Letters: Media’s disservice to educators

Cloud computing

It is imperative for members of the media to provide the public with a full understanding of the issues affecting our public schools. While squaring the blame on teachers may make for convenient newspaper copy, it does a disservice not only to educators but it fails every single public school student and their families.

Correna Haythorpe, federal president, Australian Education Union

Cloud computing Unions overreach in seeking bargaining fees

In their efforts to remain relevant in workplaces, union leaders are dramatically overreaching in their call to compel non-union members to pay unions a fee for their bargaining activities (“Why unions need bargaining fees”, January 24).

When Labor’s Fair Work Act was introduced in 2009, the then minister, Julia Gillard, made it expressly clear that bargaining fees would not be allowed. To walk that back would be a massive breach of faith with workers, especially where agreements are in reality often struck directly between employers and all their employees, with unions frequently just along for the ride.

Unions can, and often do, play a constructive role in our workplace relations system. That can be respected while still recognising that it is crucial that employees retain freedom of choice over whether they wish to join a union or pay for their representation in negotiations over workplace conditions.

The actions and positions taken by unions during bargaining, or more broadly, are often not supported by many individual employees. The compulsory bargaining fee demand is clearly a cover for the unions’ inability to convince employees of the value or benefit of their services.

The federal government needs to take a leaf out of the Gillard playbook and rule out any consideration of changes that would saddle workers with unnecessary and unjustified costs.

Innes Willox, chief executive, Ai Group

Cloud computing Anti-Voice minority shouldn’t win the day

It took 169 years to recognise the existence of our Indigenous brothers and sisters (1967 referendum). It took 204 years to recognise who were the true owners of Australia (Mabo 1992). It took 210 years for our government to say sorry for the above-mentioned obscenities. How long will it take for our Indigenous brothers and sisters to gain their Voice? Will the reactionary vocal minority win the day? I don’t think so, the majority of Australians are far better than that.

Jon Jovanovic, Lenah Valley, Tas

Cloud computing Education: a plan to dumb down society?

Amanda Stoker (“Education fix begins at home”, January 25) claims that the Labor Party’s performance in the education portfolio has been weak. She claims Labor has not the stomach to take on the unions to achieve reform. Without Julia Gillard’s “stomach” to implement NAPLAN against strong “squealing”, Stoker would not even have a measure to report declining educational standards.

Progressives don’t like “measures”. However, now that measures are in place, at least we know that fixing is needed.

Until children can proficiently decipher text, they cannot read. Give the children the skills to do this, like every child in every school could in the 1950s. Education then assisted those without parental guidance to progress and make a place in society.

Unfortunately, the old school teachers who taught classically were chucked out when Jeff Kennett found them far too wise and expensive. One could be forgiven for thinking that the overall plan is to dumb down society. Stoker is barking up the wrong tree.

Elizabeth Wirtz, Bass, Vic

Cloud computing Corporal punishment can prove effective

Australia is soft on crime and we all suffer for it. I asked a Singapore policeman, working in Australia, why there is hardly any crime in Singapore. He said caning criminals is very effective, they don’t want to come back again. Caning is applied carefully, by trained people. Secondly, jails are tough.

Corporal punishment works. Australia’s weak system of fines and community service orders is easily ignored. Major criminals should be jailed for life, low offenders should be caned, not jailed. Why do we continue to allow 1 per cent of Australians to cause misery for 99 per cent of us?

Joan Smith, Rye, Vic

Cloud computing Corporate breaches need to be deterred

Jim Chalmers’ anger at the behaviour of PwC is welcome (“Treasurer slams PwC tax leak as ‘shocking breach of trust’”). PwC profited by helping wealthy clients evade tax, while breaching every ethical code and a confidentiality agreement.

Bending the rules has long been tolerated by corporate Australia; a slap on the wrist, some bad press, and a fine are often seen as the cost of doing business. Only criminal proceedings will deter this type of behaviour.

Gabriel Dabscheck, Elsternwick, Vic

Cloud computing All signs of intelligence are most welcome

All power to Felicia Coco (“AI will give office workers time to ‘create, dream’” , January 25).

As the recipient of thousands of PR releases over the years, I’d welcome any sign of intelligence, artificial or not.

Dale Crisp, Brighton, Vic

Cloud computing Teachers can’t just be manufactured

Re: “Fast track to get NSW teachers qualified” (January 25) – the idea is doomed. Apart from the fact it comes from the Productivity Commission, which thinks education is just like manufacturing, the damage has been done by years of the media bashing teaching.
That has poisoned community attitudes, and isn’t letting up.

Roderick Smith, Surrey Hills, Vic

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