Disrespectful debate left no room to present ideas

Home buying not harder than in the ’70s? Tell him he’s dreamin’

Predictions and projections from economists and the RBA can have significant and sometimes negative influence on the housing market (“Rate rise to hit housing market fast”, May 10). The RBA’s assurances that the record low interest rates would not rise until 2024 effectively fueled a rapidly rising housing market and has led to many recent buyers being overindebted. Now the reality of interest rate rises and decrease in prices will no doubt accelerate the price decline. Who would buy now if they are convinced they could potentially pay 15 per cent less in 12 months time? Another problem exists for the increased number of properties in flood-prone areas, which it is predicted will become uninsurable. One would expect the value of these properties to immediately drop significantly. It may be better for all if the “experts” were a little less confident and outspoken in their predictions. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

Your correspondent has drawn a false comparison in attempting to demonstrate that not a lot has changed in the housing market (Letters, May 10). He was earning $7,500 and got a loan for $15,000 – twice his salary from him.

Using that criterion, at $90,000 average wage today, the loan amount would be $180,000. Perhaps a lucky few can buy a house at Sydney’s median – $1m-plus – with such a small loan. David Maguire, Kellyville

We bought our first home a little before your correspondent. It was tough then but tougher now. For a person to buy a modest home in the area we bought in, a $600k mortgage would mean a $500k deposit. Try saving that from after tax income while paying rent.

Notwithstanding, using the figures quoted, monthly repayments on the $15k over 25 years would be $213. Now repayments are more than $2700 a month on a $600k loan. Much prefer to be buying in the ’80s. Trevor Daley, Pyrmont

Your correspondent has not mentioned John Howard’s taxation bribes and the molding of negative gearing and capital gains tax discounts to turn residential property into an investment instrument. Along the way, tax minimization escalated and budgetary issues were skewed because other income was allowed to be offset against investment tax deductions, and investors flooded in to inflate prices. It’s a snowball of misery for genuine first home buyers and owner-occupiers. John Kingsmill, Fairlight

Job security and other factors have also changed since 1977. Secure housing that is affordable to buy or lease is now much more difficult. Long-term housing is necessary for a well-functioning society. The erosion of this fundamental human need should be a great concern for all, and deserves close attention at all elections. Tim CoenSummer Hill

Trans surgery is not mutilation

Parents of transgender children will breathe a sigh of relief at the end of the election campaign (“Morrison defends Deves again after she doubles down on ‘mutilation’ comments”, smh.com.au, May 10). A tiny vulnerable section of the community have become cannon fodder in the search for votes. We are long past the time of hoping that the Prime Minister would show compassion, but could he at least stick to the facts. Gender reassignment surgery is not available to children or minors. He refused to confirm this when asked at a press conference because it did not suit his narrative of him. Genevieve Kang, glebe

The correct term is gender confirmation surgery, not gender reassignment surgery. It would be helpful if Scott Morrison, Katherine Deves et al acquainted themselves with the correct medical terminology. Healthdirect Australia, established under a COAG agreement, makes it clear that gender confirmation surgery is medically necessary for people with gender dysphoria. It is most definitely not “mutilation”. Natalie MabbittRandwick

“Surgically mutilated and sterilized” – could that be the definition of a hysterectomy? Judy MurphySummer Hill

yawning chasm

Children at state schools are no longer eating and drinking during the day because they are not being afforded clean, private, adequate toilets and washrooms, yet so-called independent schools continue to receive millions of taxpayers’ dollars for excessive and unnecessary excrescences (“Parents say broken, stinking school toilets ‘disgraceful’“, May 10). How have we come to this? Elizabeth Goodsall, Wahronga

go your own way

There is much discussion about how preferences flow in our elections (“Liberals to benefit from UAP preferences in many key seats”, May 10). And each party makes it clear what they want on the leaflets passed out outside the polling station. Rarely is it mentioned that you do not have to follow the suggestions on those leaflets. It is entirely up to each person how they allocate their vote; the only compulsory thing is to get your name marked off. I always try to put the most odious of the candidates last. Stein Boddington, St Clair

Power to AGL rebels

At a time when we are rightly wary of the rich having undue influence, it is nonetheless reassuring to see a real-life hero using his monetary muscle to champion the cause of both environment and shareholders (“Billionaire says revolt coming at power giant”, May 10). It is to be hoped the AGL rebels can achieve a victory for both planet and people. Philip CooneyWentworth Falls

