MPs entitled to rort
Peter Wildblood writes: Re. “Expenses scandal: the rules leading MPs into temptation” (yesterday). Does anyone know why they are called “entitlements” rather than “expenses”? Maybe that is the core of the problem.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s evasion
Gratton Wilson writes: Re. “Crikey says: Hunt needs a plan B” (Wednesday). Last night on Lateline, Hunt tried to tell Australia that internationally putting a price on carbon was on the way out and that direct action was the way to go. The reality is that over fifty countries, or parts thereof, have a scheme in place that puts a price on carbon. Pricing carbon is seen by the IMF, the OECD and the IEA as the way to go if you want to reduce carbon pollution in the atmosphere. It is also the preferred method advocated by economists. Hunt also inferred that the USA did not have a price on carbon and that that country was taking direct action. He failed to note that USA wanted to put a price carbon but the proposal was blocked by the Republican Party. The plan recently being put in place in the US is nothing like the Australian direct action plan likely will be. The trouble is that no-one actually knows. The Minister was either being deliberately deceitful or doesn’t know his subject. I suspect it is a bit of both.
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On The Australian plagiarising The Age
David Moncrieff writes: Re. “Cut and paste: The Oz admits to Age plagiarism” (yesterday). One could almost excuse the Oz for plagiarising The Age. Cut and Paste is a feature after all. The Age hacks can take comfort that imitation (or replication) is the sincerest form of flattery. I’m willing to bet the Oz will never speak of this sordid series again!
Teddy Tahu Rhodes cast as the King of Siam
David Eccles writes: Re. “Should this man play a Thai king? The (colour-blind) King and I” (Tuesday). I’m writing to bitterly complain about the vile personal attack conducted by your arts critic Byron Bache on Teddy Tahu Rhodes. It’s ignorant of the commercials, ignorant of the original Rogers & Hammerstein casting (let’s put aside Yul Brynner in the film), and worst of all, ignorant of Mr Tahu Rhodes’ talent and the requirements of the role. It’s an article that belongs in NW not Crikey. The piece is nothing more than a personal point of view that an Asian Baritone should have been cast as the King of Siam. Did Byron offer an alternative? No. He could have named Steve Davis Lim who at least is an Asian Australian baritone with a big voice more suited to the score and the role. I don’t mind him having an opinion, but he should be able to back it up with facts.
Nicola Roxon blasts Kevin Rudd in John Button Memorial Lecture
John Richardson writes: Re. “Roxon revises history in whinge about intelligence committee” (yesterday). Whilst it has always been hard to believe anything that Prime Minister Tony Abbott says, I reckon he was right on the money with his “handbag hit squad” quip aimed at Nicola Roxon and the other members of the Julia Gillard fan club. Sadly for us, the role of Attorney-General hasn’t fared too well in Australia, given the efforts of legal luminaries such as Roxon, Evans, Ruddock, Dreyfus and the latest expert in expense management, George Brandis. Whilst I doubt that Kevin Rudd will care what Nicola had to say, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten would have to be wondering how many times he has to say goodbye before the ghost stops coming back to haunt him?
Guatemala’s dirty war
Simon Dodshon writes: Re. “Guatemala’s skeletons re-surface with questions over a dirty war” (Tuesday). A belated thanks to Guy Rundle for his timely and chilling piece reminding us of the dirty wars in Guatemala and other Latin American countries from the 1950s until the ’90s. Terrorism did not start on September 11, 2001. Interests of international capital and political interest had been encouraging it in Latin America for decades, if not centuries. It is remarkable however, that following decades of military governments throughout the region, from Mexico to the tip of Argentina, not one exists today, all having been replaced by democratically elected governments in one form or another. Amazing.