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192 responses to “The Rudd government's achievements”

  1. Cuppa

    And all we got from the enemy media was, “Fair shake of the sauce bottle”, “programmatic specificity”, “botched home insulation program”, and about a zillion spiteful Liberal talking points. Thanks ABC, thanks MSM.

  2. Cuppa

    And all we got from the enemy media was, “Fair shake of the sauce bottle”, “programmatic specificity”, “botched home insulation program”, and about a zillion spiteful Liberal talking points. Thanks ABC, thanks MSM.

  3. Steve at the Pub

    A couple of those may even turn out to be POSITIVE achievements. (may)
    Won’t change his place in history: Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister.

  4. Steve at the Pub

    A couple of those may even turn out to be POSITIVE achievements. (may)
    Won’t change his place in history: Australia’s worst ever Prime Minister.

  5. tssk

    I had heard about cancer centres but it was my recollection Tony Abbott was taking credit for that.

    Still, SATP, my advice is to add “even worse than Whitlam” to that last line. That’ll get the lefties more upset in more ways than one.

    I’d like to add an achievement even though it was instrumental in his downfall.

    He left that ABC board alone refusing to let his political views lead to a clearing of the decks. In fact given the way the media turned and given his lack of response in terms of pressure I’d like to commend Rudd for his dedication to the free press. Ironic really.

    The msn and the ABC knows the Libs are taking note and taking names. There won’t be too many to get rid of when Abbott takes power (although I’d be surprised if Chris Uhelman isn’t given the 7.30 Report if he wants it, the Insiders change to become a little more balanced by having two right wingers to one neutral or left winger on the panel and maybe someone like Andrew Bolt or Gerard Henderson given a run on Media Watch in order to reform it.)

  6. tssk

    I had heard about cancer centres but it was my recollection Tony Abbott was taking credit for that.

    Still, SATP, my advice is to add “even worse than Whitlam” to that last line. That’ll get the lefties more upset in more ways than one.

    I’d like to add an achievement even though it was instrumental in his downfall.

    He left that ABC board alone refusing to let his political views lead to a clearing of the decks. In fact given the way the media turned and given his lack of response in terms of pressure I’d like to commend Rudd for his dedication to the free press. Ironic really.

    The msn and the ABC knows the Libs are taking note and taking names. There won’t be too many to get rid of when Abbott takes power (although I’d be surprised if Chris Uhelman isn’t given the 7.30 Report if he wants it, the Insiders change to become a little more balanced by having two right wingers to one neutral or left winger on the panel and maybe someone like Andrew Bolt or Gerard Henderson given a run on Media Watch in order to reform it.)

  7. Vidar

    From the Political Sword with a few added from Cafe Whispers:
    #
    * Clean Energy initiative introduced to accelerate development of clean energy technologies
    * Renewable Energy target of 20% by 2020
    * Major reform of health system, with increased health funding introduced
    * Abolished WorkChoices
    * Increased pensions, and overhauled pension payment system
    * Raised child care rebate to 50%
    * Introduced tax rebate for children’s education expenses
    * Introduced free dental checks for teenagers
    * Fully funded parental leave scheme
    * National curriculum for schools
    * My School website
    * Unprecedented upgrade of school infrastructure
    * Major tax cuts for those on average incomes
    * Decisive action on GFC, estimated at saving 200,000 jobs and avoiding recession
    * Massive increase in infrastructure spending
    * Commenced roll out of National Broadband Network
    * Ongoing roll out of computers in schools program
    * Over 1 million homes insulated, industry regulated
    * Investment in improving teacher quality, countering educational disadvantage and improving literacy and numeracy
    * Abolished full fee university places, provided funding for another 11,000 tertiary places
    * Reformed HECs
    * Reformed Youth Allowance
    * Tackling the problem of homelessness, including the building and renovation of homes for disabled and those on low incomes.
    * Reduced commitment in Iraq
    * Apologies to the Stolen Generation and British child migrants
    * Ratified Kyoto
    * Introduced alcopops tax to tackled youth binge drinking
    * Simplified tax reporting for small business
    * Proposes to take Japan to the International Court to stop whaling;
    * Increased number of apprentices;
    * Increased trade training;
    * Set up trade training centres in schools;
    * Underwrote banks and Australians’ savings, keeping confidence high during GFC;
    * Removed TPVs and introduced other reforms to refugee treatment;
    * Introduced standards for early childhood education;
    * Funded cancer centres;
    * Built GP super clinics;
    * Increased overseas aid;
    * Provided long term planning for Defence;

    *students undertaking maths and science degrees provided with $10,000 discount on HECS fees from 1 January ’09

    *stricter control of 457 Visa workers, these to be paid at the minimum rate thereby stopping the undermining of conditions of Australian workers.

    *reassessment of the migration program – from hairdressers and cooks as a skills shortage to doctors, nurses and scientists.

    *reinstated free health care for the families of military personnel which was taken away by Howard.

  8. Vidar

    From the Political Sword with a few added from Cafe Whispers:
    #
    * Clean Energy initiative introduced to accelerate development of clean energy technologies
    * Renewable Energy target of 20% by 2020
    * Major reform of health system, with increased health funding introduced
    * Abolished WorkChoices
    * Increased pensions, and overhauled pension payment system
    * Raised child care rebate to 50%
    * Introduced tax rebate for children’s education expenses
    * Introduced free dental checks for teenagers
    * Fully funded parental leave scheme
    * National curriculum for schools
    * My School website
    * Unprecedented upgrade of school infrastructure
    * Major tax cuts for those on average incomes
    * Decisive action on GFC, estimated at saving 200,000 jobs and avoiding recession
    * Massive increase in infrastructure spending
    * Commenced roll out of National Broadband Network
    * Ongoing roll out of computers in schools program
    * Over 1 million homes insulated, industry regulated
    * Investment in improving teacher quality, countering educational disadvantage and improving literacy and numeracy
    * Abolished full fee university places, provided funding for another 11,000 tertiary places
    * Reformed HECs
    * Reformed Youth Allowance
    * Tackling the problem of homelessness, including the building and renovation of homes for disabled and those on low incomes.
    * Reduced commitment in Iraq
    * Apologies to the Stolen Generation and British child migrants
    * Ratified Kyoto
    * Introduced alcopops tax to tackled youth binge drinking
    * Simplified tax reporting for small business
    * Proposes to take Japan to the International Court to stop whaling;
    * Increased number of apprentices;
    * Increased trade training;
    * Set up trade training centres in schools;
    * Underwrote banks and Australians’ savings, keeping confidence high during GFC;
    * Removed TPVs and introduced other reforms to refugee treatment;
    * Introduced standards for early childhood education;
    * Funded cancer centres;
    * Built GP super clinics;
    * Increased overseas aid;
    * Provided long term planning for Defence;

    *students undertaking maths and science degrees provided with $10,000 discount on HECS fees from 1 January ’09

    *stricter control of 457 Visa workers, these to be paid at the minimum rate thereby stopping the undermining of conditions of Australian workers.

    *reassessment of the migration program – from hairdressers and cooks as a skills shortage to doctors, nurses and scientists.

    *reinstated free health care for the families of military personnel which was taken away by Howard.

  9. Robert Merkel

    While the Rudd government did a hell of a lot more good than bad, jeez that list could do with some contextualizing.

    For instance, where’s the evidence that the gap is actually being closed?

    Or, with regards to the RET, is building a bunch of wind farms actually going to do anything?

    Or, for that matter, where’s the evidence that the extra computers in schools are actually going to improve educational outcomes?

  10. Robert Merkel

    While the Rudd government did a hell of a lot more good than bad, jeez that list could do with some contextualizing.

    For instance, where’s the evidence that the gap is actually being closed?

    Or, with regards to the RET, is building a bunch of wind farms actually going to do anything?

    Or, for that matter, where’s the evidence that the extra computers in schools are actually going to improve educational outcomes?

  11. Craig Mc

    24. About $200B in debt.

  12. Craig Mc

    24. About $200B in debt.

  13. Paul Norton

    Regarding the achievements on social housing and homelessness, whilst Tanya Plibersek is to be commended for her efforts in this area, there is an interesting article in the latest issue of Dissent magazine arguing that the Rudd government’s policies in this area (a) don’t go far enough to correct the rundown of social housing under Howard (b) don’t go far enough to counter the decline in affordable rental housing and (c) is still framed within a paradigm which sees the problem of homelessness as being about TEH HOMELESS rather than seeing it in terms of housing.

    NB: As the link doesn’t link to the article you’ll have to buy the magazine.

  14. Paul Norton

    Regarding the achievements on social housing and homelessness, whilst Tanya Plibersek is to be commended for her efforts in this area, there is an interesting article in the latest issue of Dissent magazine arguing that the Rudd government’s policies in this area (a) don’t go far enough to correct the rundown of social housing under Howard (b) don’t go far enough to counter the decline in affordable rental housing and (c) is still framed within a paradigm which sees the problem of homelessness as being about TEH HOMELESS rather than seeing it in terms of housing.

    NB: As the link doesn’t link to the article you’ll have to buy the magazine.

  15. Brian

    Also setting up a rational process for considering infrastructure spending, compared with the previous government’s pork barrelling.

    Chris Bowen was just now talking about a three phase reform of Superannuation, including limits to fees charged.

  16. Brian

    Also setting up a rational process for considering infrastructure spending, compared with the previous government’s pork barrelling.

    Chris Bowen was just now talking about a three phase reform of Superannuation, including limits to fees charged.

  17. Brian

    Craig Mc @ 6, the debt is trivial compared to other OECD countries, and yes, I know we have Cossie, but more so the mining boom to thank for that.

    Robert and Paul, I don’t see all the items listed as unproblematic, but I was up to 916 words for the post already.

    My main purpose was to challenge the meme that the Rudd government was a do nothing government.

  18. Brian

    Craig Mc @ 6, the debt is trivial compared to other OECD countries, and yes, I know we have Cossie, but more so the mining boom to thank for that.

    Robert and Paul, I don’t see all the items listed as unproblematic, but I was up to 916 words for the post already.

    My main purpose was to challenge the meme that the Rudd government was a do nothing government.

  19. Robert Merkel

    Sorry, Brian, wasn’t meaning to criticize your post, which is a great discussion starter. But I suppose my broader point is that while the intentions of many policies on that list, I’d like to see some evidence from the government that they are actually working.

  20. Robert Merkel

    Sorry, Brian, wasn’t meaning to criticize your post, which is a great discussion starter. But I suppose my broader point is that while the intentions of many policies on that list, I’d like to see some evidence from the government that they are actually working.

  21. Steve at the Pub

    Tssk: I’m not interested in what “lefties” may think, nor in goading them. Whitlam had his own issues, but at least he was able to implement his reforms (be they for better or worse) Rudd failed even as a basic administrator.

    A couple of the points on Brian’s (& Vidar’s) list have actually been implemented, and a couple of minor points may turn out to be positive reforms.

    But they cost us all of our money, and they weren’t worth that.

  22. Steve at the Pub

    Tssk: I’m not interested in what “lefties” may think, nor in goading them. Whitlam had his own issues, but at least he was able to implement his reforms (be they for better or worse) Rudd failed even as a basic administrator.

    A couple of the points on Brian’s (& Vidar’s) list have actually been implemented, and a couple of minor points may turn out to be positive reforms.

    But they cost us all of our money, and they weren’t worth that.

  23. Doug

    A couple more:

    Commitment to 0.5% of GNI for overseas aid by 2015-16, substantial increases toward that target in the pa and realignment of the expenditure on overseas aid to more effectively target poverty relief, education and health.

    Reform of FOI.

  24. Doug

    A couple more:

    Commitment to 0.5% of GNI for overseas aid by 2015-16, substantial increases toward that target in the pa and realignment of the expenditure on overseas aid to more effectively target poverty relief, education and health.

    Reform of FOI.

  25. Katz

    Rudd was by no means an unmitigated disaster.

