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Crikey List: which MPs were involved in student politics?

The ghost of voluntary student unionism returned to haunt the halls of federal parliament this week with the introduction of the Student Services and Amenities Fee Bill as one of the first pieces of legislation considered by Labor.

The announcement was a shock to student activists, who are wondering whether the ALP had been leaned on by Universities Australia whose members are struggling to uphold basic services. Or perhaps the move was an indication that Labor wanted to get things done in the new parliament.

Unions — whose former student pollies occupy a strong minority of seats in Canberra — have been crippled since 2006, when the Howard government made good on Tony Abbott’s threats at the University of Sydney in the late 1970s to stop compulsory student funding of institutions that he thought were at risk of falling to Peking.

Since Howard pulled the trigger, unions — many with their budgets slashed by over half — have struggled to make ends meet, with the University of Ballarat’s Student Union collapsing and regional campuses teetering as shells of their former selves. Curiously, the radical political cabals that Abbott most wanted to remove as bulwarks to conservative control over young minds have ploughed on regardless.

The current SSAF legislation differs from the previous guise because it contains acceptable funding targets to mollify the Nationals and the country independents who want the money spent on everything except politics. Innocuous ‘sports clubs’ and welfare services are acceptable, while anything that hints at democratic expression remains black-banned.

But the Greens, led by fervent former University of Adelaide student pollie Sarah Hanson-Young, have promised to restore the representation clause with an amendment, that while it won’t get up in the current Senate, could easily pass when her comrades ascend to the red leather. The National Union of Students makes the point that unionism can hardly be called compulsory because the fee is collected by the university and rolled into a HECS-style arrangement. Membership of the union remains voluntary.

But the conservative half of the chamber is maintaining the rage, apparently preferring a new generation of activists to be cut off at the knees. At this juncture, Crikey thought it was pertinent to cast an eye over the current batch of sitting MPs that got their start in the sandpit of the nation’s student unions. Should we be bracing for a new cabal of brawling campus warriors in years to come? Stay tuned.

*Any information, corrections or clarifications send to boss@crikey.com.au and we’ll keep this list updated

House of Representatives:

