Peter Dutton claimed the Voice will ‘re-racialise’ Australia. Did you agree?
Re-racialisation? I’d never previously heard such a word but I think I saw it on the day Peter Dutton shamefully turned his back and walked away from the National Apology in 2008. (“Parliament erupts over Dutton’s claim Voice will ‘re-racialise’ Australia,” May 23). Lorraine Hickey, Green Point
It is bitterly disappointing to read of Dutton’s misguided attack on the Voice, which is a step towards healing the divisions of the past. It is about recognising and listening rather than ignoring and rejecting. In 1898, NSW politician Thomas Bavin wrote about a proposed constitutional referendum: “The results of that vote to the present generation will be sufficiently serious and far-reaching – to future generations of Australians they will be even of greater import … the choice that we have to make is between two political futures for Australia. On the one hand, there is a future bright with all the possibilities of union, on the other, a future dark with all the certainties of disunion.” In 1898, the people of NSW voted for hope; hope for a brighter future. Can we do the same this year? Doug Kohlhoff, North Arm Cove
I hear Dutton saying the Voice referendum is going to divide the nation. Could we please have a referendum to stop old, rich, white men having a voice to Parliament and the executive government? Jim Mackenzie, Cherrybrook
It took 15 years for Dutton to acknowledge he was wrong to walk out on the Apology. Now what he says in Parliament is, according to what Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney claimed in parliament, the “embodiment of the scare campaign to derail the Yes campaign”. Let’s hope that Dutton, who seems to be dividing the nation for crass political gain, has another enlightening moment in a much shorter time. Robert Dillon, Bathurst
Dutton’s latest arguments against the Voice defy logic. “A regressive and radical threat to Australia”? It can’t be regressive as First Nations people have never been recognised in our constitution, nor been permitted to have input into decisions affecting them. We already have a “Canberra-based voice” making those decisions in parliament, and it is predominantly white, and has an appalling record when it comes to addressing the problems faced by Aboriginal Australians. It also needs to be constitutional and not legislative recognition, so that small-minded politicians cannot score political mileage by revoking it. Alan Marel, North Curl Curl
What is happening now on social media is far worse than what happened during the same-sex marriage debate. And Dutton’s language about apartheid and re-racialisation is straight from it. James Manché, Dulwich Hill
When there is a critical need for us to pull together, when there’s a lot at stake for all of us, real leaders put the point scoring and opportunism aside and act in the interest of our country. They see the risk and damage that can come from partisanship and they are strong enough to take the high ground. We saw it during Covid and we need to see it again on the Voice debate. On all counts of leadership, Dutton failed us in Parliament yesterday. He is not fit to lead the Opposition and definitely not fit to lead our country. Tony Judge, Woolgoolga
Property tax reform
One Perrottet legacy policy overturned, about 100 to go (“NSW Labor says new stamp duty concessions ‘fair and simpler’ for first home buyers”, May 23). Very few LNP policies over the past 10 years were designed to benefit anyone but the LNP and their associates. Land tax, privatisations, toll roads, sales of public housing, pointless light rail and metro lines, tunnels and the list goes on. Keep it up, Minns – we have a long way to go to restore balance, fairness and the societal enrichment the people of this state so desperately deserve. Tony Heathwood, Kiama Downs
Negative gearing requires an owner making a loss on cashflow. No one in their right mind would want to make a loss unless there was a prospect of a significant gain in the future; the capital gain made on the sale of the property. This was made more attractive by the Howard decision to halve the capital gains liability through tax concessions on capital gains.
The brief flirtation by Keating on negative gearing did little for house prices or rent whereas the Howard policy on capital gains tax concessions saw house prices rise from a modest 3.3 times average income in 1984 to over 10 times average income now.
The increase in the price of houses has far outstripped the rise in wages. Also, interest rates have fallen which increases the availability of money. To make housing affordable remove the capital gains tax concessions and hence the incentive to buy to get low taxed capital gains and stop giving money to purchasers. Rob Siebert, Skennars Head
Do those folks who want Anthony Albanese to change negative gearing tax concessions have short memories? At the previous election Bill Shorten had it as policy and got soundly beaten. I know times change, but perhaps Albanese is not confident it would be better received now. My suggestion would be to have it apply only to one or two investment properties and not to apply to developers or multi-property investors. Janet Griffin, Breakfast Point
Is there a quick fix or Band-Aid solution to our current housing problem? There are great incentives for people to save for retirement via superannuation. An investment property available for long-term rental plays an important role in providing for housing and preparing an alternate stream for retirement income. However, short-term (Airbnb) rentals do not deserve a government subsidy. Maybe removing negative gearing from short-term rentals but keeping it for long-term rentals is a quicker fix needed for now.
Ken Berry, Hamilton East
It is very sad to read of the young lives lost, tearing families and communities apart (“‘How dare you do this’”, May 23). The effect of toxic PFAS will continue for generations to come. The government must take its cue from US and European health agencies to ban the toxic chemical in Australia. Whatever compensation or settlement is delivered to those affected communities cannot heal or bring back the lost lives. Future generations must be safe. Balasubramanian Ramakrishnan, Cherrybrook
Recently, sophisticated scammers initiated a fraudulent bank transfer from our NAB account. The bank’s response was in our view wholly inadequate. They allowed the scammers to increase our daily withdrawal limit from $2500 to $40,000 without any secondary verification. Then they allowed $38,000 to be transferred to a brand-new payee at a different bank without any additional verification or placing the transfer on a temporary hold. After a six-week fraud investigation with no updates of any kind, the bank told us that no money had been recovered.
