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Weekend reflections

September 15th, 2007

Weekend Reflections is on again. Please comment on any topic of interest (civilised discussion and no coarse language, please). Feel free to put in contributions more lengthy than for the Monday Message Board or standard comments.

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  1. stephen bartos
    September 15th, 2007 at 19:48 | #1

    I went to the airport recently to meet an arriving passenger. In the security area I was warned, in the impolitest of terms to – “get your hands out of your pockets”. OK, it’s trivial; and it is probably a bad look to have ones hands in pockets; the guard may even have been doing my posture a favour. But the last time someone shouted at me to take my hands out of my pockets I was at school – and didn’t like it then either. Isn’t this taking denial of civil liberties a bit too far? And wouldn’t civility be preferable to authoritarianism of this sort? I’m worried that security guards like this, who most Australians would in past years have treated as a bit of a joke, now know that they have the power to do this sort of thing, and obviously some of them are relishing the experience.

  2. gerard
    September 15th, 2007 at 23:55 | #2

    Kevin Rudd’s plan for university costs has been criticised by the vice-chancellor of Monash University, Professor Richard Larkins.

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,22405390-12332,00.html


    Mr Rudd said he felt the HECS scheme was out of control and prevented children from working-class families going to university.

    Apart from cutting HECS for maths and science students, which Mr Rudd had already announced, the Opposition would not give any further details on how it would relieve the HECS burden until closer to the election.

    Universities Australia incoming chairman Richard Larkins said bumping up income support for students would be the most effective way of increasing access to university for working-class students.

    “It would be great if HECS was reduced, but if there is only a limited amount of funding available, it would be more effective to provide more income for poorer students at university,� he said.

    “In terms of the equity outcomes and the number of dollars spent, it would probably be better going into student support while studying at university.�

  3. gordon
    September 16th, 2007 at 10:33 | #3

    Can anybody recommend a book or long article/s describing and evaluating the Hawke/Keating industry policies? I’m looking for something that gives a good description of the Accord, tripartism (including EPAC etc.), industry plans, the associated training initiatives and trade policy (remember “Australia Reconstructed”?) and so on. Would prefer articles available on the Web if possible.

  4. peterd
    September 18th, 2007 at 00:05 | #4

    stephen,
    Just as I was about to write that I am astonished these goons can get away with this kind of thing, I remembered we do live in Australia, whose residents are (mostly) sheep-like, and we are a target in the “war on terror”. The incivility you experienced is dished out on a daily basis at our airports in the name of “security” and of “deciding who comes to Australia” (Howard). It is sanctioned by such appalling TV shows as “Border Patrol” and “Border Security”, which appear to show arrogant and officious immigration officials who- of course- act in our names being rude and discourteous to various individuals, all of whom seem to come from countries other than Australia. If they were ever challenged over this behaviour (which, of course, they are not because this is, after all, Australia), their excuse would be that the people are guilt anyway so anything they (immigration) do to prove it would be justified. Ends justify means.
    The measures introduced to police our airline luggage are ludicrous. It wasn’t so long ago that an officious little man ensconced within the majestic Brisbane airport confiscated from me a nail file that had circulated the globe with me several times, because I had forgotten to pack it in my check-in, instead of my carry-on luggage. At about the same time, Qantas was offering its passengers steel forks and plastic knives in its cutlery for meals. Presumably, a nail file is a more substantial weapon than a fork. All of this provides gainful employment for cretinous bureaucrats.

    Still, it does appear that an airport could now be a good place to go to get a bit of practice at biff.

    Cheers, P.

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