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Now it’s an ALP somersault - on university cuts

Labor has now done a backflip on education – declaring it will combine with the Greens to block the $2.3 billion savings…

Kim Carr says Labor won’t support the university cuts. AAP/Lukas Coch

Labor has now done a backflip on education – declaring it will combine with the Greens to block the $2.3 billion savings from higher education that it announced.

The cuts were designed by the Gillard government to part-finance its Gonski school funding plan, and the Coalition took them over before the election in its savings measures.

But ALP spokesman Kim Carr said the opposition would not support the Coalition’s “cynical move” to proceed with the cuts when it had “abandoned the six year plan they were designed to fund.” The government is only funding four years of the schools plan, which it is also changing to free the states from its controls.

Carr said that under the Abbott government’s plan “the Commonwealth will pour money in from the top only to have it come running out the other end with no assurances the students will benefit. We are not going to support Abbott’s second rate deal for students”.

The Labor cuts were widely criticised when they were unveiled, especially on the grounds that the ALP was paying for schools by a cut in another part of education.

The Greens welcomed Labor’s reversal. Greens spokeswoman Lee Rhiannon said Labor’s decision to join the Greens followed a sustained community campaign involving unions, academics, students and the Greens.

The Greens campaign had targeted 27 Labor MPs in federal electorates with high student and staff populations.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne accused Labor of hypocrisy.

He said that in the pre-election economic and fiscal outlook (PEFO) Labor intended to go ahead with the higher education cuts “despite the fact that they were also ripping $1.2 billion out of their own school funding envelope as another Budget saving.

“The idea that this funding was a straight swap into schools is a complete furphy and ripping $1.2 billion out of the schools Budget is the proof. This $1.2 billion was not returned to higher education,” Pyne said.

The legislation for the cut could be voted on in the House as Representatives as early as tonight, and would then go to the Senate.

Meanwhile Tony Abbott, facing parliamentary obstruction on a number of policy fronts, has threatened to extend the parliamentary sitting beyond next week, when parliament is due to rise for the year.

“I don’t think the Labor Party should get a free pass at Christmas time … they really should be listening to the people of Australia.

“The public voted for a change of Government, the public voted for a change of policy and the public expect the policies they voted for to be put in place.”

The Labor party was doing its best to give the “two finger salute” to the Australian people.

But the Senate, where the government is in a minority, can determine its own sitting time.

Join the conversation

121 Comments sorted by

  1. Ian Alexander

    Reader

    Given the number of lies that Pyne has told in the last week or so, this is a perfectly reasonable thing to do.

    I'm sure it is consistent with the 'funding envelope'...

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ian Alexander

      And the lies were Ian?
      Labor never had a funding envelope and were just willy nilly pushing and pulling money hither and thither whilst they have set Australia up for massive debt.

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  2. Andy Cameron

    Care giver

    When the major parties start playing games like this, it makes you sympathise with those who think representative democracy blows. :(

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  3. Pauline Billingsworth

    Anthropologist at UOL

    Here we go. They don't like the extra funding. Pathetic.

    How masterful was Abbott and Morrison carving up the amateurs today in Question Time?

    Just shows how much better it is to have the adults running the show.

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  4. Henry Verberne

    Former IT Professional

    Slightly off topic: it is clearly going to be another fraught three years with the LNP trying to undo just about everything that Labor put in place sought to do. The LNP have even resorted to the rather Orwellian attempts to expunge inconvenient speeches and information from the records, notably Abbott's support for a carbon tax and all references to Gonski on the Commonwealth Education internet site. (the latter reported in today's Age newspaper).

    Disgraceful and anti-right of the public to know!

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    1. Pauline Billingsworth

      Anthropologist at UOL

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Orwellian...haha...like Labor and the Greens guilotining 300 pieces of legislation in the senate on the last sitting day without debate is not? hilarious

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Pauline Billingsworth

      A slightly different thing to hide information or try to air brush inconvenient facts from history (don't want to give our opponents any ammunition do we?).

      Most opaque mob of radical right wingers to blight our political landscape.

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Henry, the Green Laborites party will be remembered as the most obstructive destructive rabble ever to sit in parliament and the public could well have their day before three years are up.

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  5. Mike Swinbourne

    logged in via Facebook

    So the coalition says that the old model isn’t broken so it doesn’t need fixing. And they say that Labor’s plan to cut funding to universities to pay for school funding is a disgrace. Then they say they are on a unity ticket with Labor and will honour the agreements with the states. Then they say that they won’t be honouring the agreements. Then they say they will not only honour them, but they will provide additional funding. And some of the money will come from cuts to universities, just like…

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    1. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Re a pox on both their houses.
      Now I know what my Dad was trying to explain when he told me:
      "It doesn't matter who you vote for: you still end up with politicians.

