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Tell ‘Em They’re Dreaming

By 2353NM

Do you feel the sense of desperation in the air?

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce has decided that a dam should be built at Urannah in Central Queensland that will according to Crikey

reinforce the Coalition’s electoral dominance of a regional Queensland seat, directly benefiting the Nationals’ holdings of Flynn, Capricornia and Dawson. It would also send an explicit message to the fossil fuel industry that the government is not retreating from spending significant amounts backing coal production — a message it would also hope reaches voters in such electorates as Hunter.

There are a couple of problems with Joyce’s grand plan. Joyce claimed the money was in the March 2022 Federal Budget. First, he has to convince the Queensland Government to stump up the remaining money to build the dam. The Queensland Government doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to do that. Then he has to convince the Queensland Government to approve the dam under state legislation as well as apply to the Federal Environment Department for Federal approvals, which again the Queensland Government doesn’t seem to be interested in.

And then the final obstacle is Joyce’s Cabinet colleague, Senator Sussan Ley who is the environment minister. When asked for comment, Ley’s response was

The first step had to be made by the Queensland government: “We will consider matters of environmental significance that impacts the dam, on world heritage places, on natural heritage, on migratory species, on threatened species and so on.
“There is no suggestion that this proposal steps outside our national environmental law.”
The dam was first considered about 60 years ago and 25 feasibility studies have denied it environmental endorsement. Local Indigenous groups have also opposed it.

Joyce’s claim that the proposed dam will enhance the country’s economic growth and stability is argued by others. Again, from Crikey

This wealth guarantee is contradicted by an economic analysis prepared for a Mackay conservation group which argued the return on every dollar spent on the dam would be just 75 cents. A separate report claimed the dam would cover 9850 hectares of suitable high-value cropping farm development and 12,250 hectares of improved grazing land.

Parts of Bundaberg are in the electorate of Flynn. Current Mayor of Bundaberg (and former LNP Queensland Minister) Jack Dempsey claims

“It’s a false stereotype that all regional Queenslanders are coal-loving climate-change deniers,” Dempsey said.
“The minister for coal – Keith Pitt – he doesn’t actually reflect the views of our community on environmental issues.”
“We’re about clean, green, quality products.”

Keith Pitt, the Federal Resources Minister, is the federal member for Hinkler, who represents the rest of Bundaberg and surrounding areas.

A week later, the Morrison Government announced they would fund the $5.4 Billion ‘Hells Gate Dam’ on the Burdekin River in North Queensland despite the environmental assessments and business case being incomplete. The ALP’s environment and water spokesperson, Terri Butler reminded us that the dam was originally announced before the 2019 election. Independent North Queensland MP Bob Katter has been promoting this dam since he was a state MP in 1981 and has claimed the current scheme is incomplete. Queensland’s Water Minister Glenn Butcher commented

it was “interesting” to see the Commonwealth investment earmarked so early.
The state is still providing technical assistance to proponent, Townsville Enterprise, for its business case.
“Investment decisions should be informed by completed detailed business cases, the Hells Gates business case is not yet complete – this means it hasn’t even received necessary federal approvals,” he said.

It seems to be common practice in Australia to ‘means test’ in some ways government assistance to the public. Should you qualify for an aged pension, or child support or any number of other government assistance programs, including assistance after natural disasters, you have to be able to demonstrate that you meet a financial test. The test might be based on your income, your assets or apparently which electorate you live in and is mostly ‘designed’ to ensure that recipients who need the assistance are prioritised over those that only want it. That is fair enough. If someone doesn’t have the income or assets to support themselves, we pride ourselves on living in an egalitarian society and should be happy to assist. That’s how the process works, and it has done so for decades.

So how do we explain the governments of Australia funding private schools? While a generalisation, independent schools are usually the ones with the marketing departments to generate more students, the ‘better’ facilities including ‘necessary’ things such as indoor Olympic standard pools, elite level sporting grounds or permanent ‘camp grounds’ well removed from the school’s main campus, glossy advertising of Year 12 results, private transportation services for students and so on. At the same time, some public schools in the major cities around Australia have to roster their student lunch breaks so there is a little circulation room in the bitumen square that passes for a playground. Yet, significant funding is given to private schools along with inaccurate and uneducated opinions on the alleged differences in educational standards between public and independent schools. Stand-in Education Minister Stuart Robert – yes Morrison’s ‘Brother Stuie’ – has claimed that independent schools don’t employ teachers that are in the bottom 10% of some undisclosed rating process, those teachers are forced to work in public schools where they are protected. The inferred logic being if you want the best teachers for your Tarquin or Madison, send them to a private school. Remember all schools teach to the same curriculum and their student’s work is moderated across the sector – not just schools in the private or public cohorts.

