The government finally steps up to tackle domestic violence

Peter Matters writes: Re. “Turnbull’s domestic violence package a good start” (yesterday). Disrespect towards women is of course a given in incidents of violence towards women, but the cause of it is lack of self respect of the male perpetrators.

Politics and religion, again

Michael Byrne writes: Re. “Politics and religion part 2“. Geoff Edwards discursive response to my earlier letter appears lost. I made no charge against the Left that they were not committed to the cause of human flourishing. As well, I have experienced in the main people of the Left as kind hearted and welcoming to the “neighbour” if not to God. What DLP Labour has to offer is a more profound understanding of life, its meaning and purpose, that goes beyond the material, the science and indeed nature itself. An understanding that is at ease with difference, hierarchy and authority, properly exercised. It aligns with a Christianity that is at once mature (accepting), militant (assertive) and mystical (of awe).

DLP Labour rests most uneasy with the now ever present equalitarianism that seeks to flatten, rather than build up, the various grounds of life where men and women engage to the level each chooses. This is a fine differentiation from the self serving ALP Labor machine.

New treasurer

Tim Stephens writes: Re. “ScoMo’s new strategy: work, save, invest, rinse, repeat” (yesterday). The new Treasurer is already sounding like the old Treasurer. Apparently we have a spending problem not a revenue problem. Call me naïve, but if we have a large drop in our income, such as when the mining boom finishes, and spending stays roughly the same, then isn’t income likely to decrease and expenditure increase as a proportion of GDP? In addition, if we don’t have sufficient funds to adequately finance our hospitals, schools, the ABC, all those old people and other general infrastructure that makes up our society, then I would suggest that we do indeed have a revenue problem. I would suggest that what we really need to do is to stop throwing $$$ to the well off and redirect our existing funds to those already mentioned areas of social need.

What about limiting the tax breaks to super once a certain point is reached. What about grandfathering negative gearing to existing investors and allowing only new investors to negatively gear if it is for a new free standing house. What about going after corporate tax cheats. Oh and maybe if we still need some more cash how about an increase in the top tax margins. While we are at it why not take a look at the (successful) taxing policies of Scandinavian economies. You know those places that have the happiest people in the world? Might have something to do with free health and education, decent unemployment benefits and clean environments. Yes they do pay higher taxes but their economies are in better shape than ours. But in reality I wonder if the new Treasurer will be allowed to be a silly as his predecessor and try and force the poor and sick to take the brunt of “necessary” spending cuts. Will Malcolm Turnbull become Malcolm TurnCoat?

Keith Binns writes: Rather than “work, save, invest” I would like to suggest another three word slogan to Scott Morrison: “Tax the rich”. If he brings the same level of compassion to Treasury that he brought to Immigration, the God help anyone who’s not super rich.

A utopian dream

Phillip Roslan writes: Re. “Mayne: pay MPs more and 9 other ways to improve Australian politics” (Wednesday). I should have stopped reading when, in the context of future action, he used the totally superfluous term “going forward”. I often find that to be an indication of less to come. However, I hope he is feeling better after presenting what could only be a cathartic wish list for his impossibly utopian political system. While it is good to have goals, one needs to be realistic.

There is so much that could be said about his ten suggestions, such as the obvious need for changes to the Australian Constitution. However, I will limit further comments to point number one. There is not a scrap of evidence that paying politicians more will attract candidates who are better able to represent the citizens of Australia in a sophisticated, intelligent, pragmatic and socially equitable manner; rather, it would, more than likely, be of financial benefit to the top end of town. However, there is a stack of research (the repeatable kind) that shows that the wealthy, and those who are more highly rewarded for their services, not only crave more but, they also become more narcissistic and therefore less able to empathise with, or relate to, those who have less (sounds like what Brendan Nelson said about Malcolm Turnbull). Not good for a caring nation. Of course this does not mean that paying less would have the desired effect. We are already dealing with many politicians who, whilst being aware of the median income, think that those on $150,000 a year are battlers.

Stephen is not just calling for a change to politics and the media, he is asking for dramatic changes to the norms of an egocentric society that is captured by the materialism encouraged by big capital.

Peter Fray

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