Newcastle Herald puts gallery to shame

Brian Mitchell writes: Re. “Accidental crusader: how a regional reporter prompted a royal commission” (Thursday). A regional journo on a regional paper struggling with massive resource cuts is instrumental in getting a royal commission into child s-xual abuse, yet the highly resourced, highly paid members of our Canberra press gallery don’t have the wit to get to the real underbelly of other stories of national significance. I think this might perhaps be the weakest, laziest and most immature press gallery we have ever seen, funnellers of gossip and press releases. With two or three notable exceptions, this crowd does the craft a disservice.

John Richardson writes: Joanne McCarthy: heroine and a genuine inspiration for us all.

What must be done on super

Peter Murray writes: Re. “The strangely malleable legacy of the Hawke-Keating years” (Thursday). The use of carrots and sticks is often required to give effect to government policy. However, they should remain subordinate to the purpose of the policy itself. Difficulty arises when the carrot takes pre-eminence over the policy, a felicitous example being the debate over the superannuation tax concessions. The STC has evolved or ossified into an “entitlement”; any mooted modifications being perceived as the government attempting to pilfer people’s hard-earned money. The failure of successive governments to revisit the concessions ongoing necessity, in relation to its underlying policy goals, has led to this perception.

The government must undertake three things to shift the debate and modify the STC:

  • Engage the public. Informing them of the issues and financial liabilities maintaining the status quo
  • Secondly, confront the vested interests and their fear mongering
  • Thirdly, reform the STC so it fulfils the overarching policy goals: a vibrant, sustainable and equitable superannuation sector.

The stakes are high, but both Labour and the Coalition understand the STC needs revision. Which party has the intrepidity to do so remains to be seen.

Quarter of a million not a struggle

Alan Baird writes: Re. “Crikey Decoder” (Thursday). Joel Fitzgibbon encapsulates perfectly the Labor disconnect with the real world. He claims folks on $250,000 are in danger of feeling fiscal pain, but when lowest paid workers are asking for an extra $30 a week it’s claimed to be “an ambit claim” by employers and Labor looks bemused and says “no comment”. The wealthy are poor and the poor are wealthy.

Google Nexus 7 winners

Congratulations to Carlene Colahan, Naomi La Get and Seamus Byrne, who have all won Google Nexus 7s. 

Peter Fray

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