Geoff Brown, Executive Director, Screen Producers Association of Australia, writes: Re. “Lush cleans up at taxpayers’ expense” (Wednesday, item 3). I refer the Andrew Crook article in yesterday’s Crikey re Lush House ruling Lush Cleans up at taxpayers’ expense”. I don’t agree with the editorial line adopted by Crikey, but people are free to express their opinions, but I do reject the commentary as follows:

“Geoff Brown, the executive director of Screen Producers Association of Australia, told Crikey that he was relaxed about the ruling because it opened up opportunities for shows that reflected the reality TV boom.”

I did not say this,  I said “reflected the new reality of the TV boom.” I was not referring to “reality” as a program format or genre.

Foreign ownership:

Rod Metcalfe writes: Re. “What economic nationalism overlooks when it comes to multinational miners” (yesterday, item 1).Weren’t large parts of Australian cattle areas owned by English landlords in the past?

I think the Vesty family owned large tracts of the Northern Territory to start with — and the cattle slaughtering business.

For the first 100 years at least, most of Australia was foreign owned. Has anyone compared that to now?

The Institute of Public Affairs:

Richard Vinciullo writes: Re. “IPA: ‘we have not been missing in action‘” (yesterday, item 12). James Paterson says that the IPA is “deeply sceptical of government power in all its forms, whether it is socialist planning from the left or social-engineering from the right.” He suggests that the IPA is more concerned with promoting libertarianism than kowtowing to the wishes of donors.

Let’s apply a test of this claim: the IPA’s opposition to the Government’s proposal to enforce plain packaging of cigarettes.

Currently, cigarette companies are able to brand their packets with a unique logo and name thanks to intellectual property protection. As any economist will tell you, IP is a form of monopoly created by government intervention.

A true sceptic of government power would be “deeply sceptical” of IP protection. After all, it requires the heavy hand of government to pass and enforce laws that limit individuals’ freedom to brand their product in whatever way they want. It reduces competition and increases cost.

Yet the IPA lobbies on behalf of cigarette companies to retain intellectual property protection for cigarette branding.

While the IPA continues to cheerlead this form of “government power”, I’m going to assume that it’s more concerned with its donors’ interests than libertarian philosophy.

The International Monetary Fund:

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Crikey wrap: meet the new IMF chief” (Wednesday, item 20). I am not sure why Christine Lagarde, the new IMF director, is regarded with such high regard.

Firstly, she is a former French Finance Minister. Only an obtuse person would believe that the monthly unemployment figure in France is around 8 percent. This figure comes from a political definition of unemployment, not an actuarial one. I calculate the real unemployment figure in France to be 15 to 20 percent.

What is needed in France, and elsewhere, is a working week of four nine-hour days so that all French workers have some work to do rather than some doing all the work, the latter being the current situation and the only logical outcome of Lagarde’s plans.

Lagarde has missed the point that the historically unusual full-employment golden age, from 1945 to 1975, has gone forever. Lagarde also implies that if the French work harder, they will receive higher wages. Nonsense. There is no guarantee of that at all.

In her beloved United States, American workaholic dingbats are working harder than ever before (for the CEO class), but their real wages are declining, particularly in comparison with upper management. Likewise in France and Australia.