November 12th 2011

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Articles from this issue:

CANBERRA OBSERVED: What really lies behind the Qantas dispute

EDITORIAL: The carbon tax: Gillard's last stand?

THE ECONOMY: Australia must change to maintain its prosperity

MURRAY-DARLING BASIN: Next Basin plan faces further community rebuff

COVER STORY: Why families struggle to afford a home

ABORTION: Global initiative to protect the unborn

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Russia enacts new law to restrict abortion

MIDDLE EAST: How the West misreads Middle East dictatorships

MEDICAL SCIENCE: Deaths from AIDS omitted from inquiry

OPINION: Housing regulations killing the Australian dream


BOOK REVIEW Visionary premier who transformed a state

BOOK REVIEW The history we neglect at our peril

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News Weekly, November 12, 2011

Libyan retribution


If you start as you mean to go on, then the recent execution-style barbarism, replayed repeatedly on our television screens, cannot bode well for “new” beginnings in Libya.

Irrespective of the wrongs that have gone before, two wrongs still don’t make a right. Media coverage showed Colonel Gaddafi, first being held and pleading with his captors, then being apparently beaten, with bloodied face. Finally, there were reports that he was presumably dead or else dying and his body dragged behind a vehicle through the streets.

Additional footage of Gaddafi’s son’s apparent final moments before his execution also raises questions about any change in Libya’s policy on justice or ruling process.

If these barbaric and hysterical thugs are the “better alternative”, I’m not sure our leaders are backing a good choice for Libya at all, with their immediate promises of support and assistance to the new regime in the face of such public brutality.

The reported public display of Gaddafi’s corpse on the floor of a supermarket freezer has shown clear contempt for the so-called religious beliefs held by both Gaddafi and the barbarians who have ignored their own Muslim requirements for burial within a prescribed time limit.

During the French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s oration on these events, instead of thinly-veiled smirks from political staffers, off-the-cuff remarks from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or sporadic applause from President Obama, Prime Ministers Cameron and Gillard and Opposition leader Abbott, it may have been more appropriate if our leaders had called for calm and an end to such violence in order to produce a better Libya in the future.

The strangest remarks however, were attributed to Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd who claimed that Australia was “proud” of its role in helping Libya achieve “liberation”.

Perhaps it is appropriate for the Foreign Minister to release information on just how Australia has influenced or participated in achieving this “liberation”, especially given the manner of its final execution.

I feel no pride in such barbarism towards any individual and have concerns about the effects of such inflammatory statements on an already volatile population.

Margaret Menzel,
Ayr, Qld


Shopping hours I


It was stimulating to read Greg Byrne’s letter (News Weekly, October 29) on the desirability of leaving retailing employees to their fate in the marketplace for wages — as stimulating as chewing on aluminium foil with a metal filling.

Apart from the shallowness of his economic appraisal of the dynamics of wages, the implications of his views for ordinary Australians is chilling.

I guess Greg and I must both share above average wages, because he obviously has not experienced the horror of not being able to support his family despite working as hard as he can.

On the other hand, I recognise that my salary is a gift from God that I do not deserve, and it comes with the obligation to use it for His purposes, especially to help those in need.

I only wish I could do more. Greg seems hell bent on doing less.

Dr Garrick Small,
Associate Professor,
Faculty of Arts, Business, Informatics & Education,
Central Queensland University,
North Rockhampton, Qld


Shopping hours II


Greg Byrne in his letter (News Weekly, October 29) claims that it is none of our business how poorly retail workers are paid or treated, and that this should be left to the market.

Unfortunately, the market has no morals and very limited vision. That’s why we had the global financial crisis.

Retail workers have families and social responsibilities, for example getting involved with their children’s education, sport groups, working bees, charities, and church groups, etc. To do these things they need a fair wage and reasonable working hours.

It’s also interesting to note that many of those who supported increased trading hours are now bleating about penalty rates.

Mr Byrne claims the main cause of unemployment is that labour is too expensive. Has he ever thought that labour, health and environmental standards in China and India are too low? Would he be happy to work in one of their sweatshops, swim in their polluted rivers or breathe their polluted air?

Marc Schellekens,
Drouin, Vic.


Gaming machines


I don’t like Tony Abbott’s pledge, seemingly made off-the-cuff and without shadow cabinet clearance, to throw out entirely the Gillard Government’s proposed gaming machine reform legislation.

I am not fond of independent MP Andrew Wilkie, but pokie gambling is and always has been a real tragedy for some people and families — and, more to the point, “everyone knows” this.

Regardless of whether anything can be done which has a realistic chance of making a difference, Tony’s response as reported and seen on television has been glib, cavalier, uncaring and facile.

It suggests that he either isn’t aware of, or doesn’t care in the slightest about, what pretty well all ordinary Australians do know about and do, in a back-burner sort of way, care about.

That’s regrettable.

Colin Jory,
Narrabundah, ACT

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