Some balance, please
Rosemary Swift writes: Re. “Circulation results: Tele‘s anti-Rudd campaign falls flat” (Friday). I’m certainly no apologist for the Murdoch media, but perhaps Matthew Knott should watch his language as his bias seems to be showing. He described The Age‘s circulation as “dropping” and the SMH with “circulation down”, The Sunday Age “slipped” and The Sun-Herald “fell”. Compare that with his descriptions of the News Corp publications: the Daily Tele had a “whopping fall” (although the percentage decline was less than either the SMH or Age), the Sunday Tele “shed”, the Herald Sun “crashed through the 400,000 barrier” and The Courier-Mail “slumped”. I’m sure it’s difficult to find enough alternatives to “drop”, but some balance please Crikey, even it means investing in a new thesaurus.
The logical conclusion of spying
Robyn Godbehere Tully writes: Re. “We are spying for the US, and the diplomatic cost is rising” (Friday). I don’t mind that Australia has been collating information on any country as long as it is put to good use and helps ensure that Australians are not subjected to a twin towers inferno like what happened in America. We have had our share of overseas deaths — in the Bali bombing as an example. I would also have to assume that Indonesia has also been keeping a wary eye on Australia over the years for themselves. If it had been for China then I guess we would have been appropriately insulted as well.
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It’s when people like Edward Snowden and Julian Assange publicise these secrets increasing the danger to our country that it is a worry. We need more internet security not only from CIA leaks but from the media itself. The fact that our phone conversations and such are tapped does not worry me overall if it’s done by the AFP. If it keeps someone dangerous out the of the country and keeps us safer, then so be it. That is the price we have to pay in today’s world. And if it stops terrorists from seconding Australians into their war to deliberately hurt other Australians, then I am all for it. It’s the media phone hacking and others with no jurisdiction that are a concern.
Kyle Wilson, ex-DFAT, writes: One of the implications of this well-informed commentary is that, unlike the “spy chiefs” (revealing language to use about the likes of Nick Warner, David Irvine, etc), the writer is not “pedestrian and mediocre”. Doubtless the main assertion, that the diplomatic cost of Australia’s collaboration with the US under the Five Eyes arrangement is rising, is correct. So why not invite the writer to take the argument further to its policy implications, to propose what he would do about it were he the prime minister? Is the cost now so high that Australia should withdraw from the arrangements? Obviously that would be a valid and consistent position, but the writer, to be credible, ought to set out the costs of such a course of action. Or perhaps he perceives none.
John Mair writes: Re. “Behind the no-armed bandits” (Friday). Jim Hart’s cartel observation is a little disingenuous in itself because he doesn’t mention that there is a real cost with ATMs that is not present with internet transfers:
ATMs have to be serviced. This involves an armoured truck and at least two armed guards who replace the money containers within the ATM. The time to do this varies, but it involves a walk from the truck to the ATMs, unlocking/disarming the machine, replacing the money containers and then relocking/arming and walking back to the truck. Usually one guard does the work with the other standing back and guarding the other. From my observation this takes between 10 and 15 minutes, not counting the travelling time. I would suspect there would be other functions to check, like ensuring the receipt rolls haven’t run out. I understand printed receipts are a large cost themselves.