ASIC v Telcos

Chief Executive Officer of Internet Australia Laurie Patton writes: Re. “ASIC still able to wield its magic hammer online” (yesterday). Internet Australia said the recommendations on S313 of the Telco Act are a step in the right direction because they are. We’re not satisfied that they go far enough, but if they are implemented there will be at least two major improvements. Firstly, the agencies using S313 will be required to actually understand how the Internet works so that they don’t stuff everything up when they act like ASIC did a couple of years ago. Secondly, their use of S313 will be made public, so we can all judge if they are using the provision reasonably or not. Importantly, we have asked to be involved in the development of the “guidelines” recommended by the committee. That’s where we hope to be able to further influence things and to better judge how big a step forward.

On the death of Joan Kirner

Anne Coulthurst writes: Re. “How Jeff Kennett stole credit for Joan Kirner’s reforms” (yesterday). Poor Joan Kirner, a victim of Liberal spite to the end! Although I didn’t really know her, I read that on her forced leaving parliament after 12 years due to increasing problems with osteoporosis as her bones collapsed and the pain increased, she was denied any pension, not having served the 14 years required. However, she later said that she thought that an exemption might be made for her, given the poor state of her health, as it had been for others in the past. Not so.  The True-Blue Gentlemen of the Liberal Party, including, later, premier Ted Baillieu, all declined to ‘intervene’, even as Joan’s health deteriorated further, including waking up partially blind one morning and then contracting cancer. Her last years were terrible ones. Such a petty and despicable lot Victoria’s Liberals are.

On Muslim children

Keith Binns writes: Re. “Children cast as ‘demon spawn’ in Abbott’s vaudeville anti-terror play” (yesterday). Shakira’s comment that the children’s responses indicates that they have probably come to expect hostility from strangers on the street is very sad. It reminded me of something that Desmond Tutu related. The start of Desmond’s journey to his Nobel Peace Prize began when he was a small boy when Trevor Huddleston, a white Anglican priest, would lift his hat to Mrs Tutu when he met them in the street. That simple act of respect began his journey. What journey are those kids beginning when they only meet suspicion and hostility?

Peter Fray

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