Julia on #QandA last night

All things considered she did show herself to be far from negligible.


And it is indeed interesting that Tony Abbott has to this point shown a pointed reluctance to do the same. Afraid of foot in mouth disease perhaps? Or deep-down aware that he could be exposed? Malcolm Turnbull, on the other hand, has been something of a star on QandA, as indeed has Joe Hockey.

But let’s take some very good questions that arose last night.

Donna Jacobs Sife in Willoughby, NSW asked via video: As a performing artist in the schools for more than 25 years and as school program director in a diversity education organisation, I’m in a good place to see the decline of citizenship and the arts and other enrichment programs in the schools. The schools are becoming obsessed to teaching to the test of Naplan and the My School website. Numeracy and literacy is all they talk about and it is in my opinion a dark period in education. Miss Gillard are there any plans to redress this imbalance and to find some response to this most unfortunate, unintended consequence of Naplan and the My School website?

Oh yes, and I couldn’t think of a better person to ask such a question, because here is someone who really does UNDERSTAND education. I referred to her in 2005 in School Uniform Policy in NSW State Schools and Yarmulkes, Head Scarves, Crosses: Diversity or Disaster?  And, I am sorry to say, Julia was incapable of getting the point of the question because she is so locked in to an inadequate mechanistic model that seems sensible but actually is not. Nor is the Opposition any better.

See several of my posts on NAPLAN and related matters, especially my South Sydney Herald story and “NAPLAN risks ‘repeating US mistakes’” – The Australian. And:

Memo to Julie Gillard and Kevin Rudd

Having pumped up an ‘education revolution’ be very careful about visiting sales reps…


You will be very tempted by anyone claiming to have invented an Education Thermometer which, when stuck up the patient’s fundament, will magically tell you just what’s wrong and how to fix it. The more amazing numbers on that thermometer and the more it flashes and whirs the more politicians, bureaucrats and parents believe in its powers…

It’s never so simple…

The other question was noteworthy for its passion:

My name is Geoff Thomas. I am a Vietnam veteran, and a plumbing contractor and a proud father of a gay son. Almost 2 years ago I asked Tony Abbott on Q&A when he would start treating gay and lesbian Australians with dignity and respect. He hasn’t changed his view, but you have. The country now knows that you are as one with Tony Abbott and the extreme Australian Christian lobby on this issue. Could you please explain to me how in a country that prides itself on freedom, equality and tolerance how it is that denying same sex couples the right to marry is in any way in any sense fair, just or consistent with the way Australians think today?

Rather than comment I refer you to the thread that follows the question.


2 thoughts on “Julia on #QandA last night

  1. The thread to Q&A makes exhausting reading, but what a lame answer from Ms Gillard. I must say, I’m now awfully tempted to go with Mr Rabbit’s
    early view that the Marriage Act should just be repealed (at least in relation to any new marriages) and everyone just have civil unions if they need definitive proof of their relationship and let anyone who likes have any kind of religious ceremony which will nevertheless be totally be without any legal significance whatsoever – except that is a kind of “take the toys away from both sides” solution which is really no solution at all.

    The silly thing about this argument is that gay marriage rights, especially since the assimilation of gay and straight de facto relationships to marriage for almost all purposes (the stand out is not having a means of definitively establishing a relationship – except where state or territory legislation provides for civil union), really are about R E S P E C T. The longer the argument goes on, the more it displays the need for said respect.

    It’s not even the most important issue for gay people in Australia. I still think the most important issue is homophobic bullying in schools, followed by societal vilification. The first is something that can be addressed in the school system, the second is a bit trickier because it is people and attitudes at a very deep level. Of course the symbolic ramifications of gay marriage or not do carry through to both, and especially the latter (and the willingness to do anything about the former).

    The other joke of course is that anti-gay marriage types are now talking up civil union as an option. They say “it’s just as good as marriage” but they have historically insisted on saying “BUT IT ISN’T MARRIAGE, YOU KNOW.”

    The great historical misdeed was the Howard Govt’s amendment (with the “me-too” participation of the Labor Party) of the Marriage Act to preclude the common law developing organically as quite possibly it otherwise would have done (were it not for the Howard appointments to the High Court) to extend to same-sex marriages. That was provocative and unnecessary.

    • The logical flaw in Julia’s answer invited driving trucks through it — and people have, as in the SMH letters today. That is, she and Tim have the OPTION of marriage but gays and lesbians do not.

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