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Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

When Tony Abbott chose his Ministers one can only wonder at his motivation.

The Minister for Immigration morphed into Border Security, tasked with stopping those who would seek safe haven in our country.

The Minister for Communications was appointed to destroy the NBN.

The Minister for Health, an ex-policeman, after no consultation with the health industry or treasury, set about dismantling universal health care. He also ripped up the National Hospitals Agreement with no consultation with the States.

The Minister for Social Services rescinded gambling reform laws and labelled anyone who used the services of his department as bludgers and leaners.

The Minister for the Environment went on a rampage getting rid of carbon pricing, winding back safeguards and rights of appeal, delisting and endangering world heritage sites, while approving mining, development, and deforestation at an obscene rate.

The Minister for Industry put the final nail in the coffin for car manufacturing and has overseen the death of the renewable energy industry.

The Minister for Trade and Investment signed FTAs which have cost the budget billions in tariff revenue, allowed foreign companies to bring in their own workers, and put our sovereignty over health and environmental laws at risk.

The Treasurer and Finance Minister have destroyed business and consumer confidence by their constant refrain of a “debt and deficit disaster” which they have greatly added to by producing a budget that was so blatantly unfair and poorly researched and targeted that it had no chance of being passed.

But perhaps the cruellest appointment of all was putting Christopher Pyne in charge of education.

On pages 40 and 41 of the Real Solutions pamphlet the Coalition made the following promises:

  • We will continue current levels of funding for schools, indexed to deal with real increases in costs and we will ensure that money is targeted based on the social and economic status of the community.

That unity ticket only lasted as long as it took to finalise the election results after which we were subjected to the greatest load of doublespeak resulting in the Coalition cutting funding for years 5 and 6 of the Gonski reforms, reneging on the signed deals with the states, and abandoning their co-funding and accountability obligations.

  • We will ensure the continuation of the current arrangements of university funding.

Obviously this was a non-core promise.

  • We will review and restructure government research funding to make sure each dollar is spent as effectively as possible.

Apparently, the most effective way research dollars can be spent is in stopping spending them so Hockey’s bottom line looks healthier.

As reported in the Canberra Times,

“Universities are pleading with the Abbott government to abandon its threat to axe funding for major programs supporting 30,000 researchers if the Senate refuses to support the deregulation of university fees.

Peak body Universities Australia warns in its budget submission that researchers on the verge of major breakthroughs in health, climate science and manufacturing will move overseas if funding for the Future Fellowships scheme and National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Scheme (NCRIS) expires.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has repeatedly said that continued funding for both programs – which have been described as the “backbone of research in Australia” – is contingent on the government’s higher education reforms passing the Senate.

“If Labor, the Greens and crossbenchers block the reform package in the Senate, there will be no source of ongoing funding for these two vital research investments, meaning job losses and irreparable damage to our high-quality research capacity.”

What sort of a myopic dilettante is this man? In an arrogant display of petulance he threatens that if he doesn’t get his way he will refuse to use our money to invest in the innovation and research that will contribute to our future.

“NCRIS has led to major breakthroughs on vaccinations, 3D imaging, drugs to treat heart failure and the production of a new type of steel that produces 70 per cent fewer greenhouse gases than regular steel.

The facilities it supports include the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS), based at the University of Tasmania, which conducts long-term ocean monitoring, including of temperature rises linked to climate change.

The Future Fellowships scheme supports 150 leading mid-career researchers, allowing them to continue their work in Australia.

“Without further investment by government in this scheme, many researchers, often midway through their projects and on the cusp of important breakthroughs, will move overseas where other governments are seeking to attract the world’s best,” Universities Australia says in its submission.

Universities are lobbying for $200 million a year in funding. Let’s put that in perspective.

How can we find $244 million for religious school chaplains but we can’t afford university funding?

Exploration by coal and energy companies is subsidised by Australian taxpayers by as much as $4 billion every year in the form of direct spending and tax breaks – 20 times what the universities are asking for.

According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Defence Budget Brief 2014-15, the cost of defence is over $80 million per day. Three days defence spending would fund university research for over a year.

The amount being spent on submarines and fighter jets represents about 200 years’ worth of research funding and is going to foreign economies. The two jets we have already paid for and not received would more than cover one year’s research at a cost of just under $US130 million each. We have 70 more on order and have been warned the costs will rise.

Which do you think will bring the greatest return on money invested, or the greatest productivity gains, or the greatest protection against disease and the ravages of climate change, or the greatest advancement for humanity?

While cutting the contribution to universities, the government’s intention to extend financial assistance to people studying diplomas or undertaking degrees at private colleges like the one Frances Abbott attends will cost $820 million.

According to a report by the Productivity Commission early last year, the government spends $3.8 million per private school on average – $8,546 per private school student.

Government schools teach the great majority of poor, disabled (76.6%) and Indigenous (84.7%) students, as well as those who do not speak English as a first language. However, in spite of the additional costs and burdens associated with teaching disadvantaged students, government spending per public school student increased by about 2.4 per cent a year between 2007/08 and 2011/12. In the same five-year period, government spending per private school student increased by about 3.4 per cent a year.

Interestingly, a University of Queensland study of NAPLAN results recently debunked conventional wisdom that having a child in a private school leads to better academic results. Furthermore, there is a disadvantage in sending a child to a private school if they go on to university, as more drop out in their first year.

Tutoring towards exam results does not serve a student well if they have not been encouraged to love learning and given the skills and resources to research. Creativity and innovation should be nurtured rather than stifled by directed learning.

The government are continually asking, with a sneer, well tell us what you would do.

Why don’t we give that $820 million offered to private colleges to the universities instead.

Why don’t we stop funding private schools and introduce a Private School Rebate similar to the Private Health Insurance Rebate. Allow people to claim up to a maximum of, say, $7000 per child at a private school as a tax deduction (adjust that depending what year they are in).

Fee statements would have to be produced and the size of the deduction would be on a means tested sliding scale which cuts out when combined income exceeds $180,000.

Considering our government champions personal choice and responsibility, price signals and market forces, lower taxes and user pays, this should appeal to them.

But I won’t hold my breath.


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  1. stephentardrew

    Spot on Kaye excellent article. As usual thanks for all the hard work. One just lives in hope.

  2. Kaye Lee

    According to the government’s own Commission of Audit, it costs $400,000 a year to hold an asylum seeker offshore, $239,000 in detention in Australia, but only around $40,000 on a bridging visa in the community while claims are processed.

    This is the fastest growing area of government expenditure with costs over the forward estimates projected above $10 billion.

    How about we release the children (and all others who have passed health and security checks) from detention and save ourselves a fortune?

  3. Rod

    The LNP have to have some kids in detention so they can blackmail the Senate, “we won’t let them out unless you pass our legislation”

  4. Robyn Oyeniyi

    This makes chilling reading. What state this nation will be in when this lot have finished is a very frightening thought.

  5. Owen Snelten

    It needs to be”blatantly” spelled out so the appropriate people understand that your alternatives share the money for a net return for the benefit of all Australians where as the current Govt proposals help(foster profit for) “private enterprise” at the cost of disadvantage for many Australians …

  6. michaelattoowoomba

    Well done again Kaye.How you find the time to produce AND research the FACTS so well deserves all the thanks and appreciation of all your readers,It would be nice if some of our so called Members of Parliament had the benefit of capable staff to do proper research [ or read AIM ,yours and all the other contributors and commentors here ] .The mind boggles if they [ the pollies] ever consider governing for the common good of ALL Australia. RE the withdrawing funding for the car industry,[to pick just one funding withdrawal ] could anyone point out which of the other cars on the market ,does not receive subsidies in their country of manufacture .Including the current Aussie cars when we have to import whatever ford,holden,toyota dealers are going to sell.Cheers Mick.

  7. Harquebus

    The powers that be do not want us educated.
    “Education is dangerous – every educated person is a future enemy.” — Hermann Goering
    The dumbing down of our nation is no accident.

    BTW: Kaye Lee. Thanks for the release. Appreciated.

  8. MariaE

    The outcome of private school education is perfectly illustrated by the abilities of all those named in this article.

  9. David

    Kaye I am surprised you have not caught on. Abbott is a madman.

  10. michaelattoowoomba

    The conditions in the detention centres are much to good.We should cut the funding,release ALL detainees,mostly LEGAL ASSYLUM SEEKERS,then commit all current Ministers of this FAUX government for term of their miserable lives.Cheers Mick.

  11. michaelattoowoomba

    David,you obviously have not been reading enough of Kaye’s posts.I personally am going to stick my neck out ,to say Kaye was the first person to publicly try to alert us to the fact of t abbutt’s lack of sanity.GEERS ,Mick.

  12. Kaye Lee

    There can be no justification for providing government funding to schools that are the preserve of the wealthy. It means that less funding is available for schools serving the most disadvantaged students, Indigenous students and students with disabilities. The diversion of millions of dollars a year to schools least in need while those most in need are denied the full funding they require is a sad indictment on our supposedly egalitarian society.

    Should our most disadvantaged and our brightest be sacrificed for a tenth football field or more squash courts and soundproof music studios?

  13. Kaye Lee


    I have witnessed first hand Tony’s tactics when we were at uni together – a bully who had to travel with a pack. I have witnessed his thuggery when my husband played football against him back in the day – (rarely because hubby was in the firsts and Tony wasn’t.) Our circles overlapped enough that we were often at the pub together and I even went to his house for a party once. I watched his rise in politics with incredulity. I considered him an inconsequential bovver boy then – I still do.

  14. DanDark

    Kaye as usual you debunk the defunct LNP no surprises policies
    Knowledge is Power
    “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere”
    “When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom profit loses”
    “Wherever there is profit, virtue is taken lightly”

    Last summer 2014 there were bush fires surrounding the small primary school that my daughter attends about 15 ks from the town where we live, all the roads were closed for a couple of days,
    so hence the school was closed
    there were eleven kids at the school, so instead of them staying home, the headmistress took them too the park and the public swimming pool for one of the days, which is a good idea too keep them together in times of events such as bush fires etc

    After the budget came down, she told me that the council charged the school for the entry to the pool for kids,she also said “it’s a first” and she has been teaching 30 years,
    I said “you are joking they charged you to do the right thing for the kids and give them some normality under stressful times and keep them together” I was gobsmacked at the council charging the school and it was no fault of the schools that they couldn’t be at school.

    And a day at the park and pool distracts them from the stress that permeates through the community now after living with bushfires around us for 3 weeks back on Black Saturday and many properties and stock were lost especially where the school is situated, yep the big boys in power are looking after the welfare and education of our future, our kids…….NOT……
    They couldn’t give a toss about our kids future and education.

    I heard on TV the other day in last 5 years the Victorian state and federal gov have ripped millions of dollars out of Education in this state, and schools are being slugged left right and centre….

  15. Matters Not

    There are so many ‘issues’ raised in this excellent article. Each of which are worthy of much deeper exploration.

    In short, I dips my lid. But then again I am just a Sentimental Bloke.

    Just sayin ..

  16. Lyle Upson.

    without funding, the researchers cannot squeal

    “Universities are pleading with the Abbott government to abandon its threat to axe funding for major programs supporting 30,000 researchers if the Senate refuses to support the deregulation of university fees.

  17. Matters Not

    Must admit I have a certain concern with the implied notion that educational outcomes, broadly defined, result from ‘schooling’ as the important variable. It doesn’t. Try socio economic location for the root cause.

    Does anyone seriously suggest that ‘lifespan’ is all about the ambulance response times, or the … whatever?

  18. Kaye Lee

    And I am just a middle-aged woman in jammies. Though if someone would like to pay me for policy advice I have a lot of things I would like to explain 😉

  19. Kaye Lee

    Matters Not,

    That is why I laughed,or cried, at the ignorance of Christopher Pyne saying he wants “more parental engagement”. After years teaching at public schools in non-affluent areas, and after volunteering hundreds of hours at my children’s schools, you can’t ask the 5 of us who have flexible work hours to do more. It’s the same people at reading group and P&C meetings and manning the canteen and the stall at the fete. He really has NO idea.

  20. Lyle Upson.

    a pollie who can snap his/her fingers as way of solving social dysfunction, in my view, deserves to be voted in

  21. Wally

    Considering all of the cutbacks as outlined above why is the deficit increasing? Seems logical to me that cutting back services should deliver savings so where are the LNP spending all of our money? Obviously not where it needs to be spent! Is anyone home at Labor headquarters to ask some very relevant questions?

  22. gangey1959

    Thank you Kaye. Fascinating, but at the same time VERY scary reading.
    I do have one tiny question for the Upwardly Spirally 1%ers though.
    When the rest of us have just given up in disgust, quit and moved overseas to better pastures, or just plain gotten too old for this shit and shuffled off our mortal coils, who is going to decide what constitutes the next 1%.
    Sure as shit wont be any of our current Govt Ministers, none of them can count past 5 without getting confused at the change of hands.

  23. michaelattoowoomba

    gangey1959.You are so generous,which is the one that can count to five,can he also spell them , ar ,o.n.e,,t….w……oooo,arghhhh,,,,What was the quueeeeessssstiooooon??????.Cheers,Mick.

  24. mark delmege

    Maybe one day school will be allowed to discuss real politics, teachers will be allowed to voice their opinions in public and Empire can be called a bloody Empire. But so long as most adults are too afraid (of the consequences) to voice their own opinions publicly and hide behind fake ID’s we will muddle around in someone else’s reality and call a spade a digging instrument.

  25. Kaye Lee

    It is not up to a teacher to voice their opinion. A teacher should give access to differing opinions and the facts/arguments that back them up. They should teach critical analysis. They should facilitate discussion. Students have a right to come to their own conclusions. Teachers have an obligation to stress the importance of the credibility of sources and to ask students to back up their opinions.

    Education is not about filling a bucket but lighting a fire.

  26. Itsazoosue

    Kaye, you are much more than just a woman in jammies. You are a formidable force in new media. You are also my preferred Prime Minister.

  27. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Kaye – you have said it all so well!
    And your experience of TA in years gone by confirms my opinion of him as possibly suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome and totally lacking in empathy. Seriously brain-damaged – either from scratch or made worse by his pugilistic efforts.
    Either way, he and his ministers are making this country a laughing stock overseas and destroying an awful lot of people in the process.
    The only positive thought that comes to mind is that time passes – sometimes faster than one might believe possible – and then this collection of maniacs will lose power for ever – or the best citizens of Australia will emigrate en masse!

  28. michaelattoowoomba

    Also,Gangey,was it the one mentoring eleventy to work out how to improve the budget to increase Muddoch’s and Geena’s take,I am sure the AMA would like them to freeze pollies pay increases to match Dr’s medicare doctor’s payments.Cheers,Mick.

  29. Kaye Lee


    Unfortunately I do not have what it takes to be PM. I dislike having my photo taken and I don’t see the need to fly around the world when we can have a very useful discussion right here in our jammies. But thanks for the vote of confidence.

  30. Kaye Lee


    I posted this quote from Gandhi the other day…it is worth a repeat.

