Transgender students deserve support, not discrimination
Plan to change school hours fraught with pitfalls
The New South Wales government intends to “revise the traditional school day as a key productivity measure” (“Premier signals lawsuit for new school hours”, February 8). It is not about improving classroom conditions or student achievement.
It would make more sense to review their parents’ working hours and terms of employment to meet the educational needs of our future generations, however, Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet believes that schools are childcare facilities for the convenience of working parents.
We have a Prime Minister who believes in miracles. We now have a Prime Minister who believes the economy is all-powerful. Beth Hansen, Alstonville
Perrottet’s big, brave plan to change school hours was met with a lot of stares around me. At a time when teachers are under enormous pressure to perform and shortages are looming, why burden schools with your desire to revise everything you touch? Most high schools already have flexible hours, with classes before and after regular hours. Generally, these are negotiated with teachers who work outside normal hours, and not imposed by leaders who have never set foot in a classroom. Brian Thorton, Stanmore
The recent attempt to change class start times makes perfect sense, but doesn’t go far enough. Manage primary schools from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., secondary schools from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., workers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you’ve solved traffic jams and crowded public transport without spending a penny. Why was this not done? Stop spending billions on new roads that will become obsolete when we have fleets of shared electric cars that pick us up and drop us off via an app. Instead, put the money in the schools. Michael Clayton, Hunter’s Hill
If the Prime Minister checked, he would find that many regional and rural schools have varying class times. Foresight. No, it’s so local bus companies can reliably serve their schools with the resources at their fingertips. I hope someone takes this into account in their discussions when looking to change school hours. Brian Cook, Forresters Beach
Changing school hours is not just a simplistic manipulation of timetables within the school, but is fraught with wide-ranging complications. Teachers, who are also parents and caregivers, will be instructed to extend their days, their children being missing. Extracurricular activities would be discontinued. And for those families scattered across multiple schools and with the possibility of increased school fractures, life could get a whole lot tougher. The Prime Minister’s thought bubble to encourage more women to enter the workforce could do the opposite. Janice Creenaune, Austinmer
The Misery of Poker Machines Expands Widely
The misery caused by addiction to poker machines is offset a tiny bit by the money that returns to communities through grants from taxes on poker machines (“Coalition seat win pokies grant”, February 8). Despite the scheme ‘drawing large sums of money from communities in south-west Sydney’, more than three-quarters of the money was distributed elsewhere in the Coalition’s headquarters. No ethics. No shame. Paul Parramore, Sawtell
It goes on and on. I wonder if we will ever see a headline proclaiming, “Funding for grant programs is distributed evenly among all constituents. Joe White, Woonona
Land clearing kills animals
It seems obvious to everyone except the politicians: Koala populations are in serious decline due to rampant land clearing (“Koalas Now Endangered, Report Says,” Feb. 8). While federal and state ministers welcome announcements of grants for various programs, the root cause of this disaster for our koalas is the deliberate destruction of their habitats. These same politicians allow the uncontrolled clearing of forests where koalas live. Clearing is not progress, it is destruction and our koalas, along with many other native animals and birds, will not survive if this is allowed to continue. Stuart Lawrence, cammeray
Only if voters have next to no understanding of the government of this country will they see an unfulfilled campaign promise here (“ICAC’s Broken Federal Vow Could Prove Costly,” Feb. 8).
An elected government does not legislate itself. The bicameral parliament does. Morrison called on 2019 voters to give the coalition election enough MPs in the lower house and upper house to control both houses so they can govern effectively, including to legislate for the governing body. ‘integrity.
Voters gave the coalition control of the lower house but refused to give it the numbers to control the upper house. Voters in 2019 exempted Morrison from any obligation to create the integrity body. In government, Morrison has since tried to persuade Labor MPs to support the Coalition’s proposed legislation on integrity bodies. They said they would not support it.