  • Tony Abbott: SRC president at Sydney Uni in 1978, general terroriser of the Left, author of some stellar campaign literature and giver of ranty radio interviews. Friends with Greg Sheridan, journo from The Australian. Proposed Voluntary Student Unionism to destroy the SRC, which he loathed.
  • Anthony Albanese: Honed his taste for blood at Sydney University in the early 1980s during tussles with the Right on campus, once swapping preferences with the Liberals to wipe Belinda Neal’s faction off the SRC. Went on to shake up the proper NSW Left through a series of edifying brawls with the Fergusons.
  • Kevin Andrews: Lived at Melbourne University’s conservative Newman College, president of its student club which maintained strong links with campus Liberals in the mid-70s
  • Adam Bandt: Briefcase-toting Marxist and Left Alliance stalwart at Murdoch University in 1993
  • David Bradbury: Former NSW Young Labor president and University of Sydney ALP Club member in the late-90s
  • Bronwyn Bishop: Conservative headkicker while studying law at Sydney University, joined the upstanding Killara Young Liberals in 1961
  • Tony Burke: Former president of Australian Young Labor while an arts-law student at Sydney Uni in the late 1980s. Shamefully lost a previous ballot to become president of Sydney Uni Labor Club to Sydney Morning Herald journalist Andrew West in 1989. West often attaches a disclaimer to his Herald pieces on internal ALP politics, recounting his involvement. Seen trading reams of A3 paper from his local ALP offices for preferences in the lead-up to the 1987 SRC poll.
  • Anna Burke: Joined the ALP in 1988 while completing an Arts degree at the windswept Monash University Clayton campus
  • Mark Butler: Heavily involved with Penny Wong’s Adelaide Uni clique in the late 80s
  • Darren Cheeseman: Ballarat Uni torch carrier for the National Organisation of Labor Students at the time of the famous 1996 split brought on by the stoush between Andy Wear and Rose Tracey for National Union of Students President preselection
  • George Christensen: Upstanding editor of The Student Advocate, the official newsletter of the Rob Borbidge-backing Conservative Students’ Alliance at Central Queensland University in Rockhampton in 1998.
  • Steven Ciobo: Former Queensland Young Liberals president, leading light at Bond Uni’s substantial Tory contingent centred on the Gold Coast Young Libs in the early 1990s.
  • Jason Clare: NSW Young Labor acolyte during stint at the University of New South Wales and right wing Cabramatta Branch President for 10 years.
  • Julie Collins: State President, Australian Young Labor Tasmania in 1996, before moving into Jim Bacon’s office as his personal assistant. Party member since the age of 17.
  • Michael Danby: President of the Melbourne University Student Union as well as President of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students in the 1970s. Headed up the Social Democratic Students Association of Victoria with good mate Peter Costello.
  • Peter Dutton: Policy Vice-Chair of the Bayside Young Liberals 1989 and Chair of the Bayside Young Liberals 1990 before becoming an officer of the law.
  • Kate Ellis: Editor of Flinders University student newspaper The Empire Times and SDA-aligned Student Association general secretary who, firmly on the Don Farrell preselection train, forgot to graduate.
  • Paul Fletcher: Member of the Liberal Party since he was 16 and active in student politics at Sydney University where the party commanded three seats on the 21-member SRC under the tutelage of campus powerbroker Mark Heyward in the mid-80s. Australasian Union of Jewish Students influencer.
  • Julia Gillard: SRC president at Adelaide University in 1981-82, then AUS president while at Melbourne Uni in 1983, where she learnt to hate Lindsay Tanner. Cynics suggest Gillard moved to Melbourne to get a smoother run onto AUS.
  • Josh Frydenberg: President of the Monash Law Students Society in the early 1990s but failed to get properly involved in Young Liberal stoushes.
  • Joe Hockey: Fear-inducing President of Sydney University Students Representative Council in 1987 and the NSW Young Liberals. Closed the women’s room at the SRC, not aligned, but politically more aligned with NOLS than the Libs at that stage, took credit (totally unwarranted) for anti-fees protest/occupation of the Department of Education offices in Goulburn Street, nominated himself to represent all students to minister Susan Ryan.
  • Alex Hawke: Young Liberal warrior at Sydney University, president of both the NSW and Federal Young Libs before landing his lower house seat.
  • Bob Katter: Active at The University of Queensland where he once pelted The Beatles with eggs during their 1964 tour.
  • Laura Smyth: Labor Left warrior at Monash University ALP club in the mid-90s, founded National Organisation of Labor Students splinter group Australian Labor Students, colloquially known as the “rats”. President of the Victorian branch of the National Union of Students, before moving into corporate law.
  • Richard Marles: Right-wing President of the notorious Melbourne University Student Union in 1988. Labor Right-aligned General Secretary of NUS, 1989.
  • Tanya Plibersek: Rolled with Anthony Albanese and the NSW Hard Left as student union women’s officer at University of Technology, Sydney in the early 1990s. Efforts paid dividends with slot on Bruce Childs’ staff.
  • Amanda Rishworth: Flinders University student association president in the late 1990s and former president of Australian Young Labor.
  • Sophie Mirabella: Liberal Club president at Melbourne University, signed up Crikey founder Stephen Mayne on the student union’s concrete lawn in 1988. Former vice-president of the rabid Australian Liberal Students Federation.
  • Brendan O’Connor: Heavily involved in the National Organisation of Labor Students at Monash University
  • Kelly O’Dwyer: Anti-Voluntary Student Unionism shrieker as Young Liberal alongside future husband Jon Mant on the student council of the Melbourne University Student Union in the mid-1990s
  • Christopher Pyne: Stellar two year term as Liberal Club president at Adelaide University between 1987 and 1988 and vice-president of the student union
  • Michelle Rowland: Involved in Young Labor while studying law at the University of Sydney during the late 1990s
  • Nicola Roxon: Topped law at Melbourne Uni and preferred to focus on her studies rather than internecine ALP machinations, campus spies say
  • Wyatt Roy: President of the Sunshine Coast Young LNP branch. University of Queensland shenanigans have been suspended while he takes his place on the green leather. Ran for President of La Trobe University SRC on the Liberal ticket against Victorian minister Peter Batchelor’s son Lachlan in 2008, lost. Was cautioned by the Returning Officer for campaigning shirtless.
  • Kevin Rudd: Shunned the ALP entirely at uni and instead led a group of evangelicals called “the Navigators” to expunge all traces of vice from Burgmann College at ANU. Attended Young Labor meetings while at school in Nambour in 1974
  • Philip Ruddock: President of the Young Liberals in 1971 and 1972 while studying law at the University of Sydney
  • Bill Shorten: Notorious right-wing Monash law student who founded the Vanguard and Network ambition cliques, sheltered by Neil Pope and Gareth Evans
  • Andrew Southcott: Student union vice-president alongside Pyne at Adelaide University in the late 1980s. President of the Adelaide Medical Students Society
  • Malcolm Turnbull: Member of the Sydney University Liberal Club and SRC and “palmed” Wentworth Labor rival David Patch during a feisty debate at Sydney University in the mid-1970s. Penned an article in The Bulletin dated 7 Feb, 1978 in which he says Tony Abbott was  a master of “rather boisterous and immature rhetoric”.
  • Alan Tudge: Tracksuit pants-wearing unaligned president of Melbourne University Student Union in 1992
  • Peter Slipper: Former State President of the Queensland Young Nationals
  • Tony Smith: Member for Casey: President of the Melbourne University Liberal Club and then the Victorian Liberal Students Association
  • Bert Van Manen: Young Liberal before running for Family First in 2007
  • Andrew Wilkie: Joined the Young Liberals while training as a cadet at Duntroon in 1983

