Category: Letters to the Editor

Here is a collection of letters on various subjects to different newspapers in Australia.
Philip O’Carroll

CLUNKY LAWS

Dear Editor, I am shocked by the fact that the High Court has summarily dismissed several members of parliament.  These people were duly elected by the population.  The principle of democracy is held very high in Australian life.  Yes, a 19th century

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WHO IS CONNING WHOM?

To:  The AGE,  The AUSTRALIAN,  The HERALD-SUN Dear Editor, WHO IS CONNING WHOM? The climate alarmist scientists say we can’t burn coal because it will cause global warming.  Our governments back this doctrine and close Australia’s coal-fired power stations – dramatically

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LOSS Of ACADEMIC FREEDOM

The Age It is a tragedy that once great universities are backing away from freedom of speech (Age, page1, 25/8). I remember as a student 50 years ago, students and staff alike were well aware of conflicting positions.  We took

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CLUMSY REGULATION versus DEMOCRACY

Many mature Australians have a wary suspicion of regulations and how they can lead to chaotic, unjust and ridiculous outcomes when applied in the real world.  The issue then becomes: are officials going to be petty-minded pests, or are they

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CAN LEADERS be SAVIOURS?

Herald-Sun It seems that neither party is willing to rein in national debt.  We leave it to our children to suffer the consequences. Perhaps the short-sighted electorate will never again reward a thrifty government with a second term. So, if

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UNDERMINING PARENT CHOICE

The Australian The federal government’s big school-funding spend will produce no improvement in Australian education.  It’s simply a handout, with no strings attached.  And it is not, as some have claimed, “needs based”.  Multi-millionaire families attending high-achieving state schools in

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The Easy Target

Dear Editor It’s distressing to read about commercial builders knowingly constructing homes doomed to fail (Builder victims, Age, 31 May). And doubly distressing to learn that the Victorian Building Authority is ineffective in cleaning up the industry. And triply distressing

INCOMPLETE ACRONYM

To the Australian, the Age and the Herald-Sun Dear Editor, Our civilisation is making a step forward in including LGBTQIA people as deserving of the same rights and acceptance as other citizens.  But there is still a letter missing –

IN FAVOUR OF A REFERENDUM

To the Australian Dear Editor, If I wanted to have a same-sex marriage and have it supported by society, I would feel much more secure if the majority of Australians had voted yes for it.  POC

NAPLAN PLATEAU

Sent to Age, Australian and Herald-Sun It is disappointing that NAPLAN results in recent years show no overall improvement 25zmqbj. I am now a grandparent at an inner-suburban community school that scored (for 2015) around 100 points above average in

CENSUS NOT SAFE

Sent to the Australian, the Age and the Herald-Sun Dear Editor, I am sorry, but I do not trust the ABS scheme to collect names and addresses along with the data in the coming census. I have three reasons to

SAVE AUSTRALIA for our CHILDREN

Dear Editor,  From now on, any party that promises to return Australia to surplus will be outbid by a rival party that will offer more generous handouts; or blocked by a senate that always wants different cuts.  Thus our democracy,

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Union Aiming to Capture Country Fire Authority

Dear Editor, It is distressing to see both the city and country fire services of Victoria being placed under union control. Certain consequences will sadly follow.  First, the service will cost the public a whole lot more.   Then there will be

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OFFICIAL EXTORTION

Published in The Herald-Sun, Thursday 14th December 2015 Editor If people disregard traffic lights amidst heavy traffic, they risk others’ lives and deserve to be penalised. But sometimes traffic aids are misused. Let me give an example. My son-in-law was

A HISTORIC STEP FORWARD

The investigations into pedophilia in the 70s & 80s make grim reading.  But we have reason to be proud that we live at this time, when Western civilisation has dragged child sex abuse and its concealment into the light.  

ISOLATING THE THREAT

Published in the Age   30 November 2015 Most people in the world are born into a religious culture and die in it. Very few adopt a religion or ditch it for theological reasons – study of scriptures, etc. If our

Big Tribe Stomps on Small Tribe

Published: The Australian, 21 Oct 2014 Dear Editor Victorian Labor plans to prevent religious schools from employing people on the basis of their sympathy to the school ethos.  This is worse than the pot calling the kettle black.  The state

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Political Tribalism in Reporting

Published:  Herald-Sun, Thursday, 8 October 2014 GIVE CREDIT GET CREDIT Dear Editor, I speak for most Australians when I say that political reporting becomes really boring when all we get is opposing parties routinely trashing everything that is said or

