On campaign laws

Rewi Lyall writes: Re .”Why do we vote like it’s 1999?” (yesterday). Sally Whyte hits upon a thought that crossed my mind just last night, as I wandered through the Cultural Centre in Perth and passed, scawled in chalk, messages exhorting me to ‘#[insert political party]’. ‘Where’s the authorisation?’ thinks I.

How is it a fair application of the law to allow a person to present material online such as a meme, which in days of yore would have been printed, to appear without authorisation but to require authorisation of another person who posts a poster (or scrawls in chalk, for that matter)? Neither is a paid advertisement, which appears to be the test the AEC’s applying to online material. Ping the latter for destruction of public property or what not, but leave the Electoral Act out of it.

On Rundle and the right

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Gerard Henderson writes: Re. “Rundle: the right’s funny farm yields a whole crop of crazy” (June 6). I note that Guy Rundle, my favourite Marxist comedian, is back on the circuit. On June 6, Comrade Rundle wrote that, on ABC TV last Sunday, I “was squeezed into one corner of the white Insiders couch, like Benjamin Button left at child services”. How funny can you get? By the way, on the previous occasion the hot seat next to Barrie Cassidy was occupied by Andrew Probyn. How about that?

Guy Rundle then made a reference to Rodney Adler, which was meant to embarrass me. I understand that Crikey’s editor provided a link in support of the Marxist comedian’s claim. Believe it or not, this was a speech delivered by Mark Latham to the House of Representatives in 2002. The Lair of Liverpool’s comments were covered by parliamentary privilege — he did not repeat them outside the House of Representatives. Latham’s 2002 claims about Anne Henderson and myself were wilfully false. When I tried to have them corrected in Hansard, the Lair of Liverpool and his mates prevented this. It’s called censorship.

I am genuinely surprised that Crikey would regard Mark Latham as an authority on anything much. As I recall, Latham gets a mention in Guy Rundle’s book 50 People Who Stuffed Up Australia where he is depicted as, wait for it, “demented”. By the way, Crikey did  not ask me about the truth of Mark Latham’s comments of over a decade ago. Crikey’s editor should be able to do better than run unchecked material. Especially since Crikey chairman Eric Beecher is forever lecturing about journalistic standards, including the need for fact-checking.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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