When it comes to the economy, voters have short memories

If the Resolve survey is correct, it is difficult to understand the reasoning behind the result that 40 per cent of voters favour the Coalition as best to manage the economy (“Dutton edges ahead as voters thump Labor on economy”, June 17). After nearly 10 years of the Coalition having many opportunities to deliver surpluses, it not only failed to do so but managed to leave us with a trillion-dollar debt. On the other hand, Jim Chalmers will be the first treasurer in nearly two decades to bring in back-to-back surpluses. It would seem that too many voters fail to understand what economic competence looks like. Peter Nash, Fairlight

when it comes to the economy, voters have short memories

Forty per cent of voters now rank Peter Dutton and the Coalition as best to manage the economy.

While the latest Resolve poll shows Dutton ahead of Albanese, its most outstanding area of voter discontent in the poll is actually on “environment and climate”, where far more voters want anyone other than Labor or Liberal to manage our climate response. Despite Dutton’s and Albanese’s spin on how they have solutions to the climate catastrophe and the relentless disinformation of the Murdoch press and social media, 55 per cent of voters would elect anyone but the big parties to manage this issue. The only issue coming close to that level of dissatisfaction is cost of living – 43 per cent of voters don’t want a big party to manage it. The nation is screaming, but those two leaders are not hearing. Barry Laing, Castle Cove

No one should be surprised by the latest Resolve Political Monitor results. Regrettably, the PM and his government have placed themselves in a vice of their own making. The disaffected are responding positively to the false rhetoric of the Opposition leader, who claims all manner of social evils are due to the ALP’s immigration policies and that individual economic wellbeing is being impacted by the government’s emission targets.

On the other hand, left-leaning supporters of Albanese have been bitterly disappointed with his failure to institute initiatives and remedies in areas such as taxation reform, health, education and social welfare, precipitating a drift to the Greens. The ALP small-target strategy to gain government that became the risk-averse modus operandi in government has been proven to be inappropriate for the prevailing economic and social circumstances. A second term may still be possible if Albanese can demonstrate more conviction and strength, as well as offering definite plans for concrete meaningful changes. Ross Butler, Rodd Point

It beggars belief that Peter Dutton is now preferred prime minister in some polls. This is a man who made the comment about his disabled opponent for Dickson in the 2019 federal election as “using her disability for political purposes”. Dutton uses Abbott’s politics of “no” to everything and his only policy is a distant nuclear future for Australia which is under wraps until after the next election. I just don’t get it. Christine Tiley, Albany Creek (Qld)

The possibility of Dutton and Trump as world leaders. I’m moving to Greenland. Yvonne Kuvener, Wentworth Falls

Here are some home truths for the letter writers of the Herald – Peter Dutton isn’t that unpopular at all; he’s hardly the bogeyman, and the majority of Australians moved on from the Voice referendum months ago and are sick of being labelled as ignorant racists. Those who are worried about paying their energy bills or filling up a car with petrol aren’t interested in renewable energy, solar panels, EVs, and most people see the Israel/Gaza conflict as having no relevance to them at all. If Albanese wants to win the next election, he better start governing in the mode of Bob Hawke and less like Albo of the inner-city trendies. Evan Parsons, Thornleigh

Dutton’s war on renewables is based on spurious logic

Peter Dutton is very successfully creating the illusion that renewable energy is the cause of higher energy prices, and therefore the Labor Party is responsible for the present cost of living pressures (“Lighting the way to safe ground”, June 17). It needs to be stated very clearly that the problem is exactly the opposite, namely that solar panels are now so cheap and getting cheaper, and investors are unwilling to participate because oversupply will make it unprofitable, as it already has at the middle of the day. For Dutton, this is working very well. The combined effect of COVID-19 and Ukraine was to produce a short-term surge in the price of fossil fuels that is felt as a surge in inflation and consequently interest rates. The budget, of course, has benefited enormously from this but voters don’t vote based on the federal budget, they vote based on the household budget. Since with renewables, you pay up front for a 20-year supply, while with fossil fuel you pay as you go along, our treasurer has no choice: blow the budget by removing the government component, especially on petrol, thus lowering inflation to a point that will allow the RBA to lower interest rates. Noel Thompson, Riverview

