Parents desperately seeking social capital

Credit:Illustration: Jim Pavlidis

To submit a letter to The Age, email [email protected] Please include your home address and telephone number.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS

Parents desperately seeking social capital

Thank you, Julie Szego, for your insightful article on education segregation – “Still bound up in the old school tie” (Opinion, 7/7). One of the two most disconcerting things I have observed since coming to Australia, and Melbourne in particular, is the fascination with what private school one attended. (The other is the casual racism.)

My daughter who went to the University of Melbourne remarked on how many fellow students had no idea where her school (Williamstown High) was. Being a westie and a state school student, it seemed, was beyond the pale.

She was a very successful arts honours and masters graduate who has chosen to teach in the fast-growing outer-west in a government school. She enjoys the diverse community of students and parents who see education as a way towards social and economic improvement. The school takes all comers and is constantly looking at ways of improving student outcomes, and they are.

Once when she was young, we drove past her father’s former, very wealthy private school (Xavier College), and she was amazed at the difference between it and her school. “It looks like a castle,” she remarked. And it may as well have been. I tire of parents who boast of the sacrifices they have made to pay for a private education when what they are really wanting is social capital.
Linelle Gibson, Williamstown

Choosing not to be a burden on the state coffers

Whilst Julie Szego has great difficulty in hiding her disdain for private schools, the arguments for and against federal funding to them are clear and unambiguous. Parents who choose a private school education for their children are to be congratulated for choosing not to be a financial burden on the state coffers.

Given that many of these parents work hard and pay significant amounts of income tax, they are absolutely entitled to have a minuscule amount of these taxes returned to their child’s school to help fund its operations. But of course, these parents do not want to be congratulated. They just want to be left alone and not constantly criticised.

Just think, the more students attending private schools, the better off are those students who are still in the public education system. Similarly, people who tighten their belt buckles and buy private health insurance free up public health funds for the more needy. I say well done to parents who purchase a private school education for their children and to those people who buy private health cover. Thank you for being good citizens.
Timothy Habben, Hawthorn

How can we support a two-tiered education system?

Thank you, Julie Szego, for your brilliant summary of everything that is wrong with education in Australia. A truly egalitarian country would never condone such a system.
Todd Jorgensen, Healesville

Why many leftist parents opt for private schools

Julie Szego suggests it is strange that left-leaning, progressive Victoria is also very interested in the power of the “old school tie”. However, it is not so hard to understand. It is a long time since progressive Victorians could be assumed to support public schools by actually sending their kids to them. Recent election results show left-of-centre parties gaining an increased share of tertiary-educated voters. Those voters want their children to also have degrees or better, and so they determine which schools have the best record of getting students into university. It is not so mysterious.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills

The old-boys’ networks continue at federal level

Julie Szego lets some of the air out of private schools’ tyres But as long as we keep getting education ministers (eg, Alan Tudge and Dan Tehan) who are products of these schools (at least for some of their education), government mollycoddling and feather bedding are sure to continue.
Tony Haydon, Springvale

THE FORUM

Lure workers to the city

Lord mayor Sally Capp, the state opposition and business groups want to force public service staff back into CBD offices for three days a week (The Age, 8/7). Why should employees have to spend several hours a day in hideously congested travel and use overpriced CBD services?

Vibrancy comes from people wanting to be somewhere, not being made to attend against their will and suffering financial penalties as a result. Rather than force employees to return to the CBD, maybe government departments and private companies need to make it attractive for them to return.
Janine Truter, The Basin

Redesigning ’community’

The push to force workers back in the city is misguided. The opportunity provided by COVID-19 has enabled workers to achieve greater flexibility in their work-life balance. It also means we can move away from one major central business district and create satellite business communities closer to where people live.

This has the extra benefit of reducing the traffic streaming in and out of the CBD. This is a major opportunity to rethink and redesign where and how we work and live, and what community really looks like. Let us not waste it.
Denise Stevens, Healesville

The right location

I support the Salvos’ call to locate a safe injecting room in the Flinders Street precinct, near Elizabeth Street – “CBD safe injecting site makes sense for city’s recovery” (Opinion, 8/7). For too long, we have swept drug addiction and homelessness under the carpet.

