So much for the Age of Entitlement

Marcus L’Estrange writes: re. “Old Macdonald had a gold pass” (Friday)

Senator Macdonald is not being upfront in his defence of MPs’ golden perks. He doesn’t reveal that he receives more pay when he chairs or works on committees, the $274 per night when he stays in Canberra, the unspent portion of block grants such as for running his office, stamps, postage, phone etc. In reality he receives around $300,000 pa and is in the top 2-3% of income earners in Australia. Above all he doesn’t mention that he will receive a $200,000 a year, indexed pension, when he retires.

He supports the current situation where many in his state have to live on $37 a day on the dole, and has forgotten President Eisenhower’s saying: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” In Australia every extra dollar an MP gets means less for far more deserving people. 

He claims to work extremely hard but we plebs have no idea what Senators do. Why? MPs never present a work value case to the Industrial Relations Commission for the masses to see. They know it would be laughed out of court.

On coal

Niall Clugston writes:  Re. Coal’s time is running out, but Turnbull won’t hear it” (Thursday)

The headline is reminiscent of all the stories hailing Donald Trump’s imminent political defeat. It is a case of wishful thinking clouding sober analysis. The BP report that Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane cites says that coal continues to account for about 30% of energy production. If market forces were going to fix the problem, they would have done so a while ago. 

Laming fails history

David Edmunds writes: Re. Laming triples down on teacher controversy“(Friday) 

With reference to Andrew Laming’s observations about the teaching profession, he seems not to have done his homework. The National Schools Network was set up by the Hawke-Keating government as part of its award restructuring project, trialled in schools in the early 1990s and funded in 1993 to continue its work. It had various members including teacher unions and employers. Its mission was encapsulated in the following statement: “What is it about the way our work is organised that gets in the way of student learning?” The project was defunded in 1996 by the Howard government. Dr Laming seems not to know that the initiative to innovate working practices in schools was supported by the teacher unions, and effectively shutdown by his own side of politics, apparently because there was union involvement. 

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW