On defence deals
Christopher Paterson writes: Re. “Defence deal is Singapore special fried pork” (yesterday). I think that they already warehouse tanks and part of their air force in Australia. Many Singaporean pollies have business in Australia and commute to Singapore for their minimal parliamentary commitments.
On ABC cuts
Peter Matters writes: Re. “No cuts to the ABC? Public broadcaster $100m poorer than in 2013” (yesterday). The ABC was originally founded to provide detached and objective commentary not only to public affairs generally but particularly on the government: in Don Chipp’s famous wise crack in another to context “To keep the bastards honest.” Now, Gough Whitlam might have been a man of statesman like vision, but a politician he was not. When he decided — quite rightly — that the Broadcast Licence Fee was an unfair flat rate tax on elderly pensioners to whom radio and TV might have been their only companion, he quite rightly removed it and quite wrongly decided to finance Aunty from the budget. This move not surprisingly became an open invitation to squeeze the ABC — their potential critic — as much as public opinion would allow. Clearly, conservative governments went about it with a gusto unmatched by Labor governments. When Australian democracy subsided into caricature, poor old Tony, the buffoon, took a quite malicious delight into giving his prejudices full reign. Yet, the solution is very simple: finance Aunty on a basis similar to Medicare, on a fixed, more generous basis. I would hope that an incoming Labor government would promptly do so.