Building our fightback

The Bust the Budget rallies were great because they mobilised 45,000 across Australia against Abbott’s attacks on working people. Unlike the March in May rally, the action demanded from the 10,000 gathered in Sydney was not so great. The 10,000 were instructed to SMS our MPs. Disappointingly, SMSs aren’t going to stop Abbott’s attacks. People want more than a feel-good rally and the opportunity to let off steam.

Many trade union leaders are arguing to “vote Abbott out”, however, this doesn’t prevent Abbott’s cuts and attacks from happening right now. Even if the ALP is elected, there are no guarantees they will repeal all of Abbott’s cuts. Remember “Your Rights at Work: worth fighting for” which became, “Your Rights at Work: worth voting for” and resulted in “WorkChoices-lite”. Is Gonski-lite next?

Our campaign to prevent Abbott’s attacks needs to intensify if we are to protect our communities and environment from what is to come. The challenge for unionists is to argue for strong action, such as mobilisations nationally, and resist attempts to channel our legitimate anger into a re-elect the ALP campaign.

Another cross-union delegates meeting is needed to help coordinate the next stage of our defence.

March Australia mobilised 100,000 people and have twice demonstrated Australians are no longer willing to simply wait until the next election. Let’s move beyond the ballot box and politicians’ broken promises.

On August 20, university students across Australia will rally against the Budget cuts. On August 31, March Australia will hold another massive national protest against Abbott. At a minimum, the Australian Education Union needs to mobilise teachers for August 31. Ideally, unions need to support both days of action. Doing so will help build the mass movement needed to defeat these attacks and protect what we have before its cut.

John Gauci
Taverners Hill Infants

LSLD replicated

I read John Gauci and Noreen Navin’s passionate letters (Education, June 2) regarding the lack of Federation mobilisation and gave it some serious thought. Federation has adopted a Local Schools, Local Decisions style methodology in relation to localising action. Last year Federation insisted schools each form a Workplace Committee. The tasks and responsibilities of a committee are onerous, considering these are in addition to usual teaching duties. I suspect LSLD has impacted at the very core of Federation’s commitment to mobilisation of its members.

Matthew Somerton
Workplace Committee Member
Northern Beaches Secondary College, Manly Campus

Small square

It’s a shame that the people who want the railway into Newcastle to stay do not think outside the small square. Newcastle and the Hunter Valley need:

a) a tram system from Broadmeadow throughout the city. Trains will terminate here from up the Valley and Sydney

b) a fast train system to and from Sydney and from up the Valley

c) a fast train system to and from the airport, Williamtown

Sydney needs a second airport. There already is one: at the RAAF base Williamtown — just move its planes where they will be more effective, north.

I retired from TAFE in 2004 and moved to Morpeth, near Maitland in the Hunter Valley, being involved in teaching students from years 11 and 12 and other community matters. The Hunter Valley is a depressed area that needs a lot of stimulus if young people are to have some kind of future.

Frank Tweedie

Reject fairy floss

As somebody who lives in the west I support the west and want to see it flourish. In many of the geopolitical arenas I have been critical of the west’s hypocrisy and that goes back to the Gospels where Jesus talks about taking the beam out of your own eye before you see the speck in your brother’s eye. If we take this further and look at the breakdown between east and west and what has made the west so fortunate, it’s the embrace of the Gospels. It’s because we, as a society now reject them so vehemently that in my view the west is basically writing its own suicide note.

In terms of what’s going on with Russia and the west, Putin has learnt from history. Contrary to what the western media says he is not recreating the Soviet Union because Christ and the Church are revered in Russia. That wasn’t the case with the Soviet Union and with what I know of faith now the day the Soviet Union came into being its days were already numbered and it only lasted about five generations.

Now we have supranational organisations that are helping the west’s agenda of rampant consumerism and that is the International Monetary Fund/World Bank. During the Cold War it was preferable for the US to control these organisations but not now because it’s lost its way. The way the US achieves this is due to the breakdown of voting for major decisions to be made because it requires 85 per cent of the vote. The US controls 17 per cent of the votes in the International Monetary Fund and 18 per cent in the World Bank. This gives it veto power in its own right. Given that control, it’s hardly surprising that Russia is leading the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) association and the creation of a new development bank to counter this.

Finally, I don’t see the west spiralling into sectarian violence or collapsing the way the Soviet Union did. Rather I think the headlines will indicate where it’s going. Australia apparently has the highest levels of illicit drug use per capita, anti-social violent crime is raging, mental health is deteriorating and the west has a cult of self-harm and suicide of individuals that is perplexing. It’s these kinds of trends that are destroying the west as we turn from the Gospels and embrace fairy floss fads that have no grounding when the going gets tough.

Robert Wrona
Punchbowl PS

Carbon copy

Money could be better spent

Sydney Morning Herald

In NSW schools there is provision made for religious instruction. As a result, representatives of many different beliefs teach scripture lessons each week. That should be sufficient for a system that prides itself on being secular and non-discriminatory.

Not all students are Christian and many follow no religion. The money spent on providing chaplains of a particular faith could be much better spent providing services that are relevant for all students. Counsellors are in short supply and essential in all schools. Remedial English and maths programs, English as a second language and in-service training are some areas that would benefit from greater spending.

If families wish to have more religion in their lives, there are all the churches, mosques, synagogues and temples which they can attend.

Augusta Monro
Life Member