Urgent action needed to tackle housing inequality

We’re a pretty pathetic bunch if we can’t find an Australian who can do a better job than “King” Charles is likely to do. Let’s start with the current Australian of the Year, Dylan Alcott, or any of his living predecessors. Then there’s a fairly good list of fine Australians who have been awarded Orders of Australia (by the Queen, so they must be good). Kevin Farrell, Beelbangera

Here are two suggestions for titles for the Australian Republic Head of State; “Governor Elder”, which gives a nod to both camps and gives some degree of continuity, and for the full switch, “Esteemed Elder”, an egalitarian “first-among-equals”. Michael Cunningham, Pearl Beach

Is it actually necessary to have a president? Name Switzerland’s president? Few people can because it is a one-year revolving appointment. In Australia, exercise of the reserve powers or any constitutional issues could be decided by judges of the High Court. Let us think outside the box for an apolitical solution. Graham Millar, Killarney Heights

The monarchy, with support from our republican prime minister and funding courtesy of the Australian taxpayer, is already planning its next advertising event – a visit next year by the new Prince and Princess of Wales. Stand by for the inevitable King Charles parade through our streets to follow. Not much chance of a change in the polls in the foreseeable future. Rick Johnston, Potts Point

Experts ignored on drug reform

It is interesting the NSW government has been enthusiastic in its acceptance of expert medical advice when it comes to COVID-related matters but expert medical advice on drug decriminalisation is ignored (“Premier stops short of drug decriminalisation”, September 22). Why, when the laws are failing, do politicians think they know more than the experts? John Croker, Woonona

Credit:Police Media

The premier said: “Drugs have no place in our society.” The statement is not just factually incorrect, it is another example of a political mindset that perpetuates the so-called “war on drugs”.
Drugs have always had a place in society. What is defined as illicit has much more to do with social and political norms or agendas than with evidence-based research. Drugs such as alcohol, tobacco and caffeine are, despite the evidence of their relative toxicity, promoted, taxed and hardly mentioned when it comes to discussion of drug laws. Despite the ever-increasing evidence supporting decriminalisation, and even legalisation, politicians and police repeat the same old tired and flawed mantra.
Lindsay Smith, Linden

Building blocks

Well said by your correspondent (Letters, September 22). Let me add some immortal words from Keats: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” When buildings of previous eras are destroyed, or let go to rack and ruin, even the not-so-beautiful ones, we lose not only some of our history but our humanity. Yes, some buildings might be beyond repair and we need to make room for new housing for a growing population. However, this should not come at the expense of demolishing our history and turning streets and neighbourhoods into bland urban landscapes. It is neither beautiful nor joyful to walk through such neighbourhoods.Margot Vaccari, Berowra

I agree with your correspondent. The three-bedroom War Service fibro home of 1953 vintage at North Ryde, occupied for 40 years by my family, should have been preserved as a slice of our recent past. Paul Keys, Clouds Creek

Alternate solution

The damaging economic effect of yesterday’s public holiday, including sickies taken today to create a four-day weekend, could have been avoided. The National Day of Mourning should have been treated as our annual Remembrance Day on November 11, with flags at half-mast, a minute’s silence at 11am and commemorative services available when and where suitable for those who wish to attend them. Alan Slade, Dover Heights

Loss of service

A number of correspondents (Letters, September 22) wrote about the serious loss of services due to the privatisation of once government-operated services such as buses, power, etc. One glaring omission was the privatisation of preschool childcare. Private companies are now making large profits from childcare, which push up prices for parents. These were once not-for-profit services. Until childcare care is removed from the net of big business, costs will continue to increase, wages of employees will be continually squeezed and services reduced. Geoff Lindsay, Thurgoona

Swanning around

Well said, Osman Faruqi (“Being a Swans fan can be isolating and oh so sweet”, September 22) but the Swans are more than “part of the fabric of Sydney”. They are the classic Aussie underdog – a NSW team competing against the Victorian establishment. Some of us are out-of-towners – ex-leagueys who had their local tribal teams ripped from them by the Super League dispute and found a more exciting spectacle. There will be an Illawarra Steeler boy sitting in the MCG hoping the red and white cygnets will soar as high as the exorbitant fares the airlines are outrageously charging to get him there. Mike Traynor, Bellambi

Heavy lifting

The naval ratings towing the Queen’s coffin may have a hard task with OH&S implications (Letters, September 22) but it palls compared with that of the pallbearers. The Queen’s coffin weighed about 300kg, which means each of the guardsmen had to support a weight of over 37 kilograms. Their task was the equivalent of each carrying a 12-year-old child on his shoulders. Ian Falconer, Turramurra

The Queen’s coffin

The Queen’s coffinCredit:Getty Images Europe

Your correspondent need not be overly concerned for the well–being of those who pulled the gun carriage bearing the Queen’s coffin. Humans can easily and safely pull about loads of 30 per cent or more of their body weight, so 142 healthy men, of 90kg average weight, could easily handle about 3.83 tonnes or so. The gun carriage weighs some 2.545 tonnes, plus say 200kg for its load, for a total of only about 2.745 tonnes. The fact that it wasn’t particularly hard work is also shown by the way they were all walking comfortably bolt upright, and were not needing to lean forward as happens when one is straining under a load. Colin Lamb, Peakhurst

More than riches

Australians are very rich (“Australians wealthiest people alive”, September 22)? It prompts the view that it would be better still if we were like Finland, named, for the fifth time, as the happiest country in the world (2022 World Happiness Report). Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Another reminder

Cathy Wilcox (Letters, September 22) sadly reminds us of the urgent need for Makarrata. “Coming together after a struggle, facing the fact of wrongs and living again in peace.” Josephine Piper, Miranda

Putin scrutiny

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby Credit:Victoria Jones

Archbishop Justin Welby’s words at the Queen’s funeral ring true in regard to the Putins of our world “those who serve will be loved and remembered when those who cling to power are long forgotten” (“Putin ramps up war moves after partial loss”, September 22). John Cotterill, Kingsford

Masthead mates

Over time, regular writers to the Herald become like an extended family, their progress duly noted. “Rosemary O’Brien has moved suburbs!” “Ron Sinclair reckons Ireland’s idea of the presidency is the go.” “Con Vaitsas just had a birthday – how old d’ya reckon?” Betsy Brennan, Wahroonga

Lest we forget

Ensuring an annual public holiday on a personally significant anniversary (Letters, September 22) is easy: just get married on Anzac Day. Steve Cornelius, Brookvale

Islands victory

Well done, Tiwi Islanders (“Court orders Santos to halt gas drilling”, September 22). Joy Cooksey, Harrington

Solar flexers

Time to emerge from hibernation and enjoy the 12-hours-plus sunlight per day, courtesy of the spring equinox. Robyn Stutchbury, Linley Point

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
The ‘fair go’ has gone and stage one of the revolution has happened
From Politics and sport don’t mix: “Our policy of having housing as an investment rather than a home is a major driver of inequality. End all tax breaks on housing would be a start. Use the money saved and build social housing – traditional council houses. End complicated trust structures to hide income and avoid tax. Introduce a form of inheritance tax.”

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