A story that ran in Crikey yesterday, “Dear Labor, please continue to treat us with contempt,” by Guy Rundle, contained the following phrase: “Please give the electorate with one of the highest proportion of same-s-x couples in the country the chance to vote for one of the most vocal opponents of same-s-x marriage [i.e. David Feeney].” This is incorrect. Senator David Feeney is on the record supporting same-s-x marriage and supporting a conscience vote by Labor on the issue. The article has been corrected online.


Congratulations to Ben Lipman, who has won an iPad in a Crikey competition.

Questioning question time

Glen Frost writes: Re. “Order in the House” (yesterday, Monday). Just wanted to say well done on your Order in the House collaboration with those uni students; this is how traditional journalism and aspiring journalism students (aka cheap workers) can and should collaborate to discover interesting stories, track trends over time and hold our elected members to account. I note that you count the number of questions asked, but don’t distinguish between genuine questions and the “suck up to my leader” Dorothy Dixer questions… surely something to rectify?

Seen and heard

Alan Corbett writes: Re. “Order in the House: who are our laziest pollies?” (yesterday). As an ex-NSW parliamentarian, I don’t have a problem with Crikey‘s coverage of which politician has asked the most questions, made the most speeches or participated in committee work. As John Forest said, all that process does for most people “is allow you to big-note yourself, create an impression, that looks favourable for a promotion coming along”. Such quantifiable data  does not indicate how many hours a parliamentarian has worked, to what extent have they contributed to a crucial piece of public policy or legislation or perhaps most importantly, how effective the parliamentarian has been in actually helping the people, they have sworn on election night to represent.

The latter point is acknowledged in the article, so why use a misleading and false heading- “Order in the House: who are our laziest pollies?” — a headline more suitable to a tabloid newspaper. A more accurate heading Crikey could use would be “Order in the House: who wants to be seen and heard?”

Comrade Rundle

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Dear Labor, please continue to treat us with contempt” (yesterday). One would be excused for surmising Guy Rundle’s vomit sprays neatly over the cabal that runs (ruins) the ALP these days. Too true is his story, as rank-and-file members such as I can attest.

Then again, just what does this writer want? I know that the Labor Party I joined decades ago is gone. I also know that despite the electronics of today the rich have got a lot richer and the poor far more numerous.

This is where Rundle is wrong. The free market economy being uber alles doesn’t mean the world has advanced. It simply means the call for social egalitarianism gets louder, and in chorus with the rise and rise of racial tension. And I don’t like Rundles’s racism either, throwing in the “Z” word simply for vitriolic and poor effect. Commentators like Rundle should be comment constructively or simply shut up. We need the Socialist Party of Australia. Isn’t that right (left), comrade?

Wes Pryor writes: Boxes. That’s what I put it down to. Removalist boxes are the most unsettling and destabilising things, at least to those of us who are not sick, in a state or war or family demise. First World problems, in the parlance of uber-contemporary memes, which the smarmy wordsmith Guy Rundle evokes from time to time, presumably to straddle another demographic with knowing, wink-wink, cultural references. I will concede that “tofu-based childcare” was a pearler, though.

So I’d say it’s boxes on his floor, thanks to his move, or something, that has precipitated such a sarcastic rant on Labor infighting. The key point is sound, in that Feeney is about as solid a choice as a milk hammock, but the approach of his delivery is beneath this fine (digital) rag.

That there are Arabs in Brunswick and lesbians in Thornbury is probably obvious. But that the people of those republics want understanding in their representation is just as obvious. Not because they’re gay or straight or frustrated at the impending tax increase on double-apple narguile tobacco, when everyone knows fruit in your smokes reduces the risks. This twee, pointless and out-of-date stereotyping of a complex bit of a complex city doesn’t do anything to tease apart the utter stupidity of the factional systems driving Labor’s choices. A funny (if out of date — I mean, he does live in London, after all) caricature, maybe, but First Dog has that covered. Unleashing Rundle’s moon-sized brain on the Labor machine would be welcome, but this grumpy love letter was way off the mark.