John Hunwick writes: Re. “Gillard duds Wilkie, and what’s left of her own credibility” (yesterday, item 1). Again Bernard Keane has assessed the situation perfectly regarding the standing of Labor.

From Rudd’s backing away from the carbon tax, to Gillard’s pre-empting of decisive action on gambling, Labor has acted expediently rather than with any real sense of values and compassion. Well, if that party wants to stand by the voting at election time (or on current polls), then let it, because at the next election it will see that it has lost most of its credibility and the voters will be reluctant to review that decision for any number of years.

Vote for Labor next time? No way!

David Adler writes: The comments in Bernard Keane’s article can be summarised in The Song of Pokie Reform (to the tune of the Hokey Pokey — what else?):

You put your reforms in
You take your reforms out
You put your big foot in your mouth
Then you have to pull it out
You do the Wilkie Pokie
And you turn around
And that’s what it’s all about


Oh Wilkie now looks like a jokie
Oh Wilkie now looks like a jokie
Cause Gillard’s played him like a Pokie
And that’s what it’s all about!

John Richardson writes: Re. “Big compo for ALP’s pokie clubs, but industry declares no conflict” (yesterday, item 2). I wonder how strong the allure of the Lodge really is for Tony Abbott? As everyone in Australia seems to understand (apart from Liberal powerbrokers), Abbott will never become prime minister via the ballot box: indeed, the very best thing Julia Gillard has going for her is Tony.

If I was Tony, I’d be focused on attaining the prime ministership by simply capturing the numbers in the House of Representatives. I reckon Tony should have a chat with Andrew Wilkie and offer to support his poker machine reform agenda, in return for Wilkie’s support of the coalition in government. Having picked up Wilkie’s support, how easy to have a chat with “slippery” Peter Slipper (who strongly supports poker machine reform) and offer him a guarantee of preselection in a safe Liberal seat in perpetuity, as well as the role of Speaker in an Abbott government, in return for him resigning as Speaker of the Gillard government and returning to the fold.

While Clubs Australia might be mightily upset by such a development, Tony would pick up the Lodge, along with enormous popularity from the bulk of Australians, who see the dreadful machines as licensed theft. Tony’s crew would pop across to the government’s leather and an extra bonus would accrue to the Coalition through the potential crippling of Labor’s prime source of revenue, the poker machines in the Labor Clubs.

Alternatively, Tony can continue to say “No” and Julia will continue to do as she pleases.

Costa Concordia calamity:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “The locals are adamant: cruise skipper ‘had head up his arse’” (yesterday, item 11). After your tabloid-worthy “Capt Chicken” headline about the Costa Concordia on Friday we might have hoped for something a tad more objective on Monday. And what do we get? Crikey‘s headline revelation that “The locals are adamant: cruise skipper ‘had head up his arse'”.

Which is bad enough except that it wasn’t even a local, was it? Only at the end of the story do we get the source: “American tourist Luigi Cassone came for a look at the disaster at the weekend and had no doubt Schettino was responsible.” And this tourist is in no doubt: “This guy had his head up his arse.”

Well OK he does have an Italian-sounding name so maybe that makes him an authority on shipping as far as your in-depth on-the-spot reporter is concerned.

You should pay more attention to the comment from Beryce Nelson (yesterday, comments) who makes a well-argued plea for facts not fantasy, and give less air to Josephine McKenna’s dockside vox pop.

The ALP:

An anonymous Crikey reader writes: Re. “While Labor fights in Qld, its young leader joins GOP campaign” (yesterday, item 5). Regarding yesterday’s character assassination of Chaiy Donati.

It is somewhat rich of a publication that with such hubris conducted ‘The Quality Journalism Project” would fail to mention the political affiliation of the author.

As a member of an ALP faction opposed to that of Mr Donati, Andrew Crook has passed off an internal personality difference as fact. Nothing in that article was designed to inform but rather was a mixture of salacious gossip and innuendo designed only to publicly undermine a young person’s reputation.

Congratulations Crikey — what low depths you have plunged to.

A CHALLENGE TO CRIKEY READERS — as Mr Crook has proven that a) nothing is off limits and b) that anything and everything can be considered newsworthy — why not click on the anonymous tip of button and vent your respective spleens.

The question is — will you publish this?

Crikey says: Andrew Crook is neither a member of an ALP faction nor a member of the ALP.

Correction 1:

David Roe writes: Re. “Video of the Day: Gabby Giffords resigns” (yesterday, item 9). Crikey published: “Democrats Senator Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head by a gunman a year ago, announced her resignation via video today to focus on her recovery.” Gabby Giffords is not a US Senator.

Correction 2:

Kim Lockwood writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Crikey wrote:

“…but really just meant they were asking if they should test the truth of candidates’ sound bites as part of their reporting, as opposed to just repeating the statements ad nauseum.”

It’s ad nauseam, not ad nauseum. It comes from nausea. The thing induced by most politicians, several news moguls, some screen actors and assorted “celebrities”.