SOME 35,000 people in Canberra live below the poverty line and several thousand are homeless. Why? Being a city-state I always have wondered how our compact territory only 29 years into self-government is not a […]
JON Stanhope (“Lost in space: mystery of the missing blocks”, CN, August 10) rightly rails against the ACT government on housing affordability.
It’s in a pretty unique position as primary raw landowner to sort out the mess, but it exploits its own people, blaming “the market”, which it restricts, controls and wallows in.
The market’s currently overvalued, mark-ups are outrageous and costly, unwarranted, layer-upon-layer retailing in the “industry” is rampant. Getting well-supplied new land and building procurement fully back into the hands of owner-occupiers is the key but, sadly, kid gloves are required. A workable solution could involve legally bound owner-occupiers only (and not just first-timers) directly purchasing, say, the front part (roughly half) of a typical, say, 450-square-metre new block of government subdivided single-dwelling land at independent market valuation with a contractual agreement to similarly purchase the remaining part later.
The owner would be required to directly procure the design and construction of a planning-controlled “starter” house on the purchased land – typically a combined living/dining/kitchen space, a bedroom, a bathroom, plus maybe a smaller study/bedroom/nursery and a carport – still better for young families than a small, likely pokey depreciating flat. The owner would pay the rates on the full block. After a maximum of, say, seven years, the owner would complete the land purchase at the original valuation plus a fair pre-agreed, pro-rata percentage for time past, and may extend the house.
Jack Kershaw, Kambah
Macklin was wrong and right
GIVEN the context, statistical accuracy is perhaps a second-order issue, but columnist Robert Macklin is wrong to refer to 1880 “priestly perpetrators” of child abuse (“Paedo priests: How do they sleep at night?”, CN, August 3).
In February, the Royal Commission’s wrap-up of its enquiries into Catholic institutions said that over the past 35 years there were 1880 alleged perpetrators of abuse. Of the 1880, 30 per cent were priests (and 29 per cent were lay people). As the Royal Commission made clear (but the media did not), these were allegations of abuse, not substantiated findings.
Of course, whether the number of priests subject to allegations was 1880 or 564, the figure is shocking. I share Robert Macklin’s bewilderment at how perpetrators could square their consciences with what they were doing. And I am also appalled at the extent of child sexual abuse and mistreatment in so many other segments of Australian society apart from the Catholic Church.
Stephen Brown, Forrest
Church is not a Ponzi scheme
WITH reference to Robert Macklin (“Paedo priests: How do they sleep at night?”, CN, August 3), the Roman Catholic Church is not a Ponzi scheme because it is free to join. The poorest of the poor can join and around the world many have.
At Sunday mass a plate is passed around for optional, non-specified donations. You don’t have to pay at the door to enter or give your name.
The average Sunday mass in Australia has a congregation of more than 200 people.
Diana Fitzgerald, Curtin
Boy’s ‘heartless’ treatment
I CONCUR with C Worsley (CN, letters, August 10) and others who think the Barr government’s treatment of the child mauled by dogs is heartless and selfish.
As I believe the owners of these dogs were public tenants and the government must have okayed these people to have the dogs, surely they must take some responsibility in the matter.
Margaret Woodhams, via email
Anti-bullies behaving badly
SOMEONE was shouting obscenities in my face, from only 10 centimetres in front of me. Why?
Because I was attending a peaceful rally in Civic Square to hear about the gender theory being taught in the “Safe Schools” program on Saturday, August 12.
Unfortunately, I could hardly hear or see the speakers. Why? Protesters planted themselves immediately in front of the speakers, obstructing them with placards declaring what they thought of the speakers: “Nile is vile”, “Lyle is vile”. The chanting of slogans such as “We’re here, we’re queer” continued relentlessly for the entire 40 minutes of the presentation.
Personally, I support advocates of “Safe Schools” having a platform to share their concerns about bullying in the schoolyard, but the approach I saw that Saturday left me deeply concerned.
Do we really want our children to follow this example when they disagree with someone in the schoolyard: shout them down, obstruct them, intimidate them, label them vile and yell obscenities in their face?
It reminds me of a man who came with a very different strategy – he loved his enemies. But he was mocked for it, too, all the way to the cross.
Geoff [surname withheld by request], McKellar
Love and marriage
I USED to work with a lovely young Indian lady who, like many Australians from that culture, had an arranged marriage.
I said: “How does that work?”
She said: “Your parents want the best for you, and they choose wisely. It works well.”
They did not marry for love.
Rewa Bate, Coombs
‘A very public service’
READER Christopher Palmer, of Evatt, has sent a poem:
the percolator, siphon, stovetop, aeropress
capsule, cold brew, full immersion French press
instant espresso, ristretto cappuccino
flat white doppio, mocha macchiato
latte, short black, long black, ready now
long life, full fat, lite soy, skinny cow
cuban, brazilian, new guinean, kenyan
styrofoam, keep cup, cardboard, porcelain
premium grade, unsprayed, fair trade, slave trade
handpicked, handground, handheld, handmade
blended, vacuum packed, in fifteen minute breaks
and single origin, withdrawal headaches