On Hockey v Fairfax

Paul Cameron writes: Re. “Bad judgment: Hockey defamation case a costly mistake” (yesterday). This is a discreet point but as a Costs Lawyer, maybe a should get advice next time you publish something regarding legal costs. Most lawyers do not fully understand costs either as it is discreet area of law. Hockey will never get all his costs as costs were awarded on a “party and party standard basis” which is about 70% of his costs that he will pay his lawyers (Solicitor and Own Client Basis) or recover on on a “party and party  indemnity basis” (most of his costs).

John Richardson writes: Re. “Sorry Joe, you’re not the little guy” (yesterday). Joe Hockey’s special pleadings reminded me of the former state liberal member for Mosman in NSW, Phillip Smiles, who was forced to resign from parliament in 1993 in response to “Nannygate”, where he was convicted of tax evasion after trying to claim the cost of his childrens’  nannies as a deduction. Anyway, having been brought low, Smiles wrote a wretched letter to the editor of the local paper, bemoaning how hard-done-by he was after he had sacrificed everything in his service of NSW taxpayers; to the point that he couldn’t even afford to buy a suit to enable him to look for work. I promptly responded to Smiles letter expressing heartfelt sympathy for his situation and offered to buy him a new suit — if he would stop writing letters to the paper — but I never heard from him. It’s an automatic response from every phoney these days to cast themselves as a “victim”; in particular self-absorbed politicians.

Let them all come … or not

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Labor on turnbacks: moral conundrum, political no-brainer” (yesterday). Labor does not have a clear conscience on the subject either, but they did not start it nor did they take inhumanity to such lengths. Howard and Reith started it with the Tampa affair and attendant lies about children being thrown overboard. With the excuse of trying to save lives by stopping the people smugglers’ death trap boats, they appealed successfully (with Murdoch’s help, of course) to the most narrow-minded and intolerant section of the electorate. Being scared of Murdoch, both Labor governments kept up the iniquity.

The solution is simple, reminiscent of all of us immigrants other than the first Australians and incomparably cheaper to the taxpayer. By increasing the Asylum Seeker intake to 40,000-50,000 p/a, they will still only comprise a small percentage of our annual immigrant intake. Yet, the figure will be large enough to put the people smuggler gangsters and their deadly cockle shells out of business by assuring the asylum seekers a sympathetic hearing in their holding camps in Indonesia and elsewhere with the expectation of a welcome which so many of us have received in the pastm and seeing that the additional infrastructure expenses due to the extra intake costing only a fraction of the current horror, with a considerable saving to the tax payer.

PS: Yours truly arrived here as an Asylum Seeker in more hospitable times and was pleased to serve with the Aussies in WWII.

Chris Davis writes: Bravo Bernard — that is spot on. No one has been able to riddle me the solution that makes people flying halfway around the world then paying thousands to get on a boat for the last leg acceptable to centre Australia.

The cost of being a true believer

Steven Whybrow writes: Re. “Turn back the delegates?” (yesterday). I put it down to the airlines having people over a barrel when there is something big on. I am flying to Melbourne from Canberra tomorrow with my two kids to see Real Madrid play Manchester City at the MCG.  I suspect that I am not alone in flying into Melbourne tomorrow for that reason. When I booked several months ago the airlines were already onto the fact of a “big event” and a return “cheapie” flight was nearly $600 when normally it could be had for about $300-$400.

Last Friday I checked what it would cost to the same flight at the “last minute” of one week out.  To leave Canberra at 5:45pm and retune the following morning at 11:45am was going to set me back $1030 per person — or $3090 for me and two kids to get a return trip to Melbourne. Out of curiosity I checked what it would cost to fly to Singapore from Canberra that same day, returning on the Sunday.  $1300 per person return.  Basically $150 each way extra to get to Singapore than to Melbourne , and that was going via Melbourne. Gotta love supply and demand.

On the zombie RET

Ian Lowe writes: Re. “Shorten’s Super-RET: dumb economics, but smart politics?” (Wednesday). At least on this one issue, there will be a genuine choice for voters at the next election.The Greens want to see 90% renewables by 2030 and the ALP 50%, while what the Coalition wants is not clear.The PM apologised to Alan Jones for only being able to reduce the 2020 target from the legislated 20% to about 16%. What the planetary climate system wants is about 100%, but at least there is now a serious move to transcend the ridiculous direct inaction plan which will embarrass Australia at the December Paris talks.