A sad day for the ABC

Denise Marcos writes: Re. “A speedy execution: 400 staff made redundant as ABC responds to budget cuts” (yesterday). The silver lining to the budget culling cloud is that the ABC can now, via news and current affairs, boldly target and expose the inadequacies and failures of the duplicitous Abbott government. The ABC has nothing more to lose as a consequence of increased objective reporting and analysis. Should Abbott/Turnbull, in thinly veiled retribution, recklessly declare further cuts or impediments to the national broadcaster they will seal their political deaths. The threatened sword of Damocles has dropped at long last. Hence conditions are now optimum for the ABC to report fearlessly — and why would they not? More than four hundred staff will be sacrificed for this short-term foolishness. But rather than revile Malcolm Turnbull, perhaps we should be grateful for the freedom he has unwittingly unleashed on any surviving journalists to his ongoing discomfort.

Lambie’s PUP departure a betrayal to voters

Gavin Greenoak writes: Re. “Crikey says: Lambie could be the next Harradine” (yesterday). My understanding is that Jacqui Lambie has just resigned from a position to which she was elected and taking up a new position of Independence for which she was not elected. Our democracy is founded upon a right to vote, and we vote for people according to the platform they proffer to the voters. This primary meaning of democracy, if it is to mean anything, insists that Lambie resign from any political position, and re-stand for election on her new platform. If she doesn’t do this, then all election platforms are void, and the vote is meaningless. Once elected politicians can do as they please, as if it was a personality that was voted for, regardless of any winds of change that may blow through their brains.  With this very serious breach of democratic integrity passed without notice, it is no wonder that democracy is in crisis, for on these terms it does not exist. 

Boat arrivals v refugees

Greg Clancy writes: Re. “Are Australia’s boat arrivals really refugees?” (yesterday). Following on from the responses to my comments on refugees arriving in Australia, may I suggest to Andrew Bartlett that he briefly remove himself from his university environment and have a hard look at the real world of organised crime lurking behind the people smuggling operations in Indonesia. I have had the advantage of direct contact, something clearly missing from Andrew’s experiences that appear to fit neatly into the realm of non-decision making.

Also Andrew, do you remember the people smuggler a few years ago who navigated the boat from Indonesia? When the boat was rescued he sat at the back and claimed to be a refugee. He was out of detention in a few months and continued his people smuggling activities from his new home in Canberra. He was not alone.

Clare Rhoden’s definition of a refugee is correct. The problem is, Clare, that people looking for a better lifestyle are not refugees. The “real” refugee is the one who matches your definition. Those who have the option to return to their homeland in safety are not, and as I have noted, in Australia’s example, are diverting the focus that should be applied to those who comply with the principles of the UNHCR.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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