Letters to the editor

A waste of time and money

What did the "Super Saturday" bi-elections achieve, apart from costing taxpayers time and money?

The political status of all five candidates was maintained and all five returned to their pre-election positions in federal parliament.

Nothing was achieved, except all the hype and tension, the promises and rhetoric Australians are used to hearing around elections. 

But to Shorten's delight, it appeared to be a reaction against Turnbull's stubborn tax breaks policy for corporate Australia, whether true or not.

This policy may be political suicide for the coalition if the bi-elections were any indication. No one wants the profiteering big end of town to benefit, while the rest are suffering the high cost of living in the land of milk and honey. Honey for the filthy rich end of town only?

Tax breaks for those whose annual profits in the billions resemble the GDP of many small nations?

It is blatantly obvious that the rich take care of their own. President Donald Trump is an example of self-interest politics.

The coalition is composed of millionaires and business men, while Labor consists of working-class unionists who rose through the ranks. This sets them apart in focus on policy preferences. To be stubbornly determined to continue with the corporate tax policy, despite negative reaction from their own backbenchers, concerned about their own political futures, may cost the coalition its margin seats, especially in Queensland, where every vote counts.

Read the writing on the wall. The great divide between the corporate rich, high end of town, the middle class working poor, struggling small business, retirees and the rest, will only widen with this stubborn policy. Labor is in its best position to win, backed by the unions, if this result is any indication.

-E. Rowe, Marcoola

Thank you, Queensland

I would like to thank the Queensland community for their generous contributions to The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal. We are very pleased to have raised over $4.5 million nationally to help thousands of disadvantaged children across Australia with vital support for their education.

For the one in seven young Australians living below the poverty line, keeping up at school can be extremely challenging. Family struggles at home can have a flow-on effect to a child’s learning.

In our daily work, we hear heartbreaking stories of children missing school because they’re embarrassed about not being able to read or pretending to lose their homework because they hadn’t understood what was happening in class.

The donations we’ve received will help us reach almost 11,000 children in need through The Smith Family’s out-of-school learning programs – such as student2student, which helps younger children improve their reading skills by pairing them with older ‘reading buddies’, as well as our after-school Learning Clubs and the iTrack online mentoring program.

We are seeing great outcomes for the young people participating in our programs. For example, in 2017, 96 per cent of primary school students improved their reading ability through the student2student program, while 86 per cent of students agreed that going to a Learning Club helped them do better in class. Another 85 per cent of high school students said their iTrack mentor helped them feel more confident about their future job, career or study options.

All of these key programs rely not only on generous donations from the public but also volunteering support from the communities in which we operate.

It is heart-warming to see people responding with great care to this large-scale issue of poverty in Australia.

With this support, we can help more children in need break the cycle of disadvantage and create better futures for themselves.

- A. Le May, The Smith Family

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