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It has been observed that John F. Kennedy put a man on the moon while Barack Obama put boys into girls’ toilets. This raises a question: for how long will we allow standards of public life to be so debased as to give rise to such a contrast?

This debasement of civic culture has lent to vexing political times, registered here through an election in which every voter, so it seems, eggs on every politician to take another person’s money and give it to them; in which lazy shibboleths of Keynesian economic theory excuse inattention to half a trillion dollars of public debt.

During which, we are faced with the nonsense of poststructural Marxism in the form of experimental sexuality foisted on children under the Orwellian banner of Safe Schools.

All of this is conducted through a climate of political discourse in which disgraceful personal abuse is the norm. Neither candidate for prime minister displays any inclination to face reality — to be honest with the electorate and put a priority on the national interest beyond what we must otherwise assume is a mere venal quest for power.

Where are today’s Robert Menzies, Bob Hawke, Paul Keating, John Howard and Peter Costello? And where are the wise editors and journalists who aren’t spooked by the fragile mindset of political correctness, and not blinkered by some personal campaign?

This election shapes up as a depressing waste of time. What we require is a politician who will ask, as did Kennedy, that we do what we can for our country rather than demand that our country do ever more for us.

James Miller, Woolloomooloo, NSW

Why is there surprise about the polls? Neither party has a clear strategy on deficit reduction. Neither has a coherent portfolio of policies to satisfactorily manage the transition from the mining boom.

The high expectations around the still likeable Malcolm Turnbull have been dashed because his vacillation and indecision and his eventual reliance on the tired tax handout, have exposed a lack of preparedness for office. Bill Shorten is simply promising more of the same when economic conditions have changed markedly.

Polls understandably tend to focus on the comparative differences between leaders, but the big message in Newspoll is a lack of confidence in both leaders.
George Finlay, Balaclava, Vic

Neither of the main parties are doing enough to address our growing debt situation. Nor is there any mention of much-needed structural reform of the economy.

Wide-sweeping taxation reform and industrial relations reform seem to have dropped off the agenda, presumably not to frighten the horses before the election.

And repair work on our now creaking federation does not get a mention in this election campaign. Labor keeps promising more and more, while the Coalition is desperately trying to hold the line on expenditure, thankfully with an eye on the long-term. But both should concentrate more on productivity to improve Australia’s competitiveness.

Michael Schilling, Millswood, SA