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    2. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      But, Mike, doesn't it make sense to block the cuts to tertiary education (which I was very sad about) now that Abbot and Pyne are just going to give the money to states with no conditions?
      Might as well just keep it in the universities.
      Not what the Lib/Nats were promising in the latest somersault to promise honouring their agreement about keeping the same funding for schools as Labor.
      If the states can use the money as they choose, how can we be sure it will improve schools?
      When questioned, Abbot said: "Of course we would consider it very bad form if the funding was not used for schools"
      So, no safeguards for the kids. Or, do you trust the states to keep to "the spirit of the agreement"?
      Personally, I've reached the stage where "Even if I knew they were telling the truth, I still wouldn't believe them…

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, you might want to try using something to have a serious look at all the events you so willingly dismiss, ie.
      " old model isn’t broken so it doesn’t need fixing. "
      depends on what old model you want to refer to and no doubt there'll always be improvements possible.
      Labor had not got Gonski set up as a national scheme.
      The LNP in being committed to the same extent as what Labor were for the forward estimates have taken extra steps so as there can be a national scheme.
      Labor had decided on reducing University funding to shift money to Gonski and that was not opposed by the LNP.
      So what do we have from Labor now!, just a NO party all Green around the gills.
      Protest all you like but it is the Labor party using a Green Alliance in the Senate and ultimately it'll just bring them undone.

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    4. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      How are you going with that quote I gave you Greg - the one about not writing a blank cheque for schools?

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Here you go Mikey
      " Mike Swinbourne
      logged in via Facebook
      In reply to Greg North
      And do you have an opinion on that quote I gave you Greg?

      about 17 hours ago reportReply
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      Greg North
      Retired Engineer
      In reply to Mike Swinbourne
      Are you meaning this one Mike?
      " “….Writing cheques for schools to spend as they like is not a prudent core task approach….” ",
      And if so, like one of mine you have lifted is it not?
      I do stick with that view, it, the schools in charge basically having been defined within the Gonski frame work and what all the whingers expect for the current government to stay committed to what came from Gonski.
      It does not mean it is a good approach and we can see what has happened with the BER and now is happening with NDIS.
      The trouble Australia has is that there are too many foolish people about that expect the country can just keep on spending money we do not have because we should just keep borrowing more. "

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Certainly Mike, had it been a Labor government or be it the LNP, there needs to be a review mechanism in place that will mean taxpayers can have an idea of what their money gets spent on re benefits to teaching attained.
      Putting up some more nice new buildings, prettying up the grounds or deciding that carpetting would be nice is likely to do SFA in regard to what the Gonski objectives were/are re better teaching for those in need.

      You might noye that one of Labor's signed up states, SA with…

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    7. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      Let's try it again Greg - this time without the deflections back onto Labor.

      Repeat after me - the government is being irresponsible in handing money over to the states without strings attached. The previous government's model which required governance and reporting processes was a more responsible approach, and the PM should be condemned for what he has done.

      See - easy. Not only that, it stops you from being labelled a hypocrite if you are able to apply the same standards to everyone.

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    8. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Mike, I am sure you would like to see all levels of our governments acting responsibly with minimum red tape and setting themselves up for undue political influence over something as critical as educating our young without bias.
      The SA alleged intention aside, I applaud the LNP federally for giving the states the opportunity to show that they can have education operating in the spirit the Gonski report indicated and with minimum bureaucracy to maximise efficiency.
      If it does not happen, then it will be a sad day that a big bro/sis approach needs to be taken.

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    9. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      ".... I applaud the LNP federally..."

      Yes, we know that Greg. You are their greatest apologist and never have a bad word to say about them. And we all know how difficult this must be, especially when you have to applaud them for doing one thing in the morning, then applaud them for doing the opposite in the afternoon (well, it would be difficult for me anyway - but I am not a hypocrite).

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    10. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      You are amazingly patient Mike.

      Reasoning with some people is "unimplementable" (to plagiarise C. Pyne).

      Since I started scrolling through posts by the "usual suspects" without reading them, my husband swears I look about fifty years younger!

      Win win…

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    11. Ian Bryant

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Greg North

      I would go so far as to say, Greg, that as the Federal Government is stumping up most of the new money for Gonski, they have every right tom say how it should be spent.

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    12. Ian Bryant

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Jane Middlemist

      The problem with right wingers is that most of them are too busy making money to worry about commenting on blogs. The remainder, knuckle draggers mostly, can only remember three word slogans. Subsequently it becomes very difficult to have an intelligent debate with 'the remainder' on sites like this.

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  6. Thomas Liszt

    Systems analyst

    Michelle Grattan to the rescue. When the pressure is on "dear Tony" and the dysfunctional government he "presides over" (sic), voila, applying the time honoured distraction technique "dump on the progressives" usually works a treat. Even though in this instance it doesn't quite hit the nail, does it MG? Truly amazing "journalism"!

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Thomas Liszt

      It is so progressive Thomas to have two minority parties combining to obstruct a government just wanting to do what they were elected for.
      The only NO dumping is being done by Greeny Labor and I expect they will reap their rewards come harvest time by the public.

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    2. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      Good morning Team Greg North, you have an early riser in your team?

