New South Wales

RBA locks door to housing affordability for young

I know you are from the Liberal Party, Minister Stokes, but why can’t you just say it out loud? Stokes refers obliquely to certain federal policy settings as also contributing to high house prices. I think he clearly means negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions.

At the last federal election Labor was right to propose changes to these specific measures, and got monstered for it by the Libs. Stokes, you need to call it as it is, and damn the politics. Russ Couch, Woonona

Fowler may be no shoo-in with or without Keneally

Implicit in the controversy over the parachuting of Kristina Keneally at the expense of the local candidate, Tu Le, into the seat of Fowler is the presumption that Labor will romp home (“Outsider’s selection splits locals in a locked-down Cabramatta”, September 15). This is despite public opinion and views publicly aired by some Labor MPs being against the move. It would be interesting to test that presumption if a strong local candidate like the prominent Fairfield councillor, Dai Le, runs as an Independent. Alternatively, the Liberal Party could invite her into its fold as its candidate for the seat. Thiam Ang, Beecroft

I agree with Paul Keating; Keneally is a fantastic candidate for the seat of Fowler (“Keating backs Keneally as MP for Fowler”, September 15). She is one of a small group of ALP MPs who can really take it up to the government – she is feisty and she cuts through. The Liberals hate her which means she must be good. She also has a real social conscience, essential in a Labor MP. Tu Le is only 30 years old which is very young to enter Parliament. She has many years ahead of her and if Keneally retires at 65, Tu Le will still only be 43 years old – a perfect age to enter Parliament and with so much more experience. Patricia McCudden, Oatley

If Keneally is half as good as Paul Keating says she is, she would be a shoe-in for the seat that encompasses her home on Scotland Island. So much for the value of local branches and their supporters in both Labor and Liberal ranks. It really is who you know in Australian politics. Tony Tucker, Leichhardt

Much of the negative commentary about the admittedly problematic parachuting of Keneally into the western Sydney seat simply reflects Liberal supporters’ angst about her effectiveness. Greg Thompson, Bega

I look forward to analysing the result of the recent census to see how many US immigrants inhabit the seat of Fowler. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach

Labor should focus not on what to do with Keneally, but on what to do with Anthony Albanese. Mustafa Erem, Terrigal

Far from being a “blow-in”, Gough Whitlam always lived in his electorate (Letters, September 15). When he was elected the Member for Werriwa in 1952, the family lived in Cronulla; Cronulla was part of Werriwa, as was Cabramatta. For the 1955 election there was a redistribution, Cronulla becoming part of the new electorate of Hughes. Whitlam promptly moved his family to Cabramatta which was in the continuing electorate of Werriwa. Nicholas Whitlam, Scarborough

Porter sows mistrust in pollies

Cabinet minister Christian Porter won’t reveal who was behind the blind trust fund that partially paid for his legal costs in his defamation case against the ABC (“Unknown donors helped pay legal fees”, September 15). He states that through “an abundance of transparency” the arrangements were made “in a personal capacity”. No, minister, that is not being transparent. It is a typical political fudge which ends up with people like me wanting to know more. As we pay your wage we need to know whether you are not enthralled by unknown powers whether foreign, criminal or otherwise. What is there to hide? Peter Neufeld, Mosman

A politician, a lawyer, a bag of money and an anonymous donor. All legal and compliant apparently. But is it moral or ethical? No wonder the citizenry view the political classes with such suspicious misgivings. Bernard Stever, Richmond

Let’s see action now

Vigilance is the key at all levels. Matt Kean has the opportunity to persuade his ministerial colleagues, with a whole of government strategic plan, as ordered by the court (“Kean still has a long way to go on wildlife issues”, September 15). We hope to see fewer projects like the elevation of the dam wall and arbitrary land clearing to advance adverse vested interests. These projects appropriate the environment portfolio space. The minister has promised to comply with the order to address climate change, which will call on all ministers to take up its challenges. Perhaps he could go as far as a powerful chief scientist and protect river systems and aquifers from dehydration. Vigilance would be preventive action, rather than after the event. Anne Eagar, Epping

