Schools must publicly reject church’s view

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Schools must publicly reject church’s view

The Presbyterian Church of Australia has once again drawn attention to itself for reasons that can only be described as repellent (The Age, 15/4). It is reported that a response to a Law Reform Commission inquiry “consultation paper” – which proposes banning religious-aligned schools from discrimination against students and teachers based on sexual or gender orientation, marital or relationship status or pregnancy – contains the church’s view that students who are gay or have premarital sex cannot hold school leadership roles.

Such abhorrent views expressed by any institution – but especially by a church – bring shame on all those within the institution and, in this case, upon those schools associated with the Presbyterian Church which has minority council representation on five schools in Victoria, along with a number of schools in other states. Those schools on whose governing councils there is Presbyterian Church representation should immediately and publicly express their condemnation for these discriminatory, unacceptable and disgraceful views.
John Simpson, South Yarra

Rejecting money from those with ’moral failings’

It is perfectly understandable that some faith-based schools, such as the Presbyterian Church-guided Scotch College, would want to ban students who are LGBTQ or sexually active from being school captains. After all, if such students are given the opportunity to demonstrate to their peers and the broader school community that they can, in fact, be great role models, this could be very damaging to the school’s business model of “modelling Christian living”.

Presumably, the church feels so strongly about this issue that in seeking to be exempted from Australia’s discrimination laws it will be prepared to forgo receiving taxpayer money to fund its operations, particularly funding from all those it perceives to have moral failings. After all, that would be the ethical thing to do.
Geoff Feren, St Kilda East

What happened to showing ‘all-inclusive love’?

Repressive myopia harms students’ contemporary education and society. For decades theologians have debated evidence that the great Christian leader, Paul, was a repressed homosexual. It is time the Presbyterian Church knew its Bible and mirrored God’s all-inclusive love.
Anita Horvath, Ballarat North

Refusing to support bigotry with my taxes

If you choose to send your child to a school that discriminates against LGBTQ students, then you should be prepared to fully fund such a school. I do not want my taxes to be used to support such harmful bigotry.
Tony Andrews, Seacliff

The power of withdrawing government money

I am sure the Presbyterian Church’s religious ethos will bend a lot if federal funding is withdrawn because of our discrimination laws. Religious freedom can only exist within the laws of Australia. If a practice is against the law, then that religion cannot practise that policy without consequences.
Adrian Tabor, Point Lonsdale

Sadly, so many will be hurt by this proposal

Even if the Presbyterian Church’s proposed leadership ban for LGBTQ students does not eventuate, the distress caused to students, their families and their friends will be heartbreaking and the damage irreparable.
Belinda Burke, Hawthorn

Let all the students speak out about being LGBTQ

The Presbyterian Church wants the schools it guides to ban LGBTQ students from positions of leadership. I suggest that when asked if they are LGBTQ, all students should answer yes.
Bruce Dudon, Woodend


A tale of two refugees

Two articles (The Age, 15/4) exemplified the unnecessarily complex, and often iniquitous, situation relating to our refugee policies. One highlighted the perilous position of a Sri Lankan man who was seriously injured while on Nauru, in “our care”, and who is now languishing, living alone in community detention in Sydney, facing an uncertain future and with permanent injuries.

The other was about a young Afghan refugee, an accomplished cricket player, who has “found a safe, yet temporary haven” through family connection and a local cricket club. His application for permanent residence is being supported by the cricket community because of his potential as a sportsman.

No doubt he deserves protection because of the current situation in Afghanistan, but I am afraid that his application may be more successful than that of the Sri Lankan man, to whom we owe, perhaps, a greater moral duty.
Helen Thomas, Nunawading

Closing our racial divides

Western Victoria MP Beverley McArthur compares the Indigenous Voice referendum to racial divisions in South Africa (The Age, 14/3). As someone who was involved (in my own small way through human rights activism) with battling the injustice, political jailings and systemic violence inherent within that apartheid system, I think McArthur could perhaps benefit from a more nuanced consideration of such a comparison. A vote in support of the Indigenous Voice will help to mitigate against racial divides and disempowerment in Australia today, which she appears to overlook.
Geoff Allshorn, Montmorency

Pointless hi-vis shows

Surely there can be few more pathetic actions by the state government than to postpone two rail projects still further into the never never (Sunday Age, 16/4). An airport-rail link should have been part of the construction of the airport. And like the Doncaster rail, the truly fast rail to Geelong should have happened half a century ago. Billions of dollars are being wasted creating more traffic jams such as the West Gate Tunnel and the North East Link. Dan Andrews must realise that his “hi-vis pantomimes” look more ridiculous day by day.
Loch Wilson, Northcote

Are we a high-risk state?

