May 22nd 2004

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: An election winning Budget?

EDITORIAL: Child care funding and the Budget

AGRICULTURE: Sugar package, Clayton's package

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Ethanol for strategic energy self-reliance

STRAWS IN THE WIND: More history wars / Betrayal / Guilt by association / ALP founding

COMMENT: Tougher law enforcement needed to stop drug wars

FREE TRADE AGREEMENT: Economist describes CIE report as laughable

Nature says no to same sex marriage (letter)

Vietnam human rights (letter)

Western media hypocrisy (letter)

No choice for mothers (letter)

Marriage unaffordable (letter)

Taiwan and the WHO (letter)

US economic integration defended (letter)

ECONOMY: Manufacturing decline causes foreign debt crisis

Europe's uncertain future

REPORT: More of the same at UN women's conference

COMMENT: Same-sex marriage: there are no limits

BOOKS: EMPIRE: How Britain Made The Modern World, by Niall Ferguson

BOOKS: Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy, by G. Edward White

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Marriage unaffordable (letter)

by Greg Byrne

News Weekly, May 22, 2004

The World Congress of the Family has identified some key issues in relation to family breakdowns.

Taxation is the main cause of family financial difficulties and that arises from the following:

  • Governments are made up of elected politicians whose main aim is to stay in parliament a long time and get the maximum superannuation payout.

  • Because of that, government spending has blown out to around 40 per cent of the GDP in many countries as parties try to buy as many votes as possible. That lies at the heart of family breakdowns.

  • We have now reached the absurd situation where, in the absence of a war, people are doing it tougher than they did in World War II. Maybe it was impossible to get petrol during World War II, but at least marriage was not a middle-class luxury, as it is now.

  • One of the key problems is that the population finds it difficult to accept tough decisions to fix the problems. I mean it might be necessary to abolish Medicare or, say, reduce some labour costs such as holidays, sick leave, workers' compensation and so on, to get people back to work and off social security.

It might be necessary to reinstate the rule of law in the industrial arena and that might mean hardship - say, doing without petrol or electricity for six weeks.

I believe that all Western nations face a crisis situation in about six years when the baby-boomers retire and sign up for pensions. Most MPs don't even want to think about that.

Greg Byrne,
Rowville, Vic

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TRANSGENDER: one shade of grey, 353pp, $39.99

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