Public service work ethic

Georgie Smith writes: Re. “‘Chaos’, or how to see the world like a political journalist” (yesterday). In your article you assert that public servants would love nothing more than an eight-month caretaker period to tweak our election briefs and surf the internet.

As a proud (state) public servant I’d like to say: pig’s arse. There is little more unsettling, not to mention deathly boring, than wondering who your minister will be on Monday. Caretaker periods mean uncertainty as to whether previous commitments will still be delivered, whether beloved and carefully crafted programs will see the light of day, and a huge amount of boredom.

Perhaps there are still some public servants who are just laying about drawing an idle paycheque, but there are none in my neck of the woods. Rather, I’m accompanied by dedicated, intelligent professionals who genuinely care about our work — a few weeks of not being able to do it, let alone many months, is akin to a punishment, not a holiday.

To buy or rent

Amir Ghandar writes: I enjoyed and found “Get Fact: is it really ‘cheaper to buy than rent’?” (yesterday) informative, and I agree with the shortcomings pointed out.

However, I wondered whether average growth in the value of properties should be taken into account as an offset against the average cost of buying? Just something to think about.

Russ Hermann writes: Adam Schwab left out a few important items. He allowed for depreciation of the value of the house, but not for the high increase in value of the land — especially in the inner city, in Sydney and Melbourne. Also if you are paying say $400 off the mortgage, you will still be paying that 20 years later, while the rent will probably have doubled. Another thing is certainty. What happens when the owner decides to sell. I received a third share of my parents house when sold, which was a great help in buying my house.

A question for Adam, how do you pay $500 per week rent when you’re on the old age pension?

John Falconer writes: I have no argument with Adam Schwab’s article on renting vs buying a home. Perhaps there should be a fifth reading on the “Fib-O-Matic” meter. Shame on the AFR. Absolute rubbish.

But what about the elephant in the room. In this case a property. At the end of paying the 25-year mortgage the home buyer has a substantial asset. Their home!

Discrimination laws

Lance Williamson writes: Re. “Rundle: Labor, discrimination laws and a space for speech” (yesterday). While enjoying your article I do observe that while the media has been obsessed with the “insult” and “offend” provisions of the proposed new bill, they completely have overlooked another confronting issue. The proposed rewrite will discriminate against anyone with a genetic defect; the draft drops the current protections contained in the Disability Discrimination Act — see the Civil Liberties Australia submission of the parliamentary website. Might be worth exploring.

Peter Fray

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