Abbott v the ABC

The Age columnist Jonathan Holmes writes: Re. “The long history of DLP paranoia, treachery and anti-Catholic scaremongering” (Friday). In his piece about the DLP Jeff Sparrow is kind enough to cite my opinion piece in The Age.  However, he mis-cites George Brandis’ recent lecture to the law school of Notre Dame University.  “Brandis blamed Fairfax and the ALP for a concerted attack on Catholicism,” wrote Sparrow.  No he didn’t.  He blamed Fairfax media and “the national broadcaster” — the ABC.  This is more worrying.  The ALP is used to being blamed for everything by the Abbott government, but unlike the ABC, it doesn’t depend directly on government decisions for its funding.

The other national carrier

Geoffrey Heard writes: Re. “Crikey says: privatise Australia Post” (Friday). Why isn’t our first concern for the Post Office that it provide a universal service of quality? Why must it produce a profit? The moment we label it as a business that must produce a profit, we are opening up ourselves to be gouged for inferior service.

Sure, email, etc, has made huge inroads into ordinary letters. But the Post Office is still by far the easiest delivery service to access both as a sender and receiver for the vast majority of Australians.  Cut that service and vast numbers will be hampered.

Incidentally, its parcels delivery service is significantly overpriced — in particular, its overseas parcels. On the other hand, if you are not a DHL (or whatever) account holder, you face a pretty steep entry fee just to send a casual parcel.

Niall Clugston writes: It’s hard to understand Crikey‘s call to privatise Australia Post. How privatisation would avoid the impact of changes in communication technology remains unexplained. The editorial itself implies that Australia Post is no longer a “viable business” and might be hard to sell. It also argues for and against regulation and government funding. Apparently we are supposed to ignore these contradictions and simply have blind faith in privatisation as a panacea.