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Letters

Time for deeds, not

Time for deeds, not

words, from AFP

"BANK note and bribes: more arrests to come" (The Age, 2/7) is an extraordinary yarn. With the full weight of the Australian Federal Police spin team behind its media release announcing the arrests, it looks as if it has got something right.

Then again, the Wheat Board inquiry, the Bali 9, Dr Mohammed Haneef and various other matters involving the AFP, not excluding its colonisation of mainstream policing across Australia, also looked as if the AFP might live up to its own marketing as the premier law enforcement agency.

Policing organisations are measured by their deeds, not their words. I suspect the "bank bribes" matter has a long way to go. The AFP's competency will need to live up to a higher standard than it has in the past.

Often it appeared that by its standards, the ends always justify the means.

Dr Michael Kennedy, head of program, bachelor of policing, University of Western Sydney, NSW

Merger makes sense

SHAUN Carney's assertion of a permanent coalition between the Greens and the ALP (Comment, 2/7) makes sense. The Liberal Party formed a coalition with the then Australian Country Party in 1922 and has governed in a coalition for 41 of the last 61 years.

Look at the House of Representatives: the Liberals only hold 44 seats to Labor's 72, seemingly indicating little prospect of them holding majority government in their own right at any time in the near future.

As the major parties become more centrist and poll-driven, they will have no choice but to form alliances if they wish to hold government.

Given that the Greens' and the ALP's general principles are vaguely similar, and are more aligned than the Greens could ever be with the Coalition, it makes political and common sense (unfortunately, the two do not often go together) to consider a coalition. This would allow it to present a united face before the next election.

Paul Bugeja, Caulfield North

A steady decline

HOW long will it be before someone in the ALP realise that the wheels are falling off a once great political party? Support for it is down to 30 per cent of the primary vote. Now we have a leading union official Paddy Crumlin, president of the 4 million-strong International Transport Workers Federation advocating a return to commercial whaling (The Age, 2/7). After the next election, Labor will be able to have caucus meetings in Mr Crumlin's lounge room.

Hans Pieterse, Narre Warren North

Patience, please

THE grounding of Tiger Airways has caused huge problems for customers, but the customers' behaviour has been unreasonable.

Tiger could not have been expected to provide much notice to passengers who planned to travel on Saturday morning, as it was grounded at 11pm on Friday.

A chaotic night probably ensued as new travel arrangements were made.

Also, many customers seem to have forgotten that they paid next to nothing for their fares, yet they expect to receive the service of a normal airline. You get what you pay for.

James Baird, Hampton

Why we're NIMBYs

MATTHEW Guy, affordable living does not correlate with building on steep hills with ocean views at Spring Creek "Planning minister faces anger over Torquay plan" (The Age, 2/7).

This is compounded by the fact that a development for 60,000 people has been already approved at Armstrong Creek, a seven-minute drive away, on cheaper land.

It seems there is no point in the community giving its opinion on the Spring Creek development as 2328 written submissions and a 3000-person strong rally against it have fallen on deaf ears.

For a development as agressive as this, it is no wonder we are NIMBYs. The only people who are not are those who stand to make financial gain.

We may as well destroy Torquay by building a McDonald's and Bunnings at its entrance. Oh, right, that has been done.

Miyo Fallshaw, Bellbrae

But who will pay?

OF COURSE Hazelwood power station should close (The Age, 1/7). It was obvious ever since the Kyoto agreement in 1990.

Steve Bracks and John Brumby offered Hazelwood a new, 25-year contract in 2005.

So who will pay for the breach of contract now? The taxpayer, of course, not those who were responsible for the contract.

The money should come out of Bracks' and Brumby's parliamentary superannuation.

How can we expect to have responsible politicians when they are never held to account?

Graeme Taylor, Cockatoo

The Valley's history

MICHAEL Chopping (Letters, 2/7) is mistaken as to the events surrounding the privatisation of the generators in the Latrobe Valley.

According to the SECV annual reports and the 1993/94 Generation Victoria report, employment at the generators commenced falling in 1989/90, after the introduction of the SECV's voluntary redundancy scheme and prior to the Kennett government.

Numbers in the generation sector fell from 9900 in 1988/89 to 2950 in 1993/94. The Kennett government was elected in October 1992. Privatisation of the generators, which were owned and operated by the SECV, commenced in 1996.

Since privatisation, the fall in employment numbers has been small. It is government policy which has caused the reduction in the Latrobe Valley workforce in the 1990s, with privatisation being only a minor influence.

It will be government policy on carbon dioxide tax which will cause further hardship in the region.

John Bell, Ashwood

Back to the future

WE WENT to the Australian International Motor Show on Saturday to drool over vehicles not of this world. What an eyeful we got. I am not talking about cars but the impossibly young and attractive female "information providers" who worked the floor for the big car brands.

From my middle-aged perspective, they looked good. However, this marketing strategy harked back to the bad old days when women were merely objects draped over cars to make them look good.

Haven't we moved away from this clumsy sexism? Did these women need to be dressed like Kewpie dolls? Thankfully, most stands had regular men and women answering people's questions. I felt insulted, and just a little sorry, for those women who worked their hearts out for big business. The big car brands should pull the plug on sexism and use ordinary men and women.They might even sell more cars.

Brian Noble, Ferntree Gully

Animal welfare first

I APPLAUD Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig for visiting the Northern Territory to offer farmers a $30 million bailout "No quick fix for live export: PM" (The Age, 1/7). Like many Australians, I care about our hardworking cattle farmers' plight. However, we cannot sustain incomprehensible cruelty to animals, as was shown on Four Corners, in the process. Human beings are given jurisdiction over animals and with this comes responsibility for their welfare. If that cannot be achieved, the live export trade should be abandoned.

Susan Hudson, Huntingdale

A horrific trade

MOUNT Isa farm electrical worker Neil Byrne says: "I have $60,000 of equipment sitting in my shed. Where's my compo?"

Where is his business acumen? The cruelty has been going on for years, why did he and his associates not act?

I am happy to see some of my taxes pay for the feed necessary to keep animals in transit fed, but beyond that I have little sympathy for those involved in the industry. They have been making large amounts of money over the years and should divert some of those funds into getting themselves out of the hole they have dug for themselves.

Greens leader Bob Brown is right when he says the live export trade should be banned.

Greg Oates, Huon Creek

Penalties too soft

I WONDER if the war on drugs is rendered less winnable "Decriminalisation an option in an unwinnable war" (The Age, 1/7) because the users who provide the profit motive for drug lords are treated with relative benevolence.

It seems that when people are caught red-handed with drugs they are subject to warnings and diversion programs. That is hardly likely to strike fear into the hearts of the Mr Bigs who see the trickle-down of money become a flood. This motivates them and generates violence and corruption.

I do not understand why the users are not fined heavily and made to fund the "war" against the social ills they are perpetuating.

Philip Eagles, Mill Park


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