Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New Leadership? What a load of Krudd!

It's been almost a year since Kevin Rudd was elected, and apart from a grandiose display of tokenism to keep the Aboriginal community quiet – something Howard couldn't bring himself to do – it's been more of the same economic rationalist garbage from a Government that seems determined to outdo its predecessor on every count.

And speaking of Aboriginal Australia, rather than repeal the controversial legislation that led to the intervention into Aboriginal communities – possibly one of the policies that played into Labor's hands pre-election, Kevin Rudd's so-called Labor Government is going to extend it to include communities in low socio-economic suburbia, starting this month with a trial in the Perth suburb of Cannington. The trial will see welfare payments tied to school attendance. The bottom-line: don't go to school, don't expect to eat.

For years, John Howard's Government presided over an education funding model (the SES) which highly favoured the private or 'independent' sector. His 'for-profit' idealogues did all they could to justify the gross inequity in funding by publicly humiliating state run education and its workforce. Howard's government underfunded public education by $2.9 billion per annum, meddled with curriculum and forced his bigoted nationalism on schools by tying funding to the school flagpole and the singing of the national anthem at assemblies. Of course, all of this was met with much opposition from the Labor Party, who led it's constituents to believe that all would be remedied come November 24th last year

Howard and his losing government must wonder why they were ever disappointed at losing the election. They now have the luxury of sitting in opposition while their one-time opponents work their proverbial butts off to improve upon reactionary Liberal policies and to implement those which Howard and his mates ran out of time to pursue.

Rudd's agenda to play public schools off against each other by awarding grades for student and teacher performance is a case in point. See this article for an in depth analysis of Rudd and Gillard's love affair with the New York model. It seems they're the only two educated people in Australia who think emulating education success (or lack of it) in the United States, is a good idea.

The me-too-ism of this Government is, quite understandably, forcing many of its supporters to question why they didn't see the light a decade or two ago. Optimism is a good quality to have, foolishness is not. And it would be foolish to hope that Rudd and his Labor Government somehow or somewhere have something great in store for working people. It's time to take the gloves off, November is nearly a year ago and Rudd's honeymoon is over.

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