If Julia Gillard’s “national crusade” on education has a familiar ring to it, that is because as a political concept it is not exactly new.

Cartoon: Mark Knight

US president Bill Clinton in 1997, in a State of the Union speech, used the very same “national crusade” to promise better education standards in the US by the turn of the last century.

Clinton, however, was also using a recycled theme.

He borrowed it from his best mate, the UK Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair, who pioneered the great “national crusade” against the British education system in 1995, using exactly the same terminology to promise academic standards for the next generation of young Brits.

By all accounts, people in the US and the UK aren’t any smarter now than they were before the revolution began. But that is not the point.

Labor strategists call this stuff “values politics”.

There can be little doubt that Gillard got this idea for an Australian led “crusade” from the people she takes the most advice from – who just happen to hail from the UK and Blair/Gordon Brown Labour.

Gillard’s in-house advisors John McTernan and Tom Bentley, who both worked in the Blair and Brown governments as advisors, know this stuff well.

Gillard is said to also still regularly seek counsel from the former UK Labour Minister Alan Milburn, and apparently values his advice over anyone else’s.

The idea of turning commitments into legislated targets into the future comes straight from the playbook of the Blair Government.

There is tested political wisdom behind it. And it worked for Blair for 10 years. The question is whether you get found out down the track when the targets look unlikely to ever be reached.

The ideas had merit but were ultimately doomed by the time Gordon Brown took over and turned the targets into guarantees, because in the words of one Labor MP, they turned out to be “bullshit”.

They created headlines but were unsustainable in the long run. The risk for Gillard’s education targets, which followed two other big announcements over the past few weeks – namely the NDIS and dental health - is that no-one believes them from the outset.

It is more so because the Government hasn’t worked out yet how it is all to be paid for.

One Labor MP said that instead of taking advice from Milburn, the PM could have watched a recent episode of West Wing, in which President Bartlett squibs it on a speech to announce 100,000 new teachers after realising there was no money to pay for them.

There is no question that Gillard believes in the principles behind the reforms – bearing in mind that reform is change with improvement rather than change just for the sake of it.

But the politics behind this frenzied need to talk about anything else than carbon tax or asylum seeker boats, appears all short term.

You just know a Government is heading for trouble when its own MPs can’t even keep up with the pace at which new policy announcements are made by its leader.

And here is the point.

The PM has a potentially escalating internal problem around her leadership as the end of the year gets closer. Kevin Rudd has not gone away.

Gillard’s team knows that she must keep hold of what little recent gains she has made in restoring Labor’s primary vote, not just to get Labor back in the game but to keep Rudd at bay.

The Government is desperate to keep the political conversation away from topics that are electorally toxic and will hope that she can turn the political battlefield to territory she would rather be fighting on.

As one of her supporters said: “We would rather be talking about this stuff than boats or carbon”.

Despite the Prime Minister’s protests that she has no interest in the published polls, this appears to be exactly what this frantic reform agenda is all about.

If there was any doubt, the August 21 poll numbers showing an improvement for Labor were apparently included for the first time in what are known as “Round The World” briefings to Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries.

These are the talking points from the PM’s office to Ministers dictating the messages and subjects they are allowed to speak on during the day if they are doing any media.

Until the primary vote hit 35 per cent, the polls had never been included in the RTWs, for obvious reasons.

Not surprisingly this has inspired a joke among a certain group of Labor MPs that suggests that the one drug you can no longer buy from a Canberra chemist these days is Prozac - because they’ve run out of the stuff.

This isn’t meant as an offense to people who actually do suffer the conditions for which it is prescribed. It is meant to suggest that a collective poll-driven mental disorder has taken over the Labor party room.

One week the polls are up and the caucus is buoyant. The next they are down and a pall drifts over the mood of the party room.

The next polls may well dictate the mood of the caucus but they may also inform the PM about whether punters believe this latest venture is about substance rather than stunt. It will be a crucial test for the PM.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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    • Gary Cox says:

      06:06am | 07/09/12

      The best and cheapest way to have a ‘national crusade’ on education is to punt the AEU. They are the ones which are against teachers having any accountability and responsibility for results, yet a high standard of teaching is the most important and easiest way to reach the desired outcomes.

    • Philip Crooks says:

      08:29am | 07/09/12

      Nice sound bite.Now back it with an argument.I mean a rational argument not all teachers are lazy and the AEU runs education.
      By the way the destroyers of education and schools are politicians, they have the power the AEU does not.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:41am | 07/09/12

      @Gary, I agree so long as the pay is commensurate.  I agree that teachers could be more accountable - especially in higher education, where results start becoming a bit more concrete. 

      But if we’re going to expect higher standards, they need to be paid appropriate, because at the current wages we’re not attracting enough of the right people.

      I know a few teachers and they are great people, heavily invested in the welfare of their kids.  They value add to the children and are worth more than we pay them.  I also know a few really bad ones who cause children stress, anxiety and erode the respect for authority that I feel is a very important thing to teach.  They should just be gotten rid of, like all deadwood.

    • Alfie says:

      10:03am | 07/09/12

      “national crusade”,  “education revolution”, “root and branch tax reform”, “national conversation”, “we are us”...

      Labor has all the slogans, but just no ability to deliver.