 

Senate:

  • Eric Abetz: SRC member for five years at the University of Tasmania. President of the Australian Liberal Students Federation in 1980-81
  • Mark Arbib: Studied at University of New South Wales but more interested in flexing his muscle in NSW Young Labor generally after the Joe Tripodi and Reba Meagher takeover in 1992. Anointed President of the organisation in 1995
  • Simon Birmingham: President of the Adelaide Uni Liberal Club in 1994, backed by stacks from the campus Greek Association. Australian Liberal Students Federation activist before joining Robert Hill as a staffer after the 1996 federal election
  • Stephen Conroy: Involvement in student politics ANU was minimal, although he apparently once helped to organise a rally against student fees. Made up for lack of action with years of dutiful spear carrying for Robert Ray
  • David Feeney: Joined the Adelaide University Labor Club in Orientation Week 1988 by Senator Don Farrell. In 1991, led all right-wing aligned Labor students to split from National Organisation of Labor Students and from Student Unity. The trigger for the split was the NOLS-supported NUS Presidential candidacy of then-independent Natasha Stott Despoja. Moved to Melbourne University where he was House and Services Officer at the student union alongside Health Services Union scion Kathy Jackson in 1992. Initial enemy of Bill Shorten but kissed and made up later in the decade.
  • Mitch Fifield: Member of the Sydney University Liberal Club, affiliated to the Australian Liberal Students Federation in the late 1980s. Would later emerge as a virulent backer of Voluntary Student Unionism.
  • Sarah Hanson-Young: Environment Officer at University of Adelaide Students’ Association in 2001 and independent President in 2002
  • Gary Humphries: Member of the Young Liberals at ANU in the late 70s and general bag carrier for then Young Liberal big shots Michael Yabsley and Alistair Walton
  • Louise Pratt: National Organisation of Labor Students office bearer at the University of Western Australia. Elected as the state education and welfare officer in 1993 and 1994 and also served on the National Union of Students as an office bearer.
  • Scott Ryan: Staunch Costelloite and member of the Melbourne University Liberal Club alongside Kelly O’Dwyer during the mid-1990s. One of only a handful of Liberals ever elected to the National Executive of NUS. Went on to score plum staffer roles with Denis Napthine and Robert Doyle.
  • Penny Wong: Heavily involved in the lefty Labor Club at Adelaide University in the late 1980s and served on the National Executive of the NUS. From the same scene that spawned Natasha Stott Despoja.
  • Nick Xenophon: Elected editor of student newspaper, On Dit at Adelaide University in 1976 after the campus Liberal Club rigged the vote. Member of the Adelaide University Liberal Club before realising the error of his ways.
34
  • 1
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Anthony Albanese - Typical labor background, no real business success, no entrepreneurial success. Dedicated his career to spending the publics money. And continues today… the only thing labor knows how to do. Spend the public money and work out ways to take more money off us. Why are we ruled by these cretins?

  • 2
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Oh Daryl. Have you ever heard the lovely little story about the pot and the kettle?

    Troll.

  • 3
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    The racist tale? No do tell…

  • 4
    John Bennetts
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    They appear to be a quite normal bunch of people. After all, university is more than just lectures, y’know.