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”

  31. michaelattoowoomba

    Itsazoosue,Can I please have the honour of seconding your motion re.Kaye for Leader ,I hesitate to lumber Kaye with the now totally dishonoured title of pm of australia. It distresses to use lower case in this way,but I can not bring myself to promote this current incumbent with any thing that has any form of honour.No dought Kaye was as disgusted as were the rest of us when the current Captain of TEAM Bullpat dishonoured every decent Aussie,when he referred our response to Acheh’s devastation as a deposit on future goodwill in return,so that ,now they owe us.To bring this up for ANY reason, in our name,is unforgivable,but to try to sway another sovereign government in this manner,leaves me speechless,[ if unconstipated ].Cannot we find a way to sue,or sack this government for loss of honour and reputation.I am afraid,but not what this bunch of UNPOLISHED T%%DS wants us to be afraid ,but I am REALLY SCARED of what this bunch gutless wonder of a government is doing to this wonderfull country that I am proud of and to admit that it was only luck that I was born in this [used to be ] lucky country.

  32. mark delmege

    ‘Teachers have an obligation to stress the importance of the credibility of sources’ and what would they be K? NYTimes, US think tanks who employ former Sec’s of State who think the death of 500,000 kiddies is a price worth paying? The Murdoch Press. The fact is the establishment and their sources are rotten to the core. And teachers do have a right to a public opinion – just like everyone else. Arguably more so as many people think they are ejucated. The point is we might have freedom of expression but most are too scared to use it.

  33. stephentardrew

    Abbott and business self-regulation. This is the start of the total abnegation of sovereign rights implicit in trade agreements. Be warned more is yet to come. We will not longer take responsibility for regulation of food standards. The responsibility of business like the global financial crisis and the massive corporate malfeasance and pollution world wide by mining companies and the oil industry.

    Welcome to IPA policy police and deregulation. It can only be down from Here.

    “But Tony Abbott has rejected a complete crackdown on food testing and labeling in response to the hepatitis A outbreak from imported berries, saying it was the responsibility of business “not to poison their customers”.

  34. Kaye Lee

    What is it about this government and their lack of interest in information? If it costs money but doesn’t shoot bullets or missiles we don’t want it?

    For 100 years we have been collecting this vital information which describes our country and allows us to understand current needs and plan for the future. Preparations for the next, Australia’s first paperless census, have been underway for seven years but, hey, let’s just scrap all that work and get one of Tony’s mates to do a survey so Joe’s bottom line looks better.

    “The Abbott government is considering abandoning the Australian census and replacing it with a smaller sample survey in the upcoming budget.

    The 2011 census cost $440 million. The 2016 census was shaping up to be even more expensive because of the information technology requirements of moving to primarily electronic lodgement. Over time the change would save money as fewer collection agents and data entry staff were needed.

    Britain’s Conservative government announced plans to axe its census five years ago, arguing that it was outdated and that better information could be obtained in cheaper ways.

    After a parliamentary inquiry it reneged and agreed to allow the next census to go ahead in 2021. Britain conducts its censuses only once every 10 years.

    Canada cancelled its compulsory census in 2010 and moved to a shorter voluntary survey. Statisticians testing the new data have described it as “garbage”.”

  35. Joe Banks

    Kaye Lee, it says a lot about the media in this country that they are not pleading with you to regularly submit your work. Probably because they still believe that truth and facts don’t sell newspapers. Which, in turn, could be why they are dying slowly. And as for television journalism, well, if they could only be convinced that people had more than half a brain, this country could be transformed, politically, almost overnight… Keep up the good work and hope for a miracle.

  36. Kaye Lee

    The truly humiliating thing is that the international press have more of a handle on our government than the local press… this from the New York Times.

    “LYING may be an age-old part of politics, but it’s becoming easier to spot the fibs, fictions and falsehoods. A growing army of fact-checkers around the world is busy debunking falsehoods from presidents, prime ministers and pundits — and if their results are indicative, 2014 was a banner year. Some of the claims were so absurd that fact-checking groups honored them with awards, like Australia’s Golden Zombie and Italy’s Insane Whopper of the Year.

    Such lies are fun to read, but identifying them is serious business: Misinformation, unchecked, can turn elections, undermine public health efforts and even lead countries into war.


    “Over six years, Labor ran up a $667 billion debt.”

    This statement won ABC Fact Check’s Golden Zombie, which the Australian Broadcasting Corporation gives to the year’s most persistent falsehood that, “despite being killed off by fact-checkers, lurches back to life.” The claim was made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who accused the previous ruling party of leaving the country drowning in red ink. But the fact-checking group found that that statement relied on some misleading math: It is a 10-year projection from 2013 that even includes debt already on the books when Labor took over.”

  37. CMMC

    Yes, Kaye. Just to amplify the subject, the Census of 2016 is going to be cancelled.

    All those numbers give Mr.Eleventy a sore head.

  38. mark delmege

    I suppose it is good that you found a NYT piece that you like. It remains however a shill for empire, for war, for the 1 % and a veil for the many dirty deeds of its government. It’s the sort of paper you read if you don’t want to understand why Obama has launched so many failed wars and why his policies have helped al Qaeda and Isis and how his latest policy to arm co ordinate and train even more insurgents in Syria will only lead to more chaos and in effect embiggen the most backward fundamentalist crazies across North Africa and the Middle East. But if you want flimsy half backed justifications for this stupidity the NYTimes is the one.

  39. mark delmege

    CMMC As for the census I never liked the invasion of my privacy and the compulsion Or the fact that perhaps the most significant user of the info was business who just want to sell me crap. Saving 400 mil sounds like a good idea to me.

  40. Richard Lee

    Guys! Cut Tony Abbott & Co. some slack. You can’t judge them by Human standards.