Melbourne’s problems in these matters should be fully exposed to our politicians and the public. Hopefully, it will result in more energy spent solving the scourge of drug dependency and less on the early release of convicted drug dealers from jail.
Max Langshaw, Sunbury

A scourge on our city

Re Nicholas Reece’s article – “City must support good architecture” (Opinion, 6/7). At long last, there is acknowledgment that the majority of the skyscrapers going up in the city are hideous and add nothing to the character of Melbourne except profit for the developers.
Sylvia Kappadais, Ivanhoe East

Sadly, it’s poetic justice

While I have complete empathy for the people of Sydney, especially those with mental health issues, I cannot help but feel that it is karma. The New South Wales Premier and her side kick, Scott Morrison, showed contempt for Dan Andrews and the people of Victoria.

We in Victoria willingly followed our Premiers’s leadership because we trusted him and understood the need for the lockdowns. It seems that Sydney people struggle to follow their Premier on masks, parties, beach gatherings and unnecessary shopping. Maybe they are having the lockdown you have when you are not game enough to have a real lockdown.
Janey Morny, Hawthorn East

Importance of expertise

So Australia has another bloke in a uniform in charge, this time of the failed vaccine program. Until about 10 years ago, the federal Health Department was led by internationally renowned experts in vaccination delivery and pandemic preparedness, including the then secretary, Jane Halton. Now it has been reorganised and reduced in size, and it seems sidelined by a government which is failing to effectively deliver vaccinations to Australia.
Please relegate the military to defence, winning a just war in an ethical manner. Invest in a talented public service. Vaccination is not a war and gaming is not what we require. We need expertise, not bluster, and a competent, truthful government, not marketing campaigns.
Anne Mijch, retired infectious diseases physician, North Balwyn

Why we need John Frewen

Jen Hooper asks “why is a military man running the vaccine rollout” rather than the Prime Minister, Health Minister and health officials (Letters, 8/7). Surely, it is because military officers (and many business people) are trained to manage large workforces and the massive logistic systems that support them, whereas politicians are trained in how to get preselected and elected – and selling a $5 bill for $10. Some would call it marketing but others (myself included) might call it BS expertise. Ask yourself how many serious businesses recruit ex-pollies as a hands-on CEOs.
George McGregor, Malvern

The coup we don’t want

In a coup, the military deposes the government and assumes power. There is something wrong when the military side-steps the public service to take command of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Geoff Gowers, Merricks North

The cause of our deaths

My husband is 84 and in good health after a recent successful hip replacement, although this was followed by a deep vein thrombosis. He has been actively, but unsuccessfully, trying to get the Pfizer vaccine because he has a 20-year history of deep and superficial vein thrombosis. He also has a family history of blood clot death and his mother died from a stroke.

If he has the AstraZeneca and dies from a clot, would I be told that it was caused by a pre-existing condition? Would I be told the same if he catches the virus and dies from it? How many other older voters – and their families – are in the same predicament? Perhaps we should get together.
Val Kent, Mornington

How fortunes can change

As a Victorian, I have found it very annoying to listen to sneers, for months, from across the border telling us how we need our northern neighbours to manage COVID-19 control here. It is time for Scott Morrison’s golden girl to get on the blower to Dan Andrews for advice on how to get NSW’s outbreak to zero cases.

To further lift the spirits of Victorians when the worst of COVID-19 has passed, we need the AFL’s CEO Gil McLachlan to get State of Origin footy back. And what could be better than a NSW versus Victoria match? We would “stick it right up ’em” in the code that matters most. It would be gold, gold, gold to Victoria.
Stephen Love, Portarlington

Double travel standards

Apparently, Nick Kyrgios’ girlfriend was granted an exemption to travel overseas. Under what category? A compelling situation? In the national interest? Urgent business? It is nice for some who want to travel. A snort from me.
Wendy Hinson, Wantirna

Understanding our Nick

Paul McNamee’s article (Sport, 7/7) was insightful, sympathetic and an accurate summary of the situation where Nick Kyrgios, our flawed hero, finds himself at Wimbledon. McNamee lauds Kyrgios for being “the best show there is in all of sports”, but I think he would prefer to have that talent put towards a Grand Slam win. It was a pleasure to read and may there be more from McNamee.
Richard Blaze, Bentleigh

The loss of the GP…

With the cancellation of the grand prix, we have a perfect venue for a drive-through vaccination centre. There has been an upgrade to the road around Albert Park Lake, so queues would not interfere with normal traffic flow. Also, Melburnians are used to these roads being closed for prolonged periods. There are a few lanes near the pit stop for vaccinating people and the Albert Park Indoor Sports Centre probably has the facilities to be the hub of the program.
This is where the money which would have been spent on the GP should go.
Paddy Collins, Ormond

…is someone else’s gain

I have been cursing our vaccine hesitancy and inefficiency, and our fixation upon the potential of AstraZeneca to kill one person in a million while we overlook its major role in reducing the COVID-19 death rate in the United Kingdom from 500 a week to 20 a week.

