A collection of letters to the editor

Great support

December 3, 2013 | The Stonnington Leader

That one Australian is diagnosed with dementia every six minutes is a scary statistic to even begin to contemplate. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach people with the mainstream media constantly bombarding us with numbers and figures that have almost desensitised us to their true meaning.

It’s fantastic to see some businessmen taking it upon themselves to raise some community awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and I hope others can also jump on the bandwagon to support their cause.

It’s a shame that such messages often don’t reach members of the community until they themselves have had the condition affect their lives on a personal level.



Danger of lazy teaching

November 22, 2013 | The Age

It is fantastic that educators recognise the importance of developing students’ technological skills that may be employed in the workforce and hence, how crucial it is for this medium to be supported in schools (Comment, 21/11).

However, it presents teachers with an easy escape from carrying out their job in the traditional manner. Referring students to online study resources – while beneficial as a method to complement classroom learning – can never replace the value of one-on-one support from a teacher.

Students are becoming more distracted by online social networking and games but this will not be avoided by limiting the use of technology in schools. Kids will always find a way around the rules. The suggestion to cut back on students’ use of computers in schools could be detrimental in the long run.



Better to be safe than sorry

June 25, 2013 | The Stonnington Leader

RE: ‘Mum’s Warning’ (Leader, June 18) I think this case is a perfect example of how, in many instances, it can actually prove safer to think the worst of a situation.

Even if health professionals do not wish to instill unnecessary fear in the minds of concerned family members, which is to an extent quite understandable, I believe it is reasonable to place the health and safety of the ailing above this so as to avoid far more severe consequences.



In any language

November 28, 2012 | Stonnington Review Local

There is really no need for teachers to be concerned about the push toward state primary schools offering at least one Asian language (“Teacher queries Asian language emphasis, RV, November 7).

Speaking as an 18 year old, European languages are extremely popular among the youth especially due to the advantages they hold when it comes to travelling or working while taking a gap year.

I believe it would be very useful for young Australians to also have the ability to speak an Asian language as there are so many job opportunities over there at present.

I think it is important for people to be exposed to a variety of languages and cultures.



Fools will get fined

November 20, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

I was shocked to discover that only a little over half of Stonnington’s eligible electors actually voted (“Poor voter turnout”, Stonnington Leader, October 30).

Everyone in the local community is well aware of the penalties involved and it is beyond me as to why people would be willing to face an easily avoidable fine.

Perhaps the message is that raised awareness and more media attention needs to be given to council elections or, on the contrary, that people are simply showing less interest in their local societal sphere.



Fine dodgers run out of time

November 6, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

I think it is fair enough that the Sheriff has initiated this crackdown on fine evaders.

If such technology exposes those with out-standing warrants via number plate recognition, then we should take advantage of this capability.

Targeting car parks is a positive move which will help ensure that people pay their fines within a more reasonable time frame.



Reform system to protect the vulnerable

November 4, 2012 | The Age

It is appalling that society’s more vulnerable are being subjected to abuse (”Violent deaths and soaring abuse in state homes”, The Sunday Age, 28/10).

The fact that until a few months ago critical incidents were not being reported, because it was not a legal requirement, reflects poorly on humanity. Staff should undergo vigorous training and testing before being granted access to state-monitored homes.

Privacy and safety systems must also be reviewed as residents should not feel under threat, be it from residents or staff. A figure as high as 500 for staff-related breaches can be avoided with the right procedures in employment processes.



Put weapons in the gun

October 23, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

I find it frightening people in our area possess unregistered and unlicensed firearms (“Get guns off the street”, Stonnington Leader, October 9).

There is a mindset that we should hold the right to be able to protect ourselves from imminent danger.

I disagree with this perception.

Easier access to weapons could only increase the chances of members of the community being under threat.

While this initiative of the Stonnington police may appear efficient of the surface, I do not believe it will be effective in solving the over-arching problem as many surely will not surrender their weapons so freely.



Shop local

October 17, 2012 | Stonnington Review Local

It is an unfortunate trend that sees a rise in retail spending being conducted online. While the internet may be more convenient to consumers, it should not replace the traditional shopping.

there is a social aspect to shopping that is non-existent in online spending and I think it is a shame that people prefer this more impersonal sphere.



Relaxation only fair

October 9, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

I did not find the figures regarding unpaid domestic work in our area that surprising (“Too busy to clean”, Stonnington Leader, September 26).

