In Thursday’s edition of Crikey (“Community health consultation at death’s door, as Hockey to defers to Big Pharma”), we incorrectly identified Michael Moore, the President of the Public Health Association of Australia, as the American documentary filmmaker of the same name. Crikey apologises for the mix-up, and promises to be less Hollywood-centric in its fact-checking in future.

Multinationals win again

Valerie Craig writes: Re. “Multinational winners and grinners emerge from budget mayhem” (Wednesday). In last Tuesday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Ross Gittins raised doubts about the effectiveness of the announced crackdown on the profit shifting by foreign multinational companies. One only has to look at the chronology to see that the government has no real intention of attacking this corporate policy. Firstly, cut back funding for the ATO, leading to the loss of staff, then delay any moves to target the multinationals until some, if not most, of the ex-ATO officers have secured jobs in these corporations. These officers will then be able to use their knowledge and expertise to advise their new employers about the inner workings of the ATO and how to further reduce the tax they do pay. Lastly, this government then announces a crackdown to mollify the discontented voters, especially those who have suffered some loss of income because of government policies. The announcement of a “crackdown” is just a political stunt which will produce little or no real addition to our tax revenue.

On Rundle, kosher and halal

Russell Bancroft writes: Re. “Rundle: why Jews (and everyone) need to stand up for halal” (yesterday). I would like to comment on Guy Rundle’s article on Corey Bernardi’s continuing crusade against halal food. I refer him to this article. I for one hope that ALP/Green/independent MPs deny Bernardi the oxygen he craves by boycotting this offensive inquiry.

Raph Ajzensztat: Given that Rundle’s article from today calls for rabbis and Jewish community leaders to speak out against the attacks on halal (and kosher) certification, it appears he assumes no rabbi or Jewish community leader has done so. Was he unaware of recent commentary by Rabbi Moshe Gutnick featured in The Age or the Jewish Community Council of Victoria? The Age quotes Rabbi Gutnick as follows:

“The current attack we are hearing against halal certification in Australia is wrong,” Rabbi Gutnick writes.

“It is the product of prejudice and ignorance. If it was against kosher certification it would be labelled anti-Semitic. If anyone believes anyone is funding terrorism and breaking Australian law, let them go to the police with evidence and the police will  investigate it.

“All this has absolutely nothing to do with the legitimate rights of the Islamic community to practice their religion in Australia through the certification of food as being halal and has absolutely nothing to do with the rights of Australian manufacturers to seek halal certification for the foodstuffs in order to sell them to Muslims.”

Additionally, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria has issued its own press release, condemning the Reclaim Australia rallies and the attacks on halal certification. It states:

“The campaign against Halal certification is in reality nothing more than an attack on religious freedom. The JCCV is concerned that such attacks, fuelled by ignorance and misinformation, could easily spread to other targets.”

Maybe Rundle would like to follow up his article with another one, perhaps one that considers the actions of the Jewish community, and looks at the likely impact of these public statements on the anti-halal/kosher campaign.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey