Why’s everyone so down on the Gillard Liberal Government?

I don’t understand why everyone is so down on the Gillard Liberal Government.

Last week they secured our nation’s borders from a tiny number of vulnerable people seeking our protection as per the treaties we signed back when we thought it’d be good to be decent human beings. Together these people were going to cost us a tiny fraction of what we’re going to spend cruelly locking them up indefinitely to teach them a lesson. We were in serious danger of being guilted into doing something humane and principled, and the ALP leader’s adoption of long-standing Liberal Party policy has saved us from doing that.

The Gillard team has also worked really hard to make sure that we don’t get the idea that our government will protect us from persecution by other countries. Every Australian will have been reassured to see this week that Australians being chased for “treason” by the US will have to flee to the Ecuadorian embassy instead.

The Prime Minister has consistently made a point of defending marriage by advocating against people getting married, and stood up for religious freedom by implementing whatever policy will make the Australian “Christian” Lobby say slightly less negative things about her. She generously gave them one of the most powerful arguments for the law discriminating between people on the basis of gender, when she pointed out that she doesn’t personally want to get married, so, you know, why should gay people have the right to make that choice for themselves?

And today this brave Liberal announced plans to increase the amount ordinary Australians pay to subsidise the education of the kids of the rich. Hey, if poor kids wanted a reasonable chance of competing for scarce university places and jobs then all they had to do was choose to be born to more affluent parents. The rich kids made a better decision in that regard and therefore deserve to have the government lock in their advantages over the kids who chose poorly – that’s just being fair.

Gillard has given us the kind of good, honest conservative government that Australians voted for at the last election. I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.

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100 responses to “Why’s everyone so down on the Gillard Liberal Government?

  1. She should start taking a power walk every morning dressed in a daggy track suit.

  2. Great blog J. But can someone tell me why the Labor Party is so keen to subsidise private schools?!

    Meanwhile, up here in QLD, the new Premier is merrily cutting the guts out of public school programmes like music tuition.

    God knows how far Abbot will go once he gets his hands on the wheel.

  3. It is hard to tell the difference between Joolya`s Libor regime and John-W Howard`s Laberal regime. Have they got `Gay-Married`?

  4. I’m beginning to wonder, apart from the person who will be sitting in the PM’s chair in the HoR (Turnbull?), how we’ll know the difference between the current ALP government and an LNP one.

    Ok, that’s a bit silly, but like Howard’s government rushed to take up many of One Nation’s policies so the ALP is doing the same with LNP policies. And it’s working for them, another two points up in Newspoll.

    Doesn’t this constant move to the right (not just the right anymore, really, but the far right on policies such as asylum seekers and public education), scare the pants of people when they think of the future of Australia?

  5. Abbott thinks public schools are over-funded?

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/school-blue-sees-abbott-scramble-20120820-24irj.html

    What alternative universe does he live in?

  6. @Ronson: I don’t know, but I suspect in his universe Ayn Rand survived just fine without government assistance in her old age.

  7. Wisdom Like Silence

    Atlas Hugged was much more loving and socialist than I expected, most sequels are terrible.

  8. Why vote for ‘Liberal Lite’ when you can just vote for the real Liberals?

    I’m dying for Labor to give me an excuse to vote for them at the next election but at this point they apparently stand for absolutely nothing. The only time they significantly deviate from Liberal Party policy is when they’re capitulating to Green blackmail, which is hardly a ringing endorsement of their ideological principals.

    Who is occupying the centre Left these days? Who is giving a voice to those of us who are socially progressive but economically conservative?

    Time for Labor to die and a new party to rise from the ashes.

  9. Splatterbottom

    If private schools produce better outcomes, why not have more of them.

    The Gonski Report is based on a false premise – you fix problems by throwing more money at them. It might have been better to look at what is required to get better outcomes.

    Giving principals more control, and holding them accountable for the outcomes, would be a good place to start. If you don’t want to empower public school principals in this way then it makes more sense to give more to private schools were it will be better spent and where more kids will be better educated at a lower cost to the public.

  10. I don’t like Gillard and her government for a variety of reasons, but it’s good see an article which lays out the true facts for a change.

    http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/08/21/the-gillard-governments-sticky-wicket/

  11. Wisdom Like Silence

    What issues would giving more power to principals solve? And how could we make them accountable? And accountable for what?

  12. Splatterbottom

    If principals have more power to remediate or move on under-performing teachers then the quality of teaching should improve.

    Principals should be accountable for the way the school is run, the quality of the teaching services delivered there and the outcomes achieved by the students.

  13. If private schools produce better outcomes, why not have more of them.

    That’s fine, as long as they’re not excluding kids whose parents can’t or won’t pay.

    I object to taxpayer dollars funding services the poor can’t access. Particularly the kids of the poor.

    The Gonski Report is based on a false premise – you fix problems by throwing more money at them.

    Weird that that’s the approach of every single participant in the debate. The private schools were demanding more money to be “fair” to the kids of the rich.

  14. If private schools produce better outcomes, why not have more of them.

    Well SB – if these ‘private’ schools continue to suck up more and more taxpayer-provided assistance then they sort of cease to be private don’t they? They become, in essence, publicly funded entities.

    It’s a strange position for an advocate of the free market like yourself to take.

  15. A good post Jeremy.

    I suspect this shift to the right will drive any remaining progressives out of the Labor party and into the waiting arms of progressive Independents, the Australian Sex Party and the Greens. Reckon we’d better get used to minority governments and coalitions in the future, the days of either of the two big parties wielding absolute control will soon be over. Good riddance.

    As i see it, access to a decent standard of education and heath care is a right in a civil society.The government is obliged to provide these services to a certain standard, not necessarily to the highest standard available, but delivered w/ a trade off between economics and outcomes.

    I am happy for my taxes to fund the running of a civil society, but i am not happy to bankroll the perpetuation of a class system, with one standard of education and health care for the rich and another for the poor. If people want a better standard of education or health care than that provided by the state, then they are free to pay for it with their own money.

    Parents who choose to send their children to private schools are voluntarily opting out of the public system with a view to giving their offspring a competitive edge in life. Fair enough, but I fail to see why they think they should be compensated or subsidized for doing so. This is the same middle class welfare mentality that has the Libs pushing for the public purse to fund nannies.

