Friday, September 29, 2023

Leftist hate on display again

With typical Leftist obtuseness, they see no contradiction in calling No campaigners racist when they are the ones who are advocating a racially discriminatory policy

image from

Pro-Voice supporters hurled vile abuse at No voters as clashes broke out at an anti-Voice rally last night.

Hundreds of angry Yes voters descended on the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane on Wednesday night for an event featuring outspoken Indigenous No campaigners Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Warren Mundine.

Guests were ushered toward a back entrance, away from the angry mob outside. But their chants were unmistakable even with a glass wall separating them.

'Jacinta Price, you picked a side: genocide,' the protesters chanted. 'Jacinta Price, go to hell. Take your racist s**t as well,' they said next.

As the event concluded, Yes protesters crowded the exits of the venue and began verbally abusing attendees as they tried to leave.

When demonstrators began migrating to the car park the leader of the group took the megaphone and shouted that Senator Price was 'one of the most vile racists in the country'.

The comments enraged No voters who had just spent their night hearing Ms Price give a rousing speech about her concerns with an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 'She's a hero,' one person shouted back.

Within the confines of the venue, Senator Price was treated like a rockstar. No voters were chanting her name, crowding the stage hoping to get a photo or have a private word with the Country Liberal Senator from Alice Springs.

But outside tensions boiled over as guests from the No rally held their own signs and proudly pointed to the merchandise they were wearing - primarily hats and shirts - to antagonise the protesters in return.

Over the next 30 minutes, the two groups traded barbs as police tried to keep the situation from escalating.

Attendees - including journalists and photographers - were branded 'racist scumbags', 'scummy dogs' and 'racist dogs' by protesters, who questioned 'how they can sleep at night' after attending rallies in favor of the No campaign.

One No voter who threw himself in the path of the protesters appeared to be punched in the face, as police lined the streets in an attempt to keep the two rowdy groups separated.

The aggressive display is just the latest example of the divide among Australians as the debate over the Voice referendum heats up.

Just two weeks ago No voters leaving a similar event in Adelaide were called 'racist dogs', 'pigs' and 'crazy w***ers'.


NT bureaucrats soak up half the money given for Aboriginal education

Where is more than half of the NT’s $1.179bn education budget if it’s not being spent on schools? The answer is buried somewhere on the 14th floor of a Darwin office building people call ‘Carpetland’.

The NT Department of Education’s airconditioned offices are a long way from the on-the-ground realities of remote schools. With a supermarket, jeweller and sushi place in the shopping centre below, public servants are at a distance from the remote teachers who sometimes drive through several croc-infested creek crossings to reach their students.

Educators have told The Australian this is a problem because the department has the most power to decide where the money is spent.

Of the 2021-22 NT education budget, less than half ($558.5m) went directly to schools, according to government data released in response to a parliamentary question in writing. The remaining $620.5m was managed centrally.

“It’s just not a good look” is how John Guenther, research leader for education and training with the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, describes the breakdown of spending.

As The Australian has reported, schools across the Territory are the most underfunded in Australia, and many are cutting essential programs and teachers.

“The allocation to corporate services has been increasing well above the inflation level,” Guenther says. “And I don’t see that there is any sort of justification for that because they’re not actually providing any more service.”

It’s hard to ascertain the size of the NT Department of Education, which classifies its bureaucratic or “corporate” staff as “non-service based” and its on-the-ground staff, such as teachers, as “service-based”. The distinction is not clear because some staff work across both categories.

According to the department’s 2021-22 annual report, of 4400 positions, 483 (11 per cent) were non-service based.

However, 2022 Productivity Commission data, which uses a different classification, shows 704 staff “not active” in NT public schools. Analysis by the Australian Education Union NT reveals that for every 1000 students, the NT has 24 non-school staff, compared with nine in the ACT and eight in Tasmania (other small jurisdictions).

The Australian Education Union NT also reports Territory Department of Education spending on non-school staff rose 81 per cent between the 2015 and 2020 financial years, to $123.1m.

