Shame on politicians who ignore the climate science

A reintroduction of death duties is again recommended. This should not be considered until something is done about family trusts. Otherwise, we will go back to the system where salary and wage earners pay death duties on the family home while the rich and self-employed pay next to nothing as their assets are legally owned by the trustee and not by them. Lynette Gerathy, Haberfield

I am about to retire having paid income tax all my life and 10 per cent GST since it was introduced (“Definitive moves that would make tax system fairer”, October 14). Now it seems as a prospective retiree with no income I can look forward to lower income tax rate (you beauty – that’ll help me a lot!) plus an increase in GST, so I end up paying more tax in retirement. Fair? Hardly. Geoffrey Anderson, Richmond

Reintroducing death duties and increasing GST in order to “cut taxes on ordinary workers”? Looks very much like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Inverted logic to say the least. Weren’t we reassured, at the outset, that the GST rate would never exceed 10 per cent? Pasquale Vartuli, Wahroonga

The wealthy support an increase to the GST as they can afford it but pensioners cannot. Most tax reforms have been made to favour the wealthy. The rich have too many loopholes to avoid paying tax and wealth itself is not taxed. Time to adjust the tax scale and introduce a flat tax on income generated from investments outside income tax, and remove all tax avoidance loopholes. Barry O’Connell, Old Toongabbie

Is it not time that religious institutions and businesses pay tax? If we want to avoid the path of predatory capitalism then a more equitable and inclusive tax reform is required now. Roz Townsend, Bathurst

The elephant in the room is negative gearing of investment property. Its abolition would improve tax income and, possibly, improve accessibility to the housing market for young families. Doug Vorbach, Carlton

VAD: drugs don’t work for all

Dr Gavin Pattullo is a pain specialist: even he was unable to save his wife from taking her own life (“Some hard facts on assisted dying”, October 14). That’s because after 14 years of treatments that destroyed her lungs, a cruel death by asphyxiation lay ahead. Imagine her desperate and lonely planning because she could not involve her loved ones. A voluntary assisted dying law would offer support, dignity and love. It would change everything. Sue Young, Bensville

It’s a shame it takes people having to share their most personal stories for others to acknowledge that not every patient can be helped by palliative care. The mostly faith-based arguments of a few should not bias politicians and the community against a compassionate assisted dying law designed for the small number of patients (rich or poor) whose pain cannot be relieved by modern medicine despite best intentions of the best palliative care specialists. Brett Ditchfield, Forster

If only those who the voluntary assisted dying bill was designed to help could enter the debate. If only they could sit at their computers and write a letter to the editor telling us how, despite the miracle drugs that remove all pain and keep their brains active, no one has come up with a device that can obliterate the emotions, humiliation and embarrassment, so that next time the nurse comes to clean them up they won’t feel so bad. If only they hadn’t lost the ability to communicate to us and their doctors their dying wishes. Max Fischer, Wollongong

Oncologist Philip Yuile’s argument is only valid if he can clearly demonstrate that for 100 per cent of the time, 100 per cent of dying patients have their chronic pain managed with 100 per cent effectiveness (Letters, October 14). If he cannot do that, then his argument condemns some terminally patients to unnecessary and untold suffering. Ron Owens, Smiths Lake

I think there has been too little focus on the word “voluntary” in the VAD debate. Those opposed to VAD do not have to request VAD. It isn’t compulsory. Peter Pitt, Potts Point

Just go the whole hog

It’s a shame we can’t just have a general election and save a dollar or two (“Premier rocked by a fourth byelection”, October 14). We may need one after these byelections anyway. Such is the price of democracy. Lyn Savage, Coogee

Yet another Coalition MP resigns from the NSW government. Why don’t these people want to work with our shiny new state Premier? Rob Phillips, North Epping

Is it too much to ask our elected representatives that they should serve their full term? John Amy, Carss Park

Building system is cracked

We have been informed of yet another development with cracks and possibly dangerous to occupants with the purchasers having to prove defective construction at their cost (“Cracked apartment tower ruled ‘safe’ despite collapse warning”, October 14 ).

How many more failed developments will it take for this government to admit that private inspection and certification and a self-certification system has failed? It was obvious from the start, that a system where the developer pays directly for the private certifier would be detrimental to the community. It is time for the control of building inspections is returned to local government which can come under the scrutiny of ICAC, and residents’ concerns can be addressed by their elected representatives. Brian McDonald, Willoughby

Speaker too good for words

As an occasional viewer of Parliamentary Question Time, I agree with Niki Savva’s observation that the departure of Tony Smith from the position of Speaker of the House of Representatives will leave a gaping hole (“Parliament’s honourable man”, October 14). Unlike his predecessor, who established a low bar for performance, Smith did his job with integrity. Maurice Critchley, Kenthurst

Smith surely deserves the honour of one of the best for more than a generation. His control of the House, using a vast toolbox of tricks such as voice nuance, tone shifts, pausing, timing, tension-breaking wit, an infrequent but well-aimed sharp tongue, and compelling body language, was a vision to behold. Vanessa Tennent, Oatley

Akin to a lion tamer, Smith had a strong and powerful beast to keep under control, and he did so while still allowing it to perform. In his own words, “you need to be fair, consistent and predictable”. He was, and he will be sorely missed.
Eoin Johnston, Alstonville

Noisy when it suits

I see the government is considering boosting free speech at universities (“Tudge flags further free speech measures as sacked climate sceptic loses High Court case”, October 14). Hopefully it will extend its largesse to the public sector where speaking out about problems or anything embarrassing to your political masters is generally fairly career limiting. Then there’s the same government’s attacks on the so-called bias of the ABC – not much enthusiasm for free speech there.
John Dengate, Avalon

Buoyed by futuristic vision

The state government’s gradual decommissioning of Sydney’s iconic Manly ferry fleet opens a door instead of closing one shut (“Queenscliff cuts its way to the quay for the last time”, October 14).

The commendable commitment to renewable energy sources offers a potential key to unlocking the Freshwater fleet’s uncertain future. With some imagination and ingenuity, these beautiful double-ender ferries could be offered a new life. Replace old dirty technology with something sustainable, quiet and clean. Cleveland Rose, Dee Why

Spot of bother

Instead of the outdated “the dog ate my homework” excuse it is now better to claim that the dog hit the delete key or chewed up the memory stick (Letters, October 14). Kenneth Graham, Newington

“The cat swallowed my mouse” might be an option. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

The whole truth

Your correspondent must live in another world (Letters, October 14). Mine is full of greys. We can argue about what is truth or what is correct ’till the cows come home. But what is a non-genuinely held belief? Surely, all our beliefs are genuinely held, unless one is a pathological liar. Reductionism does not help debate. But perhaps mine is a wrong opinion. Ashley Berry, Toolijooa

“There is no such thing as a wrong opinion,” your correspondent asserts as fact. Maybe so, but not all opinions are equal. Those that are based on reason, logic or lived experience have far more weight than those that are not. Des Mulcahy, Orange

Dragon heart

The towering Norm Provan represented everything that was great about the St George Dragons in their record 11 straight premierships (“Rugby league Immortal Norm Provan dies aged 89”, smh.com.au, October 14). Never before, never again. RIP Norm Provan. Michael Fischer, Coogee

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Perrottet hears the future coming and jumps on board
From Good Smeagol: “So far so good but it’s still early days. His commitment to the 50 per cent emissions target by 2030 is a stand-out for me. This week’s green hydrogen announcement show its not just a number.”

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