On Robb

Jock Webb writes: Re. “Losing Andrew Robb exacerbates the danger of Joyce” (yesterday). I cannot see the danger in removing Andrew Robb. I only wish he had left years ago. As a heavyweight in the NFF of which I was once a member he looked after agribusiness and ignored farmers. His free trade agreements are either unenforceable (China), useless, (Korea and Japan) or undermine our sovereignty (the TPP). Nothing in his history becomes him so well as his departure.

Geoff Edwards writes: Bernard Keane acknowledges that Andrew Robb has fed the country a “long litany” of nonsense about the benefits of preferential trade agreements, but seems to regard him as a successful minister because he has been administratively effective, even though in achieving a highly questionable objective. Personally I would regard a minister who negotiates these influential trade deals in secret with multinational corporations, hiding them even from our elected members, as a comprehensive failure. Personally I would prefer a minister to take a nuanced view about where the public interest lies and to give thoughtful consideration to the contrary submissions that have been made to him in abundance.

Also perplexing is Bernard’s support for foreign investment and his denigration of a sceptical approach as “xenophobic”. I don’t understand why Australia is obliged to craft its economic policy to be friendly to foreign investors. Given that our aggregate of superannuation funds is reportedly the third-largest pool of discretionary investment capital in the world, please write a follow-up article explaining why we are obliged to attract foreign investment to develop our economy. Please explain why we must sell to foreign nationals and companies the sources of our production (mines, land, factories), along with the dividends, rents, capital gain and profits that they generate. The argument that Australia needed foreign investment was valid at around the time of Federation, but that was more than 100 years ago.

Watch it

John Newham writes: Re. “Just in time” (yesterday). I wonder what is special about a Rolex? Circa 1996 I bought a Lorus for $80; after 20 years and about five batteries it gains 3 seconds a month. This would seem to negate the necessity for a Rolex as a timepiece, even given the fantasies of a politician. Therefore it becomes a piece of jewellery and should be treated as such.

Peter Fray

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