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Tuesday, July 16, 2024 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

Boomers ignorant of crushing economic pressures

“Why don’t you all f-f-fade away”… from The Who’s 1965 hit “My Generation”.

Letter writer ERIC THOMSON challenges columnist Clive Williams’ assertion that Zoomers are better off than Boomers. 

IN his August 17 “Whimsy” column, Clive Williams wrote that Zoomers are “financially better off” than Boomers. In what sense is this true?

Sure, wages have increased in nominal terms over the last 50 years, but inflation has stolen much of that increase, and no-one should need to be reminded of the last three years, when many things that people “need” to survive, not smashed avo but actual food, energy, housing and fuel rose in price exponentially. 

In addition, if you’ll recall, there was a significant disruption to the economy in the form of lockdowns which amounted to years of lost time that Zoomers could have spent earning or learning. 

This is the only reality that many of Gen Z have known in their careers thus far. 

My experience is that, contrary to popular belief, they have become quite mathematically adept when deciding which purchases to make, out of sheer necessity. 

Because they are highly-connected and perhaps a little over-informed, they are highly aware of just how “financially better off” they are than their parents, particularly with regards to their vanishing prospects of ever owning a home, their impending replacement by AI, or their HELP debt that is substantially larger than a free degree courtesy of Whitlam.

Boomers, as a cohort, stand to lose the most thanks to inflationary events. Yet they seem curiously ignorant of the real and crushing economic pressure Australians are suffering under in 2023. 

If they continue to add insult to injury they’ll be lucky if the response from Gen Z is a mere: “Why don’t you all f-f-fade away.”

Erin Thomson, via email

Talkin’ ’bout my generation – Boomers v Zoomers

The Voice: nothing to lose and so much to gain 

ACCORDING to opinion polls, I am in a category expected to vote “no” in the referendum. A white, septuagenarian male living a comfortable suburban life, my demographic is apparently opposed to people who are not me seeking recognition that I don’t have.

I don’t know why. The Voice will open opportunities for indigenous Australians without taking anything away from the rest of us. Life as we know it for the rest of us will not change. We will continue to live, work and play as we did before. 

We have to get away from thinking one person’s gain is another person’s loss, more so when those who might gain are in the most disadvantaged group in the country. With this important decision we can do something to improve their lives, which must benefit our nation.

The referendum is a simple request for two things: recognition that Aboriginal people lived here before 1788, and setting up an advisory Voice to parliament and the government to address the disadvantage they have faced for generations. 

It is not about budgets and structures. That will be decided by the government of the day, as it should be.

This is not an extreme proposal. We have nothing to lose and so much to gain by voting “yes”. If the referendum fails, I fear we will be seen as a country that does not want to listen to its first people. That would be a loss for all of us.

Brett Gray, Monash

Infill is just a form of urban mining

THE Greater Canberra myth generator is fully cranked up in anticipation of planning changes for the release of “well-located” land for infill. 

The local lobbyists’ aim is to make Canberra better and more affordable for all. Who doesn’t support that? 

The only problem is that their solution doesn’t work.

The four big myths supporting the cry for infill are:

  1. Infill produces enough housing supply to meet the housing crisis demand. While government has sole control of greenfield land release it doesn’t control the supply of infill as it’s privately owned and comes to the market slowly. The government needs to stop counting knockdown/rebuilds as infill as this doesn’t increase supply.
  2. Infill provides greater choice. Only if you want a townhouse or a unit. And there’s plenty of those.
  3. Infill doesn’t have a negative environmental impact. New builds have the same environmental impact whether they’re built in existing suburbs or on greenfield sites.
  4. Infill is more affordable. As the Master Builders Association pointed out, you can’t build affordable housing on Canberra’s most expensive and “well-located” sites. Location, location, location.

Like many of the other members of the broad YIMBY Association, they don’t actually have backyards to offer up for affordable housing. YIMBY Groups, including the Miners for Climate Action Coalition

and the Foresters for Nature Conservation Alliance simply want the keys to your backyard to exploit it and make money. The impact on locals is not their problem. Infill is urban mining.

Ian Hubbard, Ainslie

Time to change the language around drugs

AFTER watching a “Four Corners” episode on ABC regarding pregnant women experiencing “addiction” issues, I feel I must speak out, and implore people to use different language when speaking about people who have dependencies on “substances”.

Drugs can be either “legal” or “illicit”, and it is generally believed that legal substances are kosher, yet illicit substances are often linked to criminal behaviour. This stigmatisation is unfair on members of our community who use illicit substances. This is quite clearly a health issue, not a criminal one.