    1. He made some fine and noble symbolic gestures.

    2. Some of his big picture initiatives were correct and wise.

    3. But SATP identifies Rudd’s signature weakness: “Whitlam had his own issues, but at least he was able to implement his reforms (be they for better or worse) Rudd failed even as a basic administrator.”

    And 4. When he got into trouble he lacked the skill of a good boxer, who when tagged, knows how to cover up. This was Rudd’s fatal weakness.

  26. Katz

    Rudd was by no means an unmitigated disaster.

    1. He made some fine and noble symbolic gestures.

    2. Some of his big picture initiatives were correct and wise.

    3. But SATP identifies Rudd’s signature weakness: “Whitlam had his own issues, but at least he was able to implement his reforms (be they for better or worse) Rudd failed even as a basic administrator.”

    And 4. When he got into trouble he lacked the skill of a good boxer, who when tagged, knows how to cover up. This was Rudd’s fatal weakness.

  27. Eat The Rich

    Food for thought there Brian. I’d be interested to see a list of achievements of the first two years and the last two years of the Howard Government for some sort of comparison.

  28. gregh

    whilst the list is interesting the substance is less so – for example the increase in tertiary ed places is a negative as those places are not fully funded at the level of implementation ie at the level of academic potitions to support increased teaching loads. In other words they just contribute to the decline in higher ed workplace quality, research and teaching. Furthermore they continued the trend to ‘(lifelong) education as training’ which is the modern version of ‘buy your own tools’ ie the costs of production get shifted to labour.
    Any govt is going to have a big list of things they do and have done. The substantive effect is what is important, including the opportunity cost. Some (me included) would claim that the Rudd govt made some lovely noises about climate change but did little of value and much in the way of diversion.

  29. gregh

    whilst the list is interesting the substance is less so – for example the increase in tertiary ed places is a negative as those places are not fully funded at the level of implementation ie at the level of academic potitions to support increased teaching loads. In other words they just contribute to the decline in higher ed workplace quality, research and teaching. Furthermore they continued the trend to ‘(lifelong) education as training’ which is the modern version of ‘buy your own tools’ ie the costs of production get shifted to labour.
    Any govt is going to have a big list of things they do and have done. The substantive effect is what is important, including the opportunity cost. Some (me included) would claim that the Rudd govt made some lovely noises about climate change but did little of value and much in the way of diversion.

  30. Andos

    Craig Mc says: 24. About $200B in debt.

    Totally irrelevant. The Australian Government will never have problems servicing any level of debt. Government bonds are just a risk free, easy return for an unproductive financial sector.

    Steve at the Pub says: But they cost us all of our money, and they weren’t worth that.

    Totally erroneous. The Australian Government doesn’t work like a household or a business. It doesn’t need to fund its spending. Your statement is entirely devoid of meaning in a modern monetary economy, and just illustrates how little you know about how our economy works.

  31. Andos

    Craig Mc says: 24. About $200B in debt.

    Totally irrelevant. The Australian Government will never have problems servicing any level of debt. Government bonds are just a risk free, easy return for an unproductive financial sector.

    Steve at the Pub says: But they cost us all of our money, and they weren’t worth that.

    Totally erroneous. The Australian Government doesn’t work like a household or a business. It doesn’t need to fund its spending. Your statement is entirely devoid of meaning in a modern monetary economy, and just illustrates how little you know about how our economy works.

  32. Chris

    tssk @ 3 – yes Abbott claims that the money for some of the cancer centres was allocated prior to the Rudd government. But its not unusual for incoming governments to claim credit for what previous goverments have done. And pass as much as the blame for bad things to them of course :-)

  33. Chris

    tssk @ 3 – yes Abbott claims that the money for some of the cancer centres was allocated prior to the Rudd government. But its not unusual for incoming governments to claim credit for what previous goverments have done. And pass as much as the blame for bad things to them of course :-)

  34. Brian

    Chris @ 17, it’s very usual for incoming governments to cancel or downgrade the previous government’s initiatives to make room for their own.

    Robert @ 10, I hope I wasn’t sounding too defensive because I actually agree with you. Computers in schools was one of those tangible cargo cult things that can be easily evaluated in quantitative terms (as an input to education), but may not be the best expenditure of money.

    I said the other day that I didn’t think Gillard understood school education. Have a look at what Jane Caro thought about her. She thinks one good thing about Gillard being PM is that she’s no longer Minister for Education. I tend to agree with her.

    Caro’s criticisms are savage, but not without substance. I’m not aware of any of the spending initiatives being evaluated in educational terms. And as Caro says some of them were implemented in the face of negative research elsewhere, which Gillard simply didn’t want to know about.

  35. Brian

    Chris @ 17, it’s very usual for incoming governments to cancel or downgrade the previous government’s initiatives to make room for their own.

    Robert @ 10, I hope I wasn’t sounding too defensive because I actually agree with you. Computers in schools was one of those tangible cargo cult things that can be easily evaluated in quantitative terms (as an input to education), but may not be the best expenditure of money.

    I said the other day that I didn’t think Gillard understood school education. Have a look at what Jane Caro thought about her. She thinks one good thing about Gillard being PM is that she’s no longer Minister for Education. I tend to agree with her.

    Caro’s criticisms are savage, but not without substance. I’m not aware of any of the spending initiatives being evaluated in educational terms. And as Caro says some of them were implemented in the face of negative research elsewhere, which Gillard simply didn’t want to know about.

  36. Steve at the Pub

    The Australian Government doesn’t work like a household or a business. It doesn’t need to fund its spending.

    No, that is what successful mining companies are for!

    Your statement is entirely devoid of meaning …. and just illustrates how little you know about how our economy works.

    If “Unfunded Spending” really works, why restrict ourselves to a mere 200 billion debt when we could make no end of improvement to our lives by spending Trillions?

  37. Steve at the Pub

    The Australian Government doesn’t work like a household or a business. It doesn’t need to fund its spending.

    No, that is what successful mining companies are for!

    Your statement is entirely devoid of meaning …. and just illustrates how little you know about how our economy works.

    If “Unfunded Spending” really works, why restrict ourselves to a mere 200 billion debt when we could make no end of improvement to our lives by spending Trillions?

  38. wpd

    She thinks one good thing about Gillard being PM is that she’s no longer Minister for Education. I tend to agree with her.

    So do I, but I also think she was doing Rudd’s bidding.

  39. wpd

    She thinks one good thing about Gillard being PM is that she’s no longer Minister for Education. I tend to agree with her.

    So do I, but I also think she was doing Rudd’s bidding.

  40. John D

    Good post Brian and thanks to Vidar@4, yourself @8 and Doug @ 12. We need lists like this to put things in context. You might add “insulation of one million houses with a eduction in the number of fires per house insulated compared to the Howard years.” (In terms of the insulation deaths it is worth noting that another installation company has been charged with allegedly breaching the Electrical Safety Act and for allegedly failing to run its business safely. It has also been charged

    for allegedly failing to ensure its workers were protected from high falls.

    It is absurd that Garret should be held responsible for ensuring every installation business was obeying state laws. One wonders how many other deaths were the result of “failing to run a business safely.”)

    It is interesting to go back and look at what various governments achieved. The government that stands out for making changes that have survived over time was actually the Whitlam government. It may not have lasted long but it achieved one hell of a lot before it was destabilized by the 70′s oil shock.

    Our judgment of Rudd may get better over time.

  41. John D

    Good post Brian and thanks to Vidar@4, yourself @8 and Doug @ 12. We need lists like this to put things in context. You might add “insulation of one million houses with a eduction in the number of fires per house insulated compared to the Howard years.” (In terms of the insulation deaths it is worth noting that another installation company has been charged with allegedly breaching the Electrical Safety Act and for allegedly failing to run its business safely. It has also been charged

    for allegedly failing to ensure its workers were protected from high falls.

    It is absurd that Garret should be held responsible for ensuring every installation business was obeying state laws. One wonders how many other deaths were the result of “failing to run a business safely.”)

    It is interesting to go back and look at what various governments achieved. The government that stands out for making changes that have survived over time was actually the Whitlam government. It may not have lasted long but it achieved one hell of a lot before it was destabilized by the 70′s oil shock.

    Our judgment of Rudd may get better over time.

  42. Brian

    wpd @ 20, that’s an interesting view, which coming from you I respect. To be honest it hadn’t occurred to me that Gillard might be doing Rudd’s bidding.

  43. Brian

    wpd @ 20, that’s an interesting view, which coming from you I respect. To be honest it hadn’t occurred to me that Gillard might be doing Rudd’s bidding.

  44. Andos

    Steve at the Pub says: If “Unfunded Spending” really works, why restrict ourselves to a mere 200 billion debt when we could make no end of improvement to our lives by spending Trillions?

    That is an excellent question, Steve! The reality is, with some six hundred thousand Australians unemployed, the Government could do a LOT more to provide employment which delivers public goods to improve all of our lives. They choose not to do this because either they have no idea of their own capacity and think that their voluntary spending constraints (e.g. selling bonds for every dollar of deficit spending) are actually binding, or they aren’t strong enough to decry the fiction that is being peddled by most mainstream economists that Government spending is bad.

    It constantly shocks me that surplus fetishism is so rampant in this country when we have so much of our labour resources wasted in unemployment.

  45. Andos

    Steve at the Pub says: If “Unfunded Spending” really works, why restrict ourselves to a mere 200 billion debt when we could make no end of improvement to our lives by spending Trillions?

    That is an excellent question, Steve! The reality is, with some six hundred thousand Australians unemployed, the Government could do a LOT more to provide employment which delivers public goods to improve all of our lives. They choose not to do this because either they have no idea of their own capacity and think that their voluntary spending constraints (e.g. selling bonds for every dollar of deficit spending) are actually binding, or they aren’t strong enough to decry the fiction that is being peddled by most mainstream economists that Government spending is bad.

    It constantly shocks me that surplus fetishism is so rampant in this country when we have so much of our labour resources wasted in unemployment.

  46. Mark

    @22 – I suspect they’re broadly agreed. The ‘education revolution’ aspect of the 2007 election campaign program was incomplete. I heard from a number of people in higher education policy that large chunks of it were cut out, at the time the decision was taken to call for Howard to stop the spendathon.

    I’ve been following what Gillard has been saying closely, and I saw her speak on MySchool and NAPLAN and the future of school reform at an event in Brisbane last year for a corporate and public sector audience. I have no doubt that what she has done is a result of her own convictions. I’d also point to her championing of various US gurus – including the NYC fellow, whose name I can’t recall.

    Crean is very close to her, and I think he’s been handed her portolios to continue exactly the same policy direction.

  47. Mark

    @22 – I suspect they’re broadly agreed. The ‘education revolution’ aspect of the 2007 election campaign program was incomplete. I heard from a number of people in higher education policy that large chunks of it were cut out, at the time the decision was taken to call for Howard to stop the spendathon.

    I’ve been following what Gillard has been saying closely, and I saw her speak on MySchool and NAPLAN and the future of school reform at an event in Brisbane last year for a corporate and public sector audience. I have no doubt that what she has done is a result of her own convictions. I’d also point to her championing of various US gurus – including the NYC fellow, whose name I can’t recall.

    Crean is very close to her, and I think he’s been handed her portolios to continue exactly the same policy direction.

  48. wpd

    Certainly Gillard went down the Joel Klein track but I believe his influence can be overstated. The general direction that Gillard took was already in evidence when Bishop was in charge and can be traced back to Kemp at least. The Commonwealth bureaucracy was/is saturated with it.

    Rudd was instrumental in appointing Ken Wiltshire (a member of the Liberal Party) to review education in Queensland and through that process Rudd’s overall views became apparent.

  49. wpd

    Certainly Gillard went down the Joel Klein track but I believe his influence can be overstated. The general direction that Gillard took was already in evidence when Bishop was in charge and can be traced back to Kemp at least. The Commonwealth bureaucracy was/is saturated with it.

    Rudd was instrumental in appointing Ken Wiltshire (a member of the Liberal Party) to review education in Queensland and through that process Rudd’s overall views became apparent.

  50. Mark

    @25 – Wiltshire has been one of the commentators piling on Rudd of late, wpd. I’m rather disappointed he’s another alumnus of Kedron State High!

    I’m not sure whether you’re saying that Gillard didn’t come up with all this stuff on her own, because it was already out there in the bureaucracy and among academic economists, or whether her convictions on this might be skin deep. Both could be true, but neither would invalidate the conclusion that she made the agenda her own, and will continue in the same vein.

    FWIW, when I heard her speak last year, I was pretty convinced that the agenda she’s been pushing is anchored to her own view of the world (she made much of her own history) and represents something she’s articulated to a certain understanding of equality of opportunity.

  51. Mark

    @25 – Wiltshire has been one of the commentators piling on Rudd of late, wpd. I’m rather disappointed he’s another alumnus of Kedron State High!

    I’m not sure whether you’re saying that Gillard didn’t come up with all this stuff on her own, because it was already out there in the bureaucracy and among academic economists, or whether her convictions on this might be skin deep. Both could be true, but neither would invalidate the conclusion that she made the agenda her own, and will continue in the same vein.

    FWIW, when I heard her speak last year, I was pretty convinced that the agenda she’s been pushing is anchored to her own view of the world (she made much of her own history) and represents something she’s articulated to a certain understanding of equality of opportunity.

  52. wpd

    Wiltshire has been one of the commentators piling on Rudd of late

    Beg to disagree re ‘of late’. He’s been at it for some time, although I agree it’s become more public in recent times. They fell out over the ‘review’ which, while a massive document of several volumes with countless recommendations, had virtually no impact. (It was a mess and had no coherence, mainly because it was the work of three people who had little in common).

    I really don’t know what Gillard’s views on education were but I do know what Rudd’s were and I do know the common sense in the Commonwealth bureaucracy. There was no differences to speak of and Gillard certainly didn’t change any directions, nor are they likely to change now.

  53. wpd

    Wiltshire has been one of the commentators piling on Rudd of late

    Beg to disagree re ‘of late’. He’s been at it for some time, although I agree it’s become more public in recent times. They fell out over the ‘review’ which, while a massive document of several volumes with countless recommendations, had virtually no impact. (It was a mess and had no coherence, mainly because it was the work of three people who had little in common).

    I really don’t know what Gillard’s views on education were but I do know what Rudd’s were and I do know the common sense in the Commonwealth bureaucracy. There was no differences to speak of and Gillard certainly didn’t change any directions, nor are they likely to change now.

  54. Ron

    Brian

    Congrats , an excellent post by you listing Rudd Govt acheivements

    Also congrats to othrs incl Vida for some additional ones

    These lists factually destroy Greens suporters false ‘narative’that Labor and Liberals were just same political Partys

    May I add 2 further ones
    1/ Hospital Funding was increased in absolute terms , but also Budget wise Public Hospital’s underlying RECURRANT expnditure was restored by restoring th cost adj trigger in forward Budgets back to 6.5% from 5.5% that Abbott as health minister reduced it to …and as Tanner explined , over 5 Howard budgets a billion was ‘gorged’from Public hosdpital funding by Howard/Abbot…it may seem boring but dollars and adverse effects were reel

    2/ Health Insurance 30% Tax Rebate now is means tested
    …where progressively it cuts out totaly as income increases Net funds saved were directed via Budget also directly into Public Hospitals

    Both Libs (twice) and Greens (once)voted against this core left Labor reform of both tax equity , and of equity of tax proceeds funds saved from highr income earners being diverted to Public (there public hospitals)…this is now enshrined in tax law

  55. Ron

    Brian

    Congrats , an excellent post by you listing Rudd Govt acheivements

    Also congrats to othrs incl Vida for some additional ones

    These lists factually destroy Greens suporters false ‘narative’that Labor and Liberals were just same political Partys

    May I add 2 further ones
    1/ Hospital Funding was increased in absolute terms , but also Budget wise Public Hospital’s underlying RECURRANT expnditure was restored by restoring th cost adj trigger in forward Budgets back to 6.5% from 5.5% that Abbott as health minister reduced it to …and as Tanner explined , over 5 Howard budgets a billion was ‘gorged’from Public hosdpital funding by Howard/Abbot…it may seem boring but dollars and adverse effects were reel

    2/ Health Insurance 30% Tax Rebate now is means tested
    …where progressively it cuts out totaly as income increases Net funds saved were directed via Budget also directly into Public Hospitals

    Both Libs (twice) and Greens (once)voted against this core left Labor reform of both tax equity , and of equity of tax proceeds funds saved from highr income earners being diverted to Public (there public hospitals)…this is now enshrined in tax law

  56. zoot

    SATP @2: May you be haunted by the ghost of Billie McMahon.

  57. zoot

    SATP @2: May you be haunted by the ghost of Billie McMahon.

  58. tssk

    I wouldn’t get too stuck in at SATP’s views. They are quite complimentary considering the views of ordinary Australians I have been reading at Blair and Bolt’s blog.

    Lots of outrage that Rudd is going to get a pension as well.

  59. tssk

    I wouldn’t get too stuck in at SATP’s views. They are quite complimentary considering the views of ordinary Australians I have been reading at Blair and Bolt’s blog.

    Lots of outrage that Rudd is going to get a pension as well.

  60. Mark

    @27 – wpd, I think Wiltshire’s commentary was getting more and more overtly ideological – starting to resemble the culture warriors’ bleatings rather than the more academic tone I think he used to try to preserve.

    But I think we’re agreed that we won’t see a shift of direction in education under Gillard as PM.

  61. Mark

    @27 – wpd, I think Wiltshire’s commentary was getting more and more overtly ideological – starting to resemble the culture warriors’ bleatings rather than the more academic tone I think he used to try to preserve.

    But I think we’re agreed that we won’t see a shift of direction in education under Gillard as PM.

  62. Mark

    @30 – tssk, I’m unsure why you think commenters at Blair and Bolt’s blogs are “ordinary Australians” or why it matters what they think.

  63. Mark

    @30 – tssk, I’m unsure why you think commenters at Blair and Bolt’s blogs are “ordinary Australians” or why it matters what they think.

  64. Brian

    Thanks, Ron and John D earlier.

    wpd and Mark, I’m thinking that we started going down a track in the 80s with ‘back to basics’, accountability, identification of outcomes, performance indicators, testing etc that was quite behaviourist and was always going to lead to an oppressive curriculum, pressure on performance of teachers, performance pay and so on. Possibly we are nearing the end play of that trend.

    I’m also thinking that Rudd and Gillard personally may have experienced fairly mainstream education in middle class areas, and found the academic bias of the curriculum to their taste. In other words, I’m saying their lived experience of formal schooling may have been relatively trouble free. Then again I might be raving.

    BTW I have been told that the Rudd’s, especially dad, were, shall we say, difficult parents in primary and preschool.

  65. Brian

    Thanks, Ron and John D earlier.

    wpd and Mark, I’m thinking that we started going down a track in the 80s with ‘back to basics’, accountability, identification of outcomes, performance indicators, testing etc that was quite behaviourist and was always going to lead to an oppressive curriculum, pressure on performance of teachers, performance pay and so on. Possibly we are nearing the end play of that trend.

    I’m also thinking that Rudd and Gillard personally may have experienced fairly mainstream education in middle class areas, and found the academic bias of the curriculum to their taste. In other words, I’m saying their lived experience of formal schooling may have been relatively trouble free. Then again I might be raving.

    BTW I have been told that the Rudd’s, especially dad, were, shall we say, difficult parents in primary and preschool.

  66. Mark

    @33 – Brian, unfortunately I think it’s still got a fair way to go. I think we might see significant decentralisation of school management and differentiated salaries for teachers, and a proliferation of metrics before people start to realise that there isn’t an instant panacea, and a lot of this stuff has its downside.

    Gillard went to an academically oriented state high school in Adelaide, and then Adelaide and Melbourne unis. I think her parents, who were working class, made significant sacrifices to support their children’s education. My impression from what she said at the Eidos event I saw her speak at was that she thinks what she’s doing will enable more bright kids in disadvantaged schools to climb the ladder (to use a Latham-ism). What I don’t think she gets is why there are disadvantaged schools and kids.

    Incidentally, I think there are a lot of commonalities in her approach to social policy and Mark Latham’s.

  67. Mark

    @33 – Brian, unfortunately I think it’s still got a fair way to go. I think we might see significant decentralisation of school management and differentiated salaries for teachers, and a proliferation of metrics before people start to realise that there isn’t an instant panacea, and a lot of this stuff has its downside.

    Gillard went to an academically oriented state high school in Adelaide, and then Adelaide and Melbourne unis. I think her parents, who were working class, made significant sacrifices to support their children’s education. My impression from what she said at the Eidos event I saw her speak at was that she thinks what she’s doing will enable more bright kids in disadvantaged schools to climb the ladder (to use a Latham-ism). What I don’t think she gets is why there are disadvantaged schools and kids.

    Incidentally, I think there are a lot of commonalities in her approach to social policy and Mark Latham’s.

  68. ossie

    It is also important to acknowledge the significant jump in Disability Support Payment. On the downside, the exclusion of the unemployed from the early stimulus payments was cruel.

  69. ossie

    It is also important to acknowledge the significant jump in Disability Support Payment. On the downside, the exclusion of the unemployed from the early stimulus payments was cruel.

  70. josh

    Going back to that list, it’s interesting to see how many were Greens policies before they were ALP policies.

  71. josh

    Going back to that list, it’s interesting to see how many were Greens policies before they were ALP policies.

  72. Patricia WA

    Coalition supporters will never agree but I don’t think the public at large has any doubt that Rudd presided over a good government and when he reminded them of all they had achieved there was a general nodding of heads. The big problem was that much of that had been forgotten, certainly obscured, by the relentless snarling and growling of attack dog, Abbott, accompanied by the baying of the media hounds.

    For the life of me I could not understand why the government was unable to mount a reasonable defence of the Insulation Scheme, nor why it was unable to have the public reminded continuously that it along with the BER were mainstays of their brilliant policies to deal with the GFC so successfully.

    Hindsight is wonderful, but I can now see why left leaning Queenslanders welcomed Julia Gillard with open arms last night. She looks like someone who can rescue the country from a disaster they’ve seen enacted before. It must have been hard for them to watch a good reforming State premier like Wayne Goss go down so soon, and after all that hard work by his brilliant Chief of Staff, Kevin Rudd.

    This week once I’d dealt with the grief for a good man gone down I’ve felt very frustrated by a lot of the wringing of hands and tut tutting over the morality of this so-called coup. Nothing unconstitional has occurred. I’m filled with admiration for the way the Caucus generally has acknowledged Rudd’s achievements and contribution. My immediate response to what to many looked liked brutal backstabbing was to see it as a mercy killing of a terminally wounded leader. I see it now in terms of considered and timely surgery to ensure the long term survival and health of the body politic, i.e. the country at large not just the ALP. I believed Bill Shorten the other evening when he claimed on Q&A that the achievements of Rudd’s government were at risk unless he was replaced as PM.

    I’m hoping that this quick and clean transition to new leadership will ultimately be seen as yet another achievement of the Rudd government. He is after all contributing to it by his grace in defeat and allowing the team he himself selected to move forward to electoral victory without himself as leader, but still on their side.

  73. Patricia WA

    Coalition supporters will never agree but I don’t think the public at large has any doubt that Rudd presided over a good government and when he reminded them of all they had achieved there was a general nodding of heads. The big problem was that much of that had been forgotten, certainly obscured, by the relentless snarling and growling of attack dog, Abbott, accompanied by the baying of the media hounds.

    For the life of me I could not understand why the government was unable to mount a reasonable defence of the Insulation Scheme, nor why it was unable to have the public reminded continuously that it along with the BER were mainstays of their brilliant policies to deal with the GFC so successfully.

    Hindsight is wonderful, but I can now see why left leaning Queenslanders welcomed Julia Gillard with open arms last night. She looks like someone who can rescue the country from a disaster they’ve seen enacted before. It must have been hard for them to watch a good reforming State premier like Wayne Goss go down so soon, and after all that hard work by his brilliant Chief of Staff, Kevin Rudd.

