Why the government was right to delay its Ebola response

John Shailer writes: Re. “Crikey says: govt botched its Ebola response” (Wednesday). Labor and its love media have vociferously criticised the Coalition for its miserly contribution to the Ebola crisis. According to the UN, as at 22 October, Australia was the fourth highest contributor with $14 million already paid and $28 million to come, just behind the UK’s $19 million and Germany’s $17 million, and well ahead of China’s $8 million and France’s $7 million. They also criticise the delay in sending medical teams, without any apparent concern for the risks to our medical personnel or to Australians, if proper precautions were not taken. Humanitarian concern or cheap politics?

On data retention

Jim Letica writes: Re “Dear George, this is how you can fix your mass surveillance program” (yesterday). I don’t think the pollies have figured out what metadata is, but expect us to believe that given their constant abuse of power, they would not use content as well. The Australian government works like thugs —  if it happens in Egypt it is abuse of power, but here it is security. While the state has a public purse for legal challenges, it will never be an equal contest in court.

Sudden death not so unusual

Carolyn Hicks writes: Re. “On the cruelty of the racing industry” (yesterday). Bernard Keane and Katherine Stuart may find the term “sudden death syndrome” to be Pythonesque and absurd in relation to racehorses, but if you insert “infant” between the first two words, the terminology might seem more familiar. SIDS and other forms of “sudden death syndrome” occur in humans as well as animals, though fortunately they are very rare. It’s not a made-up phrase invented to evade questioning.

Tax-dodging multinationals

John Richardson writes: Re. “Crikey says: big business must pull its weight” (yesterday). So, the CEO of the Business Council of Australia Jennifer Westacott reckons business is already doing enough “heavy lifting” by contributing an impressive $70 billion (her estimate) in company tax this year. Putting to one side the fact that Westacott could hardly say anything else, the fact is that $70 billion is a lot of big ones: that is until we remind ourselves that corporate profits as a share of GDP have never been higher, that the big four banks alone pocketed $28.6 billion in profits this past year, that the effective tax rate of ASX 200 companies over the past decade was only 23%, whilst 60% of all companies & 70% of all mining companies paid no income tax at all. And of course, let’s not forget that whilst the big end of town is happy to plunder the pockets of Australians to enrich their shareholders, whilst exporting profits to exotic tax havens, they have no interest in reinvesting in Australia as they export record numbers of jobs to the Philippines, India or other countries that contribute nothing to Australia along the way.

Peter Fray

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