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Letters to the Editor

From time to time, a commentary on the world will bubble up inside of me to the extent that I'm forced to write a letter to my local, metropolitan, daily newspaper, The Age. This is where I blow of some steam. Feel like venting too? Add your own comment or visit my homepage.

Friday, August 27, 2004

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Expensive Pork

Mr. Howard has conceeded that his new health policy won't result in additional private health insurance members. Rather, it's about "rewarding" existing members. People aren't rewarded out of the blue for past behaviour. It just doesn't make sense. So the only future behaviour this reward could influence is voting.

For a policy that will cost taxpayers in excess of $1 billion over the term of the next Parliament, Michelle Grattan (25/8) estimates it may benefit just a few thousand voters. I hope that the few over-65 swinging voters in marginal seats with private health insurance appreciate that the Government has valued their vote at up to half a million dollars.

Is this the most expensive per capita pork-barrelling exercise Australia has ever seen?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

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Train Driver Training

We read that delays to the Spencer Street development are due, in part, to a shortage of train drivers (The Age, 5/8). Apparently, this has come about since it takes over two years to train a person to drive a train. I must confess to supposing uncharitably that it was a simple matter of going forwards or backwards at different speeds, since steering is not required. Then I reflected on some incidents this past few months and realised the two year syllabus has been squeezed to exclude such important lessons as "when slipping out to the loo, leave the handbrake on" and "ensure there's enough fuel to complete the journey". Perhaps we need to look at extending the training into a third year?