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Sydney

Thanks to conservative politics, young lose out in the housing debate

Yet again a conservative commentator misses the two elephants in the room when it comes to housing affordability for the young (“Home truths behind Perrottet’s loss”, March 28). Gray Connolly fails to mention that two of the great impediments to younger people being able to get into the housing market are negative gearing and discounted capital gains tax. No hint of a suggestion that these are areas requiring significant and courageous reform by a federal government. Instead, he blames it all on the states. But then we must not upset those folk who invest in property
must we? After all they are more important than young home buyers. John Lees, Castlecrag

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

I was with your writer until his solution to the housing crisis was to release yet more land for new builds, doubtless on city fringes. Has he been though outer western Sydney in the last 20 years or so? Endless vistas of grey mansions built cheek-by-jowl, perpetuating suburban sprawl for decades. The Sydney basin has some of the best farmland in Australia; we must stop covering it with concrete slabs and driveways. Sydney is one of the least densely populated cities in the world, we must in-fill and build up rather that out. The six-to-eight storey apartment blocks lining the boulevards of Paris and Berlin show that a liveable density is possible, even beautiful. Andrew Taubman, Queens Park

Though always a Liberal voter, I groaned with boredom to the current three nominations, neither am I aware of their talents (“Three way race for Lib leadership”, March 28). Looks like the same repeating itself. Yawn. Come on guys, introduce some fresh talent. Susan Chan, St Ives

The NSW electoral bloodbath for the Liberals raises significant internal questions. Most importantly, who will take the reign as leader of the opposition. However, the loss of traditional blue-ribbon seats to independents, demonstrate the Liberals suffer from an identity crisis stimulated by petty culture wars and female representation. Before jumping to a decision on leadership, it is essential that the Liberals consider all avenues of gender equality to mitigate female disparities within the party. Otherwise, the seismic swing to Labor will only increase. Damyn Santi-Hunt, Erskineville

Labor has done well destroying a tired and scandal prone Liberal government, but arguably NSW will be in a better place if they do not achieve a majority (“Majority in balance as ALP gets rolling,” March 28). The balance of power held by independents, particularly the Greens, would have definite benefits including the speedy introduction of the cashless gaming card, a more determined effort in reducing greenhouse emissions, improved public education and public transport. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

The Liberals carried too much baggage. Icare, jobs for the boys, the trains’ debacle, tolls, privatisation, the shutting down of TAFE, funds for private schools and pork barrelling, all while major problems remain unresolved like housing, hospitals, nurses, teachers. With all this, how will the Coalition redeem themselves in the eyes of the electorate? Lyle Keats, Miranda

The Australian mainland is now governed at federal, state and territory level by Labor (Letters, March 28). Saturday’s victory was another repudiation of the hysteria that emanates from the News Corp/Sky organisation. Like Rupert Murdoch’s previous four wives, the electorate has moved on. Mike Kenneally, Manly

First Nations input to parliament could be invaluable

If the Voice needs explaining, let me give an example that even Peter Dutton can understand (“Albanese gets personal on Coalition MP’s support”, March 28). Parliament is considering building a road across a river. The parliament consults widely with engineers and makes an in-principle decision about where the road should go. The First Nations people – the Voice – have no binding or legislative ability to affect the decision. In topical terminology, they are not a third chamber. But the elders know that the very place where the bridge will be has, unknown to the experts but well understood by the Voice representatives, always been prone to flooding and landslides. The Voice points this out. The parliament says, thanks for that, we never realised what the First Nations representatives have just brought to our attention. We will try to take that into account, even though we are not obliged to do so. Ian Harrison, Drummoyne

The Liberals position on the Voice is eerily similar to John Howard’s position on saying “sorry” for the stolen generations. All we heard was that he and his party wouldn’t say sorry as it would lead to multiple claims for compensation and all sorts of legal issues, which would have a negative impact on the economy. None of those scaremongering issues arose. Here we go again. Leo Demer, Bellevue Hill

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Australia’s Indigenous people are not just another minority, they are the original civilisation whose land was stolen from them by another domineering civilisation, which is still dominating them. The physical war is over, but the political war continues, the result being misery. Action is required to produce happiness on all sides. Ramon U’Brien, Springwood

Yes, for the Voice. Provided not in the Constitution. The Constitution is a legal document setting out the institutions that form a federal government and the basic rules for a responsible representative government, not a document referring to any group or individual unless as an executive power. There is no place for the Voice, a social issue.

