Olympics et al:

John Flitcroft writes: Re. “The cost of Olympic failure: sponsors, taxpayers ask if it’s worth it” (Friday, item 4). Your comments on corporate largesse in connection with the Olympics brings back memories of Sydney 2000. At the time I was a member of the board of one of the country’s largest superannuation schemes.

Being a significant investor in Telstra, our board was offered six packages for two to the opening ceremony with tickets of our choice to any of the events in the first week of the Games. A further six packages for two to the closing ceremony with tickets of our choice to any of the events in the second week of the Games were also offered. Superior accommodation at the hotel at Olympic Park was included.

The board, having a long-standing policy of declining all but trivial corporate gifts, resolved that we would offer the 12 packages to the members of the scheme by random ballot. This was an excellent opportunity to give something back to the contributors and also raise the profile of the scheme, particularly with younger members not inclined to take an interest in their retirement benefits.

Needless to say, Telstra was outraged by the suggestion and immediately withdrew the offer. As I watched both ceremonies on TV I wondered just how many in the audiences were enjoying their seats as a result of such arrangements.

Alastair McConnachie writes: Much as I agreed with the content of David Salter’s thoughtful piece on Olympic sponsorship and funding, the ageing pedant in me has to point out that, contrary to David’s reference to “our disastrous one-bronze showing in Montreal (1976)”, Australia in fact won one silver and four bronze medals at that barren Games. I recall watching distraught as the last chance of gold disappeared when our highly fancied men’s hockey team went down 1-0 against our occasional sporting nemesis, New Zealand, in the final that year.

Fair work Act:

David Hand writes: Re. Friday’s Editorial. When you say in your Friday editorial, “Perhaps it really is time for Abbott to listen to his colleagues and take a bolder position on IR”, you are having a group-left elite-wet dream.  Labor and the unions have so corrupted the industrial relations space with shallow election focused scare campaigns that the Coalition will not go near it with a barge pole.

The Fair Work Act will survive because any attempt to modify one minor aspect of the legislation will be met with Paul Howes or Bill Shorten running screaming from the room shouting “Boo! WorkChoices!” So we will have bad policy, to Australia’s economic detriment, as a sacrifice on the altar of Labor and union re-election strategy.

Too bad if the FWA is not fit for purpose, we are stuck with it.