Cartoonists and Gillard’s bun:

Freelance cartoonist Fiona Katauskas writes: I’ve got no problem with Julia’s arse, but do have one with Mel Campbell’s “But”. She writes:

“But freelancer Fiona Katauskas told Crikey that Gillard has definitely ‘copped it harder’. ‘There’s been a lot of nasty digs at her childlessness and a general lack of respect men would not be subject to.'”

When I said she’d copped it harder, I did not mean from cartoonists — I don’t think she has. I think she’s copped it harder from politicians and the media in general.

In this case, I totally agree with the other cartoonists quoted and wish she’d kept her but out of it.

Political parties:

Richard Barlow writes: Re. “What will lure people back to political parties?” (yesterday, item 9). Bernard Keane offers some interesting pointers to how our parties might revive their fortunes.

I rather like the idea of having “registered voters” as they do in the US which if adapted to our circumstances could give voters here the right to vote in pre-selections and to elect State and Federal party leaders/councils.

I think it would be worth encouraging participation by public subsidy, say an amount for each registered vote, managed by the AEC.  That could make the parties financially independent save for raising funds for elections (which could also be subject to tighter rules). It could also mean that membership might be free for the individual, this would see greater engagement especially if the online “Get Up” type option was available.

The public value would be in encouraging and broadening our political parties/institutions, and the pool of potential candidates being widened and hopefully deepened as well.  And we would still have time to volunteer for something useful!

John Hunwick writes: I enjoy Bernard Keane’s insight into all the topics he dissects for discussion. In relation to joining a political party my problem is which one?

For most of my voting life, at the time of voting, I have found myself in the position of wanting a bit of the Liberal Party, a bit of the Labor Party, a bit of the Greens and a bit of the independents! I have reached the stage where the two major parties are so alike I regard them as Tweedledum and Tweedledumber. More than that, I currently feel that “if voting changed anything they would make it illegal”.

Who can make sense of either Labor or Liberal when it comes to climate change? Abbott has NO idea what it is all about, and Gillard has lost her nerve on “the greatest moral challenge of our time”. My children and grandchildren will look back at the first two decades of the 21st century politics in Australia and will view it as the period of stupidity, lack of science in arguments, no logic in making conclusions and a waste of time that all future generations will condemn forever.

Right now I believe that the Greens are the alternative to the Labor-Liberal fiasco, and far from being extreme they are at least half right (“better to be half right on time than to get the whole truth too late”).

Does that mean the Greens are perfect? Of course not! But when it comes to carbon tax, climate change, illegal immigrants, pokies reform, the live cattle trade — at the moment– they are so far head of the rest that I wish the Lb/Lab would amalgamate and make it a real contest in the next few years.


Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Time for Greece to be forced to live within its means” (yesterday, item 3).There’s a major flaw in Adam Creighton’s argument (Tuesday, item 3):

“If indeed the financial system cannot withstand the default of a piddling country, then it is woefully undercapitalised and a public menace. Yet regulators say the financial system is stable, and capital ratios need only be tweaked a little by 2019. Which is it?”

Firstly, recent events have shown the regulators are yesmen for the banks. Secondly, even if they were independent, they can hardly run around screaming that the financial system is unstable.  But actions speak louder than words. No, Greece doesn’t matter much, but it could be the first in a long line of dominoes.

In addition, there is a historical omission in his argument that “Germany’s searing inflations in the early 20th century” acted to “strengthen the country for the long-term”.  But I think we’re banned from mentioning Hitler.