Letters / Schools on a dangerous course

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TIM Bavinton, in his article “Responsibility to make schools safer” (CN, March 30), says “(A) school should be (a) welcoming, safe and inclusive place for all students, families and staff”. Quite so.

quillThey are not made safer by a poorly conceived class program “All of us” ­(now on the Student Wellbeing Hub website), which broadcasts websites to students with direct links to sex sites and activist sites. A link in the ­Student Wellbeing Hub to ACON, which provided a list of “sex-on-premises venues”, was exposed in October, months after the initial exposure of many links in “All of us” in February 2016, in the Federal Parliament, by George Christensen. This is not a duty of care.

Further, schools are not made safer by promoting, through this program, a toilet and change room policy for the transgendered students and teachers, based purely on their preference. Having biological males in female toilets and change rooms, and vice versa, launches schools into new territory, and potentially sets up students and teachers for abusive situations. It may not be the first preference of the trans people, but they could be accommodated by separate facilities, and that would also respect the rights of straight people.

Tim Bavinton acknowledges that there may be genuine concerns, but he thinks they are out of proportion to the real issues. This reminds me that some years back, an acceptable response of a parent to a child complaining that someone had inappropriately touched them, was to dismiss them saying they were blowing it up out of proportion.

No, Tim, there are deeper issues at stake here. By placing the rights of LGBT students above straight students, you are voiding fundamental principles of democracy. The “Safe” Schools Coalition program sets schools on a potentially dangerous course.

Arthur Connor via email

Liberals aren’t listening

SENATOR Zed Seselja stood smiling behind the Prime Minister at a press conference because it was held in Canberra and Zed represents the Liberal Party in Canberra, not because of some hidden motive as columnist Mike Welsh would imply (Seven Days, CN, March 9).

PM Malcolm Turnbull would have done well to listen to Tony Abbott rather than blaming him for recent poor polling.

Abbott was simply reflecting what former Liberal voters have been telling their parliamentary representatives. Some MPs have been listening and have banded together, not to be “Deplorable” and reinstate Abbott, but in order to voice what their constituents have been telling them as to why they are no longer voting Liberal. This dissatisfaction is spilling over to all Liberals, even in state elections.

Conservative issues aside, many traditional Liberal voters are also disaffected financially.

Pensioners feel betrayed. They are branded as the cause of Australia’s economic problems.

However, it now costs $500,000 to enter nursing homes which have become user pay. Because some try to hang on to $500,000 in case one partner has to go into a nursing home, they are now punished at a rate of 7 per cent. It is impossible to obtain 7 per cent interest on their $500,000 in Australia’s current economic environment.

Contractors are also concerned at the rising retirement age. Their work involves physical work, which leads to arthritis and poor bone structure that causes a lot of pain when they work. They find it too difficult to work to 67 years of age.

Many people believe hard work builds businesses, not tax cuts as Turnbull would have Australians believe, and older people resent the fact that they have to suffer while businesses laugh all the way to the bank.

Rewa Bate, Coombs

Deprived of a childhood

SIX-year-old Yousra is the same age as the war in Syria. All she has known is war and, when my colleagues met her, she was playing hopscotch among the bombed-out buildings of Aleppo.

War cannot kill the imagination of a child. But it’s depriving millions of children like Yousra of a childhood.

This past week marks an unfortunate anniversary whereby the people of Syria have now endured an armed conflict that’s lasted longer than World War II. Imagine what it’s like for Yousra and her friends to live through 2190 days of war.

All kids deserve a childhood and a chance for a bright future. We can all do something to make that possible, whether it’s giving to the Syria appeal or just being kind to those who have fled the war.

Syria is now everyone’s crisis and every one of us can help. Find out how at redcross.org.au

Peter Walton, Australian Red Cross


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