No coalitions for us. There’s one theme Tony Abbott will not be able to borrow from the election campaign now under way in Canada. The Canadian Conservative government, forced to an early poll after losing a parliamentary vote, is running hard on the claim that re-electing it is the only way to avoid a coalition government. The major opponent, the Liberal Party, would be dependent on support, claim the Conservatives, from the New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois. He uttered the evil word “coalition” 21 times in a speech on Sunday while implying that a coalition is something like a coup, a danger to Canada’s stability.

Then again the leader of Australia’s conservative version of a Liberal Party, being in a long standing coalition with the National Party, may be able to follow the example of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s attack on his opponents by talking of the evils of “minority” rather than “coalition” government. Instead of New Democrats and the Bloc Québécois the enemies of proper democracy can be rural independents and an occasional Green.

And there’s no need to worry about the hypocrisy of such an argument for Prime Minister Harper has shown the way. His attack on a potential coalition of his enemies comes from a man whose own government since taking office has held less than one-third of the seats in the Canadian House of Commons.

Education test score rorts. The NAPLAN tests are in and the results are posted for all to see on the MySchool website. How long will it be before we get our first little scandal about the figures being rorted? Not long I expect.

If you wonder what I am writing about have a look at the USA Today report on the rapid “improvement” made in just two years as the Crosby S. Noyes Education Campus went from a school deemed in need of improvement to a place that the District of Columbia Public Schools called one of its “shining stars.”

Standardized test scores improved dramatically. In 2006, only 10% of Noyes’ students scored “proficient” or “advanced” in math on the standardized tests required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Two years later, 58% achieved that level. The school showed similar gains in reading.

Because of the remarkable turnaround, the U.S. Department of Education named the school in northeast Washington a National Blue Ribbon School. Noyes was one of 264 public schools nationwide given that award in 2009.

… A USA TODAY investigation, based on documents and data secured under D.C.’s Freedom of Information Act, found that for the past three school years most of Noyes’ classrooms had extraordinarily high numbers of erasures on standardized tests. The consistent pattern was that wrong answers were erased and changed to right ones.

Hard to believe. The controllers of the NSW Labor Party appear to have learned nothing. The speed with which they are moving to get the leadership of the parliamentary party into their own hands is nothing less than staggering.

The comments on the ABC’s Lateline last night by the retired former minister Frank Sartor that the former government was the undemocratic domain of factional warlords and party officials hooked on corporate donations was completely true. The unfortunate thing is that it looks like continuing to be.

The stumbling global carbon market. The supposedly interim period when Australia has a carbon tax before it is replaced by a carbon trading market integrated with the rest of the world might prove to be a lengthy one. In the Washington Post this week there is a rather pessimistic assessment of how the existing carbon trading markets of the world are faring.

Pity the Bangladeshi team. At least Ricky Ponting only has the press baying for his blood. In Bangladesh the government is on the warpath. The BBC reports that the government is launching an inquiry into the team’s World Cricket Cup failure.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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