Men behaving badly leave so many victims in wake

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My heart sank as I realised that that there is a relatively large proportion of men who just don’t get it when it comes to treating women as equals (“This shame isn’t for the young and powerless to bear”, December 19).

Illustration: John Shakespeare

Illustration: John ShakespeareCredit:

Responses such as that of Geoffrey Rush stating that his behaviour has been taken out of context suggests to me that that the context framing their understanding of the world is purely their own.

How about a introducing in primary schools a program educating all children about what equality means in all relationships between people.

This would start sowing the seed at an age when children are most able to take on the message. – Anna Beniuk, Mount St Thomas

Hear, hear Jacqueline Maley (“Seriously guys … this is what we pay you for?”, December 19).

It would seem the Liberal/National Party will need to be brought kicking and screaming to the realisation that more women in their parties will lead to a lot less scandal hitting the headlines. – Mary Lawson, Marrickville

Nationals MP Andrew Broad.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

It shouldn’t be too difficult a task for the National Party president to find a suitable woman to run in the plum seat of Mallee (“Nationals seek woman to replace ‘sugar daddy’ MP”, December 19).

The Country Women’s Association of Australia has thousands of reliable, dedicated and caring women who could do this job with their eyes closed.

The CWAA has been successfully doing its business for almost a century now without fuss or scandal. My nomination goes to the very capable women of this country. – Bernadette Scadden, Earlwood

It is no surprise that a woman is wanted as a candidate to replace Broad.

In the fantasy world these chaps inhabit, women have only two functions: to submit silently to harassment and demands for gratification; secondly, to shoulder the blame and clean up the mess after they’ve been caught out.

Much as I yearn for greater female representation in Parliament, I implore potential candidates to think carefully before they enter this theatre of medieval attitudes to power and gender. – Leone Toker, Port Macquarie

The National Party’s next election campaign slogan: “redefining family values”. – Phil Storey, Penrith

Given the accurate comparison of the behaviour of National Party members and NRL players I wonder if there can be a similar salary cap arrangement (Letters, December 19). – Bernie Carberry, Connells Point

Selective schools entry test still a thorny subject

Best Christmas present in many years: the possibility that the selective schools entry test could become genuinely inclusive (“Solid steps to open selective test to all”, December 19).

How wonderful to end the school year with this uplifting article. Imagine how fabulous our schools – and Australia’s future – could be. – Kylie Salisbury, Lakemba

Let’s take another step forward and shut down all the selective schools and cater to all our capable students in their local schools.

Our system and its dedicated teachers are well qualified to meet these needs in their local environment, providing equal opportunity and eradicating the ugly, competitive edge in our primary and secondary schools. – James Laukka, Epping

As a female student at a co-ed selective high school, I don’t think that the selective test caters more to boys or those strong at maths (“Selective schools test vulnerable to coaching as it’s too easy: report”, December 18).

The test has set questions for maths, general abilities and reading and these can limit the ability of someone good in these subjects but in the writing segment, those good at English can showcase their ability further as it is not constrained by the difficulty of questions.

As for the test catering more to boys, a test does not cater to someone’s gender as gender does not have an impact on someone’s ability to perform in a test.

This is shown by the fact that in my year of school the majority of top students are female, earning 16 out of the 23 first in the year awards. Also, the dux of the school last year, based on ATAR results, was female. – Caitlin Tully, Oyster Bay

I had hoped to see a report into selective school entry which addressed the massive problem of commercial coaching for the test, a phenomenon which distorts the results in favour of those families who can afford the coaching and distorts the childhoods of those being so coached.

Instead, the report tinkers with ideas of a few harder questions in maths and slightly more emphasis on English and writing.

One of the report writers thinks that what we have to do is stagger the test over more days and have outreach programs so that more children take the test.

In fact, all this would achieve is allow yet more children who haven’t been coached to be disappointed when the results come out.

If the deep inequities generated by the present system are to be addressed, more rigorous efforts to make it a genuine aptitude test need to be made. Otherwise, the report is merely a whitewash.- Patricia Loughlan, Glebe

Who is vetting the vetters?

I applaud the proposal by Nick Kaldas to review time limits imposed on members of the state’s independent planning panels (“Kaldas calls for expanded checks on planning corruption”, December 19).

Further down the food chain however, it is to be hoped legislation is soon enacted imposing limits on local council officers accepting paid positions with developers upon departing council employment. Over the past four years our local community has repeatedly had to negotiate with ex-council employees who now work for the developers whose applications they previously vetted. – David Grover, Chatswood

Labor Party system flawed

The report that an upper house seat for Ernest Wong was a reward for his “prodigious fund-raising ability” illustrates what is wrong with the Labor Party’s selection process for upper house seats (“ICAC raids Labor HQ over donations”, December 19). Power brokers in the Labor Party have a tendency to select people for their appeal to special interest groups.

Far better to transfer this power to rank-and-file members who will select people on their commitment to the Labor Party principles of economic and social justice. – Tony Brownlow, Cronulla

Panel selection an issue

It would not be impossible for some to see the appointment of Margaret Cunneen to the expert panel reviewing the legislation for the Commonwealth Integrity Commission as an attempt to ensure that the body remains as toothless as Scott Morrison appears to have planned it (“Expert panel to help design watchdog”, December 19). – Alynn Pratt, Killara

The Ramsay degree problem

Thank you Leigh Dale for the revealing academic insight into this contentious degree (“Ramsay degree promises debate but not about itself”, December 19).

