Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bracks Government Hypocrisy On Schools

Kevin Donnelly author of Why Our Schools Are Failing has exposed the hypocritical double standard of the State government when it comes to selective schools - a double standard which essentially allows Bracks government Education Minister Lynne Kosky to announce the creation of an "elite sports academy" at Maribyrnong, which will have the use of a $17.5 million swimming pool at the same time as only recently having withdrawn funding for the State's gifted students program:

The contradiction, of course, is that while it is now OK to have a secondary school specialising in sport, where students compete for entry and where the curriculum is tailored to meet students' unique demands, the State Government has failed to extend the policy to the academic side of the curriculum.

Competition and excellence in sport is acceptable; unfortunately, the same incentive for academically able students is sadly lacking. Over the past 12 months, not only has Kosky withdrawn funding from the Government's gifted students program, she has also refused permission for schools outside the program to become involved.
- Give Academic Excellence A Sporting Chance

All over Australia, ALP governments spout the rhetoric of a fair go for everyone, yet under Victoria's Bracks government, the only place academically gifted kids can get a fair go is in the private school system. The Bracks government and the AEU conspire to maintain a cookie cutter approach where bureacrats draw lines on maps to decide which kids will be forced to go to which school. Parents who want real choices about what kind of education their children receive are being forced to either shell out for private schooling or risk the academic talent of their children going untapped in a government system restricted by unions and bureacrats.

If Victorian tax payers are going to pay almost $8.4 billion a year for our State education and training system, the least they can expect is the ability to choose which kind of school is best for their child, as opposed to being told that because a bureacrat drew a couple of lines on a map, their child has to attend school X. Every school has a different culture, different emphasis and different strengths - and parents deserve to be able to choose which government school will be best for their child.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Bracks Losing Supporters Left, Right & Centre

Going into an election, you generally have three kinds of voters: those who will definitely vote for you (the rusted on), those who might vote for you (the marginals), and those who will never vote for you (the enemy).

While we all know that Bracks' big lie is costing him marginal votes in the outer east, less well known is the alienation of many 'rusted on' ALP supporters as a result of the mounting stench of factionalism and bad government emanating from the Bracks government.

I heard Steve Bracks on the radio the other day and all he did for me is re-enforce my disappointment in the Victorian Labor government. Back in 1999, I was extremely glad when his party and him were surprisingly elected.

They just put out more and more spin and try to avoid being bagged on talkback radio. His stances on the teacher who has been banned from teaching is just plain lazy. All this government cares about nowdays is not losing the next state election. Well, they have lost my vote and I would often have been considered a rusted on voter.
- My 2.2 Cents (GST Inc.)

In further evidence of Bracks' isolation within the ALP, Lindsay Tanner, a noted left wing Federal MP, began an attack on the Bracks' governments management of the case of the teacher in Orbost, trying to deflect the blame from the ALP to the Liberal State Opposition, who with their enormous number of seats in Parliament obviously bullied Bracks into a corner over the issue.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Bracks' Sardine City Exposed

Over at Fight Fire With Fire, we have posted an article about Bracks' disastrous Melbourne 2030 planning scheme.

...The social engineers might want to squeeze us into European-style dog boxes perched high in the smog filled sky of their “dream” inner urban utopia. They may also want to squash us into crammed Japanese-style public transport and force us to whiff the stench of those next to us as we wait for the unionised train driver to finish his smoko hoping we get to our next appointment on time...

Feel free to read the whole article.

ALP Corruption Marathon

Rex In The City has compiled the ALP Corruption Marathon

It might just be starting to dawn on you by now that The Age is running a campaign against branch stacking and other corruption in the ALP. In this weekend's Saturday Age there was yet another piece suggesting the possibility of a Police investigation, and in addition the always insightful Shaun Carney discusses the ALP malaise and the context of the current fiasco in his opinion piece.

This means that since March 10th there have been 11 articles about the ALP stacking and corruption in just 9 days. Here they are:

Also there's been 8 journalists involved in this story : Ian Munro, Paul Austin, Kirsty Simpson, William Birnbauer, Jason Dowling, Farrah Tomazin, Ewin Hannan, Shaun Carney. So its not just one hack with a bee in his bonnet. The Age is putting quite a lot of resources into this. This is not some page filler. It is a campaign.

The question is why? The right faction who are the ones who recently siezed control, and are the ones principally being accused of the skullduggery, must surely be feeling the heat under this sustained media barrage. They have of course tried to serve up their counter spin. They're saying that its just the Left faction being sore-losers, and there might be an element of truth in that, but if that was all this was about then The Age would have dropped this long ago.

No. I think they know that they've got their teeth stuck into something really meaty. The stories ring true.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Bracks Witchhunt Goes Wrong

Slattsnews has a brilliant post on the way in which the witchhunt for sexually abusive teachers has punished a man who at twenty was picked up for an offense that while serious, does not show him to be in any way a risk to his students.

