The Abbott Government's Commission of Audit recycles the usual Conservative agenda. Change a few headings and a few names but the agenda stays the same. Trumpet a ''budget crisis'', recruit some ideologically sound names and surprise, surprise. Cut welfare, use cost increases to return higher education to the preserve of the wealthy, wind back national standards, and a few over-the-top suggestions that the Government can ignore to prove its ''concern for the less fortunate''.
The Government can now claim ''these are the cuts we have to have'', and that ''We all have to share the pain''. No mention of the vast black hole of multinational companies moving income off-shore to minimise any tax liability. No real cuts to ''business incentives'', aka business welfare. Abbott proves his Christian commitment: ''To them that have, more shall be given. To them who have not, it will be taken away'' (Mathew 25, 13-30).
Rod Olsen, Flynn
One couldn't expect anything very balanced to emerge from a group of representatives of the big end of town, but what emerged from Tony Abbott's Commission of Audit defies belief. These guys have taken the Coalition's phoney claims of a budgetary crisis to ridiculous lengths with the supposed support of crazily over-pessimistic forward estimates.
Their proposals regarding the healthcare system appear to be aimed at addressing the problem of an ageing population by ensuring a good number die off much earlier.
While the government recognises some recommendations as political suicide (''courageous'') it's Sydney to a brick that they will use other recommendations (''common sense'') to pursue their own highly partisan agenda and punish most of us.
T. J. Marks, Holt
What a pity that Tony Shepherd and his Commission of Audit cronies could not think ''in terms of my country'' when formulating their recommendations. But, of course, they belong to a wealthy and privileged cohort which apparently defines the good of the country in terms of the selfishness and greed of the few over public education and the welfare of the sick, the poor and the elderly.
I'm angry. I've been listening to Tony Abbott rattle on about sharing the pain and having to make sacrifices. What sacrifices is he making? Or his mate Joe Hockey? Or any of the other fat-cat politicians with their fat salaries and their fat pensions? I wonder if any of them know the price of a loaf of bread or a pint of milk? The age of entitlement has ended for everyone except the big end of town.
R. Schneider, Pearce
It amazes me that people such as Rex Williams (Letters, May 1) continue to believe the Coalition's propaganda that ''it's Labor's fault, there is a budget crisis, we have to clean up their mess''.
Australia still has a triple-A credit rating, one of the few countries to have one. It was built under the previous government, the one that has got this country in such a mess.
The current government seem to be manufacturing a budget crisis to drive through their ideological fantasies. Tea Party politics, that's what will lead to Australia's ruin. Private enterprise versus compassion and fairness for all. Labor isn't playing fast and loose with the LNP election promises Tony Abbott is.
Jan Gulliver, Lyneham
Conservatives want lower taxes and smaller government. Right? I wish it were true. It isn't.
In the struggle between taxpayers and tax consumers, conservatives are clearly on the side of tax consumers. Conservatives want taxes on the middle class in the name of national prosperity. The left wants taxes on the rich for the sake of the poor. The prospect of lower taxes is low indeed.
Historian R.J. Rushdoony half a century ago remarked on the foolishness of the conservative movement. He said these people tithe their children to the state while expecting voters to take demand for lower taxes seriously.
Victor Diskordia, McKellar
Secrets and lies
Remember back in May 2010 when Tony Abbott informed the country on national television that he doesn't tell the truth?
The new tax he is proposing as a ''levy'' is not so much a broken promise as further evidence of the man's amoral stance in respect to governance.
There is such a paucity of statesmanship and leadership in the frontbench that it is difficult to imagine us living for two more years under this government of secrets and lies. But we will, and the next generation will work to restore people's confidence in Australia and our government, but it will take at least a generation to repair the damage.
W. Book, Hackett
Bullying is not limited only to schools, and can easily become part of the workplace (''Report accuses government of failing to investigate ACT Ambulance Service bullying claims'', canberratimes.com.au, April 28). Simply because we don't hear about it does not mean it is not there. It's very real, except it has become much harder to detect. With our ever-increasing technological digital age, bullying can easily be done invisibly and silently, and the effects are just as bad.
Rehtaeh Parsons, Todd Loik and Amanda Todd should be familiar names. They had many things in common - all Canadian teenagers with a bright future ahead of them.
They all committed suicide to escape the torture of bullying. Bullying is not a joke. It affects people all the way from their social life, to academic performance, and often induces suicidal thoughts. Raise awareness to bullying and let's end it.
Fadi Dawood, Ontario, Canada
It seems Cuthbert Douglas has had his (World) vision impaired by his deep-seated ideology (Letters, April 28). In advocating that Australia help people in impoverished and/or strife-torn countries by purchasing ''well-made, well-priced exports from such countries'' and glibly assuming that all the problems will be fixed in time by the ''magic'' of the ''marketplace'', he is overlooking several things.