when it comes to the economy, voters have short memories

Peter Dutton favours nuclear energy

If Peter Dutton cares for Australians he will honestly address the future cost of living with extreme climate change instead of potshots about the current economy (Letters, June 17). Recent modelling has projected that rising temperatures, heavier rainfall and more frequent and intense extreme weather will cause $US38 trillion of destruction each year by mid-century, or six times the price of limiting global heating to 20C. To put those huge numbers in perspective, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz stated in 2008 that the total costs of the Iraq war on the US economy was $US3 trillion. Economic damage on this scale would leave the GFC, the 1991 recession and even the Great Depression in the shade. Australians don’t need Dutton’s crocodile tears about the current cost of living and scaremongering about the economic impact of our 2030 emissions reduction target. What we do need is strong, bipartisan action from capable, intelligent and responsible leaders who are prepared to put the nation’s well-being above political point-scoring. Rob Firth, Red Hill (ACT)

It’s instructive to note that there is a 30km radius of exclusion around Chernobyl, approximately 2,600sq kms of land that is uninhabitable for 20,000 years. Fukushima’s exclusion zone is a radius of approximately 370kms. This alone suggests it is unsafe and unwise to support nuclear. Claudia Drevikovsky, Croydon

Tax empty homes to ease crisis

It is refreshing that the issue of the many empty or “inactive” dwellings is now being increasingly reported on (“Tax inactive homes: MPs”, June 17). Having been an industry operative for more than 35 years I was always surprised to inspect so many properties without any occupants. Many were simply investments left untouched so that when the owners considered it was time to capitalise on their investment, they did not have the need to undertake any works to prepare it for market. How many are owned by foreign interests as a temporary place to park surplus money?

If these vacant properties were subject to a vacancy tax or levy, then we may see many returned to the market for owner-occupiers to purchase. Australia would not be a world leader in taking this approach (Canada has already initiated this in some cities), but it would be following a sensible practice to reduce the housing shortage and negate the need for more disruptive greenfield development, let alone reduce the waste the unnecessary new construction brings with it. Families, communities, and the environment would all be winners in this mind-shift. James Allison, Dover Heights

Lexical flex

You’ve got to hand it to George Brandis (“Brexit’s not done as a political force”, June 17). Who else would use the word “dirigiste” (centrally controlling) to describe the character of a likely incoming UK Labour government? Good to see that the contents of that bookcase we paid for aren’t sitting idle. Adrian Connelly, Springwood

George Brandis tells us that in power, Britain’s soon-to-be PM Keir Starmer will seek to “return Britain to the 1970s.” Back to the 1970s may be a pejorative for Brandis, but let’s not forget that was before neoliberalism was encouraged into the starting blocks and urged on by a succession of governments of both persuasions, a time when the Australian people owned Qantas, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank and all the electricity generation and transmission companies. Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Greg Baker, Fitzroy Falls

when it comes to the economy, voters have short memories

Labour leader Keir Starmer launching his election manifesto.

I was nodding along in general agreement to the article by George Brandis until I came across the words, “Australia’s successful offshore processing policy”. That such a policy of deliberate cruelty amounting to torture could be so described by a person who projects high moral values is infuriating and sickening. Alan Robertson, Campbell (ACT)

Might a new Labour government in the UK look to reverse Brexit? Watch out for Tixerb gaining momentum. Jim Dewar, Davistown

Planning principles

It is good to see responsible elements in the NSW Liberal opposition supporting the Labor government’s housing program (“Liberals call out NIMBYs over housing”, June 17). However, it is reasonable to maintain commonsense vigilance over such development matters as achieving people-friendly and community-positive design, meeting related infrastructure needs and avoiding environmental degradation consistent with meeting priority housing needs. These principles apply everywhere, not just at TOD (transport-oriented development) sites. Tom Mangan, Woy Woy Bay

Back to bike basics

One of the best things in Sydney is more cycleways, fewer cars on the roads and keeping fit (“Human rights complaint over Oxford St cycleway”, June 17). If Michael Waterhouse had stopped looking at his phone, which led to a near miss with a cyclist, he should take the advice we give children – “look to the right, look to the left, look to the right again”. He would then have no trouble crossing.Robyn Hansen, Pennant Hills

when it comes to the economy, voters have short memories

Michael Waterhouse and Kathryn Greiner, two of the six complainants.

