Views on…

… yet nuanced by context!

It can be difficult to succinctly provide an overview on various areas, as my considerations will generally be nuanced by context. Still, here are a few areas on which I have been asked to comment (usually by email).

School Education

Education is not a Federal matter, instead clearly placed in the State basket. Therefore, I do not support a ‘national’ curriculum, or ‘nationally consistent’ guidelines. These are simply bureaucratic wastes, with currently allocated funds better spent on schools and teaching. A question should be: how can we better enable teaching to meet the needs of students, rather than whether or not any specific ‘benchmarks’ are met or politically motivated curriculum design is implemented (a case in point: the current national history and geography areas).

In terms of financing schools, maximum flexibility in parental choice seems a better way. This can be achieved through a simple voucher approach (each voucher itself having a scaling value dependent on the fees charged). After all, every family should potentially be able to choose their preferred school, not just wealthy parents.

With regards the ‘Chaplaincy program’, a decision should be made by each school as to whether or not a chaplain forms part of their welfare approach. Schools should have the freedom to individually determine this, without a specifically targeted funding approach. So no to a targeted-funded chaplaincy program, but yes to chaplains in schools if that is the local decision.

Same sex marriage

This is not a State matter, and a State parliament should not divert resources thereto. If my readers wish to nonetheless know where I personally stand on the subject, marriage, or at least its legal dimension (in contradistinction to its spiritual) should be at the discretion of the two individuals desirous of marriage, freely and voluntarily entering the engagement, and a willing celebrant. I would certainly not want to see imposed on celebrants (religious or otherwise) a requirement that they undertake marriages to which they are personally opposed (irrespective of gender, on this one). So as a Federal voter I would encourage a change to the Marriage Act, and as a State parliamentarian would not want its discussion within parliament unless alterations were already in place at the Federal level that required or did not prevent States from taking either a position or enacting marital State-based acts.

Again, this is not a State matter, and would oppose any vacuous energy spent thereon that would continue to be subject to Federal law.

Red tape

The bureaucratisation of our society is having a range of negative impact on small businesses and individuals. In most instances, I would want to see these seriously reduced and a re-directed bearing towards responsible autonomy within appropriate constraints. What is here of serious concern is that we are moving increasingly away from a western liberal democracy to one in which ‘permission’ (i.e., application to bureaucracies for permissions) needs to be obtained.

Protection of aspects of our environment, or safety, etc, are certainly warranted, but this is quite distinct to bureaucratic intrusions.

Mining and Wood

I am certainly not opposed to either mining or the collection of wood.

What is occurring, however, are some practices that simply fail a common sense risk analysis: ‘fracking’ in Eastern Victoria should simply not occur: the danger to our limited water tables and impact on our limited soil-rich farming area is too high.

On the collection of wood, there are in a few instances old growth areas being used. This also should not occur.

Water

The de-salination plant was known at the time of its planning to be a white elephant.

Farmers and individual households need to be able to collect water through onsite tanks or small dams without being charged – storage of water, in our dry continent, makes social sense, and legislation introduced a couple of decades ago enabling the State to raise revenues needs to be repealed.

Also on water, that we all need to have access to clean water is certainly a fair expectation. Its fluoridation is government-forced medicalisation and needs to stop. Anyone wishing to partake of fluoride may readily do so via toothpaste and/or tablets.

‘Smart’ meters

Aside from potential risks associated from EMFs, there is also an important privacy issue: I have been informed that one electricity company already has over 18 000 000 000 (18 billion) readings from households which it is analysing. There are no benefits to the customer for an electricity supplier to know when I may be home or on vacation through analysis of my energy consumption.

Traffic

Over the course of the past eight years, it appears that Victoria is slowly grinding to a halt… at least judging by the diminishing speed limits throughout the State. It seems likely that this has been used more for revenue measures than required by local conditions, state of the roads, or decreased vehicle safety.

Surveillance

When the G20 was held in Melbourne some decades back, the first surveillance cameras were installed with the explicit statement that these would be subsequently removed. Instead, an increase of private surveillance is occurring.

Unless there is a specific and temporary concern in an area, surveillance cameras have no place in a liberal democracy.

other

please do send me an email if you have a very specific area on which you would like me to respond. There will certainly be a range of areas for which the views I hold may be too nuanced by context to be able to provide a clear reply – in these instances, the details of any proposed legislation would be my foremost concern.

jm@david.net.co