Former deputy primer minister Barnaby Joyce.

When asked if they would support Barnaby Joyce’s move to the crossbench, Crikey readers told us how they really felt: that the crossbench might not be quite far enough. While some would welcome the (potential) shift away from the limelight, others think that it would do little to diminish Joyce’s appetite for attention. Elsewhere, readers weighed up Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s belated attempt to address the productivity crisis.

On Barnaby Joyce on the crossbench

Judith O’Byrne writes: Should Barnaby move to the crossbench? No, he should move to a park bench.

Marilyn Peters writes: I would be prepared to put a dollar or two in so he could afford to move to New Zealand, seeing $211,000 is hard to live on! How he was voted in again with an increased percentage is beyond my comprehension.

Lee Tinson writes: On the whole, I think he should move to the crossbench. That achieves a couple of positives. 1. He can’t hold a position of ministerial responsibility. 2. He can’t become Nationals leader again, although I confess I don’t see a Nat who is any better. Just think: if they weren’t in a coalition with the Libs, then a government such as we’ve had since 2013 would never have come to exist.

Milton Armitage writes: He gets reelected because of the changing demographic of the electorate (the educated and skilled semi-professionals who used to live here and were employed in the state and federal public service are very diminished in numbers). The New England electors don’t think about politics and who to vote for until they’re in the polling booth, and he’s a known quantity (it don’t take a genius to spot a goat in a flock of sheep) and non-Labor. Voting for the National Party is part of many NE electors’ identity and in their DNA. Even if he became as mad as King George he’d still get voted in. When you set the bar low everyone achieves greatness…

On Frydenberg and the productivity crisis

Ian Hunt writes: Bernard, every now and then you really hit the nail squarely on the head, as you have now when you rightly say that, despite so many goods and service being committed to the market because the government thinks that always gives the best result, the fact is that business is good at ripping off workers and customers.

The productivity commission might have some answers, but I prefer Frydenberg’s capital deepening to the PC’s “better targeting” of spending in education and health, unless that means don’t waste so much money on private schools in education and spend more on prevention than increasingly expensive “cures” in health.

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Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey