October 7th 2000


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Articles from this issue:

Editorial: A lesson from the Olympics

Cover Story: Oil: who is blackmailing whom?

Canberra Observed: Freedom of religion or freedom from religion?

The Economy: John Stone's reflections on the declining dollar

Straws in the Wind: Long day's journey into night

The Media

Family: Long-term legacy of divorce

Letters

Defence: Regional crises require lift in defence spending

Comment: Globalism and democracy: the challenge ahead

International Affairs: West papua, the next East Timor?

Drugs: Compulsory treatment: Sweden shows the way

Britain: Whitewash over East German espionage in UK

Books promotion page

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Letters


by Various

News Weekly, October 7, 2000
Former RSL chief calls for tight quarantine controls

Sir,

I strongly support your article, "Free Trade: it's time to fight back" in (News Weekly, September 23, 2000), and find it hard to believe that our leaders would be so incompetent, and plainly ignorant of the consequences of the directions they have given to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) in regard to allowing importation of exotic fruits and animal diseases into our country.

I am also horrified and distressed at the way members of the National Party are currently, seemingly deliberately, setting out to destroy the agricultural industry in Australia. It is time for me to speak out.

The one thing this country has wisely protected, since the time of understanding the nature of disease, has been the prevention of many diseases entering into our "clean" country. Our pioneers understood the problems of importation of disease, and nobly fought to establish sound procedures against such threats. Are we now going to throw away the hard earned results of their labours?

Are we going to allow importation of rabies into Australia? Are we going to remove procedures to prevent the importation of malaria and similar diseases? Where do we draw the line?

To suggest these are "manageable" diseases is pathetic double talk, for the cost would be outrageously high, and as the nature of "bugs" constantly change, costly new programs would need to be developed, introduced, and then changed again and again as new forms of the "bug" emerge.

And for what? Manage a disease we do not currently have, and therefore, can prevent!

I am very familiar, as a medical practitioner over many years, of this type of problem that complicates management of medical diseases. We manage, at great cost, many diseases, some badly. This is because of the virulence and capability of many organisms to change their nature by mutation, and thus combat current treatments.

The wise answer always is to prevent the disease, and to fall back on means of control (management) only if prevention is not possible. Control is always second best in these circumstances.

Let me conclude by reminding our leaders that we the ex-servicemen, fought for freedom of this country, for freedom for future generations to be free to manage their affairs wisely within the bounds of democratic principles.

I believe that the National Party is unwisely throwing away this heritage given to it by the many who served, were wounded and died. The Party is on the wrong course, and I believe it must change its stance on these and similar issues that adversely damage our country, and especially our primary industries.

Digger James,
Spring Hill, Qld


Unbalanced criticism of S11

Sir,

The article written by Martin Sheehan, "S11 protests win few friends" (News Weekly, September 23), could have appeared in any of the Packer or Murdoch papers. I get enough praise and glory of economic rationalism and globalisation in the mainstream press without having to pick up News Weekly and read a completely unbalanced article.

News Weekly had better take note that it is no longer Left, Communist, Feminist, Greens, any more. Small business, small farmers, wage earners and ordinary working Australians have joined the fight against the élites at the top of the pyramid.

Up until 10 years ago, I believed in "The System" - that politicians of all persuasions were good Australians trying to do the right thing by for ordinary Australians. Not any more.

I am a small businessman who has never worked harder in my life, pays exorbitant taxation, and has no time to himself. I have never known small business to be in a worse position. The same could be said for the small farmer.

I would like to point out that I do not condone the projecting of ball-bearings, but there was not one mention in the News Weekly article about unprovoked police brutally streaming into sitting crowds with truncheons thrown and used. Some of these people were middle aged women who were anything but radicals but decent law-abiding people objecting to "bottom line" capitalism applied to every aspect of life.

The News Weekly article had no balance at all and didn't have any quotes from those attending the World Economic Forum belittling anyone who disagreed with their view of the world.

It is time the élites took a change of attitude and came to acknowledge that there are other ordinary people in the world who are coherent, intelligent and able to put views and opinions that will make the world a better place.

Please News Weekly, no more unbalanced articles that can be read in the mainstream propaganda media, otherwise you will have one less subscriber.

By the way, I am not a manipulated Marxist, Anarchist or Trotskyite but an ordinary small business Australian who voted for Tweedledee Liberal or Tweedledum Labor - both parties being controlled by those at the top of the pyramid.

Berrick Boyd,
Southport, Qld


ABC as scripted

Sir,

NSW Premier Bob Carr spoke for many Australians when he described Melbourne's S11 protesters as "bully-boy fascists". Yet to the ABC - and particularly ABC radio - they were just good-natured "victims" of police brutality!

Protesters were portrayed as "colourful", while forum participants were "dark-suited capitalists" (PM, September 11). Twice in the same bulletin S11 organiser David Glanz was given airspace for the identical, and highly suspect, claim of the protest's "success", a line which ABC interviewers then picked up and ran with, while a collage of protesters were interviewed to give a sense of "depth" to the outing.

