A welcome plan for social housing for the needy

Credit:Illustration: Andrew Dyson

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LABOR’S BUDGET REPLY

A welcome plan for social housing for the needy

Anthony Albanese’s commitment to social housing (The Age, 14/5) provides a much needed vision for Australians on low incomes. The added importance of this announcement is the inclusion of older women in the target groups to be housed. It is projected that 440,000 private renters aged over 65 will be living in poverty by 2031 if investment in affordable rental housing is not tackled by governments.

The royal commission also recognised the importance of affordable housing investment to ensure a fair aged care system. Whilst more than 1million people receive home-based aged care, this “right” is not available for many older, private renters who are evicted because they can’t afford their rent, the owner decides to sell or they are denied permission by landlords for home modifications to enable ageing-in-place. You cannot access aged care services if you are homeless.
Jeff Fiedler, Preston

The importance of having somewhere to live

Hooray for Labor and its $10billion for social housing. Safe, supportive, secure housing is core to our wellbeing. As a psychiatric nurse, I was witness to the alternative. It is a living hell for many of our fellow Australians and they deserve better.
Maree Williams, Kew

Albanese must convince voters he is PM material

David Crowe’s pointed questioning of Anthony Albanese’s lacklustre reply to the budget (The Age, 14/5) is correct. The lack of infrastructure proposals to build quarantine centres is one omission. He is now in the shadow of an election and he needs to convince voters that, as prime minister, he will lead an effective government.

There is no point in sounding like a carping critic of Scott Morrison or alternating that opposition stance with soaring rhetoric on problems that cannot be fixed with more government money. Reform is critically needed in the aged care and childcare sectors, and in the perennial failures of the apprenticeship system. These are just three areas that need innovative changes proposed by an alternative prime minister.
Des Files, Brunswick

For once I was inspired by a political speech

How long is it since I have hung on every word from a politician? I could hardly believe that I was hearing a genuine voice with real solutions rather than a cynical play for votes. I finally feel excited for the future.
Elvyn Dear, Prahran

Labor is doomed to lose the federal election

Labor is gifting the election to the Coalition with a “small target” strategy, hoping it will sneak into office without anyone noticing. It will not work. If Tony Abbott were opposition leader to this shambles of a government, he would be having a field day. Barely a week passes without another rort being uncovered, another MP disgracing themselves or the Prime Minister saying or doing something ridiculous.

Why isn’t Labor demanding answers on the botched vaccine rollout? If the virus re-emerges, lockdowns will be the only strategy to protect an unvaccinated population.

Why isn’t Labor putting Morrison on notice that if this happens, it will call a royal commission, just as Abbott called one into the pink batts program? Why isn’t it demanding Andrew Laming’s head, just as Abbott was apoplectic over Craig Thomson or Peter Slipper? Labor’s benches are full of talented people, including Albanese, but he is not leadership material. It is time for him to step down. The country cannot afford another three years of inaction, rotting and cruelty.
Matt McRobbie, Mont Albert

So tough on one leader, so soft on another

Compare the interviews by Leigh Sales (7.30, ABC) this week with Scott Morrison and Albanese. No doubt in my mind that Morrison copped a shrill attack from a frustrated presenter compared with the limp lettuce leaf used on Albanese. An unbiased approach? I do not think so.
Doug Petering, Blackburn

THE FORUM

Planning for the future

Year after year, government and opposition come up with meaningless platitudes with budget and budget replies. Sooner or later either side is going to have to bite the bullet and make Australia the great country it once was. We cannot delude ourselves by thinking that growing debt does not have to be faced. We need to stop thinking in the now and consider what country we will leave our future generations.
Ian Anderson, Ascot Vale

When debt is necessary

The “debt and deficit” myth has been used by the Coalition to win elections and unfairly demonise the ALP as a bad economic manager. During the GFC when the Rudd government used debt to avoid a recession – and was recognised worldwide for its economic management – the Coalition was relentless in criticising debt and deficit. Hopefully now this myth is busted. There are times when deficits are appropriate.
Susan Simpson, Surrey Hills

Surely PC out of control

So “chestfeeding” is now official? Because a very small percentage of the population thinks it should be. And now the Andrews government believes this too (The Age, 14/5). Millions of women over thousands of years have fed a child from the female breast and it was called breastfeeding. Some women could not, or chose not, to breastfeed and used a bottle; this was called bottle feeding. What has changed? Political correctness gone mad. The role of women as birth givers and nourishers has been hijacked and downgraded. Shades of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Barbara Stewart, Beaumaris

Let’s call it what it is

The last time I looked on my chest, there were two breasts from which I produced milk to feed three children. “Chestfeeding” without breasts is a biological impossibility. The only alternative to mother’s breast milk is bottle feeding and to pretend differently to appease a tiny minority is the height of ridiculousness.
Sue Leigh, Moonee Ponds

This is good because…?

The Victorian government and Nursing Mothers of Australia have published information stating that we should embrace the term “chestfeeding” when discussing human lactation. All humans have breasts. All humans of all sexual orientations can get breast cancer. Why do we need to change the name of the function by which a human child is fed? How will this make a better world?
Candace Preiss, Toorak

Towards cash economy

Great news that casino operators Crown Resorts and The Star will phase out cash to minimise money laundering (The Age, 14/5). I was disappointed our government did not ban cash for all transactions when COVID-19 came along.

