Shame, shame, shame

Derryn Hinch writes: Re. “Latham’s Henderson Watch: 54 mistakes and counting” (yesterday). Mark Latham may well be right about Gerard Henderson’s factual boo-boos. But he is wrong when he tries to use “wacky Derryn Hinch” as an example.

In our mild stoush on PM Live last year Latham tried to deride me by using, as he put it, my “favourite expression” against me: “shame, shame, shame”. I pointed out that it was not my expression, never had been, and was concocted by Steve Vizard as Hunch in Fast Forward. I had only used it as a joke, many years later, in The Wog Boy movie.  This time boofhead got it wrong.

Tasmania’s unemployment

Geoffrey Heard writes: Re. “What’s wrong with Tasmania, Australia’s freeloading state?” (yesterday). Jonathan West wrote:

“Tasmania’s unemployment rate in October 2012 stood at 7.7%, by comparison to the Australian average of 4.9% — a difference of nearly three percentage points or, expressed more starkly, a rate of joblessness more than a third greater.”

West’s “more than a third greater” is incorrect. It is more than 50% greater. You subtract the 4.9 from 7.7 and get 2.8. Now divide 2.8 by 4.9 and you get 57%.

That’s the right way to do it. The difference must be compared with the base figure which is the Australian rate. In reality, it should be compared with the average for the other states, excluding the Tasmanian input. That would make the difference even greater.

Plain packaging laws

Jim Hart writes: Re. “Stubbed out: why Australia is alone on cigarette plain packs” (yesterday). Never mind some protracted legal battle at the World Trade Organisation. If Europe’s commissioners want a better reason not to attempt so-called plain (read ugly) packaging of cigarettes they should simply come here and see the growth in the use of personal cigarette cases, many bearing familiar names. We are a clever country — we brought the stubby holder to the world, next the combo stubby-ciggy holder.

Another member for the John Doyle Fan Club

Diane Cummins writes: I too (Melissa Madsen  in comments, yesterday) was a huge fan of John Doyle’s laconic, witty, articulate and well informed style. I’m not sure why Matthew Knott felt it necessary to call him by the loaded term “polarising” (Media briefs, Tuesday). After all there are probably hardly any broadcasters who are universally liked.

I recall when Fran Kelly was appointed she certainly wasn’t welcomed by 100% of listeners. I want the ABC to give John Doyle a permanent role — he’s a rare treasure.

Abbott on the first Australians

Barney Langford writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday). Far be it for me to defend Tony Abbott but the reference to the convicts being the first “lot” of Australians is, I believe, incorrect. I’ve listened to the speech a couple of times and I’m pretty sure he actually says “modern” Australians. When it comes to providing words and deeds fit to criticise, Abbott is the magic pudding — the gift that keeps on giving. So there is no need to verbal him. He does well enough on his own.

Jackie French writes: When did we become Australians? Not in 1788 — the “First” Fleet landed at what they called New South Wales. Not pre 1788, either, when those on this continent were Yuin, Cadigal etc, but not “Australians”. The land’s inhabitants probably slowly became “Australian” from about 1820 onwards, but there is no simple date for us to celebrate. The first time the whole continent was named was possibly October 25, 1616, by Captain Dirk Hartog of the Netherlands. He named the land Eendrachsland after his ship, or “Land of Concord” or “Harmony”. Would any other Concordians care to celebrate Harmony Day?