Like Joyce, he’s dreamin’. We commented on Citipointe Christian School in Brisbane (a school run by a Pentecostal Church) demanding early this year that parents sign a document that restricted the students to religiously acceptable gender roles and attitudes. The school’s principal at the time (who has theological but no educational qualifications) chose to take leave for an indefinite period after the justified public outcry. Now the same school has asked teachers to sign a contract that forbids all personal relationships except those that are acceptable to the particular religious principles of the church that operates the school.

Robert’s claim is demonstrably false because if the best teacher for the job falls foul of the implications of the teaching contract and is not employed, that particular independent school won’t employ the best teachers. Not because they are a bad teacher, only because their lifestyle is not acceptable to the church that owns the school based on their literal reading of the parts of a religious text that suits their purpose, regardless of the hundreds of logical and factual errors contained in the bible. Robert has apparently offered no evidence to support his claim, so it is logically based on either privilege or snobbery, not reality. The reality is there are plenty of good teachers who successfully engage with their students at public and private schools. There are also some teachers that underperform across the sector, just as there are good hard-working politicians and others that don’t adequately represent their electorates while claiming as much as they can from the system.

If it wasn’t so tragic, it’ll be funny.

What do you think?

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Goog

    After reading Quentin Beresford book Wounded Country this Beetrooter dam will be for the benefit of big agri business or big cotton , Beetrooter has long opposed environmental considerations , also Beetrooter was helped into the senate by Cubbie Station and the desecration of the Murray Darling and damage done to it by flood plain harvesting and now the water barons and water trading damage , what is really Beetrooter ultimate purpose for this dam ?

  2. Harry Lime

    Hypocrisy and trough snuffling are two of the hallmarks of our current Federal government,no better exemplified than by the fool for New England.Other markers of gross incompetence and grievous ,narrow minded stupidity are manifest in the person of the insulting Robert.Long may they be gone.

  3. Canguro

    Goog, like the arguable majority of current members of the federal, and possibly, also, state members of the Liberal-National coalition, Barnaby’s ultimate purpose in life is Barnaby. He has an existential need to maintain his access to the trough of taxpayer dollars for as long as possible. Everything else is secondary and performative, for as long as he is an elected politician he can maintain what he would no doubt agree is the ‘good life’, certainly a better life than merely being an accountant in an outback town or city, when judged on elements such as reward for work rendered. With five or so kids to support, alimony, palimony, brown paper bags and so on, he needs, as noted by the late George Carlin’s observations on God, money, and lots of it.

    Ethical considerations don’t play a large role in Barnaby’s universe. Anything that curries favour amongst the rural constituents is worth a go if it plays back into Barnaby’s sense of a win for him. His political history is replete with examples of ill-considered support for commercial and capital enterprises that fail the test of best practice development. That this oft-drunken adulterous sot has risen to the heights of Deputy Prime Minister is yet another blot on the record of political history in this country.

    And to 2353NM, the Citipointe Christian School’s entirely unqualified principal has now resigned. Praise the Lord!

    May the coming election deal a similar fate to Brother Stuie, he of the raft of questionable business dealings and spending scandals, along with his ill-fated investment in the company Cryo Australia, where he briefly sat on the board alongside its director, convicted rapist Neranjan De Silva. Stuart Robert is clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer in terms of acuity and intelligence and sense of probity, which goes a long way to explaining why he’s one of Morrison’s ‘besties,’ and is a prime example of why the Federal Government needs a functioning version of NSW’s ICAC. That these types exercise influence over such matters as educational policy and research grants is an almost criminal example of negligence in regard to public duty, akin to putting the arsonist in charge of fire control, the kleptomaniac in charge of the treasury, and the paedophile in charge of children’s affairs.

  4. Max Gross

    The only reason serial rorter Brother Stew is a goverment minister is because he is protected by Brother Scrotty.

