the establishment of Barton Deakin.

This mistake was first published in an article by Sean Nichols in the Sydney Morning Herald a few days ago — who are yet to correct the readily admitted error. This has apparently been erroneously peddled by your anonymous correspondent.

Barton Deakin was set up and is majority owned by the STW Group (I am the other shareholder) which is also the majority shareholder in Hawker Britton. This is the extent of the connection between the two companies.

Barton Deakin is the only government relations consultancy openly aligned with the Coalition. The company exists to help Coalition governments get elected and stay in power; and, to help corporate clients work most effectively with them. Having been on the end of Bruce Hawker’s slings and arrows in the NSW Parliament for several years, I can assure you he would be no more interested in supporting Barton Deakin’s agenda than I would be advising Labor Prime Ministers!

Just ask Bruce how he feels about the countdown ticker on the Barton Deakin website leading to the inevitable shredding of his grossly incompetent Labor mates in Macquarie St (I don’t think his response will be printable in a family publication — not even in Crikey!)

Ted Baillieu, crime and punishment:

Robert Johnson writes: Re. “Baillieu legislation no free kick to offenders … it will mean more crime” (yesterday, item 9). As Greg Barns argues, lower crime rates do not result from increased sentencing. Before Premier Baillieu “reforms” sentencing provisions, he will hopefully consider policy options for crime reduction, and thus safer communities, especially if his government is to serve as a long overdue reminder of what Australian liberalism means.

He might usefully examine the approach to prison reform that is being proposed by Kenneth Clarke, Secretary of State for Justice in the UK Conservative/LibDem Government.  Of course, this may require him to be ‘courageous’ (in the ‘Yes, Minister’ sense), as last week’s debate in the House of Commons showed, with the Labour opposition scaring the public with images of “sex offenders and violent criminals” being released onto the streets. Or, hopefully, a more progressive Victorian Labor opposition leadership will offer bipartisan support for liberal reform in this area.

Roy Travis writes: Greg Barns in his article illustrates precisely why many of us have so little respect for the administration of justice in this state. It seems to be based on sympathy and compassion for the perpetrator of the crime and contempt for the victim. I suggest Mr Barnes cannot even claim success for the approach he supports. If it was, we would feel safe walking the streets and riding the trains at night.

Peter Fray

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