Aged Care Services Minister Colbeck's attempt to escape responsibility for the deaths of 1583 elderly Australians by flaunting the deaths of four young men during my prime ministership is frankly sickening.
At the pandemic's outset, the Commonwealth assumed full responsibility for preparing aged care. Colbeck repeatedly told elderly Australians he would keep them safe. But he didn't. Aged care accounted for three-quarters of coronavirus deaths in 2020. And more than 500 have died in the past six weeks, despite continued warnings about his shambolic booster rollout.
Instead of fixing his mistakes, Colbeck is in denial and cracking jokes about the deaths of four young installation installers during the last global recession. In those cases, unscrupulous contractors were rightly prosecuted under workplace laws for endangering their employees. I nonetheless accepted ultimate responsibility, as any Prime Minister should. Tony Abbott later ordered a royal commission which, rather than finding against me, actually debunked his accusations.
What is the difference in these two cases? In our case, employers abused our program and broke the law, killing four people, so we shut it down and prosecuted the offenders. Today, aged care homes are following Colbeck's rules, more than 1500 have died, and he won't even admit there's a problem.
I am sure that many readers will share my alarm about the pivotal roles played in government by young and inexperienced ministerial advisers, as outlined by Ms Brittany Higgins at her National Press Club presentation on February 9.
It is frightening that the influence of these advisers and preferred consultants has increased at the expense of expert, reasoned advice from the APS.
The raft of issues facing the government, and most importantly the nation, can be sheeted home to de-skilling of the APS, a lazy preference for reactionary and political (rather than strategic) policies and decisions, and self-assured political hubris.
While it is appreciated that the government is injecting "record" money to save the Great Barrier Reef ($1 billion over the next nine years), it does seem strange that they are also providing significant funding to the fossil-fuel industry ($27 billion in subsidies over the next three years).
This is particularly so when fossil fuels have been identified as the leading driver of climate change, and therefore a significant contributor to the decline of our reef.
One has to question whether our government is truly genuine in their attempts to save our iconic reef, or whether this is just window dressing to appease voters prior to the coming federal election.
It is hard to see how any poll can be accurate no matter how sophisticated the pollsters' techniques are.- Dr Bill Anderson, Surrey Hills, Vic
There has been a great deal written in recent times about the likely result of the next federal election based on voter polls.
In truth any and every voting analysis based on polls should be taken with a grain of salt.
There are 151 seats in the Australian House of Representatives, most polls only poll a thousand or so people thus if they poll each seat we are looking at seven, or fewer, people polled in each electorate.
It is very hard to see how any such poll can be even remotely accurate, no matter how sophisticated the pollsters mathematical/statistical polling and analytical techniques are.
My view about the LNP Coalition has always been that it was a marriage of convenience.
Liberals will always have to accept the domination of the Nationals because they will never be able to form a government of their own.
They will have to compromise their stand. Labor is the largest political party in Australia. But their hands and legs are tied up by the Senate.
The Senate is being ruled by the minor parties and independents.
The outcome of the next federal election with a half-Senate election will be very interesting.
John Ryan (Letters, February 6) wrote of Australia's potential to be a world leader in the production and use of green hydrogen (made by electrolysis of water using electricity generated with renewable energy).
Mr Ryan also mentioned that Malcolm Turnbull, a supporter of green hydrogen, is chair of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI). Andrew "Twiggy" Forrest founded FFI in 2018, with a view to using hydrogen to decarbonise heavy industry, beginning with its parent company, Fortescue Metals Group, which aims to decarbonise its operations by 2030. Dr Forrest is already well ahead of the game.
Mike Buckley (Letters, February 4) is not the only one that has little confidence in the Labor Party as an alternative government. Doing so would be akin to jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Today's Labor Party is hardly discernible from the LNP, and is commonly referred to as "LNP lite". It changes its policies according to public sentiment to be seen as inclusive, it has also adopted far too many LNP policies which would not normally be acceptable to the party in order to limit criticism and make itself as small a target as possible between now and election day.
I have yet to be convinced that this Labor Party would be a viable alternative government, as the best they have come up with to date is an ongoing pointing of the finger at the government and saying "It's Time".
That worked for Whitlam, but will it work for Albanese? Voting governments out when they begin to be on the nose is not a practical solution. A lot of damage can be done during the course of a three-year term.
Many thanks for the extensive obituary of Ken Jones as "the pioneer of free university education" (February 6, p.9). It's 50 years now since I arrived at the ANU, to be an eventual undergraduate beneficiary of that policy.
I remain very grateful for those benefits that opened other doors for my later postgraduate education.
A "most upright and correct public servant" is an honourable encomium for a long-serving and faithful member of the Australian Public Service. Thanks for my educational introduction to Canberra, Mr Jones.
Out of interest I have been following the housing auction results in Canberra for the past three years.
In the past three months I have observed that there has been an increase in the number of houses sold at auction, listed with price withheld. Prior to the boom of the property market it would be very rare to see a house that was successfully auctioned, listed with "price withheld".
Is the current trend to list an auctioned house with "price withheld" a form of manipulation of the market? Could this mean that the market has reached a plateau, and people are not getting what they expect? Is this a fair practice of the real estate industry? Markets rely on information.
I sympathise with the many correspondents who wish that light rail stage 2 would be canned.
However, whilst the people of the ACT keep re-electing a Green/Labor government committed to light rail despite all the evidence against it, this will never happen.
I am pleased to see the local Liberals now have elected the leadership team of Elizabeth Lee and Jeremy Hanson.
It ticks all the right boxes. We now have a very viable opposition.
Might I also point out that at each recent election there have always been a number of sensible, potentially very good independent candidates much better able to represent their respective electorates than some of the usual Green and ALP government hacks?
Names such as Fiona Carrick (Murrumbidgee), Jason Potter (Brindabella), Chic Henry (Ginninderra) and David Pollard (Yerrabi) spring to mind.
All would have developed into fine MLAs with a wide range of political views.
If elected, they would have, in combination with a Liberal minority government, provided a much more balanced and viable Legislative Assembly, representative of all views in the community.
I'm sure a number of good independents will stand in 2024. People like Kim Rubenstein should consider it; maybe even David Pocock.
Remember, the current government will have been there for 23 years in 2024.
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