    BTW I don’t have kids and don’t plan on having any, so i am subsidizing all you breeders, rich and poor alike.. ;)

  16. Well said, duncan.

  17. “Well said, duncan”

    +1

  18. Wisdom Like Silence

    Not all private schools are for mucky mucks, some are desperately needed where they are, either because the government can’t afford or can’t find staff for schools, especially in remote communities in the NT, and most of those schools, despite funding, run at a loss. Now that doesn’t excuse ridiculous arguments about injustice to do with schooling because Education isn’t a commodity and public schools don’t make any money at all and deal with kids from every walk of life and so the discrepancy in funding is to their advantage and rightly so and should be larger, far larger. Unfortunately most of the time it’s religiousy persons and their religiousy religiousness that guilts them into thinking they’re doing it for the right reasons, but the fact remains that resources are scarce in the sticks and we need all the help we can get. A fire a brim stone approach to funding just wouldn’t help. Maybe Chemo.

  19. If private schools produce better outcomes, why not have more of them.

    Couldn’t agree more. Problem is, though, that they don’t.

  20. Couldn’t agree more. Problem is, though, that they don’t.

    Debatable. There’s no doubt that selection bias is a large part of the superior outcomes of private school students; however while there is evidence it explains the effect entirely, I think more research would need to be done to make the case conclusive.

    Of course if they don’t actually produce better outcomes, this has two implications for the debate that most private school critics don’t seem to be in a hurry to talk about:

    1) There is no equity argument for ending public funding of private schools – private schools essentially are a simple transfer of wealth from the parents who pay for them to the snake oil salesmen who run them, and to a lesser extent to the taxpayer.

    2) If we increased overall funding in education so that public schools have access to the same level of resources currently enjoyed by private schools, is there any good reason to believe this would have much impact on outcomes?

  21. There is no equity argument for ending public funding of private schools – private schools essentially are a simple transfer of wealth from the parents who pay for them to the snake oil salesmen who run them, and to a lesser extent to the taxpayer.

    Uh … not sure what you’re trying to argue here. Maybe you need to draw a picture or something.

    If we increased overall funding in education so that public schools have access to the same level of resources currently enjoyed by private schools, is there any good reason to believe this would have much impact on outcomes?

    That is actually an argument often heard from private school advocates: “Surely you can’t fix the problems in public schools just by THROWING MONEY at them?” Jonathan Kozol is often heard taking the piss out of that one.

    The thing is, Jordan, the private schools you are thinking of can do the same job as the Melbourne Highs and the Mac.Robs of the world only by SPENDING SIGNIFICANTLY MORE AMOUNTS OF MONEY on them. The amount of money (from public and private sources) spent on a child in an elite private school is around 3 times that spent on a child in a public school – and all-too frequently coming up with the same result: good VCE scores; entry to their chosen course at university; able to take on subjects that are challenging and that they enjoy; and most importantly they are well-educated. A 200% mark-up is a rip off in anyone’s book – amazing that Australians, tight-fisted as we are, don’t make more of a fuss about that sort of thing.

  22. duncan1978

    BTW I don’t have kids and don’t plan on having any, so i am subsidizing all you breeders, rich and poor alike..

    Which would only appear fair, Duncan, given it will be the ‘breeders’ providing the next generation of taxpayers to subsidize you and/or other wilfully childless types when the infirmities old age encroaches upon your perpetual adolescence.

    Someone has to keep the great ponzi scheme of the cradle-to-the-grave welfare state afloat, Duncan, and, given the greying of the population, that would appear not to be the eternal teenagers among us who believe being childless is a lifestyle choice, not a biological misfortune.

    So the next time you’re out and about and see a family of ‘breeders’, Duncan, go up and say ‘thanks’ for keeping the show on the road.

    P.S. The idea that things contingent upon economic circumstances, such as education and health, are ‘human rights’ is the latest corruption of reason and language the Left has given us. Human rights are the intangible things that depend not on what one’s government can afford: freedom of speech, thought, assembly and the such.
    All else are material desirables, not ‘rights’.

  23. I don’t agree with the premise that private schools don’t confer advantage. The people who send their kids to elite schools aren’t all gullible dupes. And you can look at the percentage of kids going to the higher-rated universities who attended private schools to confirm this.

    The point is, kids shouldn’t be segregated during the compulsory school hours by their parents’ wealth. No school should be excluding kids because their parents can’t or won’t pay fees. Fees should never be a barrier between two kids receiving the same education.

    We’re not a genuine meritocracy while kids do not all have similar resources put into their education.

  24. Ah, but I didn´t say anything about “advantage”. I said that they don’t provide “better outcomes”. Ah HAHHH!

    In all seriousness, though: yes, there is a difference. I know very well your support for public schools but can’t agree that private schools are good for society.

  25. And you can look at the percentage of kids going to the higher-rated universities who attended private schools to confirm this.

    Correlation, she ain’t causation. If you control for the benefits the kids derive from – well, it seems to be mainly about having parents who care enough about education to want to invest substantially in it – there would appear to be little to no educational advantage from private schooling, at least in those few cases where we actually have solid evidence.

    See here, for instance.

  26. zaratoothbrush

    Why do I get the feeling that Howard B. is only allowed out in public if he’s strapped to a trolley and made to wear a hockey mask.

  27. Human rights are the intangible things that depend not on what one’s government can afford: freedom of speech, thought, assembly and the such

    You’re wrong Howard.

    Human rights are not defined according to cost – they are defined according to our willingess to agree, as human beings, about what things we should all be able to access without restriction. Rights that we believe our government should guarantee to us.

    The ‘rights’ you’ve listed above are no different – and they certainly aren’t free. They very much come with a cost attached inasmuch as the courts, the police and even our military cost money.

    Arguing that a decent standard of education and healthcare should be treated as a basic human right, and therefore should be guaranteed to us by government, is neither a corruption of language nor logic.

  28. Splatterbottom

    “The idea that things contingent upon economic circumstances, such as education and health, are ‘human rights’ is the latest corruption of reason and language the Left has given us. “

    Spot on.

    That attitude is a by-product of the diseased thinking of meglomaniacs. It justifies big government which inevitably diminishes real human rights like the right to own private property and the right to free speech. The government which provides everything takes everything.

    The provision of education and health services is something a society might do to the extent it can afford to do so and the citizens decide to do so.

