Vote one for science and common sense at Saturday's poll

Friends of CSIRO and Public Good Science has analysed the main parties' science and research and development policies and found significant differences in priorities.

CSIRO research vessel (RV) Investigator. Picture: Owen Foley/CSIRO

CSIRO research vessel (RV) Investigator. Picture: Owen Foley/CSIRO

The Greens have the most comprehensive and well-thought-through research and development proposals for the environment, health and technology. They aim for expenditure of 4 per cent of GDP by 2030. This would involve tens of thousands of positive jobs.

The aim is ambitious. Korea has the highest expenditure of 4.23 per cent. Australia's expenditure has fallen to 1.92 per cent over recent years (World Bank data).

Labor's Plan for Science at the Centre of Government includes a proposal to boost Australia's investment in research and development to three per cent of GDP by 2030.

The Liberals' drastic cuts to CSIRO and other research and development organisations as well as their virtual dismissal of science in climate and water policies is reflected in their lack of a specific science or research and development policy. They do not have a science minister.

Kathryn Kelly, national convenor,

Friends of CSIRO, Chifley

What about a dementia policy?

On April 27 I wrote to my local Labor, Liberal and Greens candidates asking them to outline their dementia policy. Dementia is the second leading cause of death of Australians, the single greatest disability in older Australians, and the third leading cause of disability overall. It is also the leading cause of death of Australian women.

This demographic and their carers are a forgotten part of the health care system and they have also been forgotten by every party in this election campaign so far. I have yet to receive an acknowledgement let alone a policy response from any candidate to date. With less than a week to go I am struggling to identify a party worth voting for.

Rebecca Scouller, Barton

Libs can't manage money

We know Scott Morrison can't manage money because over the past five years, while he was treasurer, national debt doubled from around $160 billion to over $340 billion. He's the one who readily gave half a billion dollars to glorify the War Memorial, another half a billion (approximately) to some obscure group to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and some $185,000 to reopen and then close the Christmas Island facility to give himself a photo opportunity.

In regard to trust, Zed Seselja remains suspect. A few years ago in the run up to the Legislative Assembly election he denied he was interested in federal politics. After he secured a safe Assembly seat, he announced he was considering a move to federal politics. He didn't compete with other parties for a seat but was party to the backstabbing of the sitting Liberal member, Gary Humphries, and then took his safe Senate seat.

Subsequently he couldn't be trusted to pass to the Senate the overwhelming support for gay marriage by his constituents in the ACT.

The Liberal and National Party alliance is disintegrating. The conservative faction is in a deadly battle with the moderates, and it's time they were all sent to the opposition benches to reform themselves.

Bill Bowron, Wanniassa

Time to vote below the line

First we had Chris Bowen advising us to vote for another party if we didn't like Labor's policy on franking credits; then Bill Shorten telling us refunds of tax in respect of franked dividends was a "gift' from government; now Katy Gallagher advises us not to be "precious" about public service positions relocated out of Canberra. Sounds to me like a very smug Labor team expecting to win government.

A Shorten/Bowen financial management team in government will be worse than the Whitlam/Cairns combo. And we all remember how that ended. I made a mistake back in 1972. I won't repeat that mistake in 2019.

It is to be hoped that other (usually) Labor voters will be appalled at the blatant divisive class warfare underpinning Labor's election strategy. Older Australians who have planned for a retirement which eschews dependency on government welfare should not be the milch cows funding Labor's extravagant election promises.

A Shorten/Bowen financial management team in government will be worse than the Whitlam/Cairns combo. And we all remember how that ended.

Gordon Faichney, Holt

These promises are unaffordable and a Labor government probably expects a hostile Senate will save them from themselves. So it's a con job really!

But to be sure, for the first time, I'll vote below the line for the Senate and I suspect others will be checking out the independents too.

Gordon Faichney, Holt

It's raining money again

Momentarily, I was assured that voting early had been a palliative for my psephological dysentery until I inadvertently read electoral comments in a foreign owned newspaper by that truth-diviner, Alan Jones.

His insight referred to Labor's alleged littering of dollars across the political landscape without a running tally of the total. Whoever drafted his commentary clearly mistook Shorten for ScoMo who has showered every marginal and safe Liberal seat with taxpayers' hard-earned dollars.

Patrick Robertson, Rivett

Coalition's last ditch attempt

The announcement by the Liberal/Nationals government of an assistance program for potential first home buyers smacks of desperation. However it fails to look at the issue holistically.

For example, the level of outstanding HECS/HELP debt nationally as at January 1, 2019, was $62 billion, owed by 2.9 million people, with the average debt being $21,557 per person.

This debt represents a major burden on any individual trying to enter the first home buyer market and yet there is silence from the current government on its impact.

Rohan Goyne, Evatt

Abbott's desperation shows

Desperation produces interesting moves in politics.