    • bananabender says:

      12:05pm | 07/09/12

      Teachers are very well paid if you consider the hours they work . No other profession has a six hour working day and 12 weeks annual leave.

      Many self-employed doctors work six days a week and have no holidays at all. One of my friends is a GP/obstetrician. In his 45 year working life he has never had a holiday of more than three days duration.

    • Steve says:

      02:25pm | 07/09/12

      The point of the article is that Gillard is full of shit, there wont be any “education crusade” or “dental plan’ or any other “policies”.
      This Labor / Union regime is already borrowing ONE BILLION DOLLARS a week.
      It will take 20 years to pay off the credit card debt Gillard and Swan have already wasted. Instead of arguing about the merits of Gillards lies, start preparing for massive public servant cuts.

    • Gary Cox says:

      03:51pm | 07/09/12

      @Phillip. Why are they against naplan tests? What are they afraid of?

    • Achmed says:

      04:05pm | 07/09/12

      @bannanabender..there is always one who trots out the ‘teachers are well paid and get heaps of leave’ line.  It shows a lack of knowledge of the profession.  Your comment is based on an urban myth perpetuated by uninformed and ill-informed people.
      Those ‘holidays’ are times when teachers undertake professional development.
      They might have only 6 hours class time but then there is the marking and reports to be written, parent interviews all done once the school bell has rung.
      More teachers get assaulted in a year than police or any other profession.  Not only by students but also parents.
      The have lowered the entry score to the profession in order to get more applyibg.  Ask why.  Because it is a demanding profession and not that well paid.

    • acotrel says:

      06:30am | 07/09/12

      I suggest that Gillard’s approach to education should be looked at in context.  If we are ever to compete successfully in the global market place and maintain our wages and conditions, we must move up-market in a quality sense.  This cannot be achieved by coercion, it must come from a motivated intellectual workforce who have common goals with employers.  In a minute we will have the NBN, and we will need to exploit it to the maximum, in the shortest possible time.  We are competing against a lot of very hungry people.

    • P. Walker says:

      06:46am | 07/09/12

      I suggest that any pollie speaking well past their used by date is simply telling more porkies. Aco, you know and she knows that she’s gone at the next election, in fact Labor will be dead.
      So get to know Abbott really well Aco, keep that freckle sparkling for him!

      Yes I did note you couldn’t help whispering his name in a post further down.  Can’t help yourself mate, twitching, pulsating away there.  Why are you so concerned about his policies if you “imagine” your red PM is there forever, with your pathetic vote?

    • Bob Real says:

      07:04am | 07/09/12

      I don’t know acotrel, it’s got a sort of ‘cash for clunkers’ ring about it to me.

      I thought we already had an ‘education revolution’, shouldn’t we be leading the world by now? I forgot, that was under the discredited former regime of Rudd. We’ll be leading the world by the end if the next five year plan.

    • Freeman says:

      07:20am | 07/09/12

      “we must move up-market in a quality sense.  This cannot be achieved by coercion, it must come from a motivated intellectual workforce who have common goals with employers”

      This would be delivered through higher education and IR reform.

      Anyway, you miss the point of the article. Gillard’s “National Crusade” is a re-hashed, superficial propaganda stunt designed to suck in people like yourself, who are very receptive to bullshit.

    • denny says:

      07:35am | 07/09/12

      We will never compete in the global market with this mob of dishoest politically driven clowns in charge. Every move they make is 100% politically driven. The welfare of the nation comes a distant second to improving the political position of labor. Fortunately most people are able to see thru the spin and recognise Gillard as the political opportunist that she is.

      The 25 year minute that it will take to roll out the NBN will not provide an advantage. Tecnology will supersede the cable and we will be left with another huge labor debt. 200 people arrived by boat yesterday, how will we ever pay for education when boats are arriving at this rate. The cost of labor and the inflexibility of the workforce places us in the bottom quartile and as you said we are competing against a lot of very hungry people who are ating fiscally responsible.

      The longer these clowns go the further we will fall behind.

    • Tubesteak says:

      07:53am | 07/09/12

      You’re right in that this is what we have to do.

      But it won’t happen with any government we have now or in the short-term.

    • acotrel says:

      08:09am | 07/09/12

      Your post exactly typifies a major problem in Australian industry.  ISO9000 Quality Management Systems have been treated as ‘bullshit’, and never taken seriously.  Certifications of companies are invariably sales oriented window dressing, and any professing towards continual improvement has been totally disingenuous.  The reality is now that the cost of deceit is now coming home to roost, when we move towards competing on the same basis as third world countries, and we are getting thrashed.

    • acotrel says:

      08:11am | 07/09/12

      You really believe he is OK ?  Makes me really wonder about you !

