The NBN:

Peter Wotton writes: Re. “Let’s admit it. People actually don’t get the NBN.” (Friday, item 1). What the critics of the NBN forget is the current copper network is currently decaying due to the increasing aging failure of the paper/lead insulation round the copper. The copper network may already be laid, but much of it will need to be replaced within the next ten years.

Then a very large slab of money will be required to maintain a system which will still be last century technology. Then there are the multitude of towers needed for the wireless network.

I can imagine the thousands of local pressure groups which will spring up to stop this sort of local visual pollution.


Martyn Smith writes: Re. “Coalition is playing hard, smart politics on the speakership” (Thursday, item 10). There must be a number of voters who would like politicians to stick by their word.

Tony Abbott during an interview with Kerry O’Brien (during the election campaign ) stated that “unless his promises were in writing they were not to be relied on,” or words to that effect. He famously did a u-turn on climate change. So of course did Kevin Rudd and look what happened to him soon after. It may be expedient for Abbott to renege on a commitment he made to the independents but I doubt that it is “smart”.

Abbott is beginning to resemble the person in the kid’s playground rhyme, “Liar. liar pants on fire!” I think it would be unwise to accuse a person whose title begins with “the honourable” of being untruthful and I don’t … however my nickname for him now is, “Hot Pants Abbott!” I think it suits him rather well.

Payroll tax:

Steve Applin writes: Re. “Tips and rumours” (Friday, item 7). Crikey published:

“When the WA College of Teaching was set up six years ago, the accountant assumed it was a state government entity and therefore exempt from payroll tax. Apparently the bill received from the ATO recently has a lot of digits to the left of the decimal point…”

Payroll tax is a state based tax and is administered by the Office of State Revenue, nothing to do with the ATO. Further, you need to  apply for an exemption, it’s not automatic.