Letters to
the editor

Unfair breaks

The government’s proposal to build just 30,000 homes over five years is woefully inadequate when 640,000 people are in need of homes right now (Mike Seccombe, “Inside the Greens’ housing reform strategy”, June 10-16). Max Chandler-Mather, the Greens’ spokesperson for housing and homelessness, appropriately states, “We need a rent freeze, proper investment in public and affordable housing and a phase-out of the unfair tax breaks for property investors …” Negative gearing favours the rich, encouraging some to become richer at the expense of the taxpayer. Negative gearing should be changed so it applies only to social housing and affordable housing. This would then significantly boost the quantity of social housing and affordable housing.

– Adrienne Kabos, Lane Cove, NSW

Emergency status

Ben Abbatangelo lays out clearly the range of issues sabotaging the Voice referendum (“Actions speak louder than the Voice”, June 10-16). How can we move forward when Australian society is in such poor shape? Mining and its dirty handshakes, the justice system, youth incarceration, deaths in custody, the environment and the impact nuclear waste will have on First Nations communities from the profligate subs deal – all of these are red alert emergencies for First Nations people that are being glossed over with political tears of self-congratulation. The thing is, as a nation we are killing ourselves and we can’t help anyone unless we comprehensively redress the current systemic abuses.

– Beverley Fine, Pagewood, NSW

Certainty needed

The diatribe by Ben Abbatangelo does his cause no favours. It is not in dispute that more can and should be done to deal with the myriad problems affecting Aboriginal communities. No amount of money will fully fix these social issues or compensate for past wrongs, but sensible allocation of funds in consultation with local communities transmitted to decision-makers via the Voice mechanism will surely make progress. The structure of the Voice will need to evolve with experience to make it efficient and effective. It is sad there is antagonism to the Voice within the Aboriginal community. Tangling it up with treaty, truth-telling, sovereignty and reparations creates confusion. Where voters are uncertain, they will tend to opt for the status quo. Failure of the referendum will poison the Aboriginal cause for decades.

– Peter Barry, Marysville, Vic

Education pressure

Accolades to Jane Caro (“Rich school, poor school”, June 10-16) for accurately describing the current state of our public education system. The members of my family who are secondary school teachers in the public system describe it as broken almost beyond repair and are currently desperately seeking other jobs. To say they are burnt out by bureaucracy is an understatement and the teachers’ union is worse than useless in cases of violence in the classroom or principals who load teachers with extracurricular activities. It’s no wonder teachers are resigning in droves.

– Christine Tiley, Albany Creek, Qld

Seismic changes

“Hayley”, a marine fauna observer on a ship doing exploration by seismic blasting, warns the blasters are secretive and rarely stop for any reason. Their blasting is so loud it is “terrifying” and utterly deadly to most marine animals (Elle Marsh, “Louder than a bomb”, June 10-16). An inquiry has been ineffective in achieving change. The relevant National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority approves most new projects; and more of them, potentially worth billions, surround Australia, including one near unique Ningaloo. The world’s countries recently agreed to the new High Seas Treaty for protecting our oceans against development and harm. Blasting is deadly so, on that ground alone, it must be stopped. The federal government must be strong and do that urgently now.

– Barbara Fraser, Burwood, Vic

Wise choice

Age discrimination can be like a wraith: you sense it’s there but you can’t catch hold of it. Replies to job applications fall away precipitately once you turn 50. You rarely get to an interview; you gradually become invisible. Kieran Pender posits Alex Gutierrez’s heartfelt question following his federal court victory: “What work can a 73-year-old get?” (“Age-old solution”, June 10-16). My recommendation: you can find volunteer work, which may well use at least some of your skills. People see what you can do. You are rewarded with appreciation for many, the most valuable currency. And sometimes, once you’re established in an organisation, you might be able to apply for a job there. Age discrimination often forms an invisible barrier for older people in conventional employment channels. Don’t despair: volunteer. At least you’ll be appreciated.

– Chris Young, Surrey Hills, 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 June 17, 2023.

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