HomeAustraliaIn matters of state, are two heads better than one?

In matters of state, are two heads better than one?

I couldn’t agree more about the class inequality in housing being one of the most pressing issues for Australians and other parts of the world. Both Labor and Liberal parties have ignored the issue since the late 1980s. Back then, I watched various associates (who scraped into the lower middle class) buy up not one or two properties but eight to 10 each. It’s been ignored for decades – no party has the gumption to implement a one-residential-property-per-adult rule and one-commercial-property-per-adult rule. That might sound like that thing called socialism (which it isn’t), which we might also rename “sharing”. It’s not abolishing personal property – it’s putting limits on the extremes of ownership. Much more of the permanently-stuck-in-rental groups would be able to afford housing if a lot more properties were up for sale. Reform of the dysfunctional economic system geared for mindless expansionist growth would also help. Dumping on the inner west for standing up for parks and mental health and the amenity of their environment is hardly the answer. There are many plans for Callan Park and there is already affordable housing there that locals have fought to maintain for health staff. The inner west has the second-lowest ratio of green space per head of population in the state. Ann-Therese King, Lilyfield

Callan ParkCredit:Oscar Colman

In the light of the present inequities in housing, services, education, wealth and Indigenous disadvantage, perhaps it is time to reflect upon the past when this nation was referred to as the “Commonwealth of Australia”. This title should be the name and the aspiration for our country; common wealth, not the haves and the have-nots. Our political class and business leaders have lost sight of the fact that if we are a commonwealth then we all have a stake and desire for the betterment of all while pursuing our own desires. Once upon a time, all our currency and government letterheads reinforced the notion of a commonwealth. When did we become the uncaring Australia of today? Alex Maynard, Round Corner

Local action on the world stage

It is refreshing to see a PM who admits that “the elements of power that need to be expanded” include “aid” (“World’s Warming to Australia”, September 24). We now rank 22nd among OECD foreign aid donors. By way of contrast, a report released last week shows that Australians are the richest people in the world. Clay O’Brien, Mosman

Foreign Minister Penny Wong.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

We have a great foreign minister in Penny Wong, and our prime minister is turning out to be a natural diplomat too. Establishing our credentials as a responsible global citizen on climate change has been crucial. If he is already repositioning Australia in the world, it’s down to Anthony Albanese being authentic, prepared to genuinely engage, and dialling down the stridency while still projecting a firm stance. His vision for governing at home can only be enhanced by this wider perspective. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Anthony Albanese on the world stage, boasting of Australia’s climate credentials, reminds me of the children’s story The Emperor’s New Clothes. While some progress has been made with the passing of the new climate bill, the PM should not be too self-congratulatory. The government is still committed to business as usual for our coal and gas exports, which account for millions of tonnes of global emissions annually. Hopefully, this folly will be exposed at future international forums. Anne O’Hara, Wanniassa (ACT)

Teacher lesson

That a permanent teaching job is described as lucrative says a lot about what’s wrong with teaching in NSW (“Teachers leave profession in record numbers”, September 24). Previously, one finished a teaching qualification, applied with the department, was interviewed and, if successful, was appointed to a school. Now if you get a permanent appointment, you’re special. The best most graduates can hope for is casual work or a temporary contract. Try borrowing from a bank or even signing a lease with that on your application. A permanent job shouldn’t be considered lucrative. It should be the minimum offered. Bill Gillis, Hallidays Point

An elephant in the room regarding teacher dissatisfaction and the loss of teachers is student behaviour and the reluctance of principals to do something about it. And parents can be the worst: “My little angel wouldn’t do that”. The number of angels I taught in 23 years would make a heavenly host. It wore me down, along with the marking, preparation and teaching load of an English/history teacher. So glad I left when I did, and I haven’t seen an essay in more than 20 years. Genevieve Milton, Newtown

Ask questions now

It is now even more important to spread primary ethics to all schoolchildren (“TikTok is bamboozling our teenagers with fake news”, September 24) to arm them with the inquisitiveness, critical thinking and ethical reasoning required to cut through the misinformation being delivered to vulnerable young minds. Any vulnerable mind at any age would benefit, I reckon. Helen Lewin, Tumbi Umbi

Spare the royal expense

The Prince and Princess of Wales

The Prince and Princess of WalesCredit:Getty Images

Many monarchists and others would welcome a visit from the new Prince and Princess of Wales next year (Letters, September 24), especially if they bring Prince George with them. But with our staggering budget deficit, we simply can’t afford the huge cost involved. Time to stop putting anything not necessary on the national credit card. Stephanie Edwards, Roseville

Axle folly

I don’t think people deliberately drive into floodwaters (Letters, September 24). The problem is that most people don’t know what is meant by “floodwater”. One of the local universities a few years ago demonstrated that once the water was at axle height, your vehicle becomes a boat. Perhaps the message should be: “Don’t drive in water at axle height”. Roger Campbell, Beecroft

The ’Gong show

I have personal concerns that “selling Wollongong to the world” may be taken literally by the NSW government (“The course with it all that lured cycling’s big fish”, September 24). We enjoy sharing the beauty of our region, but give the NSW government any privatisation idea and they will run with it. New tollgates at either end, you reckon? Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

Better stays

Au contraire, Richard Glover (“Faulty showers and hotel disruption”, September 24). Airbnb has forever changed the way we travel and, without exception, my experience has been positive. I’m writing from a gorgeous apartment in Stockholm. Sure, you need a certain degree of athleticism to get to the bed, but there’s no stuffy concierge or unwelcome “room service” wake-up call when, exhausted after a long day of tourist traipsing, you’ve forgotten to flip your “do not disturb” sign. Oh, and the luxury of being able to open a window can’t be underestimated. I’m more than happy to make my own bed and lie in it. Janet Argall, Dulwich Hill

Reading of Richard Glover’s accommodation experiences reminds me, when it comes to travel, there’s no place like home – where, unless you are renting, if things go wrong you don’t need to deal with a host who doesn’t care. Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

A true Powerhouse

I was standing in the Powerhouse Museum (Letters, September 24) watching a demo of the Bolton and Watt engine once, and an English gentleman said to me, “I’m from Leeds University and we don’t have one of these.” He was highly incensed. Marcia Horvai, Pennant Hills

Swan song

A small victory I know, but I watched until the bitter end. The myth of the fair-weather Swans supporter is now busted. You’re welcome. Ian McNeil, Ainslie (ACT)

The All Blacks’ haka

The All Blacks’ hakaCredit:Getty

Why are the New Zealand All Blacks allowed to perform the Haka before an international rugby game? Peng Ee, Castle Cove

Sapped of energy

I spent about an hour online last week organising a new energy contract. There are dozens of suppliers, offering dozens of options, all which last for 12 months. Once upon a time, it was so much easier. The thought of doing it all again in 12 months is doing my head in. Barbara Ryan, Caringbah South

Saving the date

Sixty-three years ago, my husband proposed on Anzac Day so he would remember the day (Letters, September 24). It worked. Marie Grady, Frenchs Forest

Save Dougie

Darko “Dougie” Desic (Letters, September 24) has had almost three decades of “imprisonment” as a fugitive in Sydney without breaking any other laws. I believe he’s well and truly redeemed himself. Sue Casiglia, North Ryde

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
A third of Australians back move to raise migration cap
From sunseeker71: We need nurses, truck drivers, fruit pickers, service workers … things most Aussies don’t want to do, so increase migration for where we have skills shortages or just plain shortages. Lots of economic migrants would love to drive a truck and put food on the tables of their families.

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