Wentworth by-election Dave Sharma Kerryn Phelps

As the week closes, Crikey readers have taken to the comments to interrogate the prospect of a Liberal victory in Wentworth (and how the party’s lack of a woman candidate looks like it may hurt them, as William Bowe writes). Elsewhere, readers were divided over Helen Razer’s opinion that the change in the tampon tax is a hollow victory, and took some time out to suggest changes to the insurance industry (which, Bernard Keane notes, has its head in the sand). 

On the Liberals chances in Wentworth

Sean Arthur writes: The Wentworth byelection will be fascinating to watch. For my money, if the Libs don’t win it, it is game over. They may struggle for a short time trying to govern in a minority but the Liberal party is now a busted flush. They couldn’t manage unity when they had a majority and there is even less chance under those high pressure conditions. If Wentworth slips through their fingers they might as well call a general election that same night.

Arky writes: Just today seat polling (ugh, I know) commissioned by a candidate (double ugh) suggests that Kerryn Phelps’ support is falling. This is believable given her tactical blunder of swinging between “put the Liberals last!” to preferencing the Liberals (and the poll appears to support this as the reason). When you try and please everyone, you please no one. Anti-Liberal voters no longer trust her; Liberal voters probably don’t trust her either because of how she came after the Libs at the start, and it won’t be Liberal preferences she needs to get into office anyway.

Baffling political judgement, or lack of it. The preferencing among Labor, the Greens, Phelps and Heath is going to make this a very different seat to call on the night unless the Liberal vote recovers to the point that no exclusion order can realistically produce a preference flows can realistically defeat them

On the tampon tax

Karey writes: I’m with you on symbolic issues that give the appearance of progress when they actually affect little of substance. Even more when, as you say, the campaign lends legitimacy to the substance whose removal would make a difference. As so often, you give me joy on things I’ve been biting my tongue on while everyone else seems to be cheering.

Andrea writes: Well it’s better than a kick up the whatzee, and I think it’s more than a baby step, it’s righting the wrong of charging extra tax on a product completely necessary for half the population for a significant portion of their lives. Not with you on this Helen, it’s good.

On the insurance industry’s “everything is fine” defence

Dog’s Breakfast writes: The bad apples were in a rotten barrel in a decrepit industry in a moribund economy in a greed-filled society in a corrupt polity, but it wasn’t systemic.

Quatermass writes: Financial institutions can more easily get away with scumbaggery like charging the deceased for fees because in many cases they can just scoop their fees directly out of the accounts they manage. Instead they should invoice clients for the services they provide and wait to be paid for service, as other industries do. Of course, if such a change were imposed on the financial industry, they would moan about the friction and the inconvenience. Like the red tape that they themselves blithely tie their clients in.

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