    • The Truth says:

      08:14am | 07/09/12

      hahahaha Acetroll

      South Korea has had NBN type internet for the last 5 year, how many way of exploiting it to the maximum have you heard from South Korea/

      At last count the biggest impart had been on the porn industry, where purchase of porn from shops had decreased significantly and has been replace by porn on demand

      If only the ALP had prioritised properly and choose to spend the $26 billion on something worthwhile, now we have no money to fund NDIS, Education, Health etc

    • Rose says:

      08:41am | 07/09/12

      ” I suggest that any pollie speaking well past their used by date is simply telling more porkies.” Actually what we need is more long term planning. If politicians only planned for the length of their term we would be in dire straits.
      I hate to tell you Denny but all parties are interested in mainly getting or retaining power, that’s the downside of democracy Governments are essentially electioneering the whole time, Howard did it, Rudd did it and Gillard does it, although the Carbon ‘Tax’  and the MRRT may be considered evidence that Gillard does it less than others.
      As for a rehashed policy, of course it’s rehashed, no one has ever followed through, so investment in education is continually announced as the plan, but then falters. What we need is for both parties to commit to education and follow through for the long term, taking the partisanship out of it. If they could draw up mutually acceptable reforms based on the Gonski report , with both sides committing to following through, then the reforms may work.

    • thatmosis says:

      08:51am | 07/09/12

      This is just another lie to the people from the queen of liars. Its all airy fairy as it doesn’t come into practice until she is out of power and is not worth the space in the media it has generated. Firstly we have no money to pay for this grandeous scheme and secondly we don’t have the qualified teachers to carry it out. Yes we do have teachers but qualified, that remains to be seen.
        We will never be particularly successful in the global market as long as we have Unions running the show who demand more money but less productivity. Lets get back to basics, if you reach the targets set then you get a pay rise, if not then tough. For too long we have had this sense of entitlement that has made the cost of living rise because the Unions demand more and more for less and less. They claim that because the cost of living keeps rising then they must have another pay rise and another when in reality if they didn’t get these pay rises and we didn’t have taxes on nothing then the cost of living would stay virtually stable. Its a catch 22 situation as the pay rise then the cost of goods and services goes up and then we need another pay rise etc etc but the Unions in their greed cant see the forest for the bloody trees.

    • Gregg says:

      08:54am | 07/09/12

      ” If we are ever to compete successfully in the global market place and maintain our wages and conditions, we must move up-market in a quality sense. “
      Quality words acotrel!
      Could you care to be more explicit and foretell your future of how Australia can produce quality better than other nations and what products they may be!

      To give you starting blocks, I cam across a good supply of machined timber left over from a building project recently, stuff I can well use rather than see it consigned to the site dumper bin and then land fill.
      One piece was stamped ” Manufactured in Chile from sustain… “

      ” This cannot be achieved by coercion, it must come from a motivated intellectual workforce who have common goals with employers. ” 
      Do you think a useless heavily borrowing government motivates acotrel?
      Sure offers motivation to get rid of them.
      You need to consider more closely where motivation comes from and you may find hunger is near top of the list followed by many other material comforts or in many cases necessities that people in Australia more and more do without.
      ” In a minute we will have the NBN, “

      In a minute! ha! and you reckon it’ll be the ultimate solution!
      Yep, it’ll sure be the ultimate solution for providing something else more people will do without.
      Do you see the NBN or government regularly reporting on meaningful progress like sign up rates and costs?

      Taking away their copper lines is coercion but may not motivate.

    • L. says:

      09:42am | 07/09/12

      “In a minute we will have the NBN’

      You define a ‘minute’ as the period between now and 2024?

    • bananabender says:

      10:01am | 07/09/12

      Australian universities, research institutions and teaching hospitals have had fast broadband for 20 years.

    • Freeman says:

      11:51am | 07/09/12

      @ acotrel. You just can’t help make irrelevant or nonsensical retorts can you?

      A)  ISO 9000 has nothing to do with Gillard’s “national crusade”  on education.

      B) ISO 9000, or TQM as an alternative, are implemented in Australia at higher rates and with better success than any third world country.

    • Babylon says:

      01:15pm | 07/09/12

      It would been ISO 9002 possibly, ISO 9000 refers to manufacturing practice only.

      5 more years of Gillard and Australia wont have to worry about ISO 9002. Ironic for a Labor Government I know.

    • TimB says:

      06:32am | 07/09/12

      The next polls have already come out. The ALP is back down to 33%. And now all the electricity bills are starting to arrive (along with the attendant horror stories), watch that sink a little bit more next time.

      You rightly point out that no-one believes Gillard ‘s recent big policy announcements. Unfortunately that’s what happens when you blow all your credibility by introducing a ridicululous and unpopular policy after swearing blind that you wouldn’t. And choosing the backflip as your primary mode of locomotion doesn’t help matters either.

      Gillard has dug her own hole on this one. No sympathy.

    • acotrel says:

      07:05am | 07/09/12

      ‘Gillard has dug her own hole on this one. No sympathy. ‘- Only gloating !

    • Gregg says:

      08:40am | 07/09/12

      How is the prozac supply down your way acotrel?

    • craig2 says:

      09:46am | 07/09/12

      Doesn’t matter what she says now, I take it with a grain of salt. The basic question of how to pay for this will not be answered. Platitudes and bribery, that’s all it’s been since day one.

    • acotrel says:

      06:35am | 07/09/12

      What is Abbott’s plan for the future of Australia ?  Where will we be in fifty years’ time, - third world, or up with Germany ?

    • nihonin says:

      06:59am | 07/09/12

      Most likely our great grand children will still be paying out the debt of this current government and probably will be a third world country.

