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Tag Archives: Liberals

The backlash of change

When I was a child, “In the olden days” as my children when younger used to say, Robinson’s jams had a Golliwog emblem and I had a golliwog to play with, as well as traditional dolls.

I also read Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

A decade or so later, my sister was studying medicine in London and brought home a lonely (black) African fellow student to share Sunday lunch.

About this same time, I was reading ‘Cry, the beloved country’.

Learning is not confined to the classroom, and, over time, through expanding our knowledge and understanding, we are offered the chance to cast off prejudices, respect difference and accept that change is a continuing feature of our existence.

That is perhaps an idealised expectation. Not all avail themselves of that choice.

When I was a teenager, homosexuality was a criminal offence throughout the British colonised world, as well as among those of other faiths. In the British context, this was largely a result of the translation of certain passages in the Bible – which was, itself, penned in more ignorant times.

My mother, a dedicated Christian, who was brilliant in English grammar and arithmetic, but totally ignorant of more than basic science, firmly believed in the Genesis story of creation.

Ignorance of scientific discoveries is no excuse for ignoring them once they have been bought to your attention. There is no place in a changing world for ‘believing’ something which has been shown to be false.

It is a fact, which is still being denied by the intransigent, that mankind’s addiction to increasing use of fossil fuels, with the concomitant increase in polluting emissions, is a major contribution to accelerating global warming.

It is a fact that we are running out of time to take the steps necessary to drastically reduce the level of emissions and the damage being done to our oceans by plastic pollution.

Too many wars and conflicts are already occurring around the world, and the expansion of global corporations, encouraging the greed and selfishness of shareholders, are all features contributing to a refusal by a majority of governments to accept the massive task of declaring war on climate change.

Governments think in terms of winning the next election in 3 – 5 years’ time.

This myopic approach denies them the vision of how their current policies will impact the next generation – or they do not care about others enough to think it worthwhile.

When it comes to politics, I sit on the fence.

No one party has all the answers and the way European governments form coalitions from a wide range of parties is, in my opinion, a far healthier way to achieve consensus and develop policies which are not too biased.

The current ‘Coalition’ government in Australia is setting itself up to develop a police state. The AAT is being progressively politicised by appointing liberal members, many with no legal experience and little in the way of other special and relevant expertise.

Our disgusting treatment of refugees and asylum seekers – worse treatment than is handed out to those condemned of serious criminal offences – even Ivan Milat’s cancer was given more medical attention than are the severe traumas inflicted on those confined to Manus and Nauru.

We have a Minister in Peter Dutton who seems obsessed with sadistically inflicting pain and suffering. The Biloela family could have stayed at home, contributing to the community while all their matters went through the courts.

Instead, two innocent little girls have been treated so badly that we have almost certainly breached our obligations under the UN Convention on Children, while they have probably been as traumatised for life as have the victims of institutional sex abuse.

And the cost to the taxpayer has been exorbitant – certainly more than enough to settle all the excluded refugees in jobs and contributing to the economy!

Australia – the Lucky Country? – I don’t think so!

Australia – the land of the Fair Go? – Only if you are white and wealthy!

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The Coalition money shuffle

One of Joe Hockey’s first acts as Treasurer in 2013 was to gift the RBA $8.8 billion.  The main reason for this was to make Labor’s deficit look bigger.  As a side bonus, it allowed the RBA to invest in the forex market, banking on the Australian dollar losing value as the mining boom subsided.

And that is exactly what happened allowing the government to draw…wait for it…$8.8 billion in dividends over the last six years.  That’s all very well (if we ignore how the Coalition screamed like stuck pigs when Labor took a one-off dividend of $500 million in 2013) except Hockey borrowed the $8.8 billion so we are still paying interest on it.

We have also paid a fortune in “fees for banking services” as investment banks have raked in hundreds of millions in trading fees.

Had Hockey not engaged in this political chicanery, we would be billions of dollars better off.

And then there are the six Future Funds which contained $198.8 billion as at June 30 this year.

The direct cost of managing these funds was over $1 billion for the last three years alone.

The DisabilityCare Australia Fund had $16.4 billion sitting in it, which must be aggravating to the many people still waiting to access services or those who have had their services reduced.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land and Sea Future Fund (ATSILS Fund) was established in February 2019 with a capital contribution of $2 billion transferred from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account.

The purpose of the Indigenous Land and Sea Corporation, to whom the fund will make payments apparently at the discretion of the Minister if the investment mandate targets have been met, is to acquire and manage land, water and water-related rights so as to attain economic, environmental, social or cultural benefits.  One wonders how much will actually be handed over for that purpose now that Peter Costello has his hands on it.  I am sure the mining companies would prefer that money to be tied up rather than used.

In July, the government deposited another $7.8 billion into the Medical Research Future Fund.  As we were still in deficit, this was a pretty amazing feat which must have come at the cost of other research cuts and/or interest costs for the borrowed money.  It’s interesting how they can find a lazy $8 billion when they want to.

The Education Investment Fund, originally intended for new facilities in the higher education sector, had payments frozen in 2013 and it has been accumulating funds since.  These have now been taken to create the government’s new $4 billion Emergency Response Fund.

Then, on 1 September 2019, the assets of the Building Australia Fund were transferred to the newly created Future Drought Fund.

The original Future Fund was established in 2006, funded in part from budget surpluses but mainly from the sale of Telstra.  As at June 30, there was $162.6 billion sitting in it.

Kevin Rudd, as Opposition leader, suggested using $2.7 billion of it to invest in a National Broadband Network with profits being returned to the Future Fund.  The Howard government screamed blue murder, claiming that Labor intended to “raid” the Future Fund for their own means.  Gee, that has worked out well for us hasn’t it.

While legislation permits drawdowns from the Future Fund from 1 July 2020, the Government announced in the 2017-18 budget that it will refrain from making withdrawals until at least 2026-27.

What on earth is the point of sitting on that pile of money when only 20% of it is invested in Australia?

The ten year return has been 10.4% for the Future Fund which might sound good until you look at Infrastructure Australia’s High Priority Project list where every project has a cost benefit ratio of better than that.

We could be employing people in productivity enhancing infrastructure construction. We could be increasing primary healthcare and reducing hospital waiting times to save money and improve quality of life.  We could be investing in research and education, both of which bring a far greater return than 10%.

But the Coalition are obsessed with accumulating cash and apparently have zero understanding of the value of actually using the money for the benefit of our economy and our citizens.

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What The Liberals Did Next And Wasn’t It Just The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread?

Ok, I thought I might be imagining it, but I’ll show you the tweets to see if you notice what I noticed. I don’t actually follow the Liberal Party of Australia on Twitter but their tweets pop in my feed… possibly because I frequently go to the sites of various Coalition politicians to check if they really said that because I’d feel like a prized chump… or Trump… if I believed something when it was so clearly a hoax from something like The Chaser or The Betoota Advocate. Unfortunately, the answer is almost invariably, “Yes, he really said that!”. Not always, of course. Sometimes, the answer is: “Yes, she really said that!” but given the small number of female MPs in the Coalition and the even smaller number of times they’re allowed make a public statement, that’s a pretty rare occurrence. Anyway, Tweet 1 (Tweets are images and may not show on some platforms)

Tweet 2

Tweet 3

Tweet 4 – Are we noticing anything yet?

Tweet 5 – Ok, surely you must have thought what I thought by now!

Tweet 6 – If you haven’t noticed by now, you must have voted for them at the past two elections…

Tweet 7 – Still haven’t noticed? Are you Alex Downer?

Tweet 8 – Yes there isn’t a single tweet that’s about something they’ve done since 2013 until the following one. However, it is a retweet. The caption, “future of Australia” is just a coincidence because I snapped a video. It’s not mean to suggest that Mr Morrison thinks that this guy is the future of Australia. It’s certainly not suggesting that Morrison is the future of Australia.

Tweet 9 – Ah, John Howard. We’ve moved into the 21st Century… Oh wait, it’s his 1996 election campaign.

Tweet 10 – This just goes to show that they’re not racist and it’s only the lefties that think so!

All those Tweets show the accomplishments of the Liberal Party.

Who says that this is a do nothing government? Ok, none of them were about anything that the current mob have done, but they’ve only been in power a year, if you pretend that time under Turnbull and Abbott doesn’t count because we didn’t have the Miracle Man in charge until 2018.

Still you’ve got to admire his drought policy. Talk about a plan to spend money in the future, give money to councils whether they need it or not and pray for rain. When it eventually does rain, claim the credit because you’ve been praying.

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The Agenda of Stigmatization is alive and well in Budget 2015

One of the main themes I have addressed over previous blog posts in regards to the 2014 Budget is the “Agenda of Stigmatization” by the Liberal National Coalition Government.  The Agenda of Stigmatization is alive and kicking in Budget 2015.  The targets? Women, single parents and working mothers.  

The stigmatization narrative of the Liberal National Government’s Budget 2015 is like a passive aggressive snarl, rather than the brazen punch to the face we received in 2014.

Rorters and Double Dippers

On The Insiders, ABC  (17/05/2015) Barry Cassidy interviewed Joe Hockey on a variety of budget related matters.   The first area that piqued my interest was the matter of Paid Parental Leave.  This policy assists parents, predominantly young women to care for their new born babies for a period prior to returning to work. This was hailed as a major initiative of the Coalition Government.  One where they built on Labor’s Paid Parental Leave Policy and had ‘achieved better and greater than Labor ever could, where it comes to women.’  In fact the coalition stated that:

The Coalition’s paid parental leave scheme will result in a woman earning the average full-time salary of around $65,000 receiving $32,500 – and they will be around $21,300 better off under the Coalition’s scheme relative to Labor’s scheme.

Tony Abbott also famously stated on 3AW in September, 2013, that

“I don’t think women suffer legal discrimination and I don’t think anyone these days sets out to do the wrong thing but it is very difficult for women to combine work and family if they don’t have a fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme and that’s going to change very soon under the Coalition.”

So now they don’t have a “fair dinkum paid parental leave scheme” – what has the Coalition got to offer women?

Now the Coalition has back-flipped on this policy; stating the reason for the back-flip was that they have listened to the community.  Yes, the community needs reliable, affordable childcare, but not at the detriment of already hard fought for entitlements at work.

The negative narrative of parents, primarily women, being ‘rorters and double dippers’ is meant to stigmatise this group so the public believe that working mothers are getting more than their fair share. The Coalition would like the voting taxpayer to believe that mothers are essentially stealing the nation’s taxes.

The narrative here is set to stigmatise, so if they are returned to Government, there will be little outcry from the public, when they reduce or abolish Labor’s Paid Parental Scheme altogether.

Single Parents

Single parents, particularly single mothers are another favourite target group for the Liberal National Government’s agenda of stigmatisation.  We have already had in Budget 2014 attacks on FTB reducing family income for up to $6,000 per year and a the abolishment of FTB once a child has turned six.  In addition, return to work and education supplements, which have been vital in the past to transition single parents into work will also cease. These changes still need to be passed in the Senate and are now linked as savings, which will fund Childcare, in addition to savings found from those on Newstart under 25 having no income for one month.

When the Prime Minister and Minister for Women was challenged in Question Time about these cuts by Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Tanya Plibersek, the Prime Minister accused Labor of supporting welfare as “pseudo-generosity. This is a prime example of the Coalition’s narrative that they see welfare as a ‘generosity’ to be given or taken away rather than an essential need.

Now we have the “Have A Go” Budget of 2015, where the Coalition ‘Has a Go’ at Single Parents by comparing apples and oranges to convince the public that Single Parents are not only having their cake and eating it too, but eating hard-working people’s cakes as well.  The message here is that single parents are greedy bludgers, who get more in hand-outs than a hard working voting taxpayer.

The following table was discussed on The Insiders, ABC Sunday 17 May, 2015.  Barry Cassidy queried Joe Hockey as to why it was necessary to compare the two.  Hockey’s response was that he thinks it is important to advise tax payers where their money is going.  (It is also interesting that the pictures on this graph pegs a single mother with two children against a hard-working single man.)

As you can see the “Age of Entitlement’ Graph demonstrates that a hard-working person working five days per week, is actually worse off than a sole parent with two kids.  This is a dynamic display of the ‘Lifters and Leaners” narrative we were accustomed to in 2014 although the actual words are not used in Budget 2015. The subliminal messaging is what is used to be effective here.

However, the graph does not take into account the cost of raising children, which I have added below:

joe single parents 3

As this table now shows, regardless of what the Coalition want you to believe, when you take into account the cost of raising children; a sole parent working part-time is not better off than a hard-working individual working five days per week on $80,000 per year.

As Barry Cassidy put to Joe Hockey “But you may be creating resentment though for no purpose” Of course, Joe Hockey disagreed and responded with “Why anyone would resent helping a single parent?”

After the last 18 months of stigmatizing those on welfare, including single parents; along with the Kevin Andrews’ mantra that married couples are more valued in society; this really speaks volumes of how out of touch Joe Hockey and the Coalition are.  Maybe the Treasurer should follow commentary on social media and main stream media to understand what many people think of those on welfare.

Joe Hockey knows and the coalition knows that their negative narrative about those on welfare for the past 18 months has already increased resentment.  Taking an under-handed swipe at single parents, whilst butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, is beyond reproach.

The narrative here is set to stigmatise, so if they are returned to Government, there will be little outcry from the public, when they make more harsh cuts to welfare and single parents in conjunction with a more Liberal friendly Senate.

