On pork barrelling
Mitchell Holmes writes: Re. “Is the Coalition pork barrelling in rural electorates?” (yesterday). Party politicians may keep score on every issue and accuse the other side of pork barreling as often as they can. However on the issue of money spent to improve mobile coverage in rural and remote areas, Crikey has decided to sink the boot in as well. Very simply, mobile coverage (and internet coverage) is poor in many regional areas, let alone rural and remote. These services for some years have been a necessity, not a luxury, for both businesses and households. The Atherton Tablelands, less than 80km from Cairns has patchy mobile and internet coverage. One of the biggest effects of this is that data allowances on plans are far smaller and more expensive than in the big cities. In this case, more money spent on essential services for regional areas is not pork barrelling.
On the republic debate
Niall Clugston writes: Re. “Let’s get real about the republican movement” (yesterday). Adrian Jackson is exaggerating the size of the republican defeat in 1999. The proposal received 45.13% of the vote, which makes it the closest referendum since 1984. It is also worth bearing in mind that it was a unique referendum in that the government of the day did not support it.
Advancing Australia where?
Mungo MacCallum writes: Re. “On the national anthem” (yesterday). Jock Webb is only partly right. My first 78 record featured Peter Dawson singing Advance Australia Fair, but the Gallant Cook was in fact the first verse: the current second verse stood, and the Australians all verse was the third and last. Britain always came top.