Friday, May 03, 2013

Monash University 'sexist' cupcakes furore

This is an established way of  highlighting official discrimination but all the evidence shows that, other things being equal, there is NO discrimination against women in the workforce

MONASH University students are in a social media frenzy about a "sexist" campaign where men were charged 20c more than women for a cupcake.

The Student Association’s Women’s Department sold the cupcakes as part of a campaign to highlight gender wage differences.

The cakes were $1 for men, 80c for women and 60c for transgender students.

A Facebook post calling the stall sexist has received nearly 1500 likes and attracted more than 900 comments on the invite-only Monash StalkerSpace Facebook page.

Tess Gian posted: “to the ‘Women’s’ stand on clayton campus selling cupcakes … that is not feminism. that’s sexism. You want to demand equality? It goes both ways.”

A Monash Student Association public affairs officer, who did not want to be named, said the stall aimed to “raise awareness of the gender pay gaps” that exist in the workplace. It was not sexist but “positive discrimination”.

Monash University law student Louisa Ashton, 21, was among those who stepped in to defend the campaign on Facebook.

Ms Ashton told Waverley Leader many of the angry students had missed the point.

“They were selling the cupcakes to reflect the exact pay differences in society,” she said.  “I think it was quite brilliant actually. It got people talking."

But Stefan Kotzamanis was one of many who slammed the idea.  “They honestly met in a group and thought having different prices based on sexes was a good idea?”

Rachel Archie Wall-e posted: “the best thing they could think of doing was baking? to promote women's rights? i don't want to inadvertently stereotype but their choice surprises me.”

More than 180 people "liked" her post.

The stall was held on the Menzies lawn at Monash and organised by the Monash Student Association’s Women’s Department for Blue Stockings Week, which celebrates women in higher education.


Catholic schools worst hit under Federal Government reforms of education funding

ABOUT one in six Queensland schools will be worse off under the Federal Government's Gonski reforms, according to a letter signed by Premier Campbell Newman and sent to principals.

Catholic schools in low socio-economic areas will be hit hardest, says the letter, which contains a list of funding decreases for about 300 individual schools for the year 2019.

Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Mike Byrne said the potential impact on schools continued to fluctuate, along with continuing negotiations with the Federal Government, and the process was causing "a great deal of uncertainty".

Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said they had 33 schools on the list and also raised concerns about uncertainty around the details of the proposed funding model.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said it was believed the State Government's list was incorrect and called on Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett to refute it.

A spokeswoman for Mr Garrett last night maintained no Queensland school would be worse off.  "From 2014-19 there will be more funding for all schools, including growth of at least 3 per cent," she said.

"Queensland schools will only be worse off if the reforms don't go ahead because the state has not committed to decent indexation or extra investment."

According to the letter sent by Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek's office, Brisbane Grammar and Girls Grammar schools, Churchie, Brisbane Boys' College and Somerville House all face losses, while remote, rural and regional state schools like Bajool, Emu Creek and Goomeri also face declines.

Schools in low socio-economic areas make regular appearances on the list, despite Gonski providing loadings for disadvantaged students.

Catholic schools have the 10 biggest decreases - most in low socio-economic areas.

In the letter Mr Newman and Mr Langbroek write "while Queensland would have been delighted to be the first state to sign up to these reforms ... we still have serious concerns".

"At this point in negotiations, the Federal Government's financial models indicate that about 300 Queensland schools will be worse off by signing up to the Gonski formula, in its present form," the letter states.


Contestability is the key

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman writes below

MANY of the Commission of Audit recommendations relate to the issue of contestability, which essentially means testing how services can best be delivered for Queenslanders.

Contestability is a process, not an outcome. It doesn't mean that services will be outsourced to the private sector. It doesn't mean that services will be retained.

It's about ensuring Queenslanders get the best service at the best price.

Despite scaremongering from the union bosses and Labor, contestability and outsourcing of Government services have been happening for years.

For example, public hospital services are already provided by the Mater (a non-government hospital in Brisbane) and Noosa (operated by a private provider)

It's interesting to note that under the former Labor government, outsourcing of Queensland Health services grew by more than 24 per cent from $792 million in 2008-09 to $986 million in 2011-12.

Similarly, bus services in southeast Queensland are provided by 17 different bus operators, 16 of which are private operators. Each contracted bus operator owns the assets used to deliver the services and is required to meet specific standards.

Further, nearly two thirds of the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services' budget is provided to non-government organisations to deliver services on behalf of the Government.

I firmly believe Queenslanders care much less about who is the provider than they care about access, quality and timeliness of the services they receive - as well as how much tax they have to pay.  They care about real outcomes, not bureaucratic inputs.

Today in Queensland there are Queenslanders who need services and are not receiving them because the way they have been delivered has not changed for decades.

There are public servants who want to do more for their fellow Queenslanders but have not been provided with the tools to help them to do it.

There are private sector operators and non-government organisations that have new ideas and ways of approaching problems that are not being heard.  That has to change. That will change.

The Government's response to the Commission of Audit report is about ensuring our public service is the best in Australia - efficient, effective and totally committed to delivering for the people of Queensland.

Our response is a plan for Queensland's future. It's a plan to create jobs and supercharge the state's economy, making the most of our natural resources and the talents of our people, while ensuring we enhance essential services and protect those who need a helping hand.

It's about ensuring Queensland remains a great state, with great opportunities.


Hunting renewed for NSW forests

Recreational hunting has been approved in 180 state forests for a further 10 years despite a cloud hanging over the governance of the Game Council NSW, responsible for overseeing the program.

The decision was announced by Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson. The review of the governance of the Game Council has delayed the introduction of hunting in the state's national parks until at least mid-June. It was prompted by an investigation into whether one the council's senior executives, Greg McFarland and a council volunteer illegally killed a goat on private land.

In March, Mr O'Farrell told parliament the report by the Internal Audit Bureau, passed to the police, revealed evidence of "alleged illegal activities". Mr McFarland, who was the council's acting chief executive, denies the allegations.

The Premier said the IAB report also identified "possible breaches of Game Council policies and procedures, information which raises questions about governance procedures within the Game Council".

National parks would not be opened to hunting until the government had responded to the review, Mr O'Farrell said.

The review, by retired public servant Steve Dunn, was initially due by May 31 but this was recently extended to mid-June.

Greens MP David Shoebridge questioned the decision to re-declare the state forests for recreational hunting: "If the government has safety concerns about the Game Council operating hunting in national parks, then how can they extend their oversight in state forests for another decade?"

A spokeswoman for Ms Hodgkinson said "the re-declaration process is entirely separate from the Dunn review." She said Game Council licensed hunters "have been assisting with feral and game animal control in declared state forests for seven years. There have been no incidents which suggest any changes to the arrangement are required."

Hunting was to begin in 79 national parks and reserves last month under a deal struck between Mr O'Farrell and the Shooters and Fishers Party to secure passage of electricity privatisation legislation.


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