    They are Vogons. Their concepts of Truth, Promises, Fair, Justice, Competence are slightly different from Humans.

    Their Agenda is to Trash OUR Economy, OUR Environment & OUR way of life .. to give OUR money to their Polluting Foreign Billionaire mates. This is right on track

  41. Rosemary (@RosemaryJ36)

    Forgive me please Kaye for circulating this article tagged Kaye Lee, advisor to Bill Shorten. It was wishful thinking on my part but I wish you were in that position because then I would feel confident that the advice he was getting would lead to a better Australia.

  42. Kaye Lee


    My husband would say “she’s not the messiah, she’s just a very naughty girl.”

    That being said, I think political parties have lost the plot. Both major parties bow down to big business though the Coalition under Abbott has taken this to a new low. Both major parties react to xenophobic ignorance in their policies regarding asylum seekers. Both major parties are subservient to the American directive that we waste hundreds of billions buying armaments from American companies. Both major parties think their re-election is more important than serving the best interests of the people. Both major parties have become so caught up in the game of politics that they are more interested in denigrating the other side than in collaborating to find solutions.

    They have lost perspective and their priorities suck!

  43. Audioio

    @Kaye Lee’ 18 Feb, 10.53pm:
    Pull all federal funding of private schools… immediately. Of course, the public schools would be flooded. But so what? This mob have already shown they’re not averse to cost-shifting to the states.

  44. guest

    The list of ministers of the Government and their failure to have achieved anything but chaos and wrecking ball destruction is very, very depressing. What you have described, Kaye, is the mess created by a bunch of incompetents driven by ideological idiocy.

    Looking at Greg Hunt, for example, it is difficult to find what he has achieved at all, except a bizarre claim about walrus in Antarctica – an idea he obviously failed to Google. What has happened to Direct Action?

    So there is no surprise when we look at the polls and see that the Coalition and its leader are way down. Yet they continue to exclaim that it is not their fault, but Labor’s – and they continue to talk about a debt of $670bn which has not happened.

    So it was amusing to see a headline above an article by Andrew Bolt in a Murdoch publication claiming the the “unlawful bias” of the ABC is targeting the PM’s job.

    Apart from the obvious jaundiced bias of the author against the ABC, there is evidence of a much more serious myopic problem for the writer because he fails to see that the “bias” against the Coalition and the PM is wide-spread – and with good reason; in fact, with many good reasons.

    Furthermore, Bolt does not seem to realise that his attempts to apologise for the Coalition and the PM is failing. His propaganda is not working. So the polling we see is not just against the Coalition and the PM, but also against his own jaundiced and myopic view of politics in Oz.

    It would be interesting to see if Bolt, instead of laying criticism against anyone who opposes his thinking, whether it be the ABC (which is struggling to find anything positive to say about Bolt’s favourite party), or certain law courts, or the Human Right’s Commission…if Bolt, especially, would be able, in any way, to justify the disastrous failures of the present Coalition Ministry and Leader as described by Kaye Lee in this damning article.

    That the Murdoch press continues to support the Coalition and Abbott is beyond belief. How will it it deal with the shame and embarrassment when its own biased confabulation collapses. Is it really so stupid?

  45. Kaye Lee

    Christopher Pyne is refusing to release the modelling that was done to show the effect of deregulation on uni fees and enrolments. He won’t even show it to the MPs who have to vote on it. Since the taxpayer paid for the modelling surely we are entitled to see the results but if not, he must at least show it to those who are being asked to vote on it. This governing by secrecy must stop.

  46. lawrencewinder

    It was an importune event that “Chwissie-the-Whyne-and-perfect-Prat-of-a-Prefect” Pyne went to a Catlic skool.
    Larger class sizes in this system (in order to gain more funding from the feds) allowed this bully to survive without being fully seen and socially educated for a civil society.
    There is a truism: Those who can’t: teach.
    Those who can’t teach: teach teachers.
    Those who can’t teach teachers: become the Minister for Education!
    This mincing little man is a disgrace to anything called education!

  47. Kaye Lee

    I have always kinda resented that maxim that “those who can’t, teach.”

    I am very good at maths and I am also a very good teacher. Had I chosen a different career I would have earned a great deal more than I did teaching but I truly felt I was making a contribution.

  48. Wally

    @Kaye Lee I often hear similar comments from school teachers “Had I chosen a different career I would have earned a great deal” but it is very unlikely to happen if you took 12 weeks holidays and only worked from 9am – 3.30pm with an hour for lunch 5 days a week. I understand you do extra work after hours correcting students work and attending meetings but per hour spent working teachers are on a pretty good wicket. Most people who earn good money work 60+ hours a week.

  49. DanDark

    Wally how dismissive of the contribution of teachers in our society, it’s not all about hours and money, most teachers I meet have a commitment to their students and have their students needs at heart, and I have 6 kids ranging from 35 down to 9 years old and have dealt with a lot of teachers over many years, and find they mostly go above and beyond for their students, there is more to teaching than meets the eye….
    And it is easy to attack teachers, but we don’t attack doctors or dentists for taking lots of holidays and having an easy job…..

  50. Kaye Lee

    Ahhhh the old “holidays and hours” argument from someone who has patently NEVER done the job. I suppose you realise that when we take kids away on a week long excursion where we are working 24 hours a day we don’t get extra pay. I suppose you realise that during our lunch break that we are out there doing playground duty or sitting with the kids who are on detention or meeting with students who need our help or speaking to parents or training our sporting teams. I suppose you realise that when we have HSC classes most teachers run extra classes outside of school time. When we spend every weekend putting together the school drama production we don’t get paid extra. When we take on sporting teams and travel the state with them or take part in weekend carnivals we don’t get extra pay. NO teacher works from 9 to 3:30. We have to prepare new lessons for every day, every class. We have to mark their work. We have to undertake ongoing professional development courses to keep up with changing curricula often during our “holidays”. Most teachers view holidays as a chance to catch up on their work and prepare for the next term. We also spend at least four years studying to gain our qualifications and start our career with a large debt. Teaching is a job that carries with it a huge responsibility and often a huge emotional cost. We are responsible for all those kids and we don’t get a knock-off time when we can stop worrying about them. I could go on but I suspect I would be wasting my time.

  51. DanDark

    Actually Kaye you have beautifully articulated what a teacher does and the dedication to their profession is usually not spelled out for people, because teachers arnt looking for a badge nor the chest to pin it on,
    they just get on with their job which contributes to every childs life and they leave the skiting to Phony Tony….

  52. Kaye Lee


    Both of my parents were also teachers. My father used to dismiss people like Wally by saying “Well aren’t you a mug for not being a teacher if it’s so easy.” I would love to take Wally into a double maths period on Friday afternoon with the bottom year 9 class to show him how “easy” it is.

  53. Kaye Lee

    Thank you cb. That actually made me a bit teary.

  54. DanDark

    Kaye I did teaching as work experience when I was at school in year 11, I was 15 yrs old
    two weeks with grade 2, I gained a great respect for teachers from then on, hence I decided not to be a teacher because it’s a hard job to teach kids of any age, different ages have different issues, the issues don’t get easier as they get older, they actually become more complex, now having 6 kids I have my own mini classroom, and I don’t know how I am still sane 🙂 and your Dad sounded like he dealt with fools soundly and swiftly….

  55. DanDark

    Bravo Corveus, perfect 🙂

  56. stephentardrew

    Awesome Corvus.

  57. Kaye Lee

    I shouldn’t be using this discussion to talk about myself but I want to share a little thing that happened yesterday.

    My daughter is in her 3rd year at university also studying to be a teacher. To support herself she works at a before and after school and vacation care centre where she works with the children with special physical, emotional and behavioural needs.

    One family she is working with has six kids being cared for by their grandmother. Dad committed suicide and mum isn’t around. My daughter has taken a special interest in them and, yesterday, rather than getting paid to do a three hour afternoon shift (with added pay because she had worked that morning so it was a split shift) she chose to go and help one of the young boys with his woodwork assignment and other homework. On another occasion one of his brothers hit and kicked my daughter when she interceded in an altercation with another kid. When he came out from the co-ordinator’s office, very upset after being told he was putting his position at risk, my daughter called him over, asked if he was ok, and then gave him a big hug as she dried his tears and told him not to worry, that she would help him deal with his anger and teach him other ways to deal with situations.

    She is a teacher who is already making a huge difference and she is not doing it for the money. I am so proud of her.

  58. Sean Burnett

    I wish I could say I was proud to be an Australian these days.

    I was asked for directions by a German tourist the other day and due to his good English we had a great discussion on all things political in Australia. The conversation ended by him saying how embarrassed I must be as an Aussie with Abbott as PM. To my shame I lied to him and said I was a New Zealander. I find it sad that a Tory government in New Zealand is more progressive than our own Labor Party.

  59. Kaye Lee

    I fully understand Sean. It only used to be during the rugby season that I would pretend to be a Kiwi but nowadays fush and chups is sounding a lot better than the crap I am being fed here. It’s humiliating and so very destructive to the nation’s reputation and morale.

  60. Sean Burnett

    RE Wally and his uneducated comments!!

    My wife is the Head of Maths at a local high school and if she works less than sixty hours in a week she would be happy. I make dinner most week nights whilst my wife is still doing her work. I could give a thousand examples to show how the sixty + hours a week is made up but I’ll give you one Wally. We went away in the Christmas holidays for ten days. My wife spent at least half of every day doing her work for the following term. The things that Kaye Lee mentioned are just a few of the things a teacher does. I bet in your job you have never had a large and very aggressive 16 year old boy hold a knife to your neck. How about dealing with children with Bi-Polar, ADHD etc… when their parents spend their money on drugs and alcohol instead of medication for their kids. I bet you’ve never had a 13 year old girl ask for help to get an abortion after she become pregnant when her father molested her. Did I mention that my wife works at a very disadvantaged school where the police are called on a regular basis.

    And the Tories would take money from public education because Wally, Christopher Pyne thinks teachers are on too good a wicket.

  61. DanDark

    And so you should be proud Kaye, she will go along way in life as she already knows how to contribute to people, people’s lives and asks for nothing back, expects nothing back, unconditional caring is a wonderful trait to have and not to be undervalued like it is by society….

  62. Roswell

    I spoke to some German tourists about 15 years ago. During a friendly chat they made the odd statement that the reason they chose Australia as a destination was due to its political stability.

