SURPRISE! Abbott government chooses rank ideologue(s) to ruin education

Melissa Wellham at Mamamia informs us that Kevin Donnelly (not pictured) has been chosen by Education Minister Christopher Pyne (pictured, possibly complaining about the lack of twice-roasted Andean condor on the Parliament House menu) to review what our kids get taught at state schools. The article features six quotes from Mr Donnelly, illustrative of the kind of thinking he’ll likely employ when heading the review.

Naturally, being a Coalition pick, he’s an unapologetic racist homophobe, who also heads his own purposely neutral-sounding think tank (the apparently one-man “Education Standards Institute”), uses phrases like “black armband history” to describe an honest appraisal of our nation’s treatment of indigenous people and is enamoured of something called “Judeo-Christian values” which, although innocuous-sounding, has nothing to do with Judaism and is a dog-whistle originally invented by right-wing US evangelists hellbent on circumventing their own constitution and basing legislation & school curricula on their peculiar interpretations of Scripture in any way they can.

As an example, here’s something Donnelly prepared earlier:

“Governments and teacher groups around Australia, for some years, have pushed the rights of gays, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people on the basis that there is nothing wrong with such lifestyles.”

Pyne’s selection as Minister (and his selection of an ideologue with delusions of adequacy to rival his own) strongly indicates that when the Abbott ministerial portfolios were being assigned, the job descriptions were as well, with the phrase “Petulantly Dismantling” being inserted between the words “Minister for” and the department in question.

Yes, of course I want it with humpback sashimi. Jeeesus.

Yes, of course I want the humpback sashimi starter. Jeeesus.

After I posted about this on some blue-labelled social media 2.0 site, a friend asked (as this was just the latest of my rants about Abbott ministers seemingly being assigned portfolios on the basis of their pet hates/subjects they were most ignorant of), “How the fuck did it all go wrong?”

Well, it’s been in the works for a long time, but the Coalition didn’t have the crucial combination of bums on seats, corporate/media collusion, ideologues in their own ranks and sheer bloody nerve to try before now. There actually used to be moderate, reasonable people in the conservative ranks (even at the height of Howard’s craven neo-con appeasement), but the nutters have pushed the conversation so far to the right that the few moderates left (like Turnbull) have had to cling on for survival or be left behind.

Labor certainly didn’t help its own case, publicly tearing itself apart thanks to the petulant kingmakers of its own right wing factions, and that fractiousness was arguably the primary reason Labor were voted out. They had some good ideas on the table, not least of which were the Gonski education reforms (RIP), but voters had had enough of a government which seemed less concerned about the country than about settling their own sectarian scores. The electorate’s exasperation and change of heart is understandable – as, of course, is the current regret – but it was there in black and white what Abbott wanted. Any swinging voter who’s now kicking themselves (and I imagine there are a few) has noone to blame but themselves for where we are – it’s not like Abbott has produced any actual surprises (except, perhaps, regarding the depths he’ll happily plumb).

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