  5. Ill fares the land

    Some random thoughts. My wife and I sent our son to a private school (yes, it cost us a shed load) and I can say with some authority that there were very good teachers at that school ….. and some total duds. I can also say that the best teacher he had was during the first couple of years of his schooling at a public school. She was superior to his other teachers in both the public and the private system> Moreover, the Headmasters were, variously , shockers. They, like Vice Chancellors at universities believe they are businessmen first and educators second. Others may have different experience, but one thing we can conclude is that Stuart Ferengi Robert (google it – a race from Star trek Next Generation, you will see what I mean) is a halfwit who would surely not be in the Cabinet were it not for his Pentecostal mate, Bargearse-McSmirky, being the PM. Maybe it’s just m, but I am yet to see just which interests BigEars thinks he is serving. Denigrating public schools? Given, as Richard Denniss points out, we hand over buckets of subsidies to private schools that have indoor equestrian centres, so is he suggesting it is time to give more money to public schools or more money to public schools. This is as absurd as his fellow happy-clapper mate more or less suggesting the rental crisis could be solved if renters bought houses. As for Barnyard Beetrooter, I don’t think I have seen a person more exemplify The Peter Principle. Except that is, for Bargearse-McSmirky. He used to seem to be a simple bloke wo was relatively sensible, but these days, he comes across to me as a gibbering idiot, who is so far out of his depth the only person I can compare him to is Bargearse. I might also point out that no-one in the media, including the ABC nitwits, have asked how the Coalition is paying for these dams or tax cuts for the wealthy. Then again, some fool masquerading as an ABC journalist thought there was some interest in comments made by the New Zealand conservative opposition criticising Labor’s aged care plan – he might just as well have cited the inimitable, if not perpetually risible Chris Kenny.

  6. Terence Mills

    Not in the news

    Barnaby Joyce has announced $1.5 Billion to establish a new port in Darwin to provide competition with the Chinese leased port in
    Darwin : early reports suggest that the Russian Federation are showing interest in operating this new port facility.

    Anthony Albanese assured reporters that a litre of milk was around four percent and Labor will see it drop to 3.75 % if elected.

    John Howard says that when he said that Albanese should be forgiven for not knowing the cash rate or the unemployment rate he thought they were talking about Josh Frydenberg and of course a Labor leader should never be given a break : he added that he had trouble these days keeping up with all these foreigners and their funny names.

    Alan Tudge has said that it is right and proper for the Australian people to be gifting his former girlfriend $500,000 . That is the Australian way he added but that this payment should in no way imply that he ever had sex with that woman. He said that he looks forward to rejoining Cabinet when released from the naughty corner.

    Watch This Space !

  7. Phil Pryor

    Terence, B Joyce is actually planning a canal to Armidale, for coal, and designed by Brunel’s family. As for Tudge the sludge, he had a nudge and wants us to pay out.., what a bludge. And, When Goward was under Howard, she dreamed of being rewarded with pay and conditions in some appointment, of course. Albanese can cut everything to a few percent with refunds of rorts, grants, fake committees and schemes…but…?? We should chip n a few cents for a farewell to Snotty Mc Moron as he departs, one hopes. The nation and its environment need that.

  8. 2353NM

    @Canguro – Yes I did see that Citipointe’s Principal had resigned but it was too late to change the reference. I seem to recall that the reason given was the reputational damage to the school if he stayed, rather than his discriminatory and immoral policy.

    @Terence Mills – Joyce claimed the money for the new port was in the budget. I wonder if the business case has been done?

  9. wam

    The lnp took two seats from labor in townesville the coal jobs scare wont work this time without the focus point. Ergo cash splash announcements which hopefully will not work? Soloman is a marginal labor so more $billions. My guess is the ^#$^^@ septics wont give their eta/etd to the chinese. QED if you want septics, give them a new port or a new wharf in the same harbour..Wonder where the pilot will be stationed??
    ps any idea from where the money will come? Thanks, christine!

  10. Terence Mills

    Labor have announced that they will not review Jobseeker unemployment benefits if elected – is something you are not going to do actually a policy ?

    Today Anthony Albanese is set to announce Labor’s first major health commitment of the election campaign: $135m to trial 50 new urgent care clinics meant to ease pressure on hospitals and GP’s. The clinics will be based at GP surgeries and community health centres in at least 50 locations across the country.

    When questioned, Shadow minister Mark Butler said that these new clinics would attend to less severe conditions such as a broken arm or a gash or cut that needed stitches : this would relieve pressure on both GP’s and hospitals. So these urgent care clinics will need to have Xray facilities, something hospitals already have – is this a real policy, have they thought it through ?

    Labor have said that they will not review Negative Gearing or Capital Gains Tax concessions on housing investors – a reversal of their previous policy – is the reversal of a previous policy actually a policy ?

    This election is Labor’s to lose and they appear to be taking that to heart !

  11. Canguro

    GL, the food trough serves the sweetest sludge in town… and it’s free! Besides, apart from fooling a whole bunch of people and treating them like idiots, you don’t have to do a heck of a lot of work to get access to it. And, magically, it’s the trough that keeps on giving… if you feed at it for long enough then walk away it keeps tossing sludge at you.

    No wonder so many piggies are so reluctant to give up their spots along its sides.

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