Now, as someone who’s taught in public schools, I was all set to join in the politics of envy and condemn Bill Shorten for offering to restore funding to the Catholic system.
Yes, I know that some politician out there is going to argue that schools don’t really need any more funding because a good teacher can teach anyone under any conditions. Of course, it could be similarly argued that a good politician could pass legislation in a tin shed, so do we really need Parliament and all its offices. This question, of course, could be posed to almost any other occupation, so even if you’re a coal miner, don’t say that money doesn’t help education or I’ll ask why you actually need expensive equipment when picks and shovels were good enough in the nineteenth century.
The Catholic Education system has been arguing that they’ve been short-changed under Gonski 2.0, so when Bill offered them a quarter of a billion dollars, I was all set to rant on about how the whole problem with education funding is that politicians keep promising sectional interests and that the whole idea of Gonski was “needs-based” funding which – if administered properly – would surely benefit the poorest schools in the Catholic system.
But, as always, just when I’m ready to give Labor a serve, some Coalition fruitcake opens his (or her, just in case it’s one of the one or two women still allowed to speak) mouth and leaves feeling as though to start criticising Labor would be a bit like a policeman arguing that he failed to catch a serial killer he was pursuing because he had to stop and write out a ticket to someone for jay-walking.
So, what on earth was Simon Birmingham thinking when he suggested that Catholic Education Melbourne had been “bought by a few pieces of silver”…
Let’s think about this for a second. There’s the obvious comparison to Judas betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. If Catholic Education are Judas, is Birmingham wanting us to infer that he’s Jesus? And that Malcom is God? Ok, while it may be true that when someone says that it’s a nice day to Turnbull, he replies, “Thank you!”, there is no actual evidence of anyone in any Australian political party being God. (The United States is another story because they have a completely different idea on what constitutes evidence!)
And even if we dismiss the idea that Birmingham meant to imply the notion of divinity in his side of politics, there’s still the question of who he thought the comment would appeal to. The parents of the children in Catholic schools? Labor voters? The Greens?
Let’s be clear. It’s not even likely to draw applause from Tony and Barnaby. Apart from his party’s rusted on supporters, there’s almost nobody who’d think, “Those greedy bastards. Surely they should have kicked Shorten out and told him that they were more than happy with the cuts that the Liberals had announced and that Shorten wouldn’t be welcome no matter how much he offered!”
So politically, it wasn’t a very bright move. But more than that, it takes a very special person to criticise someone for being a traitor for not sticking with you after all you haven’t done for them. It’d be like a company complaining when you take a job where someone is actually going to pay you when they’re prepared to continue your unpaid internship into 2019.
Why on earth would Simon think that Catholic Education owes his government anything? But that’s the trouble with the current mob. They think that everyone should be grateful because they’re not the Labor Party.
Why should we be grateful for that? Well, if Labor were in power they’d have doubled our debt by now. Isn’t the debt doubled? Yes, but we did it in a fiscally responsible way; Labor would have wasted it on things like the NBN, Health and Education. We’re spending it on submarines and planes and tanks and guns and these are really good things because they have not only value, but flashing lights.
I guess I’ll have to wait till later when Bill’s PM before I end up spending time pointing out his foibles…