If older residents of Paddington fear that they will be unable to cross a cycleway safely, one wonders how they ever manage to cross a road.Jan Macindoe, Forest Lodge

The human rights complaint about the Oxford Street cycleway does not go far enough. The far bigger issue regarding cyclist behaviour, which has been ignored to date, is the recent rapid transition to high-speed e-bikes, which pose greatly increased danger to pedestrians on shared footpaths and also those crossing dedicated bike paths. This is a particular hazard for pedestrians and also other road users in the inner city. These are not bicycles as we formerly knew them, they are different vehicles altogether. This is new and needs urgent consideration by all responsible for transport regulation at both state government and council level. Don Beresford, Surry Hills

Add-ons don’t add up

Nell Knight raises some valid points about politicians’ “add-ons” but bracketing local councillors in with state MPs is unfair (Letters, June 14). Councillors, at least in rural NSW, could not live on the $25,000 they get for a year’s work, attending meetings, briefings, events, submissions, enquiries and research. And the effort and costs required over the next two months in order to achieve the honour of being re-elected are not insignificant. Eoin Johnston, Ballina

Public vs private

Don’t let anyone tell you that the public school system couldn’t exist without the private system: it’s the other way round (Letters, June 15). The funding wars started decades ago with public funding of private school science blocks. Then, the Catholics wanted more public money, so declared war if they didn’t get it by threatening to close their schools in Goulburn and send their kids to public schools, which have an obligation to enrol them. However, it would be a very different story if Killarney Heights High School closed its doors and threatened to send its students to private schools, wouldn’t it? There is no obligation on private schools to accept them, even though these schools are massively government-funded. So, who really needs whom? David McMaster, Mosman

Imagine the outcry if allocated funds were taken from our private schools’ bank accounts overnight by the state or federal government without consultation. Killarney Heights High had money allocated to repair a science lab taken out of the school accounts overnight with no consultation or advice from the Department of Education. The gap is widening between our private and public schools, and sadly, our society is silent on this issue. Helen Simpson, Curl Curl

Bravo Bruce

Onya Stork (Letters, June 17)! Fun fact: Bruce Spence played Stork in David Williamson’s first play, The Coming of Stork, in 1970. Peter Fyfe, Enmore

Congratulations to Bruce Spence on his Equity Lifetime Achievement Award. He was in my graduation cohort for horticulture at Ryde TAFE back in 2001, along with Jamie Durie. Nick Walker, Suffolk Park

So proud we can claim Bruce Spence as one of our own. His letters are always powerful. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer

I’ve often read his letters and wondered if it was that Bruce Spence. Bill Gillis, Hallidays Point

Call out all extremists

Isn’t it time for the media in this country to understand that both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian extremism should be called out and condemned. They both exist in Australia and concentrating on one and not the other shows bias. They are both part of the problem, not the solution. Only moderation and compromise can ever be part of the solution. John Guy, St Ives

Don’t knock fall guys

Falling off things over the age of 60 isn’t such a big deal (Letters, June 17). Keith Richards parted company with a palm tree at the age of 62 and he’s still going strong. Possibly not the best role model, however. John Croker, Woonona

The temptation to climb ladders after 60 is not just about bravado and delusions of youth – consider the cold hard cash! I recently waited two weeks and paid $88 for a job completed in under 15 minutes. Sue Hoad, Merewether

Can’t comment about 60 being the new 40, but some mornings 90 feels like the new 110. Coral Button, North Epping

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