This government goes from strength to strength (“Double or nothing: PM’s super power play”, March 1). The mega-rich and their political supporters may cry into their champagne but the inequity of wealth distribution is a blight on our society. Those 17 individuals with more than $100 million in superannuation can pay for our teachers and nurses. Sally Spurr, Lane Cove
The federal government is too weak (“No tears for ‘self-funded’ retirees”, March 1). The $3 million cap is a million too high and why does it take until July 1, 2025 to take effect? A stronger government would have gone harder, earlier. We older folk will be a burden on taxpayers, will inevitably use government services and will complain if they are not readily available or up to standard. Tax us. Bernadette Scadden, Earlwood
Finally, a few steps towards a fair go for all Australians. Next, couple a fairer superannuation policy with a fair housing policy and tax the corporations that ship our wealth out of the country.
A stable home, health care and education are basic human rights. They are the main indicators of the next generation’s success in school. Demonstrate concrete policy change and visible improvement in the housing crisis and Australians will breathe a huge sigh of relief. Maggie Morgan, Northcote (Vic)
I am dismayed, though not surprised, at how quickly the propaganda and misinformation machinery has been cranked up to pan the government’s proposed modest changes to superannuation tax arrangements (“PM delivers opposition a fresh wedge”, March 1). All that is being asked is that a small number of very wealthy Australians accept, in the future, a slightly smaller handout from the public purse. In this time of budgetary stress, the unemployed, for example, have been asked to wait for any improvement to their miserable allowance and numerous other very needy groups are waiting for help, yet the outrage on their behalf is much more muted. Don Squires, Lake Cathie
Does Angus Taylor think Australians are illiterate and innumerate? How is it a broken promise if it concerns a policy that the government intends to take to the next election, not a decision to change a policy taken to the last election? Ian Harrison, Drummoyne
Can we stop having the childish response to the super reforms, and other reforms, by not focusing on the broken promises factor. Instead, we should get the facts, and ask the mature question of is this good for our country and its people. Murray Coates, Burra
It really comes down to this with the super question. How much is enough? Increases in costs of living notwithstanding, to our ever more greedy and materialistic society it seems it will never be enough, and the insidious and detrimental divide between the have-and-have-nots just keeps on growing, fuelled by FOMO and disregard. Times need to be a- changin’ if we are ever to see any semblance of egalitarianism in this country. Judy Finch, Taree
Three million dollars is $100,000 a year for 30 years on just the capital. Graeme Finn, Summer Hill
From Gough’s progressives to the greedy old farts generation? It’s time to recapture our proudly egalitarian country, and transform tax laws. Sue Young, Bensville
This announcement, if implemented, would bring sense to the system, an improvement in the budgetary position and a reduction in publicly funded largess going to the tiny minority who are taking extreme advantage of what the Howard government introduced and had clearly not thought through. It’s a pity that the Albanese government feels the need to defer the matter till after the next election. Peter Cox, Sydney
Transport for NSW riding roughshod over residents
Last night I attended a North Sydney Council meeting which was called with less than 24 hours notice to vote on whether to accept or reject Transport NSW’s application to extend the harbour bridge bike ramp (“Outrageous behaviour’: Harbour Bridge cycleway divides council at fiery meeting”, smh.com.au, March 1). The reason for the short notice was that Transport for NSW delivered an ultimatum late Monday afternoon that it would give North Sydney Council $2.5 million if it passed the application. It was made clear that this money was on the table for 24 hours only and if the application was rejected there would be no money and the ramp would go ahead anyway. These tactics are beyond reprehensible. The ramp chosen was roundly rejected by the local residents. It seems unbelievable that saving at most 800 bike riders a day a 10-second walk down the current ramp is at the expense of 10,000 daily users of Milsons Point station, 4000 residents that overlook the sweeping approaches to one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks and the removal of much-needed trees and parkland, all of which are paid by residents’ rates.