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Gay Rights

To the Editor, HERALD-SUN PUBLISHED JULY 18 2014 Replying to Bill James (Letters, 17 Jul), I see an awful contradiction in his position on homosexuals.   He recognises that some people are born homosexual, he says he respects homosexuals as people,

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Lessons of History

Published in The Australian — /07/14 Dear Editor, Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.  Over the course of my lifetime, I have witnessed a gradual censorship, whose effect is to legitimise wilful ignorance, unrestrained rhetoric or “spin”,

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Monopoly No Answer

Richard Teese (Age Opinion, 14 Sept) proposes a wall-to-wall state-run school system that would “concentrate resources” and thus revitalise the quality of education for all.  But this is exactly the rationale behind the failed totalitarian states of last century. He

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REFORM THE SCHOOL FUNDING SYSTEM

1. Who Pays for Schooling? Taxpayers of Australia are giving $26 billion each year for the schooling of children. This money is being badly spent. The way our schools are funded: (1) distributes money unfairly (2) denies parents rights (3)

Court of Public Opinion

Politicians must take care to distinguish public opinion from media advocacy. Prominent media like the Age and the ABC have promoted the view that all science supports climate alarmism.  The federal government mounts the apocalyptic horse, charges into a campaign against

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Same-Sex Marriage

It’s a bit swift to reduce the same-sex marriage debate to an issue of “equality”. A genuine argument from equality would be:  women are people; people have a right to vote; therefore’ women have a right to vote.  But the simplistic argument

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Balanced Media

Free media are an essential component of democracy.  Letting the people vote is a joke if they don’t have access to key information and diverse opinion on the issues facing their society. But journalists are all partisan to some degree.  As with

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Ritalin Schooling

There is at last some debate about the number of children on indefinite prescriptions of mood-altering drugs such as Ritalin. Every so often, to silence the unrest, an “expert” is wheeled out to intone that all these diagnoses are scientifically

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Knowledge of Religion

We teach our students about religion – Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Buddhism.  Religion is a powerful factor in the lives of most humans.  To know nothing about it is to be ignorant indeed – a poor basis for future understanding and

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Women On The Front Line

Many women in the defence forces do an excellent job, but women on the very front line is a bad idea.  Sure, there may be some women who are tough enough for it.  But in extreme moments, men are hard-wired to protect

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Standard Of Debate

Wow!  Your article on school funding by Chris Middendorp (7 Jan) provides ideal material for a classroom lesson in fallacies of argumentation.  His first dodgy tactic is selective omission.  The only private school that he mentions is a posh (high-fee)

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Euthanasia Laws for Humans

Herald Sun, Friday September 24th 2010   If we are going to contemplate euthanasia, it is not enough to simply tell moving stories where a loved elder in terminal discomfort is kindly granted release by a caring doctor. We have

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Violence Against Women

CIVILISATION and REALITY   I am all for prohibiting men from physically attacking women.  But I disagree with what I’ve read about training boys at school to the effect that women are always innocent victims.  If what you’re teaching is

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Decentralise Power

Bring Schools into Real World I never thought I’d be backing a Labor Government policy on the issue of fair opportunity through schooling.  But I fully agree with Education Minister Julia Gillard on her combination remedy for better school performance: 

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MacDonald’s Maths

Dear Editor, I read your article about MacDonald’s free maths online program (Wednesday, October 21).   I shake my head in disbelief to hear the criticism of “free advertising”. The online program is an absolute lifesaver for many maths students –

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Fake Maths

I support the push for better standards of literacy and numeracy in Australia.  So I must comment on the report in Saturday’s AGE stating that 1 in 10 students is below basic standards.  The real figure is much worse.  This

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Provider Capture

It’s pretty amazing that in a democratic country, NSW can make a law banning the publication of the performance data of schools that operate on taxpayers’ money. Keeping the population in the dark, like mushrooms, is what they do in

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League Tables

Chris Bonor (AGE, 29 May) rages against “league tables” for schools, but provides no answer for the neglected rump of able low-income children. In several suburbs, no child ever gets schooling adequate to enrol in a professional course. Over the

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Merit Promotion

The Brumby government is to be praised for aiming to raise performance incentives in schooling. The standard of schooling in some suburbs denies those children any chance of opportunity through education. The teaching profession needs a boost in status. Under

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National Curriculum

I totally support the position of Tom Alegounarias, president of the NSW Board of Studies, who wants explicit school syllabuses “setting out mandatory knowledge in a systematic course of study” (Australian, 20 May 2009). There are lobbyists who cry that

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Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You

I support Education Minister Gillard in her quest to promote the best teachers. Rewarding performance and keeping the best people in the profession will be a boon for thousands of children. But people should understand that teacher union operators will

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Intelligent Natural Law

I support the Catholic doctrine of Natural Law as the rational basis for morality. But for this kind of ethics to produce humane guidance, an earnest effort must be made to look objectively at the workings of nature. A simplistic

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Passport Barrier

27 countries of Europe have opened their borders to each other, despite their big populations, different languages and history of wars. Why then do Australia and New Zealand still have the tedious passport barrier?

