Rundle v Freedman

Martin Vukoja writes: Re. “Mia Freedman’s dad takes on Guy Rundle” (yesterday). Guy Rundle is undoubtedly one of the best things about Crikey and in my opinion his contributions alone justify maintaining my subscription. Sometimes impenetrable, sometimes insufferable, but always challenging and thought-provoking. I thought his piece about Mia Freedman’s anxiety disorder may have gone in a little too hard but he raised some interesting points about the framing of mental illness in a society where narcissism and obsessive self-reflection seems to have become the norm. However, what a classy, dignified and considered response from Mia’s father. Superb.

On Fraser’s political party plans

Martin Gordon writes: Re. “Fraser’s progressive vision for a new political party” and “Fraser’s final political legacy looked forward and back”. (Thursday). I read the two articles and the new party “platform” and reflected carefully before I put fingers to the keyboard. Malcolm has already given inspiration to the birth of the Australian Democrats and in part the Australia Party, as reactions to Fraser’s polices and style, certainly in the case of the Democrats. The similarities in the platforms of the proposed Fraser party and Democrats is striking. Although such platform documents are usually full of gushy phrases, and I know of the words read out from a Liberal one at a Labor conference (unknown to the audience) and it moved some to tears believing it was Labor beliefs.

I have regard for Fraser on his legislative reform and environmental record as PM. But the platform has the overall ring of a protest party railing against the system (Palmer of late comes to mind and many before that), as does his reference to the major political parties as suggestions of a “corrosive grand alliance”). Some of the new platform is a real throwback – workplace regulation (50-100 years out of date thinking), and some of the legislative ideas of an indigenous treaty and bill of rights are great for lawyers.

I support climate change action but am amazed by the reference to the statement which appears to be completely wrong or overstated at least “Australia once led the world in confronting the threats posed by climate change. We can and should do so again.” When was this? His foreign policy position which I completely disagree with for its isolationist, Sinophile and ahistoric logic has been demolished by various commentators and contributors to the Australian Journal of International Affairs.

New parties usually die fairly quickly, and there is limited scope to displace others players. Reinvigorating the Democrats might be easier they at least have a core of believers who more or less believe in this platform. With Fraser inspiring the birth of the Democrats and then reinvigorating them would be ironic too.

On data retention

Gavin Greenoak writes: Re. “Your guide to the data retention debate: what is is and why it’s bad” (March 18). Gripe as we will; bemoan the sacrifice of civil liberties to protective surveillance; point to the scant evidence supporting such surveillance; wince at the cost to every Australian, but then concede that given the increasing threat of terrorism lurking anywhere anytime, okay we’ll wear it. And then, a high profile politician goes public and tells us all how we can easily evade the collection of data. No expletive or hyperbole can adequately express the concussive meaning for credibility of this revelation.

Peter Fray

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