Friday, April 03, 2009

Rude Rudd

Ho hum! Just another big Leftist ego behind the "caring" facade

KEVIN Rudd reduced a young female RAAF cabin attendant to tears with a tirade of abuse because he did not get a meal he wanted during a VIP flight. The Prime Minister was forced to apologise for his behaviour, which appalled a number of senior Government officials. An official report was filed by the flight crew about the behaviour of VIP No. 1 - Mr Rudd - after the flight from Port Moresby to Canberra in late January, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Mr Rudd, who had attended the Pacific Islands Forum, was told by the 23-year-old flight attendant that his request for a "special" meal - he is on a meat-free diet - could not be met.

Sources said the PM reacted "strongly" and a heated exchange followed. The attendant burst into tears and reported the matter to the senior cabin attendant. She later composed herself and continued with the in-flight service. "The crew were distressed but later in flight apologies were made by all," the report says. It is believed Mr Rudd made a personal apology.

The PM's chief spin doctor, Lachlan Harris, initially tried to cover up the incident with a flat denial that it had even occurred. But the report by the Commander of the VIP fleet, Group Capt Peter Wood, leaves no doubt about Mr Rudd's behaviour. It says cabin crew on board the taxpayer-funded Boeing 737 VIP aircraft were not even aware of Mr Rudd's special meal request. Mr Rudd has been losing weight and is on a non-red meat and fruit only dessert diet.

It is not the first unsavoury incident involving Mr Rudd and RAAF cabin crew. During a flight between Sydney and Canberra last June he became "extremely irritated" when the only food on offer was gourmet sandwiches, rather than a hot meal, a source said.

The Boeing 737 VIP jet costs more than $28,000 an hour to run and the first-class service includes the best available food, wine, spirits and beer. The Port Moresby-Canberra flight would have cost taxpayers about $150,000. The flying visit to PNG included a "who's who" of senior public servants, who spent the return flight putting the finishing touches to the Government's $42 billion economic stimulus package.

Last year Mr Rudd admitted to not being a very careful eater after eating a dodgy pie at the footy. "I don't pay a whole lot of attention to what I eat. When someone hands me something I stick it in my mouth, so there's a problem with that," he said. And according to his wife Therese Rein he makes a "fierce" chocolate cake.

The Defence Department said it was not appropriate to comment on the service provided by No. 34 Squadron on its aircraft. A spokesman for Mr Rudd, who is in London for the G20 Summit, said the PM was happy with the service. "The Prime Minister travels on the special purpose aircraft all of the time and is very happy with the outstanding level of service provided by the dedicated members of the 34 Squadron," the spokesman said.

Air force flight attendants are paid between $47,000 and $68,000 a year and are required to display a high degree of courtesy and discretion and be able to work unsupervised.


Don't spare the rod

Overwork, large classes and poor pay are issues that worry new teachers. But according to a recent Australian Education Union survey of teachers across Australia, the other issue at the forefront of their minds is classroom behaviour. The 2008 survey, which drew 1545 responses, ranks disruptive students second on a list of 11 issues - rating 66.1 per cent, compared with 68.5 per cent for concerns about workload, 62.9 per cent for pay and 62.6 per cent for class sizes. Of even more concern is that the figure on behaviour reflects a jump of more than 10 per cent compared with the 2007 survey. At the secondary level, the issue is ranked number one, with a rating of 71.4 per cent.

Victorian school leaders also see disruptive students as a serious issue. The president of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, Brian Burgess, recently criticised the Brumby Government for weakening the power of schools to deal with the problem.

Australian teachers and principals are not alone in expressing anxiety about the damaging effects of classroom misbehaviour. In Britain, a recent teacher survey found that 45.5 per cent of those interviewed said challenging behaviour was a daily event and nearly two-thirds agreed that student behaviour had grown worse since they had started teaching.

Disruptive behaviour does not just undermine learning; equally damaging is its effect on teacher morale and wellbeing. According to one newspaper report, cases of stress leave for Victorian teachers have risen from 125 in 2006 to 170 in 2008. Beyond the cost of WorkCover claims, many qualified and committed teachers leave the profession early because of the anxiety and stress caused by disruptive students. It needs to be noted, too, that many beginning teachers are also concerned about aggressive and demanding parents, with 86.5 per cent saying that their training had not adequately prepared them for dealing with what many teachers describe as the angry parent syndrome.

What's to be done? At a time when teachers are told that they must solve society's problems - from drug and alcohol abuse to sex education, self-esteem and wellness training, road safety, diet and, following Black Saturday, bushfire prevention - it's time to say enough is enough.

Parents are primarily responsible for raising their children and for instilling discipline and respect for others. It should be no surprise that children who are indulged, spoilt and turned into prima donnas at home cause disruption at school. So-called helicopter parents - the ones always hovering around, interfering and giving advice - should realise that they need to stand back, give children responsibility and allow teachers and schools to set and enforce their rules free from interference.