    This week once I’d dealt with the grief for a good man gone down I’ve felt very frustrated by a lot of the wringing of hands and tut tutting over the morality of this so-called coup. Nothing unconstitional has occurred. I’m filled with admiration for the way the Caucus generally has acknowledged Rudd’s achievements and contribution. My immediate response to what to many looked liked brutal backstabbing was to see it as a mercy killing of a terminally wounded leader. I see it now in terms of considered and timely surgery to ensure the long term survival and health of the body politic, i.e. the country at large not just the ALP. I believed Bill Shorten the other evening when he claimed on Q&A that the achievements of Rudd’s government were at risk unless he was replaced as PM.

    I’m hoping that this quick and clean transition to new leadership will ultimately be seen as yet another achievement of the Rudd government. He is after all contributing to it by his grace in defeat and allowing the team he himself selected to move forward to electoral victory without himself as leader, but still on their side.

  74. Brian

    Patricia WA, every Wednesday morning Madonna King on local radio here has an Inside Canberra segment with Craig Emerson and George Brandis. Last week, on the fateful day as it turned out, Emerson couldn’t get a word in edge-wise as both of them leapt upon him with a catalogue of Rudd’s failings.

    So first he stood them up, pointed out what they were doing, and demanded they let him speak. Then he started out with a great list of achievements as per the list in the post. He got about six out when Brandis had had enough and interrupted again. King gave him the floor, but insisted in moving the conversation on. In simple terms neither wanted to hear.

    BTW if you followed the link, it is true, Emerson fessed, that when he was living with Gillard he drank a glass of water in the bathroom at 2am, which happened to contain her contact lenses, at least one of which went down the hatch.

    He had been explicitly warned not to. May have cost him a position in cabinet if Gillard wins the election!

  75. Brian

    Patricia WA, every Wednesday morning Madonna King on local radio here has an Inside Canberra segment with Craig Emerson and George Brandis. Last week, on the fateful day as it turned out, Emerson couldn’t get a word in edge-wise as both of them leapt upon him with a catalogue of Rudd’s failings.

    So first he stood them up, pointed out what they were doing, and demanded they let him speak. Then he started out with a great list of achievements as per the list in the post. He got about six out when Brandis had had enough and interrupted again. King gave him the floor, but insisted in moving the conversation on. In simple terms neither wanted to hear.

    BTW if you followed the link, it is true, Emerson fessed, that when he was living with Gillard he drank a glass of water in the bathroom at 2am, which happened to contain her contact lenses, at least one of which went down the hatch.

    He had been explicitly warned not to. May have cost him a position in cabinet if Gillard wins the election!

  76. Robert Merkel

    Gillard went to an academically oriented state high school in Adelaide, and then Adelaide and Melbourne unis. I think her parents, who were working class, made significant sacrifices to support their children’s education. My impression from what she said at the Eidos event I saw her speak at was that she thinks what she’s doing will enable more bright kids in disadvantaged schools to climb the ladder (to use a Latham-ism). What I don’t think she gets is why there are disadvantaged schools and kids.

    I think this is a common failing of Education Ministers – they all seem to be trying to right the wrongs of their own educational experiences.

  77. Robert Merkel

    Gillard went to an academically oriented state high school in Adelaide, and then Adelaide and Melbourne unis. I think her parents, who were working class, made significant sacrifices to support their children’s education. My impression from what she said at the Eidos event I saw her speak at was that she thinks what she’s doing will enable more bright kids in disadvantaged schools to climb the ladder (to use a Latham-ism). What I don’t think she gets is why there are disadvantaged schools and kids.

    I think this is a common failing of Education Ministers – they all seem to be trying to right the wrongs of their own educational experiences.

  78. Ron

    I regard Rudd Govt Education reforms as very positive unlike some here (and therefore Julia as Education minister as excellent)

    Jane Carro
    “Some of the things she did…and she’s ended on quite a high note, interestingly enough, because when they first came in they promised to have a review of the funding system, which is unbelievably, urgently needed, and they put it off until 2011.”

    obvously Jane Carro did NOT read Labor’s 2007 polisy ,

    Schools Commission formula funding goes 4 years & was due to expire in 2009 Rudd promised not to change that basis for 2009-2013 period , which specificaly was geared to prevent th Latham 76 Schools hit list politcal disaster effect from 2004 election

    So her point about ‘expecting a funding review & implicitly expectin more Public Schools funds is sheer nonsense & iognoranse of Public polisy

    Which leads me to th BER Program ex GFC Stimuli

    Rudd/Gillard managed to keep there election promise on Schools formula , BUT via BER then managed to put billions into especially Public Schools and poor Catholic/private Schools Schools in Libaries , Science Blocks , Laptop Computors etc outside of that same Formula…equity So seems Jane Carro does not understand comparativ formula mechanics of that either

    Furthermore her critics of “Tests” , there ar equally many experts who beleive th “Tests” provide valuable feedback for National planning focus especially on a comparative Schools basis and accross States and econamic zones given society’s greater divergense

    As to her MySchool negatives , Parents voted there absolute massive suport for this in there millions ! Clearly most Parents DO want to be “informed” , this is supposed to be an open society of info Feel issue is to ensure with MySchool is accuracy & league tables

  79. Ron

    I regard Rudd Govt Education reforms as very positive unlike some here (and therefore Julia as Education minister as excellent)

    Jane Carro
    “Some of the things she did…and she’s ended on quite a high note, interestingly enough, because when they first came in they promised to have a review of the funding system, which is unbelievably, urgently needed, and they put it off until 2011.”

    obvously Jane Carro did NOT read Labor’s 2007 polisy ,

    Schools Commission formula funding goes 4 years & was due to expire in 2009 Rudd promised not to change that basis for 2009-2013 period , which specificaly was geared to prevent th Latham 76 Schools hit list politcal disaster effect from 2004 election

    So her point about ‘expecting a funding review & implicitly expectin more Public Schools funds is sheer nonsense & iognoranse of Public polisy

    Which leads me to th BER Program ex GFC Stimuli

    Rudd/Gillard managed to keep there election promise on Schools formula , BUT via BER then managed to put billions into especially Public Schools and poor Catholic/private Schools Schools in Libaries , Science Blocks , Laptop Computors etc outside of that same Formula…equity So seems Jane Carro does not understand comparativ formula mechanics of that either

    Furthermore her critics of “Tests” , there ar equally many experts who beleive th “Tests” provide valuable feedback for National planning focus especially on a comparative Schools basis and accross States and econamic zones given society’s greater divergense

    As to her MySchool negatives , Parents voted there absolute massive suport for this in there millions ! Clearly most Parents DO want to be “informed” , this is supposed to be an open society of info Feel issue is to ensure with MySchool is accuracy & league tables

  80. Mark

    @39 – agree, Rob.

    Gillard also cited Swan, Rudd and Tanner’s backgrounds.

    I think she has a picture in her mind that working class kids can make good, if only there is an academic curriculum and good teaching. As I say, that ignores the fact that social mobility is rarer than many seem to think, and lots of other factors.

  81. Mark

    @39 – agree, Rob.

    Gillard also cited Swan, Rudd and Tanner’s backgrounds.

    I think she has a picture in her mind that working class kids can make good, if only there is an academic curriculum and good teaching. As I say, that ignores the fact that social mobility is rarer than many seem to think, and lots of other factors.

  82. Mark
  83. Mark
  84. Elise

    Robert Merkel @39: “I think this is a common failing of Education Ministers – they all seem to be trying to right the wrongs of their own educational experiences.”

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say there.

    We started with “Gillard went to an academically oriented state high school in Adelaide”, then moved to “enable more bright kids in disadvantaged schools to climb the ladder”, then we somehow morph into “trying to right the wrongs of their own educational experiences”.

    For the record, I spent a couple of years at the same state high school as Julia (Unley High), when my family returned to Australia, admittedly some years before her. It was definately not a “disadvantaged school“.

    Unley High had a state of the art language lab and science lab, way back in the early 70′s. Scotch College at the same time had similar facilities, of which they were suitably proud – I used both, and the quality was similar. Unley had some superb dedicated teachers, and Scotch had uniformly excellent teachers. Some kids from Unley had great matriculation results.

    Where Julia might be coming from, is that Unley drew on a population pool that included both wealthy and disadvantaged households.

    I had personal friends in class that were respectively a foster child in a foster family (with worn shoes, hand-me-down uniforms and second-hand books), and a friend from a well-heeled family in one of the most expensive suburbs of Adelaide. Unley High had kids from pretty much right across the social spectrum.

    The main point is that they all had an equal opportunity of good schooling there.

    Mark @40: “As I say, that ignores the fact that social mobility is rarer than many seem to think…”

    Perhaps that has more to do with expectations, which are unconsciously adopted from one’s family, rather than a result of the educational system?

    Unquestionably the Scotch had a uniformly high standard of facilities and teaching, and a much greater emphasis on performance and results. The parents pushed their kids along, and the teachers did likewise. I doubt the kids had a higher average IQ, but their matriculation results were in general higher. The expectation was that all kids would go on to uni and have successful careers.

    My 2 cents worth is that expectations and motivating environments have rather a lot to do with outcomes.

    Rather than trying to “right the wrongs” of her own educational experiences, Julia may be wanting to replicate a successful model.

  85. Elise

    Robert Merkel @39: “I think this is a common failing of Education Ministers – they all seem to be trying to right the wrongs of their own educational experiences.”

    I’m not sure what you are trying to say there.

    We started with “Gillard went to an academically oriented state high school in Adelaide”, then moved to “enable more bright kids in disadvantaged schools to climb the ladder”, then we somehow morph into “trying to right the wrongs of their own educational experiences”.

    For the record, I spent a couple of years at the same state high school as Julia (Unley High), when my family returned to Australia, admittedly some years before her. It was definately not a “disadvantaged school“.

    Unley High had a state of the art language lab and science lab, way back in the early 70′s. Scotch College at the same time had similar facilities, of which they were suitably proud – I used both, and the quality was similar. Unley had some superb dedicated teachers, and Scotch had uniformly excellent teachers. Some kids from Unley had great matriculation results.

    Where Julia might be coming from, is that Unley drew on a population pool that included both wealthy and disadvantaged households.

    I had personal friends in class that were respectively a foster child in a foster family (with worn shoes, hand-me-down uniforms and second-hand books), and a friend from a well-heeled family in one of the most expensive suburbs of Adelaide. Unley High had kids from pretty much right across the social spectrum.

    The main point is that they all had an equal opportunity of good schooling there.

    Mark @40: “As I say, that ignores the fact that social mobility is rarer than many seem to think…”

    Perhaps that has more to do with expectations, which are unconsciously adopted from one’s family, rather than a result of the educational system?

    Unquestionably the Scotch had a uniformly high standard of facilities and teaching, and a much greater emphasis on performance and results. The parents pushed their kids along, and the teachers did likewise. I doubt the kids had a higher average IQ, but their matriculation results were in general higher. The expectation was that all kids would go on to uni and have successful careers.

    My 2 cents worth is that expectations and motivating environments have rather a lot to do with outcomes.

    Rather than trying to “right the wrongs” of her own educational experiences, Julia may be wanting to replicate a successful model.

  86. ossie

    Robert Merkel

    I am a huge fan of Gillard’s and pleased she is now PM, but what “wrongs” permeated Gillard’s education?

    She went to Unley High, which even the 1970s and 1980s was a middle to upper-middle class public high school, which sent a large number of its grads to university every year. It was anything but ‘disadvantaged.’

    Even in 2010, it remains overwhelmingly Anglo (MySchool reporting not even one indigenous student in attendance among 1,200 students) and upper to upper middle class.

    She graduated from close to the most elite university course in Australia – Arts/Law at Melbourne.

    There was no “sacrifice” on the part of her parents. They both worked as nurses. There was only Julia and her sister. Her parents were happily married; she got a completely free school and university education, probably supported by the Austudy of the day.

