Quality teaching neglected in relentless funding focus

PUBLISHED ON THE DRUM ABC: The Prime Minister’s long-awaited school funding reforms outlined in the Gonski Review have been quietly shelved. The education ministers meeting last Thursday failed to endorse the reforms, with the Victorian Minister stating plainly that no substantial change will be happening anytime soon. After two years of work, it will back to the…

Build different new bridges – The Australian

PUBLISHED IN THE AUSTRALIAN April 12, 2012: HAVING just returned from leading a political delegation to Vietnam, I have a confession: I had no idea Australia had recently given $160 million to Vietnam for a new bridge. But then neither did the Vietnamese I met. In almost 20 meetings with senior Vietnamese leaders, Australia’s funding…

A new deal for remote Indigenous Australians

PUBLISHED IN THE IPA REVIEW (Vol 63/4)There is a tacit deal for remote Indigenous Australians that is not working. Indigenous Australians have been supported for the last 40 years just to exist in a place of their choice, as a guilt-ridden nation’s act of compensation for past mistreatment. Low requirements of participation in education and…

The Industrial logjam holding our children back

PUBLISHED IN THE AUSTRALIAN:  While the change in Parliamentary Speaker was drowning other news, the Gillard government quietly dropped its promised teacher bonus scheme. Axing this clumsy add-on to the existing teacher salary structures was sensible, but the principle of merit pay remains essential to improving our schools. Wholesale reform is required. The existing system…

Believe it or not, economists have been wrong before

PUBLISHED IN THE PUNCH:  In this country we are blessed with some outstanding economists. But can they be collectively wrong? The Gillard Government thinks not. They claim that no economist is backing the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan, which therefore proves that it is the wrong policy. Case closed. Gillard’s claim is false: there are economists…

Gambling Your House Away

ARTICLE IN THE ROWVILLE-LYSTERFIELD COMMUNITY NEWS: As an MP, you sometimes get constituents in your office whose stories blow your mind and set you on a course you never expected. This was the case when a young, unemployed Wantirna man came to see me in early March. The young man was given $80,000 in credit…

Too Many Lives Lost to Depression

PUBLISHED IN THE ‘ROWVILLE-LYSTERFIELD COMMUNITY NEWS’.    “If we can prevent just one suicide, it will be worth all of our effort.”  This was the powerful message of Pauline Renzow at the Youth Mental Health Public Forum earlier this month. A participant at the Forum, this courageous Rowville resident spoke about losing two of her sons…