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Education, Adani And The Dangers Of The Internet…

As I like to point out from time to time, I’m not a left-winger. Of course, when I’m compared to that famous left-winger, Malcolm Turnbull, I must say that I come across a bit more of a radical than he does. Granted, we both own real estate and shares, and therefore neither of us are advocating ending the concept of private property. Although I suspect that Malcolm’s portfolio is slightly more valuable than mine, neither of us should be lined up against the wall when the revolution comes because of all we’ve done to support social justice in this country. Personally, even if I can’t remember what it was for, I signed an online petition about something recently and Malcolm would be prepared to support a lot of things like human rights, if it was suddenly in his interests to do so.

Whatever, like Malcolm, I don’t just get my news from such uninformed sites as the socialist newspapers or The Australian Independent Media Network. No, I actually read financial pages and look up websites about investments.

And I found this one particularly interesting:

IEEFA Study: Corporate Restructuring at Adani Enterprises Enhances Shareholder Value; Marginalizes Australian Coal Project; Better Aligns Adani Group With Transformation of India’s Electricity Sector

Ok, I’ll spare you the need to read it. Apart form the first couple of paragraphs which talk about changes in Adani and their decision to reduce in the size of their proposed Queensland mine (bet you didn’t notice that being reported in the mainstream media), the most significant bit was this:

““With Adani Enterprise’s market capitalization reduced from US$11.8 billion to US$2.5 billion, attracting finance for the Australian mine proposal looks remote,” Buckley said. ‘With Adani Enterprises also focusing on two major new solar proposals costing US$9 billion, Carmichael will likely be collateral damage.'”.

Now if you add that to the Indian government’s intention to stop imports of coal, you start to wonder exactly when there’ll be an acknowledgement of what I told you a few months ago, when I told you that Adani has basically already abandoned plans to go ahead with the mine. No, they don’t tell the press that, when asked, but they do tell the market that because misleading the press is ok, but lying to the market can get you into trouble.

Which is not exactly a segueway into the Liberals’ performance over the past few days, unless I suggest that they’ve been somehow inconsistent. Liberals, inconsistent? May a carbunkle grow on my tongue for saying such a thing.

To sum up the past week for the Liberals:

1. Tony Nutt tells the press that Labor’s so-called “Mediscare” was the most immoral thing that had ever occured in an election campaign, but he thought that the “children overboard” lies were ok, and that suggests of $100 lamb roasts and no more Whyalla were just fine, because, well, there was an actual carbon tax and therefore these weren’t lies, there were just opinions.

2. Labor are “frightening vulnerable people” by suggesting that just because some of them have to take their claims to Medicare offices, it’ll be harder for them to get their money back. Of course, suggesting that welfare will cost the Budget $1,000,0000,000,000,000,000,000 by the year 2216, and telling people who have a carer’s allowance that they’re costing us far too much money and it just has to stop, doesn’t qualify as “frightening vulnerable people”.

3. A group of Liberals published an attack – sorry, a civilised set of talking points – telling us that allowing marriage equality would lead to the Safe Schools being made mandatory. However, there was no need to take any action because they weren’t doing this on behalf of the Liberal Party; they were doing this in their own time. Of course, public servants aren’t allowed to do such things in their own time without the threat of being sacked. As for medical staff on Nauru and Manus telling us about conditions there…

But I think my favourite is Simon Birmingham’s attack on Labor’s “corruption” of the Gonski funding. You know, that policy that the Liberals assured us was their policy too before the 2013 election.

4. Simon Birmingham complains that students from some Western Australian schools are currently receiving less than students at a similar school in Tasmania. Without getting bogged down into some of the possible reasons for this and how the Gonski funding wasn’t really going to kick in until the final two years, I’d just like to make the simple point that Barnett refused to sign up for Gonski, even after Gillard offered him extra funding. However, when Mr Pyne became Education Minister, he gave WA funding anyway, telling the public that he didn’t support the “command and control” model that Labor wanted. Mr Birmingham, however, has no such qualms, announcing that the states couldn’t expect to get the money unless they did what he wanted.

Yep, that’s the trouble with the Internet. Someone like me can just find out all these things and share them, even if the MSM forgets all about them.