    I think people do go overboard with these ‘struggle’ memes such as ‘log cabin to white house’ and “Born in a shoebox? Luxury!”

    Gillard is a product of what would have been pretty close to the archetypal Australian dream family. Raised in middle-class suburbia by happily-married middle class professionals, before moving onto to two university degrees in Arts and Law.

    Rather than inspire any policies on “education,” it would more likely inspire policies to foster happy financially comfortable married parents in middle class suburbia.

    The truth is Julia Gillard grew up privileged.

  87. ossie

    Robert Merkel

    I am a huge fan of Gillard’s and pleased she is now PM, but what “wrongs” permeated Gillard’s education?

    She went to Unley High, which even the 1970s and 1980s was a middle to upper-middle class public high school, which sent a large number of its grads to university every year. It was anything but ‘disadvantaged.’

    Even in 2010, it remains overwhelmingly Anglo (MySchool reporting not even one indigenous student in attendance among 1,200 students) and upper to upper middle class.

    She graduated from close to the most elite university course in Australia – Arts/Law at Melbourne.

    There was no “sacrifice” on the part of her parents. They both worked as nurses. There was only Julia and her sister. Her parents were happily married; she got a completely free school and university education, probably supported by the Austudy of the day.

    I think people do go overboard with these ‘struggle’ memes such as ‘log cabin to white house’ and “Born in a shoebox? Luxury!”

    Gillard is a product of what would have been pretty close to the archetypal Australian dream family. Raised in middle-class suburbia by happily-married middle class professionals, before moving onto to two university degrees in Arts and Law.

    Rather than inspire any policies on “education,” it would more likely inspire policies to foster happy financially comfortable married parents in middle class suburbia.

    The truth is Julia Gillard grew up privileged.

  88. Mark

    @44 – ossie, Gillard has referred in interviews, some of which were source material for her biographer, to the fact that both her father had aspired to a higher education himself, and that neither he nor her mother’s work choices were what they would have been had they not desired to provide a particular standard of education for their kids. She certainly doesn’t describe her background as middle class.

    Her mother wasn’t a nurse, btw, but worked at a nursing home, and her father did several other things before training as a psychiatric nurse.
    He was a coal miner in Wales, I think.

  89. Mark

    @44 – ossie, Gillard has referred in interviews, some of which were source material for her biographer, to the fact that both her father had aspired to a higher education himself, and that neither he nor her mother’s work choices were what they would have been had they not desired to provide a particular standard of education for their kids. She certainly doesn’t describe her background as middle class.

    Her mother wasn’t a nurse, btw, but worked at a nursing home, and her father did several other things before training as a psychiatric nurse.
    He was a coal miner in Wales, I think.

  90. Patricia WA

    Elise @ 43

    Perhaps that has more to do with expectations, which are unconsciously adopted from one’s family, rather than a result of the educational system?

    Expectation from any source, I think. There certainly was no expectation from anyone in my family that my oldest brother would pass the 11 plus exam. He wasn’t really old enough to encourage me either. Nor would he have wanted to since his attending the grammar school brought so much anxiety to our family and to him in terms of how to buy uniforms, shoes and a school satchel. He was unhappy in his few years there, aware all the time of ‘difference’ and did not go on to sixth form. All of which deterred both of my next older brothers from taking up their 11 plus scholarships. In a house with barely enough money to meet essentials both left school at fourteen to do their bit for the family budget.

    In my case a comparative stranger stepped in when this odd genetic streak of intelligence was noticed in our village as I became the fourth in the family to ‘pass the scholarship’ and as a girl was considered even less likely to take up the chance. He offered to buy my uniforms.

    That really made a difference. Then very early in my first term a particularly perceptive French teacher took me under her wing for after school elocution lessons. She realised the importance of teaching me to speak my mother tongue as well as I had shown her I could pronounce my limited French vocabulary.

    I still acknowledge my debt and will always encourage in any way possible anyone needing help with the self confidence to move towards career or self improvement. The expectation of someone else that one will do well is crucial in any learning situation. Language laboratories and the like are probably important today in terms of equality of opportunity. But nothing works quite so well as someone saying, “I believe in you!”

    As an aside, Julia Gillard, I think, knows how powerful expectation can be even beyond education. A lot of her consultation and conciliation skills must be grounded in her ability to communicate her confidence that most parties in any dispute have the capacity to acknowledge each other’s interest. As I type this I am listening to her commentary on the RSPT negotiations commending negotiators on both sides for their discipline, good will etc. and her confidence in an outcome. That’s not spin! That’s positive expectation.

  91. Patricia WA

    Elise @ 43

    Perhaps that has more to do with expectations, which are unconsciously adopted from one’s family, rather than a result of the educational system?

    Expectation from any source, I think. There certainly was no expectation from anyone in my family that my oldest brother would pass the 11 plus exam. He wasn’t really old enough to encourage me either. Nor would he have wanted to since his attending the grammar school brought so much anxiety to our family and to him in terms of how to buy uniforms, shoes and a school satchel. He was unhappy in his few years there, aware all the time of ‘difference’ and did not go on to sixth form. All of which deterred both of my next older brothers from taking up their 11 plus scholarships. In a house with barely enough money to meet essentials both left school at fourteen to do their bit for the family budget.

    In my case a comparative stranger stepped in when this odd genetic streak of intelligence was noticed in our village as I became the fourth in the family to ‘pass the scholarship’ and as a girl was considered even less likely to take up the chance. He offered to buy my uniforms.

    That really made a difference. Then very early in my first term a particularly perceptive French teacher took me under her wing for after school elocution lessons. She realised the importance of teaching me to speak my mother tongue as well as I had shown her I could pronounce my limited French vocabulary.

    I still acknowledge my debt and will always encourage in any way possible anyone needing help with the self confidence to move towards career or self improvement. The expectation of someone else that one will do well is crucial in any learning situation. Language laboratories and the like are probably important today in terms of equality of opportunity. But nothing works quite so well as someone saying, “I believe in you!”

    As an aside, Julia Gillard, I think, knows how powerful expectation can be even beyond education. A lot of her consultation and conciliation skills must be grounded in her ability to communicate her confidence that most parties in any dispute have the capacity to acknowledge each other’s interest. As I type this I am listening to her commentary on the RSPT negotiations commending negotiators on both sides for their discipline, good will etc. and her confidence in an outcome. That’s not spin! That’s positive expectation.

  92. Patricia WA

    Brian, just listened to Craig Emerson and George Brandis. Thanks for that. Take your point. And again isn’t it appalling how poisonous the Opposition are already about Gillard – this ambitious ruthless woman who stands for nothing! That’s not political debate, it’s a personal slur.

    I loved Emerson’s quick turning of King’s suggestion that Julia must have had some faults, the relationship ended.

    “Perhaps there was something wrong with me!” he quipped.

    Not much interest in his shortcomings though.

  93. Patricia WA

    Brian, just listened to Craig Emerson and George Brandis. Thanks for that. Take your point. And again isn’t it appalling how poisonous the Opposition are already about Gillard – this ambitious ruthless woman who stands for nothing! That’s not political debate, it’s a personal slur.

    I loved Emerson’s quick turning of King’s suggestion that Julia must have had some faults, the relationship ended.

    “Perhaps there was something wrong with me!” he quipped.

    Not much interest in his shortcomings though.

  94. Chris

    Even in 2010, it remains overwhelmingly Anglo (MySchool reporting not even one indigenous student in attendance among 1,200 students) and upper to upper middle class.

    Indigenous population in a school is not a good measure of whether a school is overwhelmingly Anglo or not.

  95. Chris

    Even in 2010, it remains overwhelmingly Anglo (MySchool reporting not even one indigenous student in attendance among 1,200 students) and upper to upper middle class.

    Indigenous population in a school is not a good measure of whether a school is overwhelmingly Anglo or not.

  96. Labor Outsider

    My interpretation of what Gillard is getting at is not that she was served badly by the education system, but wants to ensure that a good education is more widely available than is currently the case and that children from poorer backgrounds that can’t get scholarships or access to better performing schools aren’t condemned to an inferior education.

    Unley high school has long been one of the better public schools in Adelaide. It is in an affluent part of the city and is certainly less ethnically mixed than the average public high school in Adelaide. However, it is also a school that has for some time has accepted some students (particularly bright ones) from outside the school zone. That means that not all kids that go there are from affluent backgrounds themselves.

  97. Labor Outsider

    My interpretation of what Gillard is getting at is not that she was served badly by the education system, but wants to ensure that a good education is more widely available than is currently the case and that children from poorer backgrounds that can’t get scholarships or access to better performing schools aren’t condemned to an inferior education.

    Unley high school has long been one of the better public schools in Adelaide. It is in an affluent part of the city and is certainly less ethnically mixed than the average public high school in Adelaide. However, it is also a school that has for some time has accepted some students (particularly bright ones) from outside the school zone. That means that not all kids that go there are from affluent backgrounds themselves.

  98. Mark

    @48 – Indeed it isn’t, Chris.

    The High School I went to had a very small number of Indigenous students, but about a third of the school were from Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and Yugoslavian (and other) backgrounds.

  99. Mark

    @48 – Indeed it isn’t, Chris.

    The High School I went to had a very small number of Indigenous students, but about a third of the school were from Greek, Italian, Vietnamese and Yugoslavian (and other) backgrounds.

  100. Mark

    @49 – Yes, that’s mine too, LO. I’m sorry if looseness of language implied otherwise. I wasn’t suggesting that she went to a disadvantaged school. In fact I made the opposite point, that according to her in her biography and in the speech I heard, her parents sacrificed aspects of their own desires to ensure their kids had the best education.

    It’s been a while since I read the bio, and I really can’t find the actual book just now, but it’s all in there if anyone’s interested in the detail.

  101. Mark

    @49 – Yes, that’s mine too, LO. I’m sorry if looseness of language implied otherwise. I wasn’t suggesting that she went to a disadvantaged school. In fact I made the opposite point, that according to her in her biography and in the speech I heard, her parents sacrificed aspects of their own desires to ensure their kids had the best education.

    It’s been a while since I read the bio, and I really can’t find the actual book just now, but it’s all in there if anyone’s interested in the detail.

  102. John D

    My wife, like Gillard is a coal miners daughter whose father, in my wife’s case, had to leave school at 14 because his father could no longer work and he had to support the family instead of getting the education he desired. So my wife was lucky to have strong support for her education despite the broader families idea that educating women was a waste of time. My wife was also lucky that she went to a country school that allowed her to do three languages at the same time.
    Above all she was lucky to go to school at a time when schools took seriously the task of educating working class children to the highest level and didn’t assume that children would learn good grammar from their parents and have assistance with their homework.
    So I can understand passion for education shared by my wife and Julie comes partly from their own experience and partly from observing their fathers frustrations.

    But it would be good if Julie asked herself whether modern education is making assumptions about parents that disadvantage core working class kids.

  103. John D

    My wife, like Gillard is a coal miners daughter whose father, in my wife’s case, had to leave school at 14 because his father could no longer work and he had to support the family instead of getting the education he desired. So my wife was lucky to have strong support for her education despite the broader families idea that educating women was a waste of time. My wife was also lucky that she went to a country school that allowed her to do three languages at the same time.
    Above all she was lucky to go to school at a time when schools took seriously the task of educating working class children to the highest level and didn’t assume that children would learn good grammar from their parents and have assistance with their homework.
    So I can understand passion for education shared by my wife and Julie comes partly from their own experience and partly from observing their fathers frustrations.

    But it would be good if Julie asked herself whether modern education is making assumptions about parents that disadvantage core working class kids.

  104. Mark

    I was wrong about John Gillard being a coal miner.

    His brothers were, but he worked variously as a clerk for the Coal Board, a cop, and a railway booking clerk.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/witch-prime-minister-comes-from-this-valley/story-e6frgczf-1225884482109

  105. Mark

    I was wrong about John Gillard being a coal miner.

    His brothers were, but he worked variously as a clerk for the Coal Board, a cop, and a railway booking clerk.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/witch-prime-minister-comes-from-this-valley/story-e6frgczf-1225884482109

  106. John D

    Thanks Mark. My wife, of course will demand more than an article in the Australian before she will drop her claims that Julie is a fellow miner’s daughter.