  29. zaratoothbrush

    real human rights like the right to own private property

    Don’t forget the right to sleep under bridges…

    It’s a bitter tragedy that the people whose “human rights” are threatened the most, on the planet that Howard and Mr. Bottom live on at least, are the rich and the powerful, because, surely the richer you are, the more the Gubmint wants to take from you. So obviously the biggest defilers of our “human rights” are those meglomaniacs in Africa currently starving on our dollar. Oh the Humanity…

  30. Splatterbottom

    The right to own private property is a pre-requisite for civilisation. Societies without it are either stuck in the stone age, defunct communist states or North Korea.

  31. zaratoothbrush

    The right to own private property is a pre-requisite for civilisation

    So is the rule of law and the social contract. I’m thinking of the United States, where the social contract was torn to shreds years ago, and so large areas of the country have turned into giant ghettoes serviced by prison labour.

  32. zaratoothbrush

    Oh yeah, I should add that my comment just looked obliquely at property,and went on to make a humble allusion to human decency and the lying hypocrisy of freedom “lovers” like yourself. But you didn’t have to read it, did you, that’s freedom for you.

  33. The right to own private property is a pre-requisite for civilisation. Societies without it are either stuck in the stone age, defunct communist states or North Korea.

    I like that for the purpose of that comment, SB includes societies with taxation as societies with “the right to own private property”. But the reason he’s doing that is that he’s actually trying to claim that taxation is in contrast to “the right to own private property”.

    See the problem?

  34. Howard, B:

    Now look here you chaps, the very idea that learnin to read and write is a right. Well, I mean to say, look..what?..good grief it’s us chaps with the serious moolah that count. You lesser chaps were born to lose what? If you lower orders were meant to read and right your fathers would have provided the means..what? Steady on, get a grip, someones got to dig the latrines..what? Got it? Top hole. Carry on.

  35. SB:

    Lawd love a duck you are so right sire, yes sirE whatever you say. Blow me down with a feather if you aren’t the most amazin’ bloke what I’ve ever had the pleasure to drool over sir, your honour, your highness. I know my place, right down here at the bottom. We don’t need any health care sire, it’s better that most of us die orf, then you and the higher orders can enjoy life to the full sire your honour. Sorry about the smell.

  36. zaratoothbrush

    Oh Eric, you rascally old diseased-thinking megalomaniac you, thanks for the laughs ;-)

  37. The right to own private property is a pre-requisite for civilisation.

    Is that a retrospective and eternal right?
    Or does it begin at the point that you’ve acquired what ‘private property’ you desire and end when it’s pointed out that someone else has a greater right to that property?
    Were a representative from the local Aboriginal community to knock on your door with irrefutable proof that you’ve built your house on his private property, I wonder how civilised you’d be about accommodating his wishes for you to piss off?
    And that lovely diamond that you bought your wife all those years ago, what about that?
    I’m sure the English, Portuguese and Dutch thieves who contrived to have the ‘private property’ of the South Western African communities transferred to them by colonial fiat have got their money.
    But what of the people who actually owned those lands, and the diamonds under them, since the dawn of time? I suppose you view them as being ‘stuck in the stone-age’ and, therefore, undeserving of any recompense for the theft of their ‘private property’.
    A person who held true to their convictions on this matter would seek to redress the wrongs from which they’ve profited. But you what, SB, if we had to settle the accounts for all the bounty that we’ve stolen and cleverly converted to our ‘private property’, then we civilised people would soon be reduced to shoveling shit for our day jobs.

    Nobody is advocating that we all suddenly undo 500 years of colonial rape, pillage and enslavement, but to disguise it as some high-minded, philosophical hallmark of a civilised society is just about enough to make me puke!

    Cheers.

  38. narcoticmusing

    This whole discussion reminds me of the predictable response (refer for example to yesterday’s papers) to any discussion about [insert any form of welfare or assistance for the poor/desperate/etc here]. We have a group of people that will stand up and say that, despite living costs increasing greater than CPI particularly for the poor (who do not have the luxury to buy luxuries which is what lowers the CPI) and despite all evidence that welfare is economically sound on every measure (it takes little tax to provide yet all the money is returned to the State because again, no luxuries) – we’ll have a group saying that welfare recipients are ‘cheats’ and ‘bludgers’ and that by providing a basic (so much so it continually diminishes the poor’s ability to exit poverty) safety net we encourage them to never work or seek work (again this is despite requirements to seek work).

    That same group – ever critical of the poor – will never voice the same level of vitriolic disgust at the criminal activities of the rich to avoid taxation – where sums of money in excess of the ENTIRE welfare burden are avoided through illegal activities. Avoiding tax is something only the rich can afford to do, and yet, it is not given the same scathing treatment.

  39. erratum;
    1/. unclosed blockquote tag.
    2/. “But you what, SB” should read “But you know what, SB”

    Still feeling a bit pukey.

    Cheers

  40. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “SB includes societies with taxation as societies with “the right to own private property”. But the reason he’s doing that is that he’s actually trying to claim that taxation is in contrast to “the right to own private property”.”

    Not quite sure what you are getting at here. As you know I am a creature of balance. Taxation is necessary, at the very least to provide for the defence of a society. History tells us what happens to societies unable to defend themselves. I would take it further and say that there are other beneficial uses to which taxation can be put, including the provision of modest levels of welfare. But we should also bear in mind that the government that provides everything ends up taking everything, including our basic freedoms.

    Marek: “Is that a retrospective and eternal right?”
    ….
    Nobody is advocating that we all suddenly undo 500 years of colonial rape, pillage and enslavement, but to disguise it as some high-minded, philosophical hallmark of a civilised society is just about enough to make me puke!

    You are missing the point, silly rabbit.

    Civilisation is a controversial term. My view is that it is what people do with their extra time – art, culture and the pursuit of happiness. Trouble is that you only have that extra time to the extent that society husbands its resources efficiently. And that will only occur with private property and the right to use and dispose of it. (As an aside, this is precisely why community title is such a failure.)

    So Marek, if you are happy with a stone age existence where you spend the vast majority of your short life scrounging for survival then fine, don’t have a right to private property. If on the other hand you want to wallow in your ennui in the relatively decadent lifestyle of the modern intellectual elite, someone is going to have to earn the means to pay for it and they will do so by exploiting private property. And not only that – every cent the government spends comes from the private sector. All the welfare, public health and education, all of it, paid for by the private sector.

