Australian Politics 2016-06-02 15:50:00

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From reason to radicalism: "Gender fluidity"

Mark Latham, writing below, is in many ways an old-fashioned Leftist -- still with good reality contact and not totally into destruction.  He says not only is the modern Left's post-structuralist agenda anti-reason, anti-science & anti-family, it is anti-education

WHEN John Maynard Keynes declared “Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler a few years back”, he knew what he was talking about.

The craziest trend in Australian politics is to teach Neo-Marxist genderless programs in our schools through the Orwellian-named Safe Schools and Building Respectful Relationships (BRR) curriculum.

Even though Australian students are falling down the international league tables in maths, science and English, teachers are devoting class-time to the mechanics of breast-binding and penis-tucking.

As Keynes envisaged, the thinking behind this madness is distilled from an academic scribbler a few years back. BRR’s author, Debbie Ollis from Deakin University, has attributed the intellectual inspiration for the program to a “post-structural understanding of gender construction”, drawing on the work of a Welsh academic Christine Weedon in her book Feminist Practice and Poststructuralist Theory.

To understand what’s happening in today’s Labor Party and its attitude to education, Weedon’s tome is compulsory reading. I got my copy last week from the NSW State Library and was spellbound by its contents.

Parents deserve to know where the Safe Schools and BRR philosophy comes from, and Weedon brazenly sets out the ideology behind these new teaching materials.

Post-structuralism argues for a different way of looking at society, especially in understanding the nature of knowledge and learning.

Since the rise of the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, people have applied reason, rationality and observable truths in trying to build a better life. Weedon regards this process as inherently misleading.

She thinks that from our first moments alive, we are brainwashed into accepting the social order around us.

Governments, schools, churches, the media, popular culture and even fashion trends combine to reinforce the “power relations” and dominance of capitalism.

The things we know from observing nature and studying science are dismissed as “biological determinism”.

So too notions of truth, commonsense and life-experience are disparaged as “historical constructs” — delivering “false consciousness” and tricking people into a misunderstanding of their best interests. For Weedon, the process of social conditioning denies its “own partiality”.

“It fails to acknowledge that it is but one possible version of meaning, rather than ‘truth’ itself and that it represents particular (political) interests.”

For instance, growing up with two straight parents is said to “lead to the acquisition by children of a heterosexual gendered identity”. Weedon writes of how: “For young girls, the acquisition of femininity involves a recognition that they are already castrated like their mother”, forcing them to submit to patriarchy, or male dominance. No one is immune from the process of false gender identity.

Individuals are said to be “sexual beings from birth”, reflected in the “initial bisexuality of the child”.

This is the kind of thinking behind the Start Early program developed by Early Childhood Australia (ECA), which teaches childcare and preschool infants about sexuality, cross-dressing and the opposite sex’s toilets.

An ECA spokeswoman has said that, “(young) children are sexual beings, it’s a strong part of their identity’’.

Most parents would be horrified by this stance but it’s become commonplace in the Australian education system.

Having lost the battle for economic and foreign policy in the 1980s, Neo-Marxists embarked on a long march through the institutions of the public sector, especially universities and schools.

Indoctrination programs like Safe Schools, BRR and Start Early are the inevitable result. This breaks the longstanding, bipartisan practice in Australian politics of keeping ideology out of schools.

The purpose of a quality education has been to equip young people with the knowledge and vocational skills of a civilised society. If graduating students wish to pursue social and political change, they can do so through the democratic process in their adult years.

Education has been relatively free from ideological indoctrination. But this is not the view of the new curriculum designers, with Ollis depicting schools as “in a unique position to educate for social change”.

Weedon also said she wants to engineer an androgynous “ungendered” society through classroom tutoring. The other key Leftist battleground is for the control of language.

Inspired by French post-structuralist Michel Foucault, Weedon writes, “If language is the site where meaningful experience is constituted (in capitalist societies) then language also determines how we perceive possibilities of change”.

This is why Safe Schools seeks to eradicate the use of terms like “his and her” and “boys and girls”.

It believes genderless language will produce a genderless generation of young Australians, self-selecting their sexuality as a fluid identity.

Political correctness is not an accident, a random form of censorship. It’s a carefully targeted campaign designed to outlaw the language of observable facts in the discussion of race, gender and sexuality.

For every commonsense ­aspect of life, there’s a PC push to eliminate identity differences. Weedon writes of how the “dominant meanings of language” force boys and girls “to differentiate between pink and blue and to understand their social connotations”.

“Little girls should look pretty and be compliant and helpful, while boys should be adventurous, assertive and tough … (shaping) their future social destinations within a patriarchal society”.

This pink/blue phobia is the basis of the Leftist ‘‘No Gender December’’ campaign, trying to outlaw gender-specific toys each year at Christmas.

The more I research the BRR and Safe Schools programs, the more bewildered I am as to how Labor leaders like Bill Shorten and Daniel Andrews endorsed this rubbish. Gough Whitlam must be turning in his grave.

