Craig Thomson:

H S Mackenzie writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. You say Tony Abbott is concerned for Craig Thomson’s welfare and you support him by saying that Thomson’s staying in Parliament is “just not worth it”. The hypocrisy of Abbott is just overwhelming. The “enormous pressure” Thomson is under is being placed on him almost entirely by Abbott, who’s actions show that he will do anything, to anybody, at any cost, to force an election in Dobell to help him become prime minister 12 months or so sooner than he otherwise will.

Abbott could stop a large part of that pressure immediately if he wanted to without in anyway condoning anything Thomson is supposed to have done and without interfering at all with proper legal action against Thomson. I suppose that Abbott would prefer Thomson to resign but getting Thomson out of Parliament in any way that he can will suit him just as well as long as he gets that election.  Listening to Abbott pretend that he cares just makes me sick. He cares about nothing except for getting the keys to the Lodge and for no one except insofar as they can help him achieve that end.

Your own advice mightn’t be hypocritical and self-serving but it is still wrongheaded. Of course, staying in Parliament is worth it to Thomson. What else is he going to do now that Abbott and his cohort have made absolutely sure that almost everyone in Australia despises him? But in any case, he doesn’t think he has done anything wrong. To resign would not only be taken by everybody as him admitting that he had, but it would give victory to, and justify the actions of, the slavering pack led by Abbott that has been hounding him  non-stop for weeks.

If I were him, I’d stay too but I wouldn’t be as quiet and patient as Thomson has been. I’d give back what they are giving me and when they finally got me in a corner with no possible escape, I’d do everything I could to hurt as many of them as I could before they did me over for the last time and even then I’d go down striking out and cursing and hating them to my last breath.

Martyn Smith writes: Regarding your Friday editorial ending with: “But it’s Thomson standing defiant. And for what? To save a political career that only has 18 months to run regardless? To save a rotten government in the same position?”

Be fair, guys, forgetting Thomson for a moment if we can, this is not a rotten government, far from it. Yes this government has stumbles as do they all, but because of its need to listen to independents and others, it’s more democratic than those that have gone before it.

Despite its media-driven unpopularity, it has still implemented some excellent policies and continues to do so. Statements (or are they assertions?) such as those in your editorial are not only untrue, they are unfair and fail to give credit where it is due.

One of the things that makes Crikey stand out is the way that you don’t join in the usual media feeding frenzy and let’s hope you continue to do so and don’t join the media hyena pack in their mindless assertions and trivial reporting.

Terry Hayes writes: One more editorial like Friday’s, which  describes the current government as a “rotten government”, and I will be cancelling my subscription.

If I want this kind off illogical connecting between the furore surrounding Craig Thomson’s alleged behaviour and the modus operandi of this government, I can consult the transcripts of the Abbott/Pyne/Brandis speeches on the Thomson matter. Or read Paul Kelly’s increasingly orotund moralising in The Australian.

I expect more from Crikey. To wit, an ability to distinguish between the sensationalism of the Thomson matter and the legislative achievement to date of the government. Eighteen months more of such achievement in the notoriously political difficult situation it finds itself in will do me fine.

Suzanne Baker writes: Surely your editorial writer can  do better than keep repeating the idea “rotten” government. How about some thought in your descriptives … or maybe Abbott has become so successful with his constant rants that his clichés are carved in your brains … I follow Crikey because I expect them to do some original thinking.

Retail:

Richard Armstrong writes: Re. “Another day, another business lament: it’s all Gillard’s fault” (Friday, item 9). Myer’s Bernie Brookes was echoing the lament of many retailers that the “online business” were taking sales away from recognised regular retailers such as Myer.

Department stores in particular have only themselves to blame for this for there is nothing so satisfying to any customer than being able to, ask about, see, feel and try-on a garment and there should be no where better to do this than in retail store.

However for many years now the large retailers like Myer have simply allowed the suppliers or their own staff to simply dump (make a display) of clothing in the store and leave it to the customer to rummage through the display to find what they believe they want.  If a customer has any idea at all about what they want, they may just as well buy it online from the comfort of their home.

A case in point, on Thursday at 2.30pm I went into my local Myer store to purchase a pair of jeans. The variety on display was truly amazing with about 10 or so brands displayed in what can only be described as street market-type displays. I spent half an hour poking through and walking from heap to heap feeling  and seeing what was available, etc.

During the whole of that 30 minutes not one member of the floor staff approached me, they appeared to be far too busy either on telephones or running around with important, must get this done, expressions. At no time did I get an encouraging glance or even a show of pride in their offer, no one was attending to a customer. I was left to wander around the whole department.

There were several questions I need to ask but when I made an attempt me to approach a staff member, however the minute my steps turned towards her she rushed off with a highly officious expression, so I had to assume she had more important things to deal with than me. Suffice to say I left the store and went to a Just Jeans store just five minutes away. There were two staff both very busy, however, when I walked in one immediately approached me and within a very short period I was walking out the store with a pair of jeans.

Price just did not come into the exercise, but my very minor questions were welcomed and promptly satisfied, it was simply that I was treated as someone who mattered.

The executives who run these stores seem to be so far divorced from the essential aspects of their business, without customers they have no business and it is the staff on the retail floor that have direct contact with those customers, they are more important than clever executive moves in the financial markets or speech making CEOs.

Papua New Guinea:

Peter Burnett writes: Re. “Death of constitutional government in PNG is looming” (Friday, item 10). Damien Kingsbury’s commentary on Papua New Guinea shows little understanding of PNG politics. Was he serious when he said that PNG was becoming a one-party state?

In the country’s electoral history, governments are rarely if ever dominated by one party. They’ve all been coalitions made up of a mixture of small parties and independents — this was true in the Somare era as in today’s situation.

There are plenty of electoral concerns in Papua New Guinea, but one party rule doesn’t make the list. The deployment of police and soldiers on the streets is hardly a coup — have a look at Fiji for a serious effort. And playing the China card?

The investment by Anglo-Australian-South African interests in the mining sector, Exxon-Chevron in LNG, Nautilus in sea-bed mining makes China’s role in the Ramu nickel mine pale into insignificance. Damien should stick to Indonesia watching.

Peter Fray

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