The fundamental question regarding the so-called broken election promise is: do Australian voters have sufficient understanding of our system of government to appreciate what is promised when a party makes a pre-election promise? Ross DrynanLindfield
Scott Morrison said “we’ll see” when asked if there was time to set up the integrity commission before May. Morrison’s “we’ll see” response reminded me of my mother’s same response when I was a kid. In my experience, ‘we’ll see’ has always meant ‘no’. Helen Russell, Leichhardt
Numbers don’t add up
Can anyone explain why we Australians need to be triple vaccinated for better protection, but overseas travelers only need to be double vaccinated? How can this be safe (“’Fortress Australia stance tarnished tourism: chief’, February 8)? John Lyons, Dung
Elderly care limps
It is clear that seeing too little and knowing even less is not doing enough (“Alarm as Aged care watchdog cuts compliance operations”, February 8). No doubt the Federal Ministers of Aged Care and Aged Care Services have mealy mouths ready to justify the disappointing results and compliance targets reported by the Aged Care Regulatory Commission during the pandemic. Ensuring that the residential care system for the elderly continues at least until after the election seems to be the commission’s practical, unwritten goal at the moment. Sue Dyer, Downer (ACT)
Off the tracks
Rob Stokes may be excited about the new Hunter Street underground station, but further down the line there’s not much to cheer about (“City in line for a new metro-polis”, February 8 ). Once again my station is closed due to metro works, the privatized buses stop less frequently and the tram has been under repair for at least a year. Hundreds of high-rise units, some poorly constructed, had already been built before the line was even completed and no additional hospital beds, teachers or playgrounds had been provided for the growing number of people who settle in the region. We don’t even take advantage of the locals playing slot machines. John Bailey, Canterbury
Give up the COVID policy
Research on COVID is still in its infancy, so there will be differing opinions. Dr Nick Coatsworth, in the ‘living with’ camp, has been criticized for his comments questioning aerosol transmission and his insistence that the disease is ‘mild’ in children despite admissions to US pediatric hospitals (“Second opinions on COVID and children”, February 8).
What concerns me is that politics drives the debate. My husband and I have COVID. My daughter, her husband and our grandchildren all have COVID. My two brothers-in-law have recently recovered from COVID. Many acquaintances have succumbed. Anecdotally, our experience does not reflect the government’s optimistic messages. How many people are reporting their positive RATs and do the hospital numbers reflect the thousands who have been admitted to the so-called “hospital at home”?
Pardon the cynicism, but are governments on a mission to maximize by-elections and the chances of election? Minimizing the risk of COVID maximizes the risk to vulnerable people, including children and elderly residents who are only 58% boosted. Given that someone who has had COVID is only considered safe from reinfection for a month, the notion of “endemic” still has a long way to go. Alison Stewart, View of the river
Call time on technology
You report computer chips in footballs to determine forward passes (“More tech and rules? Brilliant, just what the NRL needs”, February 8). And then ? Will we soon have no more referees, just a technical room with instructions on the big screen managing all aspects of the game? Technology is not the answer; the game needs less interference not more. Denis Suttling, Newport Beach
Zero on pollution
Let’s just put that: 3,200,000,000 tons of pollution (“Mine approvals ‘release 3.2 billion tons of pollution’,” February 8). Margaret Hogge, North Curl Curl
Do not play cricket
Some of our senior cricketers are too valuable (“From Disciplinary to Outcast: Why Beleaguered Langer Pulled the Pin”, February 8). Apparently they hate discipline and direction. How pusillanimous Cricket Australia is when it panders to these players at the expense of a dedicated and successful coach. Lyle Keats, Miranda
With a little understanding
I taught in London in the late 1980s (Letters, February 8). My students were eager to discover the latest Neighbors news. I had never watched it, but as an English teacher I was adept at fabricating weird twists. When the telecast delay finally caught up and revealed my joke, my class turned out to have a sense of humor and I survived. Mal Kirkpatrick, Coombabah (Qld)
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