Letters to the Editor


Arterial Bloc

I agree with some aspects of some of the critiques of what the Arterial Bloc did at G20, however this call by Socialist Alternative is wrong: "[All the left should] politically oppose anyone coming to protest rallies wearing masks or other forms of disguise. We need openness and accountability in the movement. Such dress creates a sinister atmosphere, breeds distrust, and makes police infiltration more likely." This is exactly the argument that has been used against various forms of Muslim headwear. Should we tell the Muslim community that they can't come because their clothes "breed distrust"?

@letterauth= Ben Standing

North Adelaide, SA

Radio show

I would like to commend Radio Skidrow (88.9FM) in Sydney for continuing to broadcast Democracy Now, Monday to Friday 9-10am. Democracy Now in the US is on Radio Pacifica. The presenters are Amy Goodman (remember the US journalist who was nearly killed as she stayed with Alan Nairn, fellow US journalist, at the head of the demonstration on the day of the Dili massacre in 1991) and Juan Gonzales. One of the ABC's few great journalists recommended it to me a couple of years ago, and I have been hooked since.

Stephen Langford

Paddington, NSW

Income inequality

New research from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling has found that the incomes of those Australians with exceptionally high incomes have risen by about 24% over the past decade, with middle-income Australians gaining around 32%. The bad news is that people on low incomes have done a lot worse.

Data relating to the very lowest income Australians is notoriously inaccurate and the Australian Bureau of Statistics correctly recommends ignoring such figures. But we can say that Australians with less income than 85% of the population have only picked up about 14% more since the 1996.

The federal government should be ensuring that the incomes of people in greater need grow at a faster rate than the incomes of those who are comfortably off financially. Yet the Coalition has done the opposite.

Brent Howard

Rydalmere, NSW

Classroom heat

My son is a kindergarten child. He studies in a weatherboard and fibro hut on bricks. On days above 30oC, his class is so hot that students sometimes weep. Learning is inhibited. His teachers are dedicated souls who give their all. Should they be cooked like turkeys too? They deserve better conditions and resources.

NSW treasurer Michael Costa isn't required to do his sums in baking heat and neither should they.

The Department of Education claims that the area of is of low priority because the roll out of air conditioning must begin with schools in desert conditions out west.

My son's wonderful school is 100 years old. How long does it take the Department of Education to get around to sheltering its pupils properly? Another 50 years?

If I was Premier Morris Iemma, I'd take the heat off myself and get some clean green power and air conditioning into every uncool school immediately.

Jane Salmon-Donovan

Lindfield, NSW


We know how autocratic regimes "send in the troops"o quell popular uprisings and how Australia's "defence forces" are sent to foreign wars, but not always that our elected government can lawfully deploy "the military" as "aid to the civil power" in periods of "civil unrest". PM John Howard would lose power if he did what he is doing in Tonga. By deploying "his troops" without our consent, to keep a feudal king on his throne, Howard is defying all democratic principles. Not new, as he and his cronies deploy harsh laws against "sedition".

Who orders masses of police against public demonstrations? Drunken rampages are a criminal matter for Tonga's police force but pro-democracy last resort direct action means instead of abdicating, this royal dictator yells for colonial force.

Lyn Ariel

Glebe, NSW