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Your views: on Newstart, councils and managing the Murray

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on the Social Services Minister’s stance on Newstart, on council leadership, and water politics.

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Commenting on the story: Higher dole payments would to to “drug dealers, pubs”: Minister

Is Anne Ruston suggesting that Newstart recipients are so drug and alcohol affected that they are unable to find suitable jobs? Or can’t be trusted with any additional income?

This clearly isn’t the case, as most people who are unemployed are not drug and alcohol dependent, they are simply struggling to find work in a tough market and to survive on an inadequate benefit.

I would suggest anyone who can provide food, shelter, and clothing for their families while on Newstart, and have enough left over to spend on drug dealers and pubs, is a financial genius and Anne Ruston should hire them forthwith. Anna O’Connor

Ye Gods minister, that sounds like let them eat cake! – Gilbert Aitken

Senator Rushton is no orphan in suggesting that raising Newstart would only benefit drug dealers and pubs.

The comments usually come from people with very little knowledge of the challenges facing the unemployed.

That they come from the Minister is simply reprehensible. It is clear that she is viewing her portfolio through the narrow, ideological prism of the neoliberal right.

 I have worked with the long-term unemployed. I have no reason to believe that the 1000+ people that I endeavoured to place in work were any different than the rest of the unemployed.

One of the main obstacles to finding work, especially for the long-term unemployed was simply after spending money on their basic living expenses, there was often nothing left over to chase down a job. 

Yet here we have a minister who makes no apology for claiming that the level of Newstart is not a significant roadblock to assisting people back into the workforce. 

If she was serious that she was determined to make sure “that we investigate every possible way that we can start getting a better result for getting people back into work”, she would not rule out the need to raise Newstart payments. – John Töns 

Commenting on the story: Replace mayors with judges, ex-pollies: city councillors

Adelaide City councillors Robert Simms (former Greens Senator) and Anne Moran (quondam Liberal Party campaign worker) have proposed that retired judges or politicians chair council meetings to protect them from the Team Adelaide (Liberal Party) majority on Council.

As a Speaker who received bi-partisan support over five years and an Attorney-General for eight years, I am willing to chair Adelaide City Council gratis to ensure that Robert Simms and Anne Moran receive procedural fairness.

My party, the Australian Labor Party, has not had one of its members on Adelaide City Council for something like 20 years, so I am disinterested. Michael Atkinson

Almost every day I read about the latest fight, walkout, petty argument or slanging match between council members.

It seems this happens across every part of the state and to be frank it is utterly embarrassing.

At what point do we put this to a stop or rein them in or, better yet, abolish them altogether?

I find it hard to believe their role is irreplaceable and let’s face it, could it be any worse that it currently is?

Failing that, I am considering running on a crazy platform – hear me out.

Any council I lead empties your bin, fixes your footpaths, prunes overgrown trees, registers your dog and maybe runs a library. That’s about it.

I am truly of the belief that if the majority of the population had any clue as to what councils get up to I’d have 90% of the vote.

Positions on climate change? Nope. Debates on immigration? Nope. Any internal catering that consists of more than a pizza and cheap red? Nope. Safe footpaths and pothole-free roads – you know it.

Who’s with me? Andrew McKenzie

Commenting on the opinion piece: Inaccurate, short on facts and substance: Marshall’s “press release” response to Murray inquiry

With regard to the suggestion of the buy back  of water licenses assisting local communities with the monies being spent locally – this is a myth.

Firstly, local landowners selling the rights to their water entitlement would leave the land and likely move out of the “local” area.

Secondly, a substantial amount of water licenses are held by city based businesses who do not even own land – an example of this is Duxton Water, based in South Australia whose business is trading water.

For these reasons alone, the idea of a buy back scheme assisting local communities is incorrect. 

Local businesses will suffer due to businesses that rely on irrigation closing down. Dianne Dawson

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