Mitt Romney:

Joe Boswell writes: Re. “Rundle12: New Hampshire is Romney country, but not impressively” (yesterday, item 2). Guy Rundle’s piece attributed this direct quotation to Mitt Romney: “I enjoy firing people who provide services to me.”

That’s not what he said.

The correct quotation is significantly different. “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” Here’s the context. Is there anyone who seriously does not agree with the basic point?

The best thing about representative democracy is people can fire a representative that they don’t think is working well enough, and it is fundamental to a free market is that buyers can choose different suppliers. The alternative to the system Mitt Romney is talking about is a place such as North Korea, where you take what you’re given and it’s dangerous to complain.

Holden a minute:

Terry Quinn writes: Re. Yesterday’s editorial. Crikey wrote: “Australians fell out of love with Falcons, Commodores and other locally made sedans long ago.”

I suggest Crikey check its rear-view mirror: until last week the Commodore was so unloved it was Australia’s biggest-selling car for 15 years.

True, it’s long been a fleet favourite, but general sales figures speak volumes.

Scotland:

Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Scots contemplate an independent future” (yesterday, item 12). I don’t agree with Charles Richardson that the differences between Scottish independence and “home rule would be largely symbolic”.

An independent Scotland with its own foreign policy and its territory off-limits to the British defence forces (particularly the Royal Navy) would markedly change the world map.

An independent Scotland would be constitutionally free. It could retain the monarchy or not. A “home rule” government would be always vulnerable to being overruled, or even dismissed by Westminster.

An independent Scotland could change currencies. Recent events have shown that’s far from symbolic.

George Calombaris and work:

Don Wormald writes: I note John Richardson (yesterday, comments) likes to get personal with his Gerry Harvey business school crack. I assume he is either a public servant or an academic to have the time on his hands to do the calculations he presented us with in yesterday’s Crikey.

The real point in my piece, John, was the fact that over 30 years of being a seven-day-a-week retailer I have not once heard an employee defend penalty rates — my staff think the new rates ridiculous. Retailers, John, are generally not the Luddites you appear to believe. This one has even been a union delegate and strongly believes in minimum rates to prevent exploitation nor have I ever required staff to work on public holidays. It is in an employer’s best interests to treat staff well. Good people properly looked after perform better.

Also, John, for your information the goalposts have been moved. Until the (Federal) Fair Work Act most retail employees were covered by state awards. In New South Wales the previous award allowed for much smaller loadings on Sundays and public holidays. Those rates were affordable. It has been the recent federal legislation that increased the loadings out of all proportion.

I understand the Productivity Commission is examining those new rates due to concerns they are unsustainable.

Sam Kennedy writes: Isn’t it great that George Calombaris is getting all this free accounting/financial advice that obviously his accountant/financial adviser doesn’t seem to be able to give.

Peter Fray

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