Jan 242007

“The Australia I want for the future has a strong economy, but one where we don’t throw the fair go out the back door,” – Federal Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd

ABC News.

Bannerman believes that all Australians want an Australia with a strong economic future, and all would sincerely want a return to the ethos of the ‘fair go’ for all. True egalitarianism. Unlike what the country now experiences, which is one rule for some and another for others. The only way the country will ever return to that ethos is to abandon the politics of fear and loathing fostered by the Howardian regime over the last ten years. If it’s not fear of ‘illegal immigrants’ which in itself is a misnomer, it’s fear of those who practice any religion other than Christianity. It’s fear for employees of employers. It’s fear of losing your job or not even being able to get one. It’s fear of not being able to enter the housing market, of being under-educated, or over-educated in some circumstances. It’s a loathing of those the Howardians call ‘terrorist’, which covers an enormous swathe of those we’ve been told or fostered into fearing.

This is the legacy of the Howardian years. Australian’s deliberately distrusting other Australians, whatever colour, creed, religion or race they may be. Bannerman is not a supporter of multi-culturalism, believing that multi-culturalism simply doesn’t work. The Cronulla Riots being a dramatic example. No more graphically demonstrated by the experiences and cultural impact of the Howardian years. It’s now illegal in this country to do, say or in some cases, even think certain things. On an amusing note, it’s deemed by those of a Howardian bent to be Un-Australian to be un-Howardian in your thought processes. Just what is Un-Australian?

Bannerman wonders, though, how Kevin Rudd’s educational push is going to help provide the Australia he believes all Australians want, need and deserve. Being a Dad, and having brought up three children Bannerman knows that public education is not free. What is these days, he asks? State-responsible education resources might well be funded by the States from the public purse, but it’s far from free to send your children there. There are levies, book fees, school camps, trips to this, that or the other, all of which add up in the longer run to most likely the equivalent of a privately funded education anyway. Two of Bannerman’s children completed their schooling to senior (Qld) level at State schools. The third attended a private college for two years because the State school couldn’t / wouldn’t provide a continuation of the language learning he was very keen on, and is now pursuing into a career. Perhaps this is the angle that Rudd is intending to focus upon. Ensuring that State school funding competes adequately with private school provisions. Bannerman wishes him the best of luck, as Federal politics and State politics don’t and have never seen eye-to-eye.

The Federal responsibility lies with tertiary education. It is this area which the Howardian regime has allowed to atrophy under their watch. Bannerman agrees with HECS. It’s a good moral grounding to ensure that tertiary educated people contribute to that education. The days of a free lunch, so to speak, ended with Rudd’s generation. However, it is incumbent upon the Federal sphere to ensure that Universities, TAFE colleges and similar institutions of further, adult and technical education are adequately funded from the public purse, so as to minimise the burden on the students as much as necessary. Not as much as possible, but only as necessary so that the students can also contribute and ‘own’ their own skilled learning.

There are many facets to providing a good, solid and all-encompassing education system, enabling a country to provide the best to its citizens, in order that the best is obtained from them for the whole. Bannerman looks forward to the provisioning for a soundly based and thorough career advisory structure being put into place for students as they enter the last three years of their secondary schooling lives. A regime which studies, records and offers students possibilities and even probable solutions to the inevitable question of ‘what do I want to do when this is all over?’. Far too many students leave school, enter University or technical college with a vague idea of what they’d like to do or where they’d like to go in life, only to find after one, two or even three years of wasted time and money that they don’t really know. It’s happened to one of Bannerman’s off-spring, who has wasted twelve months of University in an engineering course, only to recognise that he misses his language studies and dearly wants to make something of that success he enjoyed. He’ll succeed, no doubts at all, but, oh, the lost time and expense.

Indeed, good, well-meaning words are encouraging. Buying time on television for political advertising is wonder too, but voters have seen that avenue also used to foster fear and loathing through lies. The truth of the matter, as the saying goes, is in the experiencing of the reality. Bannerman wants to see minutiae, costings, dissolution of responsibilities before he’ll stamp ‘APPROVED’. Until that time, it’s only words.

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