Rant about Rex
No notification the plane would depart four hours late from Merimbula yesterday until we arrived to check in. Rex was aware of this many hours before, as it was due to fog in Griffith preventing the plane taking off from there, and it had to fly to Sydney then Cooma before Merimbula.
This led to massive problems for many passengers, including my family who then missed their flight to London and their connecting European flights and has caused major disruptions to their plans.
A simple phone call would have enabled all passengers to consider making other plans. We could have driven my family to Canberra and fly them to Sydney to make it in time, or even driven the whole way. But no such courtesy or consideration was given!
We paid almost $500 each one way for the "privilege" of flying Rex. The sooner this appalling airline loses the monopoly on this run the better and perhaps their abysmal customer service will be forced to improve when they do.
I commend the ground staff at Merimbula Airport who did all they could to placate and assist the upset passengers, but Rex was seemingly very unresponsive to assisting them in any way.
Karen Lott, Nethercote
Largest personal vote
Despite the pettiness of the Sydney party factions, Liberal Senator Jim Molan has risen above all that with his astounding achievement of 137,000 'below-the-line' votes in the election for NSW Senators on May 18.
Because they recognised genuine political leadership in this distinguished former Australian Army Major-General, 137,000 NSW voters took the trouble to fill in no less than 12 squares below-the-line on the ridiculously complex Senate voting paper to support him personally.
This is the largest personal vote for any politician of any party in Australia's political history. But it's still not enough to overcome the party machine ticket and keep Jim Molan in the Senate after June 30, as Australia's most experienced parliamentarian on national security and defence policy.
In the current period of strategic uncertainty in the Asia-Pacific, Australia needs robust national security and defence policies shaped by the knowledge and experience of quality public officials like Jim Molan.
Concerned citizens who agree with that should write a letter to the Prime Minister requesting his support for Jim Molan to remain in the Senate in the service of Australia's national interest.
The address is: Hon. Scott Morrison, Prime Minister, PO Box 6022, Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600.
Jon Gaul, Tura Beach
NAPLAN or No Plan
Using NAPLAN as the sole basis for judging children's educational abilities is extremely problematic especially in relation to culturally disadvantaged students. It is in fact only a point of time in one day of a child's school life.
The basic skills test was only slightly better; this is borne out by many eminent researchers both here and overseas.
In the case of both of these tests they are culturally biased.
In another life I was a State Education Coordinator for a major education system. At a number of country schools a culturally disadvantaged group of students were consistently failing exams.
A very talented and caring man developed a culturally appropriate assessment tool and a large majority of this group were then identified as gifted and talented. The schools then put on annual camps for these children which were all highly successful.
It was called Wii Gaay (Clever Child) and I was a facilitator.
The fact that the federal and state governments determine school funding levels by the results of these tests can place a heavy burden on school staff.