As the next election approaches, one mantra we are sure to hear from the Morrison government is that the Coalition is a better economic manager than Labor. But this is far from the truth.
In 2019, before the pandemic, national debt had increased to 42 per cent of GDP under the Coalition, compared to 28 per cent under Labor. The Coalition's "robodebt" program resulted in a $2 billion payout to 380,000 wrongly accused Australians. The Coalition's $90 billion JobKeeper program was neither transparent nor well managed, and over 10,000 Australians have now received Centrelink debt letters for supposed overpayments averaging $3000.
Irresponsibly, the government has resisted calls to reclaim hundreds of millions from businesses that received the wage subsidy and then made a profit. The NBN backflip to fibre resulted in an additional $4 billion cost and was described as "financially reckless" by a former chief executive.
The $8 billion paid last year in fossil-fuel subsidies flies in the face of science and goes against the advice of the International Energy Agency. More fossil fuels mean more greenhouse gas emissions and greater costs from extreme weather events.
The recent loss of an estimated $4 billion on non-existent French submarines must surely bury the mantra once and for all.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn, Vic
I was shocked to read Megan Doherty's opinion piece "Don't ask a question that might risk an angry emoji", (September 16, p34) with its emotive heading.
Andrew Barr has faced the media daily in the lockdown with patience, always waiting until all questions are either answered or with an answer promised.
My shock was exacerbated by the last sentence which says "But, even if he does hate journalists, he must be ready to answer all the questions. Even the ones he doesn't like".
In all those press conferences I have not seen a shred of evidence for this assumption of hate. On the contrary, Mr Barr has given the journalists the respect they deserve, by avoiding the degrading cacophony in other conferences in which everyone is obliged to desperately shout their questions. He politely indicates from alternating sides of the room who is next, and the question can be clearly heard.
Moreover he replies in a clear and concise manner, without mindless repetition.
Joan Milner, Gowrie
The magpie strike
On my short afternoon constitutionals during these lockdown weeks, two things have convinced me that we are in some form of COVID-19-induced behavioural disruption.
Not only have the magpies seemingly gone into lockdown - no swooping - but the number of walkers and yes, runners, who are transfixed by their phones, while "exercising", is staggering.
If anything is going to stop them from this dangerous practice, it will be a reassuring swoop of a lockdown-released magpie to bring them to their senses.
Angela Kueter-Luks, Bruce
Man-babies on notice
The riot at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance was an act of desecration.
The man-baby morons neglected the simple fact that every service man and woman has forgone their freedom and had mandatory vaccinations since the beginning of vaccinations in Australia.
I vividly remember lining up and being given eight jabs in a row, two nursing officers, four shots in each arm and no excuses. Then more shots before being sent overseas.
We all accepted this as being part of our duty to protect ourselves so we could protect others.
Freedom comes with responsibilities. I you want the benefits of a free society you need to accept the responsibility to protect that society.
Doug Steley, Heyfield, Vic
I'm not sure of Douglas Mackenzie's particular expertise, but based on his suggestion that we buy the French nuclear Barracuda-class boats (Letters, September 23) I suspect that it does not lie in submarine design and nuclear propulsion technologies.
If he was an expert, he would have known that the Barrucuda is not "tried and tested" as the first boat (the Suffren) was only commissioned last year and is still to achieve operational capability.
By comparison, the UK Astute and US Virginia submarines definitely are proven in service.
Furthermore, he would know that the Barracuda's nuclear propulsion system is more demanding in terms of refuelling and maintenance requirements than the other two (that's part of the issue about just sharing information with Australia).
The Barracuda is not an option now that US and UK solutions are available.
The French are rightfully upset, but it was the correct call for Australia.
Kym MacMillan, O'Malley
Enough is enough
I am sick and tired of unwanted calls on my mobile phone and landline, always at inconvenient times. They don't leave a message. I have checked that my registration with the Do Not Call Register is up to date. I will give my vote to the next party who can fix this.
Alison Callan, Holder
Think of business
The Chief Minister is steadfast in not opening Canberra up to its residents because of COVID-19. My wife and I are both in our 70s, have been double-vaccinated and are fit and well.
Despite that, we are being denied our freedom for no obvious reason.
That I can't go to my local coffee shop or club with evidence of the double jab, or that my wife can't go to a movie with her certificate of vaccination, is ridiculous.
If others haven't got evidence of the double jab, deny them entry. How hard is that? I'm now seriously wondering whether I'll ever see my grandkids or friends again.
Obviously, it's a giant blow to my quality of life, but as a former small business owner, I know what this lockdown would be doing to hard-working small business people. It'll be sending them broke. My pain is nothing compared to theirs.
Peter Maher, Gilmore
John Maclean (Letters, September 23) makes the very good point about the long-overdue redevelopment plan for the Capital Cinema site that it is daft to insist on a main entrance into Canberra Avenue.
There are no major buildings in Manuka with entrances onto Canberra Avenue. I share his frustration. It is time this project moved along to rejuvenate the area.
Karin Fisher, Griffith
Australia-wide, we are doing an excellent job improving the COVID-19 vaccination rate. We all have access to our COVID-19 digital certificate through myGov. But now each each jurisdiction is developing separate QR check-in and vaccination verification apps. Would one less submarine allow for a national system?
John Rees, Florey
Another hospital please
Canberra has developed a lot in 15 years, and yet we are still stuck with one major public hospital. By now we should have built another public hospital to serve the north, but all the money seems to have disappeared into the black hole called a tram.
If we had a decent public hospital system then there would have been enough wards to handle COVID-19 and we might not have been subjected to prolonged lockdowns.
David Roberts, Belconnen
China the aggressor
I was very concerned to read Tim Hollo's article "Coalition seems intent on sinking Australia's reputation" (canberratimes.com.au, September 23) that said Australia is "shooting itself in the foot" on AUKUS. Rest assured it has done the opposite .
Tim seems to believe President Xi is the victim in all this and talks of Scomo "stepping up a stance of military aggression against China". How can a country with 25 million people, a defence force of 60,000, and a navy of 19 major warships be militarily aggressive against a country of 1.4 billion people with armed forces of three million and navy of 350 major warships?
He also talks of trade, people-to-people links, trust and being nice to each other. We did that for 40 years. Unfortunately President XI is not like his predecessors. Xi already has gotten rid of an unspecified number of political rivals and oppressed the Uighurs, Tibetans and now the people of Hong Kong.
To put Xi and the CCP on a pedestal and portray poor old Scomo as the bad guy is disgusting.
Tim is right on one issue and that is these subs can operate at long range. They might, just might, help dissuade Xi from invading Australia. We have nothing else that will.
Bill Stefaniak, Narrabundah
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