At a Darwin press conference this week NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles defended the size of the bureaucracy, saying: “In terms of our agencies, we need to make sure that they have the support to do their job. If we can have people out of agencies and on the ground in schools, that’s absolutely what I want to see. But we, as a government, have certainly invested back into schools, more teachers in our classrooms, more resources for our teachers and more infrastructure for education.”

The NT Education Department says central and corporate spending does funnel into schools, directly and indirectly. It covers costs for things such as principals’ salaries, some staff leave entitlements and allowances, and urgent minor repairs or new works.

In a jurisdiction such as the NT, which has many small and remote schools, it also can make sense to centralise some services; for example, counsellors or health workers who support more than one school.

NT Education Minister Eva Lawler says education is a fundamental human right.

“We fight every day to ensure all students in the NT, no matter how remote they live, have access to a quality education,” she says.

“We have placed high importance (on) ongoing monitoring and accountability mechanisms to track progress and ensure that human rights in education are respected and protected.

“We are working with stakeholders and community groups to ensure that families understand every child has equal access to a quality education here in the NT and that education is the key to removing barriers for success – whatever that success looks like for each individual.”

Accusations of a “bloated bureaucracy” at the cost of essential programs have been longstanding and on both sides of politics.

Former NT Indigenous policies and programs analyst Shane Motlap says a report on the Territory’s educational outcomes in the 1990s should have been a turning point for schools. Instead, all it did was further inflate the bureaucracy.

“It spelled out very, very clearly the literacy and numeracy levels of First Nations people in the NT – it was alarming,” says Motlap, a Mbabaram man. “And because you’ve got public servants in the system, they will do what public servants do, and they will build bureaucracies … that do very little in getting good outcomes or turning around some of the sadder stories.”

He found that it wasn’t uncommon for good programs to be shelved because the government had “run out of resourcing”.

“Good things don’t last up there,” he says. “The good programs go well and then they die. And then I’d ask questions: what do you mean ‘run out of resourcing’?”

Motlap says resources run out because the funding for any program also needs to support the high bureaucratic spending to deliver it.

Former NT principal and Indigenous education academic Gary Fry says the generalised pooling of funds also has hindered transparency around spending.

“What it’s created is this monster, where people are just basically using Aboriginal people for political reasons, putting their hand out for the money, and then just absolutely not accounting for the way that money has been expended,” says Fry, a Dagoman man.

“We can’t continue to do this. The Australian public has been given a disservice of the biggest magnitude, it’s hidden in full view of everyone.”


NAB loses the plot

Judith Sloan

I went onto my online banking account the other day, as you do. But before I could get to the information I needed, I was met with this message: ‘Find out how Australia can secure its share of the global decarbonisation market. Explore insights from the All Systems Go: Powering Ahead report.’

Which bank?, you ask. The answer is the NAB, the wokest of the big four but they are all extremely woke. My parents had banked with the NAB and I have had an account from early childhood. I also own a small parcel of NAB shares. (What are you doing, Judith? But is there any real choice?)

On reflection, the only thing that surprised me about this unwelcome interruption to my online banking activity was that it didn’t involve an exhortation for me to ‘vote Yes’. After all the NAB has donated a cool two mill. to the Yes23 campaign, along with the other three big banks as well as Macquarie.

I could be wrong, but my impression is that the big corporate supporters of Yes have pulled their horns in, although the money has been handed over. Many of the plans devised by the activists in government Relations/HR/ESG departments have been shelved lest there is a blowback from customers and shareholders.

The foyers of head offices were to be festooned with Yes posters and balloons. There would be messages for customers. Staff would be encouraged to ‘do the right thing’ and to tell their contacts to do likewise.

I may be living in a different world – I have been hanging out in Queensland for several months and there is very little to indicate that there is even a referendum coming up. But I still think I’m on the money on this issue (geddit?), not least because of the political pressures imposed by warriors like Senators Matt Canavan and James Patterson.

But let me get back to the unwelcome intrusion to my online banking activity and the ridiculous climate report funded by the NAB. We are told in the blurb that NAB commissioned Deloitte Access Economics so retail customers could learn about the opportunities that exist ‘with the right mix of policy, innovation and investment to trade competitively’. (By the way, this is very good business for the consulting firm, reselling a very similar report already completed.)

