On AFP raids

John Richardson writes: Re. “A curious matter of timing” (Friday). While some might be reassured by Commissioner Andrew Colvin’s claims that “there has been no influence” on the AFP in the conduct of its NBN investigation, others more cynical might think this is simply an acknowledgement that his organisation has its own political agenda. If there was no “political” intent attached to the AFP’s “raids”, perhaps Commissioner Colvin could explain how it was that the media was conveniently alerted to them beforehand, so as to provide maximum coverage to this clumsily stage-managed event? If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck & looks like a duck, then it’s very likely a duck, Andrew.

On the price of milk

Richard Middleton writes: Re. “Dairy farmers need to stop crying over cheap milk” (Friday). Unlike Mr Murphy, I am not an economist. However, I do know enough about money and trade and business deals to understand that if you agree to pay somebody for something, you do.  If your market then falls over, you can not claw back some of the money already paid, for goods and services already delivered, whining that the market price has now gone down.

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Similarly, it is not possible to make a profit if you are paid less than a thing, service, kg of milk solids, takes to produce. Then perhaps one has to be an economist to think this is reasonable behaviour from monopolistic businesses. In the long term of course, it is these monopolies that planned for a huge ongoing demand for Australian milk in China. If they fucked up, they have to carry the cost. I read that the CEO of MG didn’t do too badly on the salary and bonus front, based upon inflated expectations of Chinese demand, that dairy farmers spent big and geared up to meet. Wonder who is milking whom?

On Coalition messaging

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. “Dutton’s refugee gambit swings the conversation back to Coalition territory” (Friday). Well, well. Immigration Minister Dutton is now aware of the existence of the dole queue, and now claims that illiterate, innumerate refugees will take Australian jobs although he seems confused that they will be on the dole and taking jobs at the same time. In 2014 he voted for Abbott’s budget which would have starved to death unemployed people even before they could get to a dole queue, but luckily he was then thwarted.

Now, not even well qualified and highly literate people can find jobs under both Coalition and Labor policies and by the way a 2013 Australian Bureau of Statistics report showed that up to 50% of Australians are functionally illiterate and innumerate. Why demonize refugees for these failings?

Dutton has a problem with dole queues but he is part of the problem, not the solution. All governments since the 1980s have been dishonest with the public about the real unemployment figures. The monthly employment figures are based on an ILO definition that is so vague and meaningless and therefore subject to manipulation that it doesn’t even meet the definition of being a definition. Even a dodgy MPs travel allowance claim or an Arthur Daley used car warranty has more validity than the monthly unemployment figures.

MPs such as Peter Dutton have ignored for decades the advice of Roy Morgan Research on the real unemployment figures and/or the ABS survey “Persons not in the labour force” which shows a real unemployment figure of 2 million, ie 20% or one vacancy for every 20 unemployed.

Minister Dutton, the Coalition, the ALP and The Greens must now be honest with the public about the magnitude of the real unemployment problem and not blame hapless refugees or any other group the times may suit. Consequently our whole economic growth plan and immigration intake seems to me to be a Ponzi scheme where we require more people to keep the system “growing” and “functioning” but with an increasing numbers losing income and jobs. The pyramid’s base of impoverished and vulnerable is broadening and increasing.

As a Crikey subscriber and someone who began working as a journalist in 1957, I am passionate about the importance of independent media like Crikey. I met a lot of Australians from many walks of life during my career and did my best to share their stories honestly and fairly with their fellow citizens.

And I never forgot how important it is to hold politicians to account. Crikey does that – something that is more important now than ever before in Australia.

North Stradbroke Island, QLD

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