The method behind the madness

John Bushell writes: Re. “To escape from debt, the Coalition needs to curb its spending addiction”  (yesterday). Why would the Coalition want to curb its spending addiction?  The more debt the government has the less ability it has to borrow for nation-building initiatives and the more these have to be financed from private sector borrowing as opposed to much cheaper public sector borrowing.

This is right out of the Institute of Public Affairs 100 Point Plan handed to the Abbott government: basically, privatise everything. This list includes  the following:

49 Privatise Medibank

50 Break up the ABC and put out to tender each individual function 

51 Privatise SBS

69 Immediately halt construction of the National Broadband Network and privatise any sections that have already been built

72 Privatise the CSIRO

It would be good to have this strategy spelt out to the electorate before the election.

Tim Stephens writes: Given the debt and faltering economy, the optimistic projections, insane tax cuts and continued reckless spending to support the well-off, what’s the odds that a mini budget will be announced shortly after a Coalition victory? Odds-on favourite is my guess and it won’t be as nice for those less well off. The Reserve Bank seem to be aware that the Oz economy is a bit of a mess.

Australians need to brace for a nasty post-election shock if the Coalition wins. If Labor manages to scrape in they will also need to  trim the fat. Either way we are in for a long boring election campaign followed by some nasty surprises.

On asylum seeker policy

Keith Binns writes: Re. “Rundle: refugee suicide by fire our new eternal, nihilistic flame” (Tuesday). The solution to boat people is obvious and has already been proved to work. Those of you old enough to remember will recall how we took in 125,000 Vietnamese refugees: We sent enough immigration officials to Indonesia to assess quickly anyone who got that far. If they were genuine refugees they were flown to Mascot. They had no need of boats. John Howard will be remembered for two things: He dealt with guns well and we should all be very grateful. But he also introduced again to Australian politics the use of race as a political tool which has led to the appalling situation in which we now find ourselves. When a prime minister was willing to return children to a situation where he knew they would probably be sexually abused, as Abbott was, when we are told not to get “misty eyed” about self-immolation, when Peter Dutton says this behaviour was encouraged by advocates but refuses to give a shred of evidence to support his claim, the depth of our moral bankruptcy is clear to all.

And don’t get me started on our desperate need for a Bill Of Rights. New Guinea said Manus was illegal because their basic human rights are written into their reasonably recent constitution. Our rights  aren’t and can be legally abolished by legislation any time a government cares to do it. (And I’m quoting Gillian Triggs).

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey