A fair collective action
According to Innes Willox of the Australian Industry Group, collective bargaining is a bad idea (“Migration deal in sight at summit”, 1/9). He used the possibility of a strike across the nation in an industry such as childcare as an example to support his argument, but why is it a bad idea? Employers have used the divide and conquer strategy to suppress wages and downplay the importance of care workers for years. If some of the huge profits made are used to pay a fair wage through collective bargaining, that’s surely a good thing.
Greg Tuck, Warragul
We shared the concerns of your correspondent (Letters, 1/9) that our son would “put away the books, volunteering and socialising” when the school’s dreaded “work experience” cropped up in year 9. Fortunately, and independently of school, the local eBike company head-hunted the son for technical employment.
No “chimney-sweeping”, he was never underpaid or exploited and the law was laid down for VCE/Uni – “nothing is more important than your health and studies, we will work around your availability”. I recall at VCE’s end he was legally permitted and trusted to “open up” while the owner and management were overseas.
Yes, in retrospect the socialising suffered, but the lessons learnt from helping those totally reliant on an eTricycle for transportation remain. Much like our local cafes that let their young staff feed the homeless.
Ronald Elliott, Sandringham
The Howard government’s WorkChoices policy was regarded as too extreme and contributed to the defeat of that government in 2007. However, just 15 years later, the Australian labour market resembles what WorkChoices intended. For millions of Australian workers, non-negotiable contracts are the norm (“Cut red tape binding workers to low pay”, 1/9).
Australians voted to reject a radical change to workplace relations only to then see it take place anyway.
Rod Wise, Surrey Hills
Given the jobs and skills summit is to concentrate on productivity, here are a few ideas they might consider on day two: 1. reward performance; 2. encourage innovation; 3. training and mentoring in the workplace; 4. seek feedback from all; 5. nurture loyalty.
Dennis Richards, Cockatoo
Chris Wallace exposes the extent to which the balance is shifting in favour of women in public decision-making roles (“Extinction looms for dinosaurs”, Comment, 1/9). The numbers are compelling and the prognosis so far is promising, but it’s not only a matter of numerical strength. The recent election provides some further clues to why we’re finally seeing women have more impact: there’s a new spirit of co-operation and a desire for genuine collaboration, combined with frustration with traditional hierarchies and methods. We’re moving from confrontation dominated by men to negotiation facilitated by women – and not a moment too soon.
Jenifer Nicholls, Armadale
I live in hope that the continuing strong showing of women in parliament, business and policymaking will stream down through the next generation of young women. At times I almost despair when I see and hear of our young women and the influence social media has on them.
As Wallace says, the women in parliament are not battling each other but having problem-solving discussions. Hopefully, our young women will see that working together with, not competing against, other women is the answer.
Wendy Daniels, Hawthorn
Follow the money
A Canadian philanthropist donates an astonishing $250 million to the University of Melbourne towards finding treatments for future pandemics. The Australian government provides a welcome $2 million towards Pakistan flood relief – with over 1000 people dead and thousands more homeless. The Saudi government pays an Australian man $140 million to hit a ball about with a stick. The world’s moral compass is spinning off its dial!
Jackie Smith, North Fitzroy
Paying the price
You’re right, Cameron Smith, it’s outrageous that you won’t receive world ranking points (“‘The future of golf’: Smith praises LIV series, calls rankings ban unfair”, 1/9). But you’re supporting the Saudi regime by playing in their golf tour. You may be surprised to learn that critics of the kingdom receive even harsher punishments. I hope the $140 million will help to soothe the pain of victimisation.
Tim Durbridge, Brunswick
Being a surgeon is easy
I trained as a paediatrician but have always harboured a secret desire to be a brain surgeon. I was encouraged to see then that the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency sees no reason for people claiming to be surgeons to actually have relevant training in the field (“Regulator’s ‘reckless’ plan for $1.4b industry”, The Age, 1/9).
This seems to be opening up a whole new career path for me. All I will need is some patients gullible enough to let me try, and there appears to be no shortage of those.
What this whole sorry fiasco has illustrated is perhaps an even more worrying issue than cosmetic “surgeons”, this being the incompetence of AHPRA. This problem has been in plain sight for many years and they have done nothing of value about it.
Andrew Watkins, Olinda
That medical doctors are allowed to call themselves cosmetic surgeons is wrong. Why would a doctor put themselves through all that extra study to become a plastic surgeon when they can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon and make the same if not more money?
I once had liposuction and only ended up seeing a plastic surgeon because I asked a nursing friend for the names of the best surgeons who did this procedure. Otherwise I might have ended up seeing a cosmetic surgeon and been one of these calamities.
