Sophie Le writes: Re. “From the vault: what is poverty, and who is ‘poor’?” (Thursday). How much is enough for one person might not be for someone else. There’s a survey that found most Australians would be happy with an $80,000 income household, something people would consider middle class. On the contrary, an economic commentator dismissed this group of income earners as middle class, they’re more like working class to him although he did not seem as extreme as the American Republicans.

My friend is a social worker and the stories she told me about her clients are so strange that makes it hard to make sense of this world. The people who gambled and lost all the money are very smart at accessing the money which should not be in their hands. Half of the people she deals with sound like they need a life skill or a life management course. She has to take them here and there for appointments, to look for housing etc. My young girl can do that by herself.

The Liberals are considering lifting the free income threshold before they start reducing welfare payment. They or the government probably only need to rejig this area a little because the income tax free threshold has increased to around $18,200 a year. I can see Jenny Macklin chanting “yes we can”, and Adam Bandt holding the picket sign “no we can’t”.

Melbourne’s Myki

Gavin R. Putland writes: Welcome to the new year — in which Melbourne commuters can no longer buy single-use transport tickets or buy tickets on trams. If travelling without a ticket is an offence, and if the government makes it harder and harder to buy a ticket, there comes a point where the government is aiding and abetting the said offence. That can’t be legal. When it’s done by the government, it can’t even be constitutional.

Under the separation of powers, the executive branch of government is responsible for enforcing the laws. Therefore the executive branch cannot aid or abet breaches of the laws, and the legislative branch cannot authorise it to do so. More fundamentally, the mere existence of a constitution, or of a court, implies the rule of law, which cannot abide a situation in which the entity responsible for enforcing the law encourages breaches thereof.

If I’m right, the government is liable to a court order requiring it to provide more ways to buy tickets.

Abbott’s reading habits

Alan Baird writes: Abbott’s latest reading material gives a clue as to why his recent opposition efforts have been a total cock-up. He should have stuck to legal reports which I’ve found always have the desired effect.

The blood also tends to go in the right direction which is a big help in feisty interviews. Unfortunately, he seems to think that the reading the former is “doing important things” for the people of Australia, hence the prevalence of inane statements following a strenuous reading session.

Competition winner

Crikey writes: Thanks to everyone who took part in our 2012 reader survey and congratulations to Carrie Stoney from Victoria, winner of our Apple iPad Mini competition prize draw.