    • Brian Taylor says:

      07:08am | 07/09/12

      your queen gillard can never do any wrong can she acotrel?
      she screws two married men and yet shes still your queen?
      she lies all the time.
      yes abbott lies too, every pollie lies
      but the silly way you stick up for gillard makes you look foolish indeed.

    • acotrel says:

      08:14am | 07/09/12

      @Brian Taylor
      I stick up for Gillard because she makes sense.  She might be telling lies, but they are the right lies !

    • FINK says:

      08:46am | 07/09/12

      “What is Abbott’s plan for the future of Australia ?  Where will we be in fifty years’ time, - third world, or up with Germany ?”
      It is irrelevant. In 50 years time this once great land will be know as Australiashenwa Province. It won’t be totally Abbott’s fault, it won’t be totally Gillard’s fault it will be the fault of the previous 5 governments and the apathy of the Australian public to to allow our political and taxation regimes to become so corrupt. The only reason education is so important to our future is so that we can compete equally for expat jobs overseas.

    • Greg in Chengdu says:

      08:50am | 07/09/12

      They’ll still be fixing this Labor mess and paying their debts

    • Gregg says:

      09:00am | 07/09/12

      It may surprise you some acotrel to understand that any coalition plans for government usually have to commence with some responsibility to wind in the massive debt levels that have usually been left behind by a Labor government.

      Where would Australia be with 50 years more of a Labor government endless borrowing is what you would be better off to ask yourself.

      Winding debt in usually entails a commitment to live within one’s means and yes for some that can be difficult but still a responsible approach and in fact it can be quite motivational to improve one’s lot rather than think a government through mismanagement will collectively improve a country.

    • Mack says:

      09:16am | 07/09/12

      ‘The World Economic Forum, which ranks 144 nations, found Australia slipped down the ladder in a number of crucial areas in the four years from 2007-08 to 2012-2013.

      In terms of wastefulness of government spending, we went from 10th place to 48, in terms of the burden of government regulation, we dropped from 68 to 96. Transparency - from 12 to 29, government effectiveness - 5 to 18, government debt - 16 to 30, flexibility of wage determination - 87 to 125, labour market efficiency - 13 to 42, hiring and firing practices - 63 to 120, pay and productivity - 40 to 80.’

      Some legacy, eh acotrel.

    • L. says:

      09:47am | 07/09/12

      “Where will we be in fifty years’ time, - third world, or up with Germany ? “

      ‘Up’ with Germany..??

      Germany, country that is facing a power generation deficit due to ‘green’ energy policies like the ones Rudd and Gillard have pursued?

    • Bob of the freezing tropics says:

      09:51am | 07/09/12

      I cry myself to sleep some nights thinking of the abysmal financial situation this inept wild spending government is leaving for my grand and then great grand children. I know this PM is already morally bankrupt but does she, and her team, need financially bankrupt our children and their childrens children for generations to come? Gonski be gone, some one please help.

    • Tbird says:

      10:47am | 07/09/12

      acotrel says: 08:14am | 07/09/12
      @Brian Taylor
      I stick up for Gillard because she makes sense.  She might be telling lies, but they are the right lies !

      Gillard makes sense and she tell’s the “right” lies?  What are you on Acotroll?  You say some incredibly stupid things…..Lost any respect I had for you just there….

    • Martin says:

      11:05am | 07/09/12

      @Bob of the freezing tropics

      A little Prozac should help with that sleeping disorder ...

    • thatmosis says:

      11:42am | 07/09/12

      I agree Tbird but at least he gives us a good laugh, without him we would have no one to mock except of course Mal and Laurie.
        But seriously, this is the kind of thinking that got us into this mess in the first place and unfortunately we still have some time to go before the next election and that gives this almost Government more time to completely stuff the country.
      Gillard can make all the promises she likes but the reality of it is nobody except those brain dead Labor supporters believe a word she or any of her associates say, a legacy of too many lies, back flips and back stabbing.

    • Little Joe says:

      11:48am | 07/09/12

      @ Acotrel

      “Up with Germany??” Some economists are tipping Germany will be recession by the end of the year.

    • bananabender says:

      12:18pm | 07/09/12

      Germany has one of the LEAST educated workforces in the developed world. The vast majority of Germans leave school after Year10 and take up a trade. Less than 10% go to university.

    • Mack says:

      06:56am | 07/09/12

      I remember some other Labor Prime Minister saying that “no child shall live in poverty”.  Labor are all piss and wind, big noting liars who can’t deliver on their bullshit announcements.

    • acotrel says:

      08:17am | 07/09/12

      ‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’ ! -  As he topples the democratically elected government with unsubstatiated slurs

    • dovif says:

      08:27am | 07/09/12


      The ALP had won the last 3 elections (that they won) based on lies, yet some people keep believing them.

      GST and Keating (Paul won an election campaigning against a tax, he wanted to introduce into Australia) and there was those LAW tax cuts

      Rudd the “Fiscal conservative”, the “fiiscal conservative” that left us $140 billion and counting in debt, at the fastest rate of Accumulation in Australian history, and recording the 3 biggest deficit in Australian history. I will be scared if someone “fiscal aggressive” comes in ,,,,, oh wait, Julia had just announced $30 billion worth of unfunded announcement. I guess our kids, grandkids, great grand kid can forget their education, since all the money will have to go toward paying off the ALP debt.