      All this running around trying to plug up the holes in the LNP facade with more lies, quibbles and hand waving is very brave of you and shows how dedicated you are to your people but it's of no use you know. There is quantity and you do get around to replying to almost everyone. Is that your job description?

      But the truth is that my facebook feed provided me with sufficient information to refute all of your desperate attempts…

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    3. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Good morning to you too Labor team member Julie
      Your facebook feed Julie!
      I was just reading an article yesterday that facebook users are at sixes and sevens on just what value it may be.
      Despite your facebook feeding, I am still waiting for quite a few to get a bit specific about lies, rambling being very easy.
      To give you an example, Shorty Shocker Bill claimed he had never withdrawn $1.2B from Gonski funding and yet that is exactly what treasury/PEFO records show he did do because he did not have a national agreement.
      What we have now is merely the most governing obstructionist minority party in the history of parliament, staining themselves with Green dies to the extent that Watermelon is the word.
      And yes Watermelons are in season but it can be a short season.

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    4. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      There are some very problematic things happening for some facebook users but for those of us with the ability to make good choices in who we befriend, what we post and what we like, it is simply amazing how much access to a cooperative social media can improve family and community life.

      This way of interacting will change the way we relate to each other as human beings in a very short time.

      I spend my time teaching - for free - my neighbours in this beautiful regional area in which I live how to use the internet to find facts from independent media. It is difficult for those without access to fast broadband but this is useful in a way because it lets them know how ripped off they are going to be by the LNP broadband policy.

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    5. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      That's all great Julie but you really needed to tell them the truth about the Gillard/Conroy lies on progress.
      You know, all that button pushing and blue falshing lights, kids on big screens etc. all creating the expectation that broadband was coming to you very soon.
      It seems the reality is that whilst a few trunk lines passed by different locations, that's about all they were doing and at least you'll have someone like Malcom Turnbull overseeing no more bull about the roll outs.
      Your neighbours…

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    6. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      I do Greg, I whinge about Labor to them all the time. I think there are things that conservatives and we Greenies have in common so Labor and their neo-liberality are a common enemy.

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  7. Pauline Billingsworth

    Anthropologist at UOL

    I would advocate cleaning out the waste in higher education, those sidelined and put in offices on a handy handshake deal. There should be a productivity review of all academics and support staff.

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    1. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Mike Swinbourne

      Yes Mike I know a few anthropologists and they are strange peeps but poor Pauline and her potty mouth seems far too 'ordinary; to be a real anthro.

      I wonder what a UOL is?

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    2. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      University of Life.

      In other words, Pauline is wilfully misrepresenting her qualifications on an academic discussion site. Impressive.

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  8. Janeen Harris

    chef

    I wish these politicians would stop playing games with the country. At election time there is a choice between tweedledum and tweedledumer.

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    1. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      Janeen, in some ways that might be comforting, as it might reveal a polity that is basically pretty cohesive, and on the same page. Then again...

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    2. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      It is very confusing Janeen, there are differences between the two main parties but they both seem to be stuck on the neo-liberal ideology of growth at all costs.

      And there are two problems with this ideology that have become apparent since the GFC.

      The neo-liberal ideology relies on the idea that we will never run out of resources and that economic growth is the solution to all the social problems.

      They said that as the people at the top got richer, their wealth would trickle down and…

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    3. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      I can't understand why something that was labor policy becomes bad when implemented by the LNP. It just seems to be a game. If we do it, it's good. If they do the same thing it's bad. No true belief.

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    4. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I don't think it was a good idea when Labor said they were taking money out of tertiary education Janeen. I got a uni education because of the Labor policies at the time so I'm all for funding unis and educating as many people as possible.

      I think they said they would do that because they needed to stop people criticising them for having a big debt; in other words they did it to try and get re-elected really.

      But that is the problem; that they don't treat us as adults; nobody explains how it all works.

      Yep no true belief.

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    5. Janeen Harris

      chef

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      I never thought it was a good idea either. I have 2 kids who got PhD's. that were well outside the scope of the family finances to achieve. It's a tragedy that this issue is being used as a political football.

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    6. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie, economic growth is a value that long predates "neoliberalism". Even the Communists worshipped economic growth.

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    7. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      No-one has been denied a university education merely because their parents were poor for a few generations now. In fact, the greatest expansion of enrolments by far took place under Howard. There was no change in the SES composition of university entrance from Whitlam to Hawke.

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    8. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Andy and these 'Communists' worshipped economic growth in the same way?

      What's your point?

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    9. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      ALL peoples wanted relief from the drudgery of poverty. The only way to acheive that was through economic growth through productivity.

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    10. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Andy quoting random facts that seem to support your side of politics does not add up to a coherent argument. But your argument isn't actually clear

      Are you really suggesting that nobody should be concerned or discuss how we can ensure that poor kids will get a fair go and the support they need to do well at Uni? You seem to think that this social issue has been solved? That of course the LNP will be as interested in supporting poor kids who aspire to a university education as the Labor party?

      Why would you think that?

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    11. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Yes yes yes Andy I know that. Don't give me an economics lesson.

