Lara Giddings:

LM McIntire writes: Re. “‘So what if she doesn’t have a male handbag?’: female ex-MPs fight back” (Tuesday, item 2). According to Amber Jamison “When [Lara] Giddings was first elected at just 23-years-old, she was the youngest person ever elected to parliament in Australia”.

According to the Australian Parliamentary Library, Giddings was not the youngest person to be elected to any Australian parliament.  She wasn’t even the youngest person to have been elected to the Tasmanian Parliament: “William Neilsen (ALP, Franklin) was elected to the Tasmanian Legislative Assembly on 23 November 1946 aged 21 years 2 months”. Giddings was the youngest woman elected.

Sol Salbe writes: If Lara Giddings was indeed 23 she was elected, then she wasn’t the youngest person ever elected to  an Australian Parliament at the time. Both Andrew Jones who was elected to Federal Parliament  in 1966 aged 22 years and 184 days and Edwin Corboy who was elected to Federal Parliament in 1918 aged 22 were younger.

Cassandra:

Dave Horsfall writes: Re. “Strong dollar, shy consumers = inflation on the downside” (Tuesday, item 3). Glenn Dyer wrote:

“Again, the chorus of Cassandras in the markets and their “Rate Rise Looms” backing groups among the business and economic writers in the media were very much wrong.”

Dyer falls victim to the Cassandra myth. Yes, she prophesied doom and gloom, but was always right, and for this she was punished. And don’t even get me started on King Canute…

C’mon Crikey; get your act together, and tell your staff to actually learn some history instead of merely parroting what they’ve read in the tabloids. Next thing, you’ll be telling us that Vikings has horns on their helmets, because Hagar does.

Tax:

Gavin R. Putland, Land Values Research Group, writes: Martin C. Jones’s lengthy attack on me (Tuesday, comments) is surprising because I agree with about 90 percent of what he says. I must conclude that I didn’t make myself sufficiently clear (Monday, comments). Let’s see if I can do better.

Jones declares: “None of income tax, payroll, or GST target land, any more than they target airspace: they target people and what they produce. These activities happen to require land…” Right! That’s why I classify these taxes as being on “use” of land, in contrast to “ownership” of land (or indeed the land itself). The distinction between use and ownership is crucial.

He continues: “… the value of the land isn’t dependent on what’s actually done on it, it’s dependent on what COULD be done on it.” Right again! Therein lies the standard argument for taxing that value: what’s actually done on the land (i.e. the “use” of it) doesn’t affect the taxable value and therefore isn’t deterred by the tax.

“What does Putland mean by [using desirable land] ‘inefficiently’ — cramming the most people onto it?” On the contrary, I mean using it without providing much accommodation. What I call the “artificial shortage of accommodation” raises the price paid for that accommodation, which of course includes the price paid for the underlying land. When I complain that less desirable land is forced into use, I don’t mean that the desired use is “dastardly”; I mean that it shouldn’t be forced into such an undesirable location.

“And having desirable land command a premium over less desirable land, and a greater premium over even less desirable land — stone the crows!” says Jones. The point is that if the better land is used inefficiently, the worst land forced into use is worse than necessary, so that the premiums are higher than necessary. In that sense, Jones’s mocking term “price-gouging” is a fair description.

But I’m indebted to Jones for his feedback: I’d rather know I’m misunderstood than be misunderstood without knowing it.

Peter Fray

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