Wednesday, 14 April 2010

I did a little pot stirring yesterday

and the results appear in two newspapers this morning.
Perhaps I am just too cynical but I always saw the BER (Building Education Revolution) as nothing more than a means of lining the pockets of unionists and thus the Labor Party. It does not take a rocket scientist to work that out.
If a local builder says four permanent classrooms and a staffroom can be built at a country school for $850,000 and a union controlled big name builder from the city says that they need a cool million to put four too small transportables on the same site then something is wrong. The local builder will of course supply local work - but not union work. The big name builder will bring in their own team - unionists because the unions have a "no ticket, no work" agreement with the company. Those in charge of the government programme demand the use of the big name builder.
There is also the issue of all the required plaques stating that the Labor government of the day funded the projects. They must be a certain size and they must be placed in a prominent position. It's a nice bit of advertising that the ALP does not have to pay for.
No doubt the Coalition would do the same - if they thought they could get away with it. They do not however have the unions behind them so they will not get away with it.
It has taken a while for these stories to surface in the media. The media is firmly to the left here (and probably elsewhere). Indeed, if you want to succeed as a journalist in Australia, then you write left wing articles in your journalism course and you are carefully left wing as you 'grow up'
to be a columnist - unless your name is Andrew Bolt or Alexander Downer. Others will try to be more even handed but they will not get promotion to their own columns.
I do not watch commercial television so I missed the trail of reports that finally led to the Deputy Prime Minister announcing there would be an inquiry into the rorts. It will be a Clayton's inquiry designed to cover up the mess. She already has the information in another report sitting on her desk. It does not make pretty reading - but it definitely benefits the ALP so it will not be published.
The scandal over the debacle that was the home insulation scheme was bad enough. This is worse because it is money that could have gone towards providing better learning environments for students - those who are supposedly being educated for the future good of the country. The government inquiry is designed to allay fears before an election is called. At present it looks as if the government will win another term - they are desperate to win another term so that they can paper over the economic errors and the rorts.
The pot-stirrers, those of us who write letters to the editor, need to get busy. There is a degree of bias even there - in the letters they choose to publish. Letters need to be written in a certain, careful way if one wishes to stir the pot. I do not always agree with myself in my letters. That is not why I write them. I have no doubt that tomorrow there will be a flood of outraged responses to what I have had to say - but there will be others who will say, "I didn't think of it that way" - at least, I hope there will.


Tony said...

I disagree with what you say about the press (or half of it, at least). I get 'The Australian' delivered at the weekend ($20 for the year because I work at a University!), and they have been banging on about BER for a very long time now. Admittedly, while 'The Australian' blazened Gillard's back flip across the front page, 'The Age''s coverage was a teensy bit more restrained...

catdownunder said...

Ah Tony - letters to the 'Tiser. There was an issue recently....they published 46 letters in favour of an argument and 3 against. I queried whether that was representative with a member of the 'Tiser staff - answer was "No, but that's the way they decided to go with the story."
Yes, I know the Australian has been banging on about the BER - but look back at the way they reported it during the previous weeks. It is only recently that they have begun to really question the rorting. (Wonder whether Julia will still want her name on the plaques?)