When there is custom, businesses will open

Richard Davoren writes: Re. “Hunting for the penalty rates evidence proves a tricky task” (yesterday). I refer to Bernard Keane’s article, where he quotes: “Lots of business figures and commentators claim that many businesses in the hospitality and retail sector don’t open on Sundays because it is too expensive to do so.”

The real reason is that there are no customers on Sundays where the business operates. The only hospitality businesses that I see closed on Sunday in Hobart are those that primarily cater for the people who work nine to five, Monday to Saturday, in the city. I am sure it is the same in all our cities. Why open if there are no customers? Where there is custom, they open. It is just a ploy to reduce part-time wages.

Meanwhile, in the real world

Peter Burnett writes: Re. “Saville’s Shout: Balmain preselection … Biennale boycott stupidity …” (Monday). Your editorial huffs and puffs about “righteous hypocrisy”, and Margot Saville says that protesting artists should stop their boycott of Transfield and the Sydney Biennale and get back to the “real world”.

Is this the real world where the Australian government cuts $650 million from the overseas aid budget this financial year, while giving Transfield $1.2 billion to run detention centres in the Pacific islands? Where we’ve just cut tens of millions of dollars from our grants to poor Pacific Island communities and the humanitarian and disasters budget? The world where this year’s aid budget for global environment programs has been cut to zero (i.e. zilch, nada, nothing)?

I’m sorry, but a lot of us who live in the real world (and not the cloistered world of Sydney arty-farties) don’t believe in rewarding a major Australian corporation that uses community funding as a tax write-off, at the same time they’re hitting taxpayers for $1.2 billion!

Why Hockey would understate the economy

Ian Lowe writes: Re. “Cheer up, Joe: why the economy is doing better than Hockey says” (Friday). There are two reason for Joe Hockey to overstate the problems of the economy. One is the traditional political strategy of blaming your predecessor; effectively he is saying that the main reason they are doing a bad job of running the economy is the mess they inherited from their predecessors. The second seems to be that it justifies their attempt to take environmental protection back to pre-Whitlam days and licence a whole pantheon of irresponsible projects, from Queensland export coal mines to allowing loggers and graziers into national parks, allegedly all needed to confront the economic emergency we face. It is transparently dishonest.

Peter Fray

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