Climate change and the Institute of Public Affairs::

Keith Thomas writes: Re. “Teachers, scientists slam IPA for sending Plimer book to schools” (Thursday, item 5). Matthew Knott reported on the IPA sending a particular, sceptical book on climate change to schools. I would guess that schools receive more publications on climate change from the mainstream. Both sceptics and mainstream piously justify their own actions — but do so using different frames of reference.

I have observed this front in the climate-change wars for some years and am dismayed at the cynicism, laziness and opportunism on both sides. Although they may not admit it publicly, an integral aspect of their strategy is to raise the issues in the minds of children in the classroom to the extent that the kids will go home and attempt to convert or educate their families. There appears to be no concern for the potential to create conflict within families where the parents’ view differs from that pushed by the distributors of this material.

Both sides are guilty of going after an easier target — children, trapped in their classrooms — rather than confronting their parents directly. The fact is, of course, that few parents would submit to being held similarly captive for a lecture by the IPA or advocates for the other side. Both sides should stop attempting to recruit teachers to manipulate school children and deal, instead, directly with their ultimate target: the parents — the ones who are making the decisions now about family behaviour as it relates to climate change.

The responsible thing for the advocates from both sides to do would be to door knock the homes in their own street, omitting no one, and take on the role themselves they are pushing on to the kids in such a cowardly way.

Colin Ross writes: Now that the IPA has decided to contribute to the school education system, can we look forward to a flood of contributions from well-meaning special-interest groups such as the Citizens Electoral Council, League of Rights, Creationists, Scientologists, et al?

Bob Carr and the law:

Glen Frost writes: Re. Thursday’s Editorial.

According to Senator Carr:

“Understand my position: I don’t apologise for going after the Mr Bigs. I don’t apologise for having a prohibition regime. But I think at this end of the scale, when it comes to personal use of ecstasy or marijuana, the best use of police time is not standing outside a nightclub or wandering around a train station with sniffer dogs. Those people aren’t doing any harm except, arguably, to themselves.”

Bob Carr is wrong. As a father whose 14-year-old travels on trains to/from school events and various after-school activities, and will probably soon be going out to more social events, I want the police at train stations with dogs because it stops scumbags and druggies being on trains.

If Senator Carr had kids he might understand this. If Senator Carr took the train, instead of his taxpayer-funded chauffeur-driven limo, then he might understand.

Communities want to see an effective police presence and they want a more effective war on drugs; politicians need to ensure we are safe and they have laws that catch the importers, distributors and the retailers.

Clarifiers:

Ava Hubble writes: Please may we have a series of Crikey Clarifiers about recent Australian political scandals? The Shadow Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, has been understandably corrosive in his condemnation of Fair Work Australia’s alleged tardiness in investigating claims of  malpractice, including misuse of union dues, at the HSU. But then all official investigations seem to take such a long time that the consequence is often public confusion and waning interest.

What, for instance, was the result of  the accusations, made during the tenure of the Howard government, that the Australian Wheat Board had repeatedly breached UN sanctions in its dealings with the government of Saddam Hussein? Was anyone convicted as a result of the subsequent local and international inquiries into where the money went? Are any of those inquiries ongoing?

Perhaps Senator Brandis, SC, could be asked to please explain that AWB matter for a Crikey Clarifier.

Television:

Peter Finnegan writes: Re. “Last night’s TV ratings” (Thursday, item 18). The most depressing reading in Crikey is the TV ratings. How so many people can watch the mind-numbing, low-IQ, puerile rubbish broadcast by the commercial channels beggars belief.

These ratings confirm the oft-expressed opinion that the dumbing down of Australia is well and truly accomplished.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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