Crikey says: On Tuesday we opened the email edition with the introductory line: “Paul Barry says the ABC should apologise — but there’s differing opinion.” That was slightly cheeky of us; on Media Watch Barry said that if the ABC was found to be wrong in its reporting it should “admit it, to find out how the mistake was made, and to make sure it will not happen again”. Not exactly a call for an apology. We’re happy to correct the record.

Going after entitlements

Michael Luxton writes: Re. “How the age of entitlement is being restored for the Liberals’ friends” (yesterday). Joe Hockey recently stated that “the age of entitlement is over”. Last October, when the issue about parliamentarians wrongly claiming travel expenses erupted, Tony Abbot called them “entitlements”. Are these going to end as well?

How about subsidised food at Parliament House?

A tip too far

Melinda Smith writes: Re. “Star gets sick in Sydney?” (yesterday). As a long-term reader and subscriber of Crikey, I am very disappointed to see this “tip”. Everyone is entitled to privacy associated with their healthcare. Any reasonable healthcare professional is aware of privacy regulations and the reasons why they are in place. To potentially publicly identify an individual’s healthcare information at all — let alone for the sake of gossip — is abhorrent. It is also potentially harmful to someone who is entitled by all standards to confidentiality. Your tipster’s advice is unprofessional and unethical, and I am surprised it would be published.

How people in media do not understand the gravity of this kind of potential violation is beyond me — especially after that disastrous radio station hoax call to the UK. People accessing health services should not have to be concerned that their personal business might be leaked — and right to privacy breached — by those caring for them. Even the release of potentially identifiable information is illegal in most states … I hope this tip does not lead to harm and the actual identification of the “star”, and that Crikey recognises this appalling lack of judgement by not further pursuing this “tip” further.

Film industry subsidies

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “SPC v Great Gatsby” (yesterday). Your tip about film subsidies was a good pick-up. The history of industry assistance is not pretty. The one redeeming thing it is considerably less than in the past.

The Coalition could turn this one onto the ALP, as the ALP oversaw the subsidy to Warner Brothers for The Great Gatsby and also continued, at the arts industry’s behest, the ban on parallel imports of CDs, etc. Whether this political attribution will work is another thing; the media pinned the ALP-oversighted spying on Indonesia onto the Coalition, which is somewhat remarkable!

Film industry investments are backed noisily by the likes of Phillip Adams and arts industry glitterati (as well as other arts subsidies given to them). Seeing the back of these subsidies and scaling down such welfare makes a lot of sense, but it is going to be a long fight, fought every metre of the way. There is plenty of scope for substantial savings by curtailing or reducing concessions for superannuation, housing and so on. It’s just the politics that are awful.