The Budget and working families:

Jim Hart writes: Re. “The first Swan budget — how it rates” (Special Budget edition, item 1). For once I listened to the budget speech and what I heard was: “Mister Speaker working families – five billion dollars over four years (hear, hear). Mister Speaker working families – ten billion dollars over five years (hear, hear). Mister Speaker, working families by 2009-10 (hear, hear). Mister Speaker, working families – twenty trillion dollars by 2018-19 – more working families (hear, hear). Mister Speaker, working families (hear, hear). Mister Speaker, working families, I commend this budget (hear, hear).”

Justin Templer writes: Pre-empting today’s bumper stickers…

Labor’s Budget attack on tall poppies:

Greg Samuelson writes: Re. “Gottliebsen: Labor’s attack on tall poppies” (Special Budget edition, item 4). If the victims of the cyclone in Burma and the earthquake in China think they’re doing it tough, just wait until they get a look at yesterday’s Robert Gottliebsen column about what Wayne Swan’s budget is going to do to middle and higher income earners in Australia. That’ll put things into perspective for them!

Crikey’s Budget coverage:

Mike Harvey writes: Re. Yesterday’s Special Budget edition. What a load of drivel from purported genuine journalists. Please lift your game.

Westpac’s St George takeover:

Don Mooney writes: Re. “Big ethical questions for Westpac’s Gail Kelly” (yesterday, item 1). Someone should ask the Bank of Melbourne customers and staff if Westpac can be trusted to keep their word on previous merger history. Personally, I am very sceptical and cannot see how this merger will benefit Australia in the short or long term.

Employment figures:

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. Niall Clugston (yesterday, comments) who wrote: “Marcus L’Estrange has a point when he says the official figure understates unemployment. But his argument doesn’t clearly differentiate between unemployment, underemployment, and voluntary casualisation. The fact is that employment status is really too complex to be summed up in any single figure.” Due to space reasons my article was edited so the full article would have satisfied Neil and presumably others. In essence I am saying that there are 1.75 million unemployed and on the dole PLUS a minimum of 400,000 plus who are working part time but want more work. I am not sure what Neil means by voluntary casualisation. Finally the ABS surveys (plural) mentioned by me do precisely what Neil claims cannot be done so Neil needs to actually read the surveys.

Tiger airways:

Aaron Greenup writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 6). Crikey published: “I wondered how Tiger airlines could afford to sell tickets … but now I know. Sell the tickets but don’t let the passengers on the plane!” I’ve travelled on Tiger and they are very specific about the arrangements, if your not there on time you miss out. You can check in up to two hours before and the flight closes 45 minutes prior to takeoff. So if you banked on checking in 30 minutes prior it’s your own fault, they make it very clear!

Jack Gibson:

Alan Kennedy writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (yesterday, item 6). Whoever wrote the prissy breathless chat about Jack Gibson and News Ltd must not be from NSW where every man and his dog was an SP bookie until they finally set up the TAB. Every pub in the city had an SP as did all the newspapers in which I worked. The only people opposed to the TAB’s arrival were the coppers who missed out on their weekly sling for turning a blind eye. They were opposed to illegal casinos for the same reason. And running a two up school was also an honest way of making a quid in the meaner streets of inner Sydney. Gibson was a product of his times and News Ltd should honour him by naming the award after him. A genuine Australian character, a great coach and a master of the one liners: “waiting for Cronulla to win a Grand Final is like leaving the porch light on for Harold Holt” and “That team was in this game right up until they finished the national anthem.”


Robert Kennedy writes: Re: Daniel Lewis et al on Harold Thornton (yesterday, comments). Ahh Daniel, moral relativism is not a good defence when judging the behaviour of men. Is one murder less deserving of opprobrium than two? I think not.

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