PRIME Minister Scott Morrison wants to know how Labor would fund its offer of free preschool education. He poured cold water on a plan accepted across the world. Few countries force parents to pay for preschool education.
For many Australian families, this is an exciting offer they would struggle to afford under the Coalition. Mr Morrison's supporters from privileged electorates can already pay for preschool and private education.
Mr Morrison's priorities are elsewhere. He just gave private schools $7 billion, but he wants to know how Labor would cost free preschools. The answer is simple. It's called the Federal Budget, Mr Morrison. It's where you get the money to put underwater cameras in the pools of private schools, where you send your own children.
Mr Morrison has his Coalition priorities but Australian families want the best for their younger children as they struggle with high rents, high power prices and low wage growth. Instead of asking stupid questions, the Morrison government should back this worthwhile, fully-costed plan.
John Butler, Windella Downs
Silent noise for victims
REPORTS in the Newcastle Herald about a former St Pius X teacher being found guilty of sexually abusing his students is confirmation that many victims who reported this crime to school authorities were lied to and abandoned at a time of greatest need for them (‘Convicted’, Herald, 6/10). Unimaginably, a victim was severely punished by his father when the boy told him about a sexual assault. This is an example we have heard many times, and I am unable to comprehend how the perpetrators and organisations who have covered up this crime (and the scale on which took place) are still in denial that these travesties took place. After six years since the royal commission began we find victims having to face expensive, criminal procedures against the perpetrators of these crimes. It has been well documented that the response from the Catholic Church has been appalling hence the need for the aforementioned action. I have placed ribbons on the school fence at Pius X three times and they have been removed. The movement is called the "Loud Fence" and the objective is to express to all those who have suffered sexual abuse that the community is supporting them.
This is a heinous crime that the Catholic Church and other organisations are responsible for. We will not give up seeking justice for victims, and a small gesture of contrition will be not to remove the latest Loud Fence at Pius X School.
Pat Garnet, Wickham
Riches of past punt
THERE has been much indignation over the advertising of a horse race on the sails of the Opera House. If the indignation and brouhaha is to be channelled in the right direction, a total ban on all alcohol and gambling advertising should be implemented like the total ban on the advertising of tobacco products. However, we would do well to remember that the Opera House was built with the proceeds of gambling. The Opera House lottery was introduced in November of 1957 and continued until September 1986. The first prize was £100,000 at a ticket price of £5. There were 496 lotteries drawn, raising $102,000,000 by 1986.
So, there were lots of punters way back then who were prepared to part with their hard-earned cash in the hope of winning the big prize. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so self-righteous about an ad for horse racing on the Opera House sails.
Les Field, Wickham
Stop religious ‘nonsense’
KEVIN McDonald (Letters, 10/10) states that the "Church" has a relentless grip on the minds of children in our public schools. How true. We are allowing religious instruction in public primary schools that encourage children to “attend Mass to celebrate and thank God for religious education in schools". Religion is a control mechanism; a form of brainwashing that interferes with the thought process of our children. It’s time to stop this nonsense.
Frank Tweedie, Raworth
Plan to scrap it
I BELIEVE Lake Macquarie City Council did not give proper consideration to all relevant planning documents before committing up to $1 million to the preparation of a DA for their proposed Bath Street development on the Toronto foreshore.
This land is classified as “Coastal Use Area” under the Coastal Management SEPP. The management objectives for this zone include “ensuring that … the type, bulk, scale and size of the development is appropriate for the location and natural scenic quality” of the foreshore. As the document puts it: “Development in this area must maintain and improve the scenic, social and cultural values of the coast for the enjoyment of current and future generations.”
I believe a six-storey building within this zone would destroy rather than improve the foreshore’s “natural scenic quality”. The enjoyment of “scenic values” would be restricted to a few permanent residents and some tourists seeking accommodation, not the general “use and enjoyment” of “current and future generations”.
This proposed six-storey building is located within the Toronto Town Centre Heritage Area. Any development here must meet specified objectives, including: “To maintain the low small-scale built form between the lake and the rail line” and “to maintain foreshore setbacks and heights compatible with the residential scale of historical development along the lake foreshore”.
Clearly the proposed development violates both of these objectives, lying as it does between the lake and the railway line, and exceeding, as it does, the heights of historical foreshore developments. When will the council admit this proposal does not meet proper planning parameters?
This ill-conceived plan should be scrapped before it costs ratepayers further.
Robert Ireland, Toronto
Economics for renewable
STOP fretting about the Paris agreement, Jim Gardiner (Letters, 6/10), or a federal government which has no credible energy policy. It is now economics, not the environment, making the transformation to renewable energy unstoppable.
Renewables are now clearly cheaper than coal, and costs are still falling. The Australian Energy Market Operator, who manage the operation of the national energy grid, understand it better than anyone. They have proposed an integrated system plan for the grid’s future based largely on renewables with storage, some gas peaking plants, and timely closure of unreliable ageing coal plants. They see no need for new high efficiency low emission coal plants which would require a much higher generation price to be profitable.