The 2015 Budget has given little to no hope for those already doing it tough on welfare.  The Budget failed to deliver a vision for our future and has painted an even bleaker future for women.  It is essential that the vision we have for the future is to say “NO” to a Coalition Government at the next election and always, always, put Liberal & National last.

“Stigma is a process by which the reaction of others spoils normal identity.”
―Erving Goffman

 

Originally Published on polyfeministix

 

Tony Abbott Changes Liberal Foreign Policy

Image source: truepolitik.blogspot.com

Image source: truepolitik.blogspot.com

“Let’s wait until we’ve got all the facts in before we come to hard and fast conclusions. But obviously it is the clear and settled position of the Australian Government that larger countries should not bully smaller ones, that countries should not aid people who are in rebellion against their own government and that international disputes should be settled peacefully in accordance with international law.”

Tony Abbott, 18th July, 2014

 

Waiting for the facts, now there’s a change for a start. Ok, it didn’t stop him directly blaming Russia for this tragedy before the investigations even begin, but that’s a vast improvement from when he interrupted Question Time earlier this year to announce that the missing plane was on the verge of being found.

Still, it’s an excellent move that the Liberals are now adopting the policy that “larger countries should not bully smaller ones”! This will, of course, prevent our future involvement in such events as:

  • The Vietnam War
  • Both Iraq wars
  • Our attempts to screw East Timor on oil
  • The G20
  • Trade agreements with the USA
  • Support for the Japanese effort in World War Two

As for “aiding people who are in rebellion against the their own government” – apart from annoyance at the foreign countries who may have contributed to Clive Palmer’s wealth – this probably stems from the fact that Abbott – being English – is still upset over the American War of Independence where tea was tipped into Boston Harbour, while colonials dressed as Native Americans chanted, “No taxation without representation”. The current Tea Party have drawn their name from this event, but left out the word “Boston” from their name. Similarly, in order to achieve consistency, they’ve also left out the words “without representation” from their slogan.

Now, I know some of you will object to me calling Mr Abbott “English” given that he’s lived here since childhood and that he took out Australian citizenship in his twenties. (And, as Parliamentarians aren’t allowed to be dual citizens, he’s clearly revoked his British citizenship – even though there appears no evidence of that.) However, when I complain about referring to Mr Murdoch as an Australian, I’m told that he’s born here so that makes him Australian, even if he has given up his citizenship. As Terry McCrann put it yesterday:

“In the 1960s Murdoch went to Britain, in the 1970s to the US, in the 1980s to the very different universe of Hollywood; that, and a lot more would, as they say, be and is continuing to be history.

But all through this dizzying roller-coasting cacophony of activity he never left Australia.

That’s obvious in business terms. NewsCorp is now the country’s unequalled private sector media player — bizarrely, challenged and increasingly confronted only by the nominally publicly owned but “their” ABC.

BUT he never “left” Australia in even more core personal terms. He always will be quintessentially Australian.”

So, I guess that Rupert is “Australian”; one might almost say that he’s “the Australian” – well, the only one whose opinion counts. (Who needs scientists when Rupert can tell us that the best way to deal with climate change is to build away from the sea?)  Of course, we just had the celebration of fifty years of “The Australian” – that newspaper which advocates free enterprise and not relying on handouts, while itself not actually making a profit in the fifty years of its existence.

Ah well, yesterday’s front page of another Murdoch Media Misinformation unit, assured me that Bill Shorten just doesn’t get that we have to find billions of dollars worth of savings while simultaneously celebrating the fact that the Carbon Tax is gone and we’ve removed a $9 billion impost on the economy. And we also want to get rid of that Mining Tax. Because if we get rid of taxes then that’s money that the government doesn’t have and Bill Shorten doesn’t seem to get that when you get rid of taxes like that you need to find spending cuts.

(Typical Labor. When it was announced last year that they’d require people to keep log books on their business-related leased cars, they didn’t understand that this would lead to the death of the car industry because apparently most people weren’t using them for business purposes and if you stop a business rort, that’s bad for the economy – stopping rorts by pensioners, parents, the disabled, the unemployed and anyone else who may not have voted Liberal, on the other hand, is a good and just thing. And let’s face it – any money you take from the government is a rort unless you’re someone whose leasing a car.)

Nevertheless, I can’t understand why – even if they still try and remove the spending associated with it – the Liberals are so concerned with removing the Mining Tax, because, after all, it’s raising so little money, it could hardly be a disincentive to investment. And given some of the things that have been cut because of the “dire emergency”, you’d think every bit would count.

Why Clive Palmer may not be Abbott’s karma! A pattern emerges . . .

Clive Palmer (image by 4bc.com.au)

Clive Palmer (image by 4bc.com.au)

Anyone else wondering if there’s a pattern starting here?

The Government proposes something. Clive creates BIG HEADLINES by suggesting that he’ll block it. There’s a bit of a brouhaha. The Government complains that the Senate shouldn’t block things because after all they have a mandate! (After all, the Liberals have always just waved legislation through – it’s not like they blocked the ETS or anything…)

A few days go by. Then it’s reported – with no big headlines – that Clive Palmer and his PUPpets have decided to let the thing go through. Sometimes, it’s reported that they’ve extracted some concession. Other times, they’ve either just changed their minds or else whatever concession they’ve extracted is not for the public eye.

Now I don’t mean to suggest by that there’s anything untoward in this. After all, it is possible that Clive Palmer just speaks without thinking, and after reflection, he remembers that he is a life member of the Queensland LNP, so really opposing policies he’s always supported just because he’s trying to win a few populist votes is not really a good long term policy. Or it could be that he just likes watching Tony’s face when it looks likely that the Government actually have to say please before it gets its own way.

Whatever, it seems that there are at least two examples of this.

We won’t allow the Carbon Tax repeal, unless it’s replaced by an Emissions Trading Scheme starting at zero. (Haven’t heard much about that lately.)

We won’t support the changes to the regulations on Financial Advice. (Oh, wait the government have promised us that they’ll strength the legislation in the next ninety days.)

There you go. Two things that’s the start of pattern.

All right, two isn’t much of a pattern, but I wanted to get in early. If I wait until it’s an actual pattern then everyone will see it. Like the pattern where Margie doesn’t accompany Abbott when he goes to a foreign country, including Canberra, which Liberals regard as an alien land.

Just like when some of the Liberals suggested that the Labor Party hadn’t delivered a surplus this century. It’s a pattern. The circumstances of the GFC were no excuse – if the Liberals had still been in power, we’d have still had surpluses. And an unemployment rate of “eleventy”, mind you, but things would have been good because we’d have had a surplus.

But that was under Peter “Figjam” Costello. Under Abbott, I’ve noticed a new pattern. Joe Hockey has never delivered a surplus.

Just remember, you read it here first!

Arthur Sinodinos – Perfect for Assistant Treasurer!