Name withheld on request
Cash in hand
So, “the top fifth of the population would gain $188 billion, or 77 per cent, of the $243.5 billion benefit” from the stage three tax cuts (“Labor to honour tax cut pledge: Treasurer”, 1/9). But why shouldn’t they? After all, they are hardly likely to use those awful public hospitals, schools or transport systems, so why should they be expected to contribute to their support?
Stephen Farrelly, Donvale
What a sight it will be to see the Abbotsford convent lit up like a wonderland! (“Under the cover of darkness, creativity lights up”, Comment, 1/9). The hope of the event creators is to “reclaim the night” of locations that are otherwise deserted at night.
Maybe the convent will become a wonderland. But will its lights allow some of the ghosts that still linger, in this place of gothic horror, to re-emerge and be remembered? The convent was once a children’s home and an industrial school. We must never forget the childhood of so many who, at the convent, suffered the bleak and austere supervision of the nuns. One resident who spent her childhood there said: “It would have been special to have someone put their arms around you to give you a cuddle, to sit on someone’s knee, to have a story read to you and to be tucked into bed with a good night kiss.”
Enjoy the lights but don’t forget the past that allows today’s wonderland to exist.
Simon Gardiner, Alliance for Forgotten Australians
Media link to freedom
Mikhail Gorbachev is widely credited with ending the Cold War and, subsequently, the Soviet Union (“Gorbachev shaped history, but his legacy has been undone”, The Age, August 31). Over 22 years at the helm, Vladimir Putin has assiduously worked to unravel Gorbachev’s legacy, as Russia again veers towards totalitarianism.
For instance, a lesser known fact is Gorbachev used part of his earnings from winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 to found the Novaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper. After Putin’s impatience with free speech (especially anything critical of him) morphed into new repressive laws in March to curtail the independent media and block the truth about the war in Ukraine, Novaya Gazeta suspended publication.
Mick Bendor, Danby, Tas
I was amazed at your correspondent and former nurse who quoted a date of 1987 for those outdated training guidelines (Letters, 1/9). These were the exact conditions promised to us students, along with hefty doses of bullying from some old-school nurses, when in 1957, aged 20, I entered a nurses course in London. No wonder I didn’t continue.
But in January 1987, aged 49, I entered the registered nurse course at the Royal Adelaide Hospital; it was brilliant. I was the oldest student they’d ever had at that time. The shift system was acceptable, general conditions fine, and the nursing management team under Rosemary Bryant was great.
As a student nurse rep, I suggested two changes, one to a nursing procedure/protocol and one for rationalising and improving the organisation of student placements and their associated shift patterns; both were adopted.
Kate Sanford, Portland
Walking in the Mullum Mullum Valley, Donvale, on the first day of spring, the wattles and the wildflowers were flowering. The fantailed cuckoo and the olive-backed oriole welcomed the new day. Seek your nearest patch of bushland and revel in nature, you won’t regret it.
Cecily Falkingham, Donvale
And another thing
Is Peter Dutton a no-show at the jobs and skills summit because he’s on jobkeeper?
Bernd Rieve, Brighton
A quick summary of the Jobs and Skills Summit, employees want more pay for less work and employers want more work for less pay and never the twain shall meet.
Dennis Fitzgerald, Box Hill
What’s the point of bringing in migrants to fill jobs: they’ll just finish up sitting in traffic jams, where our current lack of productivity is.
Gerry Lonergan, Reservoir
There’s a lot of huff and puff about lifting workers’ pay, there’s little discussion about the possibility of those jobs moving offshore. Maybe it’s time we also talked tariffs.
Jeff Moran, Bacchus Marsh
While teachers, nurses, childcare and aged care workers beg for deserved pay rises, people who walk around hitting little white balls are deemed worthy of millions. What a world!
Kay Moulton, Surrey Hills
Russia’s mute response to Mikhail Gorbachev’s passing echoes the Biblical adage that “no prophet is accepted in his home town”.
Nick Toovey, Beaumaris
Re: Odd Spot (The Age, 1/9), I’m sure the French homeowners found with undeclared swimming pools simply forgot they had them. So easy to do.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick
Such an uplifting photo in The Age (“Top court opens arms to modern families”, World, 1/9). The resilience, the humanity, the smiling faces. What can we possibly complain about?
Simon Feely, East Melbourne
Can we be big-hearted enough to acknowledge the possibility of rehabilitation even for terrorists such as Umar Patek, the Bali bomb maker?
Kevin Burke, Mooloolaba