  107. John D

    Thanks Mark. My wife, of course will demand more than an article in the Australian before she will drop her claims that Julie is a fellow miner’s daughter.

  108. Mark

    @54 – might be worthwhile getting hold of a copy of the Jacqueline Kent bio of Gillard, John.

  109. Mark

    @54 – might be worthwhile getting hold of a copy of the Jacqueline Kent bio of Gillard, John.

  110. ossie

    Chris

    No, of course it isn’t, so my apologies if my clumsy expression suggested otherwise.

  111. ossie

    Chris

    No, of course it isn’t, so my apologies if my clumsy expression suggested otherwise.

  112. ossie

    Mark, you might not agree, but I will stick with my post on the PM’s bio, and that of her family’s. Yes, I watched Australian Story, have seen many an interview with her, and conducted research.

    You are correct, her mother was not a professional nurse, but worked in a nursing home. But the impact of my assessment is negligible.

  113. ossie

    Mark, you might not agree, but I will stick with my post on the PM’s bio, and that of her family’s. Yes, I watched Australian Story, have seen many an interview with her, and conducted research.

    You are correct, her mother was not a professional nurse, but worked in a nursing home. But the impact of my assessment is negligible.

  114. ossie

    John D

    Julia’s father’s family were coal miners back in Wales. He was not. Julia describes him as a man with a naturally high intellect; an autodidact, who read extensively in history and poetry. Her mother was also highly literate.

    Books, stimulating conversation, politics, and intellectual discussion animated the happy, financially secure middle class Adelaide home of the Gillards, more than the dirge of resentment, and suspicion of the intellect, which is often piped through the homes of the truly disadvantaged products of mean and ignorant upbringings.

    The more one sees and listens to Julia the more and more bleedin obvious this picture becomes.

  115. ossie

    John D

    Julia’s father’s family were coal miners back in Wales. He was not. Julia describes him as a man with a naturally high intellect; an autodidact, who read extensively in history and poetry. Her mother was also highly literate.

    Books, stimulating conversation, politics, and intellectual discussion animated the happy, financially secure middle class Adelaide home of the Gillards, more than the dirge of resentment, and suspicion of the intellect, which is often piped through the homes of the truly disadvantaged products of mean and ignorant upbringings.

    The more one sees and listens to Julia the more and more bleedin obvious this picture becomes.

  116. tssk

    Mark @32. I have to get my views from ordinary Australians somewhere. They don’t match up with what my friends and I talk about. I have to assume that most of the people commenting there are speaking their mind.

    It’s interesting isn’t this. This tearing up and examining of Rudd’s past and of Julia’s.

    Good thing the media isn’t doing this with Tone’s, wouldn’t want it to get personal.

  117. tssk

    Mark @32. I have to get my views from ordinary Australians somewhere. They don’t match up with what my friends and I talk about. I have to assume that most of the people commenting there are speaking their mind.

    It’s interesting isn’t this. This tearing up and examining of Rudd’s past and of Julia’s.

    Good thing the media isn’t doing this with Tone’s, wouldn’t want it to get personal.

  118. Brian
  119. Brian
  120. Mark

    Good thing the media isn’t doing this with Tone’s, wouldn’t want it to get personal.

    Heh! ;)

  121. Mark

    Good thing the media isn’t doing this with Tone’s, wouldn’t want it to get personal.

    Heh! ;)

  122. Brian

    Ron @ 40, on the so-called goodness of NAPLAN testing, I understand that some Qld principals were told by Ed Qld that their jobs were on the line if the NAPLAN results didn’t improve. This pressure was past on to teachers and actually led to some cheating that wasn’t reported improve.

    From the above Unley High turns out to be the sort of successful and unproblematic school I imagined Gillard had attended. Kedron High, which Mark attended was the furthest out of three inner suburban schools around Brisbane which at that time drew strongly from the run down inner suburbs that have since gentrified. But also because of transport routes and the lack of zoning drew from a wide range of suburbs. Kedron had many fine traditions, but while Mark was there was in a slow decline as schools like Wavell further out were on the up.

    The toughest of the three was Kelvin Grove, which in the 60s and 70s chewed up a succession of principals. Until one who relished strong discipline. At that time caning was legal and I recall him telling me that he could talk to a boy for two hours and at best he’d behave for two days. By using the cane the kid would usually last two weeks. On a typical day the police would be at the school for some reason or other.

    Times and methods have changed, but schools like that still exist. I recall another school in a low socioeconomic area which started giving kids breakfast because they couldn’t learn on an empty stomach. Some of those kids don’t have stable homes to go to.

    What Jane Caro was objecting to in part was Gillard’s manifest hostility towards teachers, who in those schools have a very different experience than in the Unley Highs of the world.

    I often think to myself that if you wanted to really make it as hard as possible for struggling public schools to do the best possible job they could with our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, the thing you should do is set out to undermine their teachers, to put them down, to kick them, to tell them they’re not good enough, to say that parents should go up to the school and finger-wag underperforming teachers.

    I’ll leave it there for now.

  123. Brian

    Ron @ 40, on the so-called goodness of NAPLAN testing, I understand that some Qld principals were told by Ed Qld that their jobs were on the line if the NAPLAN results didn’t improve. This pressure was past on to teachers and actually led to some cheating that wasn’t reported improve.

    From the above Unley High turns out to be the sort of successful and unproblematic school I imagined Gillard had attended. Kedron High, which Mark attended was the furthest out of three inner suburban schools around Brisbane which at that time drew strongly from the run down inner suburbs that have since gentrified. But also because of transport routes and the lack of zoning drew from a wide range of suburbs. Kedron had many fine traditions, but while Mark was there was in a slow decline as schools like Wavell further out were on the up.

    The toughest of the three was Kelvin Grove, which in the 60s and 70s chewed up a succession of principals. Until one who relished strong discipline. At that time caning was legal and I recall him telling me that he could talk to a boy for two hours and at best he’d behave for two days. By using the cane the kid would usually last two weeks. On a typical day the police would be at the school for some reason or other.

    Times and methods have changed, but schools like that still exist. I recall another school in a low socioeconomic area which started giving kids breakfast because they couldn’t learn on an empty stomach. Some of those kids don’t have stable homes to go to.

    What Jane Caro was objecting to in part was Gillard’s manifest hostility towards teachers, who in those schools have a very different experience than in the Unley Highs of the world.

    I often think to myself that if you wanted to really make it as hard as possible for struggling public schools to do the best possible job they could with our most vulnerable and disadvantaged children, the thing you should do is set out to undermine their teachers, to put them down, to kick them, to tell them they’re not good enough, to say that parents should go up to the school and finger-wag underperforming teachers.

    I’ll leave it there for now.

  124. ossie

    Brian

    Let me say, I don’t know why that person you linked to gets so much press on education. Sure, she is fun and entertaining on the ABC, but her take on education has never grabbed me. I am confused by the bit you quoted above. Is there any evidence for what she alleges?

    And then from the same interview, this:

    Michael Duffy: Was there much criticism of these things you’ve just spoken about from the left?

    Jane Caro: It depends on what left you’re talking about. I think Australia’s education system is actually in a really, really awful situation, and I think the reason is that there is no natural voice for public schools in the Australian parliament. The Labor Party, in a way, is the natural voice now of the Catholic schools. The Liberal Party, in a way, is the natural voice of the elite Protestant schools. In America the Democrats tend to be the voice of public schools. In Britain, the Labour Party. In Australia, nobody.

    This interview just increases my confusion as to why she has such a prominent media platform in this debate at all? Who is she? What has she done to justify the attention she receives?

  125. ossie

    Brian

    Let me say, I don’t know why that person you linked to gets so much press on education. Sure, she is fun and entertaining on the ABC, but her take on education has never grabbed me. I am confused by the bit you quoted above. Is there any evidence for what she alleges?

    And then from the same interview, this:

    Michael Duffy: Was there much criticism of these things you’ve just spoken about from the left?

    Jane Caro: It depends on what left you’re talking about. I think Australia’s education system is actually in a really, really awful situation, and I think the reason is that there is no natural voice for public schools in the Australian parliament. The Labor Party, in a way, is the natural voice now of the Catholic schools. The Liberal Party, in a way, is the natural voice of the elite Protestant schools. In America the Democrats tend to be the voice of public schools. In Britain, the Labour Party. In Australia, nobody.

    This interview just increases my confusion as to why she has such a prominent media platform in this debate at all? Who is she? What has she done to justify the attention she receives?

  126. tigtog

    ossie, Jane Caro has been a public education advocate for many years and has co-written a well received book on the subject that was published a few years ago. This is all quite easily Googleable.

  127. tigtog

    ossie, Jane Caro has been a public education advocate for many years and has co-written a well received book on the subject that was published a few years ago. This is all quite easily Googleable.

  128. Brian

    Ossie, I listen to a lot of Radio National and don’t watch the Gruen Transfer. I’m probably less familiar with Jane Caro than you are. But the criticisms she makes seemed to me to line up with views expressed by the peak bodies for teachers and for principals, as well as other commentators. But the views she puts are not universal. There are some that support Gillard’s approach.

    The research that she quoted was from memory the subject of a post by Mercurius some time ago. Or it may have been this one by Kim. See @ 22 comment by Gummo Trotsky, for example, or Merc @ 31.

    There is also a link in Kim’s post where you’ll find some more material.

    I’ve just found this article by Paul Bamford which you might like to read.

    Gotta go to get some kip!

  129. Brian

    Ossie, I listen to a lot of Radio National and don’t watch the Gruen Transfer. I’m probably less familiar with Jane Caro than you are. But the criticisms she makes seemed to me to line up with views expressed by the peak bodies for teachers and for principals, as well as other commentators. But the views she puts are not universal. There are some that support Gillard’s approach.

    The research that she quoted was from memory the subject of a post by Mercurius some time ago. Or it may have been this one by Kim. See @ 22 comment by Gummo Trotsky, for example, or Merc @ 31.

    There is also a link in Kim’s post where you’ll find some more material.

    I’ve just found this article by Paul Bamford which you might like to read.

    Gotta go to get some kip!

  130. ossie

    tigtog

    I have read many of JC’s pieces over the past 3 or 4 years, mainly at New Matilda and onlineopinion, but also in the MSM. I’m sorry, we are all advocates. She adds nothing I have ever picked up, and is so often plain wrong on the facts. So when she tries to build a more complex picture, it is made of straw.

    Again, how has she reached this position of authority?

  131. ossie

    tigtog

    I have read many of JC’s pieces over the past 3 or 4 years, mainly at New Matilda and onlineopinion, but also in the MSM. I’m sorry, we are all advocates. She adds nothing I have ever picked up, and is so often plain wrong on the facts. So when she tries to build a more complex picture, it is made of straw.

    Again, how has she reached this position of authority?

  132. ossie

    Brian thanks for those.I have not seen them before. I’ll pour myself a wee snifter and read. :)

  133. ossie

    Brian thanks for those.I have not seen them before. I’ll pour myself a wee snifter and read. :)

  134. Robert Merkel

    Elise, in Gillard’s case, it seems that she perceives her school education to have been very good. The “wrongs” in this case are that her course through it – an exceptionally talented working class kid who got to go to a “good” school – is not available to enough such children.

    There is something to that (and I happen to think that identifying and supporting the exceptionally talented is something Australia’s P-12 education system doesn’t do enough of), but it’s at most a third-order issue.

    I’d also point to Joan Kirner’s tenure as Education Minister in Victoria as a classic example of personal experience colouring an approach to the job as Minister.

  135. Robert Merkel

    Elise, in Gillard’s case, it seems that she perceives her school education to have been very good. The “wrongs” in this case are that her course through it – an exceptionally talented working class kid who got to go to a “good” school – is not available to enough such children.

    There is something to that (and I happen to think that identifying and supporting the exceptionally talented is something Australia’s P-12 education system doesn’t do enough of), but it’s at most a third-order issue.