    Also, my point wasn’t to do with colonialism. However, I do find that most people who drone on and on about colonialism use it to selectively bash white westerners. It is a bit like those who tone down their feminism outside that context. Such is the stinking hypocrisy so prevalent on the left.

    Narcotic, welfare is by its nature degrading. It is an admission of failure. An optimist would try to devise a system where it isn’t necessary. The main losers under that scenario would be the bleeding hearts who would become emotionally unstable as they would have no one left to pity

    “Avoiding tax is something only the rich can afford to do, and yet, it is not given the same scathing treatment.”

    You should have a word to Noam Chomsky about his need to use tax havens in his business affairs.

  41. “Avoiding tax is something only the rich can afford to do, and yet, it is not given the same scathing treatment.”

    You should have a word to Noam Chomsky about his need to use tax havens in his business affairs.

    Way to go responding to that comment without actually saying anything.

  42. welfare is by its nature degrading. It is an admission of failure.

    There are numerous things more degrading than welfare. Low pay, unregulated working hours and conditions, “downsizing”. In fact, those are the “degrading” things you have to wade through before you get to welfare. Welfare should be actually presented as an opportunity to lift yourself up out of the degrading cesspit that (ALL HAIL!!!!) capitalism has thrown you into.

  43. zaratoothbrush

    Sigh. Corporate America stashes 31 TRILLION dollars in foreign tax havens. One of the hardest working people of all time sets up a trust fund for his grandchildren, and out come the bilious cripples with HYPOCRITE! HYPOCRITE! HYPOCRITE! SPEWING from their megaphones. So then we can all forget about the $31 trillion, right?

  44. zaratoothbrush

    Way to go responding to that comment without actually saying anything

    Yeah, we’re all getting that. Like so many men he’s probably spent his whole life doing his best to look like he isn’t scared; doesn’t mean he isn’t of course.

  45. zaratoothbrush

    welfare … is an admission of failure

    Horseshit – it’s an admission that shit happens, that all of us need people, and if people can’t be there, it does us all good to provide an alternative. The whole idea of “failure” is alienated masculinist bullshit: failure breeds shame; shame breeds the kind of sickness you seem to suffer.

    The main losers under that scenario would be the bleeding hearts who would become emotionally unstable as they would have no one left to pity

    Fuck you too.

    Such is the stinking hypocrisy so prevalent on the left

    Fuck you too.

    You should have a word to Noam Chomsky about his need to use tax havens

    Fuck you too

    That attitude is a by-product of the diseased thinking of megalomaniacs

    Fuck you too, and so on.

    Thanks for listening.

  46. zara,

    Don’t take SB too seriously……that’s his job.

  47. zaratoothbrush

    Trust me, I spend most of my time doubled over laughing at the poor sad little monkey ;-)

  48. The right to own private property is a pre-requisite for civilisation.

    And the provision of a decent starndard of education to your citizens isn’t?

  49. Or even a decent “standard” or education.

  50. Or even a decent standard “of” education.

    God damn it . . .

  51. Splatterbottom

    RM: “There are numerous things more degrading than welfare. Low pay, unregulated working hours and conditions, “downsizing”. In fact, those are the “degrading” things you have to wade through before you get to welfare. Welfare should be actually presented as an opportunity to lift yourself up out of the degrading cesspit that (ALL HAIL!!!!) capitalism has thrown you into.”

    RM, it is the free market that actually provides a decent living to more people than any other system yet devised. Even in the days of the dark satanic mills capitalism was much, much better than the alternative. The evidence for this is that the population increased massively in that period because far more people survived. Obviously the misanthropic left despises this outcome which is why they hate capitalism and free markets.

    Mondo: “And the provision of a decent standard of education to your citizens isn’t?

    That is an optional extra. It comes afterwards when there is enough surplus to pay for it. But look at the way this is approached in the Gonski Report. The report is all about spending more money (i.e. it is basically a stitch-up between the teacher unions and the government). It doesn’t examine how matters might be improved much beyond throwing money at the problem. As soon as you start looking at evaluating and improving the quality of teachers or giving principals more control and accountability the unions go nuts. Just throwing money at the problem (always the default position of the terminally stupid) is not going to improve literacy and numeracy at all.

  52. zaratoothbrush

    Obviously the misanthropic left despises this outcome

    always the default position of the terminally stupid

    Do you have Tourette’s, or something?

    Really, someone who hates so many people as much as you do, should learn to gag on the word “misanthropic”.

  53. That is an optional extra. It comes afterwards when there is enough surplus to pay for it.

    My argument with you SB is not about whether the Gonski review’s recommendations are sound or not – it is with your contention that treating education and healthcare as basic human rights is a corruption of that term (or indeed “the diseased thinking of megalomaniacs”).

    To my mind both are precursors to a healthy and civilised society and thus considering them through the prism of ‘human rights’ is not only valid but entirely rational.

  54. zaratoothbrush

    To my mind both are precursors to a healthy and civilised society

    Indeed. Just look at the prison state of America, which is quite rapidly descending into a rearguard battle against barbarism, while a tiny minority enriches itself beyond the bounds of all sanity and dignity, by stealing both from the “lower” hemisphere and their own countrymen.

  55. narcoticmusing

    It doesn’t examine how matters might be improved much beyond throwing money at the problem.
    This assumes the Feds* know any other way to deal with anything. Have you had a look at how the Feds ran hospitals in Canberra? It had the least efficient hospitals in the country and the most over-resourced. It is a sad day when you can say the NSW govt could run it better.
    *This is irrespective of which party makes up the Government of the day.

  56. “RM, it is the free market that actually provides a decent living to more people than any other system yet devised. Even in the days of the dark satanic mills capitalism was much, much better than the alternative. ”

    I see SB is still talking a load of horse CACA as per usual. What alternative do you speak of SB? The evil Karl Marx and Stalin weren’t even born when the medieval bully boys were doing their best work. The mills in Manchester were opened in the 1700;s. Like I said the usual horse caca. Did you go too school? At least I have an excuse for being a bit thick, I left in grade seven.

  57. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, human rights are the basic rights endowed on all human beings. I get that the left would like to characterise its social agenda as human rights and enshrine it in a bill of rights but that is little more than a political tactic.

    There is a fundamental difference between those who see the state primarily as guarantor of freedoms based on older concepts of human rights such as the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and those who see the state primarily as provider of social services. The balanced view of this is to recognise the fundamental importance of the former while acknowledging the benefits of some involvement of the state in providing social services. The conclusion that follows from this is that fundamental human rights should be constitutionally entrenched to protect the citizen from the state whereas the nature and extent of the state’s role in providing social services is a matter for political debate.

  58. Splatterbottom

    “Did you go too school? At least I have an excuse for being a bit thick, I left in grade seven.”

    Obviously.

  59. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “This assumes the Feds* know any other way to deal with anything.”

    I expected more of Gonski. Maybe he was constrained by the terms of reference.

  60. zaratoothbrush

    human rights should be constitutionally entrenched to protect the citizen from the state

    There’s only ever one citizen in this scenario is there. A real David and Goliath battle. It never happens that maybe there are groups of citizens who need protecting from the collective outcome of large number of citizens, or even a small group of powerful people, enjoying the exercise of their rights in a fashion that impinges upon the rights of the less powerful group to pursue their own happiness.

    Of course SB isn’t really interested in any of this; his real passion is in slandering his favourite scapegoats, which includes just about everybody who uses this blog, and even the blog owner himself. Though he doesn’t do this directly of course, it’s always some nebulous mob of lefty “types” over the horizon somewhere.

    I don’t think there’s been a better fed troll in the entire global blogosphere.

  61. My eyes must be going on me. Did I really see SB use the phrase “throwing money at them” – TWICE?!

  62. zaratoothbrush

    Did I really see SB use the phrase “throwing money at them” – TWICE?!

    Ugh – imagine going through this blog’s archives and counting how often he used terms like “misanthropic left” or “the stinking hypocrisy so prevalent on the left” and the always lovely “bleeding hearts.” That’d add up to a vat of poison big enough to provide a lifetime season of Macbeth, … er, the “Scottish play” (for the witches’ scenes of course.)

  63. “Obviously”

    I don’t need confirmation of what I know. I have given you my excuse, what’s yours?

  64. Ugh – imagine going through this blog’s archives and counting how often he used terms like “misanthropic left” or “the stinking hypocrisy so prevalent on the left” and the always lovely “bleeding hearts.” That’d add up to a vat of poison big enough to provide a lifetime season of Macbeth, … er, the “Scottish play” (for the witches’ scenes of course.)

    It’s real troll by numbers stuff. It could be a bot of some kind. Surely a human would’ve tired of it by now and moved on.

  65. zaratoothbrush

    It could be a bot of some kind

    Yes, I’ve suspected that myself for some time now. That might explain why it ignores so many good arguments – it just hasn’t been programmed to such advanced parameters. Just this afternoon, Marek make a solid, educated argument about the dark truth behind the fantasy of private property, and SB – er, I mean the bot, replied with simply a cascade of snide ad hominems worthy of a teenage dropout, which probably gives a clue as to the age of the scriptor. But, as you suggest, it couldn’t possibly be human.

  66. 1) Wondering how simpy barbaric the right are, how low they’ll actually go?

    2) Want to know how bad it could actually get under a contemporary right wing government?

    Education and health care: “an optional extra”.
    Queensland: a model enacted.

  67. Mondo, human rights are the basic rights endowed on all human beings.

    Sure SB – but endowed by whom? Who decides what these basic rights are and how are they endowed upon us?

    Without getting too philosophial here I’d suggest that the answer is simply ‘us’ and ‘through our laws’. If we as Australians decide to treat a particular right as a ‘human right’ – be it private property, freedom of speech or the right to an education – then that’s all that’s needed for it to actually become a human right.

    Your (and Howard’s) attempt to impose an artificial limits around what can and can’t be chosen in this regard seems illegitimate to me.

    You obviously disagree that ‘the right to proper eduction’ should be accepted as a human right – and that’s fair enough – but insisting that we all subscribe to some arbitrary definition of ‘human right’ (the “older concepts” which happen to conveniently exclude education and healthcare) is obviously circular reasoning.

  68. Splatterbottom

    Mondo: “Sure SB – but endowed by whom? Who decides what these basic rights are and how are they endowed upon us?”

    The idea of fundamental human rights comes out of enlightenment thinking, although there are precursors such as the right to habeus corpus in the Magna Carta.. You can see this idea being developed in the UK Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the US Constitution.

    In all of these cases the context is a political contest for power. The divine right of kings doesn’t cut it anymore and people are seeking another mode of government. In the US case sovereignty is vested in the people and based on the idea that all people are equal and have innate rights applicable at all times and places. In a sense, that is an arbitrary choice but it is based on the idea of human equality. Once you admit that then most of the rights that have traditionally been called human rights follow from that premise.

    “insisting that we all subscribe to some arbitrary definition of ‘human right’ (the “older concepts” which happen to conveniently exclude education and healthcare) is obviously circular reasoning.”

    The important difference between the “older concepts” and newer notions is that the older rights are generally negative rights in that they seek to prevent interference with the citizen’s free exercise of those rights. The newer rights impose positive obligations on the state to transfer goods or services to individuals.

    It is one thing to say that society ought to provide health and education services. That is a legitimate matter for parliament to decide, having regard to its ability to provide those things and the need for it to do so. It is quite another to draft those rights into a constitutional document and having judges decide whether or not the state has provided those services to the satisfaction of the court. The type and extent of government welfare is a political matter which should be decided by parliament rather than activist judges.

    As I said earlier the idea of constitutionally enshrining rights such as education health is just another way of entrenching a political agenda. It is merely a political tactic. It deserves to fail as it would empower judges at the expense of parliament and, as such, is undemocratic.

  69. zaratoothbrush

    it would empower judges at the expense of parliament

    Judges are ALREADY empowered to reject legislation if they see it as unconstitutional, you daft, bombastic moron! Jesus, man THINK! Calling the deliberations of judges undemocratic on ANY issue simply makes the case for the abolition of the judiciary. All that impressive recitation of stuff you read in uni ruined by your felt obligation to say something of your own in conclusion ;-(

    This whole division of positive and negative rights/liberty is itself a political strategy. The dichotomy of citizen/state can only be validated if one assumes that these two entities are endemically hostile. This is a manifestly false assumption. Take the U.S, where the massive power of the state is mobilised to confer equally massive advantages of certain sectors of society at the expense of others. When such an artificial imbalance of wealth and power exists, the dichotomy of citizen/state evaporates into a multi-faceted conflict of different interests, which a simple dichotomous view of rights cannot mediate. So what we are left with is one sector adopting an empirically invalid account of “rights” to justify its state-assisted monopolisation of the resources available to the community as a whole. And also, you suck.

