Saturday, 3 August 2013

Come to Queensland - the #Fearstate

The last 24 hours in Queensland has been a scary place to be and I have been starting to think of our state as the #fearstate. Not the Sunshine State or even the Smart State.

We have had the Queensland Government announce that they are happy to sign up to #Gonskilite as proposed by the Federal Coalition Government so that they don't have to sign up to accountability requirements. #Gonskilite doesn't even provide the more than $3 billion for Queensland State Schools. It cuts off after 4 years, billions of $$ short.

But the thing that has me completely stumped is the common refrain about 'red tape'. I'm sorry if you're getting billions of dollars, then you should be signing up to account for how that money gets spent. It's that simple. Have a look at this link to get the real picture about what the plans look like side by side

The only reasons for not signing up to the Better Schools Plan that includes accountability measures is this - the Queensland Government doesn't intend to use the money from Gonski to help Queensland kids be better supported and resourced. They want a blank cheque that they don't have to account for. So where are they planning to spend the money? Obviously not on the State Schools and the students it is intended for.

They aren't going to provided better literary or numeracy support, more one-to-one teaching for students with learning difficulties, better resources, more teachers...they are going to use it on other things. Is that where the money for the casino is coming from?

On top of this, we have a Government stating that members of trade unions can't communicate with their members in the same ways they could previously. I'm sorry - I make a choice to belong to a trade union to better support and protect my rights. I didn't vote for this Government that is taking that support and rights away.

And let's face it the Federal Coalition backflip was because they knew Victoria was close to signing up and wanted to stop them. Victorian parents, students and teachers must be as horrified as we are.

Then we have had new IR legislation in Queensland created with the clear premise to destroy trade unions. That's its sole purpose. It has become WorkChoices.

Public servants in Queensland are the glue that keeps the state functioning and I'm seeing that glue coming unstuck. It's not because these people are not able to do their jobs well, it's because they are being sacked and the one person left in what was previously a team of 5 is expected to still get the same work done. This Government wants to get rid of the public service. They don't believe that there is a right for all Queenslanders to have access to public education, public heath, and the other services that are designed to ensure Queensland is a place that people want to live.

And the media in this country doesn't care about either of these things. They are funded by people who don't care about others people - they only care about the bottom line.

As I've written previously, I've only become a new convert for Twitter, but what I can see in Twitter is a way to communicate that is being denied to all Australians through the mainstream media outlets. I am struggling to understand how some journalists can go to work everyday and silence one particular point of view without ever giving a voice to that perspective. On Twitter, people provide links to news articles and places to look for more information where, in a few cases, there have been media outlets providing a more balanced view of things. Have a look on Twitter for #Ashbygate.

Australia's economy is the envy of the world. The unemployment figures are going up but that is the result of public service sackings in Queensland by a State LNP Government, not by the Feds. But the media is trying to make out that things are all doom and gloom. Try Greece! Try Spain! Try the USA! We have amazing things in this country that we may lose because of a blatant bias in media about presenting both sides of the argument.

I haven't gone to bed without butterflies in my stomach for weeks. At the end of each day I am holding my breath to see what is planned for the next. Announcements and decisions made, without consultation with the people they impact upon directly. It's a dictatorship. It's a frightening place. It's the #fearstate.

I am obviously passionate about these things, and had to share them with you. I know not everyone agrees, but there are I guess some fundamental things that as Australians, I believe we can all agree on:

  • schools resourced to best support the learning needs of all their students;
  • the ability to communicate with organisations and groups you choose to; and
  • a fair and fact-based media.
Well, I certainly hope we can all agree on these things, because if we can't then I'm really worried that the #fearstate will become the #fearcountry.


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