Downer gets paranoid about Canberra students at the National Museum

pierce 9 August 2007 71

According to this story in the SMH and Perth’s Sunday Times, Federal Foreign Affairs Minister (and former fishnet stocking model) Alexander Downer yesterday lost his cool when asked by students from Narrabundah College about the Howard Government’s environmental policies and heavily election advertising spending during an appearance at Talkback Classroom at the National Museum.

He implied that questions were planted by the Labor party, saying “It sounds like your questions come from a familiar source”.

“A source I’m very familiar with, I’d say they’ve written them well for you,” the minister said, suggesting he thought the questions were supplied by Labor.

He was later not heard to mutter under his breath about “extraordinary rendition”.

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71 Responses to Downer gets paranoid about Canberra students at the National Museum
nyssa76 nyssa76 6:58 pm 12 Aug 07

When it comes to education, I like Yoda’s view: “there is no try… you either do or you don’t”.

Actually it’s “Do or do not, there is no try” 🙂

jemmy, it’s so that pedos don’t come into the school under the guise of a helper.

J Dawg J Dawg 7:49 pm 10 Aug 07

To everyone bagging out students:

I am in Year 12, and I am 18. I am registered to vote.

I like to think I can form an opinion about an issue, but hear an opposing view and take it into consideration. A lot of people my age simply cannot do that. The impression I get from a lot of people my age is the general “anti-whatever-the-popular-thing-is-to-hate”, it just so happens that the Liberal Party is one of those things. It does not surprise me in the slightest that these fellow students could piss off a government minister so much. The naivety of them to find a popular point, eg. climate change, and to constantly argue what they think is the simple clear-cut point (morality), shows a great deal of, well, immaturity. Obviously, politics is not the most simple of topics, and highly controversial issues need to be addressed with more detail. But I bet the students concerned feel big cause they frustrated a politician.

Personally, I prefer to make an informed (as much as possible) decision about matters such as this, and whilst there is a lot of criticism about climate change, I wouldn’t take such a definitive stance on the issue without looking into it further, and taking into account the government’s reasons for inaction (however inappropriate the general consensus of them are).

Thumper Thumper 10:29 am 10 Aug 07

I’ve also taught in ACT schools.

The reason I no longer do was due to the anti Liberal, femonazi culture that existed.

I was sick and tired of teaching that all refugees should be allowed into the country, that the stolen generation was akin to genocide, etc, all of that good leftist stuff.

It was very hard to give a balanced view.

Of course, that was not everyone.

Then again, when I was a kid I had radical ideas as well, so there’s no dramas there.

boomacat boomacat 9:52 am 10 Aug 07

I defer to the greater learning of Yoda. The force is strong in this one.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 8:57 am 10 Aug 07

When it comes to education, I like Yoda’s view: “there is no try… you either do or you don’t”.

My view is that hard outcomes in schools generally are missing. It’s difficult enough to teach kids that in life there are winners and losers.

jemmy jemmy 7:17 am 10 Aug 07

“it is standard procedure in an ACT Govt school for visitors to have a Police Check”

The nanny state gone completely and utterly stupid.

nyssa76 nyssa76 6:52 am 10 Aug 07

Actually Ralph you can be as affronted as you like, it is standard procedure in an ACT Govt school for visitors to have a Police Check – actually it is with a ‘capital’ according to the AFP form 🙂

I would have been more ‘affronted’ by the “my students use their brains and it might intimidate you” statement – which sounds to be right on the money.

(Thanks Slinky for the link)

OMG and a PhD student to boot? What you know about ACT education I could fit in my little finger.

pierce pierce 12:05 am 10 Aug 07

Or we could just watch the video.

000012 000012 11:38 pm 09 Aug 07

This article is completely out of touch with reality. I was there, and from what I observed, Alex (yr 12 student), was constantly interrupting Downer while he was answering questions posed from one of the Korean guest students. Alex compared the public feeling of global warming, to that of slavery 200 years ago; even going to the lengths of saying that we were enslaving our future generations to the effects climate change. He then went on compare the spending of money on climate change, to that of spending for the upcoming election, two completely different topics, confusing the already confused topic with the topic of the election. Downer quickly pointed out the Labor spends A LOT more on the election than the Liberal party does. Downer went to the forum for an interview on climate change, and NOT politics. Not at one point did Downer ‘lose his cool’. Instead he acted like a respectable politician. All he did was ask Alex to stop interrupting while he was answering the other questions.

