This means war

Marcus L’Estrange writes: Re. Labor branch stacking becomes an arms race, with Stability Pact a possible casualty of war” (yesterday). What a cracker of a report. Reminds me of Delia Delegate in Crikey of old. Of course nothing will be investigated. A year ago I lodged an appeal to Mark Butler, Federal ALP President, over a lack of a 2015 preselection ballot for Melbourne Ports. Haven’t received even a pro forma acknowledgement, let alone an investigation. Regarding Kim IL Carr’s socialist credentials. He scraped back into the Shadow Ministry but Andrew Leigh had to forgo his $40,000 pa shadow ministers allowance in order to fit Kim into the salary cap. Trouble is when Kim leaves the parliament he will have plenty in his super fund because he is a member of the defined benefits scheme. All largely paid for the toiling masses Kim claims to represent. Andrew isn’t so lucky. The new super scheme, whilst better than schemes for the plebs, isn’t as good as the defined benefit scheme. In 2013, with the real unemployment figures showing that our unemployment figures were 2 million or 20%, or one vacancy for every 20 unemployed, our socialist hero voted against increasing the value of the dole, for the offloading of single parents from their pension when their child turns eight and for a 35% MPs pay increase. No wonder Labor’s primary vote is so low and Labor has to rely on the Greens.

A bit of Olympic perspective

Nicky Hungerford writes: Re. “Why didn’t we win more medals in Rio?” (yesterday). Dear Lovely Crikey: What upsets me about all the Olympic blaming and grumbling is that there are so many small countries out there, so excited just to have the chance to get to an Olympics. What an amazing opportunity and experience. Here in Timor-Leste where I am working as a volunteer, I have a friend who was part of the very small Timor team. Anche shared everything on Facebook, from the food and rooms, to walking down the road with other athletes, to the training track, injuries and the falls (She was there mountain biking). It was so much fun to share her joy and her pride of being able to represent our little nation of Timor-Leste. My friend had to crowd fund most of her expenses to get there. Timor is one of so many little countries so proud to get this opportunity. Look at reaction of Fiji when they won their first medal. And what do we do in Australia? We keep going on about what a bunch of failures we are as a nation and how bad everything was, who can we blame, why can’t we be better. Is this what we have become as a society? Win at all costs, and if not you are a bunch of losers.

Being away from Australia gives me yet again such a clear perspective what a negative country we have become. When I walk down the street here with the malnutrition, lack of water and sanitation, dust, rubbish, and problems that we can’t even imagine in our comfy houses but I still see the smiling faces, hear laughter and joy and friendly people – even when life is so very hard. It makes me wonder what we all really need to make us happy.

Peter Fray

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