The Dog’s Bollocks

Truth is like a dog’s bollocks – pretty obvious if you care to look.

Howard’s vision of The Future (now with welfare for the wealthy)

SpoonerAt his Campaign launch, Howard remarked to the effect that an $800 tax rebate for school fees to millionaires was a break through in public policy – the transformation from a Welfare Economy to an Opportunity Economy is complete. WTF? Middle class welfare is now available to the ultra rich!

Howard’s education policy announced yesterday provides $6 billion in the name of education, yet not one cent of it will go directly to schools, let alone public schools. All it is doing is adding another inflationary cash injection into the consumer economy as reimbursements for money already spent. But based on past form, it would be naive to have expected anything else from Howard, who has doggedly pursued privatisation of education through a combination of funding policies which facilitate the flow from of cash from the public sector to the private sector and a sustained culture war on the teaching profession, portraying them as Maoist ideologues who brainwash our children with an elitist, left-wing, politically correct post-modern view of the world and our history.

Head Girl, Julie Bishop, trumpets the policy as one of giving choice to parents, for they are the best people to decide how best to spend the education dollar. The full manifestation of Howard’s vision would create a three-tiered education system. At the top will be the sandstone colleges – always the exclusive preserve of the wealthy and well-connected. In the middle will be McPrivate Schools, probably built and run in Public Private partnerships with the likes of ABC Learning Corporation, catering for the aspirational middle class who can’t afford the real thing. And the rest? Well we’ll train them to be grease in the wheels of commerce. A proper education can only be obtained in the private school system, and only by those who can afford it. The rest of the population can have a safety net education and access to ‘proper’ technical schools.

Add into that mix yet another underclass – migrant guest workers. Then we can do what France and Britain have done – exploit migrant guest workers for more than a generation and yet not grant them rights of citizenship, creating the conditions for unrest and alienation from the second generation Australian born. I guess it will be good for sustaining The War on Terror. Oops, don’t mention The War!

Chuck in 25 foreign-owned nuclear rectors around the coastline adjacent to Australian cities as a climate change solution, put the Adelaide-Darwin railway to the use intended by its owner, Halliburton – the people who gave us the Iraq War – and ship in US nuclear waste and ship out yellowcake to all comers.

Yep, sounds like a vision for the future all right.

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Filed under: Ass Hattery, Australian values, Education, Federal Election 2007, Ideology, Politics

2 Responses

  1. slim says:

    Check out Tony Phillips at Web Diary for a great analysis of the political magic behind Howard’s education handout.

    What Howard is trying to do is the opposite of Keating, and in a capitalist society where wealth buys influence and PR, something much easier. He’s trying to keep the respectable working class, from whom the aspirationals of today’s marketing-speak are drawn, interested in middle and upper class welfare. To give enough of them enough of a titbit to give his government those key votes needed to get over the line.

    For the roughly 70% of families who don’t have kids at private schools this policy offers little more than a nudge towards considering moving to one. Some poorer members of this group may not even claim the full $800 rebate, since they must spend $2000 to get $800 back. For the other 30% of families, well perhaps 15-20% are likely to gratefully pocket the cash but probably would have voted Liberal anyway. But of the others…, well in the marginal seats, Howard and his people must be calculating this pork may make the difference he needs. For him it’s good politics: he looks after his electoral interest and still sticks to his pattern of redistributions that favour the wealthy in the private sector.

    Of course his other ongoing policies, of 230,000 new immigrants a year, negative gearing tax breaks for housing investors that effectively leave them paying 20-25% less for houses than home owners, and the rampant spending promises that will push up inflation, these will all come back to belt those same aspirationals. Through house prices, through interest rates, through loss of amenity, and in terms of (lost) future opportunities for their kids.

    But he’s counting on them lacking the education to see it.

  2. the public schools on our district can really give some good education to young kids. they have high standards ~’`

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The Dog’s Bollocks

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