I'd like to sincerely apologise to Graham Burmeister for presuming that his opposition to the Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation was based upon his religious views if, as he stated in his letter to the editor ("Let's not devalue human life", November 27), that was not the case.
Like him, I too regard myself as a believer in 'humanism', but I guess our difference in opinion boils down to whether we believe that individuals should have the right to make our own decisions about our own lives or whether those decisions should best be decided by others in our society who feel they are better placed to judge.
I assure Graham that I certainly do not devalue human life.
However, I like most in our society, am very concerned about the quality and 'ownership' of life and as a result I was pleased to see that the VAD legislation recently passed through the NSW lower house of Parliament with a resounding majority which reflected the wishes of the electorate.
Hopefully the upper house will follow suit next year so that in the future any of us nearing a medically diagnosed distressing death will have the option of applying for a voluntary and merciful means of departure should we so choose.
As NSW teachers go on strike, it is worth understanding why.
The former NSW Labor government introduced a scheme to redress a situation where public servants were paid 10 per cent above the private sector.
Labor, later Coalition, introduced a scheme where over the next 7-10 years public servant wages would equalise with the private sector by capping wage growth at 2.5 per cent. The scheme was successful, and by default, having to pay less in wages, billions of dollars has been directed to pay off the NSW Labor government debt legacy and extra to fund infrastructure programs throughout the state.
The problem that I see is that public servants are now facing a real wage cut below the private sector. The 7-10 year plan was successful, but the objectives are no longer relevant and wages must increase if we are to continue to have teachers, nurses etc in an effective public sector. In addition to reduced wages, teachers have been subjected to increasing workloads, increased red tape and are required to 'trade off' conditions of employment regularly.
Quite clearly, the bureaucrats and ministers in charge of education have lacked any frontline teaching experience. This is now starting to impact the profession.
For teachers like myself, the conditions of employment within schools have encouraged me to retrain and find a different profession. I would encourage anybody who is impacted by this strike to support the cause being fought for.
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I think it's very unfair that first homeowners or people with ordinary incomes cannot buy a home in the market the way it is.
It seems to be inflated by extremely wealthy people who buy the homes at the inflated price and the people who want to get into their first home or into a moderate standard home, cannot get in. It's a jolly blight on our system and on our nation.
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