Sanctimonious Tanner

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Crikey says: what’s the answer Lindsay?” (editorial, Wednesday). Of course there are some good points in Lindsay Tanner’s expose but also a lot of sanctimonious nonsense.

Just because Tanner had a blue with Gillard many years ago over a preselection matter he spat the dummy and jumped ship when she became PM, handed his seat of Melbourne to the Greens, took his extremely generous parliamentary pension then jumped straight into a megabucks job in the private sector.

Not for Tanner to model himself on say President Jimmy Carter and work for charity or to follow the example of more mature democracies and at least wait two years before using his knowledge of government to make big money. Oh, no. That would mean being a real democratic socialist. He prefers being a member of Labor’s “New Class”.

Tanner bemoans the lack of democracy within the ALP but when was the last time he took note of a member of the ALP “rank and vile” views within the party? My attempt to get him to use the real unemployment figures to get a better deal for the two million unemployed still remains unanswered yet he supported in Cabinet measures to make life even harsher for the unemployed.

Reporting on the reporting of reports

Blake Briggs writes: Re: “Report Whacking: your how-to guide on demolishing rubbish reports” (Wednesday). Great article generally. But having reviewed Ross Gittins’ recent coverage of the Australia Institute report I think you should be a little more even-handed in your criticism. Even Gittins will give a free kick to a report if he agrees with its message, even if the report itself is rubbish.

Unpacking Gittins’ analysis of the Australia Institute report as an example, Gittins chose not to point out that the AI report specifically ignored two Government measures announced in the 2012-13 budget and that had been implemented prior to the report being published in August 2012:

  1. The low Income Super Contribution, that rebates the 15% tax for those earning under $37,000, reducing their effective tax rate to zero; and
  2. The 30% tax rate on contributions for those with incomes over $300k, which will raise the government $1 billion in revenue over three years.

Considering the AI report specifically questioned the equity of the super tax concessions, you would think that the two above policies would be relevant? Or that someone like Gittins would question why they were not incorporated into the model? No, apparently not.

Critically, the Australia Institute report also simply chooses to ignore the tax receipts the government receives from the 15% earnings tax that is levied on the $1.4 trillion currently held by super funds. By definition you pay more earnings tax the more you have money in super, taxes that are (appropriately) directed at wealthier fund members.

The Australia Institute report actually counts super earnings tax as a $14 billion concession (half the total super concession). The report seems to assume that super savings would exist even if the super system were not in place. This is a logically absurd argument as the specific reason the system was created was because people were not otherwise saving.

Whilst I appreciate you holding shonky reports to account, please apply the same level of scrutiny to everyone.

Not all men are misogynists, promise

Garry Andrews writes: Re. “Women ‘getting pissed and making fun of men‘? Fabulous” (yesterday). Margot Saville’s fine account of the Ernie Awards, viewed in context of the woefully s-xist attidues regularly displayed by politicians, particularly in the US, crystallised in my mind just how tiring and depressing public life must be for women at times. I wholeheartedly encourage the practice of “getting pissed and laughing at men”, and ask only that you do your best to remember that not all of us men are thoughtless stone-age chauvinists. For your sake and ours!

The workplace where trust doesn’t live

Rod Macdonald writes: Not sure if it was Fred Daly (Martyn Smith in comments, yesterday), but I seem to recall that the response was more along the lines: “The Coalition is just the government in exile — the enemy/opposition is sitting behind you.”