That the NAB is making billions in profits while delivering such inadequate protection for customers is a scandal. Given retirees like us are being increasingly targeted by this kind of fraud, it’s time banks took more responsibility for protecting their customers. Ingrid Tristram, Holgate
Given the number of times Sandra Pertot expresses feelings of worry and “being disturbed” about the treatment of anti-trans activists in her letter, it might be appropriate for her to seek counselling to deal with such feelings (Letters, May 23). Hopefully, she’ll be given enough time to deal with this minus her letter’s tone of condescension and superiority. Stephen Lawton, Weston Creek, ACT
Congratulations to Sandra Pertot on her considered and compassionate letter. Her professional opinion supports what I have read in Abigail Shrier’s book “Irreversible Damage”, about the effect this movement is having on thousands of teenage girls being referred for “top surgery” or double mastectomies and hormones. For parents to be told that their daughter suddenly doesn’t want to be a daughter is an awful thing. Peer group pressure can be very daunting in the teenage years, and what is seen as desirable then can be deeply regretted. To de-transition means further physical and mental pain, along with prejudice from the community which had replaced their biological family. Compassion is needed for all members of these families. Vivienne Parsons, Thornleigh
As an 81-year-old, I was very interested to find out about Martha Stewart’s photoshoot as the oldest woman to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated (“I draw the lines at the age positive movement”, May 23). I’m not criticising anyone who wants to turn back the clock. What I do criticise is all those industries whose profits stem from promoting the benefits of looking younger. Such as how much better it is for a woman if she can look 30 when she’s 40, and look 40 when she’s 50, and so on up the decades. And so, endlessly contributing to continuing unhappiness with looking the age that she’s in.
We older people may be in our twilight years, but they are years in which we are fortunate to be living longer and healthier lives, something to celebrate. So, let’s join forces to combat ageism by promoting honestly positive images of ageing and showing that looking as well as being our age is something to be upbeat about. Anne Ring, Coogee
David Salter and Stuart Littlemore’s excellent piece did not pick up that before 1996 the ABC was properly funded and staff were properly trained and resourced (“ABC’s self inflicted woes not just a matter of opinion”, May 22). For 21 out of the subsequent 27 years, the Coalition has been in power and doing its level best to destroy the ABC. It’s Coalition policy 101; defund a public institution, run it down (all the time criticising it for its failings), then flog it off to the lowest bidder. Nicholas Triggs, Katoomba
I agree that standards have slipped at the ABC due to relentless cuts resulting in fewer people doing more, but it is still the best news service available. Hopefully, the damage done by a decade of Coalition mismanagement can be repaired and basic standards raised. Graeme Finn, Summer Hill
Just as I naively questioned the value of teaching history in my junior years of high school, I wonder now what objective reporting looks like. It all comes down to who is telling the story. Ruth Ratner, Northbridge
I’m afraid that Littlemore and Salter are spot on. My father, the late Martin Royal, commenced his long and illustrious career with the ABC as a newsreader, radio and television presenter and sports commentator. He held strong political views and allegiances, but none of his audience would have ever guessed them.
I hold Stan Grant in great respect. But I am also uneasy about ABC staff opining, even when I agree with their opinions. And I suspect that by airing their opinions, they become ‘sitting ducks’ for vilification on social media. Andrew Royal, Orange
Staffing to blame
After four decades as a registered nurse, primarily in mental health and aged care, I think that many people are missing the primary cause of the recent issues with Clare Nowland (“Use of Taser on 95-year-old could have breached police procedure”, May 23). Aged care is run as a business and this means that there is chronic understaffing and undertraining. If you are the only registered nurse in a facility with 90 residents, it is often not possible to dedicate enough one-on-one time for those in dire need of it. Without enough staff, something has to give, and too often already that means resident care. This problem is simply magnified when acute situations arise. Andrew Brown, Bowling Alley Point
At least they didn’t shoot her dead. For many years, NSW police would shoot almost anyone they came into contact with carrying a knife; often these people had a mental illness. These include Elijah Holcombe, who was shot dead in Armidale in 2009, Michael Capel in the Hunter Region in 2008 and Roni Levi, shot dead on Bondi Beach in 1997. Now it’s a near-fatality caused by a Taser. Such tragedies will continue without systemic change to police training and culture. Harry Creamer, Port Macquarie
Strike a light
It seems that Stuart Robert was able to serve both God and Mammon at the same time (“Focusing on street light contract”, May 23). Alan Johnson, Seaforth
It appears a Taiwanese street lighting company has greater access and a Voice with parliament than do our First Nations people. John Bailey, Canterbury
Just what a retiring politician needs, an illuminated address. Allan Gibson Cherrybrook
Ready or not
The possibility of Russian intervention in Australia’s cyber-security (“Russia knows identity of Medibank hackers but is stonewalling the AFP”, May 22) sounds a bit like a Red herring. Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
I am also annoyed with the “evolution” of everyday language (Letters, May 23). When exactly did “invite” become a noun? I’m sure “invites” would not have been sent to potential guests at a recent coronation party. Claire Edmonds, Floraville
Not only that all communities are tight-knit, but all dead persons were revered and greatly missed by their community. Mustafa Erem, Terrigal
The late Frank Stewart often used to quote a French philosopher, “I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. More apt today than ever. Pasquale Vartuli, Wahroonga
The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Parliament erupts over Dutton’s claim Voice will ‘re-racialise’ Australia
From bm: I’m actually starting to think that Dutton might just be the Voice’s biggest asset.
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