Crushing Diversity

Please print this correction of an article in yesterday’s age (Schools baulk at funds disclosure AGE 7 Nov 2008). I am NOT terrified of a financial audit of Fitzroy Community School. I would be quite happy for the public to

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School Reform

It is impressive that the PM and the deputy PM have come out and boldly promised more equal opportunity for the children of Australia – by making the school industry accountable. A public relations camouflage job has long kept the

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Australian Bill of Rights

I question Justice Michael Kirby’s advocacy of a new Australian charter of human rights (Age 23 Aug 2008). Australia is already a top country for peace, prosperity and pluralism. It is no wonder that many want to live here. But

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Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT)

Dear Editor, When the Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT) was first created, the impression given was that it would be a professional association run by teachers for teachers, and that it would work to raise the standards and standing of

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Dobbing

I think we have made a mistake in promoting the reporting of citizen by citizen in the 1800 LITTER campaign. Phone the authorities to report where a pile of litter is, certainly. But actively encouraging people to identify their neighbour

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Open Government Accounting

It is hard to believe that it really costs over a billion dollars to upgrade the Melbourne public transport ticketing system. We, the taxpayers of Victoria, are entitled to a prompt investigation by the Auditor-General. If he cannot find reasonable

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National Testing

I agree with many points made by Maureen Douglas (Age, 12 May 2008), but I disagree with her opposition to national standardised testing of literacy and numeracy. Certainly we want more than word and number from schooling, but it is

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Opening A Door

Dear Editor, If I were having a summit for the future, I’d think about social mobility in Australia. There is a simple reform, which could be called Open Door, which would quickly enhance opportunity for many disadvantaged children – with

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A Higher Standard of Human Rights

We learn something about human nature from the unending succession of horror stories told by ex-inmates of orphanages, borstals, mental hospitals and other human zoos. There is a tendency to exploit those who are left in our charge and at

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Apology

It is understandable that many Australians want to say sorry to their Aboriginal people, seeing the sorry state of many of their race. But if I were counselling an aboriginal individual, I would advise him or her not to take

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The Best Superpower

AUSTRALIA’S youth are misled by our education system. Teachers, teacher trainers and lecturers are well to the left of the general population. An anti-US attitude has spread throughout our schools and universities. Add to this the lack of real history

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Desalination Plant

It’s not much use griping about the costs of a desal plant if you have no other way of guaranteeing water.  The population running dry would be the biggest disaster of all.  Household rain tanks are good, but would empty very

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Japan and The Bomb

I can’t believe that the Japanese Defence Minister had to resign because he publicly said he understands why the US dropped the atom bomb in 1945. Talk about hysteria. This only highlights the fact that the Japanese live in a bubble of ignorance

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Decentralizing Schools

Identifying and promoting good teachers is a necessary step forward for schooling.  But there is a failure of quality control in state-run school systems: no one at the operational level is able to take full responsibility. Too much power is held by the amorphous “department”.

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Indoctrination In Schools

Re your Ruth Martin letter (6 June) challenging Catholic schools for teaching doctrines while receiving government funding.  What about the one-eyed ideology pumped through many an English or History syllabus?  There is no value-free schooling. Let parents choose who will teach

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Sharing The Planet

Apparently, the Netherlands set aside about 1% of their GDP for foreign aid. And I hear that the people would not allow their government to reduce the rate. Australia gives about 0.3%. I believe that most Australians are also embarrassed about the

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Public Transport

It’s strange that tram fares are going up when many fares are not even collected. Some 8am trams are so full, they just whiz past.  When one stops, it is sometimes so packed there is no hope of reaching the ticket machine.