But I reflected – when I heard about the further cancellation of the grand prix – that it is an ill wind that does not blow some good to someone, somewhere, somehow.
Colin Smith, Glen Waverley

Slow overseas migration

Marion Terrill and Lachlan Fox – “Taxpayers lose out in transport projects rush” (Opinion, 8/7) – fail to consider a key input to the reason infrastructure programs are rushed. The turbo-charged mass immigration program being run that added a Canberra’s worth of people every year (pre-COVID).

Perhaps we should acknowledge that we just cannot plan or build fast enough to keep up, and instead slow the demand side by reducing net overseas migration back to 70,000 people a year. Given the Liberals are addicted to cheap, imported labour to keep wages low and profits up while states bear the costs, I am not holding my breath for such sensible policy.
Kieran Simpson, Blackburn North

Keeping up with business

The corporate community is racing ahead of Australian climate policy – “Business fills carbon policy void” (The Age, 8/7). I have little doubt that our climate-regressive government will claim the positive outcomes as evidence of the success of its policies in its slow march towards reduction in carbon emissions.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

The overlooked pronoun

Ben Draper (Letters, 7/7) is right that “they” is a poor choice of a gender-neutral pronoun. How does one decide whether to make the verb singular or plural? There is a pronoun in Middle English that has fallen into disuse: “heo”. It once meant “she” but is no longer gender specific and contains “he”. Would that do the job?
Penelope Buckley, Kew East

Brutality of Taliban

Brian Sanaghan (Letters, 8/7) says that because the Taliban has seen off the Russians and the Americans, they deserve to form government. If you ignore the appalling treatment of women by the Taliban and that they do not want women to be educated or free, then it comes down to might. No thanks, the Taliban are a shocking bunch of people.
Douglas Potter, Surrey Hills

AND ANOTHER THING

Credit:Illustration: Matt Golding

Victoria

The easiest way to solve the problems of Crown Casino is to close it down. Permanently.
Geoff McDonald, Newtown

When the casino is shut down, as it surely must be, the homeless might be the beneficiaries.
John Rawson, Mernda

Hawthorn should get rid of Kennett and keep Clarkson.
Grant Nichol, North Ringwood

COVID-19

A piece of fish, two potato cakes and a jab please.
Rob Ward, Lake Tyers Beach

Do it the Australian way: everybody who’s been vaccinated goes into a raffle. First prize is a house.
Bruce King, Malvern East

How hard can it be for the government to provide vaccine for Australian citizens isolated overseas? It would be a sign of good will and understanding.
Maureen Johns, Castlemaine

Breaking: Frydenberg announces “Prick and Collect” at a Bunnings near you. DIY not an option.
Ray Peck, Hawthorn

Don’t fret, Gladys. We can tell you that the first 90 days of a lockdown are the hardest.
Russell Kenery, Red Hill

People over 60, and with comorbidities, should be given a choice of vaccine (to remove hesitancy). This should be the priority group.
Dileep Singh, Templestowe

Honest Gladys doesn’t have a lockdown. It’s a “stay at home order”. She must have learnt the marketing spin from ScoMo.
Ken McLeod, Williamstown

Furthermore

”They” is not an appropriate pronoun for description of male or female in legislation. How about “one”?
Peter Cash, Wendouree

At one stage we used to print “s/he” to solve a problem.
Joan Peverell, Malvern

Steve Hocking to leave the AFL. Hopefully it will end its obsession with tampering with the rules.
Phil Lipshut, Elsternwick

The Age’s editor, Gay Alcorn, writes an exclusive newsletter for subscribers on the week’s most important stories and issues. Sign up here to receive it every Friday.

Most Viewed in National

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article