Barnaby Joyce’s big adventure:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Two grand for Barnaby’s ‘mind blowing’ India epic with Gina” (Friday, item 3). Let me see if I get this right. Gina Rinehart picks up the tab for Senator Joyce to go to a wedding in India. Since he’s there for free, he books a few official appointments in India and KL. This probably wasn’t included in Gina’s ticket so for the final leg home he books a flight on his parliamentary purse. And now for breaking this scandal you expect me to be outraged over a piddling (and estimated) $2000.

I’m no fan of the senator but maybe he should get a pat on the back for doing some official business at minimal cost to the taxpayer. Of course some would question the appropriateness of accepting the invitation but presumably that will be declared on the gifts register. And your own governance expert thinks it’s OK, so what’s the deal?  He says look at the beam in your own eye; I’d say get your hand off it Crikey.

Shirley Colless writes:  I’m sorry, I really am, but really, I do have to wonder — does Barnaby Joyce really have a mind to be blown by meeting a  Bollywood actor?

Well, I suppose a hick accountant and now (allegedly) poorly paid pollie from backwoods Queensland would feel somewhat overwhelmed by being a very small fish in a very large and overpaid gathering of South Asian squillionaires.

But to claim those of his travel costs not paid for by a home grown squillionaire as a parliamentary study allowance indicates quite clearly to me that not only does he not have a mind but also lacks an awareness of what constitutes graft and greed.

The cost of the war on terror:

Richard Harris writes: Re. “The winners from the war on terror: terrorists and property owners” (Friday, item 2). Bernard Keane wrote:

“Defence has ordered a total of nearly 840 Bushmaster vehicles, manufactured by Thales at its Bendigo facility, in recent years, including a new order in May for a further 101 vehicles for use in the Middle East, costing $133m.”

$133 million for 101 Bushmasters? Could one of your more technically-minded readers explain how $1.3 million each is not a ludicrous price tag?

Equal opportunity:

David Byrnes writes: Justin Pettizini (Friday, comments) did a good job trying to muddy the issue of discrimination. But his argument falls down for this simple reason. The choice to belong to a religion is just that — a choice.

The fact that someone is gay, or a female, or transs-xual, or is a single parent is not something that they can just change. I can choose to be a Catholic, or an Anglican, or a Muslim, or a Buddhist, or to worship any of the thousands of gods in the Japanese Shinto religion. Just as I can choose to be an anti-abortion activist or a climate change denier or a Green. But I cannot change which gender of person I am attracted to.

Justin likes to pretend that his right to discriminate against me through his choice of “‘religious belief and practice” has the same standing as me having the right to not be discriminated against because of who I am.

The only true solution if amendment and re-amendment of the legislation is not to occur is for people of a particular religious belief to bring their views about gender and s-xuality into the 21st century, and for those in certain political parties to stop pandering to the people who refuse to do so.

Rundle on a train to nowhere:

Sinclair Davidson, long suffering Altona train user, writes: Re. “Media briefs: Ryle for DC … more phone hack claims … Reddit boom …” (Friday, item 15). Guy Rundle wrote:

Catallaxy Files … turned its attention to social protest today, lighting on a story about Altona residents protesting the withdrawal of train services that now requires them to change trains twice to get to the city, half a dozen stops away. But the protest was thwarted, deliberately or otherwise, by the cancellation of services. Catallactic Professor Sinclair Davidson’s headline for reporting this jape? ‘Got To Love The Irony’.”

No doubt Guy Rundle enjoys telling the world about neoliberal kicks against ‘the poor’. Mind you, if he was as smart as he thought, he might have pondered where I live and how I get to work.

For his information it takes three trains to get from Altona to the Melbourne city loop, not two as he inaccurately reported on Friday.

A name change for Crikey:

A Crikey reader writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. I was brought up in the Lutheran Church in a small area near Dimboola Victoria called Arkona. When I was twelve or thirteen and starting a two year period of confirmation studies (two years of studies meant to confirm my baptism and therefore my status as a Christian), our Lutheran pastor gave a lesson on this. I unwittingly dobbed my father in for a lot of profanities; “crikey” was one them.

I’m sorry to report that several of your suggestions would not pass the profanity test as per my Lutheran pastor who instructed me, e.g:

  • Goodness Me (The “good” portion of the word refers to God)
  • Fancy That (you may be ok)
  • Crumbs ( I think this might also be construed as a aberration of “Christ”)
  • Oh Boy  (this could be referring to Beelzebub – the Devil)
  • Well I Never (maybe OK, but I’m sure Pastor Janetski would find a problem with it)

Another phrase which I dobbed my father in for, and which you should not consider is:

  • By Jove  (by Jehovah)

Perhaps you called the paper “Really?” or “Deary me”. (Mmm, on second thought, I remember the good pastor said that last one was a reference to the devil — it was another one of my father’s profanities!)