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Limits of Cultural Relativism

Is one culture superior to another?  It was certainly thought so in the days of the British Empire. With the growth of anthropology since Victorian times and the nihilistic ethical movements that have arisen since the world wars, cultural relativism has gained

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Front man

Front Man to Herald Sun        Wednesday, April 18, 2007 I was impressed by a lot of Kevin Rudd’s platform as expressed to the Canberra Press Gallery (17th April).  He moved Labor closer to the centre:  acknowledging small business as the most productive sector. 

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Conning The Punters

I cannot get the following letter published – even though I have tried for many years.  Is it because the journalists themselves do not understand the simple deceit that is being used?  Are journalists themselves conned by the constant propaganda

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Japan and China

It’s a big plus for Australia to get more involved with both Japan and China. Who knows, Australia could evolve into the Switzerland of Asia – a place where problems between nations of the region can be calmly discussed and

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Brainwashing

Amongst the many thousands of Muslim new Australians, there are some children whose lives are confined within a narrow Muslim milieu. Some of these hot-house children are exposed to Islamist preaching. Hate-preaching today means blood in the streets tomorrow. Australia

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Keeping Schooling Honest

I am writing to counter waffly objections to a national syllabus and assessment scheme.  An Australian Certificate of Education (ACE) is a great idea.  Instead of being stuck with 8 varieties of school syllabus as we do now, we should pick the best

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Wall-to-Wall Spin

Several writers in your last issue gave Paul Sheahan, Principal of Melbourne Grammar, the rounds of the kitchen for daring to say that the standard of teaching in independent schools is more consistent. Now I realise this is a sensitive

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Water for Survival

It is not good enough for the Victorian government to simply pray for rain.  There is absolutely no excuse for running this population out of water.  The Gippsland-Melbourne two-way pipeline sounds good, but with such grand engineering schemes, there is no telling how

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Promises, Promises

Background to this letter: Federal Labor MPs had just elected a new leader, Kevin Rudd. Within a few days, the headline of The Australian was RUDD PUTS TEACHERS ON NOTICE: Kevin Rudd will demand quality control from the nation’s schools

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Tax Man, Show Mercy

The government has often expressed a wish to spare us stressful and pointless red tape. There is a clear case that affects a great many people. I am referring to having to declare interest on bank accounts in tax returns.

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Personal Partners

I support the government plan to recognise couples other than married/de facto for financial and legal purposes, but I would like to see a broader approach. The recognition of couples should not depend on physical intimacy. There are many couples,

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Real History

I support the return of real history to our schools. I believe the academics have pulled a swifty on us and our children. They’ve said all history is biased – that any way of telling the past is a political statement. Then they

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History vs Indoctrination

Heide Meldau (Age, August 9) says the teaching of politics always contains a political statement as well.  This favourite slogan of recent academics is a half-truth, which is nevertheless used to justify full-on indoctrination of students by selecting just those bits

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Trusting School Leaders

Keeping and rewarding the better teachers is a great prospect for our children.  But teacher unions will always oppose comparison and will subvert any teacher evaluation scheme as they have in the past.  Likewise bureaucracy can’t handle the responsibility: they

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Security Housekeeping

It is natural that people want to be done with the Iraq mess and withdraw our forces. But alas this will not make our problems go away. History does not stand still. Every way of life is eventually challenged. Our

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Results vs. Methods

Primary schooling is potentially our greatest instrument of equal opportunity.  But the prospects of thousands are squandered by state systems run by and for extreme ideological factions, controlling unions and self-entrenching bureacracy.  The lack of accountability of this multi billion-dollar tax-funded industry is

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Religious Freedom

I hope atheist Pamela Bone (Jan 9) realises that most Australian theists support her position that religion must be neither suppressed nor promoted by the state.  Religion reaches into the realm of the non-obvious, so there are inevitably many versions. On top

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Control Freaks After the Kids

It is a worry that the Victorian Education Ministry wants legislation enabling them to control home-schoolers however they see fit. They want new powers over the people – drafted by their own regulation rather than by parliamentary debate. Don’t be hypnotised

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Serious Control Freaks

It is a worry that the Victorian Education Ministry wants legislation enabling them to control home-schoolers however they see fit. They want new powers over the people – drafted by their own regulation rather than by parliamentary debate. Don’t be hypnotized

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Nature, Not Just Nurture

It is only right that the Sex Discrimination Commissioner is showing an interest in men’s health. Health spending on men is way short of that on longer-lived women. Ms Goward is right too in saying that masculinity shortens the average

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Primitive Tribalism

There is no justification for the attack on Bali. It is primitive tribalism. The victims are seen as fair game by these murderers, just because, by accident of birth, they are raised in a different religion. It is only because

