Les Heimann, ALP rank-and-file member Hotham, writes: Re. “ALP meltdown over Hotham could deliver Crean’s pick the goods” (yesterday). Much activity in the splintering faction ?wars” demonstrates the incompetence of such arrangements in the lust for power. Hotham is an outstanding example where a genuine “talent” in Geoff Lake, who has worked assiduously for many years in local government, demonstrated his ability time and time again, is engaging, smart and much liked by local members, pitted against Rosemary Barker, a factional heavy and not popular with the locals.
One would think those who want to control would realise that despite the blatant stacking in Hotham the locals fight hard (and did so in 2006 defending Simon Crean).
Clearly Barker should be counselled to withdraw with a promise of another prize and not risk Labor losing an outstanding representative in Lake as well as causing irreparable damage among the rank and file. Do these warlords really care about Labor or Australia; is it just about personal power?
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Give Christmas Island to Indonesia
John Richardson writes: Re. “Media briefs: boats explained … royal babymania … psychic property …” (yesterday). So why are we having this debate? Why not just give Christmas Island to Indonesia?
Now, before you start gnashing your teeth, perhaps you don’t realise that whilst Christmas Island is only 500 kilometres from Indonesia, it is more than 1700 kilometres west of Darwin and 1500 kilometres from its closest point on the Australian mainland (Exmouth in WA).
It seems to me that if the asylum seeker issue is to be treated as a logistical challenge, rather than a humanitarian issue, then it should be addressed closer to its source. If beating a path to Christmas Island would still leave the would-be asylum seekers or refugees in Indonesia, there would be little point in them setting off on the journey to start with, and they might even decide not to come to Indonesia in the first place.
Needless to say, Australia currently gives Indonesia $2 billion a year in foreign aid, and the suggestion is that it is costing us a further $1.5 billion annually to manage the impact of asylum seekers/refugees.
Whilst I realise that my suggestion might not appeal to the 2000-odd residents of Christmas Island, for the majority of Australians, coming up with an effective solution to the asylum seeker/refugee issue and saving $1.5 billion a year in the process might make that a small price to pay?
The importance of being truthful
Roy Bray writes: Re. “Keane: the weight of expectations start to tell on Abbott” (yesterday). It must be said: To dismiss carbon dioxide once, Mr Abbott, may be regarded as misfortune. To dismiss it twice looks like carelessness.