There are many people within our community who are dependent on legal substances ie prescription medication; however, they are not labelled as “drug addicts”. There is no equity here for people struggling with the use of illicit substances.

It’s time to get real and reduce stigmatisation and judgemental attitudes towards people who use illicit substances as opposed to those who have dependencies on legal substances, which are often abused, at times leading to tragic circumstances.

It is the 21st century; time to become educated, as opposed to being bigoted.

Janine Haskins, Cook

Heidi Smith’s 1991 portrait of Canberra Raider Ricky Stuart.

Memories of Heidi and the naked Raiders

HELEN Musa’s, as usual, excellent article on the very excellent Heidi Smith, photographer of distinction, brought back memories. 

But she neglected to mention one of Heidi’s great Canberra exhibitions, full disclosure, I opened it! It was the extraordinary exhibition at the National Press Club of the Canberra Raiders team of that time… naked. Mal Meninga and Laurie Daley certainly were at the opening arranged by that other great, then Canberran, Richard Farmer.

Max Bourke, via email

Voters have the right to be wrong

ANDREW Sutton misinterprets a fellow correspondent’s logic when he asserts, “Douglas Mackenzie needs to wake up” (CN, August 17). 

In the context, Andrew also declares: “The Liberals cannot be worse than the current Greens-Labor government”. 

The results since 2000 indicate the voters think otherwise and that’s what counts. We might also remember the old saying: “In a democracy, the voters have the right to be wrong”.

Eric Hunter, Cook 

Critical comments taken out of context 

ANDREW Sutton thinks that I need “to wake up” (Letters, CN August 17). I am now wide awake, Andrew. Your comments are taken out of context. 

“The Daily Telegraph”, which readers of “CityNews” would know all too well, leans hard to the right. To have any chance of getting a letter published, one must avoid the faintest perception of empathy with the Labor cause or of, heaven forbid, being a staunch Labor voter. Mr Murdoch will have none of that. 

Therefore, to have any chance of publication, one’s left-leaning tendencies must be subtle or well disguised.

In contrast, “CityNews” gives a fair hearing to all political points of view, from the set-in-concrete right to the dye-in-the-wool left. 

My political position is rather to the left of centre, but not as far to the left as was my father’s. I think of my political views as rational, realistic, and logical; often from an earth scientist’s perspective.

Dr Douglas Mackenzie, Deakin 

The message in a boiling kettle 

FOR years I have viewed those far more knowledgeable than me. Sadly, I only recently discovered Prof John Lennox, who lectures in pure mathematics at Oxford University, has three degrees from that body, and a degree from Cambridge Uni. 

He travels the world under the mantle of Caritas engaging frequently in TV discussions with Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and other top atheists. 

In a recent discussion, the atheist was using the example that all is explained by material action and interaction with no outside intervention, which is shown when water molecules in a kettle react violently to heat and boil. Prof Lennox quickly responded that his kettle boiled only when he wanted a cup of tea!

Colliss Parrett, Barton 

Still think the Robodebt probe a waste, Mario?

IN June 2022, after I said I disagreed with letter writer Mario Stivala’s view that a Royal Commission into Robodebt was a waste of money, he responded, and I quote: “If he genuinely believes that, he is living in the dreamtime!”. 

Now that the commission has made its findings public and the government has officially apologised to the victims, I would be interested to know if Stivala still regards the royal commission to be a waste of money, especially after it revealed the extent that senior public servants, government ministers and their advisers, perpetrated the myth that Robodebt was lawful, intimidated all those that tried to reveal the truth, showed a high degree of malevolence to keep people in line, and delayed the time taken to bring the whole affair to an end. 

And, by the way, it is okay if Stivala doubles down on his remarks as this is common practice amongst our politicians.

Ric Hingee, Duffy 

Australia will fail as the energy powerhouse

RAY Peck in his retort (Letters, CN August 10) to my letter on lack of a recycling policy on renewables in Australia, managed to segue to the sludge generated by coal mines. 

Although the slurry is a useful energy product, the ash disposal could be managed in the way nuclear can be stored in Synroc, as developed by the CSIRO, but only used currently for medical waste. 

The “No” case against nuclear ignores the AUKUS pledge to develop a nuclear industry! 

Recently, Net Zero Australia estimated that renewables will cost $1.7 trillion to meet 2030 targets.

Energy Australia has announced a generous $5 billion injection (about 100 times short) while Green Energy reports investment at the lowest in six years. Reality will be that energy users will get some power, but at great expense. 

User pays and Australia will fail as the energy powerhouse to rebuild industrial capacity. Meanwhile, the landscape will be trashed and not in a renewable way.

Ken Murtagh, Hughes

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