LETTERS News Weekly
Kersh de Courtenay; Lucy Sullivan; Chris McCormack.
, February 1, 2014
For 60 years Australian farmers were taxed to subsidise urban secondary industries. However, we see no quid pro quo.
The costs of farm inputs and the business environment in which farmers have to operate are dictated by vested interests in Australian cities and overseas. We have the big banks, big unions, big government, big business and big environmentalists. There is not space enough to categorise the unnecessary costs of each.
Output costs suffer from the same problems. For a start, I never received in the hand more than 83 per cent of the sale price of the wheat, wool or lupins that I sent to market. All sorts of peripheral things were financed out of the proceeds.
I waited nine years for my last wheat payment. The farm was my secondary business for 13 years and it was not viable without outside financial inputs, although it had 1,150 hectares developed.
There is something very wrong with Australian farming when 65 of the best farms around Calingiri, Western Australia, with its good ground, reliable rainfall and proximity to market, are sold off to Chinese interests.
We won’t mention the edict that closed down the citrus industry in South Australia or the looming destruction by the big two retail chains of the vegetable industry in Tasmania — to name just two primary industry messes. Most of the initial Ord River irrigation farmers went broke in their new venture.
Investors in Australia prefer to invest in a city apartment rather than in a farm. It is much easier.
As well as industrial subsidies, our capital has also been diverted to build a social welfare system rivalled by few countries. In 1967 you published that the total cost of health, welfare and education was 18.7 per cent of the Commonwealth budget. Today they consume nearly 70 per cent.
Country-dwellers are short-changed for these services. No wonder there is no capital for rural investment by Australians.
National Party deputy leader and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce may be able to conceive a better scenario for existing farmers, rather than starting the same sorry process anew.
He should work out how to enable Australians to accumulate capital and be encouraged to invest it in productive activities.
Kersh de Courtenay,
A propos Ryan Messmore’s article, “Rediscovering the classical and Christian educational ideal” (News Weekly, November 9, 2013), I truly believe that learning to think cannot be divorced from the acquisition of knowledge.
It is by following the thought processes demonstrated in literature, history and science that we too learn to think. We learn by the example of those who have thought well before us; and what they have thought about is facts, in the broadest sense.
Formal logic will not teach anyone to think well. It is too linear, too simple, too vacant. It is only in engaging with facts that we face the real discipline of thought.
And if we do not have enough of the relevant knowledge, we will not think well. Education needs not only to furnish us with knowledge, but also to make us aware of the adequacy or inadequacy of our knowledge, and aware of the limitations of our thinking in any context.
It is in this area that I think Australian education falls down most. Australians are opinionated, not recognising the factual obligations of opinion.
Dr Lucy Sullivan,
Unsurprisingly, Labor, the Greens and myopic media commentators have indulged in the usual tirade of twisted logic and half-truths in response to South Australian Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi’s views on abortion and “alternative” families in his book, The Conservative Revolution.
Claiming that killing a baby in the womb is a woman’s right and that no-one has the right to interfere with what a woman does to her body is missing the point. It’s not just her body; there is another human being’s life a stake here. When did the unborn baby give consent to be killed?
Senator Bernardi is not denouncing all families that do not fit the ideal of biological parents and children; he is merely stating that to encourage single parent, surrogate or same-sex relationships in the first instance as a substitute for traditional families is flying in the face of all reliable research done on the best outcomes for children and ultimately for societal cohesion.
To advocate for anything else is deliberately misleading and disingenuous.
Victoria Point, Qld