On 60 Minutes

John Richardson writes: Re. “60 Minutes is an hour of ratings gold” (yesterday). Hurray! Nine’s 60 Minutes team is safe. Bring on the dancing girls. Meanwhile, the team allegedly paid by Nine to kidnap those children appear to have been abandoned to their fate. If I hired someone to commit a crime and they were caught, I would be charged lickety-split just the same as those who had acted on my orders. Is it really that hard to understand why the media is held in such contempt when, on the one hand, it sees itself as being above the law, while on the other, it is prepared to cynically abandon its own? Talk about bottom-feeders.

Doug Foskett writes: Just reading your teaser at the start of today’s issue and I am somewhat bemused at your description of what happened in Beirut as a “kidnapping”. Can a mother kidnap her own children when she has been awarded custody of them in the Australian courts? It seems to me the only “kidnapping” has been by the father but then again you have to ask the question — can a father kidnap his own children?  The issue is somewhat more complex than can be distilled in a single word.  All that said, I think Nine made a serious misjudgement getting involved in this situation and I can only hope that whatever “compensation” they have paid to secure the release of their employees will be used for the benefit of the two children.

On climbing Uluru

Mungo MacCallum writes: Re. “Stop climbing Uluru. Just stop.” (yesterday). Many years ago, before the indigenous takeover of the rock, one of the traditional owners said to me that he had not objections to tourists climbing Uluru, but there was one proviso: they had to do it in rollerskates.

David Arthur: Oh goodness me Chris Watson, spare me this sanctimonious clap trap. This “Don’t Climb Uluru” has taken on a life of its own, championed by the usual suspects — most unconnected to the reality of the rock. I’ve visited Uluru a number of times and I’m yet to see an Indigenous person at the usual visitor hang-outs. I know that there is a gated Indigenous community nearby, but with my visits, their connection with visitors was not evident. In fact a visitor could not enter the community without a permit. It has always struck me as strange that Uluru’s visitor’s centre, substantially devoted to the Rock’s geological history and its Aboriginal connection, seems to be entirely manned by overseas young people on working visas. Stranger still are very pleasant young Asian and Europeans explaining local Aboriginal history and customs to the many tourists as they wander through the visitor precinct. It is my strong memory that most visitors did not give second thought about climbing the Rock — it was what they came to do.