Reveal the full VCE picture
SCANNING the VCE median scores in "Your school's performance 2011" (The Age, 21/12), two schools jump off the page for excellence: remote schools Birchip with a score of 32 and Donald High School with 33. Yet not a mention of them nor others like them in the wash-up of performance.
I look forward to the day when factors are built into scores so that a more realistic picture can be offered to parents. For instance, if a school has restricted entry but scores in the low 30s, its performance is poor. Open entry with a score in the 30s is outstanding. State schools do very well considering they supply good schools with a high proportion of their VCE top scorers.
Graeme Lee, Fitzroy
THE Baillieu government's cutting of public services ("Baillieu explains U-turn on job cuts", The Age, 22/12) ought to remind Victorians of the saying, "fool me once, shame on you fool me twice, shame on me".
The Coalition went into the 1992 state election promising not to cut services to the public, and once in office slashed them. It made the same promise as it went into the 2010 election, and voters believed it. It's time voters realised that cutting services to the public is in the Coalition's make-up. Do not listen to its spokespeople. Take note, instead, of the Institute of Public Affairs, which provides the ideo-illogical blueprints for Coalition action.
Chris Curtis, Hurstbridge
State of ignorance
VICTORIA's native forests are managed by a state government that either ignores science or does not understand ecosystem management. The cumulative impact from native forest logging on Victoria's ecosystems has not been considered in Ted Baillieu's timber industry action plan, nor have the environmental services these ecosystems provide, nor the wellbeing of the Victorians who greatly value their natural heritage.
The government has put industry interest above science and foresight. There are many options for innovative economies in rural Victoria, but this takes courage, leadership and vision, all of which is absent from the political landscape. By the time the full impact of this plan is felt, Baillieu and his ministers will be enjoying their superannuation, leaving their mess for a new generation.
Christian Nielsen, Warburton
Old enough to know
JOHN Tait (Letters, 21/12) is right. Not only do over-50s not get climate change, but our decision makers, also in our over-50 group, appear to be colluding with business interests to leave the problem to younger generations. Governments are aware that effective action is needed within five to 10 years to keep global warming at a manageable level. Yet the only clear action so far is the carbon tax, which may begin to have an effect on emissions in about 15 years. Our young people are active in trying to make their future sustainable. Surely we, who have had the best of the world, owe them our support.
Naomi Hall, Blackburn
Killing for thrills
SHOULD Jenny Moxham (Letters, 23/12) have a pen of beautiful young hens slaughtered by foxes just for the thrill of it, as I have, or a cow giving birth mutilated as many a farmer has experienced, perhaps she might take off her rose-coloured glasses and recognise foxes' true nature. They are an introduced animal that decimates livestock and native fauna and kills not only for food, but for the thrill of killing. The fewer of them in this country, the better for everything else.
Judy Witney, Lardner
CHRIS Owens (Letters, 24/12) has drawn attention to the devastating effects of foxes on our native wildlife. They are closely followed on the pest scale by domestic cats, which on average kill more than two native birds and animals per head a week.
Peter Knight, St Arnaud
A STUDY showing that only 15 per cent of babies are still breastfed at six months makes interesting reading. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study shows that more than 90 per cent of women initially breastfed their children. Why then the drop in subsequent months?
As a mother breastfeeding my second baby, I have never felt pressured to breastfeed. It has been my choice. But with that choice come babies that wake at night for feeds and limits on what I can do while feeding which is normal.
Yet I have lost count of the times I have been asked if my baby is "sleeping through yet", even though he is (and should be) waking for feeds. In my experience, the biggest pressure on mothers is to have a baby that sleeps. This seems to be the measure of a "good baby". Clearly women need support when they are at home to continue breastfeeding if they wish to. But I suggest that the bigger reason many mothers stop is because they strive to have that "good baby" that sleeps through the night.
A baby that doesn't sleep through the night is still a "good baby".
Melissa Macrae, Doncaster
SCOTT Rochfort (BusinessDay, 24/12) discusses the winners and losers of the past year. Rochfort needs to redefine his definition of losers. Regardless of the fortunes of the company and its shareholders, one look at the pay packets of the chief executives mentioned will show they are unambiguously winners.
Ross Hudson, Camberwell
Veterans' loyal friend
THE late Bruce Ruxton may have been controversial when proffering his views on a variety of subjects, but his achievements on behalf of the veteran community cannot be denied. After serving his country during World War II, Bruce Ruxton added more than 20 years of hard work in standing up for the rights of veterans.
Always loyal to our Queen, Bruce had little time for republicans or causes from the political left, but all the time in the world for his brethren in the veteran community. A gentle man to those who knew the real person, this loyal and decent Australian will be sadly missed.
Pastor Peter Curtis, Werribee South
Try a tree with life
DANNY Katz, we do not have a decaying corpse in our living room ("Christmas: a time for peace, love and corpses decaying in the living room", Forum, 24/12). Our Christmas tree is a living, breathing creature that comes inside once a year in its decorated pot and brings peace and joy to members of our family. Yes, Danny, there is a Christmas you can enjoy with a tree in the living room not a PVC one with arms you can fold down, but a living tree that grows with you each year.
Brian Morley, Nunawading
Online, bring it on
IT IS astonishing that retailers think we will have any sympathy for the move away from buying in stores to online shopping. For years retailers have become rich by putting enormous mark-ups on everything in Australia. Their greed resulted in fewer staff, generally dismal service, and overpriced goods. We shoppers are thrilled to have the opportunity to buy goods from overseas that are good quality and have a low price tag. And we are happy to support the postal service we love receiving our parcels. Shop owners beware.
Diane Johnson, Sassafras
The worst rank
ON THURSDAY night, with two female friends in the city at 2am, I've never felt so threatened or ashamed of my city. Thanks, Melbourne City Council, for introducing cab ranks into the city and almost turning me against Melbourne.
We had to wait 1? hours with a large group of drunk, frustrated people, all the while with my female friends being propositioned and insulted by drunk men. Putting large groups of drunk, frustrated people in one spot beggars belief. Have the people who came up with this plan ever been out in the city? The ability to hail a cab from wherever you can is a good, simple thing. Forcing drunk people into long queues is dangerous and a huge step in the wrong direction.
Eamon Hale, Kew
ON FRIDAY I drove down to Victoria from New South Wales for Christmas with Dad. Arriving at his place, I find him reading tomorrow's paper The Saturday Age. Now I know you folks pride yourself on being ahead of the eight ball, and particularly ahead of Sydney, but this is getting ridiculous. So I decided to write to the paper about this. But on going to the Letters section to look for the address, I discovered my letter was already there. I think I'll have a lie down now, it's all too much.
Jo Dodds, Bega, NSW