    I’d also point to Joan Kirner’s tenure as Education Minister in Victoria as a classic example of personal experience colouring an approach to the job as Minister.

  136. Brian

    Yes, Robert, the smart and motivated working class kid will almost always find a way through provided education is free.

    As I understand it the international surveys show that Australia is not so good with the less academic and/or ‘special needs’ kids. Gillard seems not to appreciate that this requires a different kind of support for schools.

  137. Brian

    Yes, Robert, the smart and motivated working class kid will almost always find a way through provided education is free.

    As I understand it the international surveys show that Australia is not so good with the less academic and/or ‘special needs’ kids. Gillard seems not to appreciate that this requires a different kind of support for schools.

  138. John D

    My perception is that the educations system is not as working class friendly as it was when I left school 50yrs ago. In those days:

    1. Teachers did not assume that students had parents that were willing and able to make a significant contribution to the child’s education. We were startled by the extent to which our children were advantaged by having educated parents and the extent to which it was assumed that parents would cover for the decline of things such as grammar which are important in preparing working class children for lives as professionals.

    2. Students were evaluated by exams rather than a homework dominated evaluation. Exams did have problems for some personalities and put too much emphasis on working quickly. But at least they were a lot fairer than a system that allows family to make a direct contribution to the quality of the work on which evaluations are based.

    3. In NSW cities there were selective high schools that put the bright working class into “good” schools that were considered comparable to the top private schools. In NSW country schools like the one in Cessnock that my wife attended the classes were graded. This meant that my wife had much the same education as she would have received in a top selective high school. It also meant that kids at the other end of the scale were given the help they needed instead of being left to flounder in an a class where progress was aimed at the average child.

    What we really need is a radical change in the way we educate people. The world has changed dramatically from the world I was educated in yet the education paradigm has remained almost the same.

  139. John D

    My perception is that the educations system is not as working class friendly as it was when I left school 50yrs ago. In those days:

    1. Teachers did not assume that students had parents that were willing and able to make a significant contribution to the child’s education. We were startled by the extent to which our children were advantaged by having educated parents and the extent to which it was assumed that parents would cover for the decline of things such as grammar which are important in preparing working class children for lives as professionals.

    2. Students were evaluated by exams rather than a homework dominated evaluation. Exams did have problems for some personalities and put too much emphasis on working quickly. But at least they were a lot fairer than a system that allows family to make a direct contribution to the quality of the work on which evaluations are based.

    3. In NSW cities there were selective high schools that put the bright working class into “good” schools that were considered comparable to the top private schools. In NSW country schools like the one in Cessnock that my wife attended the classes were graded. This meant that my wife had much the same education as she would have received in a top selective high school. It also meant that kids at the other end of the scale were given the help they needed instead of being left to flounder in an a class where progress was aimed at the average child.

    What we really need is a radical change in the way we educate people. The world has changed dramatically from the world I was educated in yet the education paradigm has remained almost the same.

  140. Helen

    John D@70:
    I was talking to a middle class woman the other day who said that since her son had started at year 7 at a Melbourne suburban high school, similar to Unley High (relatively well resourced and unproblematic) she’d quit most of her activities to do his assignments for him. She told me that the pressure to get high marks was so extreme that an A rather than an A+ was considered a failure therefore she would sit up every night doing her son’s stuff for him.
    Something tells me our competitive attitude to schools is backfiring badly.

  141. Helen

    John D@70:
    I was talking to a middle class woman the other day who said that since her son had started at year 7 at a Melbourne suburban high school, similar to Unley High (relatively well resourced and unproblematic) she’d quit most of her activities to do his assignments for him. She told me that the pressure to get high marks was so extreme that an A rather than an A+ was considered a failure therefore she would sit up every night doing her son’s stuff for him.
    Something tells me our competitive attitude to schools is backfiring badly.

  142. Graham Bell

    SATP (2 & 11) tssk and Katz(13):

    Don’t forget that many of Whitlam govt’s important reforms started in those several days when Gough Whitlam and Lance Barnard were the only ones running the show. Besides, it was not until July 1975, a couple of years into the Whitlam govt. era, that our parliamentary democracy was defeated by senior public servants and shadowy corporate interests. Prior to that, our elected government made policy and our public service implemented it. After that, our Parliament became an obedient rubber-stamp; plenty of hot air and monkey tricks but a rubber-stamp just the same..

    It is a bit much to expect Kevin Rudd, even with all his diplomatic and administrative experience, to overcome thirty-five years of entrenched, near absolute, power. I suspect that a lot of the bad-mouthing and white-anting of Kevin Rudd, especially within his own party, may have been commanded from outside because he tried to grab political power back from our unelected lords-and-masters.

    The worst Prime Minister? Take your pick from Bruce, Menzies, Hawke and Howard. However, Kevin Rudd wasn’t a bad Prime Minister at all and better than many others. I wish him well in whatever he does from now on.

  143. Graham Bell

    SATP (2 & 11) tssk and Katz(13):

    Don’t forget that many of Whitlam govt’s important reforms started in those several days when Gough Whitlam and Lance Barnard were the only ones running the show. Besides, it was not until July 1975, a couple of years into the Whitlam govt. era, that our parliamentary democracy was defeated by senior public servants and shadowy corporate interests. Prior to that, our elected government made policy and our public service implemented it. After that, our Parliament became an obedient rubber-stamp; plenty of hot air and monkey tricks but a rubber-stamp just the same..

    It is a bit much to expect Kevin Rudd, even with all his diplomatic and administrative experience, to overcome thirty-five years of entrenched, near absolute, power. I suspect that a lot of the bad-mouthing and white-anting of Kevin Rudd, especially within his own party, may have been commanded from outside because he tried to grab political power back from our unelected lords-and-masters.

    The worst Prime Minister? Take your pick from Bruce, Menzies, Hawke and Howard. However, Kevin Rudd wasn’t a bad Prime Minister at all and better than many others. I wish him well in whatever he does from now on.

  144. Rebekka

    Mark @55, I wouldn’t bother. It’s an easy enough read, but there’s very little actual critical analysis, it’s just a wholesale swallow of everything Gillard told her. I’m waiting for the other one to come out in September (no doubt the final chapters are being frantically revised as we type).

  145. Rebekka

    Mark @55, I wouldn’t bother. It’s an easy enough read, but there’s very little actual critical analysis, it’s just a wholesale swallow of everything Gillard told her. I’m waiting for the other one to come out in September (no doubt the final chapters are being frantically revised as we type).

  146. paul walter

    It’s good to see that by # 71, someone has finally picked up on Brian’s cue concerning the almost universal long term hostility and anti intellectualism of politicians, as to teachers, unorthodox ideas and educators advocacy of a syllabus and teaching with relevance to the real world.
    Teachers know too much about the real way society is constituted and operates and their difficult questions phase politicans who would rather move quickly on from education with a win, to be able to operate in the neolib world more comfortably.
    If none knows what a PPP or privatisation is, less problems for the government and bigbusiness as to new arrangements made while the mortgage belt rabbits are, effectively, soundly asleep.

  147. paul walter

    It’s good to see that by # 71, someone has finally picked up on Brian’s cue concerning the almost universal long term hostility and anti intellectualism of politicians, as to teachers, unorthodox ideas and educators advocacy of a syllabus and teaching with relevance to the real world.
    Teachers know too much about the real way society is constituted and operates and their difficult questions phase politicans who would rather move quickly on from education with a win, to be able to operate in the neolib world more comfortably.
    If none knows what a PPP or privatisation is, less problems for the government and bigbusiness as to new arrangements made while the mortgage belt rabbits are, effectively, soundly asleep.

  148. Chris

    Brian @ 69 – I think schools generally do as well at nurturing the top academic students as they do the ones who really struggle. Its just with the really capable students they do really well anyway and you don’t how much better it could have been. Schools are set up to serve the average student – students move through the system based on their age, not capability.

  149. Chris

    Brian @ 69 – I think schools generally do as well at nurturing the top academic students as they do the ones who really struggle. Its just with the really capable students they do really well anyway and you don’t how much better it could have been. Schools are set up to serve the average student – students move through the system based on their age, not capability.

  150. Ron

    Ossie #63

    People should re-read your Joan Carro quote , she loses me as a reasoned advocate But then my #40 exposed her total ignoranse of Labors actual 2007 polisy on Schools commission Formula mechanisms (& BER’s role outsode that formula)

    Brian #62
    thanks for reply I agree with you such threats unaccpetable That is NOT th purpose of NAPLAN Testing at all

    you mentiond Schools on one side of Brissie , well Inala is a case on other side I know well Equality of dication opporunity is complex to solve with socio econamic a key problem , and capital works BER giving ‘tools” only a part of solutions I simply see NAPLAN & MySchol (perhaps more fine tuned) as further tool to assist prventing socio econamic generatons keep repeating themselves from father/mother to son/daughter As I dont see silver bulletts

  151. Ron

    Ossie #63

    People should re-read your Joan Carro quote , she loses me as a reasoned advocate But then my #40 exposed her total ignoranse of Labors actual 2007 polisy on Schools commission Formula mechanisms (& BER’s role outsode that formula)

    Brian #62
    thanks for reply I agree with you such threats unaccpetable That is NOT th purpose of NAPLAN Testing at all

    you mentiond Schools on one side of Brissie , well Inala is a case on other side I know well Equality of dication opporunity is complex to solve with socio econamic a key problem , and capital works BER giving ‘tools” only a part of solutions I simply see NAPLAN & MySchol (perhaps more fine tuned) as further tool to assist prventing socio econamic generatons keep repeating themselves from father/mother to son/daughter As I dont see silver bulletts

  152. Oigal

    The Australian Government doesn’t work like a household or a business. It doesn’t need to fund its spending.

    I assume we are linking to the Greece model here then?

  153. Oigal

    The Australian Government doesn’t work like a household or a business. It doesn’t need to fund its spending.

    I assume we are linking to the Greece model here then?

  154. Elise

    Graham Bell @72: “Kevin Rudd wasn’t a bad Prime Minister at all and better than many others. I wish him well in whatever he does from now on.”

    Second those thoughts!

  155. Elise

    Graham Bell @72: “Kevin Rudd wasn’t a bad Prime Minister at all and better than many others. I wish him well in whatever he does from now on.”

    Second those thoughts!

  156. Elise

    Further to Rudd’s long list of achievements, and the stand-out failure to enact legislation for a price on carbon.

    I keep thinking of the Henry Lawson poem about the Fight at Eureka Stockade. The battle was lost, but the cause was won, because the public took it upon themselves. It is a terrific, stirring poem about our Aussie past. The bit I keep thinking of is this:

    “Surprised in the grey o’ the morning half-armed, and the Barricade bad,
    A battle o’ twenty-five minutes was long ‘gainst the odds that they had,
    But the light o’ the morning was deadened an’ the smoke drifted far o’er the town
    An’ the clay o’ Eureka was reddened ere the flag o’ the diggers came down.

    “But it rose in the hands of the people an’ high in the breezes it tost,
    And our mates only died for a cause that was won by the battle they lost.
    When the people are selfish and narrow, when the hands of the tyrants are strong,
    You must sacrifice life for the public before they come down on a wrong.”

    Could we dare to hope that the cause will eventually be won, though the battle was lost, because everyone makes it so?

  157. Elise

    Further to Rudd’s long list of achievements, and the stand-out failure to enact legislation for a price on carbon.

    I keep thinking of the Henry Lawson poem about the Fight at Eureka Stockade. The battle was lost, but the cause was won, because the public took it upon themselves. It is a terrific, stirring poem about our Aussie past. The bit I keep thinking of is this:

    “Surprised in the grey o’ the morning half-armed, and the Barricade bad,
    A battle o’ twenty-five minutes was long ‘gainst the odds that they had,
    But the light o’ the morning was deadened an’ the smoke drifted far o’er the town
    An’ the clay o’ Eureka was reddened ere the flag o’ the diggers came down.

