Travel allowances for MP's - it's an issue that's arisen once again.

The spirit of Christmas 

The week before Christmas a friend of ours was shopping in Tamworth and had an embarrassing moment thinking she had lost her card at the checkout.

As she went into not quite panic mode, a kind and generous lady in the line said " Here, let me pay, after all it is Christmas".

That gesture was most appreciated  and we are so encouraged to know that there are such beautiful people out there.

Our friend, who is also a very generous person did later find her card in the wrong section of her wallet.

To the Angel  many thanks and may you be richly blessed.

Peter Kessel

Quirindi 

A very big thank you

Kmart Australia and our charity partners, The Salvation Army and Mission Australia, are overwhelmed by the amazing generosity of Australians who contributed to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal in 2016.

Our Appeal, closed for the 29th year and has again provided much needed Christmas cheer with 342,997 gifts distributed to people in need across the country. New South Wales and The ACT accounted for 104,653 of the overall gift tally. With Kmart Warriewood collecting the most gifts in NSW/ACT. 

We know how much it means to those who hit hard times, to know that people out there care and are willing to support in any way that they can during Christmas.

On top of the gifts given, shoppers also showed their generosity online and at Kmart registers donating more than $135,000 in cash contributions, which will continue until the end of January.

We also loved seeing the amazing support from the community, young and old, on social media and can’t thank everyone enough for sharing their posts and encourage others to also give.

On behalf of the entire Kmart team and our friends at The Salvation Army and Mission Australia, I would like to thank each and every person and business who donated to the Appeal and particularly the incredibly generosity of the people of New South Wales and Australia’s Capital Territory.  

Ian Bailey

Kmart Managing Director

Club revival

It is a shame about the bowling club that burnt down.

There is talk about the members of the bowling club being able to use a cafe at the information/visitors centre.

It could be called the ‘Revival Cafe’ – let’s revive the bowling club.

Francis mion

Tamworth

Centrelink clawback 

"I make no apology for making sure that those who didn't need it, who got it, pay the money back," the Nationals leader told ABC.

Throughout the articles released in regards to the recent Centrelink Clawback, Mr Joyce has refused to apologise to the numerous victims of the Robo-Debacle that has seen thousands provided debt notices for debts that for many aren’t even real.

We, the New England Young Labor Association, find this lack of respect and understanding for Mr Joyce’s Constituents absolutely appalling, as he ignores the victims and sweeps them under the carpet.

Mr Joyce should be questioning the flaws of the new system that has seen the amount of debt notices climb from 20,000 a year to 20,000 a week, especially the issue arising from the use of ATO records in comparison to Centrelink records.

Questioning the issues that could arise by producing an average fortnightly income by using your annual income, which will definitely be skewered if you are a casual worker or worked on and off.

Yet, all we have is our Member of Parliament ignoring the flaws and allowing his constituents to be victimised and abused by a flawed system.

Labor has made numerous statements against this new system, and will continue to stand against the abuse of Australian Citizens by the hands of a flawed and failing system.

Mr Joyce should be taking action, instead of pedalling along as if nothing is wrong.

Koady Humphreys

President & Spokesperson for the New England Young Labor Association

Travel allowances

The fuss over Sussan Ley's travel claims has brought forth more claims for a Federal ICAC, an idea originally from Hong Kong.  

We certainly should have a Federal ICAC, but perhaps there's a greater need to use an idea from Singapore.

We should do away with the weird and complicated structure of  pay and allowances for Federal MPs, and replace it with just one figure. 

Give them each a large, fixed amount every year, and say that they're getting nothing more. 

They'll have to pay for everything they feel they need out of this fixed amount, then feed, clothe and house themselves out of the remainder. 

Trips to the Gold Coast would magically become less frequent after that.

Yes, ministers and Prime Ministers should get even higher fixed amounts -- but they too should have no extras beyond their stated and fixed salaries.

I can already hear the country members whining that how they have to pay so much more for travel back to their electorates than city MPs do, and such a scheme would therefore be unfair. 

That's nonsense, of course.  Country MPs could simply remain in Canberra. 

After all, it's the National Party which says that public servants have go to where their jobs are located, and stay there.

G.T.W.  AGNEW.

Coopers Plains