Why the secrecy?

Jenny Kelly writes: Re. “Crikey says: some red tape strangles the deserving” (yesterday). The bill containing the 8000-odd legislative changes is at this point nowhere to be found. Following selective press commentary on several changes I diligently searched the PM’s Red Tape website, the parliamentary site, etc. In fact, the first time that members of the public will see the full package is very shortly before the bill’s introduction into the lower house. The potential for the change to have unintended consequences in the absence of a proper exposure and time for feedback and comment must be high. Why the secrecy?

Abbott: a pollie for Victorian times

Peter Matters writes: Re. “A March in March media blackout? How to get your protest covered” (yesterday). The significance of March in March lies not in its media coverage, but in the fact that it happened. At the 2013 election it was evident that for every voter who disapproved of Julia Gillard, there was one who detested Tony Abbott. The very obvious reason is that the method of destructive malice by which Abbott achieved his well-deserved reputation of a highly successful opposition leader is also the reason for his disapproval as Prime Minister.

What adds to it — in spite of his handlers’ success in transforming him from the man who quoted Alan Jones’ “Your dad died of shame” into somebody in whose mouth butter would not melt — was the clear evidence that his mind is hard wired into the 19th century, when such dire problems as global warming, pollution of land, sea and air, etc, did not exist.

Book sales crashing at airports

Denis Lenihan writes: Re. “Inflight ‘news’ at Qantas” (Friday). reminds me of J. K. Galbraith’s story. Shortly after his book The Great Crash (about the stock market collapse in the 1930s) was published, he was in a US airport and decided to check at the bookstore about its sales. He couldn’t find it. He enquired of the sales assistant, who regarded him steadily, and said “Books with titles like that don’t get sold at airports”.

Anti-abortion protester scuffles

Ken Hillman writes: Re. “Anti-abortion street harassment is not peaceful protest” (Thursday). We have the same problem with similar zealots in Elizabeth Street, Sydney, near Central Railway station. Many passers-by become angry at their behaviour towards young women having abortions. There are frequent scuffles. They have a nearby car with men who are called when the scuffles become too confrontational.

Peter Fray

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