Obviously, ‘the country will have to meet its 82-per-cent renewable-energy target, reach interim emissions reduction targets and net zero by 2050, and implement already announced decarbonisation policy initiatives’. After that, lots of really, really big numbers are quoted, including the drumroll figure of $435 billion as the economic opportunity by 2050. Green hydrogen gets quite a few mentions – pause for laughter here.

And what has this got to do with NAB customers? Let’s face it, it’s just assumption-driven horseshit and my guess is that I’m one of the very few NAB customers who would even bother to read it.

There are a few vacuous comments from the NAB chair, Phil Chronican, who warns us that ‘the harsh reality is that only if we hit our targets without replacing exports, we will become a materially poorer nation’. (Hey, Phil, what about the option of not replacing exports?)

But it’s OK, because we are in a strong starting position because of ‘Australia’s natural endowment of land, sunshine and wind’. I guess because no other country has these things.

Needless to say, the NAB chief executive Ross McEwan had to get in on the act with a few similarly vacuous comments of his own. ‘Australia can reap the benefits of innovation and productivity growth (sic) that will lift Australia’s supply-chain competitiveness and put the country on a strong footing as our traditional exports are replaced.’ Oh please, spare me.

But here’s the rub (I guess): ‘As Australia’s biggest business bank, we are here to fund the transition and support our customers with the capital they need to invest in new technology and ideas for future-proofing their business and deliver new ways to grow.’ (Note to Judith: sell.)

Reading between the lines, what the bigwigs at NAB are saying is the bank won’t lend to any fossil fuel projects and it will interrogate the emissions-intensity and decarbonisation plans of all business customers. This will involve not only their own operations but also the emissions intensity of their customers.

In this context, it is not surprising that NAB has its own Chief Climate Officer, no doubt supported by a large department. I thought banks were supposed to be boring but, hey, it’s so much fun skiing off-piste even if the snow is a bit patchy – climate change, you must appreciate.

The ultimate irony of all this is that the wheels are falling off the net zero wagon in many places around the world. No one thinks that B1’s (Chris Bowen’s) 2030 emissions-reduction target is achievable or that 82 per cent of the eastern electricity grid will be powered by renewables by the end of the decade. (How are those plans going for the additional transmission lines, Chris? The plans for offshore wind farms also look dead in the water – another geddit?)

The UK is now walking back from all that climate guff accelerated by Theresa May and Boris. There are delays all over the place – banning petrol/diesel cars, gas boilers, multiple recycling bins, compulsory environmental upgrades of rental properties – although expect all these policies to be quietly ditched at some stage. Oil and gas projects in the North Sea are now being given the go-ahead.

Germany, now with deep economic problems, is also quickly retreating although net zero by 2045 remains the official policy. Crippled by rising electricity prices, a tipping point was the decision by the large chemical company, BASF, to build a new plant in China because of cheap energy prices!

A large fund created from green levies on retail and industrial customers is now being redirected to encourage large industrial operations to remain in Germany by handing out massive subsidies to offset high energy prices. Offshore wind farms have also been a bust in that country and green hydrogen is going nowhere. (The Germans are, however, keen to sell overpriced electrolysers to other mugs happy to throw away their money at green hydrogen.)

Why the luvvies down at the NAB would think it appropriate to hand over a large sum of money to private consulting firm, Deloitte Access Economics, to produce tendentious drivel is anyone’s guess.

I guess it will be a welcome addition to the climate section of the bank’s annual report underpinning its commitment to net zero.

But thank God for small mercies, NAB at least didn’t instruct online account holders to vote Yes – well, as far as I know.


Why bad classroom behaviour is demoralising our teachers

This is a major reason why I sent my son to a private school

Australia is facing a dire teaching shortage, and one of its root causes remains under-addressed: out-of-control classroom behaviour. Privately, and in online discussion groups, teachers report feeling burnt out and unsupported. They face defiant pupils, uncooperative parents and administrators with impossible expectations.

“I’ve been teaching for 22 years. Over that time student behaviours gradually worsened but this has dramatically accelerated since Covid,” lamented one teacher in online forum r/AustralianTeachers.

