Sunday, September 19, 2004


If John Kerry leaves a lot to be desired in the character stakes, his Australian counterpart (Mark Latham) is not much better. Christopher Pearson sums up Latham's history at some length. One excerpt: "He has never resiled from the class warrior's description of himself he gave The Bulletin: "I'm a hater. Part of the tribalness of politics is to really dislike the other side with intensity. And the more I see of them, the more I hate them." Although it's not the way well-adjusted people work, Latham -- who once described himself as "a maddie" -- sees it as normal.... The journalists' nickname for him, "Biff", is jokey recognition of Latham's violent hoon streak" Pearson also notes that Latham has said of himself: "I'm a narcissist.". So we have a violent egomaniac on offer: How Leftist!

Latham's education policy also has American echoes: "Mark Latham's schools strategy has worked well to protect one of Labor's core constituencies – the public education unions. Instead of addressing why parents have been deserting state schools for a decade, and explaining what he will do to stop the rot, Mr Latham is playing the class-war warrior in a debate that ducks this essential question. Labor's strident attack on rich private schools – as if their very existence denied public school children the right to learn – is polemical politics. And it is very poor policy that will do nothing to improve the education on offer in state schools... The reason why the non-government school sector accounts for about 30 per cent of all pupils is because ordinary Australian parents have lost faith in public education. More money in itself will not change this. What will is real reform that allows parents and school communities to make decisions that suit their own circumstances. Such as giving schools the power to pay their best teachers more and to fire the duds. And giving parents vouchers for the benchmarked cost of classes, valid at any public or private school. Not to mention encouraging a culture of accountability by publicly ranking schools so we can compare their performance. But all these measures are anathema to the teacher unions, a lobby Mr Latham evidently dares not defy".

Australia's Left are Green: "Labor's chances of winning the federal election are expected to receive a boost today when it announces a strong preference deal with the high-rating Greens."

This was on the front page of Saturday's "Australian" newspaper: "What followed was a complete sellout of Aboriginal people in the greatest act of racist political bastardry perpetrated by the Queensland government headed by Joh Bjelke-Petersen. The subsequent decades of misery are only now being redressed..... The actions of the Bjelke--Petersen government were what led to the introduction of liquor canteens on "missions." The canteens decimated entire Aboriginal families and communities through alcoholism and child neglect." It's "bastardry" for a conservative government to give blacks the same right to a drink that whites have? Only a Leftist would think so.


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