Realistically, the march of the young can’t be stopped

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It’s all very well to criticise students, parents and the Victorian government for ″⁣allowing″⁣ student marches in support of the Palestinians. However in practical terms, what could possibly be done to prevent them? If students absent themselves from school there are few if any consequences, especially when covered by a parental note. Pressuring Jacinta Allan to make a ″⁣stronger statement″⁣ to forbid student participation would not make a whit of difference and it’s highly unlikely schools would suspend or expel students who engage in such protests, even if they could prove it. Chaining students to their desks is not going to work either. Terry Hastings, Hawthorn East

To know history is essential
As a retired history teacher, I find the student marches for Palestine both inspiring and, understandably at times, muddle-headed. Any notion of these young people being agents of the egregious Hamas is a stretch, to say the least. Crucially, educational systems in Australia are failing all students in not prioritising history as a discipline. By contrast, nearly half of US states have now mandated Holocaust education units in their public schools. History as a subject has now become vital for this nation’s social cohesion. Historical context in a balanced framework has become imperative. Jon McMillan, Mount Eliza

Say don’t and they won’t doesn’t cut it
I’m not sure anyone who rails against the Palestine student protests understands the psychology of young people. Edicts demanding that potential protesters stay in school are always going to encourage rebellion. Besides which, shouldn’t we allow them to express an opinion without immediately telling them it is wrong? Suppressing views that challenge the status quo is reflective of a political elite that misunderstands its people, especially the young. As long as it does not promote violence or anti-social behaviour, we should always encourage young people to be socially engaged, though apathy is undoubtedly easier for authorities to deal with. Matt Dunn, Leongatha

The many reasons to demonstrate
When children start marching to protest China’s suppression of Uighers, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Taliban’s abhorrent treatment of women, Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism and the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, then we can take them seriously. Greg Hardy, Upper Ferntree Gully

Two protests are worlds apart
Many people are comparing the students’ protests for Palestine with the anti-Vietnam war protests in the 1970s, in order to justify their right to protest. However, there is no valid comparison as the Vietnam protests were against Australia’s involvement, whereas despite all the brouhaha about what is being said regarding the Middle East, public statements or actions in Australia will have no bearing on the outcome. People have a right to protest about any issue of concern, but these two issues are poles apart. Ray Pilbeam, Camberwell


Get on right tracks
Melbourne Airport’s proposal to redeploy tunnel boring machines and labour from the North East Link project to the airport rail project has logic on its side (″⁣Airport digs in amid rail link fight″⁣, 23/11).
While we have been waiting for decades for a rail service to Melbourne Airport, the threatened impact of the North East Link project includes increased road traffic on the Eastern Freeway and on major arterial roads in the eastern suburbs.
The environmental impact would include the loss of thousands of trees to make way for the behemoth. And for what? As with the freeway projects that preceded it any reductions in travel times would be transitory, as we have observed over the years with the Tullamarine Freeway to Melbourne Airport.
Ian Hundley, Balwyn North

Relieve the pressure
The Reserve Bank governor Michele Bullock now blames increasing costs at home for inflationary pressures while the government blames international pressures. Regardless, home owners and pensioners are facing a tough time ahead unless the government comes up with some worthwhile cost-of-living relief. Some hard decisions regarding infrastructure spending and taxation reform need to be enacted and the proceeds used to help ease living expenses. The time to act is now or it will be too late for many.
Paul Chivers, Box Hill North

Labor, act now
The famous economist John Maynard Keynes once said, “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do Sir.“
When the Coalition announced the Stage 3 tax cuts, interest rates on housing loans were about 2 per cent. We have since seen about 13 increases so that rates are now 6 per cent and more. Labor supported the increases at the time, probably to avoid being wedged on the issue.
Home buyers are now being smashed by huge increases in their mortgage payments.
Time to for Labor to acknowledge that the facts have changed dramatically, and to do something about it.
Bill McMahon, Glen Waverley

Defies logic
The RBA’s Michele Bullock blames inflation on spending by ordinary people on such things as “dentists, hairdressers, dining out and other recreational activities”. In order to discourage people from going to the dentist etc. she ups interest rates. What extraordinary logic.
Inflation is all about rising prices. Surely high prices are caused by those who set them: mostly corporate retailers. Raising interest rates, as the RBA has demonstrated only too well in that past, has minimal effect on inflation but it has a very strong effect on the profits made by banks and on the investments of the already rich.
John Biggs,
Mount Nelson, Tas

CPI hair looms
One of the many reasons for a rising CPI is the cost of hair cuts. Young guys getting over ridiculous short back and sides styles might help reduce inflation. A benefit in two ways.
John Groom, Bentleigh

