Tags: kennett government

21 Aug 2009, Comments (17)

Not a Blasted Wasteland, Part 1

Author: Helen

Someone mentioned that it had been a while since I posted on schools. I’ve written letters to the paper, and thought deep thinky-thoughts about it. There’s a Movement going on in our neighbourhood, and it shows a burgeoning support for public education. But, contrary pinkofemmoblogger that I am, I can’t find it my heart to support them all the way. Why, you say? It’ll take a while to explain.

In my area, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Primary schools. When we moved here, we had three nearly equidistant public schools to choose from, all bright, well resourced and with high morale. We ended up choosing the one just across a park from our house, which the kids could walk to once they were old enough. I even discovered that I had some distant relatives in the area and one, about my age, had taught at that school under the existing principal. How nice is that?

In the matter of high schools, we are not so spoiled. We did have a local high school, which fell victim to the Kennett government school-closing orgy. We do have a local school which is only five kilometres away, and is easily accessible by a bus service which goes right by the school doors.

It happens that this is the school which the daughter attends and at which she’s relentlessly pursuing a highly academic programme, with plenty of input from some impressive and motivated teachers. This school excels in a broad range of areas, with special emphasis on music and the arts, including film and TV, and they excel in maths, science and technology as well.

Here’s the thing: It bears the Scarysuburb name. And it appears that since my area became gentrified, and the Audis and SUVs and two-storey extensions covered the land, the incoming population have the opportunity to send their children there. But the parents who “support public education” don’t want to send their children to Scarysuburb High, because they see it as dangerous, or beyond help, or whatever, because it is part of the existing system. And as everyone knows, the existing public system is scary and failing. They fail to see that it’s the flight of the middle classes to the private and Catholic systems that is leaving the public system underfunded and in danger of becoming a “safety net”.

They want something better, somehow, built for them, so that their kids won’t have to mix with the presumed dangerous paint-sniffers and ice dealers at Scarysuburb High and they will not have to go on a terrifying, twenty-minute bus ride to (gasp) an adjoining suburb.

2 Oct 2006, Comments Off on Bracksed


Author: Helen

Bracks is the name of our Premier here at the bottom of Australia. And a lot of us are very, very pissed off with him. At least, the ones who might in the past have been assumed to vote Labor. A lot of the Liberal voters probably love him because it seems he’s never seen a conservative policy he doesn’t like. Why he doesn’t just go over to the other side is beyond me. The other day, listening to a friend (ex-rusted-on Labor voter like me) nearly lose it over Bracksy and his failings on schools / trains / everything, I sensed that perhaps we had come to a tipping point. There’s a State election on in November.

Sure enough, I saw bracksed.com reported in the AGE, so I went and had a look thinking it might be interesting.

Melbourne people will get the reference to Jeffed.com, Stephen Mayne’s popular website which (although not single handedly) helped to bring down the former Kennett government. That’s no accident – it’s a new Stephen Mayne venture.

There’s a stink of failure about this one. And of other things.


For one thing, the first five links, from the top of the page, appear to be about or by that headcase Andrew Landeryou. Five links! Andrew Landeryou!! How incredibly sad. (“Delia Delegate”, according to Mayne, and Andy Landy are one and the same. What a jolly jape, eh!)

A quick google reveals that Mayne and Landeryou are now at each other’s throats. Why is someone who Steve Mayne presumably detests featured so heavily on the bracksed.com homepage? And we should care because….? I’m interested in their response to Labor and our disastrous public schools, egregious public transport system, halfassed environmental policies and things like that. Not overgrown boys and their backroom rivalries. While you publish this shite, and we have the driest September on record, the State government is logging out catchment areas. Grow up the pair of ya.

But then, I make a mistake assuming bracksed.com is to the left of the Bracks government. While Jeffed.com wasn’t political party specific (someone correct me if I’m getting hazy on my history here.) Bracksed.com’s home page states: “Bracksed.com is published by Stephen Mayne, one of the co-founders of People Power, a political start-up run entirely by volunteers which is contesting all upper house regions and most lower house seats in the 2006 Victorian election…”

Bah. I am incredibly suspicious of People Power. Vern Hughes, the PP candidate for my area (and co-founder and policy writer for the party), is one of those fun guys from the IPA. PPPs, vouchers, “choice”… More of the same neoliberal guff, that is.

A cursory glance at PP’s policies and mission statement confirms my suspicion that it’s a bunch of populist nutbags, which will probably evolve into Urban One Nation Lite. Steven Mayne and Jeffed.com may have delivered us from under the Boot of Jeff, but he’s no help this time around.