    That led me to ask what they knew of our PM Howard. They knew two things about him: he refused to say sorry to the Stolen Generation, and that he was a George Bush.

  63. Wally

    @Kaye Lee and others who have had a shot at my comment, I NEVER said teachers didn’t work hard, I did not say teachers were over paid my only comment and intent was to point out that teachers enjoy shorter working hours than most people. Full Stop!

    The comments on my comment do prove my belief that people should not be allowed to leave school go to uni and then go back to school as a teacher without holding a full time regular job is well founded. A lot of teachers have never done anything but gone to school and that is not good for our society and it is not good for the teachers themselves. Education is received and learnt better when it is applied to real world situations and seeing as you are good at math Kaye Lee I will give an example.

    In form 4 I had to drop advanced maths because I could not get my head around parabolas, completed middle level maths without any hassle at all but the higher level stuff had me buggered. Using a 3-4-5 triangle to set put a building site or using trigonometry to estimate the height of a wall or an object is easy because it can be applied to solve a problem. When I started electrical trade school parabolas come up again and I freaked but my issue was soon overcome when parabolas were used to plot the waveform of AC current/voltage. Because these mysterious things actually had a use I could relate too understanding the math involved was much easier.

    Applying this scenario to humanities, social studies and religious education makes me wonder how much better our education system could be if all of the teachers could deliver the education based on real world experience as well as what they have been taught?

  64. Kaye Lee


    I worked from age 15. I have been a bookmaker’s clerk and a barmaid and a waitress and an electoral officer and worked in a newsagency and a pharmacy and on a production line in a factory every university holidays. When I was in Canada I delivered Mercedes Benz cars between dealerships ( now THAT was a good travelling job). I was on the management committee for a homeless youth refuge and I was the P&C treasurer.

    And if you studied maths nowadays you would find a far greater emphasis on applied real world maths. When we do trigonometry we also do navigation and construction and astronomy. We use calculus to predict populations or to maximise area or volume or to measure rates of change like velocity and acceleration.

    Things have changed.

    And actually the comment that annoyed me was “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach”

  65. Kaye Lee

    Oh, and I bet I could have helped you to understand parabolas. It’s all about the discriminant 😉

  66. Wally

    @Kaye Lee I am sure you could have, it wasn’t all bad the female teacher of middle math was a lot easier on the eye and a much better teacher than the grumpy old bloke who failed to teach me parabolas. lol

  67. mark delmege

    I reckon Wally is just being a Wally But I do have a serious question of you Kaye Lee – you said amongst other things in that para ‘Teachers have an obligation to stress the importance of the credibility of sources and to ask students to back up their opinions.’ The question is how do you (or anyone) determine ‘credibility of sources’. My area is foreign events/politics which I have followed for 35 years in a fairly serious way. How does a teacher push a student into finding credible sources for discussion on any of the wars for the past 35 years?

  68. Kaye Lee

    When writing academic papers it is wise, and often obligatory, to use peer-reviewed papers.

    When researching for articles here where we don’t have to be so rigorous I look into the author of anything I am reading, who pays them, what else they have written, connections they may have that would affect their impartiality.

    Speculation is one thing but without checkable facts to back it up it remains just that, speculation. Some things are open to interpretation, or are a matter of opinion. They may be interesting to discuss but without reliable proof, I steer away from conspiracy theories.

    That does not mean that I am blind to the self-serving nature of government or that I swallow their propaganda. I just like verifiable facts.

  69. Matters Not

    The comments on my comment do prove my belief

    Interesting response. And probably at a level you may never ‘understand’.

    BTW, how do ‘comments’ prove ‘belief’?

    Perhaps it’s a case of ‘only in my mind’?

  70. Matters Not

    Wally @ 7:00 pm said:

    bloke who failed to teach me parabolas

    Yes Wally the person who failed to ‘teach’ is always at fault, while the person who failed to ‘learn’ is entirely without blame. Hilarious.

    Wally, have you ever thought about why the vast majority of students who did actually learn about ‘parabolas’ or whatever, did so? But not you?

    Yes, I know it’s a case of poor, poor pitiful me.

    Wally, why don’t you stop being a ‘wally’, grow up, recognise (perhaps) the limitations of your own capabilities? But more importantly accept that shifting blame to the ‘other’ just makes you look like a right ‘wally’?

  71. Matters Not

    Kaye Lee @11:35 pm

    I just like facts

    So do I. But I suspect ‘understanding’ is a little more complicated than that.

    I think ‘understanding’, broadly defined, must include an analysis of the research programme including the underlying ‘assumptions’, the resulting ‘methodologies’, the derived ‘facts’ and then ‘meanings’ given to same.

    Perhaps it’s all too complicated? And we shouldn’t even try?

    But you do and so do I.

    Congratulations. Keep it up

  72. Kaye Lee

    We teach our students how “facts” can be misleading. The Liberal party graphs and graphics are a wonderful source for that. So are Joe Hockey’s fiscal statements.

  73. Matters Not

    We teach our students how “facts” can be misleading

    ‘Facts’ can be ‘misleading’? Surely not? (Yet they can be and often are.) Perhaps, the problem mightn’t be with ‘facts’ but the ‘meaning’ we give to the ‘facts’ and more importantly how those ‘facts’ were generated in the first place and the reason for same?

