Immigration blame distracts from housing crisis
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Immigration blame distracts from crisis
Every mention of the housing crisis brings out those who blame immigration (Letters, 26/4). The fundamental cause of the housing crisis is poor policy and decades of government failure to act on the issue. Our politicians have deliberately pursued taxation and planning decisions to keep house prices high. If immigration disappeared tomorrow, those issues would still remain.
Immigration is a distraction from the structural causes of the housing crisis. Australia chose unaffordable housing. We can choose to fix it.
David Neuzerling, Caulfield North
In your backyard?
Would former Reserve Bank economist Peter Tulip, who wants to reduce council powers to block developments, be OK with all the half-a-million migrants arriving every year wanting to live in his neighbourhood (“Overcome NIMBYs and build where people want to live”, 26/4)? The local council can then dismiss all the NIMBYs and let the high-density construction begin. Or perhaps Tulip wouldn’t like that as much?
Those people pushing for nose-bleeding levels of migration don’t seem to be the ones who have to deal with the consequences on housing, services, infrastructure and environmental degradation.
Kieran Simpson, Blackburn North
Not so leafy these days
In Victoria, local councils, in practice if not in law, have already lost the power to control development. Any objection quickly goes to VCAT, where it seems to be usually approved. Discussions about overcoming the NIMBYs too often ignore the so-called developers – what they develop is their own profit.
NIMBYs sprang up because of the inappropriate development of overly large constructions looming over neighbourhoods, putting existing houses literally in the shade, taking away privacy, and slashing tree canopy. The Leafy Eastern Suburbs are considerably less leafy than they used to be. Objections would drop dramatically if proposals were appropriate.
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn
Your correspondent is right regarding the size of the houses that were built after World War II (Letters, 25/4). I wonder how many people are aware there were restrictions due to a lack of materials?
My parents had a house built in 1946 and it had two bedrooms, one bathroom, luckily an indoor toilet, and a laundry that had access inside and outside. The final size was 12 squares, about 110 square metres. And people today have these huge two-storey McMansions, filling up the whole block with little or no backyard and where nearly all bedrooms have an en suite. Why do people feel there is a need to build such huge places?
For my parents, extensions came later when they were able to extend their mortgage. There was no easy credit for furniture or white goods, only lay-bys, or one had to have the money on hand or in the bank.
Rosemary Berrell, Ashburton
The affordable suburbs
I regularly read the real estate section of The Age hoping to hear about my suburb (Wyndham Vale) or my region (western suburbs), but mostly, the dialogue is about auction results in affluent suburbs in the north, east and south. We have a housing affordability crisis in Melbourne yet seldom are “affordable” homes discussed.
Donna Wyatt, Wyndham Vale
Finding a way forward
Re “Greens push Labor to freeze rents” (26/4): This is an important starting point. The French economist , Thomas Piketty, has written about how the concentration of ownership is a powerful determinant in inequality/poverty that exists today. Let us hope the Greens can open a way forward with the government to address issues such as homelessness, rental equity and affordable home ownership.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading
The place to be
Anzac Day footy at the ‘G. Endless blue sky, wafting vapour trails overhead from fighter jets, the solemn thud of army drums. The Last Post trumpet cries for the dead, national anthems echo to the top of the stands and then the red, black and white crowd lets out its mighty roar (“Pie revival ‘fuelled by crowd’,” 26/4). Where else to be but Melbourne? And the game was a brilliant battle. Glenda Johnston, Queenscliff
I watched the Anzac Day AFL clash as a neutral spectator, and while a close game is always a bonus, the most outstanding moment was listening to Collingwood captain Darcy Moore’s speech after the game. Former coach Mick Malthouse rightly reflected years ago that it was important to be humble in victory, and thus Darcy’s words were not only that, but affirming of Essendon’s performance, inclusive of all the fans at the MCG, and most of all, they rightly heralded the commemoration behind the round and the fact that remembering the fallen and those who are currently serving abroad was far more important than the final score.
Post-game addresses can often ramble, be emotionally lacklustre or unnecessarily tribal, so Moore’s sentiments were a refreshing example of not only how sport can unify, but also how articulated words of thoughtfulness can elevate the occasion at hand and give honour where it is indeed due.
