Howard had no GST mandate

John Kotsopoulos writes: Re.”From class warfare to patriotism — the hypocrisy of Abbott’s ‘mature debate‘” (yesterday). Bernard Keane implies that John Howard’s decision to take  the GST to the 1998 election gave him a mandate that Labor ignored.

Yes, Howard won the majority of seats and hence achieved government in 1998, but it remains a more relevant fact that Labor under Kim Beazley won the popular vote, 50.98% to 49.02%, and gained a swing of 5%, taking 19 seats from the Libs.

Only a fluke Senate outcome and the complicity of the late and unlamented Democrats gave Howard the numbers to get the GST legislation passed. I am confident in saying that an even greater swing would have occurred in 1998 ensuring a certain Howard defeat if people had thought the GST was any real chance of getting up. As it was Howard could so easily have been a oncer as this bit from Australianpolitics.com indicates:

“The ALP made the single biggest gain by an Opposition party following an election defeat. The swing was sufficient in all states to deliver government to the party, but the uneven nature of the swing denied Kim Beazley the extra few seats necessary to command a majority in the House.”

The GST is an insidious, regressive and lazy tax which according to recent reports has boosted the black economy instead of containing it as was one of its chief attributes according to proponents. Needless to say offsetting tax cuts have long been dissipated, but worst of all compensating handouts to the housing sector have just boosted prices and smashed affordability.

Any change to the level or scope of the GST is to be resisted at all costs (no pun intended).

Senator’s sex life no one’s business

Caroline Armstrong writes: Re. “Crikey says: Senator’s sex life not in the public interest” (yesterday). I was shocked and disgusted by Fairfax and other media outlets publishing the excerpts of emails that look like they belong to Nova Peris. I’ll be complaining to the editor of The Age where I saw them. Glad to see that Crikey understands how wrong and cruel this is.

Intimate and personal details that aim to sex shame individuals, including those in public life, is wrong. No grey area here. Thanks for speaking up.

By the way, the 1%ers used the story to explore who owns emails sent and received on different devices and email addresses. I only tuned into for a few minutes after 4pm but it sounded like a sensible way of learning from what must be a hellish experience for Peris.

She should never had this experience. Let’s hope this is is the last time it happens. Let’s hold these media writers and editors accountable.

Fund the ABC like Medicare

Peter Matters writes: Re. “The ABC debate: ABC News Intern weighs in” (yesterday).  The future solution to the ABC’s woes is quite simple. The next federal government to take Aunty’s financing out of the hands of the Treasurer and finance it in future in a similar manner to Medicare.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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