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I have always found it astonishing and more than a little bewildering that our nation’s care-givers, nurses and educators, teachers and childcare workers have to fight ridiculously hard for a measly 2 to 4per cent pay rise (“Childcare ‘a mess’: Early learning educators demand better pay, conditions”, 7/9). We look after your children; we keep them safe, we teach them and we value them. It seems insulting to these children that such little value is placed on those entrusted to their care. Wouldn’t it seem logical that an overabundance of resources are poured into this sector to ensure the future is in safe and well-educated hands?
Anna Hayman-Arif, Ringwood East
Dual benefits from childcare
In the childcare wages debate, I’m hearing many questions on whether childcare is about early education or about care so that parents (mostly women) can join the workforce?
Ever heard of walking and chewing gum? This important strike is for decent liveable wages for early education workers. Decent wages will also enable young children to receive not simply care, but also education.
Jen Martin, Northcote
Unions pay a premium
Your correspondent (Letters, 7/9) notes, inter alia, when unions are sidelined that wages and working conditions become stagnant. Many workers have forsaken union membership these days, often saying: “They were relevant in the past but I can negotiate my own terms and conditions these days.” Consider how those areas that have continued to get wage raises are unionised to a much greater degree than those that are not. These include teachers, many in health categories, construction, public transport, public service and municipal employees.
Under a unionised system, conditions obtained or enhanced included long-service leave, sick leave, recreation leave, workers’ compensation and compulsory superannuation – the list goes on.
Finally, but not exhaustively, if you are in a union you have somebody to represent you in wage negotiations, workers’ compensation, unfair treatment, possible unfair dismissal and other such problems.
Bill Pimm, Mentone
Employers see it differently
Ross Gittins sees the positives of labour shortages to local businesses – he obviously has never been an employer (Comment, 7/9). To have the demands expected of you that were in a pre-pandemic world in the way of rent, service and products. To not be able to meet client expectations. To be lied to by employees who have the freedom to drift from employer to employer demanding unbelievable fees.
Steve Jenkins, Parkdale
Short-term approach falls short
The recent Four Corners expose demonstrated Qantas is locked into a paradigm of workforce cost cutting to drive shareholder returns, that goes against modern managerial concepts. In contrast, our research demonstrates how Toyota has implemented its deeply held global principle of “Respect for People”, creating better outcomes for employees, consumers, and shareholders. This is due to the high level of discretionary work effort that arises from the strong and positive psychological contract that exists in Toyota. Qantas’ short-termism leads to a transactional approach to its employees that can only end in tears.
Professor Danny Samson, Department of Management and Marketing, University of Melbourne
Open our doors to backpackers
Prior to COVID-19, backpackers by the thousands filled jobs in restaurants, outback pubs, fruit picking, as jills and jackaroos etc. Why don’t we bring planeloads of backpackers to Australia on free one-way flights? Then they can earn their return flights working here on a one-year working visa.
Brian Erskine, Mildura
Think about footy’s roots
High-level Australian rules football may be thriving and celebrating television rights deals (“AFL in historic $4.5b deal”, 7/9), but community footy in many suburbs, and particularly in country towns and districts, is fighting just to survive.
Player and umpire shortages, inability to retain match-day volunteers, high fuel costs for long trips to some away games, battling local businesses less able to provide club sponsorship, and poorly structured junior competitions all contribute to one-sided matches that demoralise the participants. The closure of some clubs over the upcoming off-season is a near-certainty.
Country leagues have associated netball competitions that will struggle or fail if football clubs disband. Country towns will be so much the poorer in every respect. Money alone will not fix the issue, but I hope the AFL will give the matter immediate attention and not forget the game’s foundations.
Alan McLean, East Melbourne
Tax-free era must end
Good luck to the AFL and affiliated clubs with the new $4.5 billion broadcast deal: that’s market forces at work. However, the AFL, (NRL and other elite sports) must now give up their tax free status; their exemption from paying company tax is an anachronism that should have ended with the last century.
