Wednesday, 31 May 2006

State of Affairs

It's time for political complaining.
I've said it on The Age before: Australia is a one party state. On one hand we have the Liberals spreading monetary gifts allover the place in a totally unconstructive way with their federal budget, and on the other hand we have Labor's Steve Bracks doing exactly the same with the Victorian budget.
What's the deal with Bracks' $300 payout to parents whose kids start school?
What good will it do to the parents? It's not enough to make a difference, unless the parents are truly poor. Thing is, this money will go to rich parents sending their kids to $20,000 a year private schools just the same, and what good will it do to those parents? They'd be able to buy their kid the new iPod they always wanted?
It's an obvious election ploy, and it's pathetic that no sincere attempt is made to improve education. Why not spend the money towards making state schools better, so that people wouldn't have to send their kids to private schools in the first place?
And on that matter, why are private school funded by the government in the first place? Aren't they supposed to be private?
It's a sad state of affairs when the supposed leaders are acting so pathetically with our money.


K Williams said...

As much as I agree with the buying votes policy and as much as I am not a supporter of any Australian parties, you'll find that there's a few happy faces around. The cost of starting school (be it Prep or High School) can be quite steep and it is upfron too. Per child, parents need to buy a bag, uniform (2 or 3 skirts or pants, 3-4 t-shirts or shirts)sun hat, jackets, shoes etc. And there's no grace period either. Schools these days get cranky if you don;t have all that within the first week or two.

Think of it this way: if you and I were to change jobs, going from 6 years of casual dress code into the suited corporate world, we had to go and buy 1 to 2 suits, shirts, ties and shoes (one can only wear their wedding suits for that long!)... Can you imagine that initial outlay, even with the sales on?... It would seriously compromise the gadgets budget!

However, back to the $300 issue, in my household we just missed out!... Lesley has one prep student and one Year 7 student this year... It looks like she;ll be getting half of the entitlement. Always read the small print, eh?...

Moshe Reuveni said...

I understand your problem, but...
With all due respect, don't tell me that those $300 will make or break you. With people of your income (and mine, for that case), this is not a life or death issue; what's at stake is another weekend drive to Spa Country, and severely doubt it's at stake to begin with.
The bottom line is that you should be expecting this expense and planning ahead for it. That's life, and as history proves you were able to still manage it and lead a healthy life.
That said, I agree the government should help families raise their children. They should just do it in a constructive way and not as an off hand. Paid maternity leave, for example, would be a good start.

Besides, if we accept that $300 is indeed a worthy need for people sending their kids to school, where should the buck stop? I, for example, had to pay my car insurance and home contents insurance last month, at a cost of $1500. It was quite a punch, to receive the insurance company's bills in my post box, but I sruvived without the help of Mr Bracks.

I think the bottom line is that we're all spending money like crazy everywhere without anyone forcing us to do so, and then expect the government to help us with our "struggled lives".

K Williams said...

Like I said - I agree it's a sweetener but unfortunately not a long-lasting one. It's a one off an it's pissing a few parents off too, especially the ones whose youngest kids are now in Grade 1 even!

Now, as far as insurance goes, I disagree. You may want to live with the risk of not having it. Besides, this is another world-wide scam for keeping the belly of insurance brokers full and rounded...

As far as expecting the expense... are you telling me that people are saving for the expenses of their first-born child? Nappies, furniture, clothes (which only last a month or so!) etc etc. It's a journey for which almost no one prepares for - we just too goofed-up to realise what's going on :)

Moshe Reuveni said...

I won't bother with counter arguments simply I think we're both saying the same things but differently.
Raising kids is an expensive affair and the government should help parents smooth through the peaks. The government is not doing much on this front, and what it does is done off hand, in a pure "vote for me" fashion.
That said, I do think that Australians tend to think themselves as "strugglers" way too much; the vast majority is quite well off, and no one forced them to buy as big a house as they did and put themselves under as big a mortgage as they (and yes, me too) took.