I guess we’ll just have to introduce tighter controls and use pornography or terrorism to justify them.


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  1. Kaye Lee

    Let’s not forget Malcolm’s maiden address to the United Nations General Assembly …although apparently someone forgot to send out invitations…or perhaps they’d heard about Tony’s version of the same lecture and decided to give it a miss.!/format/jpg/quality/85/

  2. rossleighbrisbane

    Kaye Lee, please remember that this is a cropped photo. In the full version we see another three people up the back as well as two security people keeping Kevin Rudd from entering….

  3. Matters Not

    Ross, for some technical reason I can’t respond. My initial response is ‘elsewhere’.

  4. Michael Taylor

    Matters Not, nothing caught in spam or elsewhere. It’s thus a mystery.

  5. The Faceless Man

    I’m one of those carers that seems to constantly see my role demonized in media in today’s world. As a primary carer for an MND patient the knowledge and experience I have gained is irreplaceable, hard to find and impossible to buy. I could care for any patient with the skills I have gained. Thanks to constant rejection for financial support, the threat of homelessness when the person I care for passes, stigmatization and generally accepted labelling as an economic leech will ensure that i will never care for another human ever again. The invaluable skillset that I have will gladly be forgotten as I do my all to forget this traumatic experience in my life. The Australian govt and everyone who supports it can go suck itself. Thinking it’s going to change for the better? Insanity.
    I’ll be applying for a citizenship in Chile when my duty of care ceases.
    Australia is a capitalistic dump full of oligarchs, politicians and electors who don’t give two shits about you. You want freedom? Then leave this open air prison.

  6. guest

    Point 3: Safe Schools. I could not find Liberal talking points on this topic.But I did find a Liberal Victoria press release. It tells us that Liberal Victoria wants children to respect others no matter what their circumstances. A good point to start.

    It goes on to say that Safe Schools is not about making schools safe – it is about pushing one person’s radical-Marxist ideology onto other people’s children – a Trojan horse for politicising the Victorian education system.

    What is not safe about the program is not made clear. Nor is it clear what is wrong with showing respect for others no matter what their circumstances, even LGBTI children. Is it the LGBTI children who are unsafe or the non-LGBTI children? And what exactly is wrong with a radical-Marxist ideology? Was Jesus not of the Left, a radical who said that we should love one another?

    And who is politicising the matter of Safe Schools if not the Liberal Victoria people, who advocate the teaching of Christian dogma in secular public schools and in making their points quote the Shadow Minister for Education in Victoria. It is about attacking anything to do with Labor policy and anything to do with LGBTI people, including SSM.

    The Liberal solution is to replace Safe Schools with its own program – safe, inclusive, and age-appropriate.

    But if it omits reference to LGBTI people – and any others it deems irrelevant – it will not be ‘inclusive’ at all, nor safe. LGBTI people will continue to be abused and bullied as they always have been because of the ignorance of others (or their ideology).

    Not far away online is Bill Muehlenberg, a fundamental Christian, who claims that the only bullying in schools is about surface matters such as appearance, or names, etc. He denies that LGBTI children are targeted. Yet it is well known that primary age students are familiar with abusive terms such as ‘poof’, ‘queer’, ‘faggot’, etc – and use them to bully others.

    That some groups wish to hide the presence of LGBTI children and adults in our society, or to deny they exist, or wish them to be marginalised or excluded, is not the way of Christ’s teachings and is opposed to the aims of Liberal Victoria people. What Muehlenberg wants to happen to them is not clear, but it looks like he denies their existence (no bullying here) or it is hell-fire for the sinful .

    And the claim is that it is Safe Schools which is the political Trojan horse, not those who denigrate LGBTI. LOL.

  7. Matters Not

    Been watching Birmingham on Q&A and his ‘promise’ (perhaps) that he will consider giving less funding to ‘advantaged’ schools should make the power players in the Labor Party feel so very ashamed. Gonski gave legitimacy to the concept of ‘needs’ based funding (in the Karmel tradition) while the Labor Party have done so much to resist that concept.

    In addition to prostituting the Gonski Terms of Reference by demanding that ‘no school would get less’ and therefore guaranteeing blatant inequality would be embedded in the outcomes, they rejected the mechanism that was designed to expose and ameliorate same.

