Can Labor capitalise on voters ditching One Nation? Crikey readers took to the letters to have their say on a tricky topic. Elsewhere, readers hacked into Josh Frydenberg’s recent reform-splitting speech and once more decried the scourge of robodebt.
Jenny Thomas writes: Without selling his soul? Yes, he can. And he can do that by returning to some of the old Labor policies that defend workers and their conditions, decry the increasing casualisation of the workforce, and offer a solution to the loss of work opportunities in the regions by demonstrating that a rigorous climate change policy will create jobs and business opportunities throughout Australia in renewable energies.
He can be open that there is an unavoidable decline in revenues from coal and gas, as international trading partners in these goods deal with their own climate change obligations, but that Labor has a plan for working men and women that will make their lives better and return them a decent income and more time with their families.
He can also focus on the immediate creation of an electric car industry and charging network which brings vehicles and recharging within the remit of everyone including people with low incomes in regional and rural areas.
In this way he will attract the One Nation voters who are anxious about their place in the working world and the damage that casualisation and globalisation have caused to local low-skilled employment. He needs to author a new focus on people who might once have been seen as working class but are now fodder as part of a demoralised contractor workforce.
Geoff Thomas writes: The federal government has taken some responsibility for dealing with COVID-19 with the stimulus programs, which have been very successful and need to be maintained at full strength, if not added to.
Josh Frydenberg has been the most vocal exponent of the attitude that the stimulus money has to be “repaid” — an attitude that derives purely from the theory of economic rationalism (and some might argue too severe toilet training?), a theory that has been largely discredited on the world stage.
This has meant that he is a continual arguer for no stimulus and reduced stimulus. Lacking adequate stimulus, the economy is faltering, so apparently Josh is wanting the banks to provide the stimulus, and is prepared to go to any length to get that result.
Frydenberg should let go of the failed theory and look at how well the stimulus has worked. No surprise as Australia is one of the last sovereign states to embrace the stimulus concept as it has proved itself worldwide already.
Bob Pollock writes: I know of many people who have been victims of the federal government’s unlawful robodebt scheme. Those people were mercilessly terrorised by Centrelink staff and private debt collectors and cajoled into agreeing to payment schemes to repay debts that never existed and were certainly never proven by Centrelink.
The refusal by Scott Morrison, Alan Tudge, Christian Porter and Stuart Robert to admit any responsibility for the robodebt debacle is a testament to their lack of substance and their total lack of fitness for office.
When they were sworn in by the governor-general they took oaths of allegiance to Australia and the Australian people. They should be dismissed from their ministerial positions.
The Australian people have a right to know how the flawed robodebt scheme was devised, who made the key decisions about its structure and implementation and the legal advice that was sought by and provided to the government about the lawfulness of the scheme. We should also know the extent of financial, physical and psychological hardship suffered by people who became victims of the scheme.
I think it is deeply regrettable that the federal government was allowed by the courts to reach a financial settlement in the class action case without being made to admit liability for its legal failures in devising and implementing the robodebt scheme.
They should immediately repent, resign their ministerial positions and apologise unreservedly to the Australian people. Forgiveness and healing can only begin once they have done those things. Anything less would be totally unacceptable.