      We have seen the robber barons and the ugliness of free market capitalism in previous eras.

      That is why John Quiggin calls his book on neo-liberal economics, "Zombie Economics'; it keeps coming back.

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    12. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie, I'm not really sure what you think "my side of politics" is. If it helps, I voted Labor, and my children attend public schools. I'm not quoting "random facts", but merely responding to facts raised by others. And I would always fight against any system that denies a child a university education just because their parents are poor!

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    13. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      There are just two parties playing games Haneen, both minor parties who together have the numbers in the Senate, only for the time being though and even come July 2014, if a DD becomes necessary, the season for Watermelons will be long gone.

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    14. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Not too sure what all your ideological banter was about Julie and as for how all of us in the country may fare, it is not just a neo Liberal view that endless resources are what we should just keep using and growing to use.
      They do btw provide employment and with the demise of manufacturing industries in Australia ( other developed countries too ) we do need all we can get to keep the country from becoming any less solvent than we are.
      " I think they said they would do that because they needed…

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    15. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      I'm going to ignore all the stuff about how bad Julia was. I do not understand what you hope to achieve by continuing to complain about Labor. They have been dreadful in the way they have sold out and I do not support them because of their policies. I support them because you people are so fkn bad.

      All your knowledge about how the economy works and how it couldn't possibly be any better is biased and unreliable because the fundamental assumptions you and the neo-liberals make about how people…

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    16. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      " All your knowledge about how the economy works and how it couldn't possibly be any better is biased and unreliable because the fundamental assumptions you and the neo-liberals make about how people behave are wrong; these assumptions are as wrong as the assumption you make that we need a growth economy to have a good life. "
      You seem to have made a few assumptions of your own Julie and when you talk of assumptions I and neo-liberals make about how people behave, I wonder where you get that from…

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    17. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      I do know what 'neo-liberals' think because I have read a lot about the 'philosophy' and economists such as Krugman and our own John Quiggan. and talked to a lot of neo-liberals. Of course there are varieties of neo-liberals such as your good self who want to conserve their own environment according to their own idea of what conservation means.

      I imagine your neighbours consider themselves conservationists also. A question for you; what are you interested in conserving?

      You personally may…

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    18. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Now now Ms Julie let's not get carried away ... "neo-liberals" believe... "neoliberals" feel ... "neoliberals" say ... but think?

      It's like saying "neoliberals" understand or comprehend, that they read or have studied, have explored or investigated .... all utter nonsense.

      I'm no longer sure what "neoliberals" are actually ... they seem to like governments when they are run by folks like Cory or Tony ... but despise those run by anyone else. Seems they actually have issues with this whole democracy business really rather than governments per se.

      Too many double standards and internal contradictions to be awarded any sort of ism at all really.... just a grab bag of feelings and beliefs.

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    19. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter did you hear Cory - Bernardi - on RN this morning?

      He was quite clearly able to 'see' what agenda the Guardian and the ABC have but when asked what the agenda of News Corp was, he was unable to tell. And simply had idea of how irrational this was.

      And so confused; they - libertarians/neo-libruls ? whatever - did pretend to be rational people some years ago.

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    20. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      I most certainly did Ms Julie ... I didn't understand too much of it ... a lot of it seemed like howling gibberish to my untrained ears ... but I did get the feeling he was acting as a self-appointed spokesmodel for Rupert.

      What I find curious about these "neo-liberals" is that - inspired by the Tea Party ratbags - they decry Big Guvermint and even claim that public spending crowds out the private sector - but then they start banging a tin can for Chris Pyne's handout policy. If they were making…

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    21. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      It's the 'neo' bit that is the problem isn't it?

      The proper liberals became neo-liberals when they adopted some bits from conservatism that suited them - the assumption that there are good and bad people and you see this in economists like Hayek - and the proper conservatives adopted the bits of the market fundamentalism that suited them.

      Very pragmatic I suppose and Labor also had to do the same sort of pragmatic wheeling and dealing to appeal to their traditional voters - telling lies and making illogical and inexplicable decisions? And apparently it all happened in the 70's and now nobody knows where they are.

      No integrity from anyone - and was it ever thus? It's just a popularity contest - except for the Greens who have more integrity but only appeal to idealistic romantics who know nothing about economics :)

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    22. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      " I imagine your neighbours consider themselves conservationists also. A question for you; what are you interested in conserving? "
      That's pretty easy Julie for aside from clearing of lands for agricultural and obviously settlement uses, I am interested in preserving/conserving our native lands to be as nature developed it for all the wildlife that should be retained, especially where land is of very marginal quality for food production.
      Like most places, you can work up a soil bed here for stuff…

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Greg North

      No wonder this Great Nation is sliding into a hole of mediocrity... poor white trash indeed!

      You have stones in your paddock ... go and pick 'em up. ... build fences with them ... throw them at your neighbours. Stop making excuses for your obvious indolence "Greg North".

