Gonski:

Gavin Moodie writes: Re. “Gonski: simple, sensible model for a terrified gov” (yesterday, Crikey website). Thanks to Bernard Keane and Crikey for the timely pieces, reporting and analysing the report of the Gonski school education funding review for those of us interested in the substantive policy issue of the day despite the cacophony on the faux federal Labor leadership challenge.

Gonski and his colleagues have presented a rational method for allocating Australian and state government funding to schools. I have an additional suggestion that would ameliorate the objections of those who oppose public payments to the rich while meeting the avowed aims of the proponents of private schools.

Part or preferably all of government funding for private schools should be changed from a grant to schools to an income contingent loan to parents, like HECS. Parents would be offered a government guaranteed and subsidised loan with no real rate of interest to pay fees for their children at private schools. Parents wouldn’t have to repay their loan until their income reached a threshold, which for HECS is a taxable income of $47,196 per annum.

This would make private schools accessible to all parents, greatly expanding private schools’ potential pupils and potentially reducing private schools’ current big class bias. It would also reduce government payments to the rich, depending on where the loan repayment threshold were set.

Gillard versus Rudd:

Mary Sinclair writes: Re. “Are Rudd and Gillard really that different?” (yesterday, item 1). What if the media called a leadership crisis but nobody listened to them! Get over it, you journalists. We have elections every three years when we get to say how we want to be governed. Since when has selling newspapers (and why does Crikey buy into this?) been a good reason to whip up a leadership debate?

I’m so sick of Australian journalism. Give us analysis and let us make our own decisions. We’re old enough. Smart enough. Try us.

Maureen Ramsay writes: Why would I read, let alone subscribe, to Crikey when you report the same rubbish that all the mainstream press/media is sprouting?

How about some stories that inform me of what Labor has managed to achieve — including your own opinion about the “in Canberra” stories regarding the economy?

Keep banging on about the leadership and I am off your readership list. I am fed up with this subject.

Voting:

Joe Boswell writes: Re. Sam McLean, national deputy director of GetUp! (yesterday, comments), who regurgitated a widespread myth: “No one is required by law to cast a vote. They are simply required to turn up to a polling station on election day.”

This is, if I may use the legal terminology, bollocks. The Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 is very clear. Subsection 245(1) of the act provides that: “it shall be the duty of every elector to vote at each election.”

Subsection 245(15) says “An elector is guilty of an offence if the elector fails to vote at an election.”

Not voting is not voting, regardless of whether you do it a polling station or somewhere else. The only reason to do it at a polling station is to reduce your chance of being caught and penalised, but you commit the offence just the same.

Peter Fray

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