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pandemic leadership has left us exposed

Your correspondent’s letter was a great relief as it assured me I was not alone (Letters, June 23). A retired teacher, I also tutor privately and despair that I am often doing the work that should have been done at school. I have several Year 5 and Year 6 public school students who haven’t had a formal spelling lesson all year. There are some whose handwriting resembles the trail of an inebriated ant crawling through spilled coffee because they’ve had no formal handwriting lessons since Year 3. I am loath to mention a Year 8 boy from a private school who understands quite well how to solve quadratic equations but reached for the calculator to work out how many sixes in 42. Yes, there are also students who are well taught and come to help to better prepare themselves, but I detect a general malaise in the system. Lockdowns and remote learning are part of the problem but low pay, long hours preparing outside of school hours and overburdensome bureaucratic requirements are the main reasons. As someone who participated in the massive 1968 teachers’ strike that ensured significant breakthroughs in working conditions and salaries, I am with the striking teachers in spirit. Richard Fry, Marrickville

Your correspondent pointed out that not so long ago teachers and politicians shared the same pay rate. I’d like to add politicians’ working conditions have improved since then. These days, they each have a fully equipped office, at least four staff, and are paid twice as much as many teachers. In the meantime, the only benefit given to teachers was two hours of relief from face-to-face teaching in the ’80s. Every salary increase “given” was also very hard won. Jane Norman, Kotara South

NY job a poor look for premier

With Premier Dominic Perrottet shifting blame for John Barilaro’s appointment to a senior public servant, the concept of ministerial responsibility is officially dead (“Premier vows to act on NY job for Barilaro”, June 23). Gone are the days when a minister accepted blame for bad decisions. Ministers and premiers are the final arbiters of a decision, no matter what. That’s how government works — public servants advise and elected officials make the final decision. The premier’s latest action is simply to avoid the blame as he knows the whole thing stinks like a week-old fish. And a fish usually stinks from the head. The fish needs to go. Greg Oehm, Moss Vale

Perrottet can run but he can’t hide. Busy with weeks of pre-budget, pre-election cash splash, our self-styled “reformer” claims that he knew nothing about this smelly appointment. $500K per year would go a long way providing a living wage to teachers and health workers. Mark Paskal, Austinmer

Given the recent public debate offerings of surviving federal Liberals, it appears they are in denial (“Facing the rising tide of ethics,” June 23). However, with the emergence of a federal ICAC and new respect for proper governance, with apologies to game of Thrones, winter is coming for them. As Chris Wallace points out, the state Liberals need to move from their right-wing ideology if they are to have any hope of surviving. Proper wage increases and respect for essential workers might help, but jobs for the boys certainly will not. Geoff Nilon, mascot

Perhaps the premier should ensure public service recruitment guidelines are followed and not interfered with as they are designed to overcome situations such as this. Better governance and forward-thinking regarding decision-making is needed at the upper levels of the NSW government. Premier, you are not looking like a leader as you seem to be chasing your tail and revisiting decisions made under your leadership. Jobs for the boys is not a good look. This appointment doesn’t pass the pub test. Robert Mules, Corlette

Premier, if you want to differentiate yourself from the tarnished Liberal brand of your federal counterparts, you need to stop behaving like them. Anne Skates, Bomaderry

Schools undermined

Liberal governments display their true colors when they obfuscate and delay building new public schools, high schools in particular (“Crowded classes: Schools promised four years ago yet to start construction”, June 23). When Terry Metherell was Liberal education minister, he sold off so many public schools that we now have a crisis of overcrowding. A National Party education minister, Adrian Piccoli, who was an early supporter of the Gonski reforms, was probably the best education minister NSW has had in a long time. Liberals’ puerile ideological battles with unions is why they don’t fund public education at either a state or federal level. David McMaster, Mosman

Needless tax

What’s missing in the argument between up front and ongoing costs is an explanation for why the family home should be taxed at all (“Labor must come to the table on proposed land tax”, June 23). By all means tax investment properties, but why tax me on my after-tax income spent on keeping me and my family safe, warm and dry?
Rurik MacKenzie, Summer Hill Creek

Stephen Crichton ahead of Origin II.Credit:Getty

sport as savior

From Samoa, via Mt Druitt to the peak of NRL, Stephen Crichton personifies, like a number of his Penrith teammates, the power of sport to change lives (“Inside Crichton’s rise from the loungeroom floor to Origin furnace”, June 23). The Penrith success story in 2021 was characterized by locally raised players such as this and has now graduated to the State of Origin stage. More power to them, and go, Blues. Max Redmayne, Drummoyne

trump fantasyland

Donald Trump’s claim that the election was stolen defies logic. With 50 different state electoral boards supervising the elections it would require many of these state bodies to be corrupted to change the results. This just couldn’t happen. (“I will not break my oath”, June 23). It is impossible that with so many people needed to be involved in an attempt to rig the election that no one has blabbed. Ben Franklin nailed it with “three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead”. Incidentally, the same logic debunks the moon landing conspiracy theory.

What is most distressing about this situation is that vast numbers of Americans have abandoned all logic to support Trump’s ridiculous claims. Even more appalling is that millions of dollars have been donated to his fake fighting fund from him. With Trump’s track record of conning gullible people out of their money, it is hard to imagine so many fools still believing in him and supporting him financially. Richard Keyes, Enfield

Budget boost for EVs

Your correspondent writes that the NSW budget provided no incentives for or increase in infrastructure for electric vehicles (Letters, June 23). This is not true.

Incentives and rebates for EV purchases were implemented last year, and this budget added $18 million for additional fast-charging stations on top of the $149 million already allocated, $10 million for 500 kerbside residential charging points where off-street parking is limited, and $10 million for EV charging electrical upgrades at apartments.

Credit where credit is due. Brenda Jones, Annandale

The real criminals

In our modern world, where moral principles are alarmingly distorted by economic, governmental and corporate interests, Bob Brown speaks truth to power (Letters, June 23). The brave people who seek to protect the very environment that we need to thrive and survive are frequently deemed “radical” or “extreme” and are often prosecuted for exercising their democratic right. Those most dangerous to society are those who break the laws of nature and think we can endlessly extract fossil fuels, destroy habitats and pollute our waterways and oceans without consequence. Read the IPCC reports. It is time to wake up to environmental injustice. And fast. Amy Hiller, Kew (VIC)

slowly does it

Bravo Harold Scruby (“It’s time to put the foot back in footpath”, June 23). I am a cyclist but find it alarming to be confronted with speeding cyclists and scooters while I am walking in shared zones. It shocks me to read that speed limits in these areas are the same as for the nearby roads. I agree that a speed limit of 10 km/h in shared zones should be legislated and enforced, unless otherwise signed. Lives are at stake. Ross Mewton, North Bondi

heads in the sand

Those Beaches Link deniers are so shortsighted (Letters, June 23). Surely it is environmentally better that roads, or better still rail, goes underground. The noise and congestion disappear. A few years pain above ground for some is worth it in the end for everyone. Elaine HoyleAvalon Beach

just cos

I romaine convinced that “lettuce to the editor” appease readers cos they butter them up (Letters, June 23). Helen Moran, Woollahra

If I must consume word salad, I would prefer it undressed, viz, sans spinaigrette. David Brooker, Gladesville

Lettuce to the editor? Worth their weight in gold. Jennifer Nicholls, Armadale (Vic)

The digital view

Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Lack of affordable housing set to cost Australia $25ba year
desde SV650: ″⁣I can’t help thinking that the billions to be spent on cross town rail could be better spent on affordable housing.″⁣

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