      Julia “there will be no carbon tax under a government I led”, “Australians will get a say on whether they want a carbon tax”, “there will be a citizen assembly to decide about the carbon tax”. Only a fool can still not spot the multitude of lies

    • FINK says:

      08:53am | 07/09/12

      That promise may have come to fruition, however Howard waived a little carrot called “middle class welfare” which detracted funds from those who needed them to those who did not, all in the name of vote buying, if it wasn’t legal it would be sooo illegal. We talk about recycling policy! well Abbott dangling more middle class welfare in front of the buyers in the form of unsustainable maternity and nanny payments for working mums for starters.

    • Bomb78 says:

      09:26am | 07/09/12

      There was another with ‘L A W law tax cuts’...

    • PsychoHyena says:

      09:54am | 07/09/12

      @Mack, here’s the question, did Hawke’s promise fail because of his policies or did it fail because the supporting structure behind it was dismantled by Howard?

      I am excluding Keating as his policies were designed to also improve the situation for the average Australian.

      In case you miss the point, you cannot accuse a government of failing to meet their promise (which had a timeline of about 20 years if you read the full speech) when there are succeeding governments that remove the underlying infrastructure for that promise to succeed. Otherwise shall we accuse John Howard of not fulfilling his promises because Labour removed the required supports?

    • dovif says:

      10:39am | 07/09/12

      Psycho Hyena

      So all government should plan any reform 20 years in the future because when it fail, they can blame it on later government? Looks like you are operating from the Gillard book of unfunded promises and lies.

      Quite simply a lot of children wellfare organisations are run by the state. So Hawke’s promise was never achieveable.
      Secondly, the poverty line moves up every year, for example, a family living in a house with a fire and no electricity, would be below the proverty line in year 2000, but in 1850, that is a good income upper class family. So it was never possible for every child to live above the poverty line, since the line moves, in 50 years time, a kid with only a 60” tv might be living under the poverty line

      Hawke set a goal that was never achievable, and then did not provide any funding for it, and you want to blame it on a later federal government, when the provision of housing and welfare rest mainly with the state government.

      Pure rubbish

    • Little Joe says:

      01:31pm | 07/09/12

      @ dovif & mack & psychohyena

      Hawke was, and will always be a media tart. He became PM on the back of an early Federal Election called by Frazer

      Hawke simply delivered a line “By 1990 no child in Australia will be living in poverty”. OK ..... one single line that would appeal to most Australians. A single line used to help him win an election.

      FFS!!! Who would have believed the line if you saw how indigenous children were living in 1987!!!

      I was a shallow statement appealing to the ignorant

    • Mack says:

      01:50pm | 07/09/12

      acopop, it was actually Malcolm Fraser who said ‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’... don’t you remember? Or is your mind slipping.

    • eRon says:

      06:59am | 07/09/12

      Crusades on this, and wars on that, for the comrades as they claim the moral high-ground from the gutter, and parade their grand plans for a time when they will no longer be in government. Just what have they been doing since 2007?
      Labor are a sad, expensive joke. And that joke is on all of us.

    • acotrel says:

      09:03am | 07/09/12

      ‘Labor are a sad, expensive joke. And that joke is on all of us. ‘

      You have got Tony Abbott leading the LNP ! -  You’ve trumped the ALP for once in your lives.

    • Hank says:

      01:10pm | 07/09/12

      Why do they keep letting this moron post?

    • Guess says:

      07:15pm | 07/09/12

      Obviously no personal attacking going on here…

    • Brian Taylor says:

      07:00am | 07/09/12

      hopefully gillard calls an election soon.
      but again even when she’s kicked out and replaced by Abbott, the lies and self interest by the pollies will continue.
      they say that they’re working for “US” BS, it’s all about them and what they can fill their bank accts with.
      But silly people will still vote for either party (depending on who promises them the most at election time.)
      it has been this way ever since people started getting interested in playing God for the masses and will continue forever.
      the only change will be the different partys in power nothing else.

    • acotrel says:

      08:20am | 07/09/12

      ‘hopefully gillard calls an election soon.

      November 31st 2013 - until then she still has the numbers in the reps !
      The more desperate you get, the better I like it.
      Thomson - FIZZER !
      Slipper - FIZZER
      Next ?


      07:28am | 07/09/12

      Hi Simon,

      I would have liked to say “better late than never”!  However with problems in primary and high school education in particular, we happen to be dealing with children who need all the basic knowledge, discipline early on to actually build on healthy and strong foundations required later on life! So time is really everything, right?  Somehow I think that most Australian school children do have an easy and relaxed time at school with minimum supervision and discipline, believe or not!  And is that a good thing really?

      I remember way back when we were facing very longer cues and waiting times at our public hospitals in NSW, the biggest trick played for most politicians was to visit the elderly requiring hospital care as well as my all time favourite holding up babies, all smiles.  The snap shots made those politicians look even more human than usual.  You all know that as human beings, we all make mistakes and the rest! 

      I am only curious to know exactly if Ms Gillard has enough time to be able to keep all her promises before the next elections?  And if this could be seen as a little bit of a diversion from other more urgent or important issues?  Kind regards to your editors.

    • acotrel says:

      08:47am | 07/09/12

      ’  And if this could be seen as a little bit of a diversion from other more urgent or important issues?’

