28 May 2008



A recent government commissioned report indicates that public sector (i.e. state) secondary school teacher pay should be doubled (to about $150k) to rectify the secondary school teacher shortage.

Well the Labour party would say that, wouldn't they.

I remember Simon Crean (now Federal minister for Trade) addressing a hall full of TAFE teachers back in the late '90s. Present were teachers of secretarial studies, flower arranging, tradies and teachers of the high end Engineering and Chemistry courses. The range of entry qualifications required for those teaching positions ranged from a 6 month TAFE course to a four year degree at University.

To much energetic cheering, Simon said: "Look fellers, you are all in the same job, which is teaching, so you should all get the same pay."

Noticeably silent were the few (2%-3%) high end teachers. While everybody else's pay rose between 10% to 20%, those teachers pay rose less than 1%. To add insult to injury, their teaching load was increased from 18 hours face to face to 20 hours. Since then, nine positions were advertised in Mechanical Engineering. There were five qualified applicants, of whom four were unsuitable because their English skills were not adequate. In the same week, two trade teacher positions were advertised. There were in excess of five hundred qualified applicants.

So no, a Labour government is not going to identify the problem with schools.

The solution is, we only have to pay our highly qualified Math and Science teachers that $150,000. That is where the shortage is. We can have as many as we want of the rest of the teacher classifications (English, History, Art, Music etc. etc) at present pay rates of about $75,000.

Such a move would add enormous prestige to the math & science disciplines in the classroom, and reverse the recent trend away from those professions. Trouble is, it would also bloody the nose of all the other (strongly Labour supporting) teaching disciplines to the point of possibly losing the next election.


Kevin Rudd's first budget has increased the "luxury Car Tax" from 25% to 35% There are many smug looks from the Labour members as they pass this "tax on the rich".

To me, the purpose was not designed to collect tax, but to help their worker mates in the automobile manufacturing industry. Those SUV's etc that cost over $57,000 are mostly made overseas. And that tax is going to stop the battlers from obtaining a prestige car, and only the elite will be able to afford them. Still, if it saves some union jobs, it's gotta be a good tax, hey!

IAG (Insurance Australia Group)

Before 2000AD the NRMA (National Road Motorists Association) was a mutualized road service group that offered competitive insurance to the Australian public. Then banker Nick Whitlam became CEO & trading on his Dad's (arguably) good name, persuaded NRMA members to allow him to demutualize for around $1,000 a head.

From then the path has been downhill. This previously successful insurance company changed it's name to IAG and is now a basket case. The now separate road service membership cost has doubled.

Now the MBF, (Medical Benefit Fund) management is bribing members to demutualize for a payment of around $1,000. If that goes down then, (given our Labour government's attitude to private medical insurance) Medibank Private would be the next starter on the block.