These anecdotes are backed up by large-scale survey evidence. In 2022, a Monash University study of 5000 teachers found that one-quarter did not feel safe in their job. In online forums, teachers share their war stories. “I’m on duty in a break and I go to tell a group of kids sitting out of bounds and out of sight to come back, and they just say ‘nah, we’re not gonna do that’,” writes one teacher.

“I signed up to teach not to manage behaviour. I always knew I would have to deal with some behaviour, but not to the point where my class has to be evacuated for safety,” reports another.

Forget about microaggressions, or poor-taste jokes (reasons for other workplaces to be described as “toxic”) for teachers, a toxic workplace consists of chairs being thrown around rooms, and weapons being brought to class.

“I’ve had to confiscate knives from students and I’ve been punched in the stomach while pregnant by a student,” reported one teacher in a 2019 study. And it isn’t just the experiences of those teachers who post online. A 2021 survey of 570 Australian teachers found that: “Behaviour management was … frequently nominated by teachers as the greatest challenge they face. Teachers explained that just a small minority of disruptive students can have a large and negative impact on the majority, and that managing these behaviours takes even further time away from teaching. Sixty-eight per cent of teachers indicated they spend more than 10 per cent of their day managing individual student behavioural issues. Seventeen per cent said that this consumes over half their day.”

Parents are not much help, either. Teachers report the parents of defiant pupils often have uncooperative attitudes themselves, and can be dismissive of their child’s bad behaviour. One teacher online shares their daily routine of emailing parents about their child’s disorderly conduct, only to receive such responses as “hahaha sounds like them”.

Within three years, NSW is projected to have a shortfall of 1700 secondary teachers, according to federal Department of Education modelling. And this shortage will be most acute in science and mathematics. This is part of a broader trend across Australia, where more than 9000 secondary teachers are expected to be in short supply, and more than 50,000 teachers are anticipated to leave the profession between 2020 and 2025, including 5000 aged 25 to 29.

Currently, one in five pupils in regional NSW is taught maths by a non-specialist teacher, and up to 70,000 pupils could be affected by teacher shortages by 2030. Despite a government strategy to add 3700 teachers over the next decade, there is still no plan to address teachers’ work conditions, such as deteriorating classrooms and stress, in order to make the profession more sustainable.

So what is to be done? Greg Ashman, a deputy principal and education researcher, argued in a NSW Senate inquiry earlier this year that the first step to fixing a problem is recognising there is one.

The Senate inquiry’s terms of reference emphasised that, based on a 2018 Program for International Assessment analysis, Australian classrooms are some of the most chaotic globally, ranking 69th out of 76 jurisdictions.

Ashman argues that part of the issue is that our education bureaucracy is influenced by ideologies that do not recognise bad behaviour for what it is. Poor behaviour is interpreted as a “form of communication,” meaning a child or teenager is in need of extra support, not consequences.

This is reflected in the comments posted by teachers in online forums: “Apparently we are not supposed to use the term ‘behaviour’ anymore,” wrote one teacher just this week. “Apparently behavioural issues are ‘wellbeing’ issues. And behaviour is a stigmatising term for young people.”

In some cases, bad behaviour is medicalised as Oppositional Defiant Disorder – a disorder that is recognised by the The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5). It may be appropriate to use this label in some cases. However, once a disorder has been diagnosed, all consequences can be interpreted as “discrimination”. Schools are required to be “inclusive” and that means being inclusive of children with ODD.

Disability and mental health diagnoses of all types are on the rise. Last year, 22.5 per cent of schoolchildren in NSW were identified as having at least one “disability”, a label that often works as a get-out-of-consequences-free card.

Given the war stories and dire statistics, perhaps it should be no surprise that 40 per cent of teachers leave the profession within just five years. We do not expect other professionals to work in environments where they are disrespected and, at times, abused just for doing their jobs.

But ultimately, the real victims in all of this are the pupils who are just trying to learn. Disruptive children make it hard for everyone to concentrate, and one problem child can detrimentally impact an entire classroom.

Given the lack of control in our classroom environments, perhaps it is no surprise our literacy and numeracy standards continue to decline. Despite the hundreds of billions spent on education.




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