A correction:

Bruce Gibbs, operator and licencee of The Lobby Restaurant, writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (2 February, item 6). Crikey published:

“Asks one Crikey reader: ‘Wasn’t Tony Abbott’s name listed outside the Lobby as attending the Australia Day ceremony for at least a week beforehand?’ We’re not sure, was it?”

I would like you to correct and check your sources/bloggers before putting a complete incorrect comment on your site

The comments about the Australia Day Julia Gillard/Lobby affair and the suggestion that The Lobby Restaurant or any of its staff had placed notification in the windows is completely untrue. I am the operator and licencee of The Lobby. At no time have we displayed anything regarding clients upcoming events in the windows of the lobby. If a client wants to stick up a attendance list we supply a foyer board.

We have been written to by the government agency that booked the event asking if the comment displayed on Crikey was true.

The whole affair and the stories about have done damage to our reputation, and the good relationship we have had with the Tent Embassy over my nine years at The Lobby. We would have preferred never to have had the event  had known what was going to happen.

I will be displaying a statement regarding our take on what happened, and “The Lobby Restaurant moving forward” from the events of this Australia Day.

Airport scanners:

John Richardson writes: I have to disagree with Alex Mandl’s assertion (yesterday, comments) that the acquisition of body scanners to be installed at all international airports in Australia is “an absolute disgrace”.

Alex, it’s not an absolute disgrace, it’s an absolute scandal that the federal government (or any government for that matter) can make multimillion dollar purchasing decisions, without having evaluated the capabilities of the equipment concerned or having engaged in a competitive tender process.

And to further make your point about the corrupt processes and relationships that enable such criminal outcomes, how is it that the budgie smuggler and his accomplices, who regale us daily about the evils of the current federal government’s decisions on pink batts, computers for students, the cost of school halls and wasteful spending at every turn, have not a word to say on this issue nor, for that matter, the even larger F-22 procurement scandal?

It seems that our political system runs just like the butcher who owns shops at either end of the street: we customers/taxpayers expend our time and energy running up and down between each shop, looking for the best possible deal, while the butcher profits regardless.


Niall Clugston writes: Re. Yesterday’s Editorial. Wednesday’s editorial illustrates why intervention in Syria is a bad idea.

According to the paradigm of dichotomies presented, the outside world (inevitably Washington and its allies) would be intervening against secularism, against religious minorities (in the first place, the Alawi), and against the cities.

In geopolitical terms it would be attractive for the US to outmanoeuvre Russia and Iran by overthrowing Assad. However, this is the same kind of Frankenstein foray that launched Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan.

The main difference with Libya is that, in Libya, NATO claimed to be protecting civilians, while they were actually intervening in a civil war. They can’t pull the same con twice.

Should cyclists be registered?:

Ava Hubble writes: Re. “Should bicycles be registered?” (yesterday, item 13). There are any number of signs advising motorists of what they can and cannot do, but in Sydney I never see a sign that reminds cyclists that it is an offence to ride on the footpath (unless they are teaching a child to ride a bike or travelling on a designated shared path).

Even on shared paths cyclists are obliged, by law, to ride at no more than 10 kilometres an hour and to give way at all times to pedestrians. I am all for cycling, but not on our footpaths.  It is making the equally Green exercise of walking a frightening pursuit.

I often think I am far more likely to be inadvertently felled on the footpath by a reckless cyclist than a drive-by shooter.