Not once was the identification "Left-wing" or "Leftist" used in any of the ABC bulletins concerning S11 - notwithstanding Glanz's well-known Trotskyite past, and the coalition of loony Left groupies that S11 is known to represent. And this from a network so obsessive about the Right (always "extreme Right" in ABC parlance) in far-away Austria, and bordering on the hysterical in trying to pin an Indonesian connection to any militia activity in Timor. Here was blatant hooliganism, as the Prime Minister correctly called it, right before our eyes, and the ABC could only treat it as a carnival.

People can only hold their noses for so long. The odour of ABC bias is now so strong that it is surely time for the option of a Royal Commission to be considered. A similar high-level inquiry in Greece more than a decade ago came up with some astonishing revelations of ideology-driven media distortions. The dissemination of news and facts is surely too important to be left as the plaything of a narrow ideological clique.

Brenton Minge,
Balmoral, Qld


Harry Potter: a contrary view

Sir,

How did that article on Harry Potter ever get published in News Weekly (September 9)? And not one page but three full pages. I am not against wizards and witches in children's books. I grew up on them unharmed, but those books taught me of their evil nature.

Children should not be encouraged to identify themselves with these characters and their magic, but have the right to know the truth that they are forbidden by God's Law. See Exodus 7:11; Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10; 14, 2 Kings 21:6; Acts 8: 9-24; and, in particular, regarding the burning of books on magic, Acts 19: 18-20.

Alan Jacobs infers that "people will use these powers [of witchcraft] wisely, responsibly and for the common good". How can this assertion possibly be given credence in your magazine?

He greatly admires Rowling for "her refusal to allow a simple division of parties into the Good and the Evil". Here we have an example of moral relativism, which we did not expect to find in News Weekly.

According to Jacobs, technology has displaced magic when in fact people put more faith in magic than ever before. Witness the growth in New Age book sales, crystal healing, wearing of talismans, and the corresponding demise of morality.

Jacobs would have Christians reassured that Harry Potter books don't give "an overly positive portrayal of magic" because they acknowledge its potential danger, but that only serves to make even more exciting for the children at risk.

The parallelism between magic and technology is hardly a valid one, as technology, of itself, has no moral value, whereas magic is based on falsehood and evil, being diametrically opposed to the spirit of Jesus.

It is the self-redemption that is promoted in these books that is deceptive, and it is scandalous for News Weekly to be to be giving its "imprimatur" to these writings. In view of your usual pro-life stand I find this article disturbing and contradictory.

Angela Martello,
Lismore Heights, NSW


Flags of Convenience: the debate continues

Sir,

I am sorry but I judge Mr Brennan's latest comments (NW, September 23) about flags of convenience (FOCs), to be an extension of John Lennon's song Imagine. The views of the various trade unions and other vested interests desirous of a greater voice in both coastal and international crewing and ship management, which seem to parallel Mr Brennan's, are very well known.

Once we saw at sea beautiful NYK, Sumitomo and ANL ships. We no longer do and even Blind Freddie knows why. Mr Brennan's invocation of Rousseau's thoughts into the debate, changes its direction from one of shipping, into the realms of moral unorthodoxy. It was Rousseau's principles which bore fruit in the French Revolution.

If Mr Brennan wishes to justify his belief that FOCs are globally sinister by appealing to emotions, fine, but please permit me to exhibit here a few facts about the Erika and Sea Empress casualties, because these vessels are relied upon by Mr Brennan to bolster his spurious case against FOCs.

The report by the investigators into the loss of the Erika off the Brittany coast clearly points to misjudgement and mishandling of the initial crack in the ship's lower hull below the waterline, allowing the fracture to develop until the hull snapped in two, but that the crack itself would not have been enough to cause the ship to break up (May 2000, Marine Engineers Review).

The report says that unfortunately the ship's master misjudged the situation and that the steps he took worsened the position. The report also states that insufficient available shore support was also held attributable to the loss.

The 1996 disastrous grounding of the Sea Empress off Milford Haven also contained human error. The Sea Empress had a Russian master and crew. In 1993 the tanker Braer disastrously grounded off Shetland en route Norway to Canada. This was the result of the master taking an unusual shortcut on the voyage through very dangerous waters. The horrors of the Torrey Canyon and the Exxon Valdiz are still with us.

In none of the above tragedies has there been criticism of the ship's flag. In fact, the collective lesson from these and other tanker tragedies has been the long overdue tightening of Classification surveys and a doubling of design requirements in new tankers. Both Owners and Class are the villains and they must be held more accountable. It has nothing to do with the flag.

On July 10, 1995 the mv Iron Baron, a 37,500 dwt bulk carrier, operated and staffed by BHP and flagged by Australia, anchored off the Tamar River in Northern Tasmania. The master had been appointed to the vessel earlier at Port Kembla. He had previously served one six-week tour of duty on the ship as mate.

By the time the Pilot arrived upon the Bridge at 7.30 pm to assume control of the conduct of the vessel, the disastrous grounding could not be avoided (p. 23 Dept of Transport Report 83).

In fact the Canberra investigators reached scathing conclusions.

The above facts speak for themselves. BHP salvaged the poor stricken ship off Hebe Reef, towed her out to sea and scuttled her. They didn't even remove the lifeboats.

Until Owners and Survey Societies are held to account, with penalties involved, we will continue to have disastrous Iron Barons and Erikas, Mr Russell's misplaced fulminations about FOCs notwithstanding.

These are my last comments.

R.J.F. Hudson,
Noosa Heads, Qld




























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