Living with Mr Fluffy

I WAS very disappointed to read Mr Waterford's article which showed a lack of understanding and sympathy for owners of homes with loose-fill asbestos (June 29, p17). Australians always rally to help and support each other in their times of need. As Mr Fluffy home owners, regardless whether we live in Canberra or NSW, we find ourselves facing both health and financial worries. Unlike victims of bushfires, floods, cyclones and other terrible misfortunes Mr Fluffy home owners have no recourse to any insurance. How are they meant to do anything to remedy this situation without assistance?

Mr Waterford, this is a very different scenario to bonded asbestos in the fibro homes you say are all over western Sydney. This is a unique situation where the extremely dangerous pure loose-fill amosite asbestos was allowed to be pumped into homes.

I quote an earlier more sympathetic editorial (June 28, p8). ''What is needed now is a public declaration by the Commonwealth that it understands the gravity of the problem …'' Please let us all work together and help each other rid ourselves of this problem once and for all, so current and future generations do not have to be concerned for their health and welfare.

I thank the government for setting up a task force. I feel optimistic and hopeful that a plan can be devised that will help the individual home owners and their families feel supported and reassured.

W. White, Mr Fluffy home owner, Chapman

JACK WATERFORD cites the plight of disabled people who have no compensation to justify ignoring the plight of those living in Mr Fluffy homes in the ACT (June 29). The NDIS was developed to help disabled people living in this unfair situation. Mr Waterford shouldn't undermine the case of the 1000 or so families who reside in homes now worth nothing and are living with the fear of future untreatable health problems.


D. Gleeson, Dickson

The wealth gap

PAUL MALONE'S ''The in-club's high-paying posts'' (June 29, p18), queries why corporate executives receive staggering millions in ''compensation'' packages, regardless of ''success'', while mere mortals subsist on $622.20 weekly. Bank CEOs stagger away under their swag of loot, taken shamelessly and predominantly from those who can't afford to employ the smart lawyers who initially contributed to framing the loopholed legislation which made their windfalls possible.

Other recent examples include ''How News Corp, taxpayers lost $40 million in NT Carbon farm'', (Forum, June 28, p3), and ''Rupert Murdoch's News Corp confirms $880m Tax Office payout'' (BusinessDay, February 18). Spin doctors create the environment where, like Fagin's apprentices, consumers fail to feel the corporate hand in their pocket or, in modern terms, electronic rifling of accounts (at a distance, by outsourced elves working for a pittance in Delhi or Mumbai).

With Australia's minimum hourly rate at $16.37, and working poor already having to cope with profit-hungry energy companies, Abbott's Commission of Audit recommended minimum wages be allowed to fall by $136!

Putting the boot in, churlish ''Abetz thwarts cleaners' wage victory'' by shredding guidelines for cleaners, thereby imposing a 20 per cent wage reduction (June 29, p6). As Australia becomes progressively more prosperous, the wealth gap continues to widen, torpedoing the aphorism, beloved of free marketeers and incorrectly attributed to JFK, that ''a rising tide lifts all boats''.

Warren Buffett: ''There's class warfare all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.''

Albert M. White,

Queanbeyan, NSW

Cracks in the ceiling

PETER MARTIN reported an historical cultural explanation for women being under-represented in our boardrooms (''History repeats in our attitude'', June 29, p15).

The cited study was revealing firstly because its point of departure was implicit acceptance that much of women's failure as ceiling-breakers reflects personal preference, however formed. For example, the survey showed that in areas where women are relatively positive about undertaking ''homemaker'' roles, they tend to be happier than women elsewhere.

Happier but poorer.

What? Not chasing extra bucks to build a bigger McMansion and drive a German car makes them happier? The authors of the report worked hard to discover the origins of such ''distorted'' economic and social values.

But who cares whether women today have opinions born of First Fleet gender-imbalances or Germaine Greer's outrage.

Fact is, ''men holding women down'' in the workplace is often women making legitimate decisions about family life and associated role-specialisation. Disappearing for big, random slabs of time, then always knocking off early on return, for example.

Manson MacGregor, Amaroo

Nothing super here

THE article (July 5) on a new super office was Mr Barr superbly taking the part of Sir Humphrey Appleby, walking firmly forward into the past.

We have an information transfer capacity that means that it really does not matter where you work in Canberra. Additionally, with ACT Shopfronts giving access to government services all over Canberra, we need a super office in Canberra like a hole in the head. More and more office staff are working from home, which makes Mr Barr's other option for refurbished offices no more than a 10-minute walk from the Legislative Assembly even more laughable.

I feel sorry for Mrs Gallagher, she has a heavy load to carry.

Howard Carew, Isaacs

Broken glass

BEING a visitor to Canberra and cycling most mornings I am surprised by the amount of broken glass littering the road verges. If motorists want cyclists to keep well to the left I suggest they refrain from throwing glass containers from their vehicles.

Ian Pollock, Maleny, Qld

Boxing the tick

BRENDAN NELSON is a master of hyperbole (''New inscriptions pay tribute to Diggers'', July 5, p4) but I dispute his claim that it is not until you stand in the Australian War Memorial ''that you really begin to understand what makes us tick as Australians''. It is good that the most recent locations of our overseas wars are being added to the list at the memorial and, of course, our military history is important. But Australians are much more complex and interesting than we would be if the awakening of our self-awareness depended on visiting the memorial. Indeed, we would be a rather dull country and a rather dull people if there was a single place that made us ''tick.''

David Stephens, Bruce

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