Floating Life 4/06 ~ 11/07

an archive

Posts Tagged ‘Julie Bishop

It seemed a good idea at the time…

I am contrary, I know, but whenever Julie Bishop is enthusiastic about something I tend to take the opposite view. Yesterday, for example, speaking in defence of the ideologically driven (and short-sighted) abolition of compulsory union fees at universities — see The Sydney Morning Herald — she remarked: “The challenge for student unions is to attract student support by being relevant and efficient.” The context for that “Let them eat cake” utterance is this.

Students used to pay several hundred dollars a year in compulsory union fees, which subsidised services such as child care, international student support, food outlets, sporting clubs and infrastructure, student newspapers and social clubs, but the Federal Government passed laws banning the practice in 2005. Since then the sector has lost $167 million in annual income, resulting in a 50 per cent funding cut to inter-university sport, a 40 per cent funding cut to sporting clubs and more than 1000 people employed in student services losing their jobs, the study found.

Nationally 100 sporting services such as elite athlete support have been shut down or reduced, while the same has happened to 261 union services.

But the money students have saved will not necessarily remain in their pockets, with the study calculating they will spend more than that amount in the increased cost of services and rises in HECS fees.

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Written by Neil

November 2, 2007 at 8:01 am

Posted in Education, Observations

Tagged with ,

Meet a blog

In this case I stumbled upon the blog in question via Perry Middlemiss’s Matilda which I had consulted when putting up the last Friday Australian poem. I soon found that The Happy Antipodean and I had much in common, except that he is younger and probably brighter. Further investigation confirms this and more, as we in fact had known each other in the past. The Antipodean was one of the helpers on Neos Magazine, my one-time venture into the world of publishing. (We didn’t do too badly: Judith Wright and Patrick White were regular readers.) Even more investigation — not difficult in this case — revealed The Antipodean’s real name and a biographical site that confirms the Neos connection:

From 1982 to 1986, I help edit and distribute little lit mag Neos: Young Writers after meeting Neil Whitfield in Cornstalk Bookshop, Glebe. Production, in an office near St Johns Road, Glebe, uses set type pasted onto a grid. Published biannually from Gleebooks, the mag receives assistance from the Literature Board of the Australia Council and other bodies.

I don’t remember the office, I have to say, unless he’s thinking of the typesetter’s office near the old Gleebooks. There is some fascinating family history on the autobiographical site; I enjoy such things, as you will know from the pages here.

And it turns out he really is Julie Bishop’s cousin. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Neil

October 21, 2007 at 8:48 am

Bias is in the eye of the beholder

I was going to call the post “stupid f*ckers who wouldn’t know a fair question if it bit them on the bum”, but thought better of it… According to ABC News:

The Federal Government and the New South Wales Opposition have accused Labor and the unions of using yesterday’s Higher School Certificate (HSC) exam to indoctrinate students with left-wing ideologies.

The claim about a question in the industrial technology exam comes as almost 65,000 year-12 students in New South Wales prepare to sit the only compulsory HSC exam this morning: English.

The question asked students to discuss the impact of Government legislation on employees.

Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop says it was clearly about WorkChoices and was another example of how political views are being pushed in the classroom.

“You’d have to be naive in the extreme not to see this as a loaded question,” she said.

“It has been backed up by months and months of union campaigning in schools in NSW, pushing their political agenda.

“We’ve got teachers handing out anti-Government propaganda to school children and parents are complaining that their children are being used as political pawns.”

But state Education Minister John Della Bosca has described the reaction to the question as hysterical.

Mr Della Bosca says the question was set by independent experts in the field from public, private and Catholic school committees.

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Written by Neil

October 19, 2007 at 7:42 pm

Education moans and giggles

The giggles first. I am really looking forward to Summer Heights High — that’s Graeme Blundell’s preview in The Australian.

IN a local television industry characterised by meretriciousness, intellectual timidity and corporate contempt for viewers, Chris Lilley may be the closest thing to a comedy genius. Lilley’s award-winning We Can Be Heroes: Finding the Australian of the Year is already part of the sublime lineage of TV mockumentaries that includes The Larry Sanders Show, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kath & Kim and Extras, all of them unconventional comedies that unfold within a mock documentary format with a lateral twist on reality.

in Summer Heights High, an occasionally quite savage new series, Lilley goes back to school to send up pretension, intellectual vanity, political correctness and do-goodism in general.

Playing all the characters, he captures some of the wonder and most of the horror of life in the public-school system, a foreign continent of coruscating slang, brutal bullying, profanity, delusional teachers, recalcitrant students, racism, homophobia and crushed innocence.

Bring it on! ABC Wednesday 9.50: this is the web site.

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Written by Neil

September 1, 2007 at 2:22 pm

My, my, my…

Looks as though I will have to go in later and add a note to Literacy — Why I reject Kevin Donnelly’s educational analysis. Not that all the currently prevailing voices on schooling and education have suddenly found enlightenment, but it does seem there could be a degree of hope. This past week, for example, the ABC’s right-wing Phillip Adams, Michael Duffy, had a useful interview with Jane Caro & Chris Bonner, authors of The Stupid Country: How Australia is dismantling public education. And today in The Australian we have “FORMER Liberal Party adviser and outspoken critic of the school curriculum Kevin Donnelly…” But (yes, Virginia, you may start a sentence with “but” from time to time) when he praises Labor Party education policy and slams Julie Bishop there may be cause for concern; I do hope the Big D does not get the ear of too many on the Labor side of politics where it is not after all unprecedented to find education reactionaries. Perhaps Dr D has been reading his tea-leaves about a possible electoral outcome in, they now say, October, and jobs that may open up therewith…

See Labor ‘winning’ the education debate.

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Written by Neil

August 18, 2007 at 9:34 am

Julie Bishop’s reference group may be a joke…

… but so is NSW Minister for Education John Della Bosca’s response to it. See Expert barred from history panel.

A NSW bureaucrat has been barred from helping recommend what year 9 and 10 school students should be taught about Australian history.

Jennifer Lawless, a Board of Studies inspector who has taught history for 20 years, was named by the federal Minister for Education, Julie Bishop, yesterday as one of several experts who would help overhaul the history curriculum.
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Written by Neil

June 26, 2007 at 9:09 am