Categories: News

As for learning from the past, that ship has sailed

Prepare your meetingCredit:Kate Geraghty

A brilliant piece by Malcolm Knox about the emptiness of many official meetings as a substitute for the organisers’ lack of social life. Occasionally I find the hour too short because I am forced to educate some participants on the basics of what their role descriptions say they are experts at. It’s not the length of the meeting, but the one in it. For some, remember that even the limited 280 characters of a social media platform is too much. Manbir Singh Kohli, Pemulwuy

Early in my career, our meeting “despot” felt that three-hour meetings every Friday were somehow desirable. He was never short of opinions to share. He was able to list every item on the agenda and much more. Only the humor of my colleagues kept us healthy. One participant occasionally took knitting to meetings so as not to feel like time was completely wasted. During an unbearably long meeting, with her knitting paused, she asked the stringer: “[name redacted] can you indicate how long we will be? I just want to know if I should start another row.” Judith Fleming, Sawtell

It has been said that people who like meetings should not be in charge of anything. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Give slots winnings to charities

Thanks to Harriet Alexander (“Hooked on pokies,” November 12) for bringing some context, perspective and humanity to the topic of club gambling in NSW. It seems to me that NSW hotel owners are under no obligation to share or recycle gambling winnings and it is unlikely that the AHA lobby will give in to this cash cow – unlike New Zealand where more than 40 percent of the profits come from non- casino machines is shared by nominated charities. I remember 20 years ago seeing a machine in Te Anau with a sign saying that month’s beneficiary was the local volunteer fire brigade. What a good idea. Kim Crawford, Springwood

Credit:Edwina Pickles

Prime Minister Perrottet has not impressed me much since he took office. But his determination to stare at the pubs and clubs certainly does. Let’s pull the rug out from under these monsters by holding a referendum to reduce and eventually abolish these misery-making machines. Clubs and clubs could then become the social hubs they once were. John Neilson, Port Macquarie

The cashless player card can be a way to deal with gambling problems. How about taking a leaf out of the anti-smoking handbook and going back to “regular packaging” slots? No fancy bells and whistles, just numbers or playing cards or symbols. Neil Reccord, Toormina

Whenever I’ve been to a club, I haven’t seen people “enjoying a flutter” on the poker machines. I’ve seen 10 percent happy, and 90 percent grimacing and often swearing at these parasitic devices. Steve Rothschild, Thalgarrah

Refugee pain endless

The government has extended the contract to detain refugees on Nauru (Letters, November 12). This has cost the government billions of dollars. Some of these refugees have been locked up for years. It’s about time they were released into the community, either in Australia, or the government took up New Zealand’s offer to house them. Gillian Dierikx, Pottsville

Now I’m confused. For years I thought our immigration system was purely racist: if you’re white and educated and arrive by plane, you can stay, like those au pairs; but if you’re poor and brown and come by boat, we don’t want you like the refugees on Nauru. Recently we discovered that we ship in poor and brown by the plane load, the sex workers cheated by promises of good work. Can we please have some consistency? Alan Stanley, Upper Corinth

Related Post

Class behavior vital

Your article (“Minister Plans to Address the Teacher Shortage,” Nov. 12) talks about excessive workload, administrative responsibilities, lack of respect for teachers, etc. Nowhere else was mentioned another reason why novice teachers sign out: misbehavior in the classroom . Young teachers are responsible for classroom behavior, but have no authority. They are insulted and sometimes attacked on a daily basis. The Ministry of Education is bound by regulations rather than by some form of practical assistance. Suspension only serves to legitimize truancy. School counselors are generally a wasted resource. Reformers are looking the wrong way. They should start with classroom management. Lyle Keats, Miranda

Baby was just cat fishing

In response to your correspondent’s comment (Letters, November 12) about the lions in the Taronga Zoo going out to see the world. Our grandson, Leo, was born at a nearby hospital the day before their field trip, so we create a family myth that they heard of his arrival and were on their way to welcome a new cub to the pride. Christina Mahoney May,

West Pymble

growing pains

All the talk of what part of Sydney should bear its “fair share” of high-density housing (Postscript, Nov. 12) ignores one fundamental truth: no city, Sydney included, can grow forever without its amenities being destroyed. The state government has found an answer to the long-term problem by suggesting that future growth of the Sydney region should take place in Newcastle and Wollongong. It is counterproductive to destroy the Vaucluse’s facilities by forcing growth that should move north and south along the coast. John Roseth, Mosman

Before criticizing the eastern suburbs for resistance to further development, a distinction must be made between housing availability and affordability. Increasing development in the densely populated Waverley council area, for example, does nothing for affordability, little for availability and negatively impacts already stretched services. The latter is partly due to the consequences of privatisation. Waverley has more than 80,000 residents (excluding tourists) in 12 square kilometres, mainly in medium or high density apartments. If this density and development pattern were to be applied in other parts of Sydney, there would be justifiable protest. To address both affordability and availability, there needs to be a coherent Sydney-wide plan that covers all factors, including jobs, education opportunities, transport and services. Such a plan cannot be driven by the whims of the development industry, for whom the inner city and eastern suburbs have turned out to be a pot of gold. Paul Pearce (Mayor of Waverley 1997-2004), Bronte

only survivors

I’ve often wondered why there hasn’t been a real discussion around high heels for years (“Women Sneak Back to the Office Without High Heels,” 12 November). Aren’t women too preoccupied with sacrificing their health just to “look good”? Janet Cadet, Ulladulla

purple spot

Jacaranda trees at Circular QuayCredit:Flavio Brancalone

It was great to see the annual spring crop of jacaranda blooms (“Let the Purple Reign Begin,” November 12). What is missing is an occasional red of scattered flowers from Illawarra flames, which make a great foil for the jacarandas. Such a pity. Keith Parsons, Newcastle

I believe the correct name for the season is Mauvember. Peter Fyfe, Enmore

spicy debate

I’m not that interested in the ghosts of cockroaches and any ghost that doesn’t fall through a floor (Letters, November 12). However, I’d like to know why the ghost in a current car ad needs to fasten a seatbelt before driving off. William Galton,

Hurstville Grove

Paper windows

My newsboy experience in Tamworth in the late 1950s replicated that of your correspondent (Letters, November 12). The papers were rolled up with a narrow paper strip, so on rainy days you had to make a deft wrist movement to place them under the eaves to keep them dry. But with Saturday Heraldthe wrist movement was dampened by the size of the paper, and you had to make sure you missed any diamonds. Brian Eastoe, Stroud

The digital display
Online commentary from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday smh.com.au
Experts banning acetaminophen fear teens will gain access to household supplies
From David Jackson: Restricting acetaminophen will only lead to the use of other products or devices for self-harm. Banning it does nothing. Teens or anyone who wants to harm themselves will harm themselves unless the cause is addressed.

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