It’s not really about Muslims

Jane Paterson writes: Re. “Clowns to the left of me, jokers to my right: Muslims stuck in the middle of an uncivil war” (yesterday). Thank you for having space for Shakira Hussein’s opinion piece. A breath of rational sanity it is. I am biased because I can rarely watch Q&A for more than five minutes.I think it is shallow and not well directed. Also it tends to divide the issues between deserving and undeserving opinions.

Les Heimann writes: I am in furious agreement with Shakira Hussein. I also consider  Q&A a waste of time. Unfortunately my spouse doesn’t, so as she gets furious with the blather of the panellists I get furious with utter falsity of the whole thing and the cringe worthy attempts of Tony Jones to sex things up with his own so obvious and amateurish “gotcha” attempts.

He certainly succeeded with his Zaky “gotcha”. Look where that went. The fault is Tony Jones. Please ABC, get rid of him. If ABC producers are unable, unwilling or incapable of getting senior politicians appearing on the show to actually genuinely contribute to debate, don’t invite them, or get rid of the producers. The whole show is an itchy bum experience.

Terry Mills writes: I think you’re right. This has moved on to a wedge on Malcolm Turnbull who has repeatedly said that there doesn’t need to be a Q&A boycott. As Joyce told the Press Club, you either accept the dictate or put your job on the line. Now it’s for Malcolm to back down and look weak or stand up to Abbott and be forced to resign from the front bench and his ministry. Either way the PM wins.

Fits of outrage

Sarah Plowman writes: Re. “Lorna Jane puts the call out for a receptionist/model” (yesterday). I just wanted to inform you of your misinterpretation of the Lorna Jane ad that has received outrage. A fit model is an actual job title. It is not a “model who is fit”. It is a model of particular sizing that tries on clothes to provide feedback on their fit in line with Australian standard sizing. I applaude companies who do this because it ensures a size small is true to size, as is medium and large.
I would say that is also smart that Lorna Jane has advertised this as also a receptionist job. Fit modelling can be a small hours job if part-time and a receptionist at their head office would literally be right there when they need them. There is NO discrimination in their job description — they do not say the individual must be attractive, toned or athletic in any way. The measurements are the Australian standard for a size small, which is what being a fit model is all about.
Please get your facts straight before you mislead many people and cause backlash on a company that encourages feminism, equality, healthy body image and lifestyle. You just hurt the cause you’re claiming to defend.

Manufactured grief

Vincent Burke writes: Re. “Rundle: in Walsh’s death, a private act of mourning becomes a media event“. Whilst I think I agree with the message conveyed in Guy Rundle’s comment on the media response to the death of Phil Walsh — his article was so convoluted I got lost along the way — I’m in total agreement with his main point that the media yet again have played up the poignancy of this tragedy to a point of derision.  Adelaide’s Advertiser last Saturday devoted no less than 25 pages plus the front page and a full column editorial to this event.  Even though my interest in sport is limited, I share the sadness felt by so many people, but surely we have to put these issues into some perspective.

Geography slip-up

Adam Rope writes: Re. “Farmers shut out by Nats” (yesterday). No doubt many have already contacted you today about Glenn Dyer’s geographical sense, But last time I checked, being a new Novocastrian myself, the Liverpool Plains aren’t in the Hunter Valley. We’re known for wine & horse studs, not as the food bowl South West of Sydney.

Leave Tassie out of this

Richard Davoren writes: Re. “It’s the end of the euro as we know it (and I feel fine)” (yesterday). Jason Murphy’s article ends with a suggestion that Tasmania should have its own currency because, “It’s clear Tasmania needs a kick up the bum. If the economy as a whole was traveling as poorly as Tasmania’s , the Reserve Bank would be slashing rates faster than the Iron Chef chops up a daikon”. So?

This may be true but why pick on Tassie? There is a huge differential in performance between our major capital cities and the rest of Australia. Why not kick the bum of Ballarat, most of country South Australia, Townsville, or anywhere north of Burpengary in Queensland? The list of under-performing towns goes on. They are supported by their Capital’s wealth, either directly, or by overseas investment in extraction industries.

Tasmania is usually compared with NSW, VIC and so on, because it is a sovereign state. Tasmania is a region of 515,00 people, about 2.5% of the whole of the population of Australia. 515,000 people dispersed over an island, about the size of Ireland, largely isolated from the remaining population of Australia. Tasmania has the most regional and dispersed population of any state in Australia. Separate the Ballarat/ Bendigo region from Victoria, (similar population) put a 200km ditch around it and not provide proper access, reduce its funding, reduce Government employment in this new region, pay everyone at lower rates than the rest of Australia, then compare the resulting economy with the rest of Australia. See how poorly our new region would stack up against Tasmania!

Spend the sort of money that is spent on interstate roads on the mainland on the ferries and most of Tassie’s woes will be resolved. $800-$1000 for a return trip, for two, with a car, from Melbourne, is a disgrace.

One example of many: the Commonwealth is providing up to $6.7 billion through its Fix the Bruce Highway Policy over 10 years to 2022-23. Of Queensland’s 4.05 million population, all but 1.0 million, live in the South East. Less than half of that million are served by the Bruce Highway. The Bruce Highway therefore services a population similar to that of Tasmania. They have an existing highway, Tasmania has none. They have trains parallel to the road, Tasmania has none. $6.7 billion over 10 years would do wonders for Bass Strait shipping. Treating Bass Strait as a National Highway means that Tasmania should get a fair share of road funding, equivalent to its population size, not a handout at taxpayer’s expense.

When Jason Murphy tries to compare the economic performance of Tasmania, with other States (regions) of Australia, he should compare (pun intended) apples with apples.