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
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.

asp asp 9:19 pm 09 Aug 07

“Teenagers are supposed to be idealistic, environmentally conscious and not identify with the elderly, or boring authority figures.”

I have an aunt who chain smokes and is 87yrs old. Given how many tobacco smokers there were at Narrabundah, I would say many teenagers have a lot in common with the elderly (or will have when their 50). The air pollution they cause suggests they don’t care about the environment. But what you said about their idealism is true. They must be idealistic if they think that cigarrettes won’t consign them to an early grave.

asp asp 9:03 pm 09 Aug 07

My spelling is normally good. But I type so fast and don’t bother proofing my posts that they are full of errors. That and I am a crap typer.

But, if it gives the wrong impression about students and former students of Narrabundah, the allow me to post in the stereotypical, try hard AND eloquent manner the “bundarians” are meant to use. It also includes the political opinions, drilled into us by the teachers… see if you can spot them.

Dear Sirs and Maddams of the RiotACT and readers of this free flowing, interlectual think tank of ideas and opinions.

It is with immense pride that I write this post, to honour the acheivments and conquests of our brave Comrade Alex, whose daring probing of the evil minister to foreign capitalist vermon states, one Alexander Downer, has decreased the credibility of the Liberal Party and gone far to putting to rest the rule Howard and the rest of the bourgeoisie.

We can be proud of the acheivments of this comrade, whose valliant struggle against the Liberal Party will brings us certain pay rises when the brave and enlightened folk of the Labour Party gain power in what is shaw to be a glorious election this October.

Praise the great Rudd. May he live a long life in the duty of the Australian People.

Yours in sincerity,

pierce pierce 8:54 pm 09 Aug 07

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

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

Making this a debate about education standards is a complete red herring anyway – if I was a year 12 teacher, I’d be ecstatic that I had a student confident and capable enough to debate and rattle a senior Cabinet minister by using facts.

Note that when Lexi wasn’t able to respond to the issues, he used the all too common righto tactic of shooting the messenger.

Ralph Ralph 8:31 pm 09 Aug 07

Read the book first, then read the critiques, and form your own opinion. That’s what the education system is supposed to be teaching, the ability to think critically and independently.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 8:22 pm 09 Aug 07

Oh, and there is an excellent rebuttal of ‘Dumbing Down’ by Fox Newspaper (that left wing rag),20867,21275638-25132,00.html

VicePope VicePope 8:22 pm 09 Aug 07

A Minister. A senior Minister at that. A senior Minister with 11 years in the job and some past history as Opposition Leader. And he gets rattled by a teenager. Tee hee!

One or more of several things. Teenager may be smart and assertive. Teenager may be aware of arguments on some positions. Senior Minister may be leading contender for upper-class twit of the year (yes, it’s a Python reference). But senior Minister should have been properly briefed and should have read his brief. Or he should have sent along someone with a clue.

It matters not that the teenager might have been worded up by his teachers, his parents, the Canberra Times or Kevin Rudd personally. If one is supposed to be up to the standard for a Minister, one ought to be across anything likely to be raised in an interview or conversation. Downer failed, or his office failed or DFAT failed or all three failed.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 8:05 pm 09 Aug 07

Including me.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 8:05 pm 09 Aug 07

I consider the public the families that have to fork out 40 pct of their income for their mortgage and are told that they are so much better off than in the Keating years.

Ralph Ralph 8:01 pm 09 Aug 07

Including me.

Ralph Ralph 7:54 pm 09 Aug 07

Howard and his supporters are completely out of touch with the public.

Sorry, but I don’t think that a bunch of screeching Canberrans is particularly representative of ‘the public’.

Ralph Ralph 7:52 pm 09 Aug 07

Nyssa, there’s an excellent book by Kevin Donnelly called Dumbing Down, about outcomes based learning and how the socialists took over the public school system in the 70s.

You now tell me why parents are pulling their kids out of public schools in droves? Maybe it has something to do with poor teaching standards, obscure report cards, and political indoctrination.

It has nothing to do with funding for public schools and Howard’s supposed bias for the private system. Parents are voting with their feet.

I used to be an idealistic student, reading Green Left Weekly, a member of the Democrats as a student, seriously I was. I just dismiss it these days as just a phase that some young people go through. I grew out of it, most of these kids will too.

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