The Razer’s edge

Dee O’Loughlin writes: Re. “Razer: Gillard’s knifing had nothing to do with the patriarchy” (Friday). Vale Julia Gillard — amazing achievements in an unbelievably vindictive environment.

The Irish Times is right (and Helen Razer wrong) — s-xism is both alive and accepted in Australia.

David Salter writes: If Helen Razer wants to dazzle Crikey readers with her knowledge of the more obscure figures of speech, she should at least get them right. Using “Canberra” to signify the federal government isn’t synecdoche as she states, it’s metonymy.

On Gillard’s legislation 

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Crikey says: our verdict on a history-making reign” (Friday). Crikey‘s editorial noted “Gillard’s government passed a lot of legislation — The Guardian calculates she passed the highest rate of passing legislation (acts per day) of any Australian PM (and in a minority situation to boot).”

This is simply in line with trends over the past hundred years and more.

Except during world wars, the growth in legislation, measured simply by the area of print it covers, has been literally exponential. It roughly doubles every decade, regardless of which party is in power. This would have been quite impossible if it was all primary legislation because of the bottleneck caused by the required parliamentary procedures, but a plethora of primary enabling legislation now gives ministers powers to generate almost limitless quantities of regulations with minimal scrutiny. I’ve had some little involvement in the process, and my view is that, leaving aside ministerial vanity, the principal reason so much more legislation is always needed is that much of the existing legislation is very poor. Unfortunately, new legislation is typically made in such a rush that it is no better, so even more legislation is proposed to fix it. The nation might be better served by repealing most of the enabling legislation so that Parliament could do its job once more.

What’s in a name?

Kim Lockwood writes: Re. “Richard Farmer’s chunky bits” (Friday). I am surprised that Richard Farmer, given his long political history, criticises the Prime Minister for failing to name Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan in his tributes to them.

As Farmermust know, it is tradition — for all I know it’s in standing orders — for members of the House to be referred to by electorate, not name. The Speaker calls on the member for Lalor, not Ms Gillard. The Opposition Leader denigrates the member for Lilley, not Mr Swan.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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