In consideration to Victoria’s enormous debt and proposed cuts in government spending, will there be close scrutiny of foreign investment in our state? Are we at risk here?
Christine Baker, Rosanna

Tell me of your ‘trauma’

I have been a primary and high school teacher for 10 years and believe your article – “Have schools fallen into the ‘wellbeing’ trap” (The Age, 14/4) – is spot on. Of course there are repercussions for schools focusing on wellbeing instead of academic performance. The best way to improve students’ perception of themselves is to improve their knowledge and make them functional members of society. That is what teachers are mandated to do.

My school promotes “trauma informed practice” because apparently in the modern day, every child is traumatised. We have to do regular safety plans where we encourage students to tell us how they feel anxious and victimised.

I even had a “mental health practitioner” attend my staff meeting. She gave teachers topics for their morning circle time with students. Topics such as, “When have you experienced abuse?“, “What does consent mean to you?” and “What does privilege mean?“

I teach grade 4 and apart from this being a terrible way to start the day, it is also pushing a victimhood that can manifest into something dangerous. And we wonder why teachers are leaving the profession in record numbers.
Name withheld, Flora Hill

Developing whole person

The article on whether schools have “fallen” into a wellbeing “trap” raises an important issue. Wellbeing and good learning outcomes are intertwined. It is like a double helix model where both support the other. To claim that we can achieve one without the other is a furphy. Education is about developing the whole young person. Schools are able to walk and chew gum at the same time, and great schools create both accomplished learners and resilient young people.
Andrew Fuller, clinical psychologist, Blackburn

NZ wise to put safety first

New Zealand still requires people with COVID-19 to self-isolate for seven days (The Age, 11/4). Their government listens to their epidemiologists, and is actually trying to slow the spread of the virus. Why aren’t we?
Claire Merry, Wantirna

How to dodge recession

The unprecedented intake of up to 300,000 migrants this year should increase Australia’s population by about 1per cent. No doubt the official reason will be that we desperately need certain skills, such as in the healthcare area, which is true.

But I reckon Anthony Albanese and Jim Chalmers had another agenda. Being aware of some of the more pessimistic growth forecasts, they would have naturally been concerned that we were in danger of getting two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth this year – in effect, a recession – and no government wants that outcome under their watch. So an extra GDP boost coming from a sizeable population increase is always a relatively easy way to reduce the chances of a recession. Economics 101.
Graeme Daniels, Balwyn North

A most important job

Re “How to deal with that dreaded question” (Comment, 15/4) – that is, “So what do you do?” How tragic and misplaced is it to be ashamed of being a stay-at-home parent. Society wrongly undervalues parenthood. Indeed parents should be paid to stay home to care for their children. Parents can give their children the stability that they require to grow into well-adjusted adults. Parenting is a 24/seven occupation. As for the social snobbery, why not call yourself a “domestic engineer”?
Maria Liew, Woodend

Bad timing for Assange

An espionage scandal involving the dumping of US military secrets is the last thing Julian Assange and his supporters would want to see as negotiations continue for his release. The Biden administration would know that the “party of Trump” would make a meal of it.
Michael Petit, Brunswick

Happiness amid the gloom

What a lovely good news story about Kylie Moore-Gilbert, who spent two years in prison in Iran on trumped-up espionage charges, and comedian and journalism lecturer Sami Shah (Good Weekend, 15/4). With all the bad news we hear daily, it is so refreshing to read about two people who deserve every happiness. Their baby is lucky to be so wanted by two such loving parents who bring so much joy with them. Congratulations to you both.
Jeannette McLeod, Sunbury