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Find True Cause

[To the AUSTRALIAN] Your correspondent Ben Brooker (Letters, 14 June) seems to have misunderstood the point Christopher Pearson was making about global warming. No one that I am aware of is denying that global warming will occur. What is at

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Results Embarrassment

There is no educational reason for the Victorian Education Ministry and its unions to oppose forwarding literacy and numeracy results to the Federal Minister, and the other states have agreed to. The argument that disadvantaged schools will be ‘unfairly judged’

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Self-governing State Schools

I am responding to your article on state schools needing adequate toilets and classrooms (April 26). I sympathise with the principal, having run a school budget myself for 25 years. But there’s something the public should know about the billions

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No Need For Screws

I read last week that a judge sentenced someone to jail for as long as they live. A scary thought. In the direction of playing God. Cancelling a life. Not quite as utterly as capital punishment, I suppose. Now assuming

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Think Global with Nuclear

As an environmentalist, I totally support Bob Hawke’s call for an inquiry into Australia’s suitability for nuclear waste storage. If we are going to sell uranium, and if it turns out that Australia has the most stable dry, accessible, underground

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Compulsory Politics

Many people are arguing that no student union means no services. But this is a swift argument. Nobody is going to object to charges for material services. Most people won’t even object to being charged for a set of services,

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False Alarm

False Alarm        Friday, March 18, 2005 Many people are arguing that no student union means no services. But this is a swift argument. Nobody is going to object to charges for material services. Most people won’t even object to being

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New Head of State

Theories of statehood are notoriously unreliable. Experience is the safest guide. Technically, monarchy is objectionable or superfluous to a democracy. But people love royalty. And history shows that countries with a royal office – albeit powerless – actually enjoy a greater

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New Birth in Schooling

I sympathise with Neil Mitchell’s cry from the heart for a new birth in schooling (Herald 15 Feb).  I have been trying, mostly by means of letters to the Editor, to get something to move forward for the past 30

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How Can God Allow It?

Frank B. Walker (Letters, 3 Jan 2005) asks how you can have a tsunami with an all-knowing and all-powerful God. Well, obviously you could. The real question is, how could such a God be benevolent? All humans face injury, illness

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Equal Literacy

It is pleasing to read that Australia compares well with other countries on numeracy and literacy. I know a great many highly accomplished young Australians: these must boost the average result. But the problem with our schooling system is the

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Gaps in Ladder

Latham says he will take from the ‘rich’ schools and give to the ‘poor’ schools. But schools do not make profits. He talks about schools instead of talking about the incomes of the families who use them. He gives 100%

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Catholics Are People Too

There is no justification for providing an inferior level of government funding for the schooling of the 20% of the children whose parents happen to be Catholics.

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Closing Doors

Latham’s plan to reduce funding to high-fee schools is an injustice and a stunt. It solves two electoral problems for him. It delights the envy-driven electors. And in a brazen con, he pretends the redirected dollars will increase excellence in

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Excuses for Violence

I think we might be making a mistake looking for rational or moral justifications for the deliberate blowing up of innocent citizens around the world. Have we forgotten that there are plain, old-fashioned anti-socials in every society? If you work

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Conning Electors

Labor’s announcement that it’s ‘… very clear we’ll be funding [schools] on the basis of need’ is misleading. In reality, they will provide 100% funding to anyone using a state-run school, regardless of family wealth. They will provide less for

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Funding Is Not Needs-based

Labor’s announcement that it’s “…very clear we’ll be funding [schools] on the basis of need” is misleading. In reality, they will provide 100% funding less for anyone using a Catholic school, and less again for those in independent schools. The

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Deceiving Electors

Herald Sun        Sunday, August 22, 2004 Labor is ranting about the ‘children overboard’ affair – on the grounds that an election won on a lie is an election stolen. But the loudest protester is also the greatest offender. It is hard

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Children Overboard

Why has the “children overboard” conversation been revived? I never understood why it was worth talking about the first time. A desperate boat person might throw a child in the water. So what? This would not alter my views on

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Boyish Bluster

Bob Brown’s breathless berating of Bush (Australian, 29 July) is boyish bluster. It sounds like an adolescent protest – all attitude and no substance. Why is Brown obsessed by such trivial matters as Howard and Bush posing for the cameras

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Spying Reality

I shake my head (sideways) at the mega hype about the “failure” of the spy agencies to discern that Saddam had no WMD. There’s an indignant implication that any decent spy agency would necessarily know what a potential enemy was

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