What a lost opportunity to eliminate the cash economy at a time when every GST and income tax dollar is needed to repay our country’s debt. No doubt an excuse will be used that not everyone has access to a suitable account and that it would be too hard for elderly people to cope with such a change, as was claimed when bank passbook accounts were to be phased out. Why not ban cash in 2022? My bowling club had just done so where the average age is over 70 years.
Howard Brownscombe, Brighton

Relative pay rates

Wayne Carey thinks that Carlton captain Patrick Cripps is worth at least $1million a year (Sport, 14/5). No footballer, no matter how good he is, is worth that amount of money to train in the sport they love in order to play 22 games of football, plus some finals games if they are lucky. To believe that is an insult to all of our nurses, paramedics, aged care workers, teachers etc.
John Cummings, Anglesea

Too many still waiting

Some of our Olympic swimmers will delay their second Pfizer jab until after the Tokyo trials next month (Sport, 14/5). Perhaps this means some doses will be available for my disabled daughter, her fellow housemates and their carers who, despite all being in the 1a group, are yet to have their first jab.
Carolyn Cliff, Armadale

Why are you asking me?

It is no wonder that nobody has faith in opinion polls any more. I received an automated call this week that asked me: “If an election was being held in South Australia tomorrow, who would you vote for?” I did go to South Australia once, many years ago, but next time, maybe pick someone who is likely to vote there, guys.
Neale Meagher, Malvern

Novel’s deeper meaning

Jessica Irvine writes well about economic matters, but perhaps she should re-read J.P. Hartley’s The Go-Between, which she quoted in her article (Opinion, 13/5). There was certainly no “teenage romance” in the novel, and I doubt its theme of class and social hierarchy has ever been described as “thrilling”.
Libby Sturrock, Mont Albert

Israel defending itself

Miriam Berger’s account of the Israeli-Palestinian violence (World, 12/5) begins with Israeli forces attacking Palestinians in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (May 12), and Hamas responding by attacking with rockets. In fact, the Israeli forces were responding to attacks by some of the worshippers, who had stockpiled rocks and fire crackers to throw at them, and at Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall below, following incitement from the Palestinian Authority and Hamas itself.

It is also important to note that the Palestinians facing eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, also claimed as a motivation for the violence, are living on land owned by Jews since the 1860s, and have been refusing to pay rent as previously agreed. What she refers to as a siege of Gaza is actually a blockade that allows in all necessary humanitarian goods, such as food, water, fuel and medicine, and is in place precisely to inhibit Hamas’ ability to wage war as we are seeing now.
Robbie Gore, Brighton East

The war on Palestinians

Modern Israel is a settler-colonial state, in a frontier war analogous to those fought on this land. Since inception, it has been annexing more territory from the Indigenous people, the Palestinians. The latest violence is the direct result of further annexation in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.
The colonial project in Israel has created oppressive conditions for the Palestinians. They will use any desperate measure they can to fight for their land, which tragically includes indiscriminate rockets.

To enforce its ever acknowledged right to defend itself, Israel will use the full force of a first-world nation state. They are not equal sides, and incidents of violence should not be reported as “clashes”. It is disappointing to see political alliances blind and muzzle our political leaders when human rights are at stake. I hope for a world where Israel is taken to account internationally, and the cycle of dispossession and violence is broken. The Palestinians will never have all their land repatriated, but there must be a more just outcome than this.
Michael Puck, Maffra

Precious precinct a mess

We all love the MCG precinct and are proud it is one of the world’s most famous sporting complexes. Therefore it is beyond belief that after the 2020 COVID-19 year when the precinct was basically unused, the ugly, temporary bollards still remain. How long will it take the responsible organisation to rectify this ugliness?

I have seen some terrific examples in the NT where security bollards blended in with the local landscape. I also have experience with heritage fencing and would be happy to organise a good, old-fashioned, working bee. This, combined with replacing the tripping-hazard, bluestone pitchers on the walkways could be achieved with a good turn up of volunteers.
Ian Andrews, Kew

Roads’ deadly mixture

Electric cars have no exhaust emissions, can be recharged from solar panels and have many advantages for users. However, as they are silent, they can be deadly for blind people and small children.
Rex Condon, Ashwood

CORRECTION: In a letter from Brian Derum published yesterday, Shadow Treasure Jim Chalmers was incorrectly referrred to as Richard Chalmers in the online version of The Age. The mistake was made in editing.

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Budget

Someone will have to pay for Josh’s debt and deficit cash-splash of billions and billions. Who, Treasurer?
David Baker, Parkdale

Men in dark suits giving speeches. It’s time women took the reins.
Glenise Michaelson, Montmorency

It seems the debt and deficit disaster is dead, buried and cremated.
Annie Wilson, Inverloch

No worries. Federal debt is in the future, like all government spending programs. And, like them, it may not happen.
Ralph Tabor, Pakenham

Come on, Jessica Irvine (13/5), surely you found a little thing in the budget to comment positively on.
Ralph Lewis, Canterbury

Two thirds of five eighths of nothing spent on the climate and renewables.
Greg Bardin, Altona North

COVID-19

Businesses may be fined if clients don’t check in. Will Metro be fined if passengers don’t wear masks?
Kevan Porter, Alphington

The hospitality industry’s reluctance to enforce QR codes is illogical. It risks another lockdown by its inaction.
Peter Carlin, Frankston South

Furthermore

Why would international students want to enrol at Australia’s dumbed-down universities?
Margaret Callinan, Hawthorn

Chest feeding (14/5)? You couldn’t make this stuff up. Why does it need to be gender inclusive when men can’t do it?
Craig Beer, Sunbury

At the Olympics, athletes will ″⁣chest″⁣, not breast, the winning tape.
Ian Powell, Glen Waverley

Eric Kopp suggests “Collingwood, black stripes on white. Port Adelaide, white stripes on black” (13/5). Who wears the prison bars?
Andy Wain, Rosebud

The cause of the violence in Israel is illegal Israeli settlements. Am I allowed to say that?
Barry Lamb, Heidelberg West

Great that the new English curriculum emphasises phonics (12/5). It’s a sound approach.
Ken Mack, Blackburn

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