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I am not Jewish, but was shocked, saddened and ashamed to read in The Sunday Age (″Jewish pupils assailed with antisemitism in schools″, 16/7) of the appalling behaviour in some of our public schools towards Jewish students. To think some young people are bullied and abused due to their religious beliefs, to the point of being too frightened to go to school and ultimately being removed from the school to protect their mental and emotional health, beggars belief.
It’s all very well for the schools and the Education Department to state they take these incidents seriously, but the steps taken appear to have been ineffective in ensuring the Jewish students felt safe enough to continue at the schools. What steps were taken to ensure the bullies were taught that this is totally unacceptable behaviour and take responsibility for their actions? What steps were taken to educate these students on the damage they have inflicted on innocent kids?
Parents of the perpetrators should also be held to account for their children’s cruelty and lack of compassion. Society desperately needs decent, well-rounded students coming from our education system to lead in the future.
Maggie Matheson, Beaumaris
Reinventing the West
″How the West was won″ by columnist Parnell Palme McGuinness (16/7), illustrates how the West has not won. Instead one should follow the principles of a genuine democracy that is based on the framework of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected.
Genuine democracy in the West has a long way to go. Some of the characteristics of many Western democracies are built on colonisation, hyper-capitalism, militarism, participation in illegal wars,the maintenance of US hegemony and the impact of climate change. Thus there is much to be invented and reinvented.
Judith Morrison, Nunawading
Don’t forget Assange
Parnell Palme McGuinness says of our Western system that “journalists highlighting … troubles are not silenced or imprisoned″. Has she not heard of Julian Assange?
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell
‘Better angels’ missing
Based on the latest polling, it is becoming apparent that a proposed minimal amendment to a Constitution written exclusively by white men in 1901, and merely acknowledging the right of Indigenous people to be consulted on legislation relevant to their existences, is too much for the majority of white Australians to bear.
If anyone still thinks Australia does not have a racist undercurrent, they are deceiving themselves. The referendum proposal has become a focus for entrenched white resentments, bizarrely viewing alleged threats to Australia Day and the Australian flag as morally equivalent to the historic privations of Indigenous people; and, moreover, characterising Yes case proponents as ″activists″ undermining vulnerable whites. This shameful inversion of history derives from a continuing imperial mindset.
Our PM is an honourable man; but, sadly, the nation’s ″better angels″ have gone missing.
Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza
Right thing to do
After reading Geraldine Brooks’ opinion piece “Dutton applies Trumpian din to Voice″ (22/7) it made me pause to reflect on what’s the difference between the times of the 1967 referendum to the pending referendum?
Not being cognisant during the former, Brooks’s mother provides the keen insight of the difference between then and now. Namely, while Australians typically vote no, they’ll vote yes for this one (1967) because “It’s the right thing to do, and about time”.
And therein ought to be the slogan for the Yes campaign. Don’t listen to the “mimicry of Trump” promulgated by the Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, with “the familiar trope of accusing your opponent of the very crime of which you yourself are guilty”.
But rather pause to reflect and acknowledge that 82 per cent of First Nations people are in favour of having a constitutionally enshrined Voice to parliament to inform government of how best to close the gap of their chronic disadvantage in Australia (ie their rightful Country).
Not only “the right thing to do”, but long overdue.
Although it is a work in progress, I appreciated Treasurer Jim Chalmers’ first attempt at a wellbeing budget (“Wellbeing budget shows we’re living longer but cuddly animals are on the decline″, 21/7). For too long our prosperity has been measured only against GDP. Such narrow sightedness is outdated.
Our quality of life, and the health of our environment must surely be considered as part of the way we measure and view our success as a country.
We do, afterall, now understand that more money doesn’t buy more happiness.
Amy Hiller, Kew
It is not surprising that most people believe our immigration level is too high (″Immigration surge worries voters″, 19/7). So many people are struggling to even keep a roof over their head. We don’t have inexhaustible resources to just keep growing the human population at our rate of consumption.
Community concerns about a labour shortage are never going to be resolved by bringing more people in; what we are actually doing is increasing our overall demand for services and resources that we can’t supply as it is.
She’s not a living doll
Such hype .. let’s get real, it’s a doll!
Julie Perry, Highton
Bring back Ponting
As to the Australian cricket team, bring back Ricky Ponting and make him captain.
Anna Summerfield, Bendigo
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