The high truth of the Low Country
Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday). I would like to thank Crikey for airing Gina Rinehart’s political opinions on the Netherlands. This Low Country has flown under the radar for far too long. Not only has it lost out tilting with windmills, it is the only known country to have a financial crisis caused by flowers (the Tulip Mania in the 17th century). It clearly has a major identity crisis because it is often confused with a province (Holland) or a neighbouring country (Deutschland). It also decriminalised marijuana, but failed, as the American General Barry McCaffrey pointed out, to trigger a major crime wave. To cap it off, the “Dutch disease” is a byword for countries that fail to capitalise on a short-term commodities boom. I hope all thinking Australians look at Rinehart’s advice and look at the example of the Netherlands, and then go to the polling booth with a sharpened pencil and do the decent thing.
The faceless men were right the first time
Steve Walz writes: Re. “Essential: Coalition to win, but a late surge to the minors” (yesterday). One thing this election campaign, and likely result, proves is that Labor was right to knife Kevin Rudd in 2010. No doubt Rudd would have run a similarly chaotic and dictatorial last few months of government and election campaign against Tony Abbott back then. Result: a Coalition government and no DisabilityCare, no Better Schools commitments, no NBN and no carbon pricing. The big thing the faceless men weren’t counting on was Rudd’s willingness to destroy the party that made him. His behaviour in the 2010 election condemned Julia Gillard to minority government, and his relentless campaigning and undermining since then wrecked any positive messages Gillard could get out. Labor was right to dump him, he was wrong not to accept that in the best interests of the party. Next election Keating, Hawke and Gillard will receive raucous applause as Labor heroes at the Labor Party election launch … Kevin will no doubt be in Europe, wallowing in the misery of it all.
Asking questions on Syria
John Gleeson writes: Re. “How Australia should use the UN to lead on Syria” (Tuesday). Apart from America being morally wrong in interfering in another country, could we ask where Syria obtained the means, material and expertise to producer and deliver chemical weapons?