Letters to
the editor

Other ways to secure housing

I don’t disagree with Clem Bastow’s analysis of the abyss between income and housing prices (“Argument of broken dreams”, April 23-29). It’s undeniable that current policies such as negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions have contributed to an acute affordability crisis in home ownership. Addressing this requires political courage. I diverge at the assertion that “most long-term renters would prefer the relative security of owning their own home”. Security is a sought-after commodity, but owning property isn’t the only solution to this. Isn’t it time we addressed Australia’s cultural problem with renting? Now that vast swaths of people will henceforth be locked out of “The Dream”, we need to find a way to make the alternative more just. Legislative change to provide secure tenure in the rental market would go a long way towards offering a better mix of housing options for Australians of all ages. 

– Julia Murray, St Peters, NSW

Don’t help Hanson campaign

I would take issue with your editorial “The mystery of the Hanson fad” (April 23-29). Initially, because there is no mystery: Pauline Hanson’s views may well be rife, but they certainly are not welcome in my Australia. And for that reason I cannot see anything other than harm being done by reporting her in some kind of specious attempt at “balance”. Unless Labor manages to form government at the coming election, I can see no end to the instability of recent years. Why? In large part because the mischievous media have given Mr Abbott, his white-anting colleagues, and unpleasantly right-wing commentators far too much air, TV, press time and space. Had Mr Turnbull called a standard election within weeks of his ascension to the prime ministership, he may well have achieved the mandate he needed, and now seeks, in order to sideline his ultra right. Nor is the Coalition perceived to be as capable as Labor of seriously negotiating with the crop of independents who will need only half the usual quota to be elected to the senate. You end your editorial by stating, in my view correctly, that Hanson traffics in thoughtless hate. All the more reason not to blithely spruik her views upon the fertile ground of her likely equally thoughtless voters. Sadly, Hanson probably stands a better chance of electoral success in the next senate than in previous attempts – without your helping hand, thank you. 

– Ian Nowak, Subiaco, WA

Pauline comes up Trumps

It may seem an unlikely comparison, but there is a similarity between the success of Donald Trump (in the United States) and Pauline Hanson. Both get more than their fair share of publicity – free and courtesy of the media who seem to like repeating offensive or absurd comments. Trump has a huge following largely because the Republicans in their desire for small government pushed the line that “governments were part of the problem”. Add that to the economic failures that have pushed 50 million US residents on to food stamps and it’s no wonder they have given up on the establishment. While income disparity is not as bad in Australia as in the US, there are a lot of people doing it tough and ready to blame anyone or anything that gets airtime. And while she doesn’t have a lot of credibility, her old claim of a nation being overrun by the Chinese will get a run with recent sales of the Port of Darwin, Cubbie Station and perhaps the Kidman cattle property. 

– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW

Media should choose more wisely

Surely any MP or aspirant must acquaint themselves with the facts? There are thousands of scientists globally dedicating their lives to science, informing us and researching ways we might address our mistakes. It is therefore despicable, frankly, for someone who wants to be an MP to opine that we’ve been “hoodwinked” about climate change (Karen Middleton, “ ‘This time I’m not going to be cheated’ ”, April 23-29). The editorial refers to the media’s dilemma about how much airtime to give Hanson, with quotes from her first speech in 1996, delivered in the house of representatives at the exact moment Bob Brown was giving his in the senate. Yet his was ignored by the media and hers became the paradigm that dominated the Howard government’s direction from then on. What a different path we may have trodden had the media chosen to focus on the positive messages Brown was putting forward for our future and that of the planet. It is fairly obvious to anyone who is looking that the real hoodwinkers are the fossil fuel profiteers and media outlets such as The Courier-Mail. 

– Catherine Moore, Charleys Forest, NSW

Negative politics

It is simply astounding to hear Malcolm Turnbull’s scaremongering about Labor’s plan to limit negative gearing to new houses. Months ago I thought this would be a great idea to get some useful revenue plus help the ever-present housing problem. It now seems that we are stuck for life with negative gearing because our brave politicians preach that the slightest change to this anti-conservative move will bring about a housing crisis. Mr Turnbull, you and your colleagues should be ashamed of yourselves. 

– Jim Banks, Pottsville Beach, NSW

Not practising what they preach

Your editorial’s reference to “a church of power rather than religion” (“Please hold the line”, April 16-22) is a clarion cry for religious reformation; for it is not uncommon (and blasphemous) for religious organisations and individuals to use their religion for purposes discordant with their preaching the primacy and goodness of God.

– Peter Drum, Coburg, 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 Apr 30, 2016.

A free press is one you pay for. Now is the time to subscribe.