A statement of recognition of the Indigenous peoples in the Constitution is the emotional heart of the proposed referendum. Recognition is a separate issue from the Voice and should be a standalone proposal with final wording included in the required referendum. Ken Milne, Dee Why

Frankly, I despair when I hear the complaint that First Nations peoples shouldn’t be singled out for special recognition in the Constitution (Letters, March 28). Doesn’t the term First Nations say it all? Susan Young, Robertson

Your correspondent is concerned that the Voice will succeed and become irrelevant. That would be wonderful. There would be no need to remove it from the Constitution, it should remain as an acknowledgment of that success and to the first inhabitants of this continent. Rodney Crute, Hunters Hill

The Voice could only become “meaningless in time” if future governments fail to treat it seriously. If that ever happens, it is the fault of the governments concerned. Constitutional enshrinement reduces the risk of that happening. As to appeals that we are “all equal under law”, unfortunately we are not. First Nations peoples are the only group who had their ancestral lands here seized without compensation. That has not happened to anyone else. Brendan Jones, Annandale

Compromise, yes, but climate action at last

Politics has been described as the art of compromise and while the Greens may have blinked in their face-off with the government over the safeguard mechanism, their willingness to support long-overdue action is welcome (“Parties strike crucial deal on signature climate policy”, March 28). There is no doubt that much more needs to be done but, after a decade or more of inaction on carbon reduction, every step forward must be applauded and then built upon. No doubt Labor has also heard the message on climate change from the IPCC. By becoming part of the solution, the Greens can continue to negotiate for necessary changes from a position of influence. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

Chris Bowen has chalked up a major political win. But whether it’s a win for the planet is unclear. We might feel better about it if he weren’t quite so cocky, already foreshadowing he will use the power of regulations under the act. Read that as his ability to thwart significant reductions in emissions if the fossil fuel lobby can convince him (and the government) which side its bread is buttered on.

From now on, the devil will be in the detail. How transparent will the safeguard mechanism be? Will we know, one by one, when new coal and gas projects are knocked back or given the green light? Which agency is sufficiently informed and keeping score on the existing 215 big polluters? The public has a fundamental right to be told what progress we are making on the climate crisis. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

Congratulations to the federal parliament which has demonstrated much-needed leadership on climate via the reformed safeguard mechanism. Wonderful to see constructive collaboration between Labor and the Greens resulting in regulation that will drive emissions down. By refusing to negotiate, the Coalition has unfortunately further cemented its irrelevance. In this critical time for climate action, all hands are needed on deck. Amy Hiller, Kew (VIC)

Good on you, Bob Brown. At least there’s still one prominent Australian with the guts to expose the fiasco of carbon offsets.

I wonder what Australians would think if a judge was allowed to say to a convicted murderer, “If you promise not to kill more than one person a month for the next 12 months, I’ll let you off with a 50-hour community service order.” Jeremy Cornford, Kingscliff

Your correspondent feels that Labor is afraid to offend the fossil fuel industry, but I can’t agree (Letters, March 28). It is the unions, locked in an embrace with the industry to protect their members’ jobs, that Labor must appease. It is right that the Labor party should consider the views of the unions, from which movement the party grew, as it is right that the unions should serve their members. But it is time both admitted that no worker’s job is worth the loss of a liveable planet. The best way for them to protect the workers now is to help create jobs in a new sustainable industry.
Jennifer Briggs, Kilaben Bay

If the fossil fuel industry and the Coalition are against the government’s climate policy it must have something going for it. John Truman, St Leonards

Too much latitude

If companies cannot guarantee the security of the masses of personal data they claim to need, then why are they allowed to hold the data at all (“Latitude cyber breach affects 14 million”, March 28). Not so long ago, much of this information only had to be sighted and not retained. Why is this not still the case? Richard Tainsh, Potts Point

