Our chequered past with Indonesia

John Richardson writes: Re. “Widodo’s callous disregard will be remembered” (yesterday). Crikey’s shrill criticism of the Indonesian government seems to place it in lockstep with the self-serving views of our cynical politicians, whose judgement appears to be based less on the facts of the situation and more from basis of their own appallingly shallow standards. What a shame that Australian politicians of all persuasions can find the time to heroically confect moral outrage over the execution of two convicted heroin smugglers in Indonesia but could never find the moral courage or decency to pursue justice for the “Balibo Five”, murdered by the Indonesian military in East Timor nearly 40 years ago.

The cant reflected in our politicians’ willingness to lecture Indonesia on the “rule of law” and the decision of our government to withdraw Australia’s ambassador in response to its actions stands in stark contrast to its criminal complicity in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor which lead to the deaths of the Australian and New Zealand journalists. Perhaps Indonesia would be more receptive to our government’s entreaties regarding its application of the death penalty if we demonstrated the same willingness to lecture our “special friends” Japan, China, America and Saudi Arabia on the same basis and if our politicians were honest enough to acknowledge the uncomfortable fact that the majority of Australians apparently support the imposition of the death penalty on convicted drug smugglers?

What is even the point of a AAA credit rating?

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Don’t be afraid of the vampire squid” (yesterday). So who cares about AAA credit ratings? The credit rating of the country doesn’t pay our bills. The Ausralian dollar can go up, down or sideways for all the average punter cares. What we do care about is the return on investment in the traditional, no risk, bank term deposits and that’s bugger all now. $1 million will get you $33,000; if you are lucky enough to have $1 million in the first place. You see, most of us don’t trust the share market, we don’t negatively gear and we need money to live on as we retire. When we do retire and rely only on our invested capital  we want security and a fair return.

There is far less security in shares or buying and renting property. The actions of the Reserve Bank in lowering interest rates are now achieving a “cluster fuck” scenario. Tens of thousands of self-funded baby boomer retirees going on to the pension is extremely bad news for the country. When you sit down and do all the real world economics on interest rates guess what? We need to increase interest rates not decrease them. But we all work for the big end of town, don’t we?

Purple monkey dishwasher

Glen Frost writes: Re. “Emoji as identity politics” (yesterday). Helen Razer’s article is very funny. When Razer says “Yes, I am quite aware that a discussion of cultural and social identity in the context of text messages seems like a stupid excess,” she’s got a point but she has missed the biggest issue — what do our spies make of emoji or emoticons? If a spook (ASIO/AFP etc) is “watching” (tracking metadata etc) a text exchange between two people and one of them uses an icon/emoji of an explosion, does that indicate that the sender or receiver of the text intends to blow something up? Cockney rhyming slang was created to ensure the police couldn’t eavesdrop and/or understand the devious plans of London’s criminal underworld. Texting is the same issue just updated for today’s media. Anyway, sweetcorn, or corn on the cob, or bananas are also used to mean what eggplants mean.

Eveline Goy writes: Helen Razer’s statement about yellow emoji is incorrect. The initial emoji faces were not yellow but rather white. That was the WHOLE point of the upgrade and uproar. The default face now is school bus yellow with options for all shades from white through to dark brown.

Palmer and the death penalty

Ian Belgiorno-Zegna writes: Re. “Will Palmer Walk The Walk?” (yesterday). It is interesting to note that Clive Palmer’s proposed bill to prevent the transfer of information about criminal activities to a country where the capital penalty exists, would see us refusing to cooperate with the US on terrorism, as it would likely involve treason charges, which could attract the death penalty.  Now that would be interesting, no? I would have thought it would have been more worthwhile to come behind Amnesty International and support their campaign against the death penalty in all countries.

Peter Fray

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