These organisations are not local community sporting clubs anymore and we should not expect that taxpayers should also pay billions of dollars to have their grounds and facilities updated into lavish environments unavailable to the community.
The pressure on our education system, healthcare, welfare, public housing and the rising billions across all three tiers of government necessitates a shift in our priorities. To add insult to injury, most of the merchandise of these elite sporting codes is made overseas.
Glenn Marchant, Pascoe Vale
Abuses deserve boycotts
The UN report on the Uyghurs human rights abuses by China is distressing (“UN lays bare Beijing’s ‘violations’,” 2/9). It is also a call to action. I am old enough to remember the consumer, sporting and cultural boycott of South Africa during apartheid. It was not just government but also the actions of the average person who made change possible.
Look where a product is made before you buy. Although best to buy Australian, other countries such as Vietnam are competitive with Chinese products. Ask Australian companies who source production from overseas if they are making an ethical choice.
Barry Lizmore, Ocean Grove
I agree with Peter Hartcher (“We must stand with the Uyghurs”, 6/9), but before we take on China, a major trading partner, “we should stand with the Palestinians”, and implement all Hartcher’s recommendations against Israel. Our supposed ally is, according to the same organisations quoted by Hartcher, an apartheid regime and a major violator of Palestinian human rights.
Mark Bradbeer, Brunswick
Much work to be done
Peter Hartcher distorts the content of Michelle Bachelet’s UN report on the treatment of Uyghurs. In the report there is no support for claims of genocide or that 1 million Uyghurs are being held against their will in detention camps. Europe’s sanctions against Russia have created a food and energy crisis and despite Hartcher pointing out that China’s sanctions against Australia backfired he insists Australia must apply sanctions against China “no matter the economic cost” to us.
There are serious human rights problems in Xinjiang and these are identified in the UN report. The report is the first step in addressing these abuses via negotiation and diplomacy. Perhaps we should wait and see if this is successful before hastily committing economic suicide?
Peter Martina, Warrnambool
The Coalition wants to oppose a Labor proposal that will cost $4.5billion over a decade to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles because they don’t think it is a good use of taxpayers’ money (“‘Just not good policy’: Senate stand-off looms over electric vehicle tax cut,” 7/9). This fiscal conservatism comes from a party that spent $5 billion on French submarines that will never be built and $40 billion on Jobkeeper for companies that did not need the money.
Ross Hudson, Mount Martha
Paying their way
We drove to Queensland and back in a Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. After 40 kilometres of electric power, we used petrol the entire way in NSW and Queensland. We paid excise at every bowser we filled up. When our registration was due we were billed a $190 road-user charge by the state government, although we didn’t use electricity at all on open highways.
However, the main thing being missed by all is simple economics – EVs help lower the price of petrol by reducing demand.
I believe if 10 per cent of cars were EV, petrol demand would fall, as would the price of petrol. This in addition to environmental benefits and foreign energy dependence issues. We need to encourage EV’s, not punish them for their investment in the worlds future.
David Farrands, Box Hill South
Money not yet banked
I agree the stage 3 tax cuts should not go ahead and are socially inequitable. However, many are arguing for the removal of those tax cuts on false grounds.
Changing the legislation to stop them will not provide money now to spend on other things – the potentially saved money will not eventuate for years.
Jenny Callaghan, Hawthorn
Pay the games
Manasseh Sogavare contends Solomon Islands’ elections, which are held every four years, will have to be delayed until 2024 because his nation does not have the resources to host the Pacific Games and conduct a poll in the same time period (“Solomons PM irate over election offer”, 7/9). Sogavare then confects outrage at Australia’s offer to help with the finances needed to run the elections at the time they should be run, and represents such an offer as foreign interference in their political affairs.
Perhaps Australia’s offer was somewhat ham-fisted and the Albanese government should instead have offered to help fund and resource the Games? Then Sogavare should be able to afford the elections.
