Reparations for the Bali Nine

Greg Poropat writes: Re. “Rundle: how to save the Bali Nine” (yesterday). The Indonesian government will be fully aware of the Australian government’s record in respect of the treatment of Australian citizens by foreign powers. It will know how the Australian government responded (or did not respond) to the treatment of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib. It will know that when the United States engaged in the extrajudicial “execution” of two Australians in Yemen in November 2013, the Australian government did not publicly condemn this act or make any on-the-record diplomatic protest about it. There can be no doubt these behaviours have helped to condition Indonesia to believe that this government’s statements about the impending execution of two of its citizens are nothing but bluster and hypocrisy. The Indonesians also know that the Abbott government’s major claim to domestic political fame rests on “stopping the boats”. Indonesia has every reason to believe that Australia will not engage in punitive action that risks Indonesian withdrawal of its assistance in “stopping the boats”. So in spite of all of the talk, two unfortunate Australians will suffer a barbaric fate and after that, no-one should expect the Abbott government to do a thing.

Marolyn Hamilton writes: I fully support your article in that the government pay Indonesia to avoid the execution of the Bali Nine. I urge that you do whatever you can to bring it about. Should Julie Bishop and/or Malcolm Turnbull put forward the proposal? They would get a lot of credit and as they know that they could be in favour.

On Kerry O’Brien and the ABC

Norelle Feehan writes: Sarah Ferguson’s question is damned for being “emotive”. Well, she would have been aligned with the country in wanting to express a variety of emotions.  It seems fair that while most of us at home were overly heated, perhaps even disrespectful, and were rooting for that kind of question to be asked, Ferguson is about the only one in town to do it.  The question had a great sub-text: “what, Mr Treasurer, do you take us for? A bunch of mugs?”

CSG in NSW

Bev Crossley writes: Re. “Even gas execs admit that we don’t need more gas drilling in NSW” (Monday) Loved your great article about the adequacy of gas supplies for NSW, and manoeuvrings and lie telling of companies involved in the unconventional gas industry. However, I would like to comment on your portrayal of Lock The Gate as being “an alliance of farmers and greenies.” While the anti-gas campaign has certainly brought together these groups (greenies being a pretty hard category to define), the alliance actually covers the whole community. I’m speaking here from my experience of the northern NSW region.

One strategy in particular, Gasfield Free Communities, in which trained volunteers go to virtually ever household in a given area, asking “Do you want your roads/land gasfield free?”, consistently shows that an average of 90 plus respondents answer “yes”. We have surveyed 140 plus communities in the region. That result, plus the thousands who gathered at the Bentley Blockade, indicate that the anti-unconventional gas movement and Lock The Gate in particular is far more than an alliance of farmers and greenies, though that is a wonderful feature of the movement.

Peter Fray

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