Peter Waterhouse, Craigieburn
Even though the Albanese government is drowning in debt and should have higher priorities, it can still find $240 million for a bit of pork barrelling down in Tasmania (“Federal funds set up Tassie AFL team”, 26/4). We can only hope that the new AFL stadium will have plenty of car parks.
Lance Wilson, Brighton East
Lack of acknowledgment
I haven’t always been wildly enthusiastic about starting meetings with a Welcome to Country. It’s more like I’ve just gone along with it without thinking. Mostly I want to get the meeting started and get it over. Notwithstanding, I found the absence of any acknowledgement of our Indigenous people at Bendigo’s ANZAC Day ceremony (Pall Mall) jarring.
Here was a celebration of a nation-defining event in our history, an event which we like to think epitomises Australian values: courage, mateship and willingness to make sacrifices in defence of our way of life. Some recognition of the foundational role First Nations people played in our nation’s history would have demonstrated the generous spirit of the brave ANZACs. The strength of our democracy lies in the confidence with which Australians can embrace our complicated past and our diverse present.
Patrice McCarthy, Bendigo
Trust the patients
One suspects pharmacists are more worried about loss of trade than patient convenience (“Pharmacists up in arms at cut-price scripts plan”, 26/4). They should accept most patients are intelligent and able. We lived in New Zealand for a few years where the norm was for almost, if not all, regular medications were supplied in three monthly amounts. No problems. Worked well.
Kate Sanford, Portland
Forward at the double
Moving from 30-day to 60-day prescriptions is impractical for pharmacists because stocks are hard to obtain, and they cannot double their shelf space. A simple answer that will also halve the GP cost: at each visit the GP prints out a “use now” prescription and a second future 30 days prescription – “not to be used before xx/xx/2023″.
Lance Ross, Kooyong
Don’t cast doubt on masks
Well before COVID, the efficacy of masks was established. Surgeons, anaesthetists, theatre nurses and other medical professionals wore/wear surgical masks. GPs wore/wear surgical masks when performing certain procedures in their surgeries. Dentists and dental nurses wore/wear them when examining and treating patients. Even using potting mix carries a warning to use a mask. Why, then, are there questions about the efficacy of masks as a tool in preventing the spread of COVID? (“Doubts cast on mask rule success claim”, 26/4)
If wearing masks leads to even a minor reduction in the prevalence of COVID, it is and was worthwhile. Experts questioning the percentage of reduction just causes confusion.
Louise Kloot, Doncaster
Toby Wooldridge (“‘Sleepy Hollow’ no longer in snooze mode”, 26/4) highlights Geelong’s position in the top dozen of Australia’s largest cities. Sharing the country’s fastest growth rate (2.5 per cent) with the Gold Coast, Geelong is racing up that list.
More than 50 Australian towns have a local ABC radio station, including eight in Victoria. Geelong is not one of them.
The absence of a significant independent media presence in the largest regional centre in Victoria and one of the largest in Australia is a serious service failure – but easily remedied. It is now time for it to have its own ABC station.
David Melzer, Ocean Grove
Relic of the past
In response to the full page ad in defence of “outdoor recreation” in yesterday’s Age, how exactly does the largely indiscriminate assault on our wildlife represent part of our heritage and culture? Nonsense. The duck shooting season is a cruel relic of the past and there are many other ways of enjoying the outdoors for recreation that don’t involve killing and injuring tens of thousands of our native waterbirds every year.
The unions who promote this outrage would do better by spending their funds on useful and productive activities for members and their families.
Tony Delaney, Warrnambool
Two-thirds of Australia’s population live in jurisdictions where duck shooting is not allowed. It’s banned because it’s cruel to the wounded waterbirds.
But in Victoria, the Electrical Trades Union is trying to conflate the issue of duck shooting with a supposed attack on outdoor recreations – camping, fishing, and the like – none of which were touched when other states banned bird shooting.
Government figures show the number of licensed duck shooters in Victoria is lower today than in 1996. Meanwhile, our population has grown by 51 per cent. And last year, despite getting a record-long 90-day shooting season, half of those with a licence didn’t bother to participate.
The duck hunting fraternity has voted with its feet. It’s time, fellas.
Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
What kind of legacy?