    Shame Labor, shame.

    Labor has lost one of its most powerful points of differentiation.

    I should add that Birmingham is not being ‘pure’ but in this instance he has been a far superior ‘politician’ than the Labor Party.

    Rudd and Gillard have much to be ashamed of.

    I also hang my head in shame.

    Read why here.

    What Gonski really meant, and how that’s been forgotten almost everywhere

  8. guest

    If the Ken Boston article is the sole reason for your comments, I suggest you check out Boston’s political leanings.

    As for needs-based funding, my understanding is that this was at the very centre of Labor’s backing of Gonski.

    The idea that ‘no school would get less’ was something keenly supported by Labor and the Coalition in order to appease the people who are spending on private education. In the case of Labor it seemed to be assumed that private schools would not lose, but the subsidies would not be automatically racheted up. In the case of the Coalition, Gonski was abandoned for states which had not signed up and money was thrown at them with no strings attached.

    In the Turnbull era it has been suggested that the States do their own funding of education. For Pyne, he had “fixed” everything.

    If I and others are confused about what is the situation with Gonski, it is because Gonski appears like the Cheshire cat in various smiling guises, all proclaiming to be the real Gonski

    The cat least trustworthy is the one which says they are spending more money than ever before but at the same time says we do not have to spend money to have a great education.

    There are plenty of sources of money which could fund education and make it truly great and equitable: tax cuts for business, tax avoided, subsidies for fossil fuels, massive spending on defence far into the future, monies wasted on plebiscites and other distractions…

    It is a matter of more political will and less elitist ideology.

  9. Matters Not

    If the Ken Boston article is the sole reason for your comments

    Certainly not. What Boston claims in this and other articles is easily verified by a reference to the historical record. I’ll present a link or two at the end. As for:

    suggest you check out Boston’s political leanings

    Boston was recruited to be the DG of Education in South Australia. Then recruited to be the DG of Education in Victoria and then recruited to be in the same role in New South Wales. When he ‘retired’ he was recruited to be the Chief Inspector in Britain. His ‘political’ leanings were across the board. So much so, that he was appointed to positions by both sides of the political divide. I point out that he was made a member of the Gonski enquiry by a Labor Government. He was the ‘expert’ and he had a deep and abiding belief in public education. Unlike Rudd for example, who sent his offspring to the Brisbane Grammar School here in Queensland (same as his political master Goss) and when he went to Canberra his choice was Canberra Grammar. As for:

    idea that ‘no school would get less’ was something keenly supported by Labor and the Coalition in order to appease the people who are spending on private education

    Yep, it was never a matter of ‘principle’ just a matter of political convenience all round. And also a means to hide their own real ‘conflicts’ of interest.

    But back to Boston for a moment. When Pyne was Education Minister, Boston went on the attack:

    A CHIEF architect of the Gonski reforms has slammed attempts to dismantle the school funding scheme – branding any resurrection of old payment systems as like “putting lipstick on a pig”.

    Dr Ken Boston, a former head of the NSW Education Department who sat on the Gonski review panel, has joined nearly 70 prominent education, political and other public figures in calling on the new Liberal government to honour its pre-election pledge of a “unity ticket” with Labor on school funding.

    In an address to the Queensland Teachers Union in 2014, Boston said re Gonski:

    It did not bear the stamp of hand-picked stooges of the Labor Party. … By all criteria, education is a public good. … I begin with the term teacher quality. We do not talk of doctor quality or dentist quality: we talk of the quality of health care or the quality of oral health. … The teachers in our most disadvantaged schools are at least as good as those in our most advantaged schools: the issue is not their competence, skill or commitment. The issue is that their number, resources and support are unequal to the task. ..

    And he does go on.

    In other words, Gonski will create a genuine meritocracy. And that’s where Minister Pyne – although by no means all other members of his party – has particular difficulty with Gonski. Mr Pyne is anchored in the era of Dr Kemp, the Minister in the Howard Government who presided over increased funding for non-government schools in order to underwrite financially the exercise of choice between government and non-government schools by parents. He claimed this would mean better education, by using “the dynamics of consumer opportunity and provider competition to drive service quality

    Boston didn’t like Pyne’s ‘solutions’ and he didn’t like Kemp’s as well as well. So much for his implied ‘political leanings’.
    (I’ll see if this posts).