    Disclosure: I spent more than a few years as a member of a University Union Board of Management, including as Treasurer and President. Some would call this institution the “students’ union”, however it is a creature of the university as a whole, not just the students. Plus a term on the SRC. Poor Daryl obviously didn’t make it that far.

  • 5
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    NO I didn’t, does that bother you John? I have worked in 37 countries, published two books and advised more than one government however. And I despise governments where the ruling cabal is made up of people who have no experience other than how to spend the public’s cash.

    And I don’t particularly care which political party they belong to.

  • 6
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Why didn’t I discover this site years ago?… great site.

  • 7
    Aphra
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Although I always had to scrabble to find the money I willingly paid the Union fee as it provided real help and support to many whom I knew. I did go to many free concerts and barbies, however, and benefited in other ways. It was a spiteful and narky move of the Howard government to ban compulsory union fees: even those of us from Melbourne knew how parlous things would become at that university but worried more about the country cousins. And this is a point.

    Parliamentarians representing regional electorates will need to think very carefully about their vote. Tertiary level students are all voters these days and many of them are in dire need of student support services, even more so than those in the big cities, it could be argued. As for Abbott’s worries, I can’t believe that there’s a real risk of today’s students becoming catspaws for the PRC. Like too many of his ilk he apparently thinks that criticism of the establishment, generally, is some sort of a commie plot.

    @Daryl….so, there are no career politicians in the conservative ranks? Is that what you’re implying?

  • 8
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    @Aphra.. not at all. What I am implying is that anybody (ANYBODY) who has a career spent mainly on spending the publics money instead of working out how to earn it has absolutely no moral right, no professional skill and definitely no understanding of what real Australians (those not working for the government) actually go through on a daily basis.

    And I couldn’t care less which party they work for. None of them are going to stop taxing WA so much to spend for the Welfare states anyway so none of them really represent me.

  • 9
    mook schanker
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Berlusconi is a fine example of business and entrepreneurial success and politics….

  • 10
    David
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Daryl I remember the 2 books you wrote……Recollections of my Stupid Life vol 1… and of course that best seller….How I learned to be a Tosser. I believe there is one more before you send your publisher out of his mind, titled…….Can someone Tighten my Screw?

  • 11
    leone
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Howard never managed to understand (or refused to understand) that student unions are not trade unions, they are more like clubs. Just like the local RSL or Panthers you pay the fees and you get the membership benefits. They can range from cheap beer and free food to childcare to medical services to the provision of services to off-campus students. Howard was just jealous, he studied law but never had the uni experience. In his day (and up to last year) the Sydney Uni law school operated from premises in Phillip Street and Howard probably never went near the main campus at all. His decision to ban compulsory union fees was pure spite.

  • 12
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    This the best you got David? When the logic runs out you go to insults? Good onya son, great example of Aussie spirit.

    @Mook - Italy is hardly a good example of anything, how can anybody justify someone whose entire life has been spent spending our cash having the authority to dictate policy?

    Happy to debate the issues and the facts, but not too keen to get into swinging insults and ridiculous case studies. Cheers,

  • 13
    jaywhar
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    looking at the teaser image on the front page that links to this story - is it just me or did the young Bob Katter have more that a little resemblance to Ian Thorpe? (or the other way ‘round, perhaps)

  • 14
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    @LEONE - I didn’t go to Uni. Are they compulsory? Do you HAVE to pay/join etcetera?

  • 15
    mook schanker
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    Just returning one broad brushed statement with another Dazz :)

  • 16
    Daryl...
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    @Mook - Fair comment.

  • 17
    John Bennetts
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Daryl… worked in 37 countries…

    Found one that’ll have you yet?

    Or are you just, like the saying goes about the Aussie in a London pub. The local’s comment was “That may be so… Are you just passing through?”

  • 18
    Acidic Muse
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    @Daryl

    Yes, This is a good site but unless you want to be taken for just another witless troll seguing across from new.com.au , I’d suggest you put a little more thought into your posts

    Anthony Albanese worked in a bank for a couple of years before he became involved in politics, first as a researcher and then in advisory roles. Many Liberals have just as little commercial experience. Apart from a year working for McKinsey, Greg Hunt has always been a public servant - Wyatt Roy had never had a real job at all.

