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Credit: Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
To submit a letter to The Age, email letters@theage.com.au. Please include your home address and telephone number. No attachments, please include your letter in the body of the email. See here for our rules and tips on getting your letter published.
Re “Locals could be barred from planning objections” (Sunday Age, 13/8). The proposal to remove councils from decision-making for medium-density housing projects is disturbing. Despite councils being subject to pressure from vested interests and occasional allegations of corruption, they are the primary vehicle for residents to influence and have a say in their local environment.
To remove this right and give the power to a central, statewide authority is the first step towards a command economy where all decisions are made in the so-called general or state interest. Councils are closest to the day-to-day lives of citizens. If the ability to have a say in their environment is lost, their lives will inevitably be diminished. The current imperfect system needs remediation, but we must get the balance right.
Bob Malseed, Hawthorn
It is timely for us all to think differently about housing density. For too long we have fought against this trend. The proposed plan by the Andrews government to ban objections against medium-density housing in inner and middle suburbs has much to commend it, particularly if a proportion of affordable housing will be mandatory.
Supply increase will be much more effective in housing people than top-up monies to new home owners. Increasing the urban sprawl and additions to commuting time and petrol emissions have had their day. Too many people are in housing stress, including our adult children. Too many people are unable to be housed at all.
Jan Marshall, Brighton
Dan Andrews’ housing and planning overhaul has very little to do with the provision of affordable housing, and more to do with fuelling the construction industry by taking away powers from residents and councils. If he were really concerned about affordable housing, he would be doing everything he could to protect existing affordable housing like the Rotherwood apartment complex in Camberwell, destined for demolition and replacement by a multi-unit development that will cover virtually the whole block. Victoria runs on the back of the bulldozer, and nothing is going stop Andrews and his vision for a “wild west frontier”. Not democracy, not heritage, not climate change.
Annette Cooper, Camberwell
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute reported that based on the 2021 census, 10.1 per cent (more than 1million) of Australia’s private dwellings were unoccupied on the night of the census. There are a range of reasons for this but many are likely to be empty investment properties, possibly overseas-owned.
I suggest a high tax on these properties, which will encourage provision for rental, and that the money raised be used for funding social housing. It should not be hard to identify whether the homes are occupied based on water and electricity records. Councils could collect the tax through their rates notices.
Harry Grynberg, Caulfield
The rapid development of residential housing in the west (Point Cook, Werribee, Hoppers Crossing) without the simultaneous development of all types of transport systems – and now the scrapping of the plan to build two new rail lines in the outer west – has led to serious consequences: high car dependency for transport, extreme traffic congestion, greenhouse gases and road safety concerns. The evidence: the Princess Freeway, especially the problems at exits during peak hours.
Rod Fuller, Hawthorn
I am in shock and deep sadness after reading about the disaster engulfing the beautiful, historic Hawaiian town of Lahaina. How can something like this happen? In verdant, green Hawaii? Some people even died on the seawall.
How many more disasters have to happen, how many more people have to die before our so-called “leaders” and their corporate mates acknowledge the inevitable, that climate change is more than just some inconvenient reality?
Why is it so hard to stop fighting each other and work on saving our planet instead? After all, it’s the only home that more than 8 billion people have.
Mason Blunt, Doncaster
What Caroline Kennedy (The Age, 13/8) actually said regarding the impact on relations if Donald Trump were elected was that she was “confident that Australia should be able to count on us” (the US). To me, when a politician or a government figure say they are “confident” that something will or will not happen, it means they are not at all sure but want to sound as if they are. Also, she did not use the word “will” to express certainty but “should”, which can mean anything from “likely” to “possible”, depending on the speaker’s intention.
Paul Sands, Sunbury
Words matter. When Caroline Kennedy assures us that Australia “should be able to count on us”, the word to note is “should”. When Republican Mike Gallagher says “I’m confident with Republicans and Democrats working together we can do whatever is necessary to deliver on AUKUS”, the words to note are the caveat “with Republicans and Democrats working together”. I’d like to see that.