Spending needs detail

The editorial rightly asks how vital improvements to aged care, childcare and the NDIS will be funded (“Parties must show how better care will be paid for”, May 10). To that list we could add Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, renewable energy, foreign aid, defence, education and so on. Substantial increases in spending will obviously be required but the major parties have not explained how they intend to achieve this, other than suggesting the forlorn hope of “by growing the economy”. It is clear that if we are to properly fund these essential services in an aging population proper, hard-nosed, comprehensive tax reform will be required. When will one of the major parties bite the bullet? Col Nicholson, Hawks Nest

Your editorial makes the valid point that childcare (if well done by well-trained practitioners) has benefits going way beyond enabling women to work. Those formative years are vital in children’s cognitive development. We owe it to them to develop a universal system of early childhood education like those of comparable countries. Andrew Macintosh, cromer

Small targets make sense

Jessica Irvine is right when she says that Australian taxation system is skewed towards taxing younger people while older wealthy people are left to accumulate further wealth by favorable tax laws (“Election for mature audiences only”, May 10). Younger people face a bleak future, especially in housing affordability and climate change. Neither major party is offering any solution to housing affordability for the younger generation.
Although I am disappointed, I can sympathize with Labor that they have whittled down their policies to small targets at this election. There is no point in coming up with highly ambitious policies while most of the population is not yet ready to accept those policies.
It’s better to be a little less ambitious and win the election to make things better for the young generation than have higher goals and not get elected. Bipin Johri, Epping

Greens’ plan for life

The Greens’ plan for zero extinctions by 2030 will probably be dismissed by cynical voters as an unachievable ideal but this election of any in the past half century has a chance of delivering such an ambitious scheme if the balance of power shifts to Greens and independents ( “Native species are in crisis, but you wouldn’t know it from the election campaign”, May 9).
Australia is changing with the climate and the expansion of mining, agriculture and habitat for humans at an ever-accelerating rate, and it will be virtually unrecognizable unless current exploitative policies are reversed. Penny Roser, North Epping

How not to curry please

I thought democracy was rule by and for the people (“’It’s not us’: Councilors distance themselves from kebab shop shutdown”, smh.com.au, May 10). It seems if you are an Indian takeaway business in Paddington providing a desired service, an unnamed bureaucrat in his de ella/her ivory tower can shoot you down. Surely common sense can prevail and something sensible be negotiated? Do the after-midnight clientele disrupt the traffic and the peace while scoffing a delish kebab? Hard to believe. Oh, for some vision and leadership. Ashley Berry, Toolijooa

Ticking the right boxes

An informal vote is not a protest vote. Putting them last in your ballot paper is a protest vote (Letters, May 10). Andrea Wilson, Greenwich

Recipe for Success

Dear Sian Powell, your butter was too cold and your bowl too small (“Art of French cooking is more than Child’s play”, May 10). Learn from the chefs, not MasterChef. Read endless recipes and visualize every step. Practice, observe, persevere. Use commonsense. Jennifer Coleman, Indooroopilly (Qld)

Career choices

Your correspondent is right that teaching and nursing are greatly affected by “more choices for women” (Letters, May 10). My mother had a friend who on her day de ella (pre-WWII) was the dux of Sydney Girls’ High School – and chose to do infants teaching. Now, the SGHS dux could expect to be a High Court judge. Elizabeth Jones, Kirribilli

Views from abroad

I was surprised to see that the AEC had not organized more voting booths at Australian consulates and embassies around the globe (“Closed polling booths abandon expats”, May 9). As an expat working in London during the ’90s, I had a sense of pride and inclusion in being able to participate in shaping Australia’s future. Although no democracy sausage was found at Australia House in The Strand, we did have Vegemite on toast and lots of Aussie banter. Come on AEC, more voting booths, please. Aussie expats have branched out further than Earls Court. John Clay, Willoughby

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Smelly, dirty, unsafe: parents say school toilets are ‘disgraceful’
desde Florence from Firenze: ″⁣Submarines, helicopters, railway station car parks, trapshooting clubhouses, stadiums, the list of things more important than looking after our children at school goes on. And, by the way, wasn’t one stadium or another knocked down and rebuilt partly because of the state of its toilets?″⁣

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