Nodes of higher density can ease housing crisis

The decade of trickle-down, neoliberal hyper-competitiveness mixed with materialistic individualism, nepotism and a dash of Trump-style politics has taken us down a very slippery slope (“Young have given up on home ownership”, April 24). The symptoms of soaring inequity resulting are inaccessible housing, eye-watering rents, a segregated society divided by education, postcode, work and class into the privileged and entitled and the disadvantaged. Vanessa Tennent, Oatley

We have to rethink housing from the Old Sydney of low-rise suburban development to move to a New Sydney as an urban city of apartments around railway stations. The change is driven by housing price, where an average apartment is now at least half a million dollars cheaper than the average house. A new generation of apartment-dwellers are celebrating excellent access to shopping, work, entertainment and parks, all near where they live. This New Sydney is emerging around the urban squares of Parramatta, Liverpool, Penrith and multicultural urban centres like Cabramatta and Harris Park. We need to support the evolution of this model. Chris Johnson, Millers Point

Why is the Albanese government doing so little about housing and rentals? Even Chris Minns is frozen. What are they afraid of? Negative gearing should be the first thing to go. Then the number of empty second homes should be dealt with. Rental control must be introduced. Immigration numbers looked at. We must try and stop home ownership becoming such an investment for profiteers. Homes are to live in, not to exploit. All this apart from a much-needed large building program. Action taken now has to be radical, otherwise the re-action will be. Stephen Wallace, Glebe


<p>Credit: John Shakespeare

The treatment of property as an asset class rather than as an essential human need and rapid population growth have fuelled stratospheric property prices. As the last generation with an opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change, we need a steady state economy; one without growth. Humans use 50per cent of the world’s arable land for food production. For the planet to survive, we need to curb human greed. Anne Matheson, Gordon

Shane Wright fails to mention the key efforts made in the Howard-Costello years (“Nation has made 40 years of wrong choices on housing”, April 24). John Howard in his “around the kitchen table” style of economic management said that no one ever complained to him about house prices.
Clearly, he spoke only with existing home owners. Peter Costello expressed surprise after awarding nine consecutive tax decreases that people went and spent it on houses. All the largesse from mining went to individuals rather than the common wealth. So instead of investing in a real future fund gained from minerals and oil revenues, like Norway, we have ended up with one of the most indebted nations on earth. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is at $US1.4 trillion for a country smaller than Sydney’s population. Our Future Fund is not quite $200billion. Bill Johnstone, Blackheath

Barry, Edna, Sandy, Les: thanks for all the laughs

Looking through old programs from Barry Humphries shows I saw in the 1960s (″⁣Possums magic: Dame Edna shone a light on Australia for decades″⁣, April 24), I have found a dried gladiolus pressed between the pages. A flower thrown by Dame Edna and caught by me, before she instructed us to ″⁣Tremble your gladdies″⁣. Vale Barrie and Edna and Sandy and Les et al.
Jan Lingard, Glebe

Having been to see most of Barry Humphries’ stage extravaganzas, I became aware that it was very dangerous to sit in the first few rows. You would either be mocked for your dress sense and hauled up on stage by Dane Edna, or be on the receiving end of Sir Les’s generous spray of spittle.
Judy Hungerford, North Curl Curl

Out of all the articles and letters in praise of the wonderful Barry Humphries (part of all of our lives for so many hilarious years), very little is made of the fact that his death was preventable. His accident was one that is common in what is the most dangerous place for potentially catastrophic falls by older people: the home. His death is, therefore, more reinforcement for how vital it is for all older people to have an expert survey of their homes to ensure that it is, as far as possible, fall-proofed. Anne Ring, Coogee


<p>Credit:Matt Golding

Some might mourn the passing of Barry Humphries, but not all. Life is more than popularity or notoriety. Certainly, he filled in a few moments with some comedy but we should also look carefully at what he portrayed and why we laughed at it. He was an actor who played a role on the stage, but Humphries offered no cure for the way of life he maligned. The values he critiqued did not eventuate in a better Australia. No possums, Dame Edna and Sir Les leave a lot to be desired. James Athanasou, Maroubra

Since the 1970s, Barry Humphries has kept us entertained with his personae – most notably Les Patterson and Dame Edna Everage. In many ways, he has put the Australian character on the universal map. If anyone is worthy of a state funeral, it must be the dame. Katriona Herborn, Blackheath

A little bit of Sydney has died. Phil Johnson, Dee Why

Two famous dames, Edna and Melba, both born in Melbourne and both died in St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney. I hope Dame Edna will join Melba as another of our bank note-worthy icons. Bill Lloyd, Denistone

RIP Barry. You made me laugh for more than half a century. On Sunday, I cried. Harvey Grennan, Bundanoon

Honouring service and sacrifice

I would like to remember all personnel who served in the Australian services. I use my distant relative as my guide. Sylvanus Howell Williams, regiment number 2238, was killed in action on October 8, 1917, in France. He has no known grave. He was a private in the 19th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement, came from Redfern, and was 21 when he died. I understand that he came from a large family, but I am likely the only person to now think of him. Rest in peace. Graham Russell, Clovelly

My grandfather was at Gallipoli in World War I, my father fought on the Kokoda Track in World War II. Today, like many around Australia, I will pay homage to everyone who served and who currently serve in our armed forces. Anzac Day should be a day all Australians, regardless of race, religion or gender, come together to appreciate the sacrifices made for the freedoms we enjoy today. I hope I don’t see any “protests”. Let’s not forget. Barry Lloyd, Bateau Bay