Downer’s comments about how he is familiar with ‘Alex’s sources’ (ie. The Labor Party) were inappropriate, however Alex’s complete disrespect for other people’s opinions were out of line, and as Downer pointed out; we should always be able to hear both sides of a debate in a democracy such as Australia, without the callous criticism that the many people of the climate change debate receive.

asp asp 11:26 pm 09 Aug 07

Ralph, the mispelling of sure was a minor reference to the english teacher at Narrabundah who would always use “shaw” instead of sure and get annoyed when corrected by students.

As for bourgeoisie, two seperate politics teachers (one with a PHD in political science) could not spell it. On average, two attempts before they would get it in about half the cases where they put it on the board or in a powerpoint presentation. These are teachers, academics and they can’t spell one of the basic words for any student of politics and/or society.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 11:08 pm 09 Aug 07

“Well firstly asp, it is ‘bourgeois’, and sure, not ’shaw’.”

Well, secondly, Ralph he actually meant “bourgeoisie”, which is the associated noun.

Usually I don’t let myself down to the level of waving with a degree to prove how awesome, sexy and supersmart I am (see ), but you are not the only one with a higher degree…critical thinking has led me to mine. Ralph.

boomacat boomacat 10:49 pm 09 Aug 07

Yes I would find that insulting.

My comment about the spelling and grammar was not at all constructive and was only meant to be a light hearted jibe 🙂

Ralph Ralph 10:31 pm 09 Aug 07

Not at all. Keep dishing it out.

At least nyssa was making some constructive comments.

But I took affront to the backhanded insinuation about police checks. Wouldn’t you?

boomacat boomacat 10:24 pm 09 Aug 07

A little like your pal Alexander Downer.

boomacat boomacat 10:24 pm 09 Aug 07

Again with your spelling and grammar advice Ralph.

You get desperate when backed into a corner, don’t you mate?

Ralph Ralph 10:17 pm 09 Aug 07

Wouldn’t be a problem with the police check. No capital required for ‘check’.

nyssa76 nyssa76 10:12 pm 09 Aug 07

Who said I was AEU? Get your facts right matey. I would NEVER be an AEU member.

As MANY researchers have already proven – in the US and UK – smaller schools actually work to BENEFIT students ACADEMICALLY. But yeah, bugger them, wouldn’t want them to actually have an opinion….

Again, go into a classroom Ralph, I’d let you come into mine but in my classroom my students use their brains and it might intimidate you.

But you do have the required Police Check right? I’m sure ACTDET can set you up.

Ralph Ralph 10:01 pm 09 Aug 07

Never mind the dog’s breakfast of a state that Joan Kirner left Victoria in. Kennett was right in shutting down inefficient public services, including schools with low student numbers and changing demographics. Oh, much like what the Stanhope government has done recently.

But yep, obviously only insiders are qualified to comment. Closed shop. Teachers’ union only. Move along.

nyssa76 nyssa76 9:43 pm 09 Aug 07

Actually Ralph, Kevin Donnelly was a “yes” man for the Kennett Government in Victoria. You remember the debacle in Victoria about education don’t you?

He is so out of touch in a classroom as he “chooses” to be a consultant – therefore spending less time with students than even the bus drivers who take them to school each day.

If your only real basis for a rebuttal is Kevin Donnelly, then you need to read up a bit more on the ACT Curriulum and spend some time in an actual classroom.

That’s what the education system is supposed to be teaching, the ability to think critically and independently.

It’s called CRITICAL LITERACY – look it up before you speak another word about education in the ACT.

Considering Downer is suppose to be an “expert” at public speaking and being in the “know”, I find it quite funny that the ‘Bundah kids pulled him down a peg.

Ralph Ralph 9:20 pm 09 Aug 07

Well firstly asp, it is ‘bourgeois’, and sure, not ‘shaw’.


A, for effort.

Now for you for pierce:

Isn’t basing the bulk of your opinions about the education system on a single source (i.e Dumbing Down) a little simplistic?

Was I? And what did I say above about reading the book, then the critiques. Go back and re-read the thread.

I guess it’s like considering the five scientists who still deny AWG as the only valid sources.

Now you’re being simplistic.

You keep trying to goad me into some great debate about theories of AGW. I’m flattered, but frankly I’m sick and tired of the subject, so that won’t be happening.

But did you see what Dr Pachauri had to say yesterday? Never mind it sounded much like what Ralph has been saying, but I don’t think it was reported by your ABC.

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