      Such as ?

      Constructive efforts of the LNP ?:
      Slipper attack - FIZZER !
      Thomson attack - FIZZER !
      Gillard attack - FIZZER !
      It is hilarious what you guys think is important to our future - or SAD !

    • RANK FRANK says:

      08:00am | 07/09/12

      Gillard words are lost , too much bad history.
      Australians hate Liars and Cheats. She will have to come up
      with something a lot better and not blowing out to 2020.
      But she has lost the confidence of
      the Australian people.

    • Mayday says:

      08:05am | 07/09/12

      “Despite the Prime Minister’s protests that she has no interest in the published polls, this appears to be exactly what this frantic reform agenda is all about.”

      Watched Rake last night on our ABC, very well written by people who seem to know a lot about politics, polls and how to spin it all to your best advantage.  Laughed at the audacity of the pollies involved in the storyline and at the lack of trust between everyone involved!

      Does Gillard hire the same PR people?

    • Gregg says:

      08:39am | 07/09/12

      I’m not too sure Simon who it is that will benefit but you have given plenty of material for the stand up and stand out comedians to work with.
      ” By all accounts, people in the US and the UK aren’t any smarter now than they were before the revolution began. But that is not the point.
      Labor strategists call this stuff “values politics”.

      It’s nearly the Olympics all over again with a race for the unsmartness gold, Australia to the fore with the unsmart importing the unsmarter to coach them into being exceedingly unsmarter than they already are, no long Gonkski account needed.

      ” There is tested political wisdom behind it. And it worked for Blair for 10 years. The question is whether you get found out down the track when the targets look unlikely to ever be reached. .............. and…..........
      The ideas had merit but were ultimately doomed by the time Gordon Brown took over and turned the targets into guarantees, because in the words of one Labor MP, they turned out to be “bullshit”. “

      The tested political wisdom ought to also be learning from what does not pan out and not to do so you would think would be even dumber than exceedingly unsmart.
      Australian voters can see right through Gillard and Labor and in not liking what they see, it shows the desperation G&L will stoop to in hoping the voter is not so astute.

      It is not just the NDIS or Dental Health to go Gonski but we’ve got projects like the NBN, VFT , Live Meat Exports, MDB water and CSG all there relatively untested in either benefits, costs or losses.
      ” It is more so because the Government hasn’t worked out yet how it is all to be paid for. “

      They’ll just keep borrowing!, the real Midas touch and Labor MPs would rather talk about Tony Abbott than what Labor is costing Australia.

      ” The Government is desperate to keep the political conversation away from topics that are electorally toxic and will hope that she can turn the political battlefield to territory she would rather be fighting on. “
      Is there anything that Labor are not making toxic for the overall long term benefit of Australia?

      ” Despite the Prime Minister’s protests that she has no interest in the published polls, this appears to be exactly what this frantic reform agenda is all about. “
      Yep, no PM or MP wants to look at downwards trends and that is where Labor are ultimately going, down and down deeper than they know.
      Let us just hope Australia is not dragged down too badly.

      ” Not surprisingly this has inspired a joke among a certain group of Labor MPs that suggests that the one drug you can no longer buy from a Canberra chemist these days is Prozac - because they’ve run out of the stuff. “
      There’s plenty of MPs also working on what’ll life be like out of Canberra it would seem.

    • tez says:

      08:45am | 07/09/12

      Come on Joan upy upy it’s rant time you are missing out

    • Borderer says:

      09:05am | 07/09/12

      I don’t think Gillard gets it, her polling actually went up when she and her ship of fools took a break for the Olympics. Not announcing anything actually helps their numbers. But they go off and announce poorly thought out unfunded policies, one after the other. Looking dumber and more inept every day.
      It should be quality over quantity.
      Pause and think what our country would have been like if they actually didn’t do very much, sure a bit of stimulous in the GFC (no cheques to dead people), no dismantling of the pacific solution and actually federally funding the NDIS…. You’d have to seriously think about re-electing a government like that? People like a consistant government, one that doesn’t rock the boat.

    • Mack says:

      11:59am | 07/09/12

      Labor’s Newspoll numbers went up at the expense of the Greens - what does that tell you? Just that the idiots are jumping from one sinking ship to another.

    • gary says:

      09:05am | 07/09/12

      Simon Benson doesn’t like labor and wants to conjure up another Rudd challenge.

      what a revelation.

    • Steve says:

      03:38pm | 07/09/12

      67% of Australian voters dont like Labor.

    • Babylon says:

      09:09am | 07/09/12

      I remember the UK Labour Party would announce a new initiative on a Tuesday afternoon, but a week later it would all be forgotten and nothing would have happened. Always made headlines and let you know the Labour Party were still alive sucking up the wealth associated with holding power. For the 2011 budget Swan announced incentives to create 500,000 jobs that would lower unemployment to 4.5 percent. Good headline never eventuated.

      Blair’s lie was Saddam Husseins ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’, where we were in peril every minute of every day unless we invaded Iraq. Gillards lie was there would never be a Carbon tax, but judging by her backflips on this that statement may move from a lie to a truth. Thats a great example of incompetence and uselessness working for you.

