Once again we hear how facilities in public schools are failing children and their teachers (“Rural schools wait months for repairs”, August 11), while private schools have shamelessly used public money to fund overseas jaunts (“Business class flights to be repaid after regatta probe”, August 11). When will state and federal governments be brave enough to redress the imbalance in funding between government and private schools? Meanwhile, my local high school crowds more demountable classrooms into green space as half-empty buses, emblazoned with the names of private schools, glide by. Patricia Farrar, Concord
Business class flights and plunge pools in one story while on another, basic repairs, teacher shortages and poor HSC results in regional and remote NSW schools. Could there be a better example of the egregious misuse of government funding for private schools and the need for reform than the report on the Kings’ School requirement to repay the cost of business class flights contrasted with the report on the deplorable “challenges” faced by principals and teachers outside of Sydney? Jennifer McKay, Ashbury
The continuing disgrace of the inequality of educational funding programs at state and federal level is seriously damaging our nation. It is another in the long list of messes left by the Coalition that Labor governments must address before it is too late. Deb McPherson, Gerringong
Congratulations to the NSW Department of Education for investigating the King’s School and ensuring that taxpayer funding is actually used for the education of its students. I’m sure this was a result of the much-publicised regatta trip to Britain and a proposed plunge pool. However, the investigation begs the question of whether all private and independent schools are regularly audited by the department in terms of transparency in the use of government funds in education, or if this is left up to some creative accountants. George Zivkovic, Northmead
Imagine a school principal, whose school receives public funding, concluding that the purchase of first-class flights to watch a rowing regatta on the other side of the world was of benefit to their students. And then imagine concluding that this complies with the expectation of how public money is to be spent. And finally imagine the horror of having to downgrade those first-class flights to business class. There’s an issue public school principals will never have to wrestle with. Lyn Savage, Coogee
Forcing Kings’ to pay for their overseas junket is a mere drop in a plunge pool. Michael Blissenden, Dural
End political donations with strings attached
Hefty donations from the same family who stood to gain billions of dollars from keeping the refugees out of our sight (“Boats stopped, the money didn’t: How Liberal donor made $442m”, August 11). This Liberal National Party can of worms is a bottomless pit that just keeps on giving. Stop political party donations now. Cristina Corleto, Stanmore
Your article did not suggest there was any wrongdoing in the Canstruct $47,500 donation to the Liberal National Party and noted “companies often make donations in return for access to politicians or in the hope of securing a favourable decision, which is legal”; the normal way companies get a voice in parliament. Good for them, but it’s not a donation but a consideration in a business arrangement. True donations have no expectation of a return other than a feeling of doing good for someone else. Time to stop calling them donations. They’re anything but! That’s a home truth! Denis Sullivan, Greystanes
The Herald reports the cost of living crisis is hitting those who can least afford it while we also read that millions are still being paid to Canstruct for maintaining a now-empty detention centre on Nauru. And we wonder why we have a housing crisis? Vicky Marquis, Glebe
After reading your article, I’m reminded of the pithy observation about how governments spend their money, which famously suggested it’s only a rort when you’re not in on it. Bernard Stever, Richmond
The Coalition, after all, wasn’t as smart at managing taxpayers’ money as it said it was. The Coalition enjoyed going after little people and scoring political points but showed a blind eye to other matters. Mukul Desai, Hunters Hill
Contracts to care for refugees on Nauru should be examined by the National Anti-Corruption Commission. I read it in the paper. I agree. We need to know more about all this. And those who know the most should be only too willing and very able to inform us. John Kingsmill, Fairlight
They say the grass is always greener on the other side, and in the case of this Women’s World Cup, it is (“Matildas’ run shaking up sporting landscape”, August 11)! How refreshing to watch games without advertisers’ branding all over the field and to have national team jerseys that have not been defaced and devalued with some sponsor’s logo. Oh, and the football, simply magnifique! Trevor Watson, Allambie Heights
The decision to drop Michael Hooper from the Wallabies World Cup squad is an appalling decision (“‘Terrible phone calls’: Cooper, Hooper and Ikitau out of Wallabies World Cup squad”, August 11).
Since his debut with the Brumbies in 2010, Hooper has devoted himself to Australian Rugby at club, state and international level. His replacement as captain is a player who long ago bid farewell to Australian rugby to pursue the big money on offer overseas and has spasmodically represented his country in the interim.
Hooper has struggled with injury this season but deserves selection solely on his service to the game and surely could be used against minnows Georgia and Portugal in the pool games, thus affording him a fitting exit. Mike Kenneally, Manly
Why are banks criticised for making a profit?
