Dominic the demolisher a threat to our heritage
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Dominic the demolisher a threat to our heritage

Illustration: Cathy Wilcox

Illustration: Cathy WilcoxCredit:

How typically brazen of Dominic Perrottet to publish his views about architecture and heritage (''Ten iconic buildings I'd bulldoze'', November 25). This comes from a bloke who, in his own electorate, blissfully supported the vandalism of Thompson Square in Windsor, a precious space created in 1811 by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, a true visionary. Perrottet's great vision for the great hulking White Bay Power Station? "Office spaces". Kent Mayo, Uralla

The chameleon Treasurer now appears as both architectural dogmatist and hapless satirist in a defence of his aesthetic perspective by eyeing off a swathe of Sydney's landmark sites for future development. Only joking of course. His apologies for being "no architect" but also an expert on "beauty" cannot save what to many would be a transparent opinion piece full of arrogance and naivety. Vanessa Tennent, Oatley

Architecture is an art form. It is subject to the same cycles of fashion and taste as any other artistic work. Unfortunately, catering to changing tastes it is not quite so easy as swapping a painting in a gallery. With a few notable exceptions, Sydney has a long history of neglect and demolition, rather than reimagination and repurposing of historic buildings. Perrottet clearly identifies with the former. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

It is easy to take pot shots at past styles. I'd much prefer if he'd taken to task the "greed is good" developments sprouting up under his government's nose. Graham Short, Cremorne

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Good to see our Treasurer has a neat sense of humour as well as a touch of humility. Even nicer is that I mainly agree with him, apart from his two-way bet on White Bay, which must stay. The question is what Perrottet and co. would replace Sydney’s brutalist legacy with. After nine years spent approving shoddy apartments, the Crown tower andtollways, I’m hoping for a future far less on the brutal side. Peter Farmer, Northbridge

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

''I am no architect,'' the Treasurer states. Yes we know. Nor is the government, the ones who approved the eyesore now dominating Barangaroo. Give us a break Treasurer, our attempts at debate over monstrosities such as the new casino are ignored, overridden and bulldozed. Barbara McKellar, Dulwich Hill

Perrottet is wrong about the RBA building. Unlike many of the buildings around it, it has stood the test of time since its completion in the mid-60s. It has restrained elegance and fits in with the Martin Place streetscape. Fortunately, I believe it is on the Commonwealth heritage list. Tony Norris, Rozelle

The Cahill Expressway is an essential piece of transport infrastructure. Yes, it's ugly but we have learned to live with it. Replacing it would saddle younger generations with enormous long-term debt. The massive disruption to the city would again be born by business. Glenn Johnson, Leura

If Perrottet was in charge in the early 1900s, some of Sydney's most iconic buildings would be long gone. Structures like the Mint, Hyde Park Barracks, QVB and Elizabeth Bay House have not always been at the top of love lists written by populist politicians. There is one thing we can all agree on though - Blues Point Tower needs to go. Maclaren Wall, Manly

Another premier example of a NSW double standard

No explanation will pass the pub test regarding the double standard being defended here (''Berejiklian admits she broke the rules'', November 25). For the second time in a short time the Premier should have closed her door and “not had anything to do with anybody”. She’s starting to take on the characteristics of a protected species. Lyn Savage, Coogee

When the Premier doesn't think to self-isolate after a COVID test, and stays at work, office door open, that's not a “stuff up”. That's a demonstration of contempt to everyone else who followed the advice of NSW Health, went home, and waited for delivery of their results. The Premier shouldn't be suggesting we move on – if she saw fit to stand next to Dr Kerry Chant for months, so she knew better, and therefore should have done better. She should apologise and volunteer to pay police the same fine her government expected others to cop if they failed to isolate. That's life in NSW – we, the citizens, are told to do exactly what our Premier suggests before being encouraged to ignore what she actually does. Nathan English, Balmain East

Isolate until the results come back? Premier Berejiklian "didn't need to know about that". Hannah Lane, Manilla

I'd hate to play Monopoly with Berejiklian: she sells off the utilities, does deals with public spaces, breaks the rules that apply to other players, and yet seems to have an endless supply of “get out of jail free” cards up her sleeve. Patrick McGrath, Potts Point

Berejiklian has been described as the most competent leader in Australia during the pandemic (''There can't be one way for Premier and another for us'' , November 25). Australia has coped well as a whole but credit must be given not only to state leaders but the medical teams who have given excellent advice. Without the epidemiologists and chief medical officers the leaders could not have made the decisions they have made. Robyn Lewis, Raglan

I would suggest that Berejiklian's arrogance and selfishness in respect to the pandemic isolation rules is inversely proportional to the effectiveness of the opposition. Unfortunately, in NSW, missing in action. John Grinter, Katoomba

We’re still a country that’s pulling down the tall poppies. The Premier has made mistakes and admitted to those mistakes. Good to know there’s a human being in charge. OK; next please. Neville Williams, Darlinghurst

The helpless female card wasn’t played by Julia Gillard and it won’t work for the Premier. Vann Cremer, Auburn

The trickle-down pandemic (or maybe trickle up?)

