The Australian’s “War on Reality”: if Chris Mitchell doesn’t believe it, it mustn’t be real

Tim Lambert over at Deltoid has been monitoring The Australian’s “War on Science” for several years now. The paper’s editor, Chris Mitchell is notorious for his partisan views on the science.

But it’s not just climate science The Oz is “at war” with.

It would appear anything that punctures the comfortable world view of rich, elderly Anglo-Saxon males simply has to be denied.

And not just denied it has to be shouted down as simply “not true”. Viz today’s front page of The Oz and it’s coverage of the issue de jour, school funding:

"No class divide...." oh really?

Says The Oz:

PRIVATE schools spend about the same amount of money teaching their students as government schools, with the first national figures on school finances revealing the extra money raised in private fees is spent on buildings, sporting grounds and other facilities.

Details of the financial resources available to the nation’s 9500 schools will be published for the first time on the My School website today.

They show a wide disparity in the money spent in individual schools, ranging from $3000 a student up to $150,000 for a special needs pupil.

Actually the figures below reveal, private schools are better funded to the tune of thousands of dollars per student.

Where’s a good anti-government libertarian when you need one?

The Oz reproduces this graph:

Note the Federal level of funding for private schools… where are all those libertarians (I’m looking at you IPA) when you need them huh?

I mean look at all that tax payer money supporting a system that is all about consumer choice!

Oh wait, that’s right.

All those libertarians are products of those schools receiving generous Federal government support.

The Institue of Public Affairs, is the think tank that both promotes climate denial has also historically rushed to defend government spending on private schools:

If the Greens wield their newfound political muscle to push school funding policy in their preferred
direction, such a scenario would be highly detrimental to the broader interests of Australian education.

Catholic and independent schools provide a quality, values based education that is highly responsive to the educational needs of students and parental choices.

Reducing public funding by the amount envisaged by the Greens would restrict the choice of nongovernment schooling to all but the wealthiest Australian parents.

It’s the conservatives dirtly little secret: they hate government if it inteferes with their desire to minimise their tax or tells them they cant simply pollute the planet.

But cash for schools, so less money comes out their pockets?

Yes please!

Don’t ask, don’t tell hey?

I guess we can summarise The Oz’s attitude towards the public school system:

Without tax payer funding, such after parties at private schools would not be possible

“Let them eat cake”

The Age spells it out

The