Education is more than an ATAR rating
Young people are entering a highly unpredictable world and the skills required to thrive in this environment are not captured in a ranking (″Principals urge education authorities to scrap ATAR″, 10/2). The ATAR score is a narrow and inadequate representation of a student’s 13-year journey, and it does not reflect their individual strengths or potential contributions to the world. The excessive emphasis on the ATAR as a marker of academic proficiency has become overwhelming. Australia is the only country that employs such a system. It is essential that we create new metrics that are more than just academic, so that each student leaves school feeling confident, capable, empowered, and prepared for lifelong learning.
Cameron Paterson, Prahran
Change donation laws
There is something wrong with the political system when you can read the words ″online gambling companies″ and ″payments to political parties″ in the same sentence. Are we mad? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that our governments are just as addicted to gambling as are some people.
Politicians need to get some spine and refuse donations from the gambling industry. It’s time to change the laws around donations to political parties anyway. Gambling causes so much harm yet it is protected because it is regarded as an industry that employs people. This sacred cow should be sent off to slaughter.
David Legat, South Morang
Dutton’s long bow
According to Peter Dutton, ″the government’s ripped money out of road projects in Aston, they have, I think abandoned the area for a long period of time″. The present government has been in power for nine months. Is Dutton saying nine months is a long period of time, or is he referring to the time when the Coalition was in power?
Big issues need big ideas
It seems columnist Parnell Palme McGuinness (Comment, 5/2) is uneasy about a Labor treasurer articulating some ideas about the way economics in this country needs to change. Given her acknowledged Coalition connection that is no surprise. However to drag out the shibboleth that greater direct government participation in economic production will put us inexorably on the path to a ″Soviet-style command economy″ smacks of a desperate inability to legitimately debate those ideas.
We have big issues to deal with and that will need big ideas and much better debate than we have seen.
Bill King, Camberwell
Dear Ed, thank you
I was shocked and saddened to hear of Peter Anthony’s terminal illness (Insight, 11/2). He rang me once about a letter, to my delight, and I was surprised to hear how young he sounded. Life isn’t fair. I appreciated the story of his grandfather calling out his wife’s name (″Oh, my Mabel″) when dying suddenly of a heart attack. When my father was dying of inoperable bowel cancer, he called out our mother’s name, who had died five years previously, and my name.
I am pleased his four children are all in Melbourne for him.
Susan Munday, Bentleigh East
Precious time and life
Thank you, Peter Anthony, for editing The Age’s letters with such dedication and fairness. Observing the current aged care system on the ground has turned me to philosophy: today is what we have, it is precious, and every person we know is more precious than we know.
Ruth Farr, Blackburn South
Heed the Leunig
Michael Leunig’s cartoon (Spectrum, 11/2) should be hanging at the Pentagon, the White House and Richard Marles’ office. Most countries spy on each other. The discovery of an alleged Chinese surveillance balloon over the Carolinas was hardly gobsmacking news. The Sidewinder missile ″solution″ and postponement of Antony Blinken’s Chinese visit looks like a dangerous overreaction, that still failed to satisfy Republican hawks. At a time when serious observers are predicting a war with China, the adults might have resolved this matter through diplomatic channels.
Norman Huon, Port Melbourne
What a body of work
I used to think that Charles Atlas looked pretty abnormal, but the new male body image as typified by Hugh Jackman in Deadpool 3 (″The changing portrayal of men’s bodies is warping what is normal″, 5/2) is absolutely horrific. I would rather see Frankenstein for a healthier body than that.
(Slightly podgy male) Jan Newmarch, Oakleigh
Missive the point
People aren’t sending letters any more, according to Australia Post. Perhaps if the delivery service were more reliable, we might.
A registered letter sent from St Leonards to central Melbourne in November was finally delivered, without explanation or apology, 79 days later. Two letters, posted two days apart in Hong Kong, arrived at the same Melbourne address four and six weeks later.
Once upon a time (actually at the beginning of this century) a letter could be posted in Hong Kong on a Monday and delivered in Melbourne that Friday. Not any more.
Some missives, such as birthday or sympathy cards, are time sensitive. If Australia Post cannot ensure timely delivery, then they only have themselves to blame for the declining use of their service.
Julie Moffat, St Leonards
I am one of the overwhelming majority of Greens members who strongly support the Voice and Lidia Thorpe’s angry rejection of the proposal made her role as spokesperson on Indigenous affairs virtually untenable. Many of us would agree with her aims of seeking truth-telling and a treaty but it is a matter of achievability and timing. The failure of a Voice referendum could set back progress towards such things by a generation or more.
Peter McCarthy, Mentone
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