Where are the leaders?

John Richardson writes: Re. “When in doubt, dog whistle” (Friday). When it comes to feigning self-righteous anger, offended morality, injured dignity or being a victim of religious intolerance, no-one does it better than Coalition members of parliament. Of course, the reason it hardly ever works is the simple fact that its exponents are invariably renowned for their hard hearts & callous natures, as well as a singular degree of arrogant self-indulgence, bigotry and cynical opportunism.

That the above metrics so comfortably fit ministers of the Australian government should always be of concern to the Australian people and to anyone who has the misfortune to have to deal with them. That these same ministers are so open and confident in casually but deliberately disporting their behaviour should render our concerns alarming.

The Medicare debate rages on

Graham Barry writes: Re. “Boats for votes and Medicare scares: parties take the low road” (Friday). Why do the commentariat and all your tame experts keep on dismissing the Liberal threat to Medicare as a “scare campaign”? There hasn’t been a Liberal prime minister since McMahon who hasn’t constituted a threat to Medicare, and the only reason he didn’t was because it didn’t exist then. Fraser came in promising not to touch Medibank and immediately set about destroying it. Fortunately Bob Hawke’s first move was to re-create it as Medicare. Howard, having vocally opposed it all his career, promised he would keep it intact, in order to get elected, presumably, then spent over a decade chipping away at it. Among Abbott’s many broken promises about letting well alone, his attempt to first introduce a co-payment has almost passed unnoticed.

Now Turncoat (sorry, Freudian slip), Turnbull has promised “never, ever” to harm Medicare. Ah, those fateful, Howardian words! Surely their usage could not have been other than an subconscious warning. They alone should strike fear into the heart of every bulk-billed citizen. Scare campaign? I don’t think so. Dismantling socialised medicine, not lowering taxes, is in every Liberal politician’s  DNA.


Andrew Gillespie writes: With reference to this extract of Bernard’s article.

“The greater interest has been instead been on how the Greens and NXT would fare in the House of Reps, and whether Malcolm Turnbull’s margin of victory would be small enough that his authority would, instead of being reinforced by a win that would enable Real Malcolm to emerge, be undermined. “

Just supposing that Malcolm’s margin was large enough he had the capability to truly lance the delcon boil. He possibly then has only the O’Dwyer, Wilson, Frydenberg types to replace the delcons with. More politicians that have never had a challenging job, achieved anything, and certainly have never shown themselves to be capable of intelligent independent thought in the political environment. Honestly, would you want these people running the company you work for? The only reason Labor’s ex-union reps have any voter appeal is their opponents appear to be even worse.  God help Australia.

Jobs and growth?

Kerry Henry writes: Re. “How much will a company tax cut boost ‘jobs and growth’? (Friday). Amongst a large group of small business owners, none will be employing more staff based on 2.5% tax cut. For most, the $ amount will be withheld on the main basis that super has been capped at $500K non-concessional and and $25K concessional.

The majors are spending money on automating and technology and many on offshoring jobs. Even at the big end of town, take Ernst & Young (EY). About a month ago the Managing Partner announced 80 Partner Pas would go with those positions going to the Philippines. Is big corporate going to employ more? Hardly. And, the majority being created are part-time not full time which will be a continuing trend. Jobs and growth! Doubt no on both fronts.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey