The only things positive about Bill Shorten’s career have been the negatives: few examples, abandonment of union members in dealings with employers, his choice of Kevin Rudd as ALP leader and prime minister, the shafting of Rudd for Gillard (“Hawke shows a united front in backing Shorten”, May 15).
He had no credibility in the past and he has none now. Bob Hawke he most certainly is not. – Ron Elphick, Buff Point
On Saturday many electors will have an opportunity to vote for local, non-career-politician independent candidates (Letters, May 15).
We have seen a decade of our Parliament being dysfunctional, dominated by factional wars and seemingly controlled by big media/corporate/union groups.
The big parties will claim a strong crossbench leads to instability but how much stability have the major parties provided in the past decade? – Andrew Waites, Mosman
My one hope is whoever wins on Saturday does so with a modest working majority and just gets on with governing well. – Adrian Connelly, Springwood
I would like to offer my congratulations to Labor and the Greens for being able to mistakenly convince a large portion of the electorate that climate change is virtually the only issue for this election.
For Millennials, I can understand this, as it is the flavour of the month. But as a retiree, I am flabbergasted it has made inroads into Baby Boomers as well.
I appeal to these people to open your eyes, and remember franking credits, negative gearing and superannuation changes will affect you directly. The environment is important, but keep it in perspective. – Jeff Cook, West Pennant Hills
The big disconnect in this election is voters are thinking further ahead than politicians focused on the election cycle.
There are many uncertainties about the future but we can be certain that in five years climate change will be worse and driving rapid environmental and economic change globally.
Politicians need to realise their current promises are just the first bids in a race that is going to get harder for decades to come. – Greg Reid, Mount Burrell
Many people are looking forward to Saturday so they can indulge in a “democracy sausage”.
I first voted in 1969, so I have seen my share of polling stations. Never once – whether at a federal or state election, referendum or council election – have I ever been offered a “democracy sausage”, or a “republican rissole” or an “election egg and bacon roll”. Nothing. Never seen so much as a barbecue hot plate.
Why are some electors being pandered to like this (the fed end of town?), while others are left to go hungry in this prosperous country? – Richard Mason, Newtown
School funding reveals harsh lesson in inequality
Between 2007-08 and 2016-17, state and federal funding grew 22 per cent, while public funding for non-government schools grew 46 per cent (“Private schools soak up funding”, May 15).
Private schools have a magnificent library, a 50 metre swimming pool and state-of-the-art theatre, while the public school across the road can’t fit all its students in the school hall for a weekly K-6 assembly.
As for having both students and parents in the hall for an end-of-year assembly; impossible. Most schools have a rollerdoor at the back of the hall and the older students and parents spill outside in all types of weather.
But a public school education is still a wonderful experience despite the lack of funding. – Helen Simpson, Curl Curl
The outrageous difference between private and Catholic, and public school funding is a national disgrace.
But just as importantly, it is a reflection of how our nation has become self-seeking over the past several decades.
We are now a “me, me, me” society, takers not givers, which has been consciously nurtured by our political class.
And how many politicians send their children to private and Catholic schools? Win, win.
Sadly, whether we ever return to the Australian fair go is in the hands of the same politicians. – Bert Candy, Glenvale QLD
“Private schools soak up funding”; well, knock me down. I confidently predict that you’ll be writing similar headlines in 10 years. – Stephen Saunders, O’Connor ACT
With the growing disparity between the resourcing of state and private schools, many parents choose to enrol their child in a private religious school in the hope of getting their child a “better education”. Who can blame them?
Although such parents may get more tax dollars directed at their child, they may also be required to waive their right to choose what their child is taught, particularly regarding religious beliefs. – Geoff Black, Caves Beach
It would be worthwhile for parents who educate their children in public schools, to note how the Morrison government views their child’s education.
Public school funding is a non-priority and their child’s education is of secondary importance. So much for the premise that this government is a government for all. – John Cotterill, Kingsford
Let’s just keep giving to the big end of town from the very beginning shall we?
The divisions then are very clear and not easily breached. Or maybe a little piece of the cake could be spared for the public schools yet. – Janice Creenaune, Austinmer
Baffling stance shows Abbott must go
In attempting to undermine the credibility of Zali Steggall, Warringah MP Tony Abbott makes the astounding statement that “Labor has a much better climate change policy than the Coalition” and, therefore, Steggall, whose priority is climate change, cannot be trusted when she claims to favour the Coalition (“Ring tones: Abbott goes mobile in Warringah”, May 15).
I wish him a speedy recovery from the gunshot wound to his foot. – Cliff Jahnsen, Bowral
Abbott’s pitch to voters illustrates why he has to go. Apart from the usual platitudes of “if you want your taxes kept low, if you want to keep your community safe, you’ve gotta vote Liberal”, his main message is about the Beaches Link tunnel which is primarily a state issue.