Little more to trim

Re “Building reforms back on agenda” (The Age, 14/4). I am astounded that Premier Daniel Andrews is proposing to cut building industry red tape. Astounded because I didn’t think there was any more to cut. The only “red tape” is when a council refuses to play ball with the developer and the matter has to be escalated and rubber-stamped by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

We are frequently told that the government has increased regulations in the industry but regulators are failing, standards are falling and “buyer beware” is the new legal default. Cutting red tape in the past has not improved the level of housing stock by any significant measure. It has merely allowed unscrupulous developers and builders to get away with shoddy developments, as evidenced by the record numbers of complaints about the industry.
Stephen Farrelly, Donvale

Ban the centre bounce

The crowds hate it. The players hate it. The commentators and media hate it. The coaches hate it. The umpires hate it. Please get rid of the centre bounce which is a blight on our beautiful AFL game.
Peter Burgan, Happy Valley, SA

In support of science

Like many others, I was despondent when the REDcycle scheme imploded. The images of mountains of plastic waste is the stuff of nightmares. However, I am elated to learn that scientists have good results using heat and UV light (no additional chemicals) with common fungi to break down polypropylene, a stubbornly stable plastic. Yay. As we work ourselves out of the environmental mess we have created, investment in science and a firm adherence to hope are essential.
Carmel McNaught, Balwyn North

Why Albanese must go

Prime minister, I voted for you at last year’s election. I have to also say that you are doing a good job. However, if you do not attend the upcoming NATO meeting in solidarity with all those countries that are fighting for democracy, I will never again vote Labor.
Roger Christiansz, Wheelers Hill

Why Albanese must stay

After the publicity associated with AUKUS, by not attending a NATO summit meeting our prime minister is letting our neighbours know that we are remaining in the Indo-Pacific region rather than relocating to the North Atlantic.
Gerry O’Reilly, Camberwell

Our overlooked champion

It was good to see Melbourne’s professional snooker champion Neil Robertson get a mention in Sport (15/4), but his achievements deserve much more media coverage in Australia. He is a respected household name in England, the home of professional snooker, but I doubt many would know of him in his home country.
Jae Sconce, Moonee Ponds

Return of the glory days

For lovers of nostalgia, Carlton delivered on Thursday. A 10-goal thumping transported us back 20 years.
Peter Roche, Carlton


Presbyterian Church

Church schools wanting to ban LGBTQ students from official positions: Get over it for the sake of Jesus Christ.
Pamela Pilgrim, Highett

For ″⁣Presbyterian″⁣, read ″⁣prejudice″⁣.
Lesley Black, Frankston

Did I miss something? I would have thought the Presbyterian Church would have also insisted on the right to burn witches.
Russell McDonald, Norlane

School captain: Character and leadership skills preferred but not essential. However, you must be a heterosexual virgin. Apply now.
Mark Morrison, Kew


State Labor budget cuts to community health (16/4): Sounds a bit “Liberal” to me.
David Cayzer, Clifton Hill

Surely another definition of incompetence is when community health funding is cut to balance
the budget.
Peter Randles, Pascoe Vale South

The Voice is the moment of truth for the nation.
Ann Peers, Glen Iris


Would helmets help to reduce the risk of concussion?
Warwick Spinaze, Tootgarook

Thank you, Tony Wright (15/4), you’ve done it again. A “frolic of optimists” conjures delightfully cheery pictures in this sometimes dreary world.
Jane Ross, San Remo

It seems “cybersecurity” has joined the term “military intelligence” as a logical absurdity.
Peter Fajdiga, Doubleview, WA

I’m also perplexed why so much street litter is permitted by authorities. In Australian cities, it’s pretty rare, except Melbourne.
Keith Lawson, Melbourne

Perhaps the authorities permit graffiti because they’re not sure whether it’s graffiti or modern art.
Lindsay Zoch, Mildura

“The mystery of remains in a ’bone room‴⁣⁣ (14/4): Straight from a Tess Gerritsen crime novel.
Lou Ferrari, Richmond

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