    To put it simply, there’s an infinite number of ‘facts’ out there, the problem lies with the selection of same, the reason why some are selected and then the meaning given to same.

  74. Jexpat

    Kaye Lee:

    I’d be wary of citing the NY Times for anything as they’re not only chokka with serial liars, but more than that, their owners and senior editors on down see dishonesty as a virtue- not something to be decried, but something to be promoted and rewarded- often reaching into the absurd to promote whatever agenda might be at hand.

    The more egregious ones have typically have involved cheerleading for wars, whether in the Ukraine, Iraq -or all the way back to the “Great War,” but a discerning reader (or anyone who might take a minute or two to fact check) will find heaps of utter bullshit in their pages on any given day.

  75. Kaye Lee

    The quote from the NY times was about Tony lying and I showed it just to show he is making the international press for all the wrong reasons. The content of their article came from the ABC and could have come from many different articles written here. Their story about Tony lying checks out.

  76. mark delmege

    Credible sources… it is a problem still. Certainly cant use the MSM, ABC included. I’ve noticed how the early morning (radio) news is particularly skewed right on foreign events – so I wonder who is looking after the fort early morning – creating the lies for the rest of the day? Yes lies. I’ve noticed repeatedly recently how the ABC seem to go out of their way to sow confusion in their reports on the Ukraine conflict – suggesting (note that word) that the anti Kiev forces are bombing certain towns when they are actually under their own control – and quite clearly anyone with knowledge knows it’s the Ukraine Government forces who are behind the attacks. It’s as if criticising Poroshenko ‘s Regime is verboten So can’t use the National broadcaster, can’t use the papers either for similar reasons. Obviously academic papers which can be equally limited in their perspective – peer reviewed or otherwise – and beside they are generally months or years out of date.
    So how to direct students to the facts and not self serving circular propaganda?

  77. Kaye Lee

    mark, the information about Abbott lying is in the budget papers in Hockey’s own words. I go to the source documents.

  78. mark delmege

    thanks Kaye but that wasn’t my question. Rather I was asking how do school kids get directed to credible sources when there are so few available. ie how can kids understand the world when their heads are filled with shit. (BTW I have a lot of educators in my family so I know a little about how hard they work and the limits and pressures on them)

  79. stephentardrew

    I think there is an element of truth in what Mark says. That is why many of us come to AIMN to at least get a moderate grasp of the facts and reasonable analysis of the evidence. The example of Ukraine is very telling when the historical and current proofs are ignored for an attempt by the US to generate a new cold war.

    Matters Not:

    This is not a critique of what you said rather it is an open discussion. Philosophical relativism is often a bit of a cop out when there are obvious demonstrable empirical facts that support certain contentions, however, unless based in a solid foundation of science and causation, they can, and will, be turned to personal need and bias. The difference between incontestable facts and personal opinion is one of education rather than unsupportable wishes, hopes and desires that things be otherwise.

    “Perhaps, the problem mightn’t be with ‘facts’ but the ‘meaning’ we give to the ‘facts’ and more importantly how those ‘facts’ were generated in the first place and the reason for same?

    Propositional logic and rationalism can construct a fairly reliable set of knowledge proofs because without those proofs, and their supporting evidence, we could not function in the world. Though opinion obviously does militate against facts, without knowledge about the world, we could not develop a system of coherence and consistency that allows us to make predictions to benefit survival. The main problem is that subjective opinionated self-referring beings confuse subjective wishes, hopes and desires with objective facts. Nevertheless it is only through defining the outline of those facts, logically, that we can build the knowledge base to survive. I think it is obvious that the closer we come to those facts the more sustainable our actions, in for and of the world, will be.

    The real problem lies in a lack of education and ignorance of the mechanisms that external observation and witnessing of the causal and determinate facts, alongside renderings of subjective creativity, can logically work together to form a coherent framework of necessary proofs that can guide our subjective opinions. Until we realise that no one creates their reality and each of as are, by and large, conditioned by biology and circumstances, then our subjective fears will drive our interpretative opinion.

    I offer no solution other than accumulation of evidence and proof however to survive we must construct a meaningful paradigm that rests upon demonstrable facts. Until we outline these scientific facts subjective opinion will dominate concocting magical and mythical narratives completely at odds with rational proofs.

    It is a long, slow yet necessary pursuit. Without rational foundations we end up with what we have today. Our problem is we refuse to see how much of or beliefs are based in primitive superstition, magic and mythology rather than enduring proofs an facts. Dampening down the fear centers of our brains may be critical to our survival because it seems that free unconstrained emotional relativism is leading us to environmental catastrophe.

    Just some thoughts about moral relativism.

  80. Wally

    @Matters Not you managed to nit pick my comment and put your own emphasis on the meaning of the words I used and then tried to belittle me “Yes, I know it’s a case of poor, poor pitiful me” when I was citing an example not complaining???? Always someone who wants to make themselves look/feel good at another persons expense and we wonder why there are wars! Happy to compare real world ACHIEVMENTS with you any time, actions speak louder than words and over inflated opinions of ones self.

  81. mark delmege

    I dunno Mobius after about 6 episodes I got sick of the scripted comedy and lines that make the big boy look smart. But yeak ok he has a few useful things to say about facts. That should do me (six minutes) for the next 12 months.

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