Letters to
the editor

An education in tolerance

Thank you for that editorial you wrote about a disgraceful lack of human empathy (“ ‘Left like a dog, to die’ ”, November 28-December 4) and you rightfully pointed out that we all are responsible. It is not good enough to condemn in silence, to shake our heads and yet do nothing. I lived among the two tribes of Indigenous peoples in and outside Moree (situated in the middle of the northern border region of New South Wales). My lasting impression was of an overtly friendly people who had a great sense of humour. As a teacher I came into close contact with Indigenous teenagers and their parents. They never ceased to impress me with their kindness and tolerance. It is a pity other Australians in positions of authority cannot be as tolerant and as kind. There is only one race in this migrant country, and that is the human race!

– Gregory J. McKenzie, Chatswood, NSW

Australia pays a price for port deal

Sophie Morris’s article, “Port in a storm” (November 21-27), points to a much larger problem afflicting Australia. Darwin is Australia’s gateway to Asia. Australia and Australians, not the behemoth of Asia, should own and control that gateway. It is not xenophobic to make that claim; it is pure common sense. For a lousy $504 million, the Northern Territory government and the Commonwealth government, by its tacit approval, have done immeasurable symbolic damage to our country. The loss of “face” before our Asian counterparts in allowing such a deal concerning absolutely vital infrastructure is obvious and humiliating. The loss of a sense of national pride and integrity is a price that may never be regained for future Australian generations.

– Chris Dockrill, Crescent Head, NSW

Adding up the real costs

In Dr Alessandro Demaio’s excellent article on obesity (“Hip-pocket serve”, November 28-December 4) he correctly points out that the price we pay for a soft drink is not the true cost and indeed nowhere near the real social, health and environmental cost of the product. And soft drinks are but one item that is
blessed with this form of economic short-sightedness. Coal is another; not only does it receive government subsidies but there have been numerous studies showing that the health costs from the coal life cycle – mining, transport and combustion and disposal – would, if included in its evaluation, make it more expensive than all other forms of power generation. Ditto for many other enterprises such as fast food, suspect food additives and gambling that cost us far more than the revenue they produce all because economists can use selective data to produce whatever conclusion their employer requires.

– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW

Super idea for renters

The issues raised in Stuart Braun’s article “Residential race”, November 21-27) got me thinking that in Australia we could link ownership of rental properties to superannuation funds. I’d propose that you (as an individual or a proprietary company or a private trust) could own the place where you lived, but if you owned another residential property (rental property, self-managed superannuation fund asset, weekender), you’d get taxed severely for the privilege. Ideally, all rental properties would be either government-owned or held by superannuation funds. Rents would be a fixed proportion of tenants’ incomes and for fund-owned properties a portion of rent paid would accrue to the renter as a superannuation entitlement. That way if you wanted a retirement income, you’d let your fund do the renting. And if you were a renter and didn’t want to or couldn’t manage to own your own place, at least you could accumulate a bit of equity over the years in a super fund rather than seeing a landlord getting the entire benefit.

– Andrew Goldie, Blackwood, SA

Historical error

As I read the interesting article by Susan Chenery (“Blood ties”, November 28-December 4) relating to the 1965 massacres in Java, I thought to comment. The attempted coup was not against Suharto, it was against Sukarno. My recollection is that Suharto was actually the army general who directed much of the bloodshed in 1965 and indeed subsequently deposed Sukarno.

– Bryan Moloney, Brunswick East, Vic

The eggs factor

Andrew McConnell’s article on scrambled eggs (“Whisk factor”, November 14-20) raised memories from decades ago, when country towns were more numerous than they are now. Travelling around NSW, I endured and sometimes enjoyed this favoured breakfast dish in a variety of country cafes. The worst version came from cafes such as the one in Lithgow that mixed milk and eggs in the milkshake machine. No amount of stirring could prevent the resulting bland mixture from sogging the toast. However, I did find that milkshake-mixed scramble eggs could be partially rescued by cooking in the steam jet of the espresso machine. This said, the better cafes eschewed machine production. The best scrambled eggs of my country tours was served one Sunday morning at Burren Junction. Despite the limited array of Saturday night attractions in the town, the waitress, who was also the cook, was obviously hung-over. This seemed to help, because she cooked on low heat and stirred slowly with her wooden spoon. The result was delicious.

– Ian Manning, Brunswick, Vic

Letters are welcome: [email protected]
Please include your full name and address and a daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length and content, and may be published in print and online. Letters should not exceed 150 words.

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on December 5, 2015.

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