People are working more hours and, in some cases, multiple jobs. Life is much faster and time is more highly valued.

I think it is only fair that young people who are working harder can spend some of their earnings on house cleaning so as to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation time.



Course cuts unfair

October 3, 2012 | Stonnington Review Local

As a university student, I can somewhat sympathise with the anxiety TAFE students would be feeling in relation to the potential discontinuation of their courses (“Cut fear fuelled by TAFE report”, RL, September 19).

To have your course cut short without the ability to obtain some form of credit for the years one has already completed is outrageously unfair.

Not to mention that this, together with the raised fees, will just put more of our youths on the streets and will prevent many from acquiring an education and hence, future employment.



Tagging is the problem

September 18, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

Before graffiti can ever become widely accepted as an art form, something really needs to be done to deter people from tagging (“Call to arms on graffiti”, Stonnington Leader, September 4).

Unfortunately, many people do not understand that tagging is quite separate from graffiti, as tagging is a form of vandalism, while graffiti can be viewed as a form of artistic expression.

More awareness should be made across the public sphere as to this distinction in order to place graffiti in a more positive light. Perhaps if those individuals who engage in tagging channel their ‘creativity’ into a less damaging activity, or if they were encouraged to express themselves in other ways, the situation could only improve.



Marriage move is positive

September 11, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

In today’s society, I just don’t think marriage is seen as necessary to seal one’s commitment to another (“Party now, get hitched later”, Stonnington Leader, August 29). I personally view this change of priority as a positive move because it proves that couples hold enough confidence and trust in their relationship to not feel the need to make it “official”.

For many, vows do not seem to hold the same value as they once did, as divorce has become so common.

Perhaps marriage is even given greater value as a result.



Keep teen parties private

August 28, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

As an 18 year old, I would argue it is not parental supervision at under-age parties that will control the situation, but rather more awareness raised in regard to events being kept private (“Party safe or pay price”, Stonnington Leader, August 19). This is particularly evident in relation to invitations to events being posted publicly on social media sites.

Instead of attempting to look “cooler” by inviting a large mass of people to an event or leaving the invitation open to the public, children should be educated at school from a young age as to how to behave responsibly and to set events to private.

A vital issue to be considered is the way in which drinks are too easily accessibly to our youths via older friends who are of a legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages, and how fake identity cards are aplenty.

Taking these factors into account, even a security guard at the door to the event would be left relatively powerless , however they may aid in preventing gatecrashers from creating havoc.

I don’t think there would be many teenagers who would want their parents (or someone else’s parents, for that matter) hovering around, observing the scene of the party. If an adolescent is irresponsible, I believe it is reasonable to come to the conclusion that they will be irresponsible regardless of an adult’s presence.

The only incentive for teens to behave appropriately comes down to the police enforcing the law.

Sad, but true.



Parking fines over the top

August 21, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

It is understandable for the council to fine those who park illegally (“Parking fines cash cow, Stonnington Leader, August 7). However, the amount by which the members of our community are being fined is getting beyond reasonable.

A $122 fine seems quite excessive when you take a step back and think about the mild severity of the infringement in question.

As for the councillor’s statement in regards to combining the money generated with that of the general revenue pool utilised for council services, isn’t that what our taxes are for?



Poor form from council

August 7, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

It’s poor form on the council’s part in not informing Mr Beavis along with other business owners of their intention to block Almeida Cres on July 23 (“South Yarra road block bad for business”, Stonnington Leader, July 31).

The council can claim lack of awareness of the road closure as an excuse but, at the end of the day, they are the ones responsible for our area and for overriding decisions.

I hope the business owners are given some form of an apology or compensation.



Cyclists can be more cautious

June 19, 2012 | The Stonnington Leader

I am not convinced that safety stickers will reduce car door-collision incidents with bicycles (“Prahran cyclist sticks it to State Government”, Stonnington Leader, June 12).

The very fact that the stickers are to be stuck to side mirrors renders them rather ineffective as by which time the driver is already looking at their blind spot through the side mirror as they lean forward to exit their car and therefore see any cyclists approaching.

While I understand the sticker is in place as a reminder to drivers to be on the lookout for cyclists, I am more inclined to believe that this act is simply the Government’s way of “shutting up” concerned citizens by making a feeble attempt to “solve” the problem.

Cyclists are better off riding on our roads with added caution rather than entrusting drivers to always be on the watch for them.



About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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