Great Debate was nothing more than shouting match

I watched the “debate” between Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese and was not impressed. It is not a debate when one person can talk over another, interject and shout to be the loudest. The rules should have been made clear that one person speaks at a time. Not only is it a matter of courtesy but it enables the viewers to hear each person’s views on each topic. Sandra Burke, North Sydney

After suffering through the so-called “debate”, I can understand why Morrison has been accused of being a bully. John Ure, Mount Hutton

So Scott Morrison says that the so-called “Great Debate” on Sunday night was “spirited”. Many of us would beg to disagree with that. If he looked in the mirror he would clearly see it was a very good illustration of what he can do when his back is firmly stuck on the wall. Dimitris Langadinos, Concord West

PM turning faith schools into gender battlegrounds

The PM is promising afresh his hobby-horse piece of religious freedom legislation (“Lib MPs will cross floor again to defy Morrison bill”, May 9), just when Anglican school principals in Sydney are having to affirm a whole additional article of faith on human sexuality. The PM is quite certain religious schools don’t wish to expel trans kids, so no need for safeguards. But what about enrolling these kids? What about gay students? Or teachers? The Anglican authorities didn’t come up with their ploy as an empty gesture. These moves signal a determination to make religious schools the battleground in some sort of distasteful rerun of the debate over same-sex marriage. The latest furore might even prompt students to start protesting. Almost certainly they can see the bigotry and the hypocrisy more clearly than many of the adults in the room. Margaret Johnston, Paddington

Hats off to these four Liberals planning to cross the floor. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. Steve Ngeow, Chatswood

Morrison’s position is absurd. The religious discrimination bill was on track to pass the Senate, with protections for LGBTQ students that would have been passed at the same time. He pulled the bill after the Australian Christian Lobby claimed such protections were too high a price for their demand to water down protections in all other anti-discrimination laws to privilege people of faith over everyone else. Now Morrison claims that protections are not needed for LGBTQ students because faith-based schools are not discriminating against them; they just must have this right they disingenuously claim they do not use. Samantha Chung, Randwick

Morrison is trying to stir up support by saying he will bring in his religious freedom bill again. He says that in a separate bill he will safeguard the positions of gay and other children, but doesn’t say when the bill will be introduced. As usual, he also doesn’t say why Christians and so on need a special anti-discrimination law. The only coherent thing these Christians tell us is that the fuss is because of the Bible’s ban on homosexuality – if it’s in the Bible, it has to be enforced. But they don’t say that about creationism. There is no campaign to make the science curriculum teach that the world was made in seven days. Nor is there any talk of making science teachers sign contracts to teach creationism alone. Grant Agnew, Coopers Plains (Qld)

Don’t ignore threatened wildlife

Thank you for the editorial on the desperate situation of Australian wildlife and the environment they call home (“Urgent action needed to protect our threatened biodiversity”, May 9). As it points out, there are so many people working hard to save them, yet it never becomes a priority for governments because it is sadly not a priority of their constituents. The Herald could turn this around by making it front and centre of its reporting, until people start to understand that we share this continent with thousands of other species, which have as much right to exist as we do – and that their plight is a direct result of the damage we have done since European settlement, with land clearing and feral predators. These are things we can do something about right now. Mary Marlow, Blackheath

It will soon be too late for Australian native species to survive. The main problem seems to be the Conservatives’ fear of alienating the Nationals, who believe that agriculturists have every right to do as they please with “their land”. One of the major tragedies in NSW was the steps taken by Gladys Berejiklian to weaken and virtually eliminate all land clearing laws. If the government refused to protect a healthy, thriving population of koalas near Campbelltown, how could we believe that the Coalition, state or federal would take any interest in protecting the remainder of Australia’s unique and precious native wildlife and habitat? Nola Tucker, Kiama

Informal is irresponsible

Your correspondent (Letters, May 9) may think he is entitled to vote informal as a protest against mediocre candidates, but it only serves to make him a mediocre voter. A thoughtful, informed vote is the only one that counts. Anyway, thanks for turning up. Just don’t complain about the outcome. Bob Edgar, Westmead

Personally, I think voting informal is a dereliction of one’s civic duty. Surely one can choose their least objectionable candidate and grade the rest accordingly? Make your vote count. Denis Suttling, Newport Beach

