Once great museum is being destroyed

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If we are looking for an elder statesman to represent Australia, we couldn’t go further than Senator Patrick Dodson. A statesman for all of us. Joy Paterson, Mount Annan

Naval gazing

Your correspondent (Letters, September 23) seems to have missed the fact not all the naval ratings hauling the gun carriage at her majesty’s funeral were men; not that I dispute his maths. Women also pull their weight in the services. Jennifer Briggs, Kilaben Bay

If the British royal family truly wanted to be known for their espousal of environmental causes, then an alternative to a 300kg coffin could have made a huge state statement. Cornelius van der Weyden, Balmain East

Royal Navy Sailors walk ahead and behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II

Royal Navy Sailors walk ahead and behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth IICredit:Paul Ellis/AP

Has anyone checked how many of these suggestions on creating a republic come from monarchists just trying to confuse republicans? Jock Brodie, Port Macquarie

The death of a king or queen prompts one-off events such as Thursday’s public holiday. How about we commemorate the changing of the monarch by releasing all those in immigration detention and giving them work visas? Lesley McBurney, Wavell Heights (Qld)

What a shame the time, money and preparation spent honouring the dead all occur after the event – unknown to those directly concerned. Personally, I would far prefer that any tributes be paid and displayed face-to-face – not with my face up when laying in a coffin, or buried. Edward Loong, Milsons Point

Ditch construction taxes to make housing affordable

Everyone is correct in saying that affordable housing is a problem (Letters, September 23) but no one gives a solution. The problem is not with developers who provide the built product but with the supply chain and cost of new housing. It can take years to gain approvals from local councils and then take years to construct. The cost of new houses is about 40 per cent tax and then you have holding costs and increasing interest rates. Doing away with incentives such as negative gearing will only reduce the supply by investors and put more pressure on rents. Housing is the highest-taxed commodity, my suggestion is to remove all the taxes on housing so that it can be produced at cost plus a margin. But I can’t see that happening, and until it does, the problem will remain. Peter Icklow, Pymble

Since Labor attempted and failed in 2019 to address the problem of an unfair advantage for investors, we have had almost insanely low interest rates, which propelled property values to the stratosphere. Rents have also spiralled due to a shortage of accommodation, and financial impacts on landlords due to increasing expenses such as insurance and rates, increasing mortgage payments and rapacious state government land tax. To add fuel to the fire, the government intends to attract hundreds of thousands of temporary and permanent migrants a year, all of whom need housing. The only solution seems to be to significantly increase the availability of cheaper housing, but preferably close to public transport and services. State governments and councils should consider carefully any possible option to rezone residential areas for higher-density housing. Geoff Harding, Chatswood

After the end of WWII, rents were high and building materials could not be had for love or money, so my mother turned part of her home into a small flat so my sister and her returned soldier fiance could get married. Mum and my sister were both quarrelsome women, so there were some problems, but at least the young couple could start married life. Has it come to this again? Will young couples be forced to live with parents in order to save for a home? Have we gone back to the 1940s? Coral Button, North Epping

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Credit:John Shakespeare

As someone who currently has tenants in the home in which I will live when I retire, may I offer another perspective? During the first COVID lockdown I reduced the rent and have left it there, resisting suggestions from my agent to do otherwise. Some property owners are fair and reasonable. I like to think I am a responsive and responsible “landlady”, providing secure, decent, well-maintained housing for a family when they need it and while I am able. Meredith Williams, Northmead

With the need for severe budgetary constraints and a period of rising interest rates, could there be a better time to eliminate new negative gearing concessions? Trevor Taylor, Port Macquarie

Business as usual

Your correspondent (Letters, September 23) considered the “damaging economic effect of yesterday’s public holiday” to honour Queen Elizabeth II. I’m sure the retailers and cafe owners at my local large shopping centre weren’t crying over their losses – the place was packed with families enjoying a day of retail therapy and food. There was no recognition of the Queen’s 70 years of service with a silent pause at 11am. It passed without notice by the crowds.Christine Tiley, Albany Creek (Qld)

