Monday, October 22, 2012

Leftist bitchiness makes alleged conservative "misogyny" look mild

Comments from a Labor politician comparing a Nationals MP's partner to a "B-grade porn star" have been labelled "sexist and derogatory" by New South Wales Minister for Women Pru Goward.

Labor MP Amanda Fazio reportedly wrote a Facebook update at the parliamentary Spring Ball last Thursday, which stated: "At the NSW Parliament Spring Ball. Excellent singers from Bankstown Talent Program. Geoff Provest has a date that looks like a retired B-grade porn star."

The post, which was made on her private Facebook page and reported by News Ltd, has since been deleted.

Ms Fazio is no looker herself

Ms Goward said this morning the fact the comments were made by a woman made them no less offensive, and hit out at the hypocrisy of the Labor party.  She said the post highlighted the danger in the Labor party setting itself up as "the arbiter" of sexist behaviour.

"Of course it's sexist and derogatory," she said.  "It's not only sexist but tells you where the woman's focus is. Where it should be is on matters of public interest."

The comments come after weeks of attacks by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her federal Labor colleagues on opposition leader Tony Abbott, accusing him of being sexist and misogynist.

Ms Goward said the fact that Ms Fazio was a woman herself did not make the "porn star" comment less offensive. "Some people don't think it's possible for a woman to make a sexist comment about another woman," she said.  "But the question is, how does the comment characterise a woman, and does it characterise her in a way that's demeaning to her gender?"

Opposition leader John Robertson this morning tweeted his disapproval of Ms Fazio's comment.  "Comments reported in Tele today from Amanda Fazio towards Geoff Provest's partner are inappropriate & offensive. There's no place for it," he wrote.

Ms Fazio released a statement this morning apologising "unreservedly" for the remark.  "I am deeply sorry for the comments I made on Facebook and the hurt and offence they have caused," she said.  "The comments were wrong and completely unacceptable. I apologise unreservedly to Ms Hamilton and Mr Provest."


Qld. Labor still behind the secrecy wall

SOME people learn by their mistakes while others are condemned to repeat them.

State Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk appears determined to dwell in the latter camp as she plays I've Got A Secret with Health Minister Lawrence Springborg over the contents of a consultant's report into the future bed needs of Queensland hospitals.

Given that the report was paid for by Queensland taxpayers and relates directly to their needs, you would think that Ms Palaszczuk would be delighted to hand it over to her successor and wish him all the best in his efforts to oversee the crisis-plagued health system.

To do otherwise would seem to be churlish and could serve only to remind the electorate of the walls of secrecy erected around the decision-making process in the Beattie-Bligh years, and behind which cabinet ministers and their Labor "mates" had such a merry old time.

Ms Palaszczuk, however, has been steadfast in her refusal to release the report, saying at first that it was not possible under parliamentary rules - love to help and all that but rules are rules and my hands are tied.

This alludes to the cabinet-in-confidence strategy employed with such industry by the Labor government that saw cartloads of material it wished to hide from the public being trundled into the cabinet room, there to be carefully cloaked in the premier's hand-woven shroud of secrecy.

Ms Palaszczuk, however, was left swinging in the parliamentary breeze when an email sent on July 13 from Cabinet Secretary Anthony Crack to her Chief of Staff Angela MacDonagh surfaced, which made it clear that there was, in effect, nothing to stop her agreeing to the release of the documents.

Oops! Either the Cabinet Secretary was wrong or the Opposition Leader was being economical with the truth. Gee, which could it be?

What, you might wonder, could there be in a report into the future bed needs of Queensland hospitals that Ms Palaszczuk would want to keep stashed under her political mattress?

Had it been a report into what Labor cabinet ministers had been doing in bed and with whom they had been doing it, Ms Palaszczuk's reticence to release its contents would be understandable, but the bed needs of Queensland hospitals would surely make for dull reading.

And the Bligh government spent $30,000 having it compiled so let's see it.

No way, says Ms Palaszczuk. The beds report is staying under the mattress!

Could it just be, some cynical souls have wondered, that this is more about the notorious Health Department payroll stuff-up, which took place under the Bligh government and which continues to bleed the Treasury, than how many hospital beds we might need over the next 10 years?

Mr Springborg is also mightily curious about what is contained in the legal advice that was obtained by the Bligh government as it ever so slowly dawned on it that in buying the IBM payroll system, it might have been sold one of the great IT lemons of the decade.

