August 29, 2012
How concerned about vilification of groups in the ACT community is the ACT labor government, when minister Joy Burch, not for the first time, incites vilification of public housing tenants (''Wealthy public tenants face boot'', August 25, p1)? Its a standard tactic of Labor politicians to incite hatred of groups they intend to attack.
Burch plans to evict public housing tenants without due legal process, because it is not a breach of their leases to have improved themselves financially. Such people are public housing success stories. Why should success result in the trauma of eviction from their homes? The current shortage of public housing owes much to the Stanhope government policy of flogging off irreplaceable government housing, enabling windfalls for speculators. Don't be fooled by ACT Labor's mean attempt to blame housing tenants for their deliberate policy of running down the stock of public housing, thereby causing lengthened waiting lists.
Kristine Clement, Cook
Rodney Campbell (Letters, August 28) agreed with Manson MacGregor (Letters, August 23) that the greedy ACT government's land-release monopoly was a key factor in the ACT's meteoric rise in home-price-ranking among Australian cities, but attributed smaller rises across Australia to immigration.
But didn't much of the rest of the world experience housing asset bubbles too? All from surging immigration? Unlikely. Theirs ran until the GFC killed them off. Ours ran on further. Surging demand for Australian assets from global asset/currency speculators searching for somewhere attractive to park their money, and in recent years noticing that our resource-boom-fed economy continued to grow and currency to rise, was more important here than immigration. Want immigration cut? Forget housing-demand impacts. Highlight chronically persistent, misogynistic cultural incompatibility and potentially large-scale illegal immigration (by both sea and air) unless something effective is done.
A. J.Missingham, Red Hill
Once again Crispin Hull has provided us with a perceptive article (''Higher taxes or high population'', Forum, August 25, p2). The heading, however, is at odds with the thrust of the article. Hull asks ''why are government policies not directed at reducing that population increase so we do not have to have higher taxes and a poorer lifestyle? Indeed having a more sensible population policy might be politically easier than increasing the GST.'' In other words, if you have a higher population, you have to have infrastructure and you have to raise taxes to pay for that infrastructure. Keep the population stable and you only need taxes to maintain or improve infrastructure, and not pay for ever more new housing, roads, public transport, hospitals and schools.
Jenny Goldie, Michelago, NSW
Maria Greene (Letters, August 22) is correct to point out that Bach, Beethoven and Mozart lacked PhDs. May I add Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk? The newly appointed head of the ANU School of Music, Professor Tregear, says he wants ''a school with excellence in performance teaching at its heart'' . To insist on a PhD as a ''foundational principle'' will almost certainly give him the opposite result. He will have instead a small but devoted tribe of musicologists with their peer-reviewed articles in tiny journals trailing along after the excitement has gone. There may be an arts administrator or two as a bonus or a few rock band managers.
Some world-renowned jazz musicians have obtained a master's degree in recent years to obtain secure teaching jobs in worthwhile conservatorium-style institutions but none of them, as far as I'm aware, has written a PhD. A performance-based doctorate might be different but I'm sure the sesquipedalian musicologists and their patrons wouldn't countenance that. The only PhD required by the outstanding musicians and teachers the ANU vice-chancellor unceremoniously sacked is the honorary one they should have been given on their retirement at a time of their own choosing.
Geoff Page, Narrabundah