A slight surplus

Les Heimann writes: Re. “Labor’s obsession with surplus prompts a genuine mini-budget” (yesterday). At least this time the Labor government is not being blamed for being a little financially prudent. Economic circumstances being what they are this little mid-year hitch up relates simply to ensuring the result promised … a surplus, even if ever so slight.

However, one needs to examine the entrails of the economic beast Australia more closely. Here we find a pattern; a shift taking place at a convenient time where real Labor values are genuinely being pursued. Most of the financial woes have been visited on those either more likely to afford them or those whose previously undeserved financial bribes by the then world’s greatest Treasurer Peter Costello — are not seen as economic value added.

What I believe is now in the making for next year’s budget is a big spend on assets and people and this spend will be paid for by even higher taxation of those who can best afford same. Remember next year we have an election and thus economic philosophy will be writ large through Labor’s egalitarian tilt at job creation and education revolution — funded of course. No bribes will there be!

This of course is a delicious trap for the conservatives to trundle into crying less taxes, less regulation and no deficit … but what can they offer instead? GST on food and general GST at 12.5%?

Let’s give ’em a break

John Richardson writes: Re. “Post Armstrong, Australian cycling body eats itself alive” (October 18). “But as Australian legal academic Martin Hardie told me, ‘Matt White is not the problem here’,” reported Bob Gosford. Well Bob, I do think that the fabled Australian tradition of standing up for the underdog is important, but not when it is used to apologise and excuse the behaviour of every crook, cheat, charlatan and abuser who just happens to get caught.

We’ve been asked to weep for everyone from the convicted but misunderstood thug, Nick D’Arcy, to serious radio raves bully, Alan Jones; for convicted but victimised drug smuggler, Schapelle Corby, to the poor, defenceless & misunderstood new-age ex-priest and feminist, Tony Abbott, and we’re even been asked to show empathy towards the 14 traumatised members of the NSW Police who were involved in collectively subduing Roberto Laudisio Curti, killing him in the process.

The only person who we haven’t been encouraged to feel sorry for is Peter Slipper who, ironically; is about the only individual who I can think of who has demonstrated any understanding of what the term “accountability” actually means, by resigning from his position.

We now have sporting authorities and politicians talking about the need to “regulate” such that sportspeople aren’t “exposed to temptation”. Dear God, when will we grow up?

If we want our sportspeople, politicians, priests or ordinary citizens to be able to avoid temptation and act responsibly, how about bringing them up with some character, how about infusing them with a real sense of personal responsibility and a willingness to be accountable for their actions?

Matt White is a self-confessed drug cheat, but he only “confessed” after he was caught. Even then, he “stood down” from his posts, rather than accepting accountability and resigning.

As far as I’m concerned, Matt White and all the rest are not sorry for what they’ve done, but just for getting caught.

And therein lays the real problem that our society is not attempting to address.

P.S My sincere apologies to Adam Perrett, Trent Reznor and fans (comments, October 19) for not acknowledging Trent as the composer of the legendary song Hurt. I spent the weekend engaged in deep and meaningful self-flagellation.

Too much Hurt

Ben McMahon writes: Re. Ben Lohberger (comments, yesterday). To be pedantic in the original Trent Reznor version of Hurt — the lyrics are in fact “I wear this crown of sh*t” — it was changed in the Johnny cash version to a more radio friendly and arguably better “I wear this crown of thorns”. I think the Christian reference suited Cash more than the nihilism Reznor was embracing at the time he wrote it.