Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor | Poll

Shorter working week a recipe for disaster

We have just celebrated the Labour Day/Eight Hour Day first talked about in 1817 and finally came to reality in the 1850s. 

In 1856, the stonemasons were granted a 48-hour week, a huge drop in working hours in Victoria of 14-hour days and six days a week.

This was then taken up by the Builders Union, putting forward three main arguments to support a shorter working day.

But sadly this has been whittled away by some greedy and selfish employers, big multi-national companies and governments that don't want the average Joe Blow on the street to be on their level, which brings about class distinction and from that develops the rich and poor and the needy and greedy.

Now we have the leader of the Greens Richard Di Natale coming out saying that we should have a four-day working week, with no information or suggestions on what he is actually looking at or possibilities on how it may work.

Typical politician and governments, always short on information and generally lack substance.

This, along with the Fair Work Commission’s attack on penalty rates, will not create extra jobs, but just make people work harder and longer for less.

Perhaps Richard Di Natale believes that the voter is as green as he and his party is, and living in fairyland.

We had a fair system for over 100 years. Unfortunately meddlers have broken it, but it can be easily fixed by returning to what we had and served us well.

Ivan Kitt, Bendigo

Is the Great Australian Dream still alive?

I commend the state government on its incentives announced to help first home buyers with grants for newly built houses and slashing stamp duty on established houses.

In saying that, I trust suitable safeguards will be implemented to reduce rorting of a system designed, I believe to give families a chance to own their own home.

We have seen many great policies from all governments let down by a lack of checks and balances to ensure that the money spent goes to where it was intended, such as family day care, child minding, the opening up of higher education to private enterprise – all great ideas but subject to rorting because of their implementation without adequate safeguards.

We only have to look at our representatives in both federal and state parliaments to see how easy it is to manipulate a system designed to assist them in carrying out their duties, for their own personal gain, and sadly it’s still going on.

I would trust that these new incentives will only be available for those seeking to set up a home, and not a platform for people to enter the investment market.

This could be achieved by simply stating that any house built under the home buyers grant be lived in by the recipient for at least three years unless exceptional reasons can be proven.

For established houses, the limit for the recipient of the stamp duty reduction be two years. These rules could be enforced by issuing heavy fines on real estate agents who rent out a property inside those time limits or the recipient forced to pay back the money.

I have no objection to taxpayers’ money being used to increase home ownership, but I do object to taxpayers money being used by people to make an investment.

When, with advantages like negative gearing and salary sacrifice, they will be able to reduce their taxable income in a way not available to a hard-working one-income family with two children.

Do we as a society wish to continue the dream of families being able to buy their own home, or do we just want to change that dream to housing investment? There is a difference.

R Davies, Kangaroo Flat

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