LETTERS News Weekly
, March 16, 2013
Government vs. home-schoolers
It is sad to learn about the German family denied the right to educate their own children, both in Germany and in the United States (As the World Turns, News Weekly, March 2, 2013).
I was in a similar position to the Romeike family when, in the early 1980s, I had determined to go overseas should the Australian Government deny me what I considered a fundamental human right, namely the right both to have children and to educate them as I saw fit.
I was ably supported by a young barrister named Kevin Andrews.
In his book Essays of a Catholic, Hilaire Belloc commended the English bishops who had said, “Authority over the child belongs not to the State, but to the parent.”
Belloc went on to write with uncanny prescience, “The absoluteness of the modern State increases daily; that is why its conflict with Catholicism seems to me inevitable”.
A more equitable form of family assistance?
Angela Shanahan is quite incorrect in her potted history of family benefits (“Is family tax relief ‘middle-class welfare’?”, News Weekly, February 16, 2013).
The removal of the tax deduction for dependent children was a deliberate policy by Treasurer Philip Lynch, in the Fraser Coalition government, to redirect tax relief from the main earner, who in those days was almost always the father, and turn it into a direct payment to the mother.
Philip Lynch, News Weekly readers may recall, was one of the first Catholics to hold a major portfolio in a Coalition government.
It was said at the time that the person behind this policy shift was his wife, Leah Lynch, who believed women were more responsible with money when it came to children and families. The aim was to redirect money from the father to the mother.
As regards “Family Allowance B” — variously called “the housewife’s wage” and “the homemaker’s allowance” — its establishment had been a longstanding policy aim of News Weekly.
Initially, it was not means-tested. Frankly, I believe this is neither fair nor equitable in a time of budget stringency to pay the wives of millionaires a bonus on top of the main breadwinner’s salary.
A family’s financial arrangements are its own affair. Parents are responsible for raising the next generation, and they deserve some assistance from the government.
Australia’s birthrate is near replacement level because of our relatively enlightened policies on family assistance.
At the current rate, within a few hundred years there will be no Italians, Japanese or Taiwanese. They have ceased to procreate, not least because they do not aid families.
I am not arguing against family assistance, just some logic in the allocation of a scarce resource.
Hard on the heels of the Australian Crime Commission’s recent discovery of widespread and unprecedented drug use among Australian sports professionals has come another disturbing report.
Australian police reported successfully intercepting the largest recorded consignment of ice destined for our shores, worth $438 million (Canberra Times, February 28, 2013).
Australia’s major drugs problem has certainly not been helped by the permissive approach to drug-taking favoured by drugs campaigners such as Dr Alex Wodak and political parties such as the Greens.
Anti-drugs activists have attempted to counter their influence by working assiduously through such groups as the Drug Advisory Council of Australia (DACA) and Drug-Free Australia (DFA).
The Australian Greens policy statement claims that their party does not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.
However, it also states:
“9) There should be greater funding for demand- and harm-reduction.
“10) The individual use of illegal drugs should not fall within the criminal framework.”
Under the heading “Aims”, the Greens call for:
“18) The regulated use of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) for specified medical purposes, such as intractable pain.
“19) Increased availability of harm-reduction programs including drug-substitution therapy, medically-supervised injecting rooms, and a widely accessible supply of clean needles, including in prisons.”
The drugs-in-sport scandal should come as no surprise to a society which has abandoned any semblance of a moral code which prizes values such as personal integrity.
John R. Barich,