Letters to the Editor

October 26, 2007

NZ police raids

In his article in GLW #728 on police raids in Aotearoa [New Zealand], Stuart Munckton wrote: "Sam Buchanan, one of the four arrested in Wellington following a raid on an anarchist organising centre, told the NZ Herald he was in disbelief at the charges, as he was a pacifist. Buchanan told the NZ Herald that, during the raid, police smashed a glass door he is expected to replace himself."

I wasn't arrested, I didn't say I was a pacifist, nor was anybody else at the house, and the door was the least of my worries, given several friends are in prison and Tuhoe have been again invaded by the colonial state. The capitalist media seemed to think the broken window was a big deal for some reason and kept asking about it.

By the way, the biggest demonstration so far against these raids was in the small town of Whakatane, where over 1000, mainly Maori, marched.

Sam Buchanan

Via email


As an Aboriginal woman I have to say it seems that many politicians have no compassion — Bob Brown, Michael Mansell and now Kevin Rudd. Rudd is going to bring back CDEP but is he going to keep the fight against child abuse alive. Child abuse is not cultural. The National Aboriginal Alliance, it seems, is overlooking the fact that many of our children are in abusive families. Is the NAA just another white fella political group?

Jenie Mcgrath

Slopen Main, Tas

Big business control

"I believe that the greatest service that could be done to Australia today is to remove from control of its affairs the direct representatives of big business and monopolised interests." Those words were spoken by Eddie Ward, the MP for East Sydney, in the budget debate in the federal parliament on October 3, 1941. They remain just as relevant today as they were 66 years ago.

Bernie Rosen

Stathfield, NSW

East Timor

Wouldn't it be something if, instead of a bribing war to win the federal election, we had the two sides trying to show what an Australian government is prepared to give to help our near neighbour, East Timor?

East Timorese leaders have called repeatedly for Australia to give educational help to East Timor. How about 1000 scholarships to Australian universities? Cuba, with a
fraction of Australia's wealth, is training 1000 East Timorese to become doctors, with 300 of its own Cuban doctors treating the sick and preventing illness in East Timor.

So, having gained too much of East Timor's oil, are Labor and the Coalition prepared to give it back?

Stephen Langford, Jeff Lee, Gai Smith, J. Pollard


Voting Green

Margarita Windisch (Write On, GLW #728), is right in that it is a step backwards to suggest voting Green will do a thing about global warming.

The way the past three months have turned out, with Melbourne's rainfall only a quarter of pre-1997 averages, we are really heading into a stage of runaway climate change. As Melbourne's rainfall over the past eleven years has fallen to 60% of pre-1997 averages and seems likely to fall far, far further, northwestern and central-western Australia have been soaked by rains up to 80% above pre-1997 averages. (Did you know that since 1997 Wiluna, in outback Western Australia near that state's geographic centre, has received more rain than Melbourne. Before 1997, Wiluna received about a third of Melbourne's rainfall).

The major parties are as bad as ever. Rudd's planned West Gate Freeway widening (announced today on the news) is proof Labor will be no different from the Liberals on global warming. If they were, his policy would be:

•Immediate cut off of all funding for widening or building roads •Conversion of freeway reservations to fully protected status •Electrified rail expansion to beyond the outer suburbs of all capital cities (say, to at least Geelong, Ballarat and Kyneton) •Standardisation of the national rail system and development of a first-rate, fully duplicated nationwide rail network.

Julien Peter Benney

Carlton, Vic


Federal Health minister Tony Abbott's offer to allow GPs to order MRIs is just another example of a dysfunctional health-care system. Current waiting lists in our children's hospitals for non-urgent MRIs is three months. It is nearly four months in our adult hospitals. It is true that allowing GPs to order MRIs will help shorten that waiting list, but why are our public hospitals so poorly resourced that they cannot provide services to all the pensioners and low income Australians that cannot afford private health insurance?

This is just another example of using public taxes to put money into the hands of private radiologists. Kevin Rudd is correct: We need to adequately fund public hospitals to do their job.

Dr Colin Hughes

Swan View, WA

Iran sanctions

Despite the fact that the US balance of trade lies in a perilous state, the US has today decided in favour of tough sanctions against Iran. The reason the US took this action is Iran's alleged intention to obtain nuclear weapons and that it is allegedly supporting terrorism. Ring any bells? Yes, exactly the same reasons were given for the illegal invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq with the loss of over 1.2 million lives.

The allegations once again are untrue and not based on intelligence or reality. What is consistent however are the real reasons for this action — control of oil reserves and an attempt to defend the US dollar in its declining position as the world's reserve currency used for oil transactions.

I don't expect these sanctions to work. I don't think even the US government expects them to work. I can't see the Russians, Chinese, Indians or even the European Union refusing to buy Iranian oil because of the tantrums of a mad US president.

But, nevertheless, they are a sinister development, a step the US government needs to take in the first instance as a prelude to a military attack.

Perhaps we, the citizens of the world, could demonstrate to Bush that sanctions can be effective under certain circumstances and for the right reasons. The power is in our pockets — we don't have to buy US-made goods, or goods produced by US-owned subsidiaries. There's always an alternative.

Let's hit the Americans in the place it hurts the most, in the trouser pocket area, so they can appreciate in just a small way how sanctions can be painful. You never know it just might bring them to their senses.

Michael Lee

Oxford, England [Abridged]

The 'Great Debate'

I have heard and seen reports in a number of media that the decision by the National Press Club to agree to the absence of the "worm" in the TV debate between Howard and Rudd amounts to a kind of censorship and a limit on the freedom of speech or freedom of political expression.

With the state of politics in this country, the last thing we as citizens who need to exercise a well-considered decision on who we believe should govern on our behalf and in our interests, is another gimmick that reduces our opinions to a worm moving up and down a screen to supposedly match a collective response to the content of the speaker in the debate.

I watched the entire debate on the ABC and actually found it to be of a high standard politically. That is not to say that I agreed with everything that each leader said but the ideas were put in a sufficiently clear and coherent manner in which they could be easily understood. Then people could agree or disagree with what was being said and form their opinions on the politics being offered.

There were many obvious overlaps of policy ranging from the need to be tough on terrorism, border control, tax reform, clean coal (Kevin Rudd can't help himself coming from Queensland — the heart of coal country!), the importance of trade with China and water.

There were differences between the two leaders on industrial relations, the decision to go to war on Iraq, mandatory renewable energy targets and reconciliation with Aboriginal Australians.

Each Australian needs to decide whether these policies will be good not only for themselves as individuals but also collectively as a nation of voters.

The use of the worm was unnecessary and did not contribute to a thoughtful and considered analysis by voters of what each candidate had to offer.

Richard Titelius

Ballajura, WA [Abridged]

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