Re: Mr Smith goes to Canberra: meet your new speaker

Crikey writes: We would like to apologise to Tony Smith, and supporters of both Carlton and Collingwood Football Clubs, for making the egregious error of labelling the new speaker as a Collingwood supporter yesterday. He is in fact, a Blues man, and they have faced enough this season without being confused with Collingwood fans. As a new Melburnian, Josh Taylor has been informed of the serious insult this is to both clubs.

The ABC’s future

David Salter writes: Re: “Protecting Aunty” (Monday). Peter Matters repeats one of the most enduring myths about the historical sources of ABC funding. For the record: the old broadcast licence fees for radio and television receivers paid by the public and abolished by the Whitlam Government never funded the ABC. They were collected by the Postmaster-General’s department and went directly to consolidated revenue. The ABC was always funded by annual budget appropriation, and still is.

Vote 1, Mr Schlub

John Belwood writes: Re. “Rundle: vote for the schlub” (yesterday). The cobber thing might have to do with the fact that your “cobber” would pick your teeth up for you when they got knocked out in a blue!

Madonna Oliver writes: Cobbers are like many traditions. And there is no respect for either. Cobbers were a simple yet delicious treat one was allowed to indulge in as a reward for going down to the shop for Mum and Dad to buy milk, bread and ciggies. The cobber stayed in your mouth all the way home and then some. A simple, relatively harmless tradition that still brings a smile.And some sadness.

Cobbers are frowned upon by the helicopter parents who would never allow their children to walk alone to the shops, let alone buy ciggies! That too is banned. More than this, cobbers represent all that is bad for young people — sugary treats that lead to obesity, diabetes and cavities. Mind you, kids today wouldn’t walk to the shop anyway. They’d much prefer to say on the couch with their X-Boxes. From the comfort of this couch they could order as many diabetes and cavity causing treats as they like online!

James Burke writes: Guy Rundle seems uncharacteristically optimistic about our political future. I can see how: finally, after winning government, switching leaders a few times, throwing away majority government and then government altogether, Labor is finally in a competitive position to form … government.

How exactly is this a promising prospect? Maybe if Labor had to struggle to win back power, it might earn some respect. But a Shorten government would be government by default. A reward for long years of cowardice and internal treachery. A vindication for the long-term strategy of never criticising climate change deniers, never mentioning Iraq and never bringing Tony Abbott’s own travel rorts into discussions of entitlement abuse. (Has nobody else noticed this? FFS, he rorted from the taxpayer while deceiving charity groups about his level of personal sacrifice. Why the conspiracy of silence? I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!)

So Labor wins government not having learned any lessons, or made any tough decisions. The Liberals and Nationals learn that they can get away with embracing fascist lunacy and ditching the Enlightenment, as long as they don’t scare people about penalty rates. And the wheel turns. And in a decade we get what – PM George Christensen?!

The age of entitlement

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Pollies will spend $506m on entitlements in 2015-16 — $2.2m per MP” (yesterday). Half a billion of taxpayers’ money spent on our elected representatives’ perks must be reduced and the reductions must be achieved in public. Yet, while an important subject, it is minor compared with other scandals involved.
Our current governance is but a caricature of democracy and it is doing untold damage to our country and beyond. To achieve the first condition for putting real democracy in place is for our parliamentarians to earn the respect — and therefore the trust — of the people. To achieve this, our pollies and other community leaders such as Rupert Murdoch, must lead in setting an example of probity in  their thoughts, statements and actions to all of us.

To keep their snouts out of the trough is only the beginning. The Prime Minister who replaces all the official BMWs and Mercedes with Golfs and Corollas would be surprised how quickly the people would take to her/him, because it says to the people that if a person has no dignity in his/her heart, no amount of showing off can produce it. The total malice, lies and twists of Murdoch’s gutter press hounds and shock jocks, fed information by Rudd’s backstabbing and Abbott’s own tsunami of ill tempered spite and malice showered on Julia Gillard, all combined from the start to rob Abbott of the nation’s respect. All the crude political back biting by all sides, all the pork barrelling, all the lying. Abbott to call  Bishop a good Speaker, when she removed over 400 Opposition members against eight government members from the chamber, speaks for itself. To sum up, if the whole political process is not thoroughly cleaned up, cleaning up the ‘snout in the trough’ business won’t do much good.

Richard Barlow writes: Excellent article on the politicians snouts in our trough. Just like here in WA, the federal politicians crow about how they are not accepting pay increases yet their total employment cost , ie, including allowances etc, goes up by nearly 5%.  And we wonder why the budget is up to shit.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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