Based on the AEU beginning teachers' survey, it is clear that pre-service teacher education needs to be more effective in equipping teachers to cope with classroom realities. When asked whether their training had prepared them to deal with particular groups of challenging students, such as those from non-English speaking backgrounds, those with disabilities and those from dysfunctional backgrounds, nearly 70 per cent said "no".

Inquiries into teacher education have recommended that more time be given to practical classroom experience, with less emphasis on educational theory and more on what constitutes effective, research-based classroom practice.

Most baby boomer teachers my age will remember the '70s and '80s, when formal discipline went out the window - along with the strap and school inspectors - and classroom rules were negotiated, teachers were called by their first name and a student's rights had priority over those of the group.

One response to unruly behaviour, advocated by Britain's Office for Standards in Education, is a return to traditional discipline and a more authoritarian school environment. Comprehensive schools in disadvantaged areas have received positive reports after taking up such an approach. In drawing a clear line between life on the streets and what is accepted in the classroom, schools have banned hoodies and gang colours, introduced formal assemblies, clear rules that are enforced quickly and consistently, and strict uniform regulations. Many inner-city US schools have also turned behaviour around by enforcing strict rules and by promoting a school culture that rewards effort and success.

Compare such approaches with what takes place in many Australian schools, where discipline procedures are convoluted and bureaucratic. It's often assumed that teachers are at fault and parents are only too willing to take their children's side in any dispute. In one notable example of how difficult it is to enforce discipline, a Victorian teacher failed to intervene in a schoolyard fight between a group of girls, most likely because of what would have happened if he had manhandled one of them.

Research shows that, along with a rigorous, properly defined curriculum, teachers are the most important factor in successful learning. To be effective, teachers need to be well paid, well resourced and to be given the power to maintain discipline in the classroom.


Australia's new Leftist government is trying to hide the renewed flow of illegals

The previous conservative government stopped the flow of illegals arriving by boat, to widespread public approval. Abandonment by the new government of the policies reponsible for that has seen the flow resume, with boats now arriving roughly weekly -- and the boats concerned are getting bigger, with more people aboard. In fear of public opinion, the present government is resorting to the usual Leftist kneejerk reaction: secrecy

FIFTY Sri Lankans found stranded on a Torres Strait reef have been flown to Christmas Island and are being investigated by Immigration officials. Secrecy cloaked the identity of the group as officials declined to confirm if they were fishermen, asylum seekers or from a boat linked to a people-smuggling syndicate.

Officials confirmed both a border control plane and Customs vessel had been tracking their boat through the treacherous Warrior Reef when it ran aground. But it has not been confirmed which direction they were travelling or why authorities were so closely monitoring the movements of the vessel.

It is understood a specially charted plane was last night dispatched to Horn Island to transfer the group, reportedly Sri Lankans, to Christmas Island detention facility.

Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus yesterday confirmed Customs officers detained the group on Warrior Reef, about 65 nautical miles north-east of Thursday Island. On Christmas Island they will have health, security and other checks to establish their identity and reasons for travel.

Getano Lui, from Yam Island, the island closest to the Warrior Reef passage, confirmed secrecy had shrouded the rescue mission.


Some more details here.

Too many cooks in Australia's legal immigration broth

Too many foreign cooks are spoiling the broth for locals seeking jobs in hospitality, says a Monash University study. New figures show that the annual number of overseas students who did cooking courses in Australia and then gained permanent residency had more than tripled to 3250 in just two years. This compares with only 2300 Australians who completed cooking apprenticeships in 2007. The Monash report, to be released today, says many of the private operators that are providing the one-year courses have poor standards and are an easy route for immigration.

Thousands of students, mainly from India, attend cooking schools in Melbourne as part of an international student boom worth $11 billion to Australia. So competitive is the industry that overseas students are stopped on city streets and offered laptops and discounted fees to change schools. In leaflets obtained by the Herald Sun, agents for the schools boast of their success in getting residency visas while offering weekend classes with no exams.

The Monash report, The Cooking-Immigration Nexus, was written by migration experts Dr Bob Birrell and Dr Ernest Healy, and labour market researcher Bob Kinnaird. The authors said that despite the Rudd Government's moves to tighten the skilled migration program, it was failing to stem the rising tide of foreign students trained as cooks in Australia.

While cooking had been removed from the list of critical skills needed here, foreigners with minimal work experience could still be sponsored by employers, they said. "Employers have an incentive to take advantage of the relatively low wages and conditions former overseas students will accept in return for a permanent residence sponsorship," the report said. The report is published in the latest issue of People and Place, the journal of Monash's Centre for Population and Urban Research.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would hate to be the attendant who has to serve Mr Rudd's special meal of earwax a la orange on his next flight, or does he only eat his preferred delicacy in Parliament? The Daily Telegraph "editorial" on the issue was shamefully wishy-washy, going into contortions to make light of the incident. Mr Rudd's behaviour was contemtible, churlish and undignified. Tell him so in straight, unambiguous words.