Kony 2012:

Richard Barlow writes: Mary Noonan’s wringing of hands (yesterday, comments), and apparent desire to do the same to Bernard Keane’s neck, is the tired old song “Something Must Be Done”.

Sanctions? Selling arms to the Ugandan Army? US Marines storming ashore from Lake Victoria? Tick a box.

When we’ve sorted out Uganda and started buying its oil, maybe then we could stop buying it from the wretched regime in Guinea-Bissau.

After Africa we could take on the bigger prize of North Korea.

Where will it end? Probably in Afghanistan.


Keith Binns writes: Very disappointed that Crikey did not see fit to do a piece on Barry O’Farrell’s decision to divide and rule school teachers by paying them at different rates based on performance. There is also a much larger story here.

Over the past 15 years or so governments of both ilks, state and federal, have been deliberately trashing public education. O’Farrell offered a 2.5% pay rise to teachers when inflation is running at 3%. Howard poured money into private schools. Labor is doing the same. I was taught by teachers who were in the top 10%. You can get into teaching now with a universities admission index of 51. The obvious long-term goal is to make private education the de facto choice for anyone wanting to give their kids a good education as that is cheaper per capita for the government.

The fact that Labor is a party to this is a disgrace, a betrayal of so much that it claims to stand for. Menzies, who championed public education, must be turning in his grave.

The social costs will be enormous. The combination of the loss of the manufacturing industry with no adequate replacement and the downgrading of public education has created and will continue to create a permanent underclass. Ask any experienced primary school teacher in the state system about the increase in emotionally damaged children over the past 10 years.

There will eventually be civil unrest as that class gets further and further behind. Howard trumpeted his egalitarianism while working to create a two-tier society and Labor has not significantly changed that.

Consumption tax:

Declan Murphy, in Okazaki, Japan, writes: Re. “Japanese politics still unstable, one year after 3/11” (yesterday, item 10). Minor error. Regarding “Japanese politics still unstable, one year after 3/11” Craig Mark, of Kwansei Gakuin University’s School of International Studies, writes “A consumption tax was introduced to Japan in 1997, at a rate of 5%”.

The consumption tax was actually introduced on April 1, 1989, at a rate of 3%, during Noboru Takeshita’s prime ministership.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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