Other wars to fight
It is not antisemitic to be against the way Israel is conducting the war against Hamas in Gaza. There are Jews who are conflicted about the war, the treatment of Palestinians, the horrific loss of life in Gaza but knowing there is an absolute need to get their hostages back. It is not antisemitic to march for a free Palestine, and children have the right to demonstrate for social causes they believe in. Consider, however, the war in Yemen has killed over 225,000 people, with 4 million displaced. The war in Syria has killed over 300,000 civilians, with over 13million displaced. The war in Sudan has killed 9000 civilians. The war that resulted in the creation of South Sudan resulted in over 50,000 deaths. Where are the marches and demonstrations to stop the killing in these wars or to stop the appalling treatment of women in Afghanistan?
Louise Kloot,

Remember the Holocaust

The report on the new Holocaust Museum (23/11) highlights the deep pain of Holocaust survivors of that dark and abominable period in history. Some years ago I visited the previous iteration of the museum so I could hear their testimony and be reminded of the consequences of hate and racial division in the hope that society will learn the lessons of history. Sadly, that is not what we are witnessing today both within Australia and abroad.
The education program the museum provides goes some way to educating us on the horrors of the Holocaust but with an increase in antisemitism and racial vilification we need a much broader approach in society to counteract these behaviours taking root.
Hopefully, federal parliament can lead by example.
Anne Lyon, Camberwell

The Israeli protests
We’ve now had the student protest in support of the Palestinians, so when is the one for the Israelis going to take place?
Mark Kennedy, Sebastopol

Young knowledge
Your correspondent (Letters, 23/11) laments students deciding to join protests before they “have learned anything about the subject”. If he were to talk to some of them, he might be pleasantly surprised.
Michael Hassett, Blackburn

Look to libraries for fun
Dominic Powell overlooked a major source of free holiday programs for kids (″⁣Entertain kids on the cheap this summer″⁣, 22/11). Your local public library offers an amazing range of free activities over the summer holidays, including gaming and Lego competitions, free family movies, art workshops, robotics and coding, escape rooms, nature incursions and excursions, and all kinds of story times. Places tend to fill fast, so check out your local public library website for bookings.
Angela Savage, CEO,
Public Libraries Victoria, Brunswick

Go outside to play
It’s shocking that only 45 per cent of Australian children play outside most days (“Run wild, kids: Parents urged to let children test limits in nature”, 24/11).
The statistic should be 100 per cent of children every day. One has to wonder what on earth we are protecting our children from by keeping them inside? Whatever it is, it’s not working. Childhood anxiety disorders, allergies, asthma and obesity are all too prevalent. And the pandemic taught us that most general illnesses come from being cooped up inside.
Nature-based outdoor play is vital for risk taking, confidence building, strength, balance, creativity, curiosity, emotional stability, problem solving, concentration and so much more. As a community, let’s put down the screens and pick up time in nature.
Parents and other child educators will benefit from more fresh air and green spaces too.
Amy Hiller, Kew

The exceptional race
Recently, students marched for human rights, peace and climate change, all being existential threats for the rest of their lives. Federal Education Minister Jason Clare and Premier Jacinta Allan both “expected students to stay at school″⁣. But each year in early November schools across the state shut for a horse race? Go figure.
Bob Graham, Hawthorn

Of little import
I am not as sanguine as some of your correspondents (24/11) that the import of two more Sydney media people into Melbourne radio will fail. So much of the broadcast media, both radio and television, is sourced out of Sydney and reflects Harbour City perspectives, that audiences in Melbourne will perceive little difference in the latest proposed imports.
Brian Kidd, Mount Waverley

The mark of sorrow
While I agree that there is a place for all-boys schools, I do not believe there is a place for an apostrophe at the end of all boys in the article’s headline (“Why there’s a place for all boys’ schools”, 23/11).
Ian Harley, Canterbury


Bald facts
Being half bald, I now hold my head high for not adding to inflation. Bow to the totally bald, the ultra anti-inflationists.
Patrick Alilovic, Pascoe Vale South

As an almost bald man who rarely goes to restaurants, can someone explain to me why my mortgage repayments have more than doubled?
Owen Wells, Mont Albert North

Who would have thought treating myself to a haircut after having a tooth pulled was the cause of inflation?
Sean Geary, Southbank

If the Reserve Bank governor, Michele Bullock, leads by example, she could become a toothless tiger.
Geoff Allen, Mt Eliza

A moon rover called Bruce, Colin, Dingo or Boomerang? How about Sheila, Sharon, Edna, or even Roving Matilda?
Deborah Morrison, Malvern East

Something positive to adopt from the US — Thanksgiving, a non-denominational get-together, where everyone at the table can say what they are thankful for.
Vivienne Whitehead, Paynesville

Hamas, in offence or defence, does not abide by international law yet expects protection by those laws.
Les Aisen, Elsternwick

While the government continues to fund the providers rather than the users, the fees for kindergartens and aged care will continue to increase and become unaffordable. The model is flawed.
Barbara Lynch, South Yarra

Kids may not understand geopolitical conflict but they understand human suffering; don’t knock them.
Barry Buskens, Sandringham

As a Vietnam moratorium school refuser in the ’60s, I say more power to any student who takes a day off to protest against the war in Gaza. One day lost to boring lessons didn’t do me any harm.
Mick Webster, Chiltern

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