      You think those precarious rice paddies all over the pointy bits of Asia got there by folks saying the ground's too pointy to farm? The Greeks built up quite a decent sort of civilisation farming rocky ground and the Irish build lovely dry stone walls with their rocks. Or have we got the wrong sort of rocks?

      A bit of honest back-breaking toil will squeeze that "neo-liberal" nonsense out of you.

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    24. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Just a minor quibble, the International Greens Principle of Economic and Social Justice only appeals to idealistic romantics who know nothing about economics?
      Are you entirely confident with that assertion?

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    25. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to James Hill

      I suspect that Ms Thomas's tongue was planted firmly in her cheek James - given the general tenor of her views elsewhere.

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    26. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes, perhaps Peter, but the assertion is so over-used as to be more ridiculous than clever.

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    27. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to James Hill

      Yes I suspect that was Julie's point really.

      I must admit that while I have strong agreement with the broad thrust of greens' visions for the future and an economy based on renewables - the decision today to knock off the debt ceiling theatrical nonsense is the first instance of the Greens playing a significant role in ongoing economic management ... top stuff.

      Hopefully they are getting a grasp on how to use their current control of the Senate and secure significant reforms in return for cutting the government a bit of slack. But not too much slack - nothing like selling out Democrat style.

      A nice carefully crafted act of letting the pressure build till a result becomes worthwhile. No "unity tickets" .... they shouldn't come rushing in from the "fringes" too quickly. But today 10/10.

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    28. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I think there's been a "debt ceiling" for only a few years and the economy still managed to stagger along before that.

      Now we can move on from endless palaver about the debt ceiling.
      I agree the Greens did well in their reasoned approach to this matter

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    29. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Now the Democrats leadership did not sell out, for their fairly highly educated membership said there should be some sort of consumption tax at one of their conferences held in consequence of the principle of Grass Roots Participatory Democracy, which they held in common with The Greens, whom Stott Despoja famously disparaged as single-issue conservationist extremists.
      (who obviously don't know or think much about economics, the poor dears)
      The Greens however opposed the GST as being regressive and not in accord with the principle of economic and social justice.
      All too terribly complicated, this rule by written principle stuff that ratbag Aristotle was wont to promote as superior to Plato's "fuehrerprincip", OK, "philosopher king" such as we now enjoy under our Rhodes scholar PM.
      Aren't we lucky?

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    30. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I incidentally think that getting rid of the debt ceiling is probably a reasonable thing. Saul Eastlake has stated to the effect that the debt ceiling serves no purpose other than to give the opposition (at the time the LNP and Greens) opportunity to grandstand. Now that we have a green/LNP alliance to get rid of the debt ceiling in exchange for more government spending and economic data transparency, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the government will hold to its word. In any deal for one partner to give everything up front with the hope of future return is indeed one great act of faith. Given the present government’s reluctance to release economic data to date, it will be interesting.

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    31. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to James Hill

      It's 'principled' people that I always find a problem with whether philosopher king or ratbag. Most people are principled, they just don't make a fetish it.

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    32. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      That opinion might carry more weight, if the principles of the major parties were easily able to be discerned.
      Whatever the major party principles are, they certainly do not seem to be a fetish, as you assert.
      Here's something on political principles from a controversial philosopher:
      "A political ideology is a set of principles aimed at establishing or maintaining a certain social system; it is a program of long range action. with the principles serving to unify and integrate particular steps…

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    33. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Then you won't be reading her first novel "We, The Living" which supposedly recounts her escape from the early Soviet Russia.
      One of the characters in her books, Ruark, seems to have been taken from life, in the form of late nineteenth century Canadian Railroad magnate, named James John Hill, no relative.
      What might make people's skin crawl concerning Rand, is the deification by conservatives, of an all too human person with serious personal imperfections.
      Rand certainly doesn't seem to have supported democracy at all.

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    34. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to James Hill

      Good point James, she certainly was the darling of the libertarians, but there was nothing democratic either in their view of the world. In moments of self doubt I wished I could have belonged to this unquestioning belief in self superiority, but then I would have been even more bored to the point of nasuea.

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    35. Ian Bryant

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Janeen Harris

      I don't think the ALP ever really wanted to take money out of tertiary education And now that they're in Opposition, I don't see anything wrong with opposing the way the LNP wants to cut tertiary funding.

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  9. Andy Cameron

    Care giver

    This money would be much better spent on primary school education, and TAFE, rather than universities.

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    1. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Why does it have to be either or? Why can't we have it all?

      But really, from my perspective, I'd say that the absolutely essential thing to do is to start with pre-school. The earlier the better to start making each child the best it can be, which of course is self-interest writ large because this is the way to prevent so many social problems that cost so much to fix up.

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    2. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie, ironically, above you said, "The neo-liberal ideology relies on the idea that we will never run out of resources and that economic growth is the solution to all the social problems." In fact, every single bit of economics I have ever studied is premised on the reality of finite limited resources. That is the whole point of economics - we CAN'T have EVERYTHING.
      As far as this $2.3 billion Labor had taken from the unis to help fund Gonski goes, to the extent we have limited resources, my vote goes with the original Labor plan to redistribute funding from higher education to where it is much more important, and sorely needed right now in Australia - with the infants/primary sector.

