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
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Ralph Ralph 9:38 am 09 Aug 07

Students brainwashed by socialist teachers. Happens all the time these days.

pierce pierce 10:00 am 09 Aug 07

From the article:

Talkback classroom producer Stephen Cutting said the students had been briefed by a variety of sources, including Mr Downer’s office, Labor, the federal parliamentary library, business and industry.

“I think comments like that underline the effectiveness of how these kids learn the issues, they’ve met with many experts, they’ve been briefed by everybody including Mr Downer’s own office,” he said.

“(But) it’s up to students what they glean from the whole experience and they formulate the questions.”

Ralph Ralph 10:09 am 09 Aug 07

So they managed to come to such conclusions in a half a day then? I doubt it.

flyingblind flyingblind 10:09 am 09 Aug 07

poor old Lex Downer getting the hard word from some students, reminds me of the fearless Minister for Defence running away from an angry mob of student protesters last year.

Its good sport to watch these blow hards face ‘the people’ and not the sycophantic major media peeps who don’t like asking the hard questions for fear of upsetting their bosses.

Absent Diane Absent Diane 10:13 am 09 Aug 07

People brainwashed by illogical money driven agendas. Happens all the time these days.

DarkLadyWolfMother DarkLadyWolfMother 10:22 am 09 Aug 07

It’s amazing to think that some students might even be interested in issues and learn about them independently these days. I’ve even heard rumours some students think for themselves!

Wouldn’t have happened in my day.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 10:29 am 09 Aug 07

Who gives a crap what a bunch of students think anyway? They’re still years off being cycnical and greedy, and registered voters.

Ralph Ralph 10:53 am 09 Aug 07

Indeed. They’re just young and idealistic. Even I used to read the Green Left Weekly when I was an undergraduate. Part of being young and silly.

Young people, being idealistic by nature, are easily captured. There is some merit in raising the voting age to 21.

caf caf 11:33 am 09 Aug 07

Only if you accept that idealism is self-evidently a bad thing, which I for one don’t.

caf caf 11:34 am 09 Aug 07

One could counter with: Old people, being cynical by nature, are easily bought. There is some merit in setting a maximum voting age of 50.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 12:01 pm 09 Aug 07

I would have thought that old people, being cynical in nature are less easily bought (unless by direct benefits). Not that I am old, you understand…

Here’s the deal: I’ll give up voting if I can give up paying tax.

p1 p1 12:15 pm 09 Aug 07

“Here’s the deal: I’ll give up voting if I can give up paying tax.”

Ahhhh, Voluntary Student Unionism extended to the whole country. Sounds like a plan that the Liberal Party would be all over.

VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt VYBerlinaV8 now_with_added grunt 12:20 pm 09 Aug 07

I always found compulsory student unionism to be one of the stupidiest, most laughable concepts ever. The very fact the the only way student unions ever really survived was because people were forced to contribute says it all, really. “You need to be represented and we’re the only ones who can do it – you don’t get a choice”! Yeah, that’s what expanding your education and mind is all about!

I always resented paying my ‘union dues’ when I was at uni, and toward the end simply stopped paying (no-one came asking for the money – too disorganised I guess).

DarkLadyWolfMother DarkLadyWolfMother 12:39 pm 09 Aug 07

Generalisations are always a wonderful thing.

Slinky the Shocker Slinky the Shocker 12:54 pm 09 Aug 07

Wow… Downer must really have some faith in the education system. Senior students being the puppets of parties, what a lot of &*#&. Sorry Lexi I know it’s discouraged in times of Big Brother and Idol, but some kids read books, and some even read books by the Australian of the Year.

Embarassing for a politics pro of old private school noblesse to be outdebated by a public school kid!
And yes, Ralph, people mellow down (even I, hehe), but students who think outside the box are an important part of democracy.

sepi sepi 1:07 pm 09 Aug 07

Plenty of yr 12 students are 18 or close to it.

Dimbo Downer was probably expecting little kids who would ask him what he likes for lunch etc, not real political questions that he can’t answer.

If Johhny H wants capitalists for teachers he’d have to pay a bit more….

Nemo Nemo 4:01 pm 09 Aug 07

Slinky, not all kids think outside the box. Many think in the same box as that put forward by their teachers.

Several years ago in a previous job I saw thousands of children “writing” to the minister to complain about a policy they knew nothing about. This included pre school children! What does a 4 year old care about public policy.

In many cases it was obvious the wording had been copied from the blackboard.

As Ralph said, our kids are being brainwashed by Socialist teachers. Not all of them, but I dont think they are all as balanced as they are supposed to be.

Ralph Ralph 4:27 pm 09 Aug 07

And they shrug their shoulders and blame a lack of funding as to why parents are dragging their kids out of the public school system, en masse.

Instead of teaching kids to read, write, and do maths (which most public teachers struggle with these days), the most important things students should apparently be taught consists of the following:

1. The invasion (white settlement);

2. The stolen generation; and

3. The Whitlam Government.

Then throw in a smattering of refugees, multiculturalism, global warming apocalypse etc etc And then don’t mark them on any of this, you know, it’s all outcomes based.

boomacat boomacat 4:29 pm 09 Aug 07

The assertion that this 17 year old must have been “brainwashed” by some “socialist teacher” is insulting.

I’ve met many very intelligent 17 yr olds whom were more than capable of forming their own opinions. I’m sure Alex (the student) came up with these very reasonable questions all by himself.

The last time I read the Constitution, Parliament was directly elected by and directly accountable to the people, including 17 year olds. If Downer’s not tough/intelligent enough to respond to the questions of the Australian people, he should step down, rather than throwing a tantrum because the questions don’t accord with his own political agenda. Poor baby.

If only the whole world could be run the way the Coalition runs Question Time (ie by setting their own members up to ask questions of Ministers so they can waste 20 mins of Parliament’s time bleating on about what a wonderful government they are), then glass jaw Downer wouldn’t have a problem.

To cut a long story short, Downer is an arrogant tosser.

Mr Evil Mr Evil 4:29 pm 09 Aug 07

Isn’t Narrabundah full of those try hard ISO and Resistance tools?

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