CRIKEY: Yesterday, Crikey published a story titled “Shell giving from the goodness of its heart? It’s the oil, stupid” (item 14) with the incorrect byline of “Mike Crook, a former worker in Gladstone, writes:…” The correct author of the story was David Ritter. We apologise to David, Mike and Crikey readers for this mistake. Mike Crook’s story appears in today’s edition.

Steve Jobs:

Katalin Erdosi writes: Re. “Steve Jobs deserved his cult — you don’t even know how he influenced you” (yesterday, item 3). Steve Jobs, you don’t even know how he influenced you. I have an idea.

My son was born on Saturday (six days old now) and he has already had 100s of interactions with Apple products. The iPhone was my way to keep sane while my son was in intensive care and I was too ill to get up and see him. My husband made me videos on his iPhone and emailed them to me.

Later, the photos/videos taken with our iPhones were effortlessly shared with friends and family around the world. There were free FaceTime (video) chats with my dad on his iPad as he was overseas and missed the event. The visible wonder from my 86 grandmother in a tiny village in Hungary, again through an iPad and FaceTime to see the family. The very handy breastfeeding timer app (free).

The ability to answer my emails, read-up on why babies cry and, even, Crikey (OK, I only managed two editions this week) at 4am one-handed while caring for a newborn. All these things could have been done through other devices but never so effortlessly or instantaneously.

So thank you, Steve, for your influence, it has been a pleasure.

The tax forum:

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Cox: fairness agenda takes a back seat at tax forum” (yesterday, item 9). Eva Cox wrote:

“… The only apparent concession to the less well off is not really one but a disguised payment to much-better-off tax payers. The raising of the tax threshold will flow to everyone, offering an extra $500 a year to middle-income people but much less to the poor.”

She also, rightly, criticises the vastly confusing and intimidating mess of various tax and welfare rules that afflict low income earners. It is simply mad to tax people whose income is so low that they also qualify for welfare, and the madness is compounded by additional complications such as the low income tax offset and tax credits.

As though being poor is not hard enough, the government currently insists such people should be made even poorer by taxation and then all require accountants, tax advisers and myriad public servants to explain how they should ask for the return of their own money. So, Cox’s (and others) criticism of the proposed tax threshold change is muddle-headed.

Whatever else the change does, it benefits low income earners and makes their lives a bit simpler. It is therefore a good thing, and its only fault is that it does not go further. If at the same time those on higher incomes should pay more and not benefit from this change, the answer is to increase the relevant rates of tax that only they pay.


Matthew Robertson writes: Re. “Rundle: it’s all in the tone, Mao Turnbull, and apparently the genes” (yesterday, item 2). I was just too intrigued by the claim in Rundle’s recent column that “Zhongguo renmin zhan qilai le” could mean “anything from “the Chinese people are infected by skin disease” to “the Chinese people moisten a female horse”” — could you get your resident Chinese speaker to type those alternate versions out in characters for me and send them over? I’m just too curious about how that’s supposed to work.

Media briefs:

John Dowden writes: Re. “Media briefs: plugging John Malkovich … more NotW claims … new Ten boss …” (yesterday, item 18). “Downturn Britain”  may be the “Front page of the day”, but a similar design appeared on the cover of Private Eye (issue 1275) back in November 2010.

Peter Fray

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