READER: Melbourne Cup does not belong in our classrooms
IN A country that has an epidemic-level gambling problem, I seem to be a lone voice of concern that the Melbourne Cup was beamed live into my children's classrooms yesterday (Tuesday), seemingly without any option offered to opt out.
My children can opt out of religious education, can opt not to sing the national anthem, but are compelled to holler and cheer at horses being whipped within an inch of their lives.
If this were a prize boxing match between consenting adults, there would be outrage. If school was stopped so that a cricket or football match could be live-streamed into our classrooms, surely there would be some kind of debate about the educational relevance.
But this is not even about sport or a philosophical debate about animal rights; this is the gambling showpiece of the year.
My 13-year-old son was required to participate in a sweepstake on the way into the school hall to watch this race. No money changed hands, but could you provide a more explicit and visceral lesson in the virtues of gambling?
This nation does not have pubs; it has sports bars filled with a flashing and screaming cacophony of attention-seeking gambling machines. The State Government are addicted because they could not live without the revenue; sports clubs are addicted, bowls clubs, sailing clubs, football clubs across the nation would fold without the millions in gambling income. And the population is addicted, there are two million people struggling with pokie machine addiction in Australia.
And I don't know why the Prime Minister chose not to make a pick on the race yesterday, but the outrage and abuse he incurred on ABC breakfast news presenters yesterday morning for not doing so was beyond belief. This is our national broadcaster, and they were positively abusing our PM for not participating in the "race that stops the nation".
This event is for adults. It is a dress-up party, it is a celebration for the racing industry, it is a major event for the gambling industry, but it most definitely does not belong in our classrooms.