He fails to understand that we expect our federal government to deal with the big issues, in particular climate change, about which he has done nothing and he hopes will go away. – Peter Nash, Fairlight
Leave Tony Abbott alone you TV-watching, iPhone-addicted, flat-white-coffee drinking, comfortable-armchair critics. Get up, go out and don’t sit down again all day until dinner time, then see what you think about Abbott’s efforts. – Mary Julian, Glebe
No, Edward Loong (Letters, May 15), the toddler with Abbott wasn’t bored (or scared, for that matter), because he knew he was in “safe hands”. – Carolyn Wills, Cremorne
PM turns loan ranger
PM Morrison’s lone announcement regarding assistance to new home buyers without reference to his cabinet reflects his inability to be a team player (“First home scheme: warnings on debt”, May 15).
He appears to be content to bulldoze his way over the horizon leaving his colleagues bereft of any opportunity to jump on his bandwagon. – Howard Spicer, Bondi Beach
Shame on Labor “jumping on the train” to support this last-minute Coalition policy announcement. Note also that the Coalition plan is to dump these obviously more risky mortgage contracts onto the second tier banks.
The top end wins again. – Austin Driscoll, Forresters Beach
Faith in politics
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten’s latest attack on Prime Minister Scott Morrison over his religious interpretation of gays, clearly demonstrates he is unfit to occupy the PM’s office (“Hell and hot water for leaders on gay rights”, May 15). – Brad Crosling, Wahroonga
When asked about Israel Folau and whether he also believed that gays go to hell, Morrison said “I don’t mix my religion with politics or my faith with politics”.
However, when he became PM, his first priority was not the economy, climate change, education or health, it was religious freedom. Even though his electorate voted overwhelmingly in favour of same sex marriage, Morrison abstained from the final vote on the floor of Parliament.
Morrison has shown that, despite what he says, to a large extent his political decisions are guided and influenced by his religious ideals. – Peter Martina, Warrnambool
The media have no right to question the religious beliefs of our leaders and whether gay people will go to hell. Let us not forget that the last Parliament had a conscience vote on whether to allow same sex marriage in our society.
Parliament did the right thing and the matter is closed. Leave our leaders alone on this issue. Politics and religion do not mix. – Michael Blissenden, Dural
Maybe it’s time to determine this matter or who is destined for hell through our traditional Australian fallback process: a royal commission. – Barry Lamb, Heidelberg West VIC
When will Christian schools be prepared to offer the same religious freedoms they are demanding for their employees (“Parents urged to vote for religious freedom”, May 15)? As an experienced teacher of mathematics, I notice that their job advertisements often place more emphasis on the religious affiliation of prospective applicants than on their teaching qualifications. – Jennifer Killen, St Peters
Perhaps what is fair is freedom of religious expression leavened with the Christian principle of doing no harm to others. – Des Mulcahy, Berrara
Big task for Stokes
Welcome back to the vexed planning portfolio Minister Rob Stokes. I welcome a review of the millionaire “spot-rezoning” factory (”Stokes targets developers’ rezoning tactics”, May 15).
There needs to be complete attitudinal overhaul at planning, however, where ordinary citizens and communities are not seen as NIMBYs, but rather as an important resource, and the primary stakeholders, in planning.
Local knowledge is vital for identifying development opportunities and potential disasters. The system has not worked well, as it has resulted in an era of ethically challenged developer-led planning. – Marie Healy, Hurlstone Park
The cost to the community resulting from spot rezoning is enormous in terms of social disruption and financial cost. It is to be hoped the minister is given the freedom to carry out his plans in Parliament. The sooner the better for us all. – Chris Hornsby, Bayview
Trump too dangerous
The world has had plenty of time to understand the psychology of US President Donald Trump, and his need to provoke action from the leadership of Iran who have complied with the nuclear deal so far, despite the US sanctions and abandonment of the agreement (“Talk of war only makes it harder to contain Iran”, May 15).
As intelligence and media investigations in the US place him under greater jeopardy day by day, there is no limit to what he will instigate to distract.
This is highly dangerous because although he personally is a coward, the hawks like John Bolton may be driving the show.
The foreign minister after the election must be clear that the US does not have our support. – Louise Whelan, Chatswood
Bus was just the ticket
What will a couple of oldies do when the very convenient service ends next week (“End of the line for on-demand bus trials”, May 15)? We have used this service over the time it has been trialled and found it excellent, from our door to Manly wharf, and local districts. I feel sure we will not be the only people disappointed to see this service cancelled. – Moire Berman, Manly
Same old stories
I’m surprised John Howard and Paul Keating believe voters still care about what they have to say (“Shock of the old as legends show how it should be won”, May 15). – Norm Neill, Darlinghurst
Paul Keating might be looking a little older, and his verbal darts are blunter these days, but he can still wear a suit better than any other politician. – James Mahoney, McKellar ACT
Red flag for yellow
Perhaps creatives in advertising agencies should be cautious when contemplating the use of Clive Palmer yellow as an attention grabber for the products and services they promote (Letters, May 15).
It could take a long time for it to lose its questionable associations. – Ross Chambers, Springwood
Tracks of my years
Hopefully, the reason no one gave up their seat for your correspondent was because she appeared younger and more sprightly than other 83-year-olds (Letters, May 15). – Richard Tainsh, Potts Point
Not only has Transport NSW reneged on a promise of eight-car carriages on the weekend, it has also not washed the carriages for years.
The carriages are an embarrassment when so many tourists use them every day. – Lynne Egan, Glenbrook
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