Clearly when the banks did their sums for keeping rural branches open they left out the line estimating the value of local knowledge and community involvement.
My dad was a banker. He was also a boy from the bush. From a one-teacher school, to Armidale High then a job with the Bank of New South Wales. It took him to Temora, Ungarie, Barraba, Kyogle and Lismore.
He joined community groups, his kids went to school with the local kids. I remember his helping with the milking and our sharing freshly picked maize cobs or watermelon with our farming friends, often.
Our gentle mother collected friendships. Always, his decisions were guided by: "I couldn't sleep straight in bed if I did that."
He carried his country wisdom with him when the bank sent him to Newcastle, Sydney, Townsville, Wellington NZ, Brisbane and briefly, London.
Clearly the banks' retreat from our country towns has not only made life difficult for rural communities but has taken away the opportunities to gain experience and understanding for the bankers in the cities.
The cost to the banks is proving to be very high. Rural towns have traditionally imported bankers, medical staff and teachers.
Could these be looked at together when considering incentives to encourage people to discover living beyond the cities? But that's another issue.
R McCallum, Higgins
Do NAPLAN, PISC, IQ, or any other standardised memory test measure the ability of a student to challenge the statements of others or to use creative imagination for solving a problem or to be curious about things they observe?
I think not. These are all mental attitudes vital for success in a rapidly changing world. And yet, our politicians are obsessed with memory testing and the rating of schools.
I fear we are becoming a nation of memorisers rather than a nation of thinkers. We need to encourage teachers to ask their students more questions that have a variety of possible answers.
John Langrehr, Leabrook, SA
Glass Steagall crucial
With the introduction of the "Glass Steagall" legislation into our Federal Parliament last Monday 25th by Bob Katter MP and seconded by independent Andrew Wilkie, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to change the banking system that threatens the livelihood of every Australian.
With the billions in profit in their commercial arms, it's amazing that the banks are totally indebted beyond our wildest dreams in their investment arms to the tune of $37 trillion now.
Glass Steagall is the only remedy to give security to the average bank customer as it prevents their bank form using their savings and superannuation to prop up their totally hopeless situation in their investment arms.
It is a breath of fresh air to see these two men introducing and seconding this legislation.
It is up to the rest of us to lobby our Federal politicians to support this bill. We must not allow them to shelve it and down play its importance.
It is vital for anyone with an account in a bank. You will be told by some politicians that there is no legislation that will allow this "bail in" robbery, but there is.
Dr Wilson Sy, former principal researcher at The Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority responded to Malcolm Turnbull's announcement of a Royal Commission saying that there is and that politicians should not lower their guard on this.
Another important reason why we need Glass Steagall is that Malcolm Turnbull insisted that APRA not be included in the terms of reference for the Royal Commission.
This is sleight of hand against our people, many of whom would not realise this and think the Royal Commission had power to cover everything that is relevant.
Max Goulter, Ariah Park, NSW
PEXA system failure
Your article "A simple cut and paste to steal homes" (canberratimes.com.au, June 30) indicates several security failures in the PEXA property transfer system that any reasonably good systems designer, much less a security specialist, would have prevented or remediated before letting the system loose on a trusting public.
The one that especially stands out is its vulnerability to a surreptitious change to information after it has been verified. In any such sequential process, where each step is validated/certified correct before the next is taken, the information involved should be locked in before any subsequent step can be taken.
If a change is required thereafter, all parties must be notified, the process reverted to the relevant step and the information re-validated/certified.
This should be easier to do and ensure in an electronic system, with proper automatic checking ... if simple security rules are enforced.
Why is it that we so often hear of systems and other things being built and employed without properly ensuring beforehand that they work and are not susceptible to accidental or purposeful errors?
Quality assurance done properly before implementation is so much less expensive and destructive, but it seems that those responsible often prefer to cut costs at that stage and just hope that everything works.
Of course the damages and costs of the almost inevitable subsequent faults and failures are often far greater.
John M Schmidt, Monash
NEG is a dud
What will the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) really achieve in terms of ensuring stable and economical baseload power? Absolutely nothing.
Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg's NEG is a dud. It will not generate one single MwH of power. What this nation urgently needs is to build two HELE baseload power stations to replace Hazelwood and the impending closure of Liddell.
All the NEG will do is to guarantee rolling blackouts due to severe shortage of dispatchable power. It will also guarantee more expensive energy as renewables are around two to three times more expensive than fossil fuels.
The NEG will guarantee a decline in living standards due to high power costs and will adversely affect many including the elderly people who, due to expensive power bills, will shiver through winter and run the risk of heat stroke in summer as they will be too afraid to switch on their air-conditioners.
Renewable power is not suitable for baseload power. Why is this proving so hard for politicians to understand?
Australia urgently needs a new energy policy which places the national interest first.
Alan Barron, Convener, Geelong Climate Sense Coalition, Grovedale, Vic
Welfare whinge too rich
I am a childless-by-choice individual who has been subsidising the cost of decisions by others to overpopulate and perish while gifting the world with imperfect copies of themselves ever since I first started paying tax at the age of17.
While I have never felt the need to express a view on the question of "middle-class welfare" until now, a recent article in your newspaper has prompted me to speak up.
I was amazed by the article "I'll be paying $45 a day to go to work" (July3, p.17).
The author, Renee Richards, a health service professional, is concerned her family will no longer receive subsidised childcare.
The reason? She is apparently a member of a household that has a combined family income in excess of $351,248 a year.
With the greatest respect, we should all be so lucky.
"Sense of entitlement" does not even begin to describe the attitude of somebody who believes their lifestyle should be heavily subsidised by taxes levied on individuals, many of whom would have children of their own, who are on much lower incomes.
