Check out 'The Australian Way' for Oprah

The school system in Australia is actually a travesty.

So, as I was looking through Twitter this morning, I saw that Labor had released a statement praising the standard of Australian students as amongst the best in the world.

"The Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, has welcomed the results of the 2009 OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which revealed that Australian students remain among the top academic performers worldwide. "

When I saw that, my heart soared. As an avid propagator of education, I thought that those figures were quite significant, considering my latest loss of faith in the intelleigence of the Australian populationn (think Carrie Bickmore and the soon-to-be-infamous Oprah Report of the Australian way of life; the current douchebags at the head of federal politics; and many, many disappointing people updating their blogs and Facebooks and Twitter accounts daily).

But I digress.

According to this report, a group of 14,250 Australian 15-year-old students from 353 different schools took part in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), and "performed well above the OECD average in all three assessment areas,”, according to Mr Garrett, our newly appointed Minister for School Education. What I find most amusing about this report is the blatant political spin on results which were, in fact, quite dismal for the country Australia has the potential to be.

As I was browsing the net and doing my morning read, y'know, I came across a vastly different interpretation of the issue from The West Australian. In their reniditon of the events,
'Australian teenagers' reading and maths skills have plummeted in the past decade', scoring 13- points less in reading, and 10-points less in mathematics since the year 2000. Science remained unchanged.

To me, this indicates a problem which has steadily plagued the Australian primary and secondary education system for years: government schooling does NOT receive anywhere NEAR enough funding from the government, remaining at the discretion of the State governments rather than Federal.

Private schools, on the other hand, continue to flourish despite the current government's pledge, and really, their PLATFORM, of evening out the score between private and government schooling. News flash, Julia and drones: creating a website which details the amount of revenue generated by private schools exposes the injustice, but it doesn't actually do anything to fix the problem. Investing actually money, time and thought into the physical reality, for example, does.

The West Australian also reported that '
Geoff Masters, who heads the Australian Council for Educational Research, which manages the tests in Australia, said though the nation achieved above the OECD average, the literacy decline was concerning. He said the achievement gap between students from wealthy and poor backgrounds was equivalent to almost three years of schooling. This put an "unacceptable proportion" of 15-year-olds at serious risk of being unable to read well enough to find work.'

What. the. hell. So what this basically means is that children whose parents are not filthy rich will miss out on countless job opportunities because their standard of education is well below par in relation to the private school system. Now, I don't know about you, but to me, that is so disgusting AND embarrassing, especially as it is occurring within a nation that claims to be based on egalitarian values and an all- encompassing 'working class system'.

Give me a break, Labor and Liberals (or Laberals, as one of my wise professors coined them) - you both only look out for the future of the 'upper' working-class. Labor, you are particularly disappointing: to abandon the future of those who have least opportunity is an act so despicable it makes me want to become an anarchist.

Puppy Factories and Politics

So, today I found out that Bailleu plans to crack down, rather heavily, on Puppy Factories and the people who run them.

As a staunch leftie, I have always voted for either Labor or the Greens (it varies according to their policies and the reality of their implementation). However, it has come to my attention that of late, the Labor party in particular has managed to severely disappoint me, both in their policy making and in selling out to the right.


For me, a fellow puppy lover, there is nothing more abhorrent than puppy factories. These disgusting institutions, run be equally disgusting people, force female dogs as young as fix months to give birth for the remainder of their lives. They are hormoned up to their eyeballs to start early, and subjected to a caged life, in horrible, dirty conditions and not enough food or water.

From the first time I caught sight of the ad with the beautiful beagle, with her mournful, liquid eyes and grossly disfigured body and teats, my heart broke.

And evidently, so did Bailleu's.

The man (a fellow dog owner and lover) has promised to raise the fines of illegal dog breeders from $1195 to between $20,000 and $30,000, and/ or a year in prison. Even though I think they deserve a harsher penalty, I think this is a exemplary action from the Opposition. In addition, he has promised to give RSPCA the legal rights to investigating animal abuse, something denied by Brumby's current government.

It's ironic that Labor, the 'left' party with heart, denies animals the basic form of treatment.

I think I may just have to switch sides this time around.

Early Spring

The iridescent sunlight streams through the glass,
its rays illuminating the dust particles dancing within the room.
The fresh, delectable air seeps through the cracks in the walls,
engulfing everything in a cloak of summer promise.
But alas: the warmth it suggests is not yet arrived,
with deceptive brightness and cold, cruel winds piercing the warmest of clothes.
When will I enjoy the day? You think.
When will I be able to leave my warmth at home, only to be cloaked by the heat of nature?
Soon, the frigid wind whispers teasingly,
ruffling the hair and creasing the skin with goosebumps.


So, initially I thought that the Catholic Church had actually banned football all together, just like it had announced a few months ago that female priests are on the same level of sin as pedophiles. (That was highly amusing...) But unlike its stance on female priests, which is evidently very negative (or positive, considering the amount of pedophiles who are forgiven within the Church). But alas, no. It's not quite as amusing as the the Church starting yet another war, this time with, sadly, one of the most integral aspects of Australian culture.

Now, despite being a Catholic myself, I cannot say that of late, I have supported the Church's public endeavors. However, this is something that I do appreciate: the obsession with footy is an embarrassing part of Australian society and culture, and if some organisation wants to ban it, I say go for it. But in this instance, it turns out that the Church is only banning secular songs, which include football anthems.

"Secular items are never to be sung or played at a Catholic funeral, such as romantic ballads, pop or rock music, political songs or football club songs," the guidelines state. (The Herald Sun)

I am of two minds on this actual matter. Firstly, as a Catholic, I do find it rather insulting that and Christina Aguilera could be played within the confines of a holy place. Surely one can have a social celebration for their deceased before the church funeral? I would particularly hate to mix footy and religion simple because I believe that the belief in the Aussie sports 'super star' (read as 'mediocre') is overblown and taken way out of proportion.

On the other hand, I don't see how someone, God bless them, who loved this sport so much should be denied his or her favourite song on their funeral bed. I mean, really: does it matter? Is it really invading the sanctity of church to play a few minuted of, admittedly, tasteless music? But I suppose the Church really stands for everything that's serious and somber and has little time for fun.

So I think, my dislike and contempt for footy in this case is severely tested by my sense of the just. What do you think?


So it has been a while since I have blogged.

I am truly a lazy, lazy excuse for a human being - whenever I am asked as to why I have neglected my blog for so long AGAIN, I can always find PLENTY of excuses to support my laziness. However, I will now valiantly try to keep a top this blogging thing once more.

I Am Australia- Katie Noonan. I love this version and her voice.