Abbott has called on John Howard to help him salvage his seat for another term in the face of apparent declining support of his electorate.("Howard comes out swinging for 'big end of town' battlers", May 14, p7).

Howard's legacy is tied to Tampa, children overboard, the ABCC, the Iraq war, detention centres and other crimes against humanity.

A PM ousted by his party calls on a PM ousted by his electorate to salvage his dream of having a second crack at leadership.

It is time to let go, Tony!

W Book, Hackett

We need to fund this one

There seems to be one large spending item missing from all party campaign figures, admittedly uncostable until after the election, but which should somehow be factored in.

Anyone identified as having voted for the farcically grandiose and hallucinatory campaign claims and promises expensively publicised by Clive Palmer's UAP will clearly require intensive psychiatric care. This is expensive and no doubt poorly available in the regional areas which will likely require it most.

Could Antony Green, Ross Gittins and your medical editor get together and hazard an estimate for this budget-blower?

Alex Mattea, Sydney, NSW

Time for a history lesson

Under Whitlam wages went up a lot but inflation followed, reaching around 17 per cent. The government went broke and was dismissed for trying to get a loan from dubious sources.

Under Hawke/Keating, the dollar was floated and the USD-AUD exchange rate immediately went from 1.1 down to 0.5. Good for exporters. Bad for everyone else.

Then they deregulated the banking sector. It took the Banking Royal Commission to haul them in.

Now Labor wants to increase wages, but can they do it responsibly? Higher wages mean higher prices, hurting everybody and making our manufactured goods even less competitive. Any attempt to increase tariffs on imports only adds to inflation. We do not want to go down the Trump path.

Wages growth must be earned by increased productivity, not by decree.

Sorry Bill, but Labor has a very poor record of economic management.

Wal Pywell, Wanniassa

Do what I say, not what I do

Peter Dutton now contemplates settlement of detained refugees in New Zealand ("Dutton says NZ refugee offer not ruled out", May 9).

But only by a returned Coalition government.

Such settlement by an ALP government would, apparently, encourage people smugglers and allow refugees to sneak back into Australia, despite a lifetime ban, once they became New Zealand citizens.

At the same time Dutton engages in active extra-judicial detention and deportation of petty criminals who are already New Zealand citizens and for whom the risk of re-entry would seem greater.

It may well be, as Dutton claims, that people smugglers are currently marketing the prospect of an ALP government to their desperate clients - but they are being heartened by this government's irresponsible misrepresentations.

Mike Hutchinson, Reid



Neither what Morrison or Shorten thinks about the likelihood of gays going to hell matters. Hell doesn't exist.

Zlatko Spralja, Harrison


Would Bill Shorten and Eva, the "Democracy Sausage Dog" (picture with "Union pressures on Shorten to back wage hike", May 15, p9) be classified as breaking the proposed "sentient beings with intrinsic value" pet law if they had been in the ACT?

Greg Cornwell, Yarralumla


Which election was Paul Kringas (Letters, May 15) voting in? It wasn't ours: there is no voting above the line for the House of Representatives, that's the Senate.

James Mahoney, McKellar


Ian Pilsner of Weston is wrong when he says Shorten changed Labor Party rules so he could not be voted out of the leadership. It was Rudd, when returning to the leadership in 2013, who changed the rules.

Helen Davies, Phillip


Frydenberg points out Australia's minimum wage has been increasing, but fails to mention Coalition parties opposed any increase in the minimum wage when it was being considered by the Fair Work Commission.

Trevor Wilson, Chifley


Take $150 million from the Home Affairs staff budget? That should stop the bloat.

John Howarth, Weston


We have federal Labor promising $200 million for Woden light rail at the same time ACT Labor takes away bus services from the outer suburbs. Labor may "talk big" on public transport, but they make commuters "walk big" onto public transport.

J Smith, Kambah


Contrary to the assertion of Owen Dunlop (Letters, May 13) I think Bill Shorten should be pleased if, instead of runaway global warming increases, we experienced "no change" by three years' time, hopefully on the way to an eventual decrease for which his actions and Australia's example would be partly responsible.

Peter Haddon, Jerrabomberra, NSW


I was delighted to spot a new-route bus that promised to take me to Rio. When it came closer I was disappointed to discover it was only the R10.

Chris Clarke, Kambah


The light rail is a waste of money because no one will ever use it because it is too crowded because too many people are using it. So, if no one will ever use it then it must be a waste of money.

Thomas Rowell, Watson


I would like to ask Morrison and Shorten how much their campaign travel has added to carbon emissions and whether or not they care.

David Nolan, Holder


If ever there was a well-thought-through manifesto for not voting for the Coalition, Jack Waterford's May 11 column was it.

Don Sephton, Greenway

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