Correction 1:

Justin Di Lollo, Managing Director, Hawker Britton Group Pty Ltd, writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Friday, item 13). I’m sure you won’t be surprised at my dismay with Richard Farmer’s piece in today’s edition suggesting a conflict of interest between Hawker Britton’s clients listed on the Commonwealth Register of Lobbyists and Bruce Hawker.

As has been very clearly documented in the media over more than a year (including Matthew Knott’s recent piece in The Power Index), Bruce Hawker ceased to have any involvement with Hawker Britton in 2010.

Not only is he not “listed on the firm’s staff list” — he is not an employee at all. Likewise, he is not a shareholder or a director. Indeed, the only link between Mr Hawker and the company that bears his name and that of our other co-founder, David Britton, is the name itself.

Hawker Britton takes issues of conflict of interest very seriously. There is none whatsoever concerning Bruce Hawker.

Correction 2:

Crikey writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 8). Friday’s Tips and Rumours carried an item that Kevin Rudd’s staff had been acting in a rude manner booking hotel rooms in Canberra. Rudd’s office tells Crikey the rumour is “entirely false”:

“I don’t know whether someone is calling hotels pretending to be Kevin’s staff and behaving rudely, or it is entirely invented, but it is definitely not Kevin’s staff. (Aside from anything else — why would we suddenly need rooms? We have been living, working and travelling to Canberra for some time after all.) It is incredibly insulting to bright, loyal, kind, and dedicated staff who are coping with the current transition with professionalism (and politeness).”

The bloody Labor leadership cage match:

John Ley writes: Re. “Keane: Labor’s rotten core needs the leadership implosion” (Friday, item 1). I normally think Bernard Keane’s pieces are insightful and balanced. This one is neither. His final sentence is plainly untrue and shows his bias against Gillard — which I have noted before.

No objective person would argue with Bernard that the Labor Party is in deep trouble, and needs democratic reform — but to suggest that Julia Gillard is its biggest problem is plainly wrong.  She has brought order to the Government where it was chaotic under Rudd, she has negotiated effectively with the crossbenchers and other non-political stakeholders and achieved substantial results with major pieces of Labor policy-based legislation passed or almost passed, now, and with other important policy objectives achieved.

There is much in the piece that one could pick apart as showing a lack of political realism on Bernard’s part (e.g. “you wonder how on earth these people tolerated Rudd” — etc)

I’m afraid this piece by Bernard is the sort of superficial writing that many mainstream journalists have been penning for a long time and still don’t provide insight and balance about what is really going on — even now that the chips are down in the leadership battle.

Rick Neagle, dignity 4 disability (d4d) President, writes: This nonsense we are witnessing, this clash of egos within an unruly and unstable Labor Party, is distracting us from important social justice reform.

Australia needs a Prime Minister who can more than espouse a party line, we need someone with the courage to implement their convictions on a myriad of social issues.  We need government that will pledge themselves to govern the people they are elected to represent, including those who are vulnerable and in need.

The Labor government have finally created the impetus we need to legislate for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The high farce of recent weeks and coming days delays distracts from this, and other important work. Rising above internal factional fighting is the only way to deliver practical results to Australians.

Hugh McCaig writes: Crikey readers interested in this issue would do well to read Phylli Ives’ contribution (Friday, comments). It said it all. Phylli even put her point in capitals — the anti-Julia Gillard stuff has been “PERSONAL”. It’s hard for a lot of folks to accept that in this “fair-minded” country, but some serious pondering might help.

Graeme Thornton writes: Re. “Rudd’s hit-and-fly tactic works, but no avoiding a pitched battle” (23 February, item 1). Bernard Keane wrote: “He invoked the Green Car program and mentioned Kim Carr, now one of his numbers men, who covers manufacturing from outside cabinet after his defenestration by Gillard.”

noun
the act of throwing a thing or especially a person out of a window: the defenestration of the commissioners at Prague.

Keane could have saved us punters some time by just saying Gillard threw Carr out of the Cabinet (window).

But I would have missed a new word of the esoteric variety.

He is a talent.

David Hand writes: With acknowledgement to a tale I heard regarding the Blair government in the 90s:

An ALP MP walked into a hair salon one day wearing head phones.

“I’d like a trim please”

“You’ll need to remove the headphones, sir”

“Absolutely not! You must work around them

“The hair stylist attempted to do this but accidently knocked them off the MP’s head, at which point he collapsed on the floor and stopped breathing.  Pandemonium broke out as CPR was given.  Amidst the commotion, an assistant picked up the headphones to listen what was being played, only to hear Mark Arbib’s voice on the other end saying, “Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, breathe in…”

Peter Fray

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