Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Christine Rogers writes: Re. “The new Abbott, much like the old one, with added aggro” (Friday). It is time that the media (all forms) picked up on the fact that our current Prime Minister does not know what his job is. For him to say “if we focus on the ALP, we’ll win the next election”, and something along the lines of “his capacity to fight Labor and asked to be allowed to get on with doing that,” shows he does not know that his job is to govern and lead the country.  To even think that his job is to fight Labor shows a gross misunderstanding of his main role.

The other thing that needs stamping on is the increasing tendency of the PM and his ministers to use the expression “captain’s choice” or “captain’s call” every time the Prime Minister does something stupid or unpredictable. They are collectively in government and collectively responsible to the people for what they do and how they govern.  There is no place for a “captain’s choice” concept in government. They will all be assessed on the actions of themselves and of them as a team.

No nukes is good nukes

Ian Lowe writes: Re. “Crikey clarifier: why is a royal commission investigating nuclear power?” (Friday). The holding of a royal commission into South Australia’s role in the nuclear industry is a bizarre proposal. The powers of a Royal Commission are important where there has been suspected illegal activity: it can compel witnesses to appear, take sworn evidence and cross-examine witnesses. Why is this relevant to the issue of how deeply SA embeds itself in the nuclear industry? If the issues are the science and economics of nuclear power, these were covered just a few years ago by the Switkowski committee, which certainly could not be accused of being biased against the nuclear industry. If the concern is the palatability of siting a radioactive waste dump in the state, that is more likely to be determined by polling or focus groups than a royal commission. It could perhaps be relevant if those pursuing the fantasy of uranium enrichment are compelled to give some factual evidence, as that would reveal that the process is only conducted where there is either cheap energy or large public subsidies [or both]. It all looks like a panic response to the Abbott government pulling the plug on vehicle manufacturing and preparing to break its promise to build submarines in SA, forcing the Weatherill government to cast around desperately for anything that looks in the late afternoon light as if it might create jobs.

Not all government privatisation is wise

Richard Middleton writes: Re. “Keane: sorry, but ‘reform’ ain’t dead” (Friday). Bernard, not everybody uses Medibank. Which has to compete with other funds anyway. Everybody pays for utilities in some way, which broadly do not compete (ACCC, anybody?). This may go some way to explaining the difference between opposition to privatising the two.

The fast and the furious

Christopher Paterson writes: Re. “Time to pave paradise?” (Friday). I always strive to keep an open mind but it does sound a bit self serving re. journalists. However I do agree that latecomers on sitting days sometimes have to use the public carpark (personally I suspect that it depends on lobbyist activity on any given day as they also have carpark access), but it is a small number and perhaps the problem lies with the fact that there are too many pass holders with carpark access? Perhaps you could think about whether the media outlets should be housed in the parliament building at all or whether a new arrangement should be made. Perhaps the media offices should move out and modern shared facilities be made available for the actual journalists? The media residing in the building is not common with other parliaments, nor is the Executive being accommodated in the building. Both are historical anomalies.

Peter Fray

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