The author's contention that requiring her to "compromise my child's education through hiring an au pair or finding cheaper, lower-quality childcare outside my commute" contributes to inequality isn't credible.
I am sure many of your readers would have no trouble in explaining what real disadvantage and inequality looks like. Being able to afford an au pair isn't it.
While I have always believed hard work should be rewarded, Iam also strongly of the opinion those who have been granted opportunities, such as tertiary education and well-paid work, denied to others should give back.
That is a much better look than reaching out with both hands to grasp every extra benefit that may come your way.
M. Oudemans, Murrumbateman
Stay home option
Renee Richards does have another option to consider. She could stay home and look after the children she chose to have. Jobs come and go, but your children are forever.
Lee Berry, Kambah
Pay your $45 a day
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the article about the affordability of childcare.
From what I read, this person was saying that their combined income was around $351,248 or approximately $6800 p/w and she couldn't afford to go back to work unless the government [or taxpayers] supported her in childcare payments.
Then she goes on to say that her job is important and it involves helping the community, on which I congratulate her, but please lift yourself out of the bubble you are living in and remember that others' jobs in the community are just as important and they do not get paid anywhere near what you are getting and they are all managing (maybe struggling a bit) to work and have their kids in childcare. They would be lucky to be earning a combined income of $140,000. Having their childcare fees paid up to $7618 per year by the government (i.e. taxpayers) was not great, but at least they got something for their low yearly wage.
Women returning to the workforce is a great thing for the country and the economy, but people should prepare themselves for a little belt tightening when they find partners and decide to have children.
If you are keen to go back to work, go and pay your $45 a day.
Errol Good, Macgregor
Yvette Berry, ACT Housing Minister, says "the government is doing a great job providing affordable housing" ("ACT doing a great job", July3, p.1). But she chooses to overlook the effect of the massive increase in rates and land tax on those renting in the private sector (in free-standing homes, townhouses and multi-unit apartment blocks).
The annual rates and land tax now account for at least three months' rent (many pay more and very few less).
Recognising that rents are a function of supply and demand, not the actual costs of ownership, the more that is paid in property taxes the higher the rent sought and/or the less properties are available for rent. All costs must be eventually paid by the tenant if there is to continue to be accommodation available for rent.
J. Widdup, Canberra
Someone should tell ACT Housing Minister Yvette Berry there's no prize for political hypocrisy, because it looks like she tried to win it with her comments on housing affordability ("ACT doing such a 'great job' on housing that homeless are coming here", canberratimes.com.au, July3).
What politicians like Berry never mention is how much property taxes push up property prices and rents.
Similarly, zoning and planning laws and environmental regulations increase the cost of building and operating housing.
If Berry is concerned about housing affordability, she should work to restrain the government's voracious appetite for tax dollars and work to abolish policies that artificially increase housing costs.
The Barr government has built a border wall around itself that isolates its monopolistic provision of services from monitoring by the people.
This leaves messy political, planning and governance processes that elevate the risk the government can be captured by interest groups and of social engineering, greed, pay-offs and tax enslavement.
Victor Diskordia, McKellar
Re "ANU stood up for academic freedom ...", canberratimes.com.au, July3), this is not a good advertisement for academic smarts.
Despite the galaxy of intellects involved, nobody benefits from Ramsay Centre funding so far.
Leaving aside who has the moral high ground, if anyone does, the ANU is now unlikely to get any benefit. That outcome is a pity.
Adroit negotiators might have achieved more than a blank examination paper.
Roy Darling, Florey
An ancient reptilian creature covered in slime has emerged from the swamp of Parliament. It's name is David Leyonhjelm.
TO THE POINT
An ancestor of David Leijonhielm (yes, that is the traditional spelling) was ennobled 300 years ago. The family is still in the Swedish House of Lords. We should not expect scions of a noble family to be better than the rest of us, but they do often have good manners. Not so when he threw insulting words at Senator Hanson-Young. Is the uncouth manner due to the company he keeps? The Federal Parliament.
Thomas Mautner, Griffith
OUR HOUSE OF BULLIES
The Australian Parliament should be renamed the House of Bullies.
Susan MacDougall, Scullin
SENATE CAN'T WALK PAST
In the words of retired Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison, "The standard you walk past is the standard you accept."
The Prime Minister, too, has said "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept".
The government and the Senate cannot walk past Senator Leyonhelm's misogynistic and insulting comments about Senator Hanson-Young.
The Senate cannot just walk past this, it must act.
Bob Friederich, Ainslie
MISSING ROLE MODELS
Reading Jacqueline Jago's piece ("The mentor's quest", Public Sector Informant, July, p13) reminded me of the words of Paul Simon's song Call me Al:
'Who'll be my role-model
Now that my role-model is
Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW
Who owns the drink containers in my recycling bin when the bin is put out on the nature strip?
Hugh Smith, Deakin
BRING BACK PAPER STRAWS
Waxed paper straws and cornstarch (biodegradable) shopping bags both worked quite well, but have been replaced by plastic to our planets' detriment.
Why not bring them back? Or is the plastic lobby too strong?
Colin Handley, Lyneham
Barry Smilie asserts that ANU has guarded its integrity.
This assumes that ANU had any integrity left.
Mark Sproat, Lyons
INFLUENCE OVER NAURU
The PM suggests that it has no influence over Nauru as to who can enter the country (think ABC). Try telling that to the refugees he has banged up in there.
Bob Gardiner, Isabella Plains
Oh, Wayne Grant of Swinger Hill (Letters, July 4). If only your name was Wayne Bruce your letter would have been more delicious. Batman forever.
Jan Gulliver, Lyneham
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