anthonybaxter: (Default)
Dear gods, Brendan Nelson is trying to set a new record in political douchebaggery.

We had his recent "intelligent design" idiocy, and checking through the google news for today:

- Threatening the states over education funding unless they re-do student reports to the chosen format of the federal govt.

- cutting TAFE funding unless the states conform to the federal govt's anti-union workplace standards

- telling muslims that unless they're good little australians, they should "get out" (and bonus points for invoking "australian values" - what, like locking up brown people in the desert? cockhead)

- getting involved in how reading and numeracy should be taught. I mean, obviously he has a lot of experience in teaching and education- no, wait.

Finishing up, I'll point to this piece from the age:


FLANKED by staff members and security guards, the Education Minister headed into the pack of protesting students, determined not to be swayed or intimidated - for a few seconds at least. Then he turned and ran for it, the staff members obliged to do the same, and made it look as if it was deliberate.

The minister was Brendan Nelson, wading into a regional campus to argue the case for voluntary student unionism. The sudden retreat was a departure from his usual public persona, which is that of a fierce scourge of soft-headed thinking and easy options in all its forms, from "cappuccino courses" to "postmodern mumbo-jumbo" in literacy teaching.

Yet if the recent debate on intelligent design is anything to go by, his rapid retreat is more characteristic of his style. For here, where more than anywhere a firm defence of rational thinking is needed, Brendan Nelson has flubbed it. His comment that the teaching of intelligent design doctrine can be offered as an alternative and that it's "about choice, reasonable choice" speaks volumes, not only about the poor level of public understanding about what science is, but also about the selective and political nature of the "standards" being imposed on educational systems. Recent Australian contributions to the debate show that the rot is setting in, in places other than the head.

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anthonybaxter

August 2009

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