Djokovic a mere side issue against failure on Omicron

2022-01-17 18:35:00

Schools’ JobKeeper profit teaches a very poor lesson

It is mind-boggling that the government still has not taken action on the profit-making corporations that rorted JobKeeper out of $20billion of our money. Then we read of the schools (“Private school profits ‘match JobKeeper pay’” , January 17) that also benefited by millions from the scheme, while making big profits. What a great example to set their students. Or is it an economics lesson? Then with the government’s blind-eye treatment of such rorts, extortionists buy up and on-sell rapid antigen tests at a great profit. “We’re all in this together,” the PM says. Seems many are in “this” for what they can get out of it. When is the election? Kathleen Hollins, Northmead

Jesus, as relayed in Matthew 25:29, foretells the treatment of private schools by the JobKeeper program in the parable in which the rich master says: “Those who have much shall receive more, and they will have more than they need. As for those who don’t have much, even the little bit they have will be taken away from them.” John Payne, Kelso

These profits raise the sound argument that the private schools, as socially responsible corporations, should repay the subsidy. As the ATO advice says: “The JobKeeper payment scheme is a subsidy for businesses significantly affected by coronavirus.” Not doing so is contrary to their teaching about being fair and socially responsible. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

The greedy JobKeeper “windfall” continues. I’ll live in hope that the 33 private school communities will insist on returning the funding, but I’m guessing they’ll be congratulating school management instead. Just appalling. Sharon McGuinness, Thirroul

If so-called private schools are not for profit, then they should be required to redirect their surpluses to repaying their handouts. David McMaster, Mosman

I’m going to guess few, if any, jobs were put on hold or lost at the private schools that accepted JobKeeper. School carried on, so staff would’ve had things to do. Furthermore, I’m going to guess there’s some flash firm of ambulance-chasing accountants advising them how to work this. Tim Egan, Mosman

Taxpayers’ largesse to elite private schools certainly seems far greater than that for public universities. Graeme Finn, Summer Hill

How did private schools demonstrate an entitlement to JobKeeper payments? I don’t suppose they offered fee-paying parents a discount or that many parents withdrew their children. Ken Ryan, Clovelly

Schools a pandemic Petri dish

I, like Terry Moriarty and Helen Cassidy (“Plan to enlist retired staff ’too dangerous‴⁣⁣ , January 17), am a recently retired school teacher. While I always intended to do some casual teaching when I retired, the number of hoops I had to jump through made it too difficult. E ven if the Department of Education were to “relax” some of the requirements to entice retired teachers back into the classroom, there is no way I would entertain of doing so in a pandemic. Retirees are at an age vulnerable to COVID-19 and many would have older parents who would be more at risk. Not too many weeks ago, I knew no one who had COVID-19, but now I know at least 20 people. Nearly every adult among them caught it from their children. With school going back in a few weeks to hot and stuffy classrooms filled with children who may not be vaccinated, the likelihood of a teacher contracting the virus is even higher. Thank you, Mr Perrottet and Ms Mitchell for the offer, but I respectively decline. Peter Miniutti, Ashbury

Welcome to country

The consensus of your correspondents (Letters, January 17) seems to be for minimal change and a parliamentary republic, and I concur. However, there is perhaps room for a ceremonial head of state appointed by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It would be more authentically Australian if visiting heads of state and royalty were greeted with a welcome to country smoking ceremony and didgeridoos, rather than European soldiers on parade accompanied by brass bands. John Grinter, Katoomba

Great solar swindle

The Morrison government spending millions on an advertising campaign promoting rooftop solar is galling enough from a government that fundamentally hates renewables, but the graphic in its Herald print ads shows just how little it cares about accurate messaging. You don’t build rooftop solar with two different types of PV panel, as shown in the ad; you never build a system with panels extending above the roof-line, nor do you install panels on top of each other. Further, in most parts of Sydney, it’s illegal to put panels on the street-facing roof of a heritage house like the one in the ad. Gavin Gilchrist, Inner West Community Energy, Annandale