Any doubt that the course is fundamentally a promotional program for Western civilisation is purged by Tony Abbott’s extraordinary Quadrant essay quote.

Undergraduate university degrees primarily teach a particular discipline’s history, facts and practice.

However such undergraduate courses by their nature objectively question, not blindly reinforce, their subject matters’ relevance to contemporary society.

And then there’s the Ramsay degree’s conditions of exclusivity, including student to teacher ratio; a potential wedge for splitting staff and students?

Should former PM Abbott ever be considered for an academic title, a Doctorate in Divisionism might well be appropriate. – Cleveland Rose, Dee Why

Another triumph for neo-liberalism: we continually reduce funding for universities until we achieve our goal of them being so desperate that rich individuals can buy education by funding courses in ideological propaganda. – Michael McMullan, Five Dock

Two glitches here

Ross Gittins proposes that the future of public benefit journalism might be secured if private subscriptions to news services were made tax deductible (“How to keep the news coming”, December 19). There is merit in that suggestion, but it also has complications.

The first is that the majority of legacy media consumers – and newspaper buyers in particular – are now older people who already pay little or no tax. A deduction for them would be moot.

The second is a problem of distinction. Who will decide which forms of journalism provide genuine public benefit? The case of the Herald seems inarguable, but Who Weekly, Girlfriend or Fishing World? – David Salter, Hunters Hill

Role not a popularity contest

Choosing a governor-general is not a popularity contest (Letters, December 19).

This is the Crown’s representative in Australia and the candidates need a thorough understanding of politics, protocol, law and history.

Otherwise, we might as well add the appointment to the annual Logies ceremony and Bert Newton can do the honours: “And the winner of next year’s Governor-General position goes to …”. – Greg Cantori, Kareela

We need a governor-general so we don’t end up with a head of state like Donald Trump. – Adrian Connelly, Springwood

‘Miracle’ actually research

I’m very happy that some have found relief from rare cancer but to describe the treatment as “nothing short of a miracle” takes credit from the science-based researchers who have worked on the drug for years (“‘Eureka moment’: new era in cancer therapy”, December 19).

It’s not a “miracle” that this drug works, it’s thanks to hard, fact-based science and research. – Angus McLeod, Cremorne

‘One-horse’ theatre race

There is no surprise that the STC took out all the nominations for best stage productions (“Women lead as STC sweeps award nominations”, December 19).

If the theatre scene is not a one-horse race, it’s close to it.

Other theatre companies in this town have government funding that wouldn’t run a soup kitchen.

For a city growing at Sydney’s pace, our live theatre is in danger of disappearing faster than a rugby league player’s jocks. – Tim McKenzie, Leichhardt

Seriously? Still in service?

A Virgin jet that had its two jet engines “flame out” and require manual re-ignition while landing will be kept in service while the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigates what it has categorised as a “serious” incident (“Virgin investigated after engines ‘flame -out’ on flight to Canberra”, December 19). Er … what? – Matt Kaarma, North Nowra

How can a Virgin aircraft be allowed to fly passengers for a year before the investigation is completed? Virgin says there was “no customer impact” on the flight where each engine stopped. Surely it is in the public’s interest to have the report completed before late 2019. – Lindsay Somerville, Lindfield

Dishing up too much

The problem of obesity is not just due to the amount of sugar in drinks and food – it’s the size of these items (Letters, December 19). Soft drinks, and even fruit juices, are mostly in 600ml bottles or more – much larger than a single serve.

Fast food and cakes are now so large, they can be cut into four pieces. It’s no point putting the serving sizes and calories on the packets in small print that’s hard to read.

Snack food and drink companies must be forced to sell items in single-serve portions. – Janet Chaplin, Helensburgh

Stuff we don’t need

Pretty pink Peppa Pig chainsaw. Good one, Santa (“Christmas toys to keep clear of your tree”, December 19). – Della Strathen, Bowral

While Christmas shopping for my grandchildren and standing in the middle of a variety store I did wonder why we are helping to make China a super economy by buying endless quantities of earth-destroying useless plastic stuff. – Nola Helmore, Broulee

Honourable win

It would appear that it is not necessary to behave like dishonourable boors in order to win a Test match after all (“Respect”, December 19). Well done. – David Wellham, Broulee

Well done Tim, you’re a keeper (“Paine draws a line in the sand for first Test win of new era”, December 19) – Rob Baveystock, Naremburn

The descent of Australian cricket into win at all costs may have ended.

The new men in the Test team are displaying joy at success on the field instead of ugly raw aggression. A joy to watch again. – Richard Hambly, Potts Point

Snail mail indeed

Two hundred years ago, Jane Austen’s heroines could send a letter in the morning and receive a reply in the afternoon (Letters, December 19). Today it can take weeks. What happened? – Barry Riley, Woy Woy

Tone it down

State and federal elections next year: my vote will go to the party that bans inane mobile phone conversations on public transport. – Jack Amond, Cabarita

All too common

Perhaps the Plain English Foundation could nominate “survivor” as the most abused word in journalism today. Seems everyone is now a “survivor” of something, though rarely and appropriately, a life-threatening event. – John Penton, Rose Bay

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