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Issue #1764      February 8, 2017


Australian prisons are full to bursting and there is no real plan for rehabilitation programs. More than that – more jobs and cuts to education courses in NSW prisons are being planned, on top of the 130 teachers who have already lost their jobs. It’s no secret that many prisoners are inside because of mental health issues. Many are practically illiterate and when released from prison cannot find employment and often finish up back in prison. “Education is recognised as a major element in rehabilitation of prisoners but that hasn’t stopped David Elliot (Corrections Minister) from taking the axe to a range of trade courses in a cost-cutting exercise that will make sure our jails are full for years to come,” said Maxine Sharkey, NSW Teachers’ Federation assistant general secretary. Courses earmarked for closure include: First Aid, Construction Industry White Card, Fork Lift Operator, Electrical Test and restricted licence, Food Safety and Hygiene and others. The Federation will continue to campaign to demand high-quality education and vocational training is accessible to all NSW prisoners.

Fred Nile is a NSW politician whose right-wing fundamentalist rantings are all too familiar. It was encouraging to see so many women (and men) taking part in anti-Trump demonstrations recently – let’s hope that the rage will be maintained for the coming International Women’s Day marches. According to Nile’s beliefs, women should be stay-at-home parents rather than handing their children to “day orphanages” – that is Nile’s name for what we call childcare. Further, in his view, a woman’s place is firmly in the kitchen, preferably pregnant and barefoot. Nile has a devout follower in Tanya Davis, the person who is a newly-appointed Minister for Women in NSW. Congratulating Fred Nile on his 35 years in parliament on April Fool’s Day last year, Davis thanked him for “upholding Judeo-Christian values of our society”. Davis evidently shares his views as she is “personally” anti-abortion. Davis was asked about it but said it was her personal belief and it won’t be reflected in her policy decisions. But it should be remembered that her personal views were already reflected in the legislation proposed by Fred Nile and supported by her in the so-called Zoe’s Law. In that case it was a tragic car accident which led to a miscarriage. The proponents of the law argued that life starts at conception and that a foetus is a separate entity from the mother. Abortion in NSW is still a criminal offence and it’s time this situation is resolved. Appointing a person, who is “personally” against a woman’s right to make a decision, to a position where her views are against the majority’s opinion in NSW is an insult.

Next article – Culture & Life – Science and nonsense

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