What ''well-made, well-priced'' export goods do countries such as Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria, for example, have that Australians would want to buy? Does Mr Douglas really think that the avaricious owners of sweatshops and lethally dangerous factory buildings will put things right out of the goodness of their hearts? And does he really believe that ''skilled'' labour shortages will occur any time soon in countries such as China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India? I very much doubt it.
Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin
Justice John Burns told a public masturbator that he wasn't entitled to commit crimes after he had drunk alcohol (''Public masturbator found guilty'', May 1, p8). His Honour deserves an A+ for conceptual thinking, but a D- for homework. In late August and early September 2009 The [Canberra] Times reported that a thoroughly drunk footballer was incapable of forming the intention to commit the crime of belting the tripe out of his then girlfriend outside Weston Creek shopping centre.
Letters dated September 5, 2009, are relevant.
Recently, Jack Pappas provided an estimable explanation of the ramifications and meaning of the word ''no'' in the context of rape allegations and feminist notions of what constitutes complicit horizontal refreshment. Perhaps Mr Pappas could supplement his writings via an intelligible, mercifully short explanation of how one can form an intention to injure someone for life, and be punished accordingly.
Patrick Jones, Griffith
Worse than drink?
There is something quite wrong with the ACT's justice system which apparently prefers a prison sentence to the possibility of rehabilitation (''Man found guilty of masturbating in public''). The act for which the man was found guilty might offend many but does it really deserve a suspended eight-month prison sentence?
And is it reasonable for a judge to tell the offender, ''You can drink yourself to death if you want to.''
Though this is self-evident, our justice system can offer offenders compulsory rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse. Without knowing the background of this case, it is not possible to know whether that has been offered here. But it is no wonder Canberra's jail is overcrowded.
Justice John Burns correctly noted people are not entitled to commit crimes after drinking alcohol. But if quoted correctly, he said the man would be jailed if he continued to offend when intoxicated.
Does this mean the man would avoid jail if offending while not intoxicated?
Graham Downie, O'Connor
Nice but too dear
The criticism of republican sentiments in Penelope Upward's letter (May 1) is difficult to understand or take seriously, based as it seems to be on support for the monarchy's ability to raise tourist revenue in Britain and the philanthropic donations of a rich foreigner, Prince Charles, presumably made mostly to British ''good causes''.
None of this should have anything to do with how we govern ourselves in Australia. And yet, depressingly it does, and will continue to do so for as long as Australians continue to confuse well-dressed handsome foreign celebrities, however nice they seem, with democratic government.
The best that can be said for Australia having an absentee monarchy is that it doesn't cost us as much as it costs the English taxpayer and there is a lot less daily fawning involved.
Until we can come to a peaceful national agreement as to the role of the head of state we choose for ourselves, and how we go about making that choice, we will have to continue to outsource the role overseas and just run a cheaper, less-sentimentalised branch office here.
Now, if we could just wind the clock back a month or so and avoid that wretched knights and dames fiasco …
Laura Rayner, Campbell
To the Point
NO ONE'S LAUGHING
Well may Joe Hockey quote from Yes Minister (''Good, bad, ugly but not all cuts fit'', May 2, p5). This government is as shambolic and devoid of truth as Jim Hacker's. Problem is, no one's laughing.
Maureen Blackmore, Pearce
Commission of Audit chairman Tony Sheperd's comments on public servants to ''not think of it in terms of my job but in terms of my country'' seems to forget that public servants' work is for their country!
Janet Williamson, Mawson
In light of the Commission of Audit LNP wish-list, Paul Keating has been vindicated in describing the LNP years ago as '' mean-spirited, tricky and without good ideas''.
Colin Handley, Lyneham
We heard of (and were spared) the global financial crisis long ago. But, when did the Australian financial crisis happen? I believe Mr Abbot and Mr Hockey invented it. I wish they would they should stop scaring the horses.
Annie Lang, Kambah
BUT WILL THEY COME?
Peter Toscan (Letters, May 1) is not entirely fair in his criticism of the ACT's jail expansion proposal. The government has been magnificent in proving the adage ''build it, and they will come''.
A great justification for the light rail, too!
Leo Dobes, Griffith
FINDING MH370 IS ESSENTIAL
Alvin Hopper (Letters, April 30) says we should end the search for MH370. Next time he flies he should consider that it is substantially safer to do so because the aircraft, staff and procedures have been improved after examining the reasons for past crashes. We need to find this plane and the cause of the crash to make further improvements.
Jevon Kinder, Murrumbateman, NSW
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