Why media was right to publish pictures and information about the Canberra cage

A Canberra parent writes: Re. “Canberra Times, education minister embroiled in cage fight” (yesterday). Can I say that as a parent at the school concerned, I welcome the decision to publish the picture of the cage.We have been largely kept in the dark and most parents found out about its existence by accident.

The only reason why the Minister did not want this information released is that it is simply so confronting and alarming. People needed to see what had happened. Sadly, the picture reveals the location of the cage and highlights that many people would have known about it. It’s an area regularly accessed by teachers and students alike. Hiding this image would have been part of the conspiracy of silence we have been subject to.

Sadly, some members of the parent community knew about the cage in mid-March and did nothing. I am ashamed that our P&C thought it was ok and not worth raising concerns about despite a request to do so from a parent. Unfortunately, a parent had to make a complaint.

What can we say for our values when the principal authorises the cage, teachers knew about it and even told people not to complain, the P&C knew about it and the DET was slow to deal with the complaint. We appear to have become immune to these things and should be ashamed. We should not be trying to hide from the community some of the treatment special needs kids are subject to. Its an important issue that is too big to be ignored.

The Minister and DET should have come clean from the start and reassured the school that things would be fixed. Instead, we were kept in the dark, the school has no permanent principal or deputy principal, the school’s validation process has been put off and our kids have been stuck in the middle of a backside covering exercise. We have also had to watch the regular media debate about our poor school, which simply reopens wounds. Had the information come out at the start, we would have been able to start to move on.

One wonders what the Minister’s view would have been if this was a Catholic or other faith-based private school. I suspect all stops would have been pulled to name and shame the school in a political point scoring exercise. The AEU now says the Government has misrepresented what will happen to the principal. They say it was agreed she could return to another school. It just looks like a dodgy deal to try and get the Gov and DET out of a pickle. Well done to the media for putting this material out.

Borders and state lines

Ken Lambert writes: Re. “How Abbott could go down in history as one of our greatest statesmen” (yesterday). Helen could not in her wildest fantasies compare herself with sadly departed special minister Lee Kwan Yew; he of the famous comment that Aussies risked becoming the white trash of Asia. Yet Lee had remarkably simple direct solutions to problems, and dare I say as a double first from Oxbridge he had some claim to look down on a large portion of the Australian population including its Leftist faux intellectuals. When long hair was a sure sign of devotion to Ho Chi Minh and his Viet Cong associates, Lee had a direct and simple solution.  He banned long haired types entering Singapore.  Because those types cared more about their hair than troubling Lee by getting a haircut, he effectively kept a tranche of Trots, Maoists and leftist running dogs out of his beloved city State.

Tony Abbott and most of Australia have a potential problem with Islamic men who have some potential for jihad.  Mr Lee’s solution — don’t let them in. Christians and other minorities being butchered by both Shia (Assad’s sect included) and Sunnis in the name of religion, are clearly not going home for some time, if ever.  They don’t preach jihad, and might fit into a country with a Christian heritage; with many Christian churches dying to help them. Mr Lee’s solution — lets take these people and not others who might be a potential risk as amply demonstrated so far in Martin Place and elsewhere.

Tony has fallen on a policy which lacks the simple honesty of Mr Lee, but will probably win 12000 votes for the Liberal coalition for a generation at least. And Shorten, he bid 10,000 and Tony saw and raised him 2000. Poor Bill didn’t have a good enough hand.

Us, Putin and Assad

Jock Webb writes: Re. “Australia, meet your new Syrian allies” (yesterday). If we look over the last 30 years, Syria has been overwhelmingly a force for stability. A few years ago I know on old Army Reserve major who had been in the Golan as a peacekeeper. He reckoned Syria was good to work with, less complimentary to Israel. In Syria religions have been mixed since the crusades and more or less got on with it. However we have aligned ourselves with a truly barbarous regime in Saudi Arabia whose ideals are totally antipathetic to ours. In addition, they have funded our enemies on many occasions. Assad bad, Saudis good? Remember, most of the 9/11 bombers were Saudis. They funded, perhaps invented the Taliban, but they are goodies?

Assad helped end the Lebanese civil war (remember the one where Sharon helped massacre refugees?). We have destroyed Libya and now Syria with ill conceived adventures. Mean while, we bow and scrape to Israel’s apartheid regime which s nothing more than a collection of West Bank robber barons and land thieves. They are good guys?

Eve Stafford writes: If Syria is baddies versus baddies, as the PM said in 2013, whose side has he now committed Australia to fight on? But Abbott also said, ” The Assad regime is an abomination”.

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