Anniversary journalism:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Media briefs: 9/11 front pages … VIC journo protection … Overington joins WW …” (yesterday, item 17). What an interesting point you raise in Media Briefs about when to take an event such as the anniversary of 9/11 off the front page.

As befits Crikey, you compare and contrast the venerable New York Times with its less august but more populist competitors, you acknowledge the paper’s carefully argued position,  and you underline the gravity of the debate by noting that it was discussed at length right there in the Crikey bunker.

Compare that with your offering of Video of the Day about NBC’s morning show. I mean they not only ignored the solemn moment of silence, they ran with the Kardashian bre-st implants instead!

Outrageous — I mean, don’t they have any notion of what might be proper at 8.46am? Whoever put the compilation on YouTube was clearly pandering to the outrage of conservative patriotism, and by featuring it on Crikey you clearly intend to get a laugh out of making NBC to look like as tacky and wacky as possible.

So what’s your point, Crikey? Seems to me NBC and the Times made essentially the same decision — business as usual — but somehow one comes across as a considered and intelligent response to modern journalism, while the other is mocked for tacky populism.


Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) spokesman David Seale writes: Re. “Fly-in-fly-out psychiatric services for Nauru detention” (Tuesday, item 1). Your article is erroneous — mental health screening in detention includes ad-hoc screening when concerns are raised about people by any party at any time. Mental health screening does not only occur at set intervals or when people self-refer.

In terms of what does happen at set intervals, people who arrive in Australia by boat undergo a full medical screening, including mental health assessment, upon their arrival. This includes screening for mental health issues, signs of prior torture and trauma experience, and assessing their risk of suicide and self-harm. Re-screening for mental health issues occurs after seven days, then after three months and then at set intervals after that.

The contracted detention health services provider, IHMS, is experienced in delivering health services to women and children. It currently delivers health services to women and children accommodated in Australia in alternative places of detention and community-based detention.

DIAC and IHMS have worked together, proactively, to address the health concerns of people in detention. For example, mental health staffing levels have been increased across the Australian detention network, mental health support policies and training have been reviewed and revised and child-specific health care policies have been developed.

DIAC continues to consult with experts such as its health advisory group in revising and improving health services for people in detention.

Tony Abbott:

George Petrides writes: Re. “Labor goes the biff on Abbott’s electoral weak spot” (yesterday, item 1). Bernard Keane wrote:

“What kind of people are we going to attract into public life if something you did at uni can be held against you permanently, to be dredged up as though relevant to the sort of person you are in your 50s?”

I think Keane is way too dismissive of Abbott’s past, and its reflection on the type of man Abbott appears to be now. Sure, things done 30 years ago cannot be indicative of a future, mature adult … if they are isolated incidents.

Quite apart from the examples of 30 years ago, there are more than sufficient recent examples to question Abbott’s change of heart regarding respect of women: the Nicola Roxon incident, the ditch-the-witch vision, even the scorn that characterises his daily interaction with the Prime Minister.

What strikes me as an overriding theme of Abbott’s bully-boy behaviour is that it always appears to be directed at women. Where are the stories about Abbott bullying or harassing men?

Trotting out Margie and the girls, and even colleagues such as Julie Bishop, to defend Abbott as a thoroughly modern man is hardly compelling evidence: bullies such as Abbott have no need to harass and intimidate those with whom they’ve formed a relationship; it’s always those on the outer that need to watch out.

Barry McAlister writes: I have some advice for Crikey, Swan and Labor. If you keep attacking Tony Abbott in the same manner as you are now, you will go down in history as the fools who blew it. A marketing undergraduate could write a strategic marketing plan and advertising campaign that would blow Labor from here to kingdom come.

Grow up guys.

Am I a Liberal stooge? You be the judge. Many years ago, Queensland Labor appointed me to a government board. I was and still consider myself a friend of several former Queensland government ministers.

Without going into detail here, I believe you are attacking him in the wrong areas. You are attacking him in his areas of strength, areas where proof is against you. Don’t let your bias and hatred rule your brain.

Somehow, I think you are all too stupid to realise it.