Government, not people smugglers, set immigration policy

Chris Burt writes: Re. “Media’s complicity in asylum seeker silence” (yesterday). Who does Romina Aquinchay think she is? Indeed, who is she?

I presumably am one of the “unthinking bogans” who voted for the Coalition, mainly on the basis that nothing could be worse than the rabble they replaced. Personally I think Australia’s immigration policy should be set by the government of the day and not by the people smugglers. We will see in time whether the current policies are successful.

I support a commitment to take an increasing number of refugees and the humane treatment of those who arrive informally. There is no doubt work to be done in both these areas. However, the vast majority of the Australian people think the process needs to be improved, and this can only be done once we are in control of the process, and if this means a return to Howard’s effective measures in this regard, then in the long-term there should be benefits to all — except traffickers, of course.

The Australian‘s real agenda

Paul Pollard writes: Re. “‘A political organisation that employs journos’: how Fox sets the agenda” (yesterday). Biographer Gabriel Sherman’s description of Fox News as “a political organisation that employs journalists” immediately caught my eye. It reminded me of the description by my son Alex Pollard some time ago of The Australian as “a think tank with a newspaper attached”.

Have we touched a Fairfax nerve?

Rod Holesgrove writes: Re. “Climate sceptics crow as Fairfax starts questioning the science” (yesterday). Regarding Cathy Alexander’s article. This week I wrote two letters to the editor of The Canberra Times (Fairfax) concerning its recent publication of the anthropogenic warming denialist articles by McLean and Switzer. In these letters I asked if the Times/Fairfax accepted the science on this matter why they had published these two denialist articles. Tellingly, in the context of Alexander’s article on Fairfax I received two e-mails from the Canberra Times “editor at large” containing strident personal attacks on me: “zealot”, “totalitarian mindset”, “silly” and impugning my career, despite over 40 years’ experience in environment policy in state and federal governments; OECD Environment Directorate; and the UN Department of Sustainable Development. The virulence of these personal attacks from the Times “editor at large” suggests that Crikey and Fairfax correspondents have found a Fairfax sensitivity over their accurate coverage of climate change science.

Coincidentally, the Climate Spectator of January 15 contains an article by Joe Romm that notes that in 2013 two mainstream, middle-of-the-road newspapers, The New York Times and Washington Post, have decreased coverage of climate change issues by 40% and 33% respectively.

We have reached an alarming state of affairs in the coverage of the “of the great moral issue of our time”, if liberal media outlets are dramatically decreasing coverage of climate change or in the case of Australia’s Fairfax, giving space to denialist views and personally attacking citizens who dare to question what is happening.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey