On Chinese influence in Australia

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Clive Hamilton and his (mildly justified) conspiracy theory”  (Wednesday)

Discussing Clive Hamilton’s claim that the USA has never threatened Australia if we didn’t “toe the line”, Bernard Keane says the US never threatened Australia simply because there was never any need; generations of Australian political leaders voluntarily and enthusiastically toed USA’s line.

Both Keane and Hamilton appear either to forget Whitlam’s threat to close the Pine Gap spy facility or else believe it provoked no American response, so there is no truth in suggestions the USA played any part in the dismissal of the Whitlam government. For example, see Guy Rundle in Crikey “Proving the CIA-backed conspiracy that brought down Whitlam”  or this piece by John Pilger.

On the Monash group

Geoff Edwards writes: Re: “Abbott and his Monash morons should quit the Libs” (Wednesday).

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Given that Bernard Keane frequently reminds us of the shortcomings of neoliberal economic policy, it is surprising to read that government has “no business” in power generation; and that privatisation has been an “ultimately successful example of policy bravery.”

Successful? If any field of policy can rival the NBN for disarray, east coast electricity has to be a prime candidate. Of course, not all the regime’s dysfunction can be blamed on privatisation. It can’t be blamed for the failure of the National Electricity Market’s rules to factor in the entirely foreseeable rise of emissions imperatives and the rapid advance of renewable technology, but privatisation of the large generators has hobbled the ability of governments to now adjust policy to meet contemporary imperatives.

Successful? How much has gifting market and political power to private generators cost the economy in the decade since they sabotaged Kevin Rudd’s efforts to establish an effective emissions trading scheme and entrenched the operation of ageing coal-fired generators? Under true cost accounting, quite likely billions.

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.

Liz
North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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