  10. Matters Not

    Back to Boston for a moment:

    Improved teacher quality – or, as I would prefer to describe it, “improvement in the quality of education” – costs money: it is not an alternative to Gonski. Gonski is an essential pre-condition.

    As the research has shown, the second pillar, school autonomy, is an irrelevant distraction. I worked in England for nine years, where every government school (i.e. maintained school, which includes faith-based schools) has the autonomy of the independent public schools in WA – governing boards that can hire and fire head teachers and staff, determine salaries and promotions, and so on. Yet school performance in England varies enormously from school to school, and from region to region, essentially related to aggregated social advantage or disadvantage.

    It is the quality of the whole-school instructional leadership of the principal which is the important thing, not their capacity to hire staff or borrow money for capital works. And building high quality instructional leadership across a school system costs money: it is also not an alternative to Gonski. Gonski is the pre-requisite.

    And yes he is critical of Labor (and rightly so).

    It set aside what the Gonski panel regarded as an essential recommendation: to establish a national schools resourcing body, similar to a schools commission, responsible to all education ministers, to determine in a nationally consistent way the school resourcing standard, the minimum public contribution, the loadings and the indexation factor.

    Instead, the Labor government sought to negotiate those matters unilaterally and separately with the state authorities, non-government school organisations, church leaders and unions – after we had consulted with them all for more than 18 months – thus repeating the pattern of the past 40 years.

    It set aside the recommendations on disabilities funding and the coordination of capital works funding across states and territories.

    He finished with this statement:

    If we lose Gonski, we will lose public education. We will lose what everyone in this room has worked for and valued. The purpose of education will be to sort the wheat from the chaff. Generations of children will continue to be lost. Australia will be diminished.

    I compliment each of you individually, and the Queensland Teachers Union, and the AEU, on having nailed your colours so clearly to the mast.

    More in the next post.

  11. Matters Not

    Last night on Q&A Birmingham pointed out that Gonski had its flaws because it proceeded on the Labor imposed political imperative that ‘no school would be worse off’. Birmingham’s insight was so very valid. It was the same claim made by Latham some years ago. It stands out like pointers’ testicles if one studies the numbers. And those numbers are all on the public record.

    Latham got belted all that time ago because there had to be a ‘hit list’ of schools which would lose funding. (It stands to reason that if equity is important some schools will have to lose – assuming there are budgetary constraints). Last night I applauded when Birmingham came clean. The elephant in the room had been recognised.

    Today Labor’s reaction was stupid in the extreme. They used the exact tactics that were employed against Latham. There had to be a ‘hit list’. They jumped to the defence of ‘over financed’ schools. They jumped to the defence of a socio economic demographic which will never vote for Labor. Not only politically dumb but a missed opportunity to right a long-term wrong.

    Chances are that Labor will win the next election but choosing ‘tactics’ over ‘strategy’ they have again set the educational funding debate back again. It’s the case of stupidity writ large!

    They f2cked up Gonski and now they are gong to f2ck up a perfect opportunity to have a proper debate. Where the hell was Tanya?

  12. Matters Not

    I’ve found Tanya:

    Labor’s education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said Senator Birmingham should reveal whether he had a “hit list” of schools that were in line for cuts.

    “Which kids will be robbed by this Minister who seems incapable of being upfront about his secret plans for school funding?” she said.

    “Is this why the Minister refused to present state education ministers with a written proposal for his school funding cuts last week at the education ministers’ meeting?”

    F2cking unbelievable.! She’s as strategically dumb as Shorten. Why do both the Leader and the Deputy treat the informed education community as ‘dumbos’? Again I can’t believe the stupidity involved and the missed political opportunity to set a new discourse.

  13. guest

    Matters Not,

    Thank you for taking the trouble to give so much information about Boston and what he said to the Qld Teachers’ Union. I respect the source Inside Story.

