Tag Archives: education

Question Everything

28 Nov

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The late, great George Carlin (with usual language warning):

“I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me … NOTHING! … ZERO!!”

– George Carlin

Let’s Swallow A Reality Pill And Face Up To Our Position In The World

12 Jun

Senator Barnaby Joyce writes for The Weekend Australian:

Mankind has been on a quest to drag itself up from dark streets, disease and servitude. Pretty much all of mankind is now squared away on the mission statement but success around the office in these objectives has been fickle.

I have come to the conclusion that the same cranial attributes that developed the wheel later developed the Apollo moon landing and it was not two different species. Lately we seem to have decided that the ingenuity to run faster in Australia comes by placing heavier weights around our ankles and if all fails others will sit down and wait for us.

On Thursday I arrived in India. Driving to my hotel through the potholes and the people living on the side of the road, and the families on motorbikes, I wondered how many of them were concerned about Australia’s desire to cool the planet from a room in Canberra.

Flying over India in the early evening, something struck me about its rural towns compared with ours. There are thousands of them and they do not have street lights. Looking at my bowl of fruit in the hotel room, a very nice hotel room, I noticed bananas that we would probably throw out.

Australia has to take a reality pill about its position in the world and our effective relationship with our near neighbours. It is fantasy to believe the people of India, China, Indonesia and so many other places will be inclined to have their people stay one minute longer in poverty or hunger because of a self-indulgent internal political debate about an impossible outcome, cooling the planet, from Canberra.

If we want to be relevant and, more to the point, survive in what is our region, Southeast Asia, then we need to help them get the power on and provide them with the resources to do it, provide them with the reliable high-quality food that we take for granted and realise that trading gets Australia far more brownie points than preaching.

We have taken decades trying to get our nation to understand that we do not live in Europe. Why are we now so intent on putting ourselves back there?

We compare our carbon policy with Britain’s, our debt with that of Spain or Greece. Many in the US can speak Spanish but how many in Australia can speak a second language from our neighbourhood?

An education revolution will not occur once an Australian child can turn on an iPad but when they leave Year 10 competent in three languages. Shutting down the Murray-Darling Basin so Southeast Asia feeds us rather than we feed them is so naive it is culpable. Bringing in a carbon tax so that we can start making our streets dimmer and our people poorer will collect contempt rather than admiration from a region that is focused on precisely the opposite.

Telling Indonesians they will not eat any Australian beef, even after the more conscientious have invested millions in upgrading many abattoirs to our standards, sends a clear message that it does not matter what you do, Australia is out of touch, and even when you do engage with Australia it cannot really be relied on to understand.

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