      The UK Labour Party could never keep there hands off the schools. I think it was the lured of all those innocent minds ripe for socialist brainwashing with Non Racist maths and introduction of the right books, omission of others . Funding was a control mechanism, but was tired up in a complex red tape scenario that saw schools suffer in the long run.

      Brown was Treasurer when the UK Banks were buying US debt and the people went bananas over 100% mortgages and maxed out credit cards. I remember Brown bragging about presiding over Britains ‘unpresidented prosperity’. Swan has never bothered to regulate the Banks Properly and as a result they never pass on full RBA rate cuts or loan readily to small business. We have 25 percent of Australians unable to handle the debt they own.

      The Blair Brown era was characterised by deliberate lies, unsustainable spending and borrowing and bullshit bingo. To hear that the Gillard Government wish to emulate that era should be a big warning to Australians.

    • AdamC says:

      09:40am | 07/09/12

      I have had some quite interesting discussions with my fellow Punchers recently on the topic of the PM’s education ‘crusade’ stunt. (And it seems that everyone, even Gillardites, accept that is entirely what it is.) To my mind, I still think the following:

      a) There is little evidence that further shrinking class sizes for all students will have significant impact.

      b) We need less centralised control in education, not more.

      c) Education needs to start innovating and stop relying on teaching methods and technologies that would have been familiar to the students ofn Socrates.

      Also, Gllard is in far better shape now to take on a Rudd challenge. I am pretty certain that JuLiar will be leading her squad of cutpurses to the next election.

    • KFR says:

      09:47am | 07/09/12

      So what happened to the bloody “Building Education Revolution” then??? Now we are on a damn crusade. Hopeless, and she has the gall to whinge about abbott being a 3 word motto man. Little wonder pollies are held in such low esteem.

    • BruceS says:

      09:49am | 07/09/12

      The usual emotive, dishonest rhetoric spewing from our mendacious PM’s mouth. The system needs discipline and honest competent non leftist activist teachers. Money is not the problem.

    • Stephen says:

      09:55am | 07/09/12

      This exercise again demonstrates how utterly distant and removed Governments and its bureaucratic caliphs are from the society they serve. Sure, there is a great deal wrong with the education system. Its bureaucracy operates under political ideology. It fails to provide education options to those who aren’t interested in increasingly irrelevant university courses. It fails to recognise gender divides. Its teachers are inept. And most importantly, many students simply see no validity or purpose to their school curriculum.

      So, how will throwing 6 billion dollars of imaginary money fix things?

    • John says:

      10:09am | 07/09/12

      Our standard of education is above Germany. Our problem is that we don’t do the obvious!!! We just do the political. We have unlimited energy and resources that we send to other countries rather than refine and manufacture here.

    • jasperjen says:

      10:37am | 07/09/12

      Talk the talk, but can they walk the walk.Gonski Report to lift the Education standard of all children within 8 years. NDIS that proposes to take care of all the Disabled, A Computer for every child, No long waiting times for Hospitals,A reduction in Carbon by 2020. Border control, what more can I add, Oh I forgot No child in Australia will live in poverty by 1990.

    • W. Asp says:

      10:51am | 07/09/12

      What’s the fuss about? why do we need a crusade to follow the revolution?
      There is a stamped from countries around this fair Isle to bring their children in, cram a& take all the selctive spots. (check the demographics of James Ruse AGRICULTURAL College).
      Australia must be doing something right in education to be so popular.
      Ironically, doesn’t seem popular with the longer domiciled australians.

      to balance this of course is the census stat that more children in ACT are in private education than public. Seems the pollies vote with their salaries

    • Jess says:

      02:03pm | 07/09/12

      you realise pollies children go to school where the pollies live in the electorates?  (with the exception of Rudd who moved to Canberra to live in the lodge but now his kid goes to school in QLD). Ironically there is a major exodus from private schools to the public schools for year 11 and 12 (which are seperate from 7-10).  Also the public school kids for year 11 and 12 do better at university than the private school students as our public colleges are more in the university style.

    • W Asp says:

      03:12pm | 07/09/12

      so why are the stats showing pollies &  pub servants kids go to private schools?

    • Jess says:

      04:21pm | 07/09/12

      Age I guess and they earn a fair bit so they want their kids to go to the “best” schools.  Apparently private is “best”.

      There are maybe 3 private schools that I would consider sending my kids to in Canberra… Though I’m most likely going to send my kids to the public system in Canberra. Canberra is fairly unique in the public private school debate. As Canberra is fairly high in the socio-economic scale to begin with and we don’t have the geographic spread Urban/rural/remote and most parents of all students are public servants. Year 11 and 12 in public schools are entirely different schools to 7-10 students. Years 11 and 12 don’t wear uniform and only required to be at school for their classes. Canberra also have a strong university culture with 4 universities and most high schools aim towards kids getting into uni. Colleges have more the spread of uni bound and trade/job bound and more tailor learning pathways to where the student wants to go.

      Point about pollies kids going to schools in their home electorate/city still stands

    • W Asp says:

      11:22am | 07/09/12

      I am not sure I enjoy being treated as a fool by Ms Gillard’s advisers.  They come in on a 457 visa because they ahve unique skills and then they simply recycle all the Baliry stuff they foisted on the Poms.  What Boulder -dash.