Sue Tuckerman, Kew
Re “Epidemiologist who helped lead Australia through COVID dies aged 70” (The Age, 14/8). Vale Mary-Louise McLaws. So honest, so knowledgeable, so warm. You led us through the dark days of the pandemic with grace and compassion. I will not forget you.
Kerry Walker, Natimuk
In our excitement over the Matildas’ success, let us pause and feel gratitude for the immense contribution of Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, not only to Australia, but to world health.
Stephen Lindner, Kew
What’s this game called AFL again? Sorry, I have been distracted by the incredible skill and maturity of elite athletes who happen to be women and, to add icing on the cake, great Australians. I saw little ego, no obnoxious nature of players or chauvinism that is prevalent in some sporting codes.
Seeing Sports Minister Anika Wells (next to our prime minister) shed a tear spoke volumes about the huge cultural shift that has occurred within our parliament and is now part of our sporting culture. If the Matildas get through to the final, maybe Kylie Minogue can be invited to perform and it will be an event that will never be forgotten.
Jenny Smith, East Melbourne
Amid all the (deserved) adulation and congratulations to the Matildas, respect to the dignified and respectful way the French coach and team reacted to their defeat. The two teams put on a wonderful, drama-filled game on Saturday evening. Thank you to both teams.
Peter McLoughlin, Mount Eliza
Your reporter writes about the Matildas’ chances of a semi-final or final victory, highlighting their exhaustion and injuries – “How much fuel is left in the tank?” (Sport, 14/8). I am sure the English team will find it encouraging. I cannot remember a time when there has been more collective joy and excitement. We can be realistic but hopeful and full of admiration for the Matildas’ extraordinary achievements so far. There is enough gloom and doom in the world today. Why kill the joy?
Irene Renzenbrink, North Fitzroy
While the Matildas have captured the heart of the nation, the idea of a public holiday is different and brings all our public holidays into question: Australia Day creates more ill feeling than it is worth. Anzac Day celebrates a heroic past but some of our more recent military forays haven’t covered themselves with much glory.
Regulated working hours and conditions make Labour Day redundant. Then there is the nonsense of King Charles’ birthday holiday when half of us would prefer to be a republic. Horse racing is on the wane, calling into question the Melbourne Cup Day holiday (and Melbourne has that silly holiday the day before the AFL grand final). A Yes vote for the Voice at the referendum could warrant a public holiday but it may not get up. In the meantime, we are left with these trivial, anachronistic public holidays.
David Hickey, Heidelberg
Michael Bachelard’s piece – “Enduring battle of the sexes” (Sunday Age, 13/8) – made me sad. As an early Baby Boomer, I attended university in the mid-1960s and experienced nothing like the sexual animosity he describes. Admittedly, there were fewer women at uni back then, particularly in the science and engineering fields, and domestic violence, misogyny and sexual harassment were largely hidden.
I can well understand the outrage and animosity of women today who have suffered these tribulations for so long. But I am also sad for young males who have to navigate this tricky landscape. Only when women acknowledge that only a minority of men are physically violent, and men acknowledge that most women are interested in having good relations with them, will we move beyond this diabolical situation.
Tony Priestley, Fitzroy
Why have the ABC and SBS stopped playing I am Australian, with its words “I am, you are, we are Australian”, on their respective television channels? Surely now more than ever we need to be reminded that we all “share a dream” as debate over the Voice referendum intensifies.
Elizabeth Kleinhenz, Blackburn
Victoria is experiencing a most concerning teacher shortage but poaching teachers from other states is not the solution. The value and future success of any country can be measured by the quality of education it provides. It seems we do not value teachers and education enough. Government and education authorities seem reluctant to commit to a range of strategies to attract teachers.
I volunteer at my grandchildren’s primary school and mentor a young person at secondary college. I am infuriated by what we expect from teachers and how little we support them.
