On government housing policy, your correspondent says, “You have to let market demand determine housing parameters.” I couldn’t agree more. However, since the days of John Howard as Prime Minister, the housing market has skewed sharply in favor of investors due to negative gearing and capital gains exemptions not available to owner-occupiers. Housing prices in all markets have been forced to artificially high levels. And as is well known, many such properties are vacant for much of the year as investors primarily use them as vacation homes with the occasional Airbnb rental. If this government were to take the housing crisis seriously, it would significantly reduce the benefits currently bestowed on investors, undoubtedly making many properties available to owner-occupiers at affordable prices. Martyn Yeomans, Sapphire Beach
The disclosure of politicians’ many housing assets for investment shows how far we’ve come in seeing housing as a human right for all (“Most State MPs Own Multiple Properties,” October 26). The generous rebates of negative gearing and capital gains tax breaks continue to benefit those who are already well off. Young people and the less fortunate will never experience the pleasure of owning their own home, while we continue to view housing as an investment. Housing should be treated as a human right, not a disgrace. Robyn Thomas, Wahroonga
Major ticket projects costing Sydney
It is good that Rob Stokes is raising the issue of the carbon costs of overengineering, but given the high economic and environmental costs of car dependence, how much better it would have been if we had invested in good public transport rather than road tunnels, and ensured that urban fringe developments did not rely entirely on cars for day-to-day functioning (“Big Builds Crippled Net Zero: Minister,” Oct. 26)? Gina Hay, Bay View
Stokes is right to examine mega projects to ensure that taxpayers receive value and the environment is not harmed, but why stop there? Smaller projects add up and are just as worthy of providing value for money spent by government, and value in protecting the environment, as the mega projects. Replacing the stairs to the Sydney Harbor Bridge cycle route at Milsons Point may be a small amount of money for big government, but at potentially $1 million per step, it’s not worth it. The parties involved will continue to listen to the minister about this. Ian Curdie, Lavender Bay
Population a boulder for Sydney’s future
The head of the Greater Sydney Commission believes that Sydney, a city of 5 million people, should be more like Boulder, Colorado, a city of 100,000 people (“Get smart: planning chief’s big gripe with ‘pretty’ Sydney”, 26th of October). Small towns are more attractive places to live, as evidenced by the post-COVID mass exodus from Sydney and Melbourne. It’s high time we agreed on an optimal population before Sydney loses all of its natural beauty and livability. Anne Matheson, Gordon
NDIS needs repair
Recent revelations about the widespread misuse of Medicare by some health professionals do not bode well for the future of the NDIS (“Eye Surgeon Whipping,” Oct. 26). With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake in the coming years, we have already seen reports of rotting by unscrupulous health care providers. Unless the government can provide the necessary rigorous control over the disbursement of these funds, many people with disabilities may be deprived of the necessary care they need. Bill Shorten has indicated that this will be a priority for the Albanian government. Let’s hope he’s right. Greg Thomas, Annandale
Back to the future
With the increasing cost and complexity of preserving information in digital form, and the likelihood of hacking and subsequent identity theft, we may need to turn to other means of data storage and communication (“Emergency Action as Scale of Medibank Breach Grows”, 26 October). Perhaps a return to pen, paper, filing cabinets, mail and landlines is on the cards? Robert Ballinger, Pymbles
Trump’s Wild West
Donald Trump’s total ineptitude should disqualify him from ever holding the highest position in the United States (“Trump for 2024: Trick or Treat,” October 26). But it is more his utter moral depravity that makes Nick Bryant’s view that Trump has a great chance impossible to comprehend. This will not be an election based on Trump’s ability to do the job; he has already clearly stated that he cannot. The 2024 elections, if won by Trump, will reveal the moral decay in an America willing to once again become a pseudo-fascist, a serial fabulist, a bully, a malignant narcissist, and someone with no respect for the dignity and worth of women. appoint. Trump would be joined in the gutter by his cabal of inner circle sycophantic self-seekers, the entire Republican Party, his evangelical Christian base, and those American citizens who believe that confrontation, especially with already marginalized citizens, equals strength. The Wild West will be revived and democracy will be decimated. Trevor Somerville, Illawong
Lesson about school financing
Every dollar of state finances used to support private education is taken out of all education funding (Letters, Oct. 26). Private students receive a fixed percentage of state funding per student based on the public allocation of students. In addition, the private schools receive federal funding as the federal government has stated that public education is the responsibility of the states. To suggest that it saves the government money is a misconception. If that were the case, private schools would receive no funding and the millions allocated to them would be spent elsewhere. Again, it is the privileged who try to justify greed when they clearly have no need for it. As Ken Boston wrote, state money given to private schools frees their budget from educational purposes to be spent on luxurious facilities that no public school can afford. Augusta Monro, Dural
Private schools have always existed and will always exist as there are a large number of people who see an advantage in having their children attend them. The claim that regardless of school choice, all students deserve some level of funding is unrealistic. The reality is that the state has an obligation to ensure that all students have access to education and this is achieved by providing freely accessible public education facilities. Robert Hodge, Arncliffe
The idea that every student is entitled to some level of government funding is poppycock. If you choose to opt out of the government funded system, so be it. Governments provide public transportation, but I don’t expect them to subsidize my car purchase if I decide I don’t want to take a bus.
John Bailey, Canterbury
The Terrible History of Hancock
Few would know about Lang Hancock’s odious remark in 1984 were it not for the current korfball scene (Letters, October 26). It would rightly be limited to Horrible Histories. So maybe not a “big win” but an “own goal”. Tim Egan, Mosman
Warm wake up
The pleasure of Wordle or Quordle as told by your correspondent goes far beyond the satisfaction of solving it (“A Wordle Advice: Don’t Get Dragged Into Quordle,” October 26).
Every morning before I jump out of bed, a good friend and I exchange our solutions, accompanied by a greeting or comment about the weather or something similar. It is a wonderfully warm start to the day. Elizabeth Maher, Bangor
The writing stuff
Grandmother “didn’t have the masculine abilities needed to write letters to newspapers,” as Judy Hungerford points out (Letters, Oct. 26). Yet she made history with a beautifully crafted note made of quill pen and ink, which was left on the kitchen table for the family.
“You must cook your own meals tonight. I will be attending a demonstration in Hyde Park to hear Mrs Emmeline Pankhurst give her opinion on voting for women.”
We like to think of her kind, pen in hand, that “monstrous regiment of women”, quietly humming “I will not stop fighting mentally, Nor will my sword sleep in my hand”. Ronald Elliott, Sandringham (Vic)
How unusual was it for your correspondent’s father to use his wife’s name in a letter to the… Herald, which was published in the 1940s. Usually it was the other way around. One of our best poets, Gwen Harwood (1920-1995) sent her first collection of poetry to a publishing house, but was dismissed as a ‘Tasmanian housewife’. She then resorted to subterfuge and had many successes using a variety of male pseudonyms. I don’t know if Harwood wrote letters to the editor, but she certainly found the time to write. She was also the mother of four children, including twins. Maureen Casey, Breakfast Point
The digital display
Online commentary from one of the stories that drew the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Match the dots: your taxes are going up, not down
From Megaphone: Kinda damn if you do, damn if you don’t have a budget. Labor inherited a mess from the coalition
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