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East
A bad start
I pity the UK if new Prime Minister Liz Truss is anything like her mentor Margaret Thatcher, the neoconservative who initiated and oversaw so many of the policies that have resulted in such inequality in Britain. She is not off to a good start by promising that great furphy of tax cuts that predominantly benefit the rich and lead to the destruction of public service.
Phil Labrum, Flemington
As a new immigrant to Australia, I can put myself in the shoes of tens of thousands of prospective immigrants who have been struggling to live in this country for a better future. Lately, we have been hearing more news about the worker shortage. It is laudable that the present government has increased the cap to take a large number of immigrants.
What is disturbing is that a person who may have more than a decade of experience in their field is forced to jet back to their country of origin if they do not get the required marks in English. This is myopic vision on the part of policymakers.
Shiva Neupane, Thomastown
Waiting to stay
The assignment of more staff by the Albanese government to deal with the visa backlogs sounds promising. However, the focus should be fairly placed on onshore migrants too.
Applicants for the 835 subclass visa are still being told to expect a waiting period of up to 50 years for final processing (due to quotas) even though they are already in Australia and integrated into society.
A few years ago, there were 15,000 visa places for regional migrants but less than 500 for “remaining relatives”. Time to fix this extreme waiting period.
F. Kratschmer, Darwin NT
No more cruelty
In the words of Lord Tennyson, “nature is red in tooth and claw”: to this extent, your correspondent (Letters, 7/9) is right. The rest of his argument in defence of duck hunting is illogical. Nature is cruel but it’s not a “game”. Nor are human beings, with no shortage of alternative food, armed with artificial and lethal weapons, a part of nature. The Edwardian passion for killing birds in the air and on the water is past its use-by date.
Michael Read, Carnegie
Compassion for ferals
Your correspondent (Letters, 7/9) opposes the killing of “happy wild birds” but encourages the killing of other happy wild creatures; namely, feral animals. These are in Australia because of man’s stupidity and deserve the same compassion as native animals.
Jennifer Moxham, Monbulk
What is it with The Age’s obsession with coffee? We seem to read about coffee over our morning coffees every other day. Where to get the best flat white, how to find a decent chai latte, and now we compare Melbourne’s coffee habits with Sydney’s. And there is always an obligatory photo of a tattooed barista pouring a heart shaped frothy top.
Enough already. I’m getting so uptight I need a long black double shot. Fast!
Damien Ryan, Berwick
Mortgage stressed with a million-dollar loan? Think outside the box and leave the city. We need workers out here in the bush and houses are three for the price of one. You might actually get some fresh air and a better lifestyle too …
Mick Webster, Chiltern
And another thing
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Now they’ve landed the biggest sport broadcasting deal in Australian history, could the AFL please grow a social conscience and stop taking money from gambling advertising?
Huw Dann, Blackburn
After reading about the AFL’s historic $4.5b deal and the horror AFLW injury run (The Age, 7/9) perhaps the AFL should be considering a pension fund to support all these broken players once their football careers are over.
Craig Tucker, Newport
Absolutely Financially Lucrative!
Myra Fisher, Brighton east
Now we really know what the emergency number 000 means: zero ambulance, zero police, zero fire brigade.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
How poor is the response to questions about the scandalous ESTA report by the premier. He was responsible for the lack of funding for the service since 2015 and sends out the recently appointed minister to face the heat.
Helen Leach, Bendigo
Dai Lei’s Union Jack dress reinforced for me why Australia needs to become a republic. Firstly, it reminds me that Tim Brooke Taylor wore it better but more importantly because we don’t need another country’s flag flying over us.
Bruce McMillan, Grovedale
Tax cuts – the pork barrel rolled out by governments without the ticker to tackle real economic reforms.
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
Don’t you hate it when your clear sachet of powdered anti-inflammatories drops out onto a gaming table?
Julian Guy, Mt Eliza
So, aibohphobia is a fear of palindromes (Super quiz, 7/9). That must be why when my friend Hannah asked “Was it a car or a cat I saw?” and evil Olive answered “A dog! A panic in a pagoda,” several people went screaming down the street.
Ann Banham, Williamstown
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