Reduce the administrative tasks and yard duty by employing classroom assistants who could also assist with activities such as listening to individual reading. This would make teaching more attractive and manageable. Additionally, employ security staff so teachers are protected from some of the aggression they experience. Above all, pay teachers what they are worth.
Carol Fountain, Mentone
The deterioration of healthcare delivery over the past 10years is multi-factorial in its origin, and includes sociological change, raised expectations with regard to career advancement, lack of vision and inadequate funding. Combined with complex regulation and bureaucracy, the system is failing at all levels – general practice, ambulance services, emergency departments and aged care.
Solving these problems will take political will, advanced planning and above all, oceans of money. The source of funding for a system of healthcare acceptable to the public is all too obvious, namely increased taxes, whether it be through Medicare, general taxation or other revenue sources.
Long-term planning is essential, and given the lead times for education and construction, a period of at least 10 years is required. Is this likely to happen? Not in my lifetime, I fear.
Damien Jensen, retired surgeon, Glen Iris
A powerful contribution from Peter Rushen (Letters, 12/8) asking for 30 minutes of pre-game quiet for AFL matches to break the bombardment of noisy ads and very loud intrusions. He reminded us that we once managed to talk to each other in the crowd. Grand final day saw many shared stories from supporters of both teams, often to the enjoyment of those nearby. The AFL has killed that dead for cash at the expense of dedicated football followers. Stop it please.
Peter Tonkes, Fairlight, NSW
Where are those fair weather Blues supporters who were booing and abusing their team after six successive losses? Now suddenly they are cheering their heroes. How fickle. We have had our champagne years and our down years, but true followers stick through thick and thin, without shouting abuse while going through a bad patch. People of this ilk will probably boo the Matildas if they lose to England. Wise up, people. They’re all doing their best.
Geoff Lipton, Caulfield North
It was interesting to read the analysis of the audience decline for the ABC’s Q&A (Monday Media, 14/8). It talked of changing time slots and changing hosts, but nowhere did it mention the unfriendly atmosphere the program creates for conservative guests. My guess is that conservative viewers have the same unwelcome feeling, and therefore turn off, thus reducing Q&A’s audience potential.
John Floyd, Murrumbeena
Bonjour President Macron. Do you think the Matildas played well enough to deserve their win over Les Bleues? I don’t think, I know.
Les Lambert, Wangaratta
Credit: Illustration: Matt Golding
Tell me I watched the final of the Women’s World Cup on Saturday evening. My pacemaker can’t take any more.
Winston Anderson, Mornington
My grandson asked his mother: ″⁣What do they call boy Matildas?″⁣
Paul Miller, Albury
Does the media realise the Matildas are part of a World Cup and other countries are involved?
Lesley Black, Frankston
We can celebrate the Matildas’ success without a public holiday. The jolly swagman just waited till his billy boiled.
Brendan O’Farrell, Brunswick
All this discussion about whether we should have a public holiday if the Matildas win. Doesn’t anyone remember Murphy’s Law?
Suzanne Palmer-Holton, Seaford
Thousands of Matildas fans trying to get to the MCG early were let down by Yarra Trams. Let’s hope it lifts its game on Wednesday.
Mary O’Shannassy, East Melbourne
Football – played with the feet.
John Mayger, Hepburn Springs
When we built our home in 1973, we used white Colorbond on our roof (14/8). Even then we were aware of climate change.
Jeanne Hart, Maryborough
To those who complain of the difficulty of DA’s cryptic crossword on Friday: it’s one of the highlights of my week. Enjoy the challenge.
Gerald Barr, Malvern
Re graffiti. Seen on a wall in Lyon (in French): “I’m on strike until I retire.“
Heather Barker, Albert Park
″⁣Mountain cattlemen care for the high country″⁣ car sticker, adorned with the addition: ″⁣But their cattle are not so fussy.″
⁣Jeff Norton, Parkville
Bill Walker (12/8), you will find that “money doesn’t talk”. In the words of the master, it swears.
Ken Richards, Elwood
If only the AFL boundary umpires could become whistleblowers.
Leigh O’Connor, Ormond
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