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    3. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      I agree with you about pre-school, which is why I am currently playing Mr. Mom. My wife and I are educating our infants ourselves.

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    4. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Hahaha sorry Andy that's what one gets for jumping to conclusions; a fall on one's face. It is one of my favourite exercises people say.

      So that's why I only offer big picture analysis that do not have any real world consequences.

      But I'm still going to argue that the idea that makes the ponzi-scheme work is that when one lot of resources run out, we will find another because of our high-IQ people. You see that in the argument that we shouldn't do anything about climate change because technology will save us.

      Sorry for the assumptions. I am embarassed.

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    5. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie, oh god, don't be so hard on yourself, it's only a freaking blog! :) I haven't said anything about climate change, or how things have turned out. I just wanted to make the very simple, non-theoretical, unideological point, that the life of most Australians (let alone Russians, Koreans, or Brazilians) in the 1940s/1950s, let alone the 19th century, was pretty tough, even for the rich. Most didn't have hot water, let alone modern washing machines, driers, cars, nice food, and god forbid a family…

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    6. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      " Why can't we have it all? "
      Such a simple few words Julie and it says quite a lot.
      Why do you not start to ask yourself some questions about Why Not?
      Then get back to me.

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    7. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      Give me some direction as to where I should start asking myself questions, Greg.

      I actually do ask myself questions all the time but because of my inherent bias toward trying to be a good person, one that Jesus and the Pope would approve of, I apparently do not ask the 'right' questions.

      So tell me what should I be asking myself about those few simple words?

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    8. Mike Swinbourne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      "....Why do you not start to ask yourself some questions about Why Not? Then get back to me..."

      Actually Greg, there is absolutely no reason why we can't have additional funding for all levels of education in this country. All it would require is for governments to allocate funding - simple really. And before you go on about debt etc, let me remind you of a couple of things.

      Firstly, you were all in favour of debt for things like infrastructure, because of the benefits it would bring to the economy. And expenditure on education would be far more valuable for the economy than any infrastructure will ever be.

      Secondly, if you don't like debt then the solution is even easier - raise taxes.

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    9. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      You could start Julie by asking what does having it all actually mean and what do you need to get it?
      You have asked the " Why can't we have it all? " in the context of education and in referring to
      " This money would be much better spent on primary school education, and TAFE, rather than universities. "
      you see a focus on the early years as being more essential and that's fine for it is claimed by some that that is when most learning occurs, even if that be of a more general nature than more…

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    10. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Greg North

      "you see a focus on the early years as being more essential and that's fine for it is claimed by some that that is when most learning occurs, even if that be of a more general nature than more specific career orientated knowledge."

      It is not only "claimed by some" that the early years are the most critical for future outcomes; it is quite clear from the evidence - evidence that we all can access if we google - that this is the case. The LNP experts on human nature such as that old fool Charles…

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    11. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      That's great for your son Julie and there're heaps of people on no where near a six figure salary, say for instance if they are getting half of a minimum six figures and with family commitments they'll not be too keen on getting any less.

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    12. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      That $2.3 Billion might have been spent in the universities remediating the failures of the secondary sector.
      So spending it in High schools to save the tertiary sector that expense is not so terrible to contemplate.

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    13. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      James, the problem is the university Education academics are victims of this system too. It was Education academics who started it in the 1970s. The current crop can't help anyone. That's why we should put all the money in primary, including recruiting only top primary teachers, who will give their primary kids a top challenging education, the basis of which will see those kids a lot farther than otherwise.

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    14. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      And pre-school, since the brain is said to grow more in infancy according to the stimuli received.
      Helping stay at home parents at this critical time would be a good thing too.
      A GP acquaintance, who had the knowledge and intelligence to develop an informed opinion on the matter, suggested that high schools were suffering from the early onset of puberty among their students, as a result of better nutrition than their counterparts a century earlier, yet the teaching techniques had not evolved with…

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    15. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      "And pre-school, since the brain is said to grow more in infancy according to the stimuli received. Helping stay at home parents at this critical time would be a good thing too."
      Half agree. That's why I am the stay at home parent at the moment. I don't agree that money should go to pre-schools over infants.primary.
      "high schools were suffering from the early onset of puberty among their students, as a result of better nutrition than their counterparts a century earlier, yet the teaching techniques had not evolved with these changing circumstances."
      Teaching has changed - at least in the NSW public system. This early puberty is boys is pathologized, medicalized, punished, and drugged. That is why, when the time comes, I can't see us sending our sons to a public coeducational school.

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    16. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Your last paragraph is chilling, Andy.
      On a brighter note Accelerated Christian Education, if one leaves aside the religious aspect for a moment, seems to be a good system for home educationalists.
      Get those young adults educated and out into the workforce just when they need to be building the foundations of their adult lives.
      And not infantilised into dependency on their parents into their mid twenties.
      Though wealthy parents can indulge this sort of travesty of raising the next generation.
      I remember meeting some parents way out West in NSW who refused to send their sons away from the farm to boarding school like their neighbours did.
      The argument was partly that they were up and gone all too soon anyway, so maintaining the tight family bonds was not a bad thing at all, for all concerned.

