Public Good




I believe we are on an irreversible trend towards more freedom and democracy - but that could change.
Dan Quayle 5/22/89

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith.
Thomas Paine - CommonSense

Taxes: the price we pay for a civilised society.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

The avoidance of taxes is the only pursuit that still carries any reward.
John Maynard Keynes

The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax.
Albert Einstein

Those who take the most from the table teach contentment. Those for whom the taxes are destined, demand sacrifice. Those who eat their fill, speak to the hungry of wonderful times to come. Those who lead the country into the abyss, call ruling difficult, for ordinary folk.
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

It's the same the whole world over, It's the poor wots gets the blame, It's the rich wots gets the gravy. Ain't it all a bleedin' shame?
Anonymous

When the rich wage war it is the poor who die.
Jean-Paul Sartre

You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. That is how you prevent the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth?
GNB Isaiah 10:1—3

Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.
Gore Vidal

Under democracy, one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule -and both commonly succeed, and are right.
H. L. Mencken

My notion of democracy is that under it the weakest shall have the same opportunities as the strongest.... No country in the world today shows any but patronising regard for the weak. Western democracy, as it functions today, is diluted facism. True democracy cannot be worked by twenty men sitting at the centre. It has to be worked from below, by the people of every village.
Mahatma Ghandi (1869-1950)

State Owned Facilities: Private Good, Public Bad!

Synopsis: Private ownership is the current credo of Australian governments of nearly every political persuasion. It is argued that private ownership of state utilities such as water, power, communication, roads and rail is better than public in terms of efficiency and economic performance. The jury, however, is still out.

Green paper    link to green paper
Links:

Indianapolis Water Company
American city nationalises water company for the public good!
Since this story and links were uploaded the links have disappeared and publicly the story has changed. Click on the cached version to read how this buy back is not reverse privatisation! Obviously someone at city hall was pressured to defend the action. Pains are taken to show that management is still private, but notice also the heavy control from local government.

http://www.indygov.org/mayor/iwc/     cache
What has happened since? In 2011 the IWC went to a not for profit!
www.ibj.com/articles/28273-regulators-approve-indianopolis-water-utility-transfer
But it now appears that American Water a big corporate has taken over! Inevitable??! Who profits?
Tales of Naked Greed
The ideological belief that the private sector is inevitably better cannot be challenged, for all its nudity.
http://society.guardian.co.uk/futureforpublicservices/comment/0,8146,656704,00.html
Privatization: Rip Offs and Resistance
Multinational Monitor Jan-Feb 2002, includes the Enron debacle, the corporate drive to run public schools, the UK experience with railway privatization, the Boeing Boondoggle and more!
http://multinationalmonitor.org/mm2002/02jan-feb/jan-feb02toc.html
New Zealand sets up a Public Bank - If you don't succeed the first time try again.
A new government-funded people's bank with lower fees and hundreds of small branches in regional areas has been set up. The new bank will compete with five other, all foreign owned.
http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/stories/s249350.htm
It traded as PostBank. Well this lasted for two years after which it was sold in 1989 to the ANZ (Australian and New Zealand Banking Group). However it was succeded by Kiwibank operating within the state owned New Zealand Post Ltd. See the Kiwibank link for interesting information on how it fares against corporate competition and how it came to be.
Power Politics
A new book of essays (2003) examines the debacle of power privatisation in South Australia.
Comment
Foiling Corporate Greed
Denmark has figured out a way to foil corporate greed. But it not an easy thing to transfer to Australia, or is it? What do you think?
Danish companies have a different way of charting their course.

State Aid for Government Schools!

Synopsis: In Australia, under the constitution, the States are responsible for education. In the fifties and sixties a debate ensued regarding funding for private schools led by the Catholic system. This resulted in the federal government providing state aid for these schools. Whatever the merits of the argument we now find lavish funding provisions from the federal government for private schools that the states cannot match in supporting the government school system. It is argued by some that this policy by the federal government and supported by some states is a deliberate attempt to privatise the state school system. At its worst it divides communities, devalues the community school and supports ghettos of priviledge for the well off.

Green paper    link to green paper   History of the debate - Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture

Links:

PGR for Public Education
- advocacy group for public education with big name support from people like Paul Kelly, Mem Fox and others....
http://pgr.org.au
Australian Education Union - campaign for Government Schools
http://www.aeufederal.org.au/
Six Myths About Private Schools in Australia
- dispels the arguments for the current funding of private schooling in Australia    cache
http://www.acsso.org.au/issues3.html
Australian Council for the Defence of Government Schools
- up to date comment on the issues relating to support of public education
http://www.adogs.info
The Corporate Takeover of Childhood - George Monbiot
- what happens when "big business" gets involved in education . .
http://www.monbiot.com/2002/01/08/the-corporate-takeover-of-childhood/
The Education Business
Emerging trends in the Education Business - a brief summary      cache
http://wwwtools.cityu.edu.hk/news/newslett/educationbusiness.htm
Australian Council of State School Organizations - ACSSO
Latest Hot Topics from a parent perspective
http://www.acsso.org.au
Public Education Foundation
- The role of the Education Foundation is to equity and excellence scholarships tp students in public education.
http://www.publiceducationfoundation.org.au
Who does John Howard Really Care About?
"The government does not have education policies, it has policies of social engineering".
Rodney Molesworth, President of the Australian Council of State School Organisations,
summarised parent reaction to the release of information showing the Howard Government‘s
massive shift of Commonwealth effort from public universities to private schools.