The Great Man dedicated his life to the principles of the Age of Enlightenment: that rational, evidence-based argument could create a better and fairer society. Not only is the post-structuralist agenda anti-reason, anti-science and anti-family, it is also anti-education.

It wants to abandon the conventional process of learning through known facts and universally established truths, creating a borderless world of genderless individuals.

Australia’s political leaders are sleepwalking into an educational disaster.

As parents we need to make our views known to election candidates and school leaders alike. Anyone who has researched this issue will know we are fighting for the future of our civilisation.

SOURCE






Doctor glut to blow out Medicare costs

But better access to medical services should also result.  Both the UK and USA have doctor shortages so we are doing well

A growing glut of doctors has forced GPs to “chase patients” and pushed bulk-billing rates to record highs, leaving Medicare vulnerable to overuse that will add to its projected cost blowout of more than $35 billion within a decade.

Growth in GP numbers of ­almost 50 per cent over the past decade — 2.5 times population growth — has undermined doctors’ ability to charge fees above the Medicare Benefits Schedule, according to Australian Population Research Institute analysis.

The findings cast doubt on Labor’s and doctors’ claims that the Coalition’s plan to freeze the MBS for a further two years until 2020, to save $925 million, would hit bulk-billing rates. “There are so many GPs seeking patients that few could risk charging a co-payment because patients would go around the corner to a competitor who bulk bills,” said report author Bob Birrell. “Oversupply is the cause of escalation of GP costs that the Coalition is trying to curtail. But freezing the rebate is just a Band-Aid.”

Mr Birrell called for a lowering of the intake of overseas-trained doctors and new limits on where doctors funded by Medicare were able to practise. While the population has increased 19 per cent since 2005, the number of GPs has surged 47 per cent to 33,275, ­including growth of more than 110 per cent among overseas-trained doctors, who tend to move to cities after completing mandatory stints in regional areas.No

“There are no rules stopping overseas-trained doctors who have completed regional work ­requirements from moving, no matter how oversupplied their chosen location is,” Mr Birrell said. The number of overseas doctors practising in metropolitan areas jumped 112 per cent to 4520 over the decade to 2015, he said.

Bulk billing — where doctors agree to accept payment directly from Medicare rather than charge upfront fees — has increased from 75 per cent of GP visits in 2005 to a record high of about 85 per cent this year. Meanwhile, the annual cost to Medicare of non-referred doctor visits has more than doubled to $6.8bn — equivalent to a 73 per cent increase in the annual cost of GP services per person.

Labor has promised to unfreeze the MBS from next year, if it wins government, at a cost of $12bn over a decade, which has pleased doctors’ groups, who argue bulk-billing rates will fall if the rebate freeze — in place since 2013 — is allowed to continue under the Coalition.

Australian Medical Association president Michael Gannon said a growing GP workforce was a plus for Australia even if doctors were becoming excessively concentrated in some areas.

“GPs are the gatekeepers of the system and provide enormous value of money, being only about 6 per cent of national health costs,” Dr Gannon said. “There’s no question we’re much closer to having a maldistribution rather than oversupply.”

The study, which uses Department of Health data, argues a growing number of corporate practices are responsible for over-billing. “Corporates have been ­offering highly lucrative contracts on the condition that those ­employed accept their style of medicine — high throughput and bulk billing,” it said. Michael Wooldridge, a former long-serving health minister, said price gaps were a function of market power rather than the Medicare rebate, “and nothing else”. “About 1994, an increase in anaesthetic rebates led to greater gaps; ditto about 2000, when I was stupid enough to increase obstetric rebates,” Dr Wooldridge said.

The latest internationally comparable OECD data shows the number of doctors per 1000 people in Australia has grown by 29 per cent to 3.4 over the decade to 2013 — more than twice as fast as the OECD average. Australia had significantly more doctors per 1000 people than the US, Canada, Britain and New Zealand, which each had fewer than 2.8. “Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, belief in a doctor shortage has developed a life of its own,” Mr Birrell said.

His co-author, Mike Moynihan, former president of the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria, said the doctor glut was fuelling frivolous visits. “People are coming in for a sniffle or to get documents signed. On the other hand, doctors are generating repeat visits by requesting tests that aren’t necessary,” he said.

The number of GP visits per person has increased more than 20 per cent over the decade to 5.7, the study shows. The cost of GP visits to Medicare (about one-third of the total cost) is projected to rise by 5 per cent a year over the next 10 years to $12.1bn, according to a Parliamentary Budget Office report. The 2014 commission of audit said health spending was the “commonwealth’s single largest long-run fiscal challenge”.

SOURCE






University suspends hate-filled Marxist

La Trobe University yesterday suspended Safe Schools co-founder Roz Ward, as a former ­member of Victoria’s gay and transgender advisory committee warned the program was untenable because it had been ­hijacked by radical gender theory.

The Australian revealed last week that Ms Ward had called for the “racist Australian flag” at state parliament to be replaced with a “red one”, prompting her to quit her advisory role with the Victorian government and sparking a university investigation.

That investigation resulted in the Marxist Ms Ward’s suspension yesterday for “undermining” public confidence in the program because she continued to push ideologies that were “unrelated”.

