Letters to the Editor

ACT Legislative Assembly members take pay and don't work

I despair at the self-indulgence shown by members of the Legislative Assembly. They have just been awarded a significant pay rise by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal on the basis of a far from convincing report that their workload had increased. Not satisfied with that, they then award themselves an extra staff member each, thus reducing the workload for which they have just taken a pay rise (''Gallagher opens purse to boost staff numbers'', June 5, p2). No doubt this munificence will flow through to the unnecessary and unwanted additional members in an expanded assembly. All this for members of a legislative body that sits only 39 days a year.

H. Burmester, O'Connor

ACT budget pain

The ACT Treasurer's intention ''not to compound the pain already being felt by Canberrans after the Commonwealth's cuts'' has resulted in his budget increasing property rates by an average of 10 per cent, higher land taxes and water rates, higher levies and car registration fees, and increased penalties.

This sounds like more pain to me, but there must be a need for it, to reduce the ACT government debt. No, the result is a $333 million deficit, and of course the usual misuse of the term ''invest'' when they mean ''spend''.

It makes federal money management sound good.

P. Edwards, Holder


The debate on rates versus stamp duty is interesting. The ACT Government states it is making the system fairer.

I don't understand. Those of us who paid the full stamp duty are now being required to pay increased rates. Isn't that double dipping on the part of the government?

The only people I know who are happy with this are those who make money from buying property.

Most people aren't in that game and those on pensions or fixed income are being unfairly penalised. I bet the government wouldn't consider only applying the higher rates to those who benefit from lower stamp duty.

Paul Kinghorne, Narrabundah

Paranoia sets in

As their popularity plunges, paranoia grips the hard men of the Abbott ascendancy. Malcolm Turnbull must be plotting against the throne.

Ban him from ABC interviews. Send in the media storm troopers (Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt) to crush him.

Thus Tony Abbott creates what he fears - unrest among Liberal MPs (who fear budget seat loss) and a rival prime minister who may save their jobs. Tony Abbott overthrew Malcolm Turnbull to become Liberal leader Everything he does to damage Turnbull hastens his own demise.

Abbott fulfils Christ's words: ''As you sow, so shall you reap.''

Graham Macafee, Latham

Damned if he does

How's this for a conspiracy theory? Tony Abbott knows that there is unrest among the more moderate (dare I say more liberal) members of his party. He's not popular, he's pushing a budget that is pretty extreme and the people are not happy.

So who's the likely focus of such discontent? Not Joe, he's as extreme as Tony. Not Mr Morrison who's done what everyone wanted done but is tainted by the process. Could it be Malcolm?

Tony, being the supreme Machiavellian, comes up with a plan.

Tony asks Malcolm to approach Clive - I mean, if it was supposed to be clandestine would they have met in a restaurant for heaven's sake? Then when the idiot press have a field day with that, doesn't confess. Hangs Malcolm out to dry. Tony then asks his ''friends'' - Bolt and Jones - to destroy Malcolm. Malcolm is invited to talk on the ABC. Tony jets off to points north, well away from the conflict. And what can poor old Malcolm do? As several people have noted, he's damned if he responds and damned if he doesn't.

Gabriel Brown,

Murrumbateman, NSW

Abbott lies truly

I can only conclude that N. Bailey (Letters, June 4) believes, like Tony Abbott, if a lie is told often enough it becomes the truth. The Coalition government is actually responsible for the current size of the deficit over the forward estimates. Joe Hockey has doubled the deficit by adding $68 billion through changes to government income and spending as well as convenient changes to Treasury assumptions. This is not my version of the truth, this amount has been confirmed by the ABC independent fact-checking unit on May 6.

Repealing the mineral tax, the carbon tax, superannuation taxation on earnings over $100,000, fringe benefits taxes, borrowing unneeded funds and parking them with the Reserve Bank and then blaming Labor for the size of the deficit is disingenuous behaviour by the Coalition. It is disappointing that some in the community fall for a lie just because of undeserved trust in the teller.

Mark Boscawen, Calwell

Low-interest HECS

Ross Gittins (''HECS debt still the best loan'', Times2, June 4, p4) is to be commended - his precis of the whole HECS debate should be compulsory reading. As a citizen paying off a mortgage from after-tax salary, I dealt with interest rates that make HECS look ludicrous whilst still raising a family with all which that entails.

There was no such thing as a buffer before one's salary crossed the threshold when paying off one's mortgage. The intellectually bankrupt rabble who willingly absented themselves from their part-time employment and/or lectures to carry on in antisocial activities after the recent federal budget are more than welcome to take over the mortgage(s) incurred by my children and I will take on their HECS liability.