The pandemic has merely exacerbated the effects of nearly four decades of economic rationalism (''A fabulous pandemic for the rich'', November 25). Is it entirely coincidental that the USA, home of Ronald Reagan, and the UK, home of Maggie Thatcher – both champions of neo-liberal economics – have suffered most during the pandemic? The social disintegration engendered by that economic credo has manifested itself in the indifference of many to the deaths and suffering of their fellow citizens. The rich isolate themselves on their yachts and in their mansions while the poor, unable to afford isolation because they need to work, die. I'd like to think that, in the aftermath of COVID-19, the West would turn its back on economic rationalism and re-affirm the need for greater equity and less poverty. However, given that selfishness, as manifested by those who do not isolate, distance or wear a mask, are dominant, I think we can safely assert that no government will dare assail the bastions of privilege and obscene wealth. Ryszard Linkiewicz, Caringbah South

Vaccines to fly

If proof of COVID-19 vaccination determines whether I can take an international flight, then I’m absolutely in (''Vaccination passport to get people travelling safely again'', November 25). However, eligibility to fly strictly based on the vaccine is in itself too narrow a condition. Firstly, and obviously, an effective vaccine needs to be available. And, while I believe a vaccine is our best way out of this pandemic, the efficacy and the disbursement strategy of what are first generation vaccines is yet to be fully determined in the broader community context. But by far, my biggest issue with the Qantas story, is in itself a story about a national problem being led by a corporation. It should be up to governments to determine when and how it is safe to reopen borders. Rather than proof of a jab as the circuit-breaker to commence the airline industry, a system that provides standardised format for airlines to evaluate the coronavirus test results should be a first step. Jack Dikian, Mosman

Vicious cycle

Decades of grim statistics show that two-wheeled vehicles are unsafe in today’s traffic, primarily because riders have no protection in the event of an accident (''Inquiry into deaths of food delivery riders'', November 25). It is delusional to think that improving food delivery riders ''working conditions'' will change this. Food delivery must be done with cars or trucks, and if that means we have to plan our meals ahead, so be it. Norman Carter, Roseville Chase

Some interesting points in your story on the boom in food delivery services (''Food order apps pose moral quandary'', November 25). However, it is not about keeping us glued to our couches but about corporate greed. Keep using them, keep these people employed but demand that their employers pay them properly. Pay them by the hour not per delivery, then perhaps they won’t take so many risks trying to speed. The companies who employ these people are responsible for the health and wellbeing of their workers, not the app users. Jenny Coote, Woonona

Dangerous illusion

Politicians spruiking superannuation as a means to put housing within reach of the public are peddling a dangerous illusion (''Use of super for housing gains support'', November 25). Rather, it would inflate already stratospheric home prices, cause a big chunk of national savings to be diverted from income-producing investment and leave the less well-off still scrambling to provide a self-funded retirement. Senators Hanson, Griff and Patrick would be better advised to engage with government to consider fiscal reforms which, even if unpopular with the electorate, might incentivise Australians to invest in income-producing assets rather than tax-free zillion dollar houses. Russell Murphy, Bayview

Renewed interest

Anthony Albanese’s claim that Labor “had a clear policy that renewables were the cheapest form of new energy generation” is not a policy but a statement of fact (''Labor pushes 'bedrock' clean energy stance'', November 25). His “rewiring the nation” policy is a good start but to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, his party will need to come up with more policies to achieve that goal. However, it will certainly not be attained if other states follow South Australia and Victoria and put additional taxes on electric vehicles. Peter Nash, Fairlight

Flying blind

The G20 meeting has just concluded, the national leaders involved (including our own) zooming in and not needing to leave home to participate (Letters, November 25). Mathias Cormann couldn't do his self-spruiking the same way? It was good enough for Natasha Stott Despoja. Mickey Pragnell, Kiama

Bronwyn Bishop must be gnashing her teeth; forced to resign as Speaker over one little helicopter ride. And now Cormann, who isn’t even a Senator any more, is being chauffeured all over Europe by the RAAF at a cost of $4300 an hour for goodness knows how long. If the Prime Minister thinks this passes the pub test he’s taking us all for a ride. Merona Martin, Meroo Meadow

Past the parcel

Because Australia Post said parcels to England would take three to four weeks, no guarantee, I sent a parcel on November 13 (Letters, November 25). My mouldering parcel has been sitting in an Australia Post facility at Strathfield since November 15 and calls to customer service yield no results. This has nothing to do with the paucity of international flights but the sheer incompetence of Australia Post. Marina Garlick, Balmain

I also thought I was clever, sending an early Christmas gift to a grandson in Tallahassee. He received it a fortnight ago, and is now likely musing, "grandma Rosie's going off her tree". Rosemary O'Brien, Ashfield

History's curse

The unprintable four-letter word's first recorded use is generally agreed to come from the late 1400s – definitely middle English rather than Anglo-Saxon (Letters, November 25). It seems to have derived from then equivalents in most of the Germanic languages. Peter Butler, Wyongah

For years Charles Schulz drew the Peanuts comic strip and when there was a 'collision' between the characters, the word "bonk" featured to describe the clash. On June 29, 1986, there were four encounters in the Sunday strip warranting the use of that word. Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook

Bonkwit has wonderful potential as an insult. Pat Casey, Lawson

Fowl leadership

Today I noted the US custom of the President allowing a turkey to avoid the chopping block for Thanksgiving ("Why Thanksgiving is set to be a 'perfect storm' for spread of COVID-19", smh.com.au, November 25).

Is this the first instance of a turkey pardoning another turkey? Peter Green, Faulconbridge

Trump's pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey sets a dangerous precedent for other, less deserving, turkeys. Bruce Hulbert, Lilyfield

I guess that if President Trump can pardon a turkey, the question about whether he can pardon himself is answered. Chris Costas, Carwoola

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au:
Perrottet warms to White Bay but savages other architectural landmarks
From Ernie Dale: The problem with Blues Point Tower is the location, totally inappropriate then and now. And Perrottet is also on the money with his comments about the Greenway Apartments. Horrible. However top of the list by a long way should have been the execrable Bennelong Apartments - the Toaster at Circular Quay - easily the worst planning decision in the CBD since the Cahill.

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