Power to the people

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Cigs, public servants and visa charges to pay for Labor’s surplus” (Friday). Government, opposition and observers are all stuck on Howard’s outdated mantra. Human beings are not entries on accounts, they think and feel. They are by far the most intelligent creatures and they are therefore also equally capable of the greatest stupidities. Government budgets should not be seen as bean-counters’ playthings and as a means to public wealth but as a means to public wellbeing.

A stitch in time saves nine. As long as we spend money on measurable future benefits such as better health, better education, better infrastructure it does not matter whether the budget is in the red or in the black. If the best a Treasury can do is to push for extractive industries to provide employment as well as gain export dollars and in the process trash and poison land, sea and air, all that they will achieve is leaving a global garbage dump for our children.

In the early 21st century a budget’s main purpose must be to wean us from the frenetic, profligate, decadent, greedy rat race lifestyle of consumerism to a more gracious and sustainable way of life and work. The miasma of an overpriced, rapacious, crudely designed brick veneer overwhelming a bleeding countryside is not the way to survival.

Richard Creswick writes: Bernard Keane, analysing the government’s economic statement on Friday, wrote: “The government has also left itself a modest election warchest of around $1 billion in measures not yet announced, albeit with some large savings yet to be revealed.”

Here’s an idea, Perhaps Kevin Rudd could commit some of that to extending Defence Materiel Minister Mike Kelly’s largesse to military pensioners to encompass the hundreds of thousands of ComSuper pensioners whose pensions are indexed to the same CPI that  Kelly conceded had caused military pension incomes to diminish and, in the process, honour a promise Rudd made before his first coming as PM.

Such a promise might deflect the Superannuated Commonwealth Officers Association’s planned marginal seats campaign in 31  electorates, where its member numbers exceed the number of marginal votes.

Conditional surrender

Dylan Taylor writes: Re. “Abbott’s unconditional surrender on Gonski education reforms” (Friday). If you believe Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have genuinely “surrendered” on the Gonski reforms, you are kidding yourself.

It’s not only hypocritical after all they said about it, it’s also very deceitful because they are only promising four years funding, when we all know the majority of the funds come in the last two of the six years.

So it’s either a lie or a deliberate attempt to mislead the electorate into believing them.

Typically, the media seem to have fallen for the trick, and some of them are claiming Pyne and Abbott have “neutralised” education as an issue. Bah humbug!