AusPol December 2013

School Fences

One can still offer boiled sweets through the bars, you know

NSW Minister for Education Verity Firth said $10 million would see 42 schools become securely fenced this year.

Schools provided with security fencing have reported significant reductions in incidents of break and enter and vandalism. The use of holiday security patrols, electronic surveillance and security alarms, as well as security grills on windows and doors are all strategies adopted by schools in their efforts to deter criminals.”

Passing by schools nowadays saddens Throsby’s heart.

He wonders which peculiar world he occupied as a child, when one could not only not find the school gate, one was more than hard-pressed to find the fence. And no-one, one notes, noticed or cared.

Sure, it might have reduce rascals setting fire the the classrooms of hell that we all recall, or random malicious vandalism. That needs to be proven.

Throsby posits a successful fencing company lobbyist might wear the blame for a paranoia campaign that has transformed our schools into ugly gulags. 

Advice for the working class
The Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) is reminding consumers that deposits up to $1 million or less are automatically guaranteed under the Government’s Financial Claims Scheme.

Because a customer’s deposit up to $1m is automatically protected against loss, customers should feel free to make their deposit account choice on the basis of price and service.

Methinks we’ll see how that works following the next bank holiday, or the increasingly inevitable bail-in.

And for the rest of you..

“Inner-city fare-free” beneficiaries (lucky travellers) might enjoy free travel around heavier precincts, courtesy of city-centric ideas people.

All good, except … there’s a few hundred thousand other constituents with similar sentiments? Some transports economists advocate free public transport carte blanche and cite as powerful disincentives to train travel the complex ticketing and policing of fares, and float assertions unsettling to even pink governments that the cost of collecting fares exceeds revenue.

Throsby, for one, would seriously entertain either train or bus (he has a choice) on his commute from sub. to urbia. It’s the hassle over fares (uncertainties born of unfamiliarity) that place the first barrier in his head.

Why are fares retained? Even if generating net revenue, how full would trains and buses be if free? There’s only one way to find out. Gummint has a unwavering eye on transport privatisation, one severely suspect, lobbyists having infected the solar system for the past 100,000 years or so. Private vehicle tollways are a growth industry, due in part to surveillance-age technology enabling investors to remotely pilfer citizens’ pockets, where once there we enjoyed unencumbered free passage.

If corporations so effectively tax “free range” travellers, what a delightful investment fixed transport infrastructure will seem when a litre of petrol is a luxury.

More rank statistics

Australia ranks number one for international student safety, says a survey of 1,130 Indian students and graduates. Worldwide research of 6,000 students by IDP Education also confirmed Australia as number one with Indians for best Government policies to protect international students – outranking all the other major English-language education countries Great Britain, the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Australia also scored highest on access to student visas and permanent residency.

Throsby’s household hosts Homestay students on occasion.

Chinese honing their English – not spoken English, they are excellent at that. But listening skills. Grappling with our Strine, trying to equate it to the Chino-American accent on their language training software that taught them so proficiently. After a year amongst the natives they are no longer alarmed to be asked “How are you going to die?”

Our favourite guest was Miaolin who spent her first months acquiring the skill of detecting and avoiding those elderly seedy gents in the street asking her to be friends, or to come inspect their engravings. Or join them in marriage - now, preferably.

Throsby told her they were the harmless ones. True Evil would introduce itself only upon her regaining consciousness.

Guinevere and my primary concerns and responsibility became teaching Miaolin and the others to understand a dark presence in all cultures that preys on foreign visitors. And, parents, as we sadly know, that means destroying their innocence and happiness.

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