Musings of a morbid mind

The general ravings of Scott Baldwin

Sunday, February 26, 2006


On Saturday 25th of February, instead of having friends around for afternoon tea and dinner, we found ourselves defending our besieged house from a combination of torrential rain and blocked drains. The following pictures are to prove that we didn't just make it up because we were running late with the food.

This is a photo of one bright spark who thought it would be a good idea to get out of the street as fast as possible... not caring about the people houses who were, until he charged through, almost flooded.

In this one you can see in the distance a blue car up to its headlights in water, what you probably can't make out is the red car even further off in the distance that is even worse off.

This is looking out of our front door. It was about this point that we cancelled our plans for the afternoon.

Our garage was totally flooded, which has forced us to actually unpack all the boxes that we hadn't got around to unpacking since moving in.... last august.

Response to Peter Costello's recent remarks

In response to Remarks last Thursday by our 'beloved' treasurer Peter Costello (ref Article "Our Values or Home") I would like to offer these criticisms.

Firstly in response to the catch phrase he used "mushy misguided multiculturalism" I would suggest that this makes a mockery of the significant efforts the majority of Australians have been making towards being a multicultural society. As observed by Peters brother Tim Costello, multiculturalism is hard, and I feel that it is something worth working towards.

Secondly by singling out people who have dual citizenship for different forms of punishment than those of us who only have Australian Citizenship, you are creating 2 distinct classes of Citizen, and the distinction is most definitely racist, boiling down essentially to "those who were born here (the pure bread "Australians") and those who weren't. I am whole heartedly in favour of the rule of law, and the law needs to be applied completely impartially to all who are in the society. Although, with the recent advent of sedition laws in Australia, I do feel there is scope to use the rule of law in a very dubious way.

Thirdly, I think that Peter Costello has confused Laws with Values, and it was scary to see the two mixed in such a casual way. You can't legislate values, the concept is preposterous. Further, I would really like to see this set of values that every Australian is supposed to subscribe to. The only possible way to have such a set of values would be to have a very small set of "motherhood statements" which no-one could feasibly disagree with. ie... "We value a peaceful society, we value family, we value community etc.... " which really is completely impractical for any legislative purpose, let alone attempting to build a society on. As soon as you start to add any more complex values, you start to have conflicting values, and you would get less and less Australians "dual citizens or otherwise" subscribing to these values. You certainly would not be able to make ridiculous sweeping statements about an entire nation of more than 20 million people holding the exact same set of values.

In conclusion I think that the analysts are correct, our 'beloved' treasurer is simply making these statements to gain political mileage. Firstly with the baser instincts of the electorate who have been fed a diet of fear ever since September 2001 and allowed our country to participate in a war who's reasons kept changing as we went along, and secondly to the more right-wing elements of his party in the hope he will be seen by them as a possible replacement for the top job.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Public education should be public

I have read a few articles recently that are suggesting some form of public-private partnership as a model for bringing our beleaguered public education system into the 21st century. The latest involving a parents trust sounds OK to start with, I mean would it really hurt parents to invest in their child's education.... until you start to look under the hood a little.

I think that one of the main reasons we have a public education system is to give all children regardless of their parents earning capacities a similar footing from which to start their lives.

I believe that if either the parents trust model goes ahead, then this will negate this ideal, as parents in poorer communities will not be able to put as much into trusts as parents in richer areas. Which will inevitably lead to disparity in the quality of education in these areas and add more to the ever growing divide between rich and poor.

I also believe strongly that curriculum should be based on strong public debate and not set by the whim of a vocal minority group. All models of public-private partnership suffer from this problem, as no private interest will ever be devoid of the desire to influence in some way be it to recoup investment money (such as in the case of an enterprise investing in a school), or just because of the additional investment that parents have made to their child's education.

The solution I put both to the Federal and State governments is to fund public schooling in Australia appropriately.