Photo: inaur.com

Photo: inaur.com

Ok, there have been a lot of unfair remarks made about Mr Sinodinos. I can’t remember any of them specifically but I have a vague recollection that a number of people at a large dinner party were suggesting that he wasn’t fit to be Assistant Treasurer. At least I think it was a dinner party. There was food and wine and people were talking. Not wishing to appear greedy I refrained from eating and just concentrated on the wine. If I use the same standard that people are applying to Arthur, I’m not fit to be Assistant Treasurer either. Which is clearly nonsense because I have exactly the sort of skills Australia needs at the moment. I am good with money. It’s when I’m broke that I’m not so good. So if you want me to be good, just give me lots of money.

But I digress. We were talking about what people were saying at the alleged dinner party. The general consensus was that if Arthur Sinodinos couldn’t remember anything from his time at that place where he was paid more money than they were, then he shouldn’t have a position of responsibility in the Government. I thought I should set them straight.

“Class warfare, pure and simple!” I said.

People stopped and listened in that way that they often do when I crawl out from under the table and speak with my deep, well-modulated authorative voice.

“You’re all just jealous, I continued, “because you’re paid too much and if there were no minimum wage, you’d soon see what you were worth! How on earth are we expecting him to remember some part time job from the last century. Can any of you remember every detail from a job where you only worked for twenty hours? I doubt it.”

“It wasn’t last century. It was only a few years ago. And he was being paid a large amount of money,” asserted someone.

“Exactly my point, you’re just attacking him because you don’t have the skill set to earn that sort of money.” I reached for the wine bottle and poured myself another glass.

“Apart from being totally unaware of anything that the company was doing, exactly what skills did he demonstrate?”

“He can open doors. Not the everyday sort of doors that anyone can open, but the doors that are normally closed unless someone with a particular knowledge turns the handle a particular way. He wasn’t there for his excellent memory. If he had an excellent memory, he’d be on some quiz show.”

Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” suggested someone whose name I can’t remember.

“The trouble is,” I patiently explained, “that none of you loony left understand the way the economy works. That’s why Labor sent Australia broke. They had no understanding of balancing a budget.”

“But the Liberals have eliminated the debt ceiling and intend to borrow more than twice as much as Labor did,” insisted the person at the end of the table.

“And their Paid Parental Leave is going to add billions to the bottom line,” added the man next to me.

“Look,” I said, “the PPL is completed funded. They intend to cut company tax by one percent, except for the top companies where they will have a one percent surcharge to pay for the scheme.”

“But if they cut company tax on these companies by one percent then add one percent, aren’t they just back where they started?” said the person on the end of the table.

“And won’t the companies just pass it on as they did with the Carbon Tax?” said the man next to me.

“No, because it’s a levy, not a tax,” I told them.

“What’s the difference?”

I could tell that I was dealing with simpletons. I needed to use more concrete examples.

“Take this bottle,” I said, holding up the wine bottle.

“It’s empty!’

“Exactly my point. That bottle represents Labor policies. The bottle is now empty and nobody got any benefit from it.”

“Well, we all got to drink some,” said someone. And they laughed. Everyone’s a comedian.

“Now, hand me the full bottle of wine at the end of the table. This represents a strong economy. Empty bottle – Labor. Full bottle – the Liberal’s plan for getting the economy back on track.” I poured myself another glass. “If this was Labor, they’d be doing this into everyone’s glass and then we’d have no wine left. But because it’s the Liberals it only goes into one glass and then the trickle down effect will mean that it isn’t just wasted. So having poured one glass, I’m putting the top back on, then talking it home so that it doesn’t end up empty. That’s sound economic management.”

“I have one question,” said the man at the end of the table.

“Yes,” I said.

“Who invited you to this party?”

“I can’t remember.”

“Did anyone invite you?”

“I don’t recall.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m a financial expert,” I told him.

With that, I picked up the wine and left.

 

How the Communists have wrecked our land

Photo: shutterstock

Photo: shutterstock

“Advance Australia Fair”  was made the Australian National Anthem  in 1984. Ok, it’s been clear for sometime that this is a piece of leftist propaganda, slipped in as our Anthem by that socialist Bob Hawke. (Let’s not forget that he was head of that union organisation dedicated to destroying our way of life, the ACTU. Their stated policies include such things as improving job security and wages for workers! Imagine what sort of country we’d become if they had their way!)

Lyrics were changed to this:

“Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

“Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.”

The second verse was inexplicably changed by the socialists from its original.

When gallant Cook from Albion sail’d,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Till he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
With all her faults we love her still,
“Brittannia rules the wave!”
In joyful strains then let us sing
“Advance Australia fair!”

So, I”m proposing a few minor changes to make the song more relevant to the wonderful country, Australia is in the process of becoming. In the interests of effeciency – we don’t want people having to learn a new tune – I propose that rather than pay money to some already overpaid musician we only change the lyrics.

The first line, “Australians all let us rejoice” is a bit too wishy-washy and “let us” implies that there’s an element of choice about it.  I propose that it become “must now” instead.

“For we are young and free” sends the wrong message. While we value “freedom”, in this user pays society, we don’t want anyone to think that there’s any such thing as a free lunch. This should become “And join the company”.

The next lines in this verse are self-explanatory.

“Australians all must now rejoice, 
And join the company; 
We’ve coal and  soil and lots of oil
Some in East Timor’s sea; 
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts 
For miners rich and rare; 
In history’s page, no culture wars 
Advance Australia Fair. 
In Liberal view, no black armband, 
Advance Australia Fair.

As for the second verse, well, we all know that certain left organisations have appropriated the Southern Cross, so it’s a rather  divisive line. I propose to remind people how lucky they are to be working. In the third line, I felt that the word “commonwealth” somehow gave the impression that we all should be sharing in the wealth, so this also has to be changed. What we end up with is this:

“Those lucky ones who have a job
Will toil with hearts and hands; 
To help the trickle down effect
 Which failied in other lands; 
For those who’ve come across the seas 
We’ll process you off-shore 
Just like our Anthem’s second verse 

You’re something we ignore.
We love the strong, we hate the weak, 
Advance Australia Fair.”

Australia, nobody can say we’re not fair.

Then… And Now OR And Now For Something Completely Different!

 

February, 2012

Mr Abbott said the rebate ”is an article of faith for the Coalition. Private health insurance is in our DNA.”

”Support for people who want to get ahead – it is our raison d’etre,” he told Sydney radio.

But in May, 2013

THE Coalition has walked away from a promise to scrap means testing of the private health insurance rebate, with Joe Hockey confirming it will have to stand in the face of the budget “emergency”.

 And Now For Something Completely Different:

Mr Dutton said one of the Coalition government’s important tasks was ”to grow the opportunity for those Australians who can afford to do to contribute to their own health care costs”.

There ya go! Remember the “Hope, Reward, Opportunity” badge that appeared on all that pre-election stuff from the Liberals that was shoved in your letterbox prior to the election? (No, not Amway’s “Freedom, Family, Hope, Reward”) See, they haven’t forgotten about their slogan.