media release (html version)      media_release_6_Nov.doc (original Word doc)
Lazy Governments Love League Tables
- Parents argue strongly against simplistic assessment that confuses and divides communities and allows governments to duck their responsibilities.
click here
In Defence of Public Education
- John Ralston Saul, described by many as one of the most challenging thinkers of our time has something significant to say about public schools .
http://archive.gg.ca/media/doc.asp?langlang=e&DocID=1366
A fair go education system: the advantages for all of us
- Carmen Lawrence argues that unless we ensure a return to a fair go education system we are 'certain to lead to unnecessary and significant social dislocation'.
http://smh.com.au/articles/2003/09/29/1064817581627.html
Parents respond to Howard's assertion that State Schools don't teach values.
- The Australian Council of State Schools Organisations (ACSSO) gets cranky . . .
Click here
The Stupid Country
Entrenching privilege is stupid because the wrong people can get the big jobs and so act as a brake on the entire country. Australia must compete on a global stage, but it is highly likely we will find ourselves struggling to keep up with those countries who are better able to develop the potential of all their available talent. Jane Caro explains why we are messing up the country. . . [cache]
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6179        
Schools in denial
Jane Caro asks, "Why are private religious schools allowing themselves to become toxic to social justice, particularly when it comes to the future opportunities of our poorest and most disadvantaged students?" http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/schooled-in-denial-of-systemic-creeping-apartheid-20090125-7p60.html
Change of Direction - at last?
I have stopped adding items to this list because there has really been nothing more to say. Until now. The Gonski review has provided hope that some change might finally happen. Jane caro reports. http://newmatilda.com/2012/02/21/gonski-can-help-us-change-direction       
Gonski Gone?
With Gonski almost ignored, the debate needs to go continue. Ignoring the issue won't fix our educational problem. David Zyngier asks the question,"Where has equity gone?"
http://theconversation.edu.au/the-great-equity-debate-a-fair-go-for-australian-schools-5609       
Has it come to this?
Governments will do almost anything else but fix the problem of our fractured and hierarchical schools. Chris Bonnor asks the question, "What really has to happen before we join all the dots and realise we must act?"
http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/back-to-school-to-enrol-in-our-social-inequities-20140202-31v57.html?utm_content=buffercf9b9&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
What is really scary is if you read the links above (2014) they might as well been written today (2016)!!!



Real Tax Reform!

Synopsis:Current wisdom followed by our federal government has been to reduce taxation, especially income tax and taxes on business. However the community has been concerned about the declining services in hospitals, schools and law enforcement. There is no doubt that progress has been made in making instrumentalities more efficient but there are limits to how far this can go without squeezing service provision. So despite much concern voiced by the community the tax cuts continue. No-one has had the courage, except perhaps the Democrats, to call for increased taxation to properly pay for the services we need.
Tax cuts also have a double effect. They tend to favour the rich and to the extent they take away public services they impact as a double whammy on the poor. It is a fact that the gap between rich and poor is widening alarmingly in Australian society considering our claim to being an egalitarian society!
Other issues not being tackled in any serious way are tax minimisation schemes and the inconsistencies in tax laws for Australian owned businesses compared to foreign business.
A better answer to these concerns might need to be more radical?

Green paper    link to green paper   Property Tax Shift

Links:

Australian Tax Office
Why do we pay taxes? How does this work? Is this the same everywhere?
http://www.ato.gov.au
Taxpayers Associations
The argument of these groups is that high taxes impede economic growth. The question might be asked is economic growth the only factor to be considered? What benefits would higher taxation bring? Could there be a balance between these?
http://www.worldtaxpayers.org
Green Tax Shift
What is tax shifting?
http://www.progress.org/banneker/shift.html
The New Economics Movement in NZ
"We need a new economics system that works for all life. A total transformation of the money and tax system is required to address the multiple crises we face." See a New Economic Model
Also see Deidre Kent, Feb 28, 2016. How land barons, industrialists and bankers corrupted economics. Given our current tax debate (2016) here is something to think about.
Read more . . .

When Democracy Fails!

Synopsis: Why do governments of whatever political persuasion seem no longer to be working for the common good. Sometimes it seems they are working directly against what is best for us. It all seems so hard. Indeed we are told there is not enough money for school improvement, better policing, more hospital beds etc. The thought of raising taxes is anathema despite many of my friends agreeing they would be pleased only if the money went that way instead of bribing multi-nationals to set up their new pretzel factory here. But no! And now the important issues of local politics have been overwhelmed by the "war against terror" and bombing Saddam. Stop! Listen! Has the world gone crazy? What is really happening to us. Well folks "the truth is out there" and its been around a long time. We have found the enemy and they are among us. Read on..........

Green paper    link to green paper   When Democracy Fails!

Links:

The Noam Chomsky Archive
Noam Chomsky is a Professor of Linquistics and Philosophy at MIT. He is also one of America's leading dissident intellectuals.
http://libraries.mit.edu/chomsky/
Noam Chomsky
"Chomsky.info: The Noam Chomsky Website
http://www.chomsky.info
George Monbiot
George Monbiot is a travel writer and regular columnist in the Guardian.
http://www.monbiot.com
Hidden Agendas - John Pilger
John Pilger is an Australian investigative journalist based in the UK.
http://www.johnpilger.com
Harold Pinter
Harold Pinter is a renown playwright, director, actor and poet. He is also a political activist and savage critic of the current policies of the US and Britain in the Middle East and elsewhere.
http://www.haroldpinter.org/politics/index.shtml
Michael Moore
Mike Moore adds a needed touch of humour to a serious subject.
http://www.michaelmoore.com
Empowered Participation
by Archon Fung and other related papers describing grassroots democratic experiences.
http://www.archonfung.net/projects.html
Ideas To Save Our Withering Democracy
Carmen Lawrence shows where our country's undue emphasis on the cult of individualism has taken us and suggests some overdue reforms.
Click here
top2.gif - 680 bytes

| Home | Highlights | Background | Social Justice | Environment  | Technology | Economy | Links |