    In the end there are only a couple of points for which I need some clarification:

    (1) a national schools sourcing body to create national consistency

    Labor received a huge bashing from the Coalition and Murdoch education pundits for daring to pursue a National top-down-centrist-Canberra Curriculum. Little wonder they avoided such criticism by not having a centrist authority dictating to states. Labor consulted with separate education entities. Boston says this occurred despite the Gonski group consulting with them for 18 months.

    Dean Ashenden, in a recent Inside Story points to the power of sectorial lobby groups.

    Labor also had plans for disabled funding and funding of capital works. Gonski wanted these to be part of the Gonski plan. Again, problems with States vs federal.

    (2) ‘no school will be worse off’

    Yes, of course Plibisek is playing politics She has set out to force Birmingham to front up and reveal his plans. When was he going to reveal there will be a ‘hit list’. How long could he keep it secret? Could he do nothing and let Labor try to do the cutting at some later date?

    As for your ‘informed education community’, there are plenty of people who know little about what happens in education and are concerned only with what affects them. As well, the MSM seems to be unable to really question politicians about education. And there are too many players out there who skew the debate.

    As for Gillard, Ashenden says she did not act decisively and swiftly enough, but praises her for getting Gonski started.

    Shorten, he says, came along too late and plays a minor role.

    And he says there are still 5 substantial problems left by Gonski because of the limitations of its brief.

    At least Q&A put the question out there.

  14. Matters Not

    guest: Certainly Boston et al knew that States Vs the Feds is always problematic. That’s why the proposal for a national schools resourcing body was to be a creature of all the players, in particular the States, which would have had by far, the greatest voting power. But it was not to be and there’s little chance that is will again see the light of day. Probably too ambitious, too visionary and all that. A great pity because the Gonski report deserved much better.

    As for Ashenden, yes he’s very insightful. The book Making the Difference which he co-authored had a tremendous impact in the early 1980s (as I recall).

    Rudd squibbed serious reform by saying early in his reign that he would delay changes until his second term. If you are going to make significant changes, then you have to do them early in the piece so that they become the ‘common sense’ and therefore not easily abandoned. We now have a Gonski ‘rallying cry’ but it’s now no more than that. A missed opportunity.

    Here’s an Ashenden article that sums up the situation rather well.

    Mr Gonski and the social contract

  15. guest

    Matters Not,

    the whole Gonski story is a wretched story. Why Rudd or Gillard should be blamed for not acting in the middle of the GFC on a scheme which would cost an extra $5-6 is beyond me.

    Besides the cost of Gonski is the difference it would make to the privatisation of schools generally. Pyne’s attitude to education was a disgrace. There has been a deliberate dividing of the community through systematic bashing of the least fortunate and anyone who might support them.

    So we have talk of ‘children being robbed’. And so there are. If some schools are being over-subsidised, others are being robbed. If the subsidies of the over-subsidised are to be reduced over time, so be it.

    So here in Insde story we have some revelation of the truth not seen in the MSM. Pitiful wide-spread journalism failure.

    And now it is too late to introduce big changes in education. Gonski = a ‘lost opportunity’? The whole story is a disgrace to all those who muddied the water. Too much political interference by too many conflicting interests.

    What Birmingham will come up with, given the nature of the Coalition circus, is still to be seen. But I am not optimistic. Meanwhile our education system, the teachers and the students are the scapegoats badly serviced – for 40 years at least?

  16. Matters Not

    Jaquix. Notice that the article finishes with: Maybe next time. It’s a bit like free beer to-morrow .

    Because when it comes to equitable funding of schools – ‘next time’ like ‘to-morrow’ – never comes. And year by year it just gets worse.

  17. guest

    Thank you, Jaquix.

    you will also be familiar with earlier writing by Chris Bonnor and Jane Caro: The Stupid Country: How Australia is dismantling public education” (2007).

    Just a point about differences in funding. Some people point to public schools children getting twice the government payment per student than private students. Figures quoted are: c. $15 000 for public school children, c. $8 000 for private.

    My understanding is that money to private students is for their tuition. Money for public students also involves cost for the buildings and up-keep.

    Are we to believe that private schools should also be subsidised for their buildings?

    And another thing. Any private school subsidised is not strictly private: it is government-subsidised.

    What amazes me is that some of these “private” schools are massively subsidised, massively endowed and invested, as well as charging massive fees. l

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