LETTERS

Fessing up has its advantages

Fessing up has its advantages

CONFESSION can be good for the soul and often good for the confessor. As Craig Thomson's statement to Parliament draws nearer, I am reminded of another political figure who belatedly confessed his sins, apologised to his nation and is now regarded as one of the more respected past US presidents Bill Clinton. In an instant, much of the heat would be gone from the alleged Thomson scandal if he confessed and genuinely apologised to HSU members, his constituents and the ALP. Parliament could again focus on governing and Mr Thomson might find himself on the lecture circuit in years to come.

Peter Nesveda, Malvern

Hard to believe

NO MATTER how vehemently Craig Thomson claims he was set up, it will not be convincing unless he takes his claims to police. If I had been the victim of such a dastardly criminal scheme, I would have notified the police immediately. Even after a number of years Thomson has mystifyingly and doggedly refused to engage those authorities who could pursue those allegedly behind it. If Mr Thomson doesn't believe in his allegations enough to take action, why would fair-minded Australians believe them?

Jeremy Browne, Ripponlea

Shaky credentials

LAST week Tony Abbott told us that it's now many years since the GFC passed. This week, David Murray, a past chairman of the Future Fund, tells us "we're going to have 15 more years of difficulty while we gradually work our way out of that problem", referring to the cause of the GFC ("15 hard years ahead, says Murray", The Age, 16/5). Looks like Peter Costello's assessment of Abbott's economic credentials was spot-on. Let's hope the Liberals have the sense and courage to install Malcolm Turnbull as leader.

Walter Valles, Clayton South

Don't blame others

OH, the poor little BHP executives ("BHP flags an end to the boom", The Age, 17/5). The winds of commodity prices have changed direction (as they always would), so they now try to blame the Australian government and workers for their poor results. In fact, they are trying to distract shareholders from the their poor decisions, such as the disastrous venture into shale gas in the US, paying peak prices for a business that is now worth a lot less ("BHP mans all pumps in the US", BusinessDay, 15/5).

Joe Juchniewicz, Netherby, SA

Warped priorities

SO, JOE Hockey is lukewarm in funding the National Disability Insurance Scheme and wonders how to properly fund it ("Hockey doubt on disability funds", The Age, 17/5). Mr Hockey, this insurance scheme costs one-eighth over four years ($1 billion) of what negative gearing costs taxpayers every year ($8 billion). Your reluctance to fund the NDIS shows taxpayers where your distorted priorities lie. I encourage you to spend a day with a family who has a disabled child in fact I encourage all those receiving negative-gearing benefits to spend a day with a disabled child or adult. Families with disabilities work hard to have our children reach their best potential with very little government aid. Those living without disability in their homes should count themselves lucky. I know that I would rather pay a levy or extra tax than have the daily financial and emotional burden of a disabled child.

Sarah Wilson, Ashwood

Evolution of art

I BET Banksy loves the changes to his art work in Prahran, ("Banksy art goes down the drain", The Age, 16/5). Street art is ephemeral and transient by nature. Thanks to the random intervention of a mob of plumbers it's no longer two-dimensional it's three dimensional! Also "rat" is a Banksy anagram for "art" its treatment here is a perfect endorsement of what he's on about. It's beautiful.

John Laurie, Newport

Deserving praise

IT WAS heartening to hear that Emma Steinfort can leave her children in the care of her mother-in-law "without any anxiety because I know they love our kids as much as we do" ("Grandparents bear greater share of childcare duties", The Age, 17/5). I also have the luxury of going to work anxiety-free as my daughters are left in the care of formal childcare providers wonderful, professional women who also love my children. They feed them, play with them, comfort them and listen intently when they have something to say. And they do all this with a smile for about a tenth of the pay they deserve.

Kate Gotlib, Richmond

It's a gamble

ANY fool can tell you that high yield equals high risk where investing is concerned. So why should all the other superannuation holders and the general taxpayer bail out these individuals who took their chance with Trio Capital? Is anyone prepared to compensate me for the tens of thousands I have lost on poker machines? No, and I don't expect them to. It's simple: these people gambled and they lost.

Michael Higgins, Erica

Test trouble

I AM one of the people who did not know that NAPLAN wasn't compulsory, and so I did the tests this week. My year level has been studying for this test in English for three weeks now. This seemed to confuse my class as we were supposed to be writing a report on a book that we were to read, but we started working on NAPLAN practice tests. This made me extremely stressed as we have all kinds of homework and we are studying for a test that doesn't go towards our final grades.

First we had "spelling and grammar". We had to wait 10 minutes as the teacher read the instructions as if we had never done the test before. We had 45 minutes, but I finished with 20 minutes to spare, so I spent that time making sure only the bubbles were shaded in and staring out the window. It makes it very hard when you have to write an essay with five minutes to plan and structure a whole piece on "Why everyone should learn to cook". This was a stupid topic. Surely, there is a better topic, with some actual meaning, such as, "Was it fair that Joan of Arc was burnt for being a female hero?", or something with a two-sided argument.

So instead I wrote a list of my favourite foods and books and a letter stating my views. You can make NAPLAN compulsory, but it doesn't mean students will write what they are told. We are rebellious teens, with opinions on things greater than cooking.

Camille Thomas, St Kilda

Who is responsible?

WHAT a tragedy it will be for the teaching profession if the plaintiff in the Geelong Grammar lawsuit has her case upheld ("School failed to get me into law", The Age, 17/5). As it is, teachers are responsible for so much in an adolescent's life, and it is a common scenario for parents to blame failure on the men and women who supervise their children eight hours a day. I have no knowledge of Ms Ashton-Weir, her abilities beyond what she professes, or why she declined offers to study law at other institutions.

What I do know is this: we aim for the stars, but we don't always get there blame doesn't always come into it. I've taught year 12 for the best part of a decade, and there are generally other factors that decide the outcome of a study score and university offer that are closer to home.

Kate Tanner, Seymour

Plodding along

WE MELBURNIANS are indeed privileged to witness, yet again, the efficiency of our public transport projects. I am, of course, referring to the tram-stop constructions in Swanston Street, operating as they are at an archaeological-dig pace. Shanghai manages to construct two new complete train lines in two years, whereas nowadays it seems to take us longer to finish these piffling works than it did to construct the Snowy Mountains Scheme. Every time I pass the sites, I notice idle machinery and only a handful of workmen. Talk about a lack of urgency, not to mention inconvenience to all concerned.

David Coorey, Brunswick

Getting it out

WHY the gloom about communication in the modern world? ("We can communicate clearly, but who listens anyway?", Comment, 17/5)? Yes, language can be misconstrued in a million different ways however, isn't this the basis of dialogue and healthy debate?

It's also a significant that we are, in fact, listening and paying attention to what's going on around us and want to make sense of what we're confronted with daily. The alternative could be a deathly silence.

There are so many ways of communicating with smartphones and the social media world, not to mention email and the good old-fashioned face-to-face. Listening, but also putting forth one's perspective, is surely what keeps things interesting.

Stephanie Omizzolo, Reservoir

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