Michael Doyle, Fraser

Certified madness

It appears to me the present system for the issuing of development approvals and certificates of occupancy is wide open to abuse (''Homes should not have been approved: Auditor-General'', May 27, p1).

There are apparently numerous ''certifiers'' who also call themselves building surveyors, building inspectors and now also town planners - an incredible situation.

It is beyond me how a certificate of occupancy could be issued for a house or unit development when it fails to comply with the original plans or contravenes statutory building and plot ratio requirements. What has become of the Australian Standards which were the requirement of all structures? Our auditor-general needs to remain focused on this ongoing problem.

Artur Baumhammer, Isabella Plains

Light rail bites

There are two sound bites being played repeatedly by the opponents to light rail in letters to the editor and articles like Alistair Coe's (Light rail needs to be delayed'', June 1, p18). Like most effective sound bites they appeal to the emotions and ignore the evidence.

The first sound bite is that all Canberra taxpayers will pay for light rail and that residents outside Gungahlin are going to pay for services just for Gungahlin. This is untrue.

Canberra taxpayers will guarantee the funds for light rail but the money will come from investors and repayments will come from the riders, the businesses around light rail, and the residents served by light rail. Given the chance, many Canberrans would invest through prepayments for the services created by light rail. The second sound bite is that it is being built to buy the Green's vote. This is at best a half-truth.

The Greens had a good working relationship with the previous Labor government and light rail was one of the expressions of that joint vision and relationship. There was no bribe.

Many of us are sick of sound bites. Let us wait until we see the options being worked on by Capital Metro and make constructive suggestions as informed citizens.

Kevin Cox, Ngunnawal

Buses not rail

Sorry, Damien Haas - it's not that 'we have outgrown the capability of a bus-only public transport system' (''Light rail commitment to pay major dividends'', Times2, June 6, p5). It's just that we have never had a bus-only transport system that was good enough.

At a fraction of the cost of the proposed light rail, and with services extending throughout the ACT, a successful bus-based rapid transit system could be achieved with more attention to routes and frequency, the design and location of bus stops, and updating bus seating and storage areas.

Karina Morris, Weetangera

Crocodile tears

Many politicians become wiser after exiting politics, whether through retirement or being rejected by their own parties.

Gary Humphries (''Calling Tina to battlefield'', Times2, June 6, p5) has shown that spirit again. I remember him advocating a rise in the pension after Kevin Rudd won the election in 2007. At that time I accused him of shedding crocodile tears as the Howard government didn't do much for the pensioners in its 11 years in office.

Now that another conservative government is in power he has changed his mind.

He says that austerity is the way to go and there is no alternative. I would suggest Mr Humphries re-examine his own record in public life.

Sankar Kumar Chatterjee, Evatt

Climate of denial

J. McKerral (Letters, June 6) fails to tell us exactly which scientific studies show that global warming is natural, rather than having an anthropogenic cause, or exactly where in the IPCC's fifth assessment report it is said that warming this century will be ''on the whole beneficial''.

For the record, what the report actually says is that ''human influence on the climate system is clear'' and that there are ''many more negative impacts than positive impacts projected for the future'' due to climate change. In other words, exactly the reverse of what McKerral claims.

G. Burgess Kaleen

To the point


If a footballer signs a contract to play for a particular club, then he should legally (and ethically) be required to fulfil the contract, otherwise be suspended from playing for another club for the duration of the contract (''Tedesco backflips on Raiders deal'', Sport June 5, p24).

Football contracts should be legally binding and enforceable, the same as any other formal contract, commercial or otherwise.

Andrew Rowe, Florey


So, Malcolm Turnbull refuses to take dictation from Alan Jones. No wonder he is having so much trouble fitting in with his Liberal colleagues.

Tony Judge, Belconnen


It's tough for Captain Abbott of the gunship Coalition. Now he has two loose cannons on his decks, unhinged, and firing in all directions at imagined enemies.

Michael Morriss, Curtin


According to the ABC, one of the reviewers of Australia's Renewable Energy Target has previously done modelling work for the gas industry, and that this modelling work was being used to influence the RET review.

This is just the latest in a series of episodes with a consistent theme: this RET review is biased in favour of polluting industries such as coal and gas. The RET is making clean energy cheaper, creating jobs, and reducing pollution - it's no surprise that king coal wants it gone.

Joel Dignam, Ainslie


Australia's economy has grown at its fastest rate in nearly two years according to the the article, ''Accounts show 3.5% growth'' (June 5, p8). Surely that must be due to mismanagement by the previous Labor government?

Peter Snowdon, Aranda

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