Sammy J tip-toed around the ageism in the current debate regarding Barry Humphries, and the joke police (“Why we changed the name of Barry award”, 26/4). Meanwhile, Hannah Gadsby and others have claimed Humphries was punching down, when really he was punching up. His comedy was full of class ambiguity. He satirised the hypocritical men of power (Les Patterson), while revealing the melancholia of ageing invisibly (Sandy Stone) and had the whole world identify with that most disregarded of creatures – the suburban house-wife. And quite frankly, he never made anyone feel safe – the comedic uppercut was his speciality. After all, he was comedian not a nurse.
I don’t resent Humphries for spending time speaking at Liberal Party functions instead of Marxist forums. My respect for him isn’t based on whether I agreed with his views or “liked” him, but rather that he was part of movement that helped to create the uniquely Australian comedic culture we all enjoy and take for granted today. It’s a shame the younger comedians can’t recognise his part in history. No doubt they themselves will be on the receiving end of the same attitude in 20 years, when they grow old, redundant and “out of touch with current attitudes” – since that will be their legacy.
Lara and Leon Zembekis, Reservoir
Your correspondent (Letters, 26/4) prefers Billy Connolly any day to Barry Humphries. Is this the same Billy Connolly who made a joke on stage about Kenneth Bigley, the British engineer kidnapped and held captive in 2004 by extremists in Baghdad, who eventually beheaded him?
Robert Bartlett, Camberwell
To their credit
“Can you imagine being a trans comedian nominated for an award named after someone who’d wilfully torn down your sense of worth?” Thanks, Sammy J, for representing, perfectly, my sense of unease at the uniformly selective fawning over the late Barry Humphries.
Kudos to the board of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for courageously renaming the Barry award in the name of genuine respect for all the artists concerned.
Michelle Goldsmith, Eaglehawk
Your correspondent thinks that in the modern era Barry Humphries would have been “cancelled” for dressing up as a woman for laughs – sadly that is very much the reality for many drag queens these days.
Elizabeth Long, Collingwood
This morning in my local shopping centre – yet another minor collision involving a driver reversing out of a car parking space, great danger as discussed by your correspondents (Letters, 26/4).
An analysis I carried out, of 10 years of motor vehicle claims involving my company’s fleet of vehicles, revealed a disproportionately high number of minor accidents involving vehicles reversing out of car spaces – with a lesser but still significant number of accidents reversing out of private driveways. Reversing out of any vehicle space into a traffic stream is illogical – and often dangerous.
Brian Kidd, Mt Waverley
And another thing
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
Treasurer Jim Chalmers says: “It is tough to live on the JobSeeker allowance.” No, Mr Chalmers, it is impossible.
Reg Murray, Glen Iris
The Albanese government ignores its base at its peril. It can’t commit billions on submarines and upper-class tax cuts while driving JobSeeker battlers deeper into poverty.
Kevin Burke, Sandringham
The Greens under Adam Bandt want to scrap nuclear-powered submarines so as to stay out of any conflict between the United States and a militarised China. I suggest he adopt the motto: “Peace in our time.”
Graham Keith, Warrnambool
Neville Chamberlain is often recalled as a misguided pacifist but in reality, by 1939, his government was devoting well over half of its revenues to a defence build-up. Lest we forget.
Patrick Hockey, Clunes
My observation is that as church attendance in Australia has decreased, the attendance at Anzac Day services has increased. Draw your own conclusion.
Margery Renwick, Brighton
Re Tim Wilson’s wreath-laying antics: Those who rest on their laurels are wearing them in the wrong place. And those who purloin others’ are just grandstanding.
Greg Curtin, Blackburn South
It doesn’t matter if the comedy festival calls its honour The Barry or The Larry – if you’re any good in this country, the tall poppy syndrome is applied.
Margaret Skeen, Pt Lonsdale
If first home buyers built houses they could afford, would this make for more affordable housing?
Ian Hetherington, Moama
I guess the homeless can stay at the $700 million Tassie stadium when it’s not being used on those 14 game days during the year.
James Lane, Hampton East
I’m thrilled Father Bob will be honoured with a state funeral. While I don’t believe in any god, I believed in Father Bob.
Caryn Auld, Point Cook
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