  70. narcoticmusing

    It could be a bot of some kind
    Way to argue the issue. No one here is obliged to answer any one person’s challenge or claim. People post here for many reasons, few of us do it to satisfy someone else. You may not value disagreement, but his ‘spice’ notwithstanding, I value SBs contributions despite that I don’t often agree with them. You see, it is not a requirement of my believe in his sentience that he agree with me or that he uses phrases I prefer.

    SB, your clarification regarding what society ought to provide versus whether that thing is enshrined as a right is interesting – because they are very separate issues when we are talking (as we are) about matters that have significant imposts on the State. I suppose that makes me wonder what you think of the many human rights instruments, including those that do recognise issues such as housing/shelter etc as a right?

    There is a distinction though, I agree, between what society ought to do (positive obligations to other citizens) and what they should not do (negative rights). I’m not convinced it is so black and white, this is because the State does have duties and duties essentially create rights, albeit not these unalienable rights you speak of, but of similar merit.

    I agree that if you look at if from the view of individuals – I am not convinced, despite much persuasive literature out there that our laws are not ‘aspirational’ enough – that we we can or should,force another to help someone in need. While I agree that we ought help the person in need, it is not for me to impose that duty on another.

    That being said, when that analogy is expanded to the State, I don’t think it is that simple. I think the State does have duties to the people beyond merely what it ‘ought to do’ due to both rights (such as equality of access requirements) and generating legitimate expectations – these duties required by the State could be said to essentially be the other side of the coin of rights to which citizens are beneficiaries. Certainly, these are already enforceable in a court of law, for example access to services consistent with the State obligation / promise /etc.

  71. narcoticmusing

    Despite that my other comment has been (hopefully only temporarily) eaten by the glory that is WordPress… I should say that ‘activist judges’ should not be a touchstone to unconstitutionality or thwarting Parliament. There are examples where it can be argued, but it is not generally so. Parliament and the government must obey the law, the Courts are there to ensure this happens and sometimes Government and/or the executive exceeds its power. In this way, the courts assist in maintaining the very limitations the legislature put in place. Other times, they ensure the limitations of the Constitution is respected. Many view this as judicial activism as it can over-rule legislation with ‘judge made’ law – this is not a bad thing when the legislature acted outside their power. It is the whole point of the Constitution.

    Absolute power is repugnant in a democracy.

  72. zaratoothbrush

    his ‘spice’ notwithstanding

    You mean his constant repetition of abuse over many years, including countless ad hominem replies to serious critiques of his opinions. You think that’s tolerable. You think that, regardless of his incessant, reckless disrespect for just about everybody here, he still has something serious to say that deserves to be taken seriously? Some of us have more self-respect than that….

  73. narcoticmusing

    I agree that I dislike many of his remarks and I’ve taken him to task when a comment is offensive, but it is ironic for you to speak of rights and then wish to deny him his right to dislike the left side of politics and express that however he may. I also find that many of your responses, zara, lack the very same constructive tone you insist from him. Anyone who disagrees with you, you take to task personally. But guess what, it is because you are human. We all do it, we know we probably shouldn’t.

    Basically, I have observed and witnessed first hand that you often play the man and not the issue – you are not alone in that. I’ve done that. We’ve all done that. SB is also not alone in adding ‘spice’ or making generalist abusive statements about a particular side of politics. We are passionate people and we get frustrated and perhaps don’t articulate our views as best as we could or direct our frustration at people. I also find that many of his responses are constructive and believe we are better for his presence, in that it challenges us, than for his absence in which we would all far too often agree or only really debate the sidelines.

    I rarely agree with SB, I rarely resort to abuse (although I doubt any of us can admit to never losing our cool), but I do value SB’s contribution.

  74. narcoticmusing

    countless ad hominem replies to serious critiques of his opinions

    He owes you nothing, just as you owe him nothing. He does not live just to answer your or some other ‘serious critique’ of his view. The irony that you would talk about rights but be willing to strip him of his and encumber him with duties to serve your ego because you dislike his manner is completely lacking any notion of justice.

  75. But narcotic, you don’t understand – someone is WRONG on the INTERNET!

  76. In the US case sovereignty is vested in the people and based on the idea that all people are equal and have innate rights applicable at all times and places.

    Yet, can you think of any country which upholds those espoused principles any less than the USA?
    I’m sure you don’t need to be reminded that as the founding fathers wrote their high-minded bullshit about all men being created equal, they glanced out over their ‘private property’, stolen for them by Colonial fiat, and smiled at how rich they were becoming through the work of their nigger slaves ‘private property’.
    You must be so proud to be the modern champion of such principles.

    Cheers,

  77. zaratoothbrush

    The irony that you would talk about rights but be willing to strip him of his

    Fuck, I don’t know – If I call something black, does that mean I’m denying its right to be white?

  78. zaratoothbrush

    But narcotic, you don’t understand – someone is WRONG on the INTERNET!

    Not the internet, man, old boy, just Jeremy’s blog. Jeremy’s a decent bloke; his blog is dedicated to the advancement of human decency. When someone comes along and does their best to undermine that, through the relentless use of bullshit, well, it’s not unreasonable to want to do something.

  79. zaratoothbrush

    The idea that narc feels so compelled to defend poor, poor, poor splatterbottom’s innocent little hatred from the predations of my towering ego is the most hilarious travesty I’ve heard in a long, long time ;-)

  80. Mondo

    … but insisting that we all subscribe to some arbitrary definition of ‘human right’ (the “older concepts” which happen to conveniently exclude education and healthcare) is obviously circular reasoning.

    Not at all, dear Mondo, it’s all very objective in definition and linear in reasoning.

    We can as a society, as you suggest, declare all sorts of material entitlements as “rights”, true. Healthcare, dental care, housing, primary, secondary and tertiary education, there are even those who would add internet access to the list of intrinsic and eternal rights we should all be entitled to without condition. Condition being the operative word here, Mondo.