    • Jess says:

      11:30am | 07/09/12

      I don’t think Continous improvement in education is a bad thing. Every good teacher is trying to do this anyway. Education is always going to be a topic of politics regardless. Every government is going to push for educational improvement - Labor will go for the bottom group and Liberal will go for the higher end of the middle and the top.

      Gonksi is trying to push up the lowest end of the scale because then the results will flow on to the middle and top and those will keep going without as much government intervention.

      more staff in schools not neccessarily classroom teachers. Health officers, academic advisiors, redmedial/ extend teachers, parental invovlement coordinators/encouragers Specialist extra curricular teachers. 

      Prehaps targets of no demountables in schools (for periods of more than a year). 10 years and schools get a infrastructure check and update/refit

    • W, Asp says:

      12:09pm | 07/09/12

      We should not bash the unionists. Its the hierarchy and apparatchiks who run the HOs who play the game & expolit the rank and file.
      next we’ll be seeing Shorten riding a motor bike, big game hunting while bare chested & flyin in a powered hang glider. He’s next in line and ms gillard is a sports watcher not participant, And he is a macho angry pie eater

    • Steve says:

      03:42pm | 07/09/12

      Funny post, shame its so close to the truth.

    • P. Walker says:

      12:23pm | 07/09/12

      Acotroll:  I’m in support of the Coalition, not Abbott.  You appear to be in support of the Red PM.  Labor’ dreams might be what many like but they are completely unsustainable.  Read above re: Cash for Clunkers, Fuel Watch, Pink Batts, $M canteens for schools, need I go on?
      ...and you fools will be paying for it, woops, nope most of you fools are on welfare payments.  Expecting wage earners to support the DREAMERS.
      We population 20 million, Germany 80 million, what’s your point?  Apples with bananas?

      PS I expect most of your woes (we’ve read them all) are as a result of your Commo Labor policies.  CSA, straight out of the Soviet Union, did you know that?

    • Redrover says:

      02:02pm | 07/09/12

      Gillards “Crusade” is a farce ,her photo opportunities with school children always amuse me. Here is the socialist Prime Minister with groups of children all dressed in school uniforms looking well cared for and happy. The teachers employed with these children and those like them may well be able to perform to Gillards requirements.
        The teachers employed at what we call “disadvanted schools” would know the real story of how the home life of hundreds of thousands of children is not just disadvantaged it is a disgrace.
      The Prime Minister should focus on the fact that in 2010-2011 there were 237,273 childred reported nationally who had been subjected to abuse and neglect.
      Gillard shoud be aware that teaching is not just about the class room
      as what is happening at home for children plays a major role in their performance.

      We have an underclass in Australia who in most cases will never excel in the class room and the underlying causes will not be addressed by a Prime Minister who has to rely on a “business man” to formulate Government policy. on education.
      It is becoming more and more obvious that Julia Gillard is not a thinker, she is a leader being led by others and does not appear to have the creative thought processes to make any difference to the lives of Australians.
      Why is she still there?

    • Haden Norf says:

      02:33pm | 07/09/12

      I thought JG was a confirmed atheist. Why then is she leading a Crusade? Weren’t they a series of bloody religious military campaigns conducted by Christians against Muslims, Jews, & any other faith that stood in the way of their political & financial aspirations? So, having brought about a “Revolution”, she’ll try to conquer all & extend her economic & social “Reforms” throughout the land. I wonder what term she’ll use when we’re firmly entrenched in her radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology? “Sorry Mate, We’re Terminating At London Bridge…” Get off the bus Julia, we’ve had enough!

    • Wilma J Craig says:

      03:56pm | 07/09/12

      A billion here, Two there, Three over there, Four over the hill, Five down the hill, Six up in the sky, Seven down into what was tobe the biggest, deepest hole in the ground at Olympic Dam. Does anyone remember that great big musical flop “Promises! Promises!”. Gillards recent promises will also flip-flop into nothingness.
      Gillard has become like a child let loose in a Lolly Shop only it is not lollies she is playing with. She has proposed almost unlimited expenditures of tens of billions of dollars on Education, Dentistry, Disability - all very admirable projects indeed but add those billions to the NBNCo which is spending billions with almost no results and the questions must be asked:
      “Ms. Gillard, Where Is the Money coming from?”
      For all her grandiose plans, which,in fact, are nothing more than are nothing more than a massive Vote Buing Exercise, Ms. Gillard has not told us how she proposes to pay for them all. Nor has Treasurer Wayne Swan, Education Minister, Peter Garrett nor any of the other equally ineffectual Federal Ministers involved.
      Gillard seems to think we will buy anything & everything she says without question. She thinks we are too stupid to ask “Where is the money coming from, Julia?”
      And that is exactly where Julia is so bloody wrong, so bloody stupid. If she had simply just announced ONE proposal, told us how it was to be financed we might have bought it. The elctorate is a very different place to what is was & Julia can thank Gough Whitlam for waking us up with his Khemlani Loan Scam.
      When Gough’s insane plan was revealed for what it was we started to look at what our politicians were doing.
      An ALP MP forecast that Julia Gillard would be gone in September. Well, we’ve only had 7 days of September so far and “The Ides of September” are only another 7 days away so we could still get lucky.


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