Australian soldiers in Somalia

Australian soldiers in SomaliaCredit:Australian Defence

Here’s to the World War II anti-aircraft gunners, particularly those at the victorious Battle of El Alamein against the Germans in the Egyptian desert in 1942. Rod Matthews, Fairfield (Vic)

Double negative

Sean Kelly asks a number of pertinent questions (“Will history repeat for Liberals?” April 24). The answers are a work in progress. If Dutton’s negativity continues, he will be consigned to political oblivion. After nine years of deceit and inaction under the Coalition of naysayers, the electorate has asked for stability and fairness, with some major changes thrown in. Honesty and bipartisanship are the only things that might save the Liberals, but those words are no longer in their lexicon. Geoff Nilon, Mascot

My reading of Sean Kelly suggests the Liberal Party needs more trauma and adversity for its members to arrive at a worldview more representative of the electorate. One way or another, the times could suit Peter Dutton. At least he calls a spade a spade, a rare gift not often seen in our political circles. Mark Porter, New Lambton


<p>Credit:Cathy Wilcox.

Cost of cruelty

Australia’s continued violation of its human rights obligations to refugees is shameful (“Leader urges UK not to follow Australia”, April 24). About 150 refugees still languish in offshore detention, some for more than a decade, at an eye-watering cost. It is hoped that when the federal budget is announced, it provides an opportunity to end this wasteful and cruel situation and the damage it has caused, not only to our reputation but to the refugees under our watch. Vicky Marquis, Glebe

Long overdue

Illustration: Matt Davidson

Illustration: Matt DavidsonCredit:

Long COVID has taken a heavy toll on health, health services and the economy (“Out of work: Long COVID costing $5.7b a year”, April 24). The disease can be debilitating and long-lasting, yet government and even some health experts have been downplaying the seriousness of COVID. It was recently reported that two-thirds of aged care residents are not fully vaccinated. Less than three-quarters of eligible Australians have received three doses of the vaccine and less than half have had four doses. Almost no one wears a mask in high-risk situations. Mandatory reporting of positive rapid antigen tests was scrapped in October 2022. Now COVID-19 testing clinics are set to close from May 13. This complacency is dangerous and unacceptable. Graham Lum, North Rocks

Skynet is coming

The rapid advancement of AI technology demands action to ensure it is used safely, ethically and for the benefit of society (“Don’t let tech bros design the future”, April 24). As with social media, it is not sufficient or effective to rely on profit-driven big tech to properly self-regulate. To avoid a future in which the risks of AI far outweigh its benefits, a strong oversight watchdog is urgently needed. Remember, “technology is a useful servant but a dangerous master”. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Gotta be done

I happened to catch the controversial Bluey episode when it was repeated one evening before the news (“Bluey pearl-clutchers miss the point of health message”, April 24). The message was that exercise takes a bit of effort but can be incidental and fun. More importantly, it showed that the outcome of exercising was that Bandit’s blood pressure had dropped. It’s a good message for young and old alike. Lisa Clarke, Watsons Bay

Take me on board

I am happy to serve on the RBA board for a term or two (Letters, April 24). My credentials are simple: I’m down to earth and perfectly fit; I have rich, extensive and diverse life experiences over 78 years; I am interested in society’s upliftment and happiness; and, most importantly, I am not an economist or a wealth creator. I also very well understand life’s core values. I interact with the members of society daily during my walks, andI listen to their concerns. Just for the record, I am a retired chartered professional engineer and a casual academic. And, I love analysis. Muthukrishnan Srinivasan, Riverview

Ban guns, not books

If the banning of books in the Democratic People’s Republic of Florida continues (“Pulp fiction politics”, April 24), then I would suggest that the Old Testament would not be far behind due to its graphic content. Dave Horsfall, North Gosford


<p>Credit:Cathy Wilcox

The good old USA, where books can be banned, but not guns. Ray Morgan, Maroubra

Telling it like it isn’t

My favourite rocketry euphemism is (Letters, April 24) “likely to exceed personnel overpressure threshold”; that is, a missile or rocket booster falling off its launch pad on to anyone close by will probably squash them. Richard Murnane, Hornsby

I take to the tip things that have failed to maintain their structural integrity. Graham Meale, Boambee East

At what age does falling over becomes having a fall? Margaret Grove, Abbotsford

Nancy’s wings clipped

Nancy Bird Walton in a Gypsy Moth at Kingsford Smith Flying School in 1933.

Nancy Bird Walton in a Gypsy Moth at Kingsford Smith Flying School in 1933.Credit:Photographer unknown.

What happened to the plan to name the new airport (Letters, April 24) after Nancy Bird Walton? Judith Campbell, Drummoyne

Complain to gain

A reminder to disgruntled consumers (Letters, April 24), of these Karen-related truisms, “It’s the hinge that squeaks that gets the grease” and “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”. Edward Loong, Milsons Point

Rights and wrongs

Perhaps the final sentence in “Raised with demons: A church’s path to keep faith” (April 24) should read, “There’s no way to do religion right” rather than “It’s religion done the wrong way.” Don Leayr, Albury

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on
Squeezed out of the Australian dream: Two-thirds of young people are giving up on home ownership
From Oscar: ″⁣Get government departments out of the big cities into regional areas. Create demand for schools, retail and infrastructure. We are a massive country but we are determined to live on top of one another in overcrowded, overpriced properties in a few big cities.″⁣

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Justin Scaccy

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