    The notion that a background in the public service precludes someone having anything to offer as Member of Parliament is patently absurd. Apart from a few years pretending to be a journalist at News Corporation, Tony Abbott has little “real world” experience either. Joe Hockey practised law for only a couple of years before moving into the NSW Public Service. Apart from a year working for McKinsey, Greg Hunt has always been a public servant too

    Someone you no doubt worship, John Howard was a hack conveyancer from Lane Cove before he went into politics – slaving away as a glorified legal clerk hardly an entrepreneurial career now is it:)

  • 19
    geomac
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    From WA I presume Daryl ? Decades before the GST WA did very well out of the federal government while eastern states except QLD did poorly. Even with the GST Victoria but more so NSW and Tasmania were worse off than the previous federal grants system that used to operate . Its only in the last year or so that parity with what they used to receive has been reached. The so called rivers of gold turn out to be the same slow moving creek of yesteryear but now the feds dont use general revenue to pay the states they have the GST.
    Speaking of politicians with limited exposure to the outside workforce Howard must be a leading contender. The idea that we need someone who has made money to decide what policies are needed doesn,t always if at all run true. That person makes money for themself or immediate family but not for their state of country. The aim is not universal but self. On a basis of making money a drug lord would also be a candidate. On a more sensible comparison the mining magnates recently showed what they would do when it comes to their pot of gold or the national interest.

  • 20
    Broggly
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    I suppose the soldiers and police who guard you while you sleep would love to hear that they’re not real Australians, Daryl.

  • 21
    Rox
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    No SDS affilations? How disappointing.

  • 22
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaryl

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaryl

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaryl

  • 23
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Good to see the toxic sociology of the political class getting attention.

    But this is just a start.

  • 24
    oberonsghost
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    @ Leone, John Howard did indeed make it to the main campus of the University of Sydney. It was orientation week in February of 1989. Howard was Shadow Education Spokesman and came, as a guest, I think, of the Uni’s Liberal Students club to launch the then Opposition’s Education Policy. They had policies in those days, not position-papers. (It was all very exciting, I was a dewey-eyed first year).

    He was heckled ruthlessly by many, including a much hairier Adam Spencer. As he was bundled off by some Liberal Club heavies, he shouted at Spencer something along the lines of “you’re a father-funded revolutionary, what would you know”.

    The irony is, that by the time Howard was Prime Minister, Spencer was a Howard-funded revolutionary in the employ of the ABC.

    :)

  • 25
    sickofitall
    Posted Friday, 1 October 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    How the hell was Joe Hockey ever frightening? Unless there is terror in the word ‘whhhaaatttt’, or those he dealt with were a bunch of wimps….

  • 26
    Roquefort Muckraker
    Posted Saturday, 2 October 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Daryl worries that politicians, like Albanese, have no ‘real world experience’. They haven’t made it in the big bad world of business. By this logic, Rupert Murdoch should run Australia…, which, of course, he does.

  • 27
    JM
    Posted Saturday, 2 October 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    This 2005 New Matilda article describes John Howard’s early attempts at forging a brilliant legal career.

    In 1956 Howard gained As in English and Modern History, Bs in Latin, Chemistry and Economics and a fail in General Mathematics (the lowest level Maths you could do at that time for the Leaving Certificate)

    This certainly was not sufficient for the highly regarded double Arts/Law degree, especially with a failed unit (though Maths has never been compulsory for the final NSW exam, nor for Matriculation). It also was not sufficient for the award of the highly sought-after Commonwealth Scholarship.

    This article then goes on to describe Howard as having gone to the University of Sydney Law School, which at that stage was separate from the main campus. The eminent retired Federal Court judge Kevin Lindgren QC took a similar pathway via the old SAB/BAB system, but with a great deal of difference in the outcome.

    Hence Howard’s discomfort with academic success, his hostility towards universities, his resentment of so-called “elites” and his courtship of the lowest common denominator.

  • 28
    Daryl...
    Posted Saturday, 2 October 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Wow… is it that there are a lot of self justifying civil servants here, or is this suggestion really so far outside the “group think” obviously in place.

    @ Acidic, nice collar. FYI I fought hard against Howard/Costello and the HR Nichols society during my time in the Robe River dispute. Where they destroyed the community I grew up in. Never heard of it? No doubt, the rest of Australia turned their backs on us.

    I also left Aussie when he came to power to make sure I didn’t have to deal with him, and returned only after he had lost. I was astonished to see what the ALP had morphed into in that time… disgraceful.