The federal government has no shame. In its ads, it claims that solar panels on homes are part of its fight against climate change. It did nothing to achieve this; homeowners paid to install them.
On top of this, the government allowed the power regulator to charge homeowners if they transferred solar power to the network. So much for the government’s advertisement. Barry O’Connell, Old Toongabbie

Power to SA

South Australia’s 100 per cent net dependency on renewable energy power for almost one week is an achievement that merits widespread acknowledgment (“SA runs on renewable energy for record-breaking week”, January 17). NSW, especially with an abundance of pumped hydro storage options, could also achieve this and, in the process, provide fuel for electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Roger Epps, Armidale

Just bin it, please

The news that a harbour cave full of polystyrene rubbish (“The surprising art show that came from a polluted harbour cave”, January 17) has provided enough material for a two-room exhibition at the old Quarantine Station highlights, yet again, that the problem with ocean pollution has less to do with the material than it does with the human beings who dispose of it so mindlessly. Government programs to phase out many synthetic materials are fine, but there is no legislative magic wand that can control the careless litterbug. Phil Rodwell, Redfern

Disastrous response

The report on disaster funding indicates what is wrong with the government’s response to many things (“Disaster funds go to fix, not readiness”, January 17). It throws money at a problem after it has occurred (and often gets kudos in the process) but refuses to do anything to prevent it in the first place. The response to COVID-19 infection is a case in point. When infections rise, the government might do something about it (if it can’t blame somebody else), claiming that it was inevitable and couldn’t be foreseen, but it won’t do anything such as mandating masks, securing vaccines or increasing the availability of tests to reduce the level of infections. So much for protecting us from disaster. David Rush, Lawson

Letter of the year

What a marvellous mission statement from Meredith Williams (Letters, January 17): common good, co-operation, sustainability and simplicity rather than the mantra echoing from all neo-liberals of personal gain, competition, profit and acquisition. There is no political party espousing anything like Ms Williams’ statement, so how about it? I would vote for you, for sure. Helen Lewin, Tumbi Umbi

As a (very) longtime student of the Letters page, may I congratulate Meredith Williams on her gem of a letter? I nominate it for Letter of the Year and will vote for her as our first president. Such clear thinking, such a rich vocabulary, and so blindingly rational. Jim Lavis, New Lambton

Thank you, Meredith Williams. It’s so rare and so rewarding to have the current Australian situation so clearly, succinctly and correctly described. What a shame so many are blinded by ideology and greed. Ian Usman Lewis, Kentucky

Top bloke

Your correspondent (Letters, January 17) mentions our great Ash Barty, but not Australia’s other number-one player: Dylan Alcott. As with Barty, he’s a role model on and off the court.
Mary Haire, Annandale

Devil you know

As a counter to the discussion on the letters page (January 17), the people will soon decide whether Scott Morrison is the devil incarnate or someone doing his utmost in a devil of a job. George Fishman, Vaucluse

Sold up the river

Parramatta people are not the only ones who’ve been sold up the river (“More than 40 defects found in new River Class ferries”, January 17). In Manly, we have foreign-built Emerald-class ferries that have disabled access problems, can’t berth at Manly wharf at certain tides and, most alarming of all, can’t cross the heads in the mildest swell. The Freshwaters, Australian-made for Australian conditions, are constantly called back into service. Jenny Forster, Manly

If the new River-class ferries are riddled with faults, why did we take delivery of them in the first place? It’s not as if we don’t have experience in sending boats back to Indonesia. Doug Walker, Baulkham Hills

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
‘Creating wealth’: Albanese’s election pitch to aspirational Australians
From Mick: ″⁣Albanese has a plan which is in stark contrast to Morrison who doesn’t even have a clue. Labor and Liberal leaders can promise what they like but what will decide my vote is past performance and, on that count, this term of the Morrison government has been an utter disaster with no end in sight to his ham-fisted blunders. The Coalition needs a few terms in opposition to have a good clean out of their dead wood, especially at the top.″⁣

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