Ian Hunt writes: Re. “Dear Scott, stop lying about the budget” (Friday). Yes, the lies are part of an ideology that tries to define Labor as tax and spend and the Coalition as “staring down” calls for tax increases. Worrying also are the lies about the blow out in HECS, based on the coalition’s policy of cutting the government HECS subsidy and letting universities charge what they can. Again, the lie caused barely a ripple in mainstream media. And again, the lie about owner drivers being pushed out of business got support from mainstream media. They want Turnbull elected, but the more I’ve heard of Turnbull, the less his ability to show the bearing expected of a PM, by contrast with poor old Tony.
On East Timor
Robert Johnson writes: Re. “East Timor is mad as hell and it’s our fault” (Friday). Howard had not planned to be seen as Timor’s saviour, but had wedged himself when Habibie reacted to his ‘Matignon Accord’ urging (by which Howard thought he was assisting Indonesia to have a quasi act of self-determination that would fail — or, in Howard’s reckoning, succeed — in putting an end to Timorese aspirations for independence). At least Howard seized the chance to do the right if unanticipated thing, even if he had little choice.