As Dhanya Mani speculated that the reaction to her allegation of rape was conditioned by the fact that she is a woman of colour, I wondered whether the paternal concern of the prime minister towards Brittany Higgins was reserved for white fathers of white daughters (“I was a staffer, and so was my perpetrator. Just like Chelsey Potter. Just like Brittany Higgins”, February 20-26). If it is not, perhaps Mrs Morrison could ask him how he thinks Nades Murugappan feels about his two brown-skinned young daughters, both born in Australia, who have been detained on Christmas Island for more than three years. Surely he doesn’t think only white people love and want to protect their daughters?
– Juliet Flesch, Kew, Vic
Men have to make changes
In her story on sexual abuse in the country’s parliaments, Dhanya Mani writes that in media interviews in the past week she’s “been repeatedly asked why this happened to us” and “how we can stop this problem recurring”. When will journalists stop demanding that women who have been assaulted come up with the answers, and start asking men in those workplaces what would stop them sexually assaulting women?
– Caroline Clark, Northcote, Vic
Demand and the housing market
Mike Seccombe’s article on the dangers of eternal house price increases was an excellent wake-up call on the impact it will have and the difficulties in reversing the process (“Safe as houses”, February 20-26). The article brought in comments from several economic experts who all gave their learned opinion not only on the cause of house price increases but the counterintuitive rise during the pandemic. It is unfortunately a possibility that their predictions of a price crash along with low interest rates provided the incentive for the high number of non-home owners to jump into the market. Some of the expert opinions need more scrutiny. Nicki Hutley stated that the price increases of her home of 25 years have made her rich, an absurdity too often used to promote the benefits of our housing-based economy. Yes, if you sell your home you become a millionaire – until you have to buy an equivalent home, and in the meantime you have paid higher rates that are based on your home valuation. But surely the most obvious flaw in the analysis of our home price debacle was the failure to mention that house price increases occur when demand exceeds supply and the high demand over the past few decades has been created by population growth largely due to the government policies of high immigration.
– Don Owers, Dudley, NSW
Policy that leaves poor out
Mike Seccombe and the experts to whom he refers miss the point if they think anything is to be done for the people at the bottom of the heap. When Scott Morrison boasts that the real estate bubble is “a product of the right policy settings” he is, for once, telling the truth. The right policies make sure the rich get richer and the poor do not get a share. It is only when many are homeless, or afraid of being so, that they will accept zero-hour contracts, casual work, no holiday or sick pay, do multiple jobs to buy a crust, and fear complaining if their rates are below the legal limits. By these means Morrison fosters modern slavery. The fact that Labor has backed away from the relevant tax reforms
on property shows they are little better.
– Terry Stanton, Tinonee, NSW
The rich getting richer
After years of hard, brutal pursuit of the weak and the vulnerable on dubiously imputed accounting grounds (Rick Morton, “Red flags to robo-debt bull”, February 20-26) and – as the enforcers themselves were made to know – without any proper legal basis, the prime minister was recently asked at the National Press Club what his position was towards those corporate grandees who collected large sums in JobKeeper funds for their enterprises, made handsome profits in tough times, and then rewarded themselves with immodest bonuses – and gave no thought to repaying any of those public funds back to the government and taxpaying citizens who had provided them with their winter-season windfall. The prime minister – previously the Social Security minister and Treasurer under whom this train of abuses was set in motion and sustained – replied tersely that he repudiated “the politics of envy”. That tells us all that we need to know, and more, about the morality of his government’s great robo-debt fraud.
– Clive Kessler, Randwick, NSW
Gadfly landing laughs
The Gadfly articles have always been excellent and hilarious. Richard Ackland was a standout with his wit and knowledge. But Sami Shah makes me laugh so hard I can barely read the column out loud to my husband, as is my wont. Thank you, Saturday Paper, for this wonderful addition to your weekly edition.
– Lynne Ruicens, Blaxland, NSW
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This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on February 27, 2021.
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