After a series of cases involving teachers sexually abusing students, the Victorian Government introduced mandatory police checks of serving teachers.

Any convictions of sex with a minor and the chalky was for the road. It was a popular move, but lacking scope for discretion, it was bound to eventually lead to injustice . . .

The young couple did not have sexual intercourse but he admitted that he had fondled the girl’s breasts.

He was reported to police and under advice pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a minor. He has not attempted to hide the matter and as a teacher, now in his 30s, has always behaved in an exemplary fashion.

He was suspended from his job at Orbost Secondary College in January after criminal record checks picked up the 1992 offence. A month later he resigned, citing stress on his family . . .

Referring to the teacher’s starring role with the bat in the town’s cricket final at the weekend, [Orbost Secondary College Principal] Mr Brazier described what in some quarters is referred to as a “man’s man'’.

If anything is going to get up the nose of Kosky and crusading femimarxists in the Education Department it is the notion of popular masculine types in the teaching profession.

Sinister results will always surface when authorities embrace sexist bigotry, political correctness and retrospective morality.

One can only hope that State Premier and former teacher Steve Bracks can for once in his miserable, illiterate existence show a little backbone and over-rule this stupid, malicious decision.

But I suspect that Bracks the bore would find such action, to use his favourite word, “inappropriate".
- Slattsnews

Now, I am not as tolerant as Slatts of the actions which occured back in 1992, after all, the bloke was an adult and fondling the breasts of a girl five years younger than yourself is grossly indecent behaviour at the time. That said, a decade has passed and the teacher in question has proven himself, under scrutiny, to have reformed himself. Part of us all wants to scream that you can't get away with these things, but the other half recognises that this man has changed, and deserves the second chance Bracks government legislation has taken away.

Monday, March 14, 2005

As Darryl Kerrigan would say "Tell Him He's Dreaming!"

If Steve Bracks thinks he is going to get away with letting his factional cronies stack out his enemies within the ALP, then, as Darryl Kerrigan would say, we need to tell him he's dreaming!

Everybody loves a winner, and so for the past five years Bracks has held the different Victorian factions together. However now Bracks' power has peaked and the factions have turned on each other. Bracks is unable to keep them in line.

Beazley has already washed his hands of involvement in the affair. Beazley knows that factional battles are political suicide. He will leave Bracks out to dry if need be - after all the ALP State Premiers didn't even give the last Federal leader of the ALP that much slack.

Kirner may be the one publicly calling for revolt but you can bet your bottom dollar that members of Steve's own parliamentary team are chafing at the bit to have a go at the do nothing Premier.

With the support of his party down to that only of his own faction, only the media and the ballot box stand between Steve Bracks and a parliamentary pension. While Steve won't be meeting his maker at the ballot box till the end of 2006, the media might even wake up and put his feet over the coals a bit before hand.

Today, that infamous reflection of the Victorian chattering classes, The Age's Editorial, has called on Steve to pull his head out of the sand in regards to branch stacking in the Victorian ALP.

Steve Bracks' success so far has rested on a media unwilling to challenge him and a Victorian ALP happy to have government with him rather than opposition without him. With these delicate unwritten pacts fraying at the seams, the days of Bracks do nothing government are now numbered.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Gutless Bracks Lets The Heavies Do The Hard Work

As pointed out earlier, Bracks doesn't have the guts to drop poor performers. Unable to make the hard calls himself, Bracks seems to be leaving the dirty work to the actions of faceless branch stackers. The Age reports:

The Victorian ALP has split over branch stacking, with state Labor president Brian Daley yesterday accusing the ruling administrative committee of refusing to take action to stamp out "corrupt and illegal practices".

In an email to local branch secretaries, obtained by The Age, Mr Daley said he was gravely concerned that the administrative committee - which is dominated by the right-wing faction of Premier Steve Bracks - was refusing to "comply with their responsibilities as set out in the rules of the Victorian branch" . . .
- Labor Split Over Action On Stackers

Ms Kirner accused factional warlords of creating "power fiefdoms" to undermine sitting MPs in the lead-up to preselections, naming Arts Minister Mary Delahunty and Geelong upper house MP Elaine Carbines as two sitting MPs believed to be targeted. - More Than Half of State Labor Members 'Bogus'

Unwilling to take the hard calls himself, Bracks show his utter inability to associate himself with bad news. Get promoted to Cabinet, and Bracks will be there with a big smile and handshake for the cameras. Don't perform, and Bracks will turn a blind eye as the heavies do you over and he denies any knowledge of the act.

Notice how in this March 6 Age article a faceless ALP State MP, Telmo Languiller, is accused of funding branch stacks - and Bracks doesn't even get a mention. This is Bracks ideal - that the heavies without name recognition do his dirty work while he gets to hobnob with European royalty.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Bracks’ weak Cabinet re-shuffle

Premier Bracks demonstrated his leadership weakness in the January re-shuffle of the Victorian Cabinet by failing to remove under-performing Ministers.