A spokesman for La Trobe University said: “We are following our normal HR procures and we will not make any further comment.”

The National Tertiary Education Union said La Trobe had charged Ms Ward with “serious misconduct over media commentary on her private Facebook post”.

NTEU Victorian secretary Colin Long accused the univer­sity of giving in to a “media campaign”, invoking the spectre of the Soviet Union that once incubated the world view Ms Ward has since adopted.

“That La Trobe University has apparently allowed itself to be cowed into participating in this anti-intellectual, anti-democratic attack reflects the dismal state of intellectual capacity at the senior management level in some Australian universities,” Dr Long said. “We are very concerned that La Trobe University management seem to think that political views should be a ­criterion for employment, as was the case in the Soviet Union.”

The NTEU said it “considers that this is discrimination on the basis of political opinion and will be considering all legal avenues of redress”.

Gay rights activist Rob Mitchell — who was sacked from his Victorian government advisory role in 2014, arguing that he lost his job because he was too ­publicly critical of the former Napthine government for its ­inaction on tackling homophobia in schools — now believes Safe Schools has gone too far.

“They are completely out of control,’’ he told The Australian.

The Ballarat farmer was frustrated while on the government advisory committee with the slow rollout of Safe Schools and other anti-homophobia programs and was pushing for more resources and government initi­atives. He said he threatened to make a bumper sticker saying that his boss — then ministerial advisory committee chairwoman Ruth McNair — was undermining the health of young people.

“The tragedy in all this is: when I was agitating for money to be put in anti-homophobia programs, the Safe Schools ­Coalition was what I would call a vanilla anti-homophobia program,’’ he said. “It seems to have been transformed into this queer theory sort of academic-driven lot of bullshit. As part of that process, they have lost their core constituency, which is parents of school kids. It has been completely hijacked, been derailed.”

He said the program needed to be replaced and that La Trobe University was too influential in gay and transgender research.

Mr Mitchell was instrumental in the AFL Players’ Association’s anti-homophobia campaign in 2010. “Safe Schools is now busted. The brand that is Safe Schools is now indelibly linked to this sort of out-there radical queer theory narrative,” he said. “It’s really out there academic theory about how people construct their gender identity. This is all just academic. We didn’t sign up for this.”

He said Safe Schools was meant to be about teaching children some people were gay, some were straight, some were bisexual, and they shouldn’t be abused. “Parents will get behind that and say, ‘I don’t want my kid ­abused at school for any basis’,” he said. “If they stuck to the basics and rolled that out, they might have got a bit of resistance (from right-wing radicals) but that resistance would not have got any traction.”

The Safe Schools Coalition, which is to be compulsory in Victorian secondary state schools by 2018, has been widely criticised by conservatives, particularly for its teachings on gender. Its mat­erial tells teachers not to refer to stud­ents as “boys and girls”, as the terms are “heterosexist”, and pupils­ as young as 11 are encouraged to role-play as gay teenagers. The program teaches that gender is not a binary male-­female stereotype but about “how you feel inside” and “may change over time”.

SOURCE






NSW Independent school students' PISA results a reason for optimism
   
Students in NSW Independent schools participating in the OECD’s Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) achieve results that rank them among the best-performing school systems in the world, a new analysis of 2012 PISA results (the latest available) has found.

Released today by the AISNSW Institute, the analysis - ‘Academic Achievement in NSW Independent Schools’ - undertaken by Dr Gary Marks of the Australian Catholic University, shows that NSW Independent school students scored significantly higher than the national and state average in the 2012 PISA assessments in mathematical literacy.

Chair of the AISNSW Institute, Bill Daniels, said the analysis demonstrates that a significant part of the Australian schooling system is getting things right in terms of helping students to achieve their best, and also counters widely-held perceptions that the decline in the performance of Australian students in international assessments over the past ten years is uniformly reflected across all school jurisdictions.

"Amid the frequent gloomy assessments focusing on the apparent decline in performance of Australian students relative to other countries, this analysis gives parents reason to be confident that choosing an Independent school education for their child is a decision that will benefit their child”, Mr Daniels said.

The mean scores from the 2012 PISA assessments saw the NSW Independent schools sector ranked competitively with the top Asian countries/jurisdictions and Finland, all of which are frequently cited as benchmarks in international student assessments.

The analysis also delved more deeply into the achievement data, showing that socioeconomic status and family background typically explained only a small part of the variation in student achievement, contrary to common perceptions that these were very strongly linked. Even when adjusted for socioeconomic status, the differences in achievement were still significant.

Mr Daniels said: "The strong performance of students in Independent schools across a range of measures is often dismissed as being the result of wealth. This ignores the fact that two-thirds of Independent schools in NSW have a socioeconomic score in the lower half of the SES scale. The research shows that it is parents’ education levels and the value they place on education, along with school and teacher quality that are the strongest defining factors.”

A two-page summary version and the detailed Research Briefing of Academic Achievement in NSW Independent Schools are attached. Both papers, along with the accompanying Technical Report, are also available at AIS Latest Research.

Press release

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