    “But it rose in the hands of the people an’ high in the breezes it tost,
    And our mates only died for a cause that was won by the battle they lost.
    When the people are selfish and narrow, when the hands of the tyrants are strong,
    You must sacrifice life for the public before they come down on a wrong.”

    Could we dare to hope that the cause will eventually be won, though the battle was lost, because everyone makes it so?

  158. Steve at the Pub

    Patricia WA #37:

    For the life of me I could not understand why the government was unable to mount a reasonable defence of the Insulation Scheme, nor why it was unable to have the public reminded continuously that it along with the BER were mainstays of their brilliant policies to deal with the GFC so successfully.

    The government was unable to for the very simple reason that the facts are otherwise.

  159. Steve at the Pub

    Patricia WA #37:

    For the life of me I could not understand why the government was unable to mount a reasonable defence of the Insulation Scheme, nor why it was unable to have the public reminded continuously that it along with the BER were mainstays of their brilliant policies to deal with the GFC so successfully.

    The government was unable to for the very simple reason that the facts are otherwise.

  160. ossie

    The be truthful, the man could have quite well retired immediately after The Apology, assured his place in our history is secure. That took character. The rest of his policies did not. That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with them. It’s just that The Apology was always going to be inextricably linked to one – WHITE – man.

  161. ossie

    The be truthful, the man could have quite well retired immediately after The Apology, assured his place in our history is secure. That took character. The rest of his policies did not. That doesn’t mean I don’t agree with them. It’s just that The Apology was always going to be inextricably linked to one – WHITE – man.

  162. FDB

    “The government was unable to for the very simple reason that the facts are otherwise.”

    Do tell Steve.

  163. FDB

    “The government was unable to for the very simple reason that the facts are otherwise.”

    Do tell Steve.

  164. ossie

    Ron

    In these less liberal times, I am loathe to name names, but I find the status of that particular person in Australia public discourse unfathomable. Neither innately clever, formally educated nor possessing any subject/industry expertise. How have they risen to the position to waste so much airtime?

    Their advocacy for public schools has been an embarrassing disaster.

  165. ossie

    Ron

    In these less liberal times, I am loathe to name names, but I find the status of that particular person in Australia public discourse unfathomable. Neither innately clever, formally educated nor possessing any subject/industry expertise. How have they risen to the position to waste so much airtime?

    Their advocacy for public schools has been an embarrassing disaster.

  166. Elise

    Don’t knock the insulation program – it was a great concept. By the way, SATP, even if you have some insulation, it could be worth upgrading to a higher R-factor.

    We had the old-style blow-in insulation from when we bought the house, which probably gave us about R1.5 or about 4 degrees differential from outside temperatures. That isn’t too flash in mid-winter, with outside temperatures hovering around 3-5 degrees. The heaters got a workout every winter, but we never gave the insulation another thought. We got some, right?

    After much technical debate with better half, we agreed to put in R3.5 over the top. I know, I know. The insulation guys recommended ripping out the old stuff and starting again with just R3.5 (slightly better than minimum new standards), but we thought the blow-in stuff was in reasonable nick, and a thicker layer should be cumulative such that the total would be more like R4.5 or so.

    We installed an indoor-outdoor themometer to test how it performed, and being typical techo types have been watching with keen interest.

    So far, we have a 10-11 degree differential, as indeed the insulation guys suggested was possible for R4.1 or more. If the house is 16 degrees at night before turning in, then it is still 15 degrees in the morning with 4-5 degrees outside.

    That is a potentially massive saving in heating requirements and household emissions (possibly 10-15 kWh/day during winter). How easy was that?!! Cost bugger all.

    Most probably there will be a similar level of saving for cooling in summer. Too easy. Should have done it years ago. If it weren’t for all the drama over insulation, installing extra insulation would not have got onto our radar screen. Great idea – Thanks Kevin!

  167. Elise

    Don’t knock the insulation program – it was a great concept. By the way, SATP, even if you have some insulation, it could be worth upgrading to a higher R-factor.

    We had the old-style blow-in insulation from when we bought the house, which probably gave us about R1.5 or about 4 degrees differential from outside temperatures. That isn’t too flash in mid-winter, with outside temperatures hovering around 3-5 degrees. The heaters got a workout every winter, but we never gave the insulation another thought. We got some, right?

    After much technical debate with better half, we agreed to put in R3.5 over the top. I know, I know. The insulation guys recommended ripping out the old stuff and starting again with just R3.5 (slightly better than minimum new standards), but we thought the blow-in stuff was in reasonable nick, and a thicker layer should be cumulative such that the total would be more like R4.5 or so.

    We installed an indoor-outdoor themometer to test how it performed, and being typical techo types have been watching with keen interest.

    So far, we have a 10-11 degree differential, as indeed the insulation guys suggested was possible for R4.1 or more. If the house is 16 degrees at night before turning in, then it is still 15 degrees in the morning with 4-5 degrees outside.

    That is a potentially massive saving in heating requirements and household emissions (possibly 10-15 kWh/day during winter). How easy was that?!! Cost bugger all.

    Most probably there will be a similar level of saving for cooling in summer. Too easy. Should have done it years ago. If it weren’t for all the drama over insulation, installing extra insulation would not have got onto our radar screen. Great idea – Thanks Kevin!

  168. Lefty E

    Well, Im in NZ for a conference – and todays marked the start of their ETS.

    Sky hasnt fallen in so far. Its been sold as part of NZs “clean and green brand” – which is clever way of getting people onboard for the small price rises in energy costs.

  169. Lefty E

    Well, Im in NZ for a conference – and todays marked the start of their ETS.

    Sky hasnt fallen in so far. Its been sold as part of NZs “clean and green brand” – which is clever way of getting people onboard for the small price rises in energy costs.

  170. John D

    Helen @71: Quite right. When I went to school cheating was considered a terrible thing and it rarely happened because the exams were what mattered. But now it is somehow OK for parents to help/do homework that is a dominant part of the all important final mark that decides who gets to uni etc. To make matters worse the obsession with homework means that students are evaluated on the basis of compliance rather than competence.
    I was one of those slack boys who depended on a a weeks hard work before exams to get through rather than doing homework so I rather liked the old system. However, while I didn’t do the given homework I spent a lot of time reading and thinking over a wide range of topics and arguing with my peers. I think this reading etc. contributed a lot more to my real education than doing homework I didn’t really need to do to get on top of a subject or learn the things I really did need to learn.

  171. John D

    Helen @71: Quite right. When I went to school cheating was considered a terrible thing and it rarely happened because the exams were what mattered. But now it is somehow OK for parents to help/do homework that is a dominant part of the all important final mark that decides who gets to uni etc. To make matters worse the obsession with homework means that students are evaluated on the basis of compliance rather than competence.
    I was one of those slack boys who depended on a a weeks hard work before exams to get through rather than doing homework so I rather liked the old system. However, while I didn’t do the given homework I spent a lot of time reading and thinking over a wide range of topics and arguing with my peers. I think this reading etc. contributed a lot more to my real education than doing homework I didn’t really need to do to get on top of a subject or learn the things I really did need to learn.

  172. Chris

    John D @ 86 – the sad thing is that when parents do their child’s homework, rather than help them work out how to do it, they’re making things worse rather than better.

  173. Chris

    John D @ 86 – the sad thing is that when parents do their child’s homework, rather than help them work out how to do it, they’re making things worse rather than better.

  174. cassandra

    One question – just why was Rudd gotten rid of?

  175. cassandra

    One question – just why was Rudd gotten rid of?

  176. josh

    A friend of mine has a son in kindergarten (prep for Melbournites) who gets AN HOUR of homework each night! WTF?

  177. josh

    A friend of mine has a son in kindergarten (prep for Melbournites) who gets AN HOUR of homework each night! WTF?

  178. John D

    Teachers are handing out homework because parents now expect it. In my day homework only started in high school and we all thought that our headmaster was being extreme when he said we should have been doing at least 2 hrs homework a night!
    However, I have a narrow definition of homework. Homework wasn’t reading chemistry textbooks in search of exceptions to the simplistic rules we were taught or reading widely or dreaming up all sorts of ideas about philosophy, science and maths or… It is part of the problem with too much homework – it wastes time that could be spent on the real learning.
    @88: Rudd? Who is Rudd?

  179. John D

    Teachers are handing out homework because parents now expect it. In my day homework only started in high school and we all thought that our headmaster was being extreme when he said we should have been doing at least 2 hrs homework a night!
    However, I have a narrow definition of homework. Homework wasn’t reading chemistry textbooks in search of exceptions to the simplistic rules we were taught or reading widely or dreaming up all sorts of ideas about philosophy, science and maths or… It is part of the problem with too much homework – it wastes time that could be spent on the real learning.
    @88: Rudd? Who is Rudd?

  180. ossie

    John D

    I am against homework before Year 9. If we must have it, restrict it to long-term “project” type assignments, and finishing what was supposed to be finished in class.

    I do think there is an important role for “drill.” You know, do 40 trigonometry questions, or rewrite 30 clumsy sentences/paragraphs, memorise French verbs. But these should be done in school time, even if it means the school day on 1 day a week.

    One idea I floated at our local school was that we could fill the auditorium several times a week with kids from all years and all subjects. During this time, they could complete their “drill” homeworks, in groups if appropriate.

    The kids would get the value of drilling knowledge and thinking patterns, while the school would save a bomb.500 kids could be working solidly with minimum supervision. All those kids’ teachers could get that period off. The supervision could even be done by Year 11 students toadying for prefect next year. :)

  181. ossie

    John D

    I am against homework before Year 9. If we must have it, restrict it to long-term “project” type assignments, and finishing what was supposed to be finished in class.

    I do think there is an important role for “drill.” You know, do 40 trigonometry questions, or rewrite 30 clumsy sentences/paragraphs, memorise French verbs. But these should be done in school time, even if it means the school day on 1 day a week.

    One idea I floated at our local school was that we could fill the auditorium several times a week with kids from all years and all subjects. During this time, they could complete their “drill” homeworks, in groups if appropriate.

    The kids would get the value of drilling knowledge and thinking patterns, while the school would save a bomb.500 kids could be working solidly with minimum supervision. All those kids’ teachers could get that period off. The supervision could even be done by Year 11 students toadying for prefect next year. :)

  182. KeiThy

    #1 AN INCREASED POTENTIALITY FOR A NON-NUCLEAR SOLAR POWERED FUTURE! ***

  183. KeiThy

    #1 AN INCREASED POTENTIALITY FOR A NON-NUCLEAR SOLAR POWERED FUTURE! ***

  184. KeiThy

    @ 88, PERCEPTION!

  185. KeiThy

    @ 88, PERCEPTION!

  186. John D

    Ossie @91: I think different kids need different approaches. We also need different sized classes for different activities, students and subjects.
    I also think some students would benefit from occasional contact with real experts and inspirers.

  187. John D

    Ossie @91: I think different kids need different approaches. We also need different sized classes for different activities, students and subjects.
    I also think some students would benefit from occasional contact with real experts and inspirers.

  188. Brian

    Just on Julia Gillard generally and what motivates her, you can do worse than listen to this Counterpoint interview of 2004. Inter alia he was shadow for a time for Indigenous Affairs and talks of the need for self esteem and cultural awareness.

    People really shouldn’t run around saying that they don’t know what she stands for. She has been quite articulate and consistent about it.

  189. Brian

    Just on Julia Gillard generally and what motivates her, you can do worse than listen to this Counterpoint interview of 2004. Inter alia he was shadow for a time for Indigenous Affairs and talks of the need for self esteem and cultural awareness.

    People really shouldn’t run around saying that they don’t know what she stands for. She has been quite articulate and consistent about it.

  190. Catching up

    Was Mr. Rudd much worse than Mr. McMahon?

  191. Catching up

    I wonder if Mr. Menzies and Mr. Howard will share the same fate in History. That is both served long terms with very little to show for their efforts. That both ruled by fear and innuendo.

  192. huntingcyclops

    I wrote up my own list of their acheivements, it’s over here: http://itsouraustralia.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/federal-labor-achievements-rudd-gillard/
    It’s still being written up. I think that every labor supporter should share it.