I’m sure some of you thought that the OPPORTUNITY thing was just some empty rhetoric, but no. People on the dole are being given the OPPORTUNITY to develop much needed skills in picking up rubbish. And many manufacturing workers are being given a tremendous OPPORTUNITY – to quote Mr Abbott, “many of them will probably be liberated to pursue new opportunities and to get on with their lives”.

And now they’re planning to grow the OPPORTUNITY for people to contribute to their own health care costs. This is exactly the sort of opportunity I’ve been waiting for. When I had a recent test, I was bulk-billed, I asked the person doing it if there was some way I could contribute to the cost, but they said no. I asked if, perhaps, I could empty their bin or mop their floor. Again no. Because of some ridiculously complicated system, they apparently had cleaners who were paid money to do such things.  But, soon, I may have the opportunity to contribute to my own health care costs. Opportunities like that don’t come along under every government.

I certainly HOPE that the opportunity doesn’t stop there. After all, there are so many other ways Australians who can afford it could be given “opportunities to contribute”.  For example, perhaps, when people wish to report a crime, they could be asked for a small co-contribution to cover the police time in writing out the report. For a slightly larger co-contribution, the police will investigate the crime and – in the event of it being solved – you could pay them a REWARD.

And let’s not forget Parliament. At the moment, politicians pass legislation for free. Maybe there should be some form of co-contribution – from those who can afford it – to pass the sort of legislation that they require. After all, not all taxpayers benefit from certains laws, so why should we all pay? Yes, I’m sure that some will say that this happens with parties REWARDING people and organisations who contribute to it, but that’s a very inefficient system. There’s no guarantee that the party won’t take money from almost everyone, then just make up its own mind when in government.  In my proposal, it would be totally based on individual Bills – a “user pays” system.

No, I can see that OPPORTUNITY will continue to grow under this government. REWARD will go to those who deserve it. And as for HOPE, well, that’s the entire basis for our economic policies.

Tony’s Workplace Contract – And Why It Needs Renegotiation.

Contract law          Considerations

The second element necessary for contract formation is consideration. A promise will be enforceable at common law only if it is supported by consideration or made under seal. Consideration can be anything from money to a promise to undertake or not undertake a particular act, even a mere peppercorn could suffice.  “Consideration” in this context means that a promise is given in return for a promise received.

Ok, like much of the junk mail, I suspect that many of you put this in the recycling without reading it. Certainly, I doubt that more than a handful of you kept it.

Photo:  Liberal Party of Australia

Photo: Liberal Party of Australia

But as Abbott said that we shouldn’t trust anything he said unless he put it in writing, I thought that it might be good to have the only thing that he’d actually put in writing.

 

Some of you probably have an excellent understanding of contract law. Mine is limited, but I suspect that this isn’t a legally enforcable contract for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it doesn’t spell out the options if the Liberals fail to honour the contract.

However, let’s take them at face value and examine how they’re doing so far.

1. A Stronger, Diversified Economy. Now, I’m no lawyer, but it does strike me that any attempt to sue them for breach of contract here would be doomed to fail because there’s simply four words none of which are a verb. What about “A Stronger, Diversified Economy”? We’d like one? We used to have one? Germany has one? No, there’s plenty of wriggle room here, even before they start to argue that the job losses are part of diversifying the economy and the reduction in wages is a sign of the economy’s strength!

2. Carbon Tax Gone. Hasn’t happened yet. The Liberals, of course, will blame Labor and The Greens, but didn’t Tony say that he’d have a “No excuses government”? Ok, while it hasn’t happened yet, I am prepared to believe that they’ll do it when they can. I just can’t help notice that there’s nothing in the contract about replacing it with Direct Action. Or sticking to the renewable energy targets.

3. End the Waste and Debt. Hockey’s decision to abolish the debt ceiling certainly doesn’t look they’re confident of ending government debt any time soon, but maybe it’s the ending of all debt. Maybe they’re going to abolish my mortgage by legislation which forgives all debt. If not, perhaps they should have been a little more specific. As for the “waste”, in “The Little Book of Big Labor Waste” we had sixty items listed as Labor Waste. One of them was the NBN, so if you agree that was a waste then they’ve made a start, but I’d like to know if they’ve ended the rort of Treasury getting milk for their tea. One of the others was “Jobs for Labor Mates”. With the appointments of Peter Costello, Amanda Vanstone, Sophie Mirabella and host of other ex-Liberals to government positions, I suppose they’d argue that it isn’t a waste when you appoint a Liberal. No, they’re clearly on dodgy ground with this one.

4. Build Modern Roads and Improve Services.  Mm, one presumes that no government would build “old-fashioned” roads. As the statement didn’t specify how many roads, it’s hard to call them out on this, unless they build less than two. “Improve Services”? Which services? And how is improvement measured? Have services “improved” if they don’t cost as much? Have they “improved” if they’re more efficiently managed? And by efficiently, could that mean reduced in quantity. I guess they’re safe here whatever they do. Actually, the syntax of this whole “contract” varies from point to point, with some points simply adjectives and nouns, while others, such as this one, could be construed as an order meaning, “You will build roads and improve services.”

5. Securing Our Borders With Proven Policies. I guess this one is their big tick item. People said that they wouldn’t be able to turn back the boats because Indonesia wouldn’t cooperate. And Tony has said that he doesn’t need Indonesia’s coorperation. We have a right to protect our borders, even if that means towing boats all the way back to Indonesia who clearly don’t have any rights when it comes to protecting theirs. My only observation is that it was suggested that we’d buy boats from people in Indonesia – will these be the boats that the navy is putting asylum seekers on? After all, we have to run out of them eventually and wouldn’t it be cheaper to buy them second hand? But again, the language of this one is present tense, which implies an ongoing process which means that it never reaches a point where one can judge success or failure. “The borders aren’t secure yet, but that’s all right because we’re still securing them.”

6. Two Million Jobs Within A Decade. Ok, the first point is that we won’t be able to judge this by the next election – or the two after it – so it’s pretty meaningless on one level. It’s also a pretty small target over a decade, even if one assumes that they meant what most people will infer. After all, it simply says “Two Million Jobs Within A Decade” and given their form with Holden and SPC-Ardmona perhaps it’s actually two million jobs gone within a decade. Another case of “we’ll keep the promise we made, not the one people thought we made”! 

So, as you can see, this contract certainly needs a bit of re-working now that Tony actually has the job. I suggest a few clauses with more specific penalties for breaches. Then of course there’s the matter of a “consideration”. What was the “consideration” in the Liberals’ Contract With The Australian people?

That’s right, whichever way you look at it: None whatsoever.

