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Dec 18, 2013

Pollies’ school daze: a beat-up?

Crikey readers have a lot to say about our list of where ministers went to school. Was it a beat-up or a useful exercise?

Competing schools of thought

Oliver Townshend writes: Re. “Survey: cabinet really is a private school boys’ club” (yesterday). About the only fees at Taroona High and Hobart Matriculation College (now Hobart College, but not then) in the late ’70s were that you had to buy your own stationery, and pay $10 to join the THS textbox club (I went to the same schools, but was a year or two behind Eric Abetz). There were no fees. Which might explain why Abetz got outraged that he had to pay fees at uni, led a very successful campaign when we were at uni against the student union fees, which were then $108 per year. He got 50% of the vote, but not control, as that only translated to two seats on the SRC, as a lot of the special positions (various committee chairs) also had votes.

Geoffrey Briot writes: While a very telling survey in today’s issue, this principally reveals the ministers’ parents’ choices. More relevant still would be a survey of which schools the ministers have chosen for their own children. This would also be a starker indicator of the conflict of interest each may have in relation to private versus public school funding issues.

Since I suspect there would be greater coyness about answering this latter survey you may need to seek the assistance of your readership since among them are likely to be those whose own children would be aware of any ministerial offspring that are, or have been, enrolled at their schools.

Rod Jarman writes: Scullion attended (Alfred) Deakin High School in Canberra. He was a couple of years ahead of me. I once confirmed this on his bio page to see if it was the same guy, but this has since been removed. Perhaps he doesn’t want constituents to know he’s from Canberra! It’s on his Wikipedia entry.

Ian Franklin writes: Has Crikey considered nominating itself for its very own Crikey Award in the “Biggest Beat-Up” category? What purpose does your article “Survey: cabinet really is a private school boys’ club” serve? What does Crikey believe listing the fees adds to the article other than to reinforce the line that people who send their children to private schools are rich elitist bastards?

The article also deserves a comment regarding Sydney Boys’ High. It is actually a NSW state selective school. Hardly a school that could be considered “under-privileged” as implied by Crikey‘s attempt at listing the (very exclusive) school as “public”. I had thought Crikey would be above pap like this. Shame, Crikey, shame.

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