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    17. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      Home schooling? Maybe, if the circumstances I was living in required it. But somehow I doubt our circumstances in Sydney will require home schooling. Though while the kids are young, we have developed quite a network of similar-thinking parents, which acts as an informal and flexible child feeding/bathing/minding/entertaining/schlepping/educating collective, all with very little net financial cost.

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    18. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      A professional couple, living in the west of Brisbane had the pleasure of seeing their twin boy and girl children graduating from distance education university at fifteen, quite recently.
      I always thought that this sort of thing was what the NBN was made for.
      But you seem to have satisfied the first three needs of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs; food shelter and society.

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    19. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      I would be prepared to home-school, and know I would be damn good at it, but to be truthful, I am also a bit selfish, There are things I want to try/accomplish professionally in the adult world. Watching children blossom, thrive, and master several variable calculus by age 14 would be all fine and dandy, but not for long.

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  10. Suzy Gneist

    Multiple: self-employed, employed, student, mother, volunteer, Free-flyer

    The LNP would know all about hypocrisy. And they seem to pretty good at rude gestures, even in Parliament and in public...
    Poor Tony facing obstructions, if he was a better negotiator, he could overcome these more easily, funny how the 'minority' government handled the previous oppositions obstructions quite well and got things done.

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  11. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    Labor are quickly earning the brandings of Party No and Yes Greenies.
    The public are not stupid and they have recognised the mess that Labor are and what wrecking they did of Australia when in government and many people will be saying lets have the DD.

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    1. Ian Bryant

      logged in via email @tpg.com.au

      In reply to Greg North

      That's funny. Abbott said "Yes, Greens" resoundingly yesterday.

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  12. Geoff Geary

    Geologist

    Why we need a real and informed debate about education across all areas including higher education, not just schools a la Gonski. I can remember being appalled when Labor announced its higher education cuts. Although I support those cuts being put back, it's pretty cynical and hypercritical ploy of Labor to suddenly stage this back-flip. What was their rationale for the cuts then and why the sudden change?

    How about principled debate from both parties.

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Geoff Geary

      If only that could be so Geoff and then some real detail needs to be discussed re premise of Gonski loadings.
      For instance, one loading is supposedly for poor English and what students other than those going on to University would have poor English could be asked.
      Migrants kids say? and already with immigration if someone from a country which does not have English as a first language, they need to supposedly have a good English ability to qualify for immigration, even for a 457 temporary visa and…

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  13. Ronald Ostrowski

    logged in via Facebook

    As far as back flips go this was a reasonable one for the Labor Opposition. Labor's obsession with reducing the budget deficit no longer applies given the Abbott Government's obsession to raise the debt ceiling and the discarding of Abbott’s pre-election budget emergency lie. Thanks to coming to your senses Labor. Meanwhile the Magistrate in Victoria is ripping into the angry and incompetent prosecutors and corrupt police trying to nail Thomson. Apparently, the trial by media which included call girls and pornographic hotel movies was based solely on false charges. Justice demands that the guilty liars in the LNP and media pay for this outrageous lie that lasted for months and months to undermine our democracy and to destroy an innocent man! http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/craig-thomson-trial-day-two--reversal,5952

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Ronald, so so funny you can get when you are trying to cover for your obstructionist Labor and beloved Greens.
      You do not really expect sensible people to read any of that IA garbage do you?

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    2. Ronald Ostrowski

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Greg North

      Somehow I knew you would bite, Greg, but not so soon. Anyway, thanks for the promo to the IA article, Greg. Folks, despite what Greg tells you, a court report is a court report. It is not garbage but fact. For Greg and his ilk the word 'fact' is a foul four letter word. So those who want facts the link to the IA article by Peter Wicks who one of the few remaining investigative journalists left in the Australian media is humbly recommended. Ignore the crap produced by most of the so called journalists in the fourth estate belonging to that herd who follow the lying Murdoch stable lead. Truth is what intelligent people seek.

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Thanks for the link Ronald. Is there any recourse for media persecution and misrepresentation? Guilty until proven innocent, hey?

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Ronald Ostrowski

      Just for information Ronald in case you come back to here but I just happened to catch some evening news where your favourite boy was featured and seems he is still busily proclaiming his innocence even if there are still charges he faces.
      What say your Wicks or are just too many being stroked!
      I do feel for his wife when it'll eventually get to a point where he can proclaim his innocence after being found guilty.

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  14. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    Aw gee ... a somersault .... how shocking!

    Labor is now in Opposition and as we saw over recent years - it is the job of Oppositions to oppose - and they should.

    No more requirements to act "responsibly" - to help balance the books. All bets are off.

    Don't make TA Tony's life any easier than it might be.

    But of course the biggest stumbling blocks confronting the new government are all of their own making, their own ineptitude and their own cheap sloganising. Labor has no need to involve itself in helping this lot bugger things up.

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Yes Peter, the LNP keep being let off and forgiven because they are learners. Truth is they are not, many of them were in the previous LNP government and ministers at that and they still have Howard's active advice and support in the background. What constantly needs to be remembered when the LNP go on about government income and deficits and the ALP being spendthrifts etc is that even the IMF found that Howard's government was the most wasteful government of all Australian governments, spending…

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    2. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Presaging the "Inevitable Abbott Recession". when they get around to stuffing up the economy, "Howard" style, with the GFC we had to have?
      Fits in with the idea of a national bankruptcy sale just down the track.

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  15. Chris Saunders

    retired

    My understanding was the ALP set the Gonski enquiry into education up because the Australian level of education although still ahead of the OECD average was slipping and that certain groups especially socially/economically disadvantaged children were being left well behind under the old LNP education model. The Gonski report warned that it would take five years for improvement to begin to be noticed as a result of its reforms. The ALP planned to fund Gonski for at least six years. The LNP is only…

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    1. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      Chris, you do make a number of assertions, to the extent I would not be surprised if you were writing for Ronald's IA mob.
      First off, there has never been an LNP education model as such, education resting with the states and there having been a mix of federal/state funding, states funding public schools and federal the private/catholic sector, all funding coming from taxes one way or another.
      Yes, it could be considered that funding wise it was a bit of a dogs breakfast seeing as states would likely…

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    2. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Greg North

      Greg thanks for your reply.
      “There has never been an LNP education model as such”; I think perhaps this was why all the excitement about Gonski and it being an Australia wide approach.
      As to 4 or 6 years: Funding for six years would allow time for some results to come in. Four years is insufficient time for these results as predicted by the writers of the Gonski report. Forwards estimates argument in this regard is explanation for government process, but not really a reason not to promise funding…

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  16. john davies
    john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired engineer

    Note to Moderator.

    Having followed this site for some time now I would like to say that the most regular commentator here on anything political has polluted discussion to the extent that it is not worth looking at. Repetitive propaganda, seemingly from more than one person operating under one name.

    Obviously many people have different political allegiances to my own, which are obvious to anyone who reads my comments, and that is a good thing. But repeated, inconsistent, dishonest, waffle clearly designed to disrupt sensible discussion and offend is counterproductive to your objectives. But I don' t know what you can (or should?) do about it, free speech being essential to our system.

    Ah, the joys of democracy in the internet age.

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    1. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to john davies

      John, it is possible for other contributors to try to stem the tide. One strategy frequently recommended is to not feed the troll. I find I no longer read certain familiar names in their responses to comments. If they answer any comment I post, then I read them, take them seriously and attempt to answer if I think it worthwhile. One tidy rule is to stick to the facts as you see them, other people can correct you if they know you to be wrong, which is in part what it is all about. And you get to know the reliable ones, they do tend to post some type of thread to back what they say, they refrain from abuse and they try to answer to the point and ignore the rest, for the most part: we all have our weak moments. A bit of fun slagging is ok, but I agree it is getting a might ridiculous.

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    2. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      I do apologise for my verbosity and persistence in responding to the troll, Chris and I do know how annoying it is to want to read about the issue that is supposed to be the focus and see a whole lot of irrelevant chattering. The same thing happens on the climate science articles.

      I don't think that ignoring them works in the long term. They, and their followers take it as meaning that there is no rational response to their claims and it does encourage them to continue. I think that is why lobbyists…

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    3. Chris Saunders

      retired

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      No need to apology to me Julie. I'm not sure I had you in mind, just a common phenomena in the political threads. You were holding your own and good on you for that. Yes, I have noticed they can be just as annoying when no-one answers them. And yes when untruths are stated they should be countered.

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    4. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to Chris Saunders

      There're also quite a few regulars I try not to respond to either Chris, jd being one of them who trolls about trolls.

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  17. Tony Simons
    Tony Simons is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Dodgy Director

    Great to see the ALP moving away from Gillard's right wing stance, especially in education but also on asylum seekers and TPV's. Shorten is doing the right thing to move back to ALP policies and not be spooked by Abbott's neo fascist policies. Hopefully the public will follow Shorten rather than the shrill and paranoid Abbott.

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  18. Jim Moore

    Transport Planning Engineer

    Is this the author's statement or Abbott's? "The Labor party was doing its best to give the “two finger salute” to the Australian people."

    I could believe if it was the latter but if it's the former then I'm very surprised that this is how a former senior parliamentary journalist writes and still wants to be taken seriously.

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    1. Jane Middlemist
      Jane Middlemist is a Friend of The Conversation.

      citizen

      In reply to Jim Moore

      I heard it said on TV today; and I'm almost sure it was Abbot talking about their "mandate" to repeal the carbon tax.

      Not absolutely certain because I was also reading a book at the time. Question Time doesn't "hold my attention" very well!
      It's all so predictable.

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