August 2nd 2014

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL Putin to blame for shooting down MH17

FOREIGN AFFAIRS Indonesia's President-elect Joko Widodo

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Same-sex marriage polls flawed: National Marriage Coalition

RURAL AFFAIRS Rabobank report highlights need for new rural policies

SOCIETY The worldview that makes the underclass

AUSTRALIAN MANUFACTURING How Australia can rebuild its car industry

SCHOOLS History of ideas course offered to Year 10 students

MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY IVF: the unspoken risks for mothers and babies

OPINION Childcare debate has become 'cold and inhuman'

WESTERN AUSTRALIA New report on the sexualisation of children

OPINION Climate debate should begin after death of carbon tax

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY When John Wren took on communist Frank Hardy

UNITED KINGDOM Britain's ever-shrinking armed forces


CINEMA Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

BOOK REVIEW The tunnellers of Holzminden POW camp

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News Weekly, August 2, 2014

Soaring house prices


Peter Westmore’s article, “Flawed inquiry ignores Chinese investment in real estate” (News Weekly, July 5), briefly mentions supply of land as a factor in soaring house prices, but fails to mention negative gearing.

Federal governments have long been using the tax system to subsidise landlords at the expense of tenants and taxpayers in general, for no good reason.

With house prices being so high, the Commonwealth could save the taxpayers some money and curb the over-investment in property by abolishing negative gearing (phasing it out over five years to avoid a financial crash).

The article on Chinese investment in real estate did not address the problem of land. In a country such as ours, with such vast open spaces and with farmland prices around $4,000 an acre, why do 1/8th-acre building blocks go for $160,000 or more in prime locations?

We should bring in open zoning where farmland is rated as farmland. But, in defined areas marked for possible housing over the next 50 years, we should allow property to be released by the owners as a subdivision when they want.

Only then should it be rated as housing, so that council rates don’t force farmers to sell.

By having an unlimited supply of building blocks subject only to demand, the price of a block should settle fully serviced to a more reasonable $60,000 or so.

Philip Dawson,
George Town, Tas.


Australian pubs: a reply


I do not lament the passing of the Aussie “bloodhouse” pub, as described in Michael Arnold’s letter (News Weekly, July 5).

In my article, “How booze buses changed Australia’s leisure culture” (News Weekly, June 21), I investigated how Australian culture evolved over the last 40 years.

The fact that the road death toll has halved over that period is evidence that something significant has occurred, part of which must be due to the fact that many men, a large proportion of whom were young and reckless, no longer drive around most of the weekend half drunk.

Australia is a more productive and safer society because the “pub culture” has changed. It has not changed everywhere, but where populations are densest it has changed the most, hence the evolution of the bistro pub in the inner city, as described in Michael Arnold’s letter.

Many pubs now provide a safe environment for ladies and families. That can only be welcomed.

Jeffry Babb,
Essendon, Vic.


Boycott AFL matches on Good Friday


We should all support Peter Westmore’s call for a boycott of AFL matches held on Good Friday (News Weekly, July 5).

He is correct in stating that Australia is a pluralist and not a secular nation.

Our parliaments still begin their sessions with the Lord’s Prayer. State aid to church schools has not been banned. Even the High Court decision regarding chaplains merely determines that responsibility for funding the program lies with state governments, not the Commonwealth.

Here, in Western Australia, we are pleased to hear that both the Dockers and the Eagles do not support the change and hope that Melbourne’s Christians will similarly not partake in this undesirable move.

John Barich,
Claremont, WA

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