Tacks off track

I was pleased to read the piece on the newly opened Murwillumbah-Crabbes Creek rail trail (“‘Vigilante’ vandals’ tack attacks can’t deflate the buzz on north coast rail trail”, March 28). In the 1980s, I often caught the train to Murwillumbah for a weekend or longer, usually with my pushbike in the luggage van. Last trip was with my then youngish sons on the XPT in 2005. Anyone who thinks that a rail service to Murwillumbah could be restored and extended to Queensland is very misguided. In the 1980s, there were some banana trains (BGC) in season and a cement train from Wyee – long gone. For a while, there were two overnight trains to/from Murwillumbah. They were packed. Two Fridays ago, I caught the day XPT to Casino then coach to Brisbane, via Murwillumbah. No one alighted at Murwillumbah that night, three joined for Brisbane. No economic possibility of reopening. Too bad that I can no longer ride a bicycle; otherwise I’d be there. Chris Wilkinson, Turramurra

Defence deep end

Exploring Middle Head, Georges Head and Bradleys Head at the weekend and reading all the signage about the military history confirmed that military defensive technology becomes obsolete very quickly. There’s a lesson from our past for our proposed nuclear submarines. Rhonda Daniels, Sutherland

Radio gaga

Too right, Ann Babington (Letters, March 28). The same craving for ratings is what turned the once very listenable Triple J into a breeding ground for mainstream radio hopefuls who love the sound of their own voices. Jeff Apter, Keiraville

If RN wants to keep and increase its audience it should consider reviving some of the socially significant and respected programs such as the Education Report and the Food Program of many years ago. Herald readers can, I am sure, cite other well-informed and relevant programs we have lost. It is strange that in one of the most secular societies on earth, there are three religion-based programs on RN and nothing specifically on issues that concern a broad swath of listeners such as education and social welfare issues. Liz Rechniewski, Annandale

Daylight hours

I love daylight saving, but it just starts one month too early and ends one month too late. It should not run for half the year. Can the newly elected state government initiate a debate on this subject please? Neil Edwards, Caringbah

No nudity please, we’re American

Is it just me? Six die in a school shooting in America (“Armed woman kills children, adults in Nashville school”, smh.com.au, March 28) and still, the President has to beg parents for support in banning assault rifles. A principal gets sacked for showing pictures of David (“Michelangelo a genius? No, just a filthy little boy”, March 28). You can shoot students, but don’t show them pictures of a statue with a penis. The next sound you hear will be my brain exploding. Neville Turbit, Russell Lea

After 65 years of marriage, raising two sons, not to mention a brood of grandsons and great grandsons, I find penises a bit ho-hum. When I saw Michelangelo’s David in Florence it was the eyes that grabbed me. Goliath didn’t stand a chance. Elizabeth Myors, Warners Bay

Michelangelo’s David: art or pornography?

Michelangelo’s David: art or pornography?Credit:Getty Images

If we are to believe the Bible when it teaches us “man” was created in God’s image, wouldn’t it be blasphemous to describe the statue of David as pornography? Tricia Copp, Lake Cathie

Of course “Michelangelo was a genius”. Brad Emery may wish to add The Burrell Collection, slightly south of Glasgow and Degas to his list. All lovers recognise Degas’ dancers. At the Burrell I almost failed to avert my gaze. Ian Sinclair, Wagga Wagga

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
The big idea floated by a tiny nation that could be a winner all round
From esteban cuzimanos: ‴⁣⁣Australia and New Zealand should work with Pacific islands nations to create a European Union-style bloc’. Fantastic idea. We should be working more closely with our Pacific neighbours and if they have suggestions for better ways to work together, we must listen.″⁣

To submit a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email letters@smh.com.au. Click here for tips on how to submit letters.

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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/thanks-to-conservative-politics-young-lose-out-in-the-housing-debate-20230328-p5cvtz.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Thanks to conservative politics, young lose out in the housing debate

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