“Language is a Virus From Outer Space”

Doors

“Language is a Virus From Outer Space”  William S. Burroughs 

I read in one of the comments that this site was “a joke”. Whenever someone disparages something by calling it a joke, I often ask them what’s funny about it.

“Nothing,” they invariably reply.

“Then why did you call it a joke?” I politely inquire.

“Because it’s ridiculous/stupid/dumb/(consult thesaurus rather than have me go on)” they splutter.

“Then why didn’t you say that, because by calling it a joke you implied that there was something that I wasn’t getting.”

“I’ll give you something in a minute,” is often their response at this point.

Of course, I’d like to think that rational engagement will change people’s minds. I’d like to believe that people are capable of taking in the evidence, the arguments and distinguishing fact from opinion, then coming up with a reasoned reaction to whatever’s under discussion. I also like to think that Santa will still give me presents even though I stopped believing in him. Sadly, I doubt that any of things are likely to happen.

Listening to callers on the ABC today – many who supported the ABC, by the way – I was struck by the thought that I often have. Why are the Right so angry? The Left, even when we have an allegedly left wing government, have a world that’s full of unfairness, so they always have something to be potentially angry about. And, even though I totally disagree with them, for the three years of the Gillard government, there was the argument that Tony Abbott should be Prime Minister because the Liberals got more seats than Labor. Or rather the Liberals when you add them to the Nationals got more seats than Labor, but Labor cheated by adding seats from other parties and Independents to give themselves enough seats to claim government.

Yeah, Opposition sucks. So I can understand someone being angry, even if I think that they have no right to be.

But why are they still so angry?

How dare the ABC report unsubstantiated allegations from people with a vested interest in making the navy look bad!!!

Well, how do you feel about the unsubstantiated allegations about Julia Gillard? Or even Craig Thomson?

That’s different.

How?

You’re not going to defend that pathetic, dysfunctional government, are you? You Labor types are all the same. Labor are the worst party in the history of the world.

Look I haven’t even said that I voted Labor…

You didn’t vote GREENS? They’re even worse.

I didn’t say I voted for anyone, but how can The Greens be worse than the “worst party in the history of the world”?

The Greens are the worst party in the history of the universe!

*           *            *

At this point, should one attempt to point out that, for now anyway, the world is still in the universe? Or will it just lead to a diatribe about that not being the point and that I’m attempting to change the subject which was the ABC bias against the Liberals, Australia, Australians, Andrew Bolt, the Flag, Rinehart, the Monarchy, the IPA, heterosexuals, cigarettes, men, millionaires, billionaires, Murdoch, free speech, racists, non-academics views on climate change, people who drink beer, people who ring up to abuse their presenters and the way they keep reporting things that would be better left unreported.

When Tony Abbott asked whether you believe the navy or the people trying to “break Australian law”, it was the sort of question that we asks ourselves every time conflicting versions of an event are broadcast. (I would suggest that Abbott’s phrasing of the question invited bias.) Undoubtedly, many people will believe that the navy is the more trustworthy source, but surely there’s a danger if the national broadcaster decides not air accusations simply because they’re coming from a group that may have a vested interest in misrepresenting events. If that vested interest is clearly exposed, we can make up our own minds. Should the ABC, for example, refuse to report the concerns from groups opposed to wind farms because many are simply NIMBYs or refuse to run any statements from the Business Council?

And, if there were mistakes or inaccuracies in the reporting of the recent incident, they should be corrected. However, to argue angrily that the ABC shouldn’t report accounts because they may not be true seems a little rich when it comes from the same people who were repeating allegations about Julia Gillard from twenty years ago.

Ah, as I said earlier, I’d like to think that reason and rational thought would influence people’s thinking, but instead it’s often emotion and gut feeling. And that makes me disappointed, angry and frustrated.

Which really is a joke, when I think about it.

ABC Shows Bias In Their Reporting of Shark Cull!

Image by Aussie Vault

Image by Aussie Vault

Let’s be quite clear here. Sharks are attempting to enter this country without a visa, so it’s clear that they’re illegal entrants. Some on the Left are attempting to argue that, being part of the animal kingdom, they have no way of obtaining one and that they have a right to swim in the ocean. But this is the sort of nonsense that’s led to the situation we now have.

Once sharks come within a certain distance of shore, they’re in our territorial waters and that that gives us the right to do what we like to them. If they don’t like it, they should stay where they belong. After all, it’s not like they have faulty navigational equipment to blame.

These things are obvious to all Right thinking people.

And yet, the ABC, rather than support the government who are attempting to protect our borders, chooses to report the views of those who support the sharks. They even quoted Sea Shepherd spokesman, Jeff Hansen.

I’m not going to repeat the quote because I don’t want to join in the treason of the ABC. After all, it’s the 100th anniversary of ANZAC day coming up, and it’s worth remembering that people gaves their lives so we could have freedom in this country. Of course, freedom doesn’t mean that we should repeat things from people who don’t support everything the government does. If people don’t appreciate the free speech that they have, then they should shut up! Of course, while free speech is very important, it’s more important to ensure that the national broadcaster doesn’t repeat the views of those who are undermining our efforts to keep our borders safe.

One only has to look at Q&A to see how the ABC loves to humiliate the government. Their constant use of Liberals such as Sophie Mirabella and Christopher Pyne is a deliberate attempt to make the Coalition look ridiculous.

And, of course, they have form. When we invaded Iraq, some of their reporters had a very cynical tone when questioning people about the WMDs, even suggesting that there was little evidence that they existed, before it was clear that there were no WMDs.

Then the other day, they reported the death of Pete Seeger without reminding us that, during World War Two, he supported the Russians.

No, the ABC jumps at any chance it has to embarrass Abbott and the Liberals.

It has been pointed out to me that the shark cull is nothing to do with the Federal Government. My overall point still stands because I believe that they’re the sort of people who should join the ABC staff in being sent to camps for re-education. 

You have a right to your opinion, but that doesn’t mean that your opinion is right!

Compilation, original photos by news.com and Fairfax media.

Compilation, original photos by news.com and Fairfax media.

As an English teacher, I had the pleasure of reading many persuasive essays and listening to many oral presentations. Kids would present their point of view on a topic.

Now, I do understand that we live in a democracy and that everybody is allowed to have an opinion and all that, but somehow this has become terribly blurred in people’s minds. Just having the right to an opinion, doesn’t automatically mean that nobody has the right to argue with you.

I remember a dialogue that went something like this:

Me – You need to look at the other side of the argument.

Boris – Why? I already know my opinion.

Me – Well, there’s two reasons: First, so you can argue against it, and secondly, you might change your mind when you’ve examined all the facts.

Boris – No I won’t. I know what I think.

Me – Yes, but just because you think it, it doesn’t mean it’s right.

Boris – Well, it’s my opinion, and therefore it’s right, and you can’t tell me it’s wrong.

Me – I can, but I’m not saying that your opinion is wrong, I’m saying that just as you have the right to express your opinion, others have the right to say that your opinion is wrong.