Chris Richardson brings a different perspective to the role of finance (“Ten billion reasons to hate banks? It’s not so simple”, August 11). In Australia, we often forget that access to a bank is a privilege, one not yet enjoyed by 1.4 billion adults around the world, according to the World Bank. It is easy to take for granted the ease with which nearly 100 per cent of Australians can open a bank account, whereas in many countries in Africa and Asia the rate of financial inclusion is 25 per cent or less. Organisations such as World Vision seek to bring the same opportunity to the poor, most of whom are women, so that they can also make use of appropriate financial services to expand a small business and save for their children’s food, education and healthcare. Clay O’Brien, Mosman
Why criticise a bank for making a record profit (Letters, August 11)? A business exists for one reason only, to make a profit and preferably to improve on that profit as each year follows. Gaining market share is one way to increase profit, raising prices another, but whatever Matt Comyn and his staff are doing, their strategy is successful. Increased profit is to be lauded not criticised as obscene. Profit comes from thought; the definition of a strategy that will increase sales and profit. Those who design the strategy and carry it out, deserve reward. Bill Widerberg, Dover Heights
Your CBD column reports on Labor Party Inner West councillors refusing to fight for improvements to Victoria Road (“Victoria Rd’s Secret”, August 11). Sadly, we are increasingly witnessing an all too frequent attitude among some politicians who prefer to play politics rather than fight for the community they were elected to serve. It is outrageous that nearly a quarter of a million dollars was spent by the Inner West Council (controlled by Labor by a slim margin) on a master planning process, only for those Labor politicians to then refuse to share that information with the people of the Inner West. Michael Davis, Balmain East
Having served for over a decade as both a Parish Councillor and a Synod representative for a Sydney Anglican parish (St John’s Parramatta) I strongly suspect that Rob Stokes’ call for old vacant church buildings to be redeveloped as affordable social housing will produce far less properties for redevelopment than Stokes anticipates (“Old churches could be the answer to our prayers for new housing”, August 11). This is due to two main misunderstandings, one on the part of Stokes, and another by the wider community. While Stokes informed readers that “campus-style worship centres (have) replaced many small, centrally located local churches” the reality is that most Christians still meet in those small churches. The second misunderstanding from the wider community is that denominations are highly centralised whereas, at least for the Protestant ones, they’re deliberately designed to be quite decentralised. So getting approval to sell a property is quite difficult – the local church members are generally passionate about their church and will fight tooth and nail to keep it open, and when they send representatives to denominational decision-making bodies like Synod, the standards they vote for that must be met in determining that a church is truly dead and can’t be revived are set quite high. Roger Gallagher, Merrylands
Professor Lesley Hughes rightly asks the question “at what point does the climate emergency get to before climate action is taken” (“Extreme weather prompts fears for coming summer”, August 11)? There was the expectation that our new federal government was going to rectify the decade of inaction by the coalition government. But our new leadership has already put politics, evident in the approval of new fossil fuel projects, ahead of meaningful climate action. In the Australian context, the answer to the question above is when the need to address catastrophic climate change is so critical that the necessity is greater than the concerns about re-election. Unfortunately, by then, it will be too late. Roger Epps, Armidale
You’re a very lucky man Peter Singer and your wife very generous, assuming that she knew that your overtures were generated via a computer program (Letters, August 11). My mother would complain that my father never bought her flowers (well before the technological revolution). Eventually, my father took the hint and presented my mother a bunch of pink, plastic roses – very practical, the roses won’t fade, no “wasted” money. Alas, my mother was far from impressed, my father much surprised. Although decades ago, myself a child, this event is seared in my memory. Marie Del Monte, Ashfield
When your correspondent “used Chat GPT to write a love poem for wife of 47 years she was impressed”. I assume his wife hasn’t read much poetry. If she had, she would have realised that AI is incapable of writing what we who have done so call a poem. Rob Jackson, Cheltenham
I fail to understand why your correspondent needs to resort to AI for romantic messages when we have a plethora of love sentiments found in many of our literary works. I doubt that AI could invoke such love and emotion as this prose borrowed from John Masefield by my husband in his Christmas card to me: “I have heard the song of the blossoms and the old chant of the sea, And seen strange lands from under the arched white sails of ships, But the loveliest things of beauty God ever has showed to me, Are your voice and hair and eyes and the dear red curve of your lips.” Elizabeth Maher, Fiddletown
In rude health
Nude cricket (Letters, August 11)! The deliveries that hit “middle stump” already make me wince. Just ask Travis Head from the last Test. Jo Rainbow, Orange
It certainly won’t bowl the maidens over, and LBW gains new possibilities. Ian Clarke, Terrigal
I suppose nude cricket would also make leg breaks more likely. Judith Campbell, Drummoyne
Embarrassed nude female cricketers could always ask for a slip. Bernie Bourke, Ourimbah
Nude cricket. The demise of the maiden. Rowan Godwin, Rozelle
All this talk about nude cricket and men playing – possibly even tampering – with their balls is enough to bowl a blushing maiden over. The idea is way too cheeky and should be sent to cover.
Meredith Williams, Northmead
Correspondent Alicia Dawson has a laugh at the expense of a man killed by falling cheese. Tasteless (Letters, August 10). Jim Dewar, Davistown
Green is good
As the owner/operator of a lawn-mowing business, I urge all readers to ignore this story (“Time has come to turf out grass”, August 11). Michael Deeth, Como West
Postscript: Matildas unite the nation, and our letter writers
There were plenty of subjects that letter writers were unhappy about this week. These included the Commonwealth Bank’s announcement of a $10 billion profit, followed by the news that its executives’ pay packets have soared; and private school headmasters using government funding to buy business class flights to a British rowing regatta.
But there was one subject about which correspondents were delighted. Peter Farmer of Northbridge summarised it well: “Although I know little more about soccer than Escape to Victory starring a would-be actor Pele, the triumphant Matildas are unmissable, generating a national positivity dormant since the Sydney Olympics.” And while some may have complained about the rules of the game, many would not hear of changing things. “Leave the rules alone,” wrote Pam Nankivell of Parkes. “We are so lucky to be watching outstanding examples of the beautiful game.”
Others found it impossible to decide on the best green and gold player (it is all about teamwork!), many were thrilled at seeing strong sportswomen in the news, while some were amazed by the “gracious, awesome role models” playing the game as it should be played: no “falling over” feigning injury, no arguing with the umpire, and consoling their opponents when the game is over.
The stars are aligning as the Matildas march on to meet France on Saturday, wrote Geoff Simmons of Belrose. “What a phenomenon! A team in every sense of the word and carrying Australia on their back a minor detail as they inspire girls, both young and old, to achieve their dreams. Win or lose, they have reset what was once thought unachievable. Go Matildas!” Pat Stringa, letters editor
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