Where are all the right-wing Emmas?

Stephen Luntz writes: Re. “What’s in a name?” (yesterday). I have suspected this to be the case since my days in student politics. One year the left ticket had four Emmas on it (including the presidential candidate), which made things rather confusing. In the following years the left ran a few more Emmas, two Esthers an Emily and an Estelle. There were also a couple of women who then called themselves Liz, but now go by Elizabeth.

In all that time the right-wing ticket did not have a single woman with a name beginning with E. Certainly the Right had fewer women in general, but nothing like a large enough gap to explain this. A quick glance at the women in federal Parliament did not turn up any Emmas, Erins or Ericas (Abetz confusion aside), which may be part of the problem. This has nothing to do with my support for Ellen Sandell in the forthcoming Victorian state election.

Since then I have tried to keep an eye out for any other patterns but, other than a weak tendency for Dans/Daniels to lean to the Left and Michaels to the Right, haven’t noticed anything.

Don’t be so quick to brush off privacy

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Crikey says: we stand with Freya” (yesterday). As I have myself “blown the whistle” on apparent corruption — in Crikey years ago — I have some sympathy with Freya Newman who exposed the “secret scholarship” of Tony Abbott’s daughter.

However, there appears to be a contradiction in Crikey‘s editorial today, which opines:

“There is no doubt that the information Newman leaked was in the public interest. In our minds, there is also no doubt that if Frances Abbott were not the Prime Minister’s daughter, Newman would not be in court today, facing jail for her actions.”

The public interest defence is a valid argument. But the following sentences imply that there should be no crime in snooping on other people’s private lives if they aren’t well-connected. On the contrary, it is completely wrong to do that unless there is an overriding public interest. Simply because someone is a daughter (say) of a famous person does not invite invasion of her privacy. And the implication that if the woman (say) is not well-connected, it doesn’t really matter if perverts, gangsters, and journalists snoop on her private life because there won’t be a prosecution\ is just appalling.

The rights of journalists, whistleblowers, and random cranks should be respected. But the rights of individual people to have their rights of privacy to be respected should not be lightly swept aside.

The ABC cannot (and should not) compete with commercial media

Andrew Dempster writes: Re. “Beecher: we must ask tough questions about the ABC” (Monday). The question of whether the ABC should compete with commercial media is a “when will you stop beating your wife?” gambit, i.e. it’s based on an entirely false premise. The fact is the ABC *cannot* compete with commercial media because it deals with a completely different, only slightly related, market. The ABC’s customers are you, the viewer or listener, and its product is its output, which is why you are treated with respect by the ABC.

Commercial media’s customers are advertisers, and its product is you, the viewer or listener, which is why you are treated with contempt (favourite shows cancelled or moved to a graveyard shift with no notice, broadcast times not matching the guide … don’t get me started). So should we be so surprised when that same commercial media so contemptuous of the viewer/listener is threatened by an alternative (not competitor) that shows the viewer/listener respect?

Peter Fray

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