Boris – How can they? It’s my opinion and nobody’s got any right to disagree, because it’s my opinion.

Me – Just because it’s an opinion, doesn’t make it right. Imagine if you went to one doctor and he told you that you needed to have your leg amputated, but then you went to another doctor and he said that you could treat it with antibiotics. They’ve both got an opinion, but both opinons can’t be right.

Boris – Well, I think that the one who wants to treat it with antibiotics is right.

Me – That may be, but the other doctor still has the right to an opinion.

Boris – No he doesn’t. It’s my f*ckin’ leg.

Me – There’s no need to swear.

Boris – That’s your opinion.

Needless to say, Boris complained that i had marked his essay poorly just because I didn’t agree with him, completely ignoring the facts that it was about two hundred words short of the recommended length, completely lacking in evidence of any kind and a series of generalisations and assertions. The fact that it was a racist diatribe had nothing to do with the final mark. I would have also marked down someone who had a completely opposite view if they wrote that we shouldn’t be racist because they liked other races, then found a new way of making the same point in each sentence.

I’ve found myself thinking of Boris – and students like him – a lot over the past few years. Abbott seems to adopt a similar strategy when arguing. This is what we think, and we’re right, because those who think differenlty are wrong. If you think differently then either you’re evil or stupid for being brainwashed by those who think differently.

Of course, some on the left are not immune from this type of thinking, but, in Abbott, it seems more pronounced. And, of course, he’s had his behaviour backed by the Murdoch Press.

If you look through Abbott’s statements and Liberal policy, it’s difficult to find much in the way of evidence or consideration of the other side of the argument. They read a bit like Boris’s essay.

Take Direct Action for example:

“We will take direct action to reduce carbon emissions in a practical, affordable way inside Australia, not overseas. We remain committed to a five per cent reduction in emissions by 2020.”

There don’t seem to be any arguments about why it’s better to pay people to stop polluting, instead of fining them for polluting. Or to put it another way, instead of taking money from the polluters, which – even if you accept that, unlike the levy for the PPL, it gets passed on to the consumer – goes back to the Government and increases taxation revenue, they want a policy which takes money from the taxpayer to give it to the people who are the biggest polluters to persuade them to stop. (Perhaps, instead of a fine for speeding, the police could pay the ones with the most demerit points if they just stop speeding.) It’s enough to state the policy (opinion), and, because it’s our policy (opinion) it must be right and you can’t tell us it’s wrong.

Of course, the whole climate change “debate” is strange in itself. When it comes to something like say the treatment for ulcers, we tend to leave it the medical fraternity and accept that they’re the ones doing the research. Of course, this will change as more is discovered, but we don’t immediately say, “Well, it’s clear that doctors know nothing because the treatment for ulcers has changed! So from here on, I’ll get my medical information from Andrew Bolt and the chemists who work for the breweries making beer.” We accept that all scientific knowledge is subject to review and revision.

But with climate change, any variation in a model, is evidence of a “conspiracy”. Ian Pilmer, the geologist who wrote “How To Get Expelled From School” uses the fact that he couldn’t get his book published as evidence that the sceptics were being excluded from the debate, completely ignoring the fact that not all people who submit an idea or a manuscript are immediately rushed with a contract and a movie deal. (No really!) I wonder if I submit a proposal for a book on the problems of education will Pilmer accept my non-publication as evidence that all publishers are supporting the status quo.

I realise that not everyone will agree with me. That’s their right. But I can’t help wondering why people think that merely asserting their opinion – “Your (sic) all a pack of morons” or “I really like sticking it up you lefties now that we’ve got an adolt (sic) back in charge” – will change views.

Of course, this works both ways. Like many people, I genuinely believe that Abbott has plans for Australia which don’t benefit the vast majority of Australians. The question is how do we convince those who are disadvantaged by the Coalitions actions. I guess that I need to listen to the advice I gave Boris. I need to try and persuade and not simply assert my beliefs.

No excuses! Except that we have really, really good ones.

 

When Tony Abbott promised a “no excuses, no surprises government”, I must say I only half believed him. What I mean by that, is that I expected plenty of excuses, and because that’s what I expected, I didn’t think I’d be surprised.

But Tony Abbott has surprised me!

I really didn’t expect that anyone could be this incompetent.

As for the excuses, we have Paul Sheehan today complaining how Labor “booby-trapped” Australia’s future. He complains that Labor is blocking the carbon and mining taxes in the Senate, but overlooks Abbott’s blocking of the ETS in 2009. Only some things are a mandate apparently.

“And what do we get? Labor and the Greens opposing all four mandates, and everything else, and some of Labor’s booby traps already exploding. Rudd’s authorising of spying on Indonesia’s President and his wife blew up on Tony Abbott, who suffered further damage as he doggedly covered up for Labor. Labor’s multi-billion-dollar expansion into school education, a state issue, also exploded when Education Minister Christopher Pyne ineptly fumbled his attempt to rein in its costs and impositions.”

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/how-labor-boobytrapped-australias-future-20131215-2zf8y.html#ixzz2na3KxxRy

So there you have it, “Labor’s multi-billion dollar expansion into school education” which Tony Abbott promised to keep before the election wasn’t part of his mandate. Only the things that the Coalition truly believe are part of their mandate, and everything else is just something that you say to get elected. And surely, the voters know which is which!

You know, things like bringing down the debt, that wasn’t a “real” promise. And they’ve made a good start on that, by cutting $3 billion dollars worth of taxes that have been announced, but not enacted. “We don’t need taxes to pay off the debt,” they seem to be saying. “If only we could get rid of this MASSIVE carbon tax, we’d have the deficit ballooning out by so much that we could really complain about Labor… Oh, wait we’re the Government.. Doesn’t matter, it’s all Labor’s fault!”

Paul Sheehan’s article is so full of contradictions that answering it would be like allowing Mitch Johnson to bowl at a blind man. (Actually, not being able to see him may help the English batsmen.) Perhaps, he’s trying to outdo Bolt in the hope of boosting his readership, but somehow he just sounds like he’s making excuses.

Of course, he’s not part of the Government, so we can’t really hold Tony Abbott accountable for what some grumpy, old man writes to excuse the Coalition’s failings.

So, on the promise of repealing the carbon and mining tax, we have the excuse that it’s being blocked in the Senate. I suppose one could argue that’s a reason, not an excuse.

On “stopping the boats”, well, they’ve been very successful, haven’t they? They’ve slowed them, we’re told. But by only announcing arrivals once a week in a press conference that Morrison discourages the press from attending by announcing its location at the last minute, refusing to renew the contract of the Salvation Army to provide services to detainees and sacking the Howard appointed health advisory board they’ve certaining stopped the flow of information. Which is practically the same as stopping the boats, isn’t it?