Milestone on a long road

Yes Premier, I agree that 70 per cent is as good a point to start the road out as any, provided the 70 per cent includes 100 per cent First Nations, 100 per cent in aged care and their workers, 100 per cent disabled and their carers, all health workers and all front line workers (“MPs’ pleas for easing shot down by experts”, September 15). Mitch McTavish, Cootamundra

The Premier described 80 per cent of people in NSW having received a first vaccination dose as “an incredible milestone given the journey we’ve all been”. Not sure about anyone else, but I haven’t been anywhere lately. Do I have the wrong “road map”? Ross Duncan, Potts Point

Liberty has its limits

The ongoing controversy that the right to participate in certain activities being dependant on vaccination is an infringement of individual liberty is a nonsense (Letters, September 15). Why then, do we have a law which compels us to obey speed limits in built up areas and around schools? Why then, do we have regulations that deny us the “right” to smoke in workplaces and restaurants? Why, even, do we have a law which compels us to vote in elections? There are a multitude of laws, rules and regulations in society which are compulsory and which have consequences for the individual if they are not obeyed. Most are about the welfare of the individual, some are about the effective functioning of society. Being required to vaccinate before you can board a plane, or eat in a restaurant, or spectate at a sporting event is no more an infringement of individual liberty than any of the foregoing and claiming that it is is contrarian gobbledygook. Arthur Cooper, Alstonville

Aid needs to be first

Continued slashing of foreign aid by this government is both lacking in compassion and misguided (“Our neighbours need an alms hit”, September 15). Not only does it ignore the needs of the most vulnerable people in our world, especially our northern neighbours, but provides an opening for China to increase its influence in our region. Poor policy on both counts. Michael Healy, East Maitland

Strategic dead-end

I know Chris Uhlmann has a sideline writing fiction, but he seems to be getting his two jobs confused (“Keating’s advice on China unsound”, September 15).

He accuses me of saying China bears no fault for the trouble in our relationship – this is not what I said at all, as Herald readers would find if they checked my article in the Australian Financial Review of September 3 for themselves. The main purpose of my article to which Uhlmann takes exception, was not to set out areas where I disagree with Beijing but to make clear the dangers to Australia in Australia’s current approach.

Uhlmann follows Peter Dutton and the Prime Minister in the growing chorus of Australian hawks who hear the drums of war beating and compare the current situation in East Asia to Europe in the 1930s, with China being portrayed as the equivalent of the rampaging Nazis (Uhlmann’s reference: “Anschluss” in the South China Sea).

This imagery and the overblown language that goes with it – “Almost all Beijing’s grievances with Australia are commands that it compromise its security and its democracy” – is intended to serve only one objective; to normalise in the minds of Australians the idea that China is an existential threat to our country and our way of life and that military responses will be necessary because, unless China dismantles its entire system, there is no other way to deal with it.

There is no room in Uhlmann’s simplistic analysis for shading, debate or discussion – Beijing is a one dimensional villain and that’s it. Australia is the blameless hero.

It could serve as a plot for one of Uhlmann’s thrillers (“Beijing has revealed … its plans for the way the world should be run”) but it is a dangerous fantasy as a prescription for Australian national security policy.

As I said in the AFR article, Australia is being led by the government and likes of Uhlmann into a strategic dead-end. And all in the cause of not having a foreign policy which is capable of dealing with China and the US simultaneously. Paul Keating, Potts Point

Citizenship confusion

Let me see if I understand this correctly: If I am a sportsperson representing Australia and kicking goals on the football field, I can get Australian citizenship, but if I came by boat to this country and happen to start a family and work and contribute to the community in Biloela, I can’t (“Cooper grateful for citizenship victory”, September 15). No, I still don’t understand. Graham McWhirter, Shell Cove

“Talented” people, such as rugby player Quade Cooper, being granted citizenship simply because they’re exceptional in some way has to be a new low for the Coalition. Minister Alex Hawke may claim that this is in line with the expectations of the public, but they’re certainly not my expectations. I’d rather see us be a more humanitarian nation. Kerrie Wehbe, Blacktown

We should have held out for a series win in the Bledisloe before giving Cooper citizenship. Denis Goodwin, Dee Why

Guess who?

How do we know it is Kim Kardashian behind that black masked ensemble (“Old school Hollywood is cool again as American booty stars at the Met”, September 15)? Angela Miller, Bondi Junction

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