I am devastated that a NSW government department can just ride roughshod over residents and that it is being rushed through three days before government goes into recess before the election. Sally Mitchell, Milsons Point
As mayor of North Sydney from 1991 to 1995, I think a simpler solution would be to install a lift like there is on the pedestrian side, with the existing bridge cycleway access retained. This should cost less and may even enhance the heritage aspect. It would certainly not detract from the heritage as much as the planned cycleway. Gerry O’Nolan, Kirribilli
“Residents were being asked to sacrifice everything for the sake of the cyclists”, according to a councillor. I just want to get this right. North Sydney prides itself on being a green council. Bicycles are more environmentally friendly than cars ergo the council should be supporting bicycles. What is the “everything” residents are being asked to sacrifice? Can’t be the view. It is beside a railway line. Neville Turbit, Russell Lea
I can’t think of a greater example of NIMBYism than those displayed by some North Sydney councillors regarding the proposed cycleway. Are these the same councillors that rally against climate change and traffic congestion? This is yet another example of individuals recognising the great environmental and health challenges facing the future of this country yet, are prepared to block any form of progress in their own backyards to ensure that we have the infrastructure in place to help make necessary changes happen. Tony Bennett, Broke
Lismore needs action, not talk
When my family moved to Lismore in 1970 our regional city had a plane service, train service and occasional bus service to Brisbane. Now, 53 years later, we have no planes, no trains and country rail buses to Brisbane (“Lismore residents hung out to dry by neglect at all levels”, February 28).
Today Lismore has every reason to feel abandoned by politicians of all parties, with the exception of Janelle Saffin. Our dubious claim to fame is having had 2022’s greatest natural disaster in Australia. Our death toll would have been much higher if not for the lionheartedness of our volunteer boaties, who defied government directions to stay safe and keep residents’ heads above water.
It is staggering that the tinny angels were able to achieve life-saving responses minus a bureaucracy, computers, accurate rainfall predictions – and react much like their heroic 1970 counterparts did.
Sadly, the same legislative and political bodies are still mired in their fence-sitting inactivity, while families are largely unsupported, and retired police seniors will investigate and report back when possible.
Lismore needs action, not talk, and drastic forward-thinking. Otherwise, we will again have to call on volunteers to rescue us from this predictable mess of man’s making. Tony Madden, Lismore
Spot on, Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation chief executive David Witherdin, about the “madness” of repeating mistakes of decades past in relation to houses in the flood zone (“Dozens buy homes where floods ruled”, March 1). Given the clout Witherdin possesses, residents of northern NSW – and elsewhere – would appreciate him having serious words with Dominic Perrottet about his August 2022 commitment to stop developments on flood plains then and there. Listen carefully premier – that’s the sound of disgruntled residents in the background singing local versions of Why Are We Waiting? Yes, premier, why? Col Shephard, Yamba
The dangers of inhaled dust – any dust – have been known for at least 70 years and probably longer (“Ministers lashed for delaying action on engineered stone”, March 1). For example, black lung disease suffered by coal miners was identified in the 1950s as being caused by the chronic inhalation of coal dust. The current push for the banning of manufactured stone is little more than a knee-jerk reaction by unions and bureaucracy who have been asleep at the wheel, allowing businesses without a conscience to exploit tradesmen while those who should know better looked on and did nothing. Instead of banning the product and destroying the industry, bureaucrats, unions and businesses should be pushing for a licensing, inspection and enforcement regime where dry cutting and polishing is banned in favour of worker education, wet processes and the provision of protective equipment for the tradesmen. Frank Paterson, Mount Annan
Hear the Voice
