PHILLIP O'Neill again takes our governments to task for failing to provide adequate early childhood education for pre-schoolers ('Kicking early childhood can down the road', Newcastle Herald, 10/6). Professor O'Neill makes a critical point in respect to pre-school education: "Nothing succeeds like education in preparing for the future: getting a job, staying healthy, living fruitfully among others". He could add: "and not becoming a criminal". I understand there has been a great deal of research conducted overseas and in Australia that points to children who received quality education from an early age being resistant to the temptation, or indeed the need, to become involved in criminal activities. One longitudinal study I recall, which began in 1962 in Michigan USA, followed two large groups of children aged three and four and reviewed their progress and status every seven years (and is still doing so, with a remarkably low attrition rate). One group was provided high-quality early education and the other group was not. Apart from the former group showing, in their adult years, much higher levels of education, salaries, job retention and home ownership, they also had markedly reduced levels of criminal offending - by factors of four or five. The message here is that early childhood education is also a crime prevention tool.
John Ure, Mount Hutton
One costly 'mistake'
CONGRATULATIONS to the community of Port Stephens, and the Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington, for finally convincing the Liberal government that the Mambo Wetlands site, that was sold 'by mistake' by the government in 2016, had to be returned to public ownership. The land was sold for $250,000 and reportedly bought back by the government for $420,000, a loss of $170,000. And this is from a government that describes itself as 'strong economic managers'. Really? That $170,000 could have been used to buy equipment for local hospitals (three dialysis machines for example), but it has been lost forever as a result of the Liberal government's mistake. Something to keep in mind at the next state election.
Grant Kennett, Corlette
Our horrible history
INDIGENOUS rugby players don't know how lucky they are. I would first like to congratulate the rugby players for not participating in the singing of the national anthem, displaying courage and leadership in a non confrontationist way. I should point out that I am not Indigenous, but do identify with their culture and their respect for the land. Let us consider how lucky they are, firstly when the Englishmen arrived they were forced off their land, they died from introduced diseases, they were shot, poisoned, they were considered less than human. They have since been persecuted, downtrodden and racially abused. The incarceration rate, infant mortality, life span, physical and mental health are well below national standards. If you really want to know how good they had it, I suggest that you read the book the Myall Creek Massacre which will give you an insight into how they were treated. If we really want an inclusive country may I suggest that we start a conversation about changing our flag and our national anthem that recognises the first inhabitants who have lived on this continent for 60,000 years?
Robert Masterson, Adamstown
Another attack on ABC
THE AFP showed incredibly poor taste when they raided the ABC. They took files related to military ops. The AFP could have confiscated new episodes of Midsomer Murders and Father Brown. The ABC is threatening to screen these programs soon. If the AFP was doing their job, they would have prioritised their legalised thieving and given more importance to saving ABC viewers from endless servings of those shows. I think it's clear the AFP takes its orders from the government. Meanwhile, for ABC viewers, it's just another government attack on our much-loved public broadcaster.
John Butler, Windella Downs
The age of fear
AFTER being brought up in a two-bedroom miners cottage in Cardiff without hot water, inside toilet and all the modern appliances, I find it difficult to understand the perceived problems our younger generation appear to hold as their right to advise the older generation on what the future holds. I admit I am a True Blue Liberal, but after all, everyone in this great democratic country has the right to voice their opinions. My dad would most probably turn over in his grave if he realised my political aspirations. I have worked as a construction engineer all over Australia and realised that Newcastle is a great city with all that is required for a very comfortable and great way of life and returned in 1986. I remember in the 1950s having been told to dive under my school desk with my hands over my head in the event of a nuclear attack. A similar problem is perceived with "global warming" now dumbed down to "climate change". It is ludicrous that we have children on social media and TV breaking into tears because the world will end due to global warming. The northern hemisphere had a severe winter with Greenland ice caps increasing in size and recently Melbourne having the coldest May temperature in many years. How many humans caused the Ice Age?
John Mulhearn, Newcastle
Earning enough to pay
SARAH Taylor (Letters, 8/6), if your children are paying "huge" taxes then they are earning huge incomes. If that is the benefit of tertiary education why should they not pay for that via HECS? As for franking credits, the myth is that all beneficiaries are from the "top end of town". Labor simply needed to put a cap on the amount an individual could receive and they would have won support, instead they attacked hard-working savers. The repeated use of terms such as "top end of town" "gift" and "unfair" by the most self entitled group in our country ie pollies, angered many who would have otherwise voted Labor. And now those same pollies have their hands out for a pay rise.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
Learn from the past
JUDD Nightingale (Short Takes, 8/6) accuses me of not showing respect for our servicemen. No one has spoken up more for our servicemen and women than I, from speaking out about how they are not given the care and respect on returning home, to sending them into unnecessary, unwinnable deployments. What is disrespect to those that have sacrificed so that we may live in peace is the ease that the present government ignores those lessons from the past and goes to the lengths of lies and deceit to involve us in civil and cultural wars that we can not win and should not be involved in.