Legal advice that has been leaked makes it clear that Labor was told IBM may have been guilty of misleading conduct and been in breach of its contract, yet the Bligh government refused to take legal action against it. Why?

In a Pythonesque aside, Ms Palaszczuk has said that she will allow Mr Springborg to look at the legal advice, but there is a catch.

Should he agree to take a quick peek, he must promise not to make a copy or take notes or tell anyone what he has seen and only the cabinet secretary and crown solicitor can accompany him.

It does still not seem to have fully penetrated Ms Palaszczuk's cortex that the voters of Queensland tossed her party on to the electoral scrapheap for exactly the kind of behaviour in which she is indulging and that Mr Springborg, as much as she might wish it were not so, now represents the legitimate government of the state.

She should hand over the reports and the legal advice and suffer the consequences, whatever they may be. The longer she stalls, the deeper becomes the hole she is digging for herself and her party


Experts concerned about the amount of soft drink we're consuming

And exactly what business is it of "experts"?

AUSTRALIANS are swilling a staggering 100 litres of soft drink a head each year - prompting calls for the fizz to be banned from home fridges.

Dentists say children as young as six are having rotten baby teeth pulled out after substituting water with sugary and highly acidic soft drinks.  Adult addicts downing as much as six bottles or cans a day are being left with mouths full of fillings and root canal work.

Soft-drink consumption has bubbled from an average 65 litres in the early 1970s to about 100 litres today, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Australian Beverage Council figures show.  That equates to 267 standard cans a year.

Dr Harleen Kumar, of Smile Solutions in Melbourne, said some young patients had up to four glasses daily.

The problem tended to be worse with teenagers.  "In my opinion, soft drink should be for special occasions only such as birthdays and going out. I say to adults to ban it from the fridge," she said.  "I treated one child who was decay-free and then started drinking a can of soft drink a day. He came back a year later with 20 cavities."

The industry says consumption is slowing after peaking in the 1990s.

Nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton said sugar-sweetened drinks pumped in calories without giving people a feeling of fullness.

Draft national dietary guidelines advised limiting added-sugar drinks, she said.

Australian Beverage Council chief executive officer Geoff Parker said soft drinks had been unfairly "demonised" in the obesity debate.

One in three soft drinks sold were diet versions with artificial sweeteners and no calories.

Dr Stanton said artificial sweeteners still eroded tooth enamel and maintained a sweet taste habit.


Illiterate teachers

TEACHERS are filling lessons, report cards and letters home with errors, including SMS-style spelling, grammatical mistakes and misspelt spelling lists, parents have claimed.

A survey of 480 people about the literacy skills of the nation's teachers found half thought the quality was poor.

More than 40 per cent had noticed spelling or grammatical errors on letters sent home from school and 35 per cent had seen mistakes in report cards and marked assignments.

Other parents claimed their child's teachers lacked passion and skill, taught incorrect information and provided misspelt word lists for children to learn from. Some had even noticed teachers using SMS-style spellings, like l8r (later) and coz (because).

The "must do better" grading comes as the federal government reveals current teachers will be given specialist training to make sure future educators get better mentoring.Current and ex-teachers who took the survey were among those who complained about substandard quality, saying it was depressing.

One teacher from a state high school said many graduate teachers lacked a basic understanding of grammar, spelling and punctuation through their own schooling.  "It's those 20-somethings who just missed out and I'm scared that they're going to be teaching my kids," she said.

Some respondents defended teachers, however, saying they had a difficult job and passion was more important than perfection. Others were angry about "teacher bashing" and argued educators should be afforded more respect.

The survey findings come as the government works on its goal of pushing Aussie children into the top five world performers in numeracy and literacy by 2025.

Under the plan, student teachers will spend more of their degree inside a classroom paired with a specialist mentor. They will get clearer instructions on what's expected of them as their teaching methods are scrutinised.

State governments and independent education authorities will decide what training their mentors will need. At the moment trainees can be instructed by teachers with very little experience themselves.

Parents and teachers who spoke to The Daily Telegraph did not want to be identified, but told of the profession changing from one full of passionate people, to people "just filling in their work day".They wanted graduate teachers tested to validate their skills before they were put into classrooms.

The qualification bar has already been set higher, with entrants to teaching courses needing to score in the top 30 per cent for literacy and numeracy to get in.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the government wanted the "best and brightest" in classrooms.

Parents who took the survey wanted teachers paid more to attract the best candidates.


1 comment:

Paul said...

Why do so many people pop their brains into neutral the minute they open their Facebook page? I don't keep one and probably never will.