The attorney-general is right indeed (“Voice needs power to advise ministers, says Dreyfus”, March 1). Parliament makes laws, and it is vital that the Voice is consulted in such processes. However, it is ministers who decide things on their way to parliament, and early inputs to the process makes for better laws. Senior bureaucrats advise those ministers, and also formulate policies, administer programs and deliver services for First Australians, and for all. It is even more critical that Voice perspectives are included in all these public functions as well, as they shape what often ends up in laws, and they reach more directly in to our day-to-day lives. Both government and parliament need to hear the Voice. Russ Couch, Woonona
Someone should remind the premier that April Fools’ Day is not for another month (“Dominic Perrottet says he will not privatise more government assets”, March 1). John Byrne, Randwick
Say it loud
The University of Sydney has a long history of student protests, which in the past were far more creative and innovative (“University flunks free speech test”, March 1). The protests in the 1970s and ’80s concerning the teaching of political economy within the faculty of economics were so passionate that students climbed buildings and occupied at least one. Free speech is hardly free speech if all parties don’t have the opportunity to state their case, limited of course by caveats of defamation, blasphemy, copyright, obscenity, sedition, using insulting words, contempt of courts and parliament, official secrecy, censorship and incitement. Not a lot left really, so successful protest calls for creativity. Drowning out a speaker, especially with loudspeakers, just doesn’t cut it. Ask the protesters of that time – some of whose names would surprise you, and who have gone on to become leaders in law and politics. Ann Grant, Randwick
Jenna Price is right when she says the protesting students should not have been suspended. Old stump speakers in the past had to deal with hecklers, often with great humour. Malcolm Turnbull has the ability to do this, but maybe the disrupters using a loudspeaker was going too far. Roger Cedergreen, South Hurstville
No Australians are locked out of national parks. Dogs are (Letters, March 1). This is because national parks are there to protect native wildlife, which is vulnerable to diseases dogs may carry, and the barking and scents dogs leave can scare wildlife and attract other predatory animals. If native animals are breeding nearby, the scent of a dog can cause them to abandon their young.
Australia has an extinction crisis caused by us. Our native animals urgently need our protection. This is the role our precious national parks play. Let’s acknowledge that our native wildlife have a right to exist just as we do, and prioritise their protection above our own entertainment. Mary Marlow, Blackheath
Bored of booze
While we rethink the suitability of giving bottles of alcohol as thank-you gifts, can we also have more “Congratulations” cards which don’t feature glasses of champagne (“Getting mates’ rates? Think beyond alcohol as a thank-you”, March 1). Not everyone finds it necessary to drink alcohol to celebrate. Bronwyn Bryceson, Mangerton
In the beginning
I agree that the Old Testament creation story needs a review (Letters, March 1). The Australian National Museum’s current exhibition of feminine power through the ages shows how ridiculous and fear-based the snake and the woman story is in contrast to other traditions that revere women. And that “very old book of stories” is still used to justify the exclusion of women from the priesthood in some denominations. Kate Lumley, Hurlstone Park
I don’t know who taught your correspondent, but it’s Adam’s fault, despite his excuses. Unfortunately, it’s now everyone’s problem. Thankfully, the second Adam fixed it. David Ashton, Katoomba
Your correspondent wonders about the apparent contradiction between the dangers of book “censorship” and those on our young people by the impact of video games (Letters, March 1). The answer is simple: video games are today worth billions more to their creators and distributors than any book. Eric Hunter, Cook (ACT)
And who will cull the rampant development killing far more wildlife than cats do (Letters, March 1)? Dorothy Gliksman, Cedar Brush Creek
Why stop at TikTok (“TikTok ban widening”, March 1)? Ban most of the alternative platforms so that life gets less complicated. Mustafa Erem, Terrigal
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
NSW Labor on track to return to government for first time since 2011 loss
From Greg Prentice: ″Liberals don’t deserve to govern our fair state, but Labor has done nothing to win that right either. There has been a deafening silence, a vacuum of ideas, from the opposition. The only thing they seem to stand for is protecting the status quo on pokies.″
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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/mega-rich-bawling-into-their-champers-over-super-changes-20230301-p5codw.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Mega-rich bawling into their champers over super changes