How does your correspondent who votes informal because “the candidates are mediocre and are too lazy to campaign for their seat” deal with the Senate ballot paper? That is perhaps the only chance to be heard for many in “safe” electorates. Ashley Collard, Fairlight

Anyone consciously voting informally should forfeit their right to complain about anything societal or governmental. In some countries, people are killed trying to exercise their democratic rights. Clare Raffan, Campsie

Your correspondent always votes informal. Doing so simply ensures fellow voters, with a more nuanced capacity to rank the worth of candidates, will determine who is his parliamentary representative. Geoffrey Briot, Stanmore

Teaching plan not so new

The plan to fund uni fees for teachers in return for working in rural areas for three years sounds reminiscent of the scheme that I (and many others) were part of (″⁣Labor promises leg-up for education students″⁣, May 9), except we were bonded for five years and could be sent anywhere in the state. I think that meant to any schools short of teachers. I’m not sure how happy some principals (or head teachers) will be about losing their right of choice if these new teachers are appointed. The interview system is well entrenched. Will a transfer system also have to be introduced so these new teachers do not feel trapped forever in remote areas? Anne Szczurowski, Lambton

Previously, teaching and nursing employed many women. School career advisers frequently recommended girls choose teaching, nursing or working in a bank as their best options. Today’s teacher and nurse shortages often occur because there are more choices for women. Now many women, by choice or necessity, choose to be employed in jobs that are better paid and less problematic. Joy Cooksey, Harrington

House loans higher in ’77

In response to your correspondent (Letters, May 9), a more appropriate way of comparing the cost of housing between generations is to compare the cost of money, i.e. interest rates. In 1977, I borrowed $15,000 to buy my first home. I earned $7500 a year in my white-collar job. My housing loan of 16.5 per cent was obtained through a credit union because a bank would not lend money to a 20-year-old. This amounted to 33 per cent of my salary. Today the average salary is $90,000 per year. A home loan of $600,000 at an interest rate of 4 per cent amounts to 27 per cent of the average salary.
It has always been difficult to buy a house for all generations. This is a hard fact to swallow. Riley Brown, Bondi Beach

Honesty the best policy

Pre-polling has started. It should be policy for all parties to have disclosed all their policies plus funding by the time voters are permitted to cast their vote. How do we know a few nasty or nice policies will be handed out in the final two weeks of campaigning? Robyn Lewis, Raglan

Make government work

I offer a solution to the problem stated by your correspondent (Letters, May 9). Everyone who is dissatisfied with the behaviour of the major parties should vote for the opposition at every election. Make every government a one-term government. If they know they will lose next time regardless of what they do, perhaps they will start to think of the country instead of themselves. Alan Stanley, Upper Corindi

Mother abuse

I have never heard such nonsense (“Breastfeeding counsellors quit over use of ’mother‴⁣⁣, May 9). While not all women choose to be mothers and breastfeed, the majority have the biological potential to do so. But “chestfeeding”? Patricia Farrar, Concord

It seems more than strange the use of the term “mother” would cause problems for someone who is talking about breastfeeding. Perhaps we have just celebrated “Chest-feeding Parental Unit Day”. Ron McQuarrie, Budgewoi

Teal dilemma

I worry about the colour teal (“Is teal the real deal? The independent influx”, May 9). Mum always said, “blue and green should not be seen unless there is a colour in between”. Michele Thomas, Mollymook Beach

Free advice

Here’s a thought: Don’t knock down the old shelters until you are ready to install the new ones (“Delays to new bus shelters leave commuters exposed”, May 9). Alicia Dawson, Balmain

On-side mother-in-law

Unlike your correspondent (Letters, May 9), my mother-in-law when sighting me for the first time said, ″⁣He’s not much to look at, is he?″⁣
David Prest, Port Macquarie

The digital view
Online comment from one of the stories that attracted the most reader feedback yesterday on smh.com.au
Leaders’ debate will shape the final weeks of the campaign
From Sensible: ″⁣Possibly the winners were not even there. Morrison displayed his bully tactics and Albanese had to respond accordingly. Morrison had little respect for the moderator (perhaps because it was not a man). Liberal candidates where independents are contesting will be the losers as educated, decent voters would definitely have been put off, especially women, who are bound to vote for the women independents.″⁣

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