Abstention sends a strong message to both sides

Crikey readers weigh in on the big issues of the day.

Israel-Palestine Judy Bamberger writes: Re. "Crikey says: we can't squib it on Mid-East forever" (yesterday). The opposition's venal rhetoric about the government's decision to abstain from a vote at the UN giving Palestine observer status targets only the zealots and ignorants among us. Our government's policy promoting a two-state solution -- Israel and Palestine, contiguous, viable, safe and secure borders -- is in no way belittled by our abstention. Australia's support for Israel and Israel's right to self-defence is not challenged by our abstention. By abstaining, we send a strong message to the Palestinian government: Today, we neither favour nor oppose your increased status. Instead, we give you an opportunity to demonstrate that you can live up to the responsibilities of being an "observer state" -- including halting indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire, suicide bombing, terror -- or be ignored into oblivion. We're not saying, "Yes, and terror can continue unabated"; we're not saying, "No, and terror is your only way to be heard." We're saying, "Show us our aid and our future support for your safety, security, and statehood ensures the safety and security of Israel as well." The denigrating rhetoric from the opposition seems to originate from our inability to envision how everybody can benefit. How sad that our narrow minds, our unfounded fears, and the loathing we've been carefully taught keeps us from ensuring a better future for Palestinians and Israelis both! Female sport journos Robin F. Howells writes: Re. "What a goose (step): Campo says women can't cover sport" (yesterday). As an old scribe who remembers too much about Melbourne media history I was sorry that your piece made no mention of the truly pioneering work of Corrie Perkin when she was at The Age. Her editor at the time decided to give the talented daughter of the late great Graham Perkin the job of being an AFL football writer. Corrie was very young, very attractive and very talented. She faced all types of s-xist comments. There were even suggestions made that she should not be allowed into the players' rooms after the games!  All captain crazy stuff. But Corrie produced great readable copy and broke many exclusives. Not so super: complaints about superannuation practices Chokyi Nyingpo writes: Sarah Hayes wrote (comments, yesterday) that "the fund is obligated to write to you and tell you before they change your fund arrangements, however if you have not kept your address up to date, or if you don't read mail from your super fund you are never going to know." No, superannuation is NOT fun! And perhaps mugs like us wouldn't think so if you lot paid a bit more attention to stuff that matters. For the past five years I have been ringing you, writing to you, and returning mail to you with annual and biannual regularity containing clear, precise, and eventually terse instructions to cease and desist sending out mail for the one poor superannuant who moved along before I moved in. Five years! I do not know if AMP is your own establishment but they have studiously ignored all my communications and continued gouging this poor girl's account by not stopping it. The poor lost lass. A recent Westpac survey said, "a massive $19 billion in unclaimed super is wasting away in fund managers' accounts, churning up fees and administration costs, instead of being added to retirement savings -- this is nearly 46% of Australians who are missing out..." Result? This poor lost super lass has had her balance drop year after year from the fees you lot continue deducting when all you had to do to protect her meagre balance was actually pay attention to what you were told and to have passed her account on to the lost super guys at our friendly government the first time you were informed she had moved. Perhaps cleaning up your own backyard first by reading mail we send you comes before blaming us for our inexperience? Rural current affairs battle Samantha Forge writes: Re. "Glenn Dyer's TV ratings" (yesterday). I read with interest your comments on the popularity of ACA over TT in rural areas, as I think there is a very simple scheduling explanation that often gets missed in these kind of discussions. I lived in rural Victoria for 17 years, and my parents still live there. The only reason they watch Nine's 6pm News and ACA over Seven's 6pm News and TT is very simple: WIN shows local news at 6.30pm, while TT is screening on Seven. They're much more interested in the local content provided by WIN than anything on TT. Moreover, ACA screens on WIN at the same time as Home & Away on Seven -- hardly competition for the same (demographically older) audience! If Seven really wants to attract more country viewers, perhaps they should consider moving TT to 7pm in regional Victoria, at the same time as ACA, and moving H&A to 7Two (as Ten have done with Neighbours).

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3 thoughts on “Abstention sends a strong message to both sides

  1. rodholesgrove

    Whats this stuff about the many incompetencies of the PM in Criikey intro of 29 November?. Give me strength!. In time she will be recognised as an excellent PM, given the number of legislative outcomes achieved in a hung Parliament. Some of these reforms could be classed as sub-optimal, but still it is an impressive list of reforms – just consider carbon pricing legislation. Gonski. NDIS, Pokies reform,mineral resource tax, Murray Darling and the list goes on. Lets look at the record of the Lib’s great John Howard. It hard to remember what he achieved. He did preside over a benign economic climate, but as far as PM incompetencies go it is hard to go past his ‘achievement’ of taking Australia into the illegal and highly disasterous, Iraq war.

  2. Malcolm Street

    Judy – what I think was missing from a lot of commentary (including Crikey’s) and probably deliberately ignored by the Opposition is that in *diplomatic* circles abstention has a very distinct meaning. It’s a bit like a Scots jury coming down with a verdict of “Not Proven”.

  3. Kevin Herbert

    Judy Bamberger:

    well said.

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