    For all the aforementioned material ‘rights’ are not merely conditional upon the state respecting one’s human rights, they are now conditional upon the state’s economic ability to actively provide these ‘human rights’ as you would define them. A budgetary problem is now a potential ‘human rights’ violation.

    No longer are human rights those intrinsic and intangible things that we inherently possess, that will flourish unless violated, things that can only be taken away, not given, they are now material hand-outs to be doled-out courtesy of the state. And this is where you have it wrong Mondo:

    If we confuse those immaterial rights that will always exist unless actively violated, with material entitlements that must given, I believe we lose sight of the noble sentiments for which the term “human rights” should be reserved for.

  81. Howard, B:

    Look here, it’s my noble sentiments that count. I mean to say, poor people can die in droves from no health care, bloomin fuzzy wuzzies don’t need to read and write any old how..what could the lower orders possibly learn anyway? They’re lower orders, they can’t progress, they’re stuck in the bloomin stone age anyway. Us decent properly educated fellows don’t confuse noble sentiment with your so called bolshi “rights” what? We’d have to pay for them, and lets face it, our money is our own, it’s been in our families for centuries and we’re never going to spend it on annoying smelly little oiks like you. Clear? Cheerio..pip pip. What?

  82. SB:

    Oh cor blimey gawd bless you sire. Of course!!! As long as we keep the rights thingys “intrinsic and intangible” (whatever them there words might really mean begging your pardon your highship) them we won’t have to do anything at all about them!!!

    Well strewth if that’s not your usual pure genius thinking with your brain thingy sire. We are so lucky to have you up there looking after us your lordhiship your honour sire.

  83. A budgetary problem is now a potential ‘human rights’ violation.

    Indeed, HowardB, just as a national security problem is a potential ‘human rights’ violation.
    Or a religious viewpoint is a potential ‘human rights’ violation.
    Or….. well, you get the point.
    We should be able to address competing issues to achieve a satisfactory, though not perfect, balance between what we ought to do and what we can do for the citizenry.

    For the record, I don’t consider access to education and healthcare as natural human rights.
    I view them as a subset of the right to social justice and dignity, which, in my opinion, is a natural human right.
    You, or SB, may feel inclined to scoff at such an ideal as the product of foetid Leftist thought, but, I can tell you; I’ve seen enough crap over the years in ‘Developing’ countries to know that a bit of justice and dignity is all people need to flourish.

    Cheers.

  84. narcoticmusing

    Well said Marek.

    Zara – you may want to actually listen to yourself speak (so to speak, given this is typed text). Your posts are riddled with hypocrisy and arrogance. Towering ego indeed. Just read your posts and your tone – take a moment to reflect on yourself. Three posts in a row all yours, all your own ego. A significant number of your posts are abusive and often aimed at an individual merely because you disagree with them.

    The idea that you, Zara feel so compelled to defend poor, poor, poor Jeremy’s innocent little blog from the predations of any form of dissenting view is the most hilarious travesty I’ve heard in a long, long time.

    I will always defend the right to a view opposed from yours (and mine) because I hate the thought that others may fear posting views that differ simply because of the possibility of immature, facile abuse that comes from you (and others). You remind me of the sort of asshole acolyte law student that is appalled by the idea of defending a person charged with a horrid crime – thus missing the ENTIRE point of the law and rights. They aren’t just for people you like.

    I defend a lot of people I don’t agree with, because I believe in their right to disagree. Indeed I cherish it. It makes us better people. You prefer to just insult people, mock them and label them trolls then get your knickers all tied up just because someone has labelled ‘the left’ in a way you disapprove? Get a grip. Your version of rights and free speech is only for views that agree – certainly you pretend to abhor abuse, but only when it comes from others. Your own posts abuse individuals personally.

  85. narcoticmusing

    A budgetary problem is now a potential ‘human rights’ violation

    Howard, I would argue that many rights cost money. And considering we have a taxation system designed to finance such things, does it not follow that the entire point of taxation is to enable the Government to fulfill the duties it is obliged and/or committed to? Or do you believe, if two people were in a car accident, each person’s personal bank account should determine if they live or die tonight?

  86. Howard – you are arguing that ‘economic cost’ can be used to distinguish human rights from other priorities: that initiaves which cost the State money cannot, by definition, be human rights.

    This is obviously an invalid argument. Freedom of speech, freedom of association and religion – these all cost money. The government must fund the police, the courts and the military in order to guarantee those rights.

    Your argument is far stronger when you join SB in asserting that human rights can only be “negative rights” – or as you put it “things that can only be taken away and not given”. That’s an interesting proposition.

    Nonetheless if you accept SB’s assertion that human rights are based on the idea of human equality, and Marek’s expansion of that to include the ideas of social justice and human dignity, then I don’t see why the right to decent eduction for every person cannot be accepted as a human right.

    After all why not? Isn’t decent education at least as critical to our quality of existence as the right to free speech, security or religion?

  87. narcoticmusing

    Well put Mondo.

    Howard, If you consider the basis for freedom of expression as implied in the Constitution as having a purpose to make free and informed decisions which is fundamental for democracy – surely then a particular level of education is also required to meet that standard? how can you make an informed decision and thus participate in a democracy without education? You may not need a bachelor of law, but you do need a particular level and I’d suggest the more complex our society becomes the greater the level and complexity of the education you require.

    Similar principles with respect to say, habeus corpus, can easily justify minimum standards of publicly provided health care, in the same way as it is the root for protections of liberty.

  88. zaratoothbrush

    This whole debate would be easier to stomach if we really were talking about a bunch of honest, industrious citizens just wishing to be left alone, and not, as Marek explains above, a 500-year-old armed network of global thieves and murderers.

  89. Mondo

    Courts, police, the military, the state at large, do not give us any natural rights we do not already inherently possess, Mondo, they simply punish and deter those who would violate those natural rights to begin with.

    You have confused the protection of natural and inherent human rights with the provision of material entitlements.

  90. narcoticmusing

    Howard – your summary of the role of the courts, police and military is naive at best, particularly in the current day and age with the rate of legislation being passed day in day out. You have confused a narrow subset of criminal law (basically the old common law rules) with the current day situation.

    Furthermore, Zara (and Marek) have a good point where you fail to comprehend companies and their proliferation in your model. Companies encourage risk taking where profits are reaped by shareholders by liability is limited. This has pros and cons – has James Hardie would certainly testify. Rare is the circumstance where we can pierce the corporate veil, and while that may (or may not) be a good thing, it certainly is relevant when you consider that companies too have certain ‘rights’.

