Everyone just calm down

Malcolm Weatherup writes: Re. “In defence of offence” (yesterday). The sad thing about your editorial was that it had to be written at all. It would appear that the new media landscape has given megaphones to front bar boors, dogmatists of every breed and those who otherwise would just be The Lone Haranguer howling down the range (Tonto would’ve buggered off  long ago).

But voice is all it has given them: not information to consider and rationally debate, or even temper their own views. The echo chamber of foam-flecked ignorance and intolerance that is talkback radio doesn’t help mitigate towards diversity with tolerance. Salman Rushdie was succinct when commenting on those Islamists who demanded dire penalties for those who offended them. He said he is often in a bookstore (remember them?) which had books and other material which offended him, but it never occurred to him to burn the place down. “No one has the right to not be offended,” he said.

Strangely enough, Soapy Brandis was actually correct when he said everyone had the right to be a bigot because at one time or another all are or have been in that private space between our ears. You just can’t legislate against that, just in those shared areas where you can. What, George Brandis right? Oh well, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Innovate this

Richard Barlow writes: Re. “How far does risk-taking go in the Turnbull era of government?” (yesterday). Here’s an innovation for you, Malcolm: manage the services you provide (like aged care and training) as if they mattered. Then I suppose you would rather have a chai latte with a bright young thing who has designed a product which will be made in China and the profits sent to Ireland.  Our future is secure.

John Kotsopoulos writes: Onya, Mal. Just what we need: tax payer subsidies for more over-geared blue sky miners to burn more capital as we head to the next tech bust. You got lucky, by your own admission, with your dial up era internet investment. That does not make you a tech expert. We have your half-baked version of the NBN to vouch for that.

It may not be as sexy, but if you really want to help business and the economy in tough times, put money into systems and people to speed up the payment of federal government accounts and encourage the other two tiers of government to follow suit. Economists call it the ‘velocity of money’.

Reducing accounting  staff, delaying payments and not investing in up to date software are accounting cheats that are still far too common in government.

Peter Fray

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