The Premier’s media release announcing the Cabinet re-shuffle stated in part:

"There are others who need to diversify their skills who will welcome a challenge in other portfolios."

"Andre Haermeyer will move to the economic portfolios of Manufacturing and Export, Small Business and Financial Services."

Mary Delahunty will retain her portfolio responsibilities of Arts and Womens Affairs.
The Premier apparently believes that Minister Haermeyer needs to diversify his skills and would welcome a challenge in another portfolio. Key economic portfolio responsibilities have therefore been awarded to a failed Minister as part of Premier Bracks’ skills diversity program. Minister Delahunty has had her important Planning responsibilities stripped from her but retains her place in Cabinet with very light Ministerial duties.

The Bracks Cabinet re-shuffle is indicative of either a Premier who is unable to make tough decisions that might offend Labor’s factional interests or of a Parliamentary Party that is bereft of potential Ministerial talent.

Victoria Under Bracks: Uncompetitive, Unattractive & Unemployed

Under the Bracks government, Victoria's economy has slipped from being one of the most competitive in Australia to one of the least so, the latest blow coming with Victoria recording the highest unemployment rate of any Australian state.

State Unemployment Rates - February 2005
South Australia5.3%
New South Wales5.2%
Western Australia4.5%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Building Approvals Fall Under Bracks' Melbourne 2030 Plan

Bracks' Melbourne 2030 plan has always been riddled with contradictions. On one hand, it envisions another million Melburnians yet on the other hand bows to environmentalists in implementing a rigid urban growth boundary.

Given the clear preference by most Melbournians for suburban life, Bracks' intention of getting local councils to allow high density development was bound for failure. What councillor in their right mind will approve a highly inappropriate and unpopular apartment development in the middle of their community? At the same time though, with the urban growth boundary now set in stone, councils can't approve the greenfield alternatives that allow for future growth without destroying the suburbs residents already enjoy. Newly released figures from the ABS highlight the consequential fifteen month slump in building approvals as a result of Bracks' ineptitude:

The trend estimate for total dwelling units in Victoria is showing a decline over the past fifteen months. The trend for private sector houses shows a decline over the past seventeen months - ABS

By contrast, the same ABS report shows rising approvals in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

Bracks Soft On Crime

The state opposition should stop their internal brawling and focus on highlighting the massive failures of the police and the state government in the area of law and order. Failures that leave the general public feeling unprotected and vulnerable. A shuffling of the ministerial deck chairs is window-dressing. The Bracks government is simply soft on crime. It should be held to account for its failings. - Fight Fire With Fire

Bracks Looking For A Free Ride

I have worked in market research for the past few years and only recently moved on. For the first time ever, this morning I received a survey myself, which turned out to be a Victorian state politics poll.

The poll was conducted by an organisation which I know handled the ALP's polling for the Federal and recent Western Australian elections, it only makes sense that this too was an ALP poll.

Most of the poll was fairly standard, having seen political polls before, the questions that struck me as different was the demographic question about public transport, and the question about bias for or against rural and regional areas. These would be extra questions that have been specifically added to the survey at the request of the client (presumably the ALP given the company running the research).

The other interesting point (although not really a surprise) was the emphasis on the state economy, it seems obvious that Bracks is going to try and run on the strength of the Victorian economy.

Although the Victorian election is eighteen months away, Bracks is not asleep. He might not be the best at practical solutions to practical problems, but he committed to one aim, survival. With an eye always on the next news cycle, Bracks seems to be worried about the country as well as public transport, but is preparing to run on Victoria's strong economic performance under the Howard government - hitching a free ride on the back of Howard & Costello's hard work.

The poll itself went something like this:

Do you think Victoria is heading in the right direction or on the wrong track?

Who did you vote for in the past election?

If an election was held today, who would you vote for?

How likely are you to change your vote?

What do you think are the two major issues facing Victoria? Why?

Do you feel positive or negative to Robert Doyle?

Do you feel positive or negative to Steve Bracks?

Who do you prefer as Premier?

How confident do you feel in the State Government's management of the State economy?

How confident do you feel about the State economy?

Are you better or worse off than four years ago?

Do you feel your quality of life is better or worse than four years ago?

Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the state government's performance in each of the following areas?

Keeping Down Taxes & Charges
Public Transport
Town Planning
Law & Order
Industrial Relations

Do you feel the State government has favoured, been fair to, or ignored rural and regional areas?

Then there were the standard demographic questions:


Household Income

Household Type

(and then one very nonstandard demographic question):

Are you a user of public transport?


Six years ago, Bracks came to power, not on his own strength, but merely riding the crest of a backlash against his predecessor to power. Facing real problems, Bracks' hasn't come up with real solutions, protecting

More and more of Bracks' cardboard cut-out solutions are beginning to be exposed, and Victorians are waking up to the grim reality that we've all been Bracksed - fed paper mache solutions to the real and present problems facing our State. Bracks' time has begun to run out - he is being exposed.