If King Charles visits, can we have a national public holiday? Or perhaps we could have one every time a member of the nobility, major or minor, dies? Say, earls and up? Yesterday’s holiday was really good. It was marred only by a garbled request in my local supermarket at 10.58 for a minute’s silence. No one near me stopped shopping. We were enjoying ourselves too much. David Neilson, Finke (NT)

Fine floodwater fools

With another La Nina summer looming, the inevitable warnings about not driving through floodwaters are just as certainly going to be ignored. For a long time now we’ve had Total Fire Bans to reduce bushfire risk. Surely it’s time to introduce fines for those who endanger their lives and the lives of the SES and police by continuing to ignore the warnings about driving through floodwater? We’ve heard these warnings countless times and those who continue to do it are either selfish or stupid. Fines of $5000 plus, or paying for the cost of their rescue, will hopefully change behaviour. I’m sure our rescue services have better things to do. Matt Horne, Forster

Pomp it up

Years ago, the Herald hosted a function at the Opera House in a pastoral reach to its correspondents (Letters, September 23). Those attending included Con Vaitsas, Edward Loong and Vicky Marquis. King Charles III has the good taste to share my daughter’s birthday, on November 14. Both ceremonies will be duly honoured with equal pomp and pageantry. Mike Fogarty, Weston (ACT)

Choose humanity

Mark Dreyfus has the opportunity to distinguish the Albanese government as a thoughtful, caring and considerate government, in stark contrast to its predecessor, by providing a quintessential outcome for Darko Desic and his supporters (“Free Dougie: friends rally to save jailed fugitive”, September 23). Divorce your decision from politics and decide based on facts, compassion and the will of the people. Bob Cameron, Coffs Harbour

Title deed

There has been much discussion (Letters, September 23) regarding the possibility of cutting the apron strings with (not so Great any more) Britain after the death of the Queen and suggestions of what title the nominated person will be. One name that is overlooked is Head of Country. It gives honours and recognition to our Indigenous sisters and brothers, as well as righting the wrongs of history. My nomination would be Adam Goodes, a man of dignity and an excellent role model for all. Llieda Wild, Eastwood

Let’s go with The Wizard of Oz or maybe The Big Banksia Man (I’ll exclude the “bad”). Heather Johnson, West Pennant Hills

Top Bloke. Or if the other side gets in, Top Sheila. Brian Everingham, Engadine

It’s obvious: the head of state should be Old Mate. Philip Jirman, Wallabi Point

Surely it is BOSS (Bloody Outstanding Supervisor Sort). George Zivkovic, Northmead

I’m sure our rich and mellifluous Indigenous languages can provide a suitable term. Andrew Taubman, Queens Park

Boss Cocky. Michael Pursche, Gordon

Postscript

The Queen figured strongly on the Letters pages again this week, as we worked our way through the funeral and the discussions afterwards. The funeral was either a fine and wonderful thing, or a dreadful waste of time and money, although generally the opinion was favourable. The ″⁣pro″⁣ letter writers were impressed by the outfits, the jewels, the horses, the overall pomp and the stamina of the royal marchers. They worried about the health and welfare of the young sailors pulling the gun carriage and the pallbearers. The ″⁣con″⁣ writers were disapproving of the whole box and dice, from the beginning to the endless postmortems, preferring to switch off the TV and do something useful instead.
Talk of the Queen segued nicely into further consideration of a possible Australian republic. Opinion here was for a republic, despite the survey this week that showed lowering support for a republic, with only a few people grimly hanging on to the monarchy. Writers then turned to a spirited discussion about what a new head of state could be called. Opinions range from ″⁣president″⁣ (really not popular, as it turned out) to purely Australian titles such as ″⁣the ringer″⁣ or ″⁣the Boss Cocky″⁣. Is there really any point in having a referendum about this? The Herald letters writers seem to have it sorted, along with so many other problems in life.
Away from this, subjects ranged over the continuing housing problems for would-be owners and renters, the privatisation of Sydney buses, taxation (up or down?), whether any more places should be named for a royal personage and, back again, who or what to put on new banknotes with the change of monarch.
Harriet Veitch, acting letters editor

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