    I’ll recognise a company as a person as soon as Texas executes one.

    Rights must necessarily expand or at least shift and change their status to suit the current civilisation, not some past one. What was blasphemous yesterday is common venacular today. Society changes, so must we and so must the boundaries we place on rights. I agree that there are certain unalienable rights (which are ironically being eroded faster than the others) but to suggest education isn’t a key element of that, or say, health care for people with asbestosis which they only have due to a company hiding behind its veil.

    The current civilisation is complex with ever proliferating laws placing restrictions and burdens, ever more creeping into what would normally be the sphere of liberty, with proliferating companies that can take a risk without paying the cost for it. If we, as a society (via say, the legislature) enable such entities to exist, we too must enable the other side of that coin

  91. zaratoothbrush

    Further to what narc said, humans are born quite profoundly prematurely – for at least sixteen years of their life, they are literally not responsible for that life. If their parent(s) renege on their own responsibilities for its upbringing, and if that happens in any kind of numbers, then you have the beginnings of a social problem, against which the community is entitled to insure itself. Like I’ve been saying, it isn’t always about the state/individual axis.

    I’m not sure how this applies to the received framework of “human right”, but I’m not sure how much I like this term anyway, its use seems to be getting more and more emotional and fuzzy. I think think we can still discuss what’s important to the coherence and prosperity of a society without distracting (and, unfortunately, infuriating) one another splitting political hairs about obligations and entitlements.

  92. Way to argue the issue. No one here is obliged to answer any one person’s challenge or claim. People post here for many reasons, few of us do it to satisfy someone else. You may not value disagreement, but his ‘spice’ notwithstanding, I value SBs contributions despite that I don’t often agree with them. You see, it is not a requirement of my believe in his sentience that he agree with me or that he uses phrases I prefer.

    Did you think I actually thought he is a bot? Would’ve thought it fairly obvious I was being facetious. So maybe lighten up a bit.

    I value disagreement. I just don’t value jerkish behaviour and abuse. Shocking, I know.

  93. Education is hardly a “material entitlement” Howard.

    Suffice to say that I simply disagree with your limited notion of what can and can’t be recognised as a fundamental human right. To my mind anything that we ca all agree is a basic pre-condition to living a free, fair and fulfilling existence is on the table as a candidate. If it is fundamental to the equality and opportunity of all citizens then I can’t see the logic in simply refusing to consider protecting it as a human right.

    I certainly can’t see the logic in belittling or trying to shut down those who are willing.

  94. zaratoothbrush

    I’ll recognise a company as a person as soon as Texas executes one

    That’s silly – who ever heard of a black corporation? In Texas.

  95. zaratoothbrush

    I was being facetious. So maybe lighten up a bit

    I think that’s good advice, narc. Facetiousness and mockery aren’t hate crimes. Sometimes they’re our only defence against the intolerable.

  96. Splatterbottom

    Zara: “Judges are ALREADY empowered to reject legislation if they see it as unconstitutional, you daft, bombastic moron!”

    Caps and bold and you are calling me bombastic? And besides that you missed my point entirely. It wasn’t that judges don’t have a power to strike down unconstitutional legislation but rather that expanding the ambit of the constitution to cover say, the right to healthcare, is an unwarranted expansion of that power.

    Narcotic: “I am not convinced, despite much persuasive literature out there that our laws are not ‘aspirational’ enough – that we we can or should,force another to help someone in need.”

    We have some laws that require rendering assistance in motor accidents and which punish parents who neglect their children.

    I also agree that the state should arrange a system that provides decent healthcare. You can call that a human right if you wish, but it is not something that should be enshrined in a constitution. It is much better for elected representatives to implement policies they are elected on than for a court to strike down such legislation if it deems it to be inconsistent with a constitutionally entrenched right.

    How is a court going to interpret the right to healthcare? How is it going to decide how much is to be spent and what priority should be given to other public spending measures? How is a court going to decide whether a particular healthcare delivery system is adequate? Surely this is the job of parliament. What is the purpose of putting that right into the constitution?

    Mondo: “Suffice to say that I simply disagree with your limited notion of what can and can’t be recognised as a fundamental human right.”

    The court can only strike down legislation which accords with the idea of protecting individuals from state encroachment on individual liberties, but how is the court going to enforce a constitutional right to healthcare?

    Buns: “I just don’t value jerkish behaviour and abuse.

    Too funny for words, coming from you!

  97. narcoticmusing

    We have some laws that require rendering assistance in motor accidents and which punish parents who neglect their children.

    I was referring more generally to the idea that I don’t think, as a general premise, we should extend ‘do thy neighbour no harm’ to a positive duty to do good to thy neighbour.

    I’m not sure when people refer to a right to a basic standard of healthcare or education, they are suggesting it should be enshrined in our constitution (after all most of our rights aren’t, even freedom of speech is merely an implied right and only in certain circumstances too). That being said, are you suggesting that a right to healthcare shouldn’t exist because it is hard to define? It is a hell of a lot easier to define than being ‘fair’ and fairness has been a principle of the rule of law longer than we’ve had a common law system.

    Too funny for words, coming from you!
    Yes, I found that whole discussion very odd – that a couple posters taking everything way too seriously and being abusive in every 2nd (or more) posts were trying to chastise others on either being abusive or taking things seriously. Imagine being told to ‘lighten up’ because someone had taken offence due to them taking something too seriously. I think a few people on this thread need to ponder oh so seriously the meaning of irony.

  98. Are you sure the fact that you’re still talking about this doesn’t vindicate my “lighten up” comment? Because that’s one irony I’m pondering right now.

  99. narcoticmusing

    You like you aren’t Buns :) Would a times ten work here?

  100. “But can someone tell me why the Labor Party is so keen to subsidise private schools?! ”

    The Church of Rome?

    I haven’t looked at a blog for ages and not this one for a few years so I’m not sure what else you’ve written about this issue, so apologies if I’m bringing up a point on which exists your prior elucidation. Apart from the humanitarian issues here there’s also the staggering ineptitude of a government that touted a principled stand at the outset by developing a solution that was much worse and then was forced by the illegality of their own legislation to adopt the opposition’s policy.

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