And, anyway, it’s all the fault of the Indonesians. As Tony said, it’s high time they cooperated! I mean, we expected them to do that when we told the public that we had a good understanding about turning back the boats, and wandering in to Indonesian fishing villages with a wad of cash saying, “Who wants to sell their boat for twice what it’s worth?”

Again not an EXCUSE. A reason!

Christopher “Hey, presto!” Pyne had a neat little act with the incredible disappearing and reappearing $1.2 billion that sounded suspicious like an excuse to me. But Abbott stepped in and announced that Christopher didn’t know what he was talking about and there were no excuses needed because everything was going ahead, so no need to look at this closely any more.

Then we come to the NBN, which they aren’t going to be able to deliver on their promise of a 2016 date. Oh, and the costs have blown out.

‘Mr Turnbull said he didn’t “feel any shame” about the government’s inaccurate pre-election forecasts.

“They were (cost) estimates done in the best of good faith from opposition,” he said.

“As far as the 2016 target is concerned, I’m very disappointed that the company is not going to be able to do that.” ‘

The Age, 15th December.

You see, the estimates were done in good faith. From Opposition. They can’t be held responsible for promises they made then. Sorry. ESTIMATES. Only Labor makes promises. The Liberals have aims, objectives, goals, aspirations, and ESTIMATES. And as for the target, Mr Turnbull is very sorry that THE COMPANY is not going to be able to deliver on the timeline that he ESTIMATED in Opposition. (Gee, I think he should sack the people running that Company and appoint more competent people… Oh, these are the more competent people that Malcolm just appointed. Better bring up your support for a conscience vote on gay marriage, Malcolm!)

There you have it, they’re all REASONS. I don’t know why some people keep calling them excuses.

*                      *                      *

I first published this before the election, but I think it’s time to shout bingo.

Image

Lucy Who?

Lucy Wicks * (Photo: Daily Telegraph)

Lucy Wicks (image from dailytelegraph.com.au)

 

Another great guest post from Kaye Lee, pointing out more idiocy from those entrusted to run our education system.

One could be forgiven for not knowing who Lucy Wicks is – even her electorate had never heard of her before she was parachuted into the seat of Robertson in a captain’s pick by Tony Abbott, bypassing the pre-selection process, much to the chagrin of the local Liberal Party membership:

“NSW State Executive of the Liberal Party have endorsed Lucy Wicks as the Candidate for Robertson. No preselection was held and the executive of the Robertson Federal Electorate Conference was not notified, only told that this was under consideration today. Nominations for Robertson have been open for 5 months, Lucy Wicks being a member of that State Executive that delayed nominations”.

The comments from local Liberals were scathing, as the above link testifies. A poster with the aptly-named persona of Back Room Deals summed up the sentiment thus:

“Lucy Wicks lives in Warringah, Tony Abbott’s electorate . . . hmm. Wicks nominated on Thursday and was rushed through NRC. Then the vote went to State Executive on Friday. The problem is that our leadership has shown no integrity in this issue. To fix the problem in Dobell, a problem of their own making, they take away the democratic rights of Robertson branch members. We will not stand for these tactics, there are 10 branches in Robertson . . . 10 branches with hundreds of unpaid foot soldiers who will walk away, let Head Office pay for the lot come the Election”.

Lucy then called in the big guns, hosting a morning tea at which Bronwyn Bishop spoke. This was the reaction from someone who attended that function:

“Lucy Wicks was totally uninspiring and seemed like an impressionable kid that didn’t have a brain between her ears. The helpers there all seemed like young Liberals that were nice, but really, did nothing to add any degree of credibility at all. Dressed like they came off a refugee boat. Doesn’t some-one give them a dress code at all? As for Bronwyn, she was the main star and Lucy apart from telling us she worked in a factory in the Central Coast really had nothing to say. And it showed. Bronwyn did all the talking and Lucy shut up which is just as well I think”.

Even though there was a 0.1 per cent swing against the Liberal Party, there was an even larger swing against the Labor sitting member, Deborah O’Neill, who in my mind was a hard-working MP who ably represented her constituents. 21.8 per cent of the vote went to the minor parties and Independents. Hardly a resounding victory for the Coalition.

So it was with interest that I watched Lucy ask her first question in Parliament:

“My question is to the Assistant Minister for Education. I remind the minister that childcare groups and parents in my electorate of Robertson have told me of the burden that the previous government childcare rules and regulations placed on costs for centres and parents. Will the minister tell the House how the Government plans to fix the red-tape mess and reduce costs?”

Up bounced Christopher Pyne’s sidekick, Sussan Ley, who seems to have learned her oratory skills from her Minister, to tell us that axing the carbon tax and cutting red tape would fix all the woes of the childcare system. Her proof of this was a couple of anecdotal stories about turning the lights off for an hour and eating individual cupcakes.

Perhaps Ms Ley is unaware of what her colleague in the NSW State Parliament is doing:

Community preschools across the state could be sent broke under changes to state-government funding for three-year-olds as daily fees nearly double for parents of the younger children.

The sector is warning many community centres will be forced to close under a new model that slashes funds for the age group in a bid to get more four- and five-year-olds into classes before they start kindergarten.

In what has been slammed as a further blow to the chronically underfunded sector in NSW, the Community Child Care Co-Operative claims one in three centres could be forced out of business if parents switch their children from preschool to cheaper long day care.

The report, by UNSW professor Deborah Brennan, said the state government would need to “substantially increase” investment in early education to meet its commitments as community preschools had been underfunded for “decades” compared to those in other states.

Ms Ley also failed to mention that the Coalition have cut $300 million from the Early Years Quality Fund:

A $300 million funding boost aimed at improving the wages of 30,000 childcare workers looks increasingly likely to be axed as the federal government continues to sit on the Labor-approved initiative.

The money was to be spent in 1100 childcare centres to bolster the meagre $19-an-hour wages of certificate III childcare workers by $3 an hour and early-childhood teachers by $6 an hour. The starting wage for a university-educated early childhood teacher is $42,000 a year.

The government wrote to childcare centres who had accepted the funding soon after winning office, revoking the conditional funding offers and advising it was reviewing the $300 million Early Years Quality Fund (EYQF).

Ms Ley did not specify what “red tape” would be removed, and when Graeme Perrett asked “What—you’re going to have free-range kids in the childcare centres!”, he was promptly ejected by our fearless arbiter, Bronwyn Bishop.

The National Quality Standard for Education and Care Services can be found in Schedule One which appears at the end of the Regulations.

Having glanced through them, I am not sure which of these guidelines could be dumped, and how that would improve the quality of the service. But then again, quality of education isn’t a goal of this government.

So it is with a great deal of trepidation that I reiterate the question asked by Lucy Who and could we please have some detail to your answer rather than “axe the tax and cut red tape” slogans.

“Will the minister tell the House how the government plans to fix the red-tape mess and reduce costs?”

Kaye Lee

 

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