    Here is my thoughts on this. I do not believe that people whose main career has been spending the publics money should be entrusted to run the economy or large elements of it. (Such as transport, social services etcetera)

    Their only experience is in spending our cash, not working out how to earn it, nor dealing with the mess their policies create. They are ivory tower ideologues who can be driven only by ideology as they have no experience in real world events.

    So who am I talking about? Specifically civil servants, (particularly those in embassy service, terrible examples of Australians) those who working for political parties, and those working for non-profits associated with political parties. (Like the ACTU)

    I am a huge fan of Cops, of our long suffering and under served military, and of those working as doctors and nurses on the public payroll. These people are hardly developing a career spending the publics money, and are great examples of self sacrifice for the national good.

    ++To be clear++

    I think their work is of value, and that they are an essential element of our democracy. But they shouldn’t be running the country. No matter which political party they belong to.
     —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  —  — -
    @Geomac - Absolute garbage. WA has never been given the funds it required to develop a third of the nation. The big resource companies paid for the infrastructure and housing that exists in the Pilbara. I know this because I was there and saw it happen.

    Have a look at this report on the state level balance of payments:

    http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/the-yarra-monster-is-killing-us-20100822-13apt.html

    Prety clear what is going on.

    Here are some facts for you… WA, QLD and the NT are facing crushing resource shortages. So much so that international airports are being built in remote centres to fly low wage workers directly in from Asia…

    Meanwhile there are swollen ranks of unemployed people in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and SA… why aren’t they told/ given incentive to move? Why are we paying welfare when there are real opportunities for these people to move to the states earning money instead of staying with those who are spending it?

    Aggressive protectors of the status quo here aren’t you all…

  • 29
    Amathar
    Posted Monday, 4 October 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    @Daryl I find this perception that having worked in the priovate sector some how gaurantees one has a better grasp on economic management of any kind unsupportable.
    I’m not questioning your experiences with the groups you mention in specific but rather your suggestion regarding the cause and subsequent generalisation across the entire public sector.

    Having worked for many years at a university I made the move to the private sector around 2 years ago; I was expecting much. I looked forward to being part of an extremely motivated and skilled workforce devoted to ensuring maximum value for their employer.
    Instead I found roughly the same mix of general incomptence (often willful and born of laziness) and wastefulness. I became deeply impressed with the skill, professionalism and the dedication to value evident in the culture and staff of the university, and dissappointed that the often touted myth of private sector economic management was a laminate veneer over the same-old-same-old.
    (Mind you, contemporary Australian universities are quasi-public at most these days but the broader public perception has yet to catch up with that reality)

    What I learned seems quite obvious now: people are people and generalisations are on the whole useless. Judge the person and the workplace on their own merits.

  • 30
    Daryl...
    Posted Monday, 4 October 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    @Amathar Fair comment. I think there are peaks and valleys everywhere. But to be clear, my comment wasn’t directed at the public sector en masse.

    It was directed at the civil service in particular, the bureaucrats, Political parties and associated parties (Like the ACTU) all these people who have deep experience in spending money and none in making it, and in bootstrapping.

    Again.. I am sure their work is of value, but they shouldn’t be running the country. No matter which party they come from.

    And lets be clear about it… most of the people you describe I would hate to see running for office also…

  • 31
    Andy
    Posted Tuesday, 5 October 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Peter Costello: At Monash University during the late 1970s he was chairman of the Monash Association of Students and an office-bearer of the Social Democratic Students Association of Victoria. He appeared in the media in 1977, after being bashed by an anarchist rival.

  • 32
    Jeremy Yapp
    Posted Wednesday, 6 October 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    Apart from legislating, one of the main things governments do is work out how to spend general revenue. On that basis I reckon a career working out how to spend general revenue would be a good preparation for working in government.

    And while we’re at it: cops, soldiers, nurses and doctors on the public payroll, if they are ambitious and talented, generally end up “developing careers where they spend the public’s money”. Lots of people who do this are, indeed, examples of self sacrifice for the public good.

  • 33
    Oscar Jones
    Posted Thursday, 7 October 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    why did Bob Katter throw eggs at The Beatles???

  • 34
    Holden Back
    Posted Thursday, 7 October 2010 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    @Oscar Jones My guess would be Katter threw eggs at the Beatles because they were a threat to public decency.

    But was he the Eggman?

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