On rules and red tape

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re. “Workplace deaths: Abbott punts a macabre political football” (yesterday). One person’s red tape is often another person’s protection from misdeed or the need for expensive litigation.  Despite the rhetoric the reality is that regulations play an important part in benchmarking good practice in a wide range of industries. Not all regulations are perfect, but those found wanting can be easily amended and they all  have mandated sunset clauses which catch regulations past their use-by date.  A willy nilly approach to removing regulations to get a predetermined number of scalps will only create a new gold rush for lawyers. The same caution needs to apply to changing legislation. Senator Cormann’s hamfisted attempt to “reform” financial planning advice laws even had the body representing that industry calling on him to back off.

On the police response to the Sydney siege

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: Sydney siege findings must be made public” (yesterday). Crikey confirms George Orwell’s awful truth that “lies are truth” by claiming that the Australian public have “a right to the truth”. The problem is, Crikey, that we don’t have a right to the truth. If we did, you wouldn’t have to demand the pending inquiry into the Lindt Cafe tragedy be “completely transparent and independent of the police forces involved”. If we had a right to the truth, we wouldn’t need parliamentary privilege or defamation laws; we wouldn’t be drowning in a sea of false advertising; false prophets and lying politicians would disappear overnight. Instead of mouthing phoney demands for something that it knows will never happen, I think Crikey would do us a much better service if it started to campaign for our politicians to create the right that they allege we already have, but don’t. The fact that we don’t have it and they won’t do anything about it has been clear since the days of the Rum Corps and is surely evidence enough of how fundamentally flawed our democracy really is.

Edmund Maher writes: Re. “Rundle: So many questions from Sydney Siege, but no adequate answers” (yesterday). Your article on the questions that need to be answered regarding the Sydney siege was the best I have ever read. However, do not expect answers. There is a culture endemic in the Abbott government to conceal and obfuscate the truth and I have no expectation that we will ever learn the complete truth. Abbott himself is a complete liar (as was shown in the budget) and he and Brandis (who is a total incompetent) are determined to suppress free expressions of speech. I despair for our society and country. Keep up your work though — it was a marvellous and courageous article.

Peter Best writes: Why has it taken so long for people to ask questions about the siege? Ordinary punters like me wondered at the time whether it was the bad person or the good people who did the killing and we’ve been mystified by the silence from police, politicians and press.  It occurred to me that perhaps the police got sick of the stand-off and decided unilaterally to bring it to an end, with awful consequences. It shouldn’t take much of a coronial enquiry to discern the difference between wounds caused by a shotgun and those caused by a Glock. Was there a negotiated deal that nothing would be said, no questions asked? That would be a disgraceful abdication of responsibility by journalists as well as a bewilderingly uncompetitive approach to a big, big story.