By Con George-Kotzabasis
The announcement of Labor policies during the electoral campaign by Kevin Rudd clearly revealed that his government would be a government of tokenistic gestures and impressionistic policies without substance. The holy trinity of his major policies, Climate Change, Workplace Relations, and Education Revolution will turn out to be the most “unholy” inexpedient promises he made to the electorate, heavy in symbolism and light in substance.
First, signing the Kyoto Protocol will hardly entice America, China, and India, the highest polluters in the world, to agree to binding emission targets. And Prime Minister Rudd already realizes that this is a great difficulty when he admits that Australia will not be a party to emission targets unless the developed and developing countries also agree to such targets. And without such agreement of the big three his signature of the Protocol therefore will just be one of the last signatures before the former is thrown into the dustbin of the UN, like so many other ineffective and impractical initiatives of the latter.
Secondly, on Workplace Relations after scaring workers that some of them might lose their benefits and even their jobs, all that he will do with his new IR legislation, even as he scraps in name Howard’s WorkChoices, is to tinker on the edges of the Coalition’s IR laws. Careful not to impose upon employers, especially in small business, hefty costs with harsh unfair dismissal laws which would produce an irreversible disincentive for employers to hire more workers, and indeed, in some cases dismiss workers before Rudd’s legislation is in place if business sniffs that the latter will seriously endanger their economic efficiency, and hence their viability, to survive in a highly competitive market.
And, thirdly, on his “Education Revolution” that will provide future generations of Australians with the ‘best education in the world’, to quote him, that will facilitate their entry into the higher levels of the Australian economy. How is he proposing to accomplish this tremendously important task, by merely .providing laptops to all students from year nine to year twelve? Without throwing his revolutionary fervor where the real education revolution lies, not on laptops, but on the quality of teachers and the curriculum they teach and where the teaching unions are a counterrevolutionary force that will not allow any transformation of the status quo, Rudd will fail to achieve his goal. Unless he is prepared to fight the intransigence of the teaching unions on this cardinal issue Rudd’s revolution will be the devolution of education.
As provision of laptops to students, without a real revolution that will overthrow the postmodernist structure of the education system and its PC advocates that is especially entrenched in state schools which are the unions’ protectorate, will merely furnish students with a technical gadget. Without tempting them to climb toward the clear crackling snow peaks of education since there is a dearth of excellent guides, i.e., teachers, to lead their students to trek on the intricate and challenging paths to the Everest of education.
Instead, in government schools where there is a poverty of good teachers and mediocre performance of students, the latter might use the mobile privacy of the laptops to play games and watch sports, and, indeed, to enter the exciting and tempting “illicit” scenes that are spread all over the internet. Kevin Rudd’s laptop “education revolution” therefore might finish as a free ticket to some students to enter the “bordellos” of the global internet.
Therefore, unless Prime Minister Rudd exorcises the spell of the teaching unions that divides government and private schools his revolution will be a farce, “laptop made” and at a high expense to the taxpayer. And parents who aspire for their children to get a good education will take the laptops and couple them with good teachers who are in private schools.
RUDD’S READ MY LIPS: EVER “SORRY”
Prime Minister Rudd’s propensity for “shambolistic” and impressionistic actions is further illustrated by his announcement after his election that unlike his predecessor John Howard he would utter the up till now elusive and unutterable word “sorry” to the present generation of indigenous people for the indignities and sufferings inflicted upon their descendants by past generations of white settlers. And at the same time expressing his strong belief that such an apology would not be followed by a spate of demands for compensation. To believe this before the trumpeting sounds that aboriginal leaders, such as Lowitja O’Donoghue, made in the past and continue to make presently, that such a generous gesture should be accompanied by a generous package of compensation, is delusional.
But one group of professionals who have no illusions and are realistic about the consequences of the uttering the word sorry are the civil libertarian and humanitarian lawyers. Who are already joining a long queue that will deliver this gold laden package to the “stolen generations” through “activist” judges and in anticipation of this lucrative banquet at taxpayers’ expense, that Rudd so capriciously and innocently has set up, lawyers are already licking their chops.
At a time when Australia could be facing a recession as a result of the economic reverberations to the rest of the world of a possible collapse of the housing market in America and its inevitable decline into recession, the country cannot afford to be lavish with its economic resources to an ever expanding cycle of compensations. If it enters into recession the government will need every cent to cushion the country from a hard economic fall. The Treasury should exercise Occam’s razor in its expenditure and should abstain from gratifying the black band arm and bad misplaced conscience of the café latte habitués.
Moreover the Prime Minister in his rash to satisfy his black band clientele does not stop to ponder the pragmatic question that no individual or group of individuals is responsible for the malign actions and deeds of another individual or group of individuals and therefore could not render any meaningful apology on behalf of the latter, as only those who perpetrated these actions are solely responsible for them. To each his own! Nor does he stop to ponder the metaphysical question that the sins of man/woman perceived by human beings as such, in the subtler eyes of history, or if you prefer in the subtlest eyes of God, may not be seen as sins at all as they might originate from his/her human condition and since all humans by their nature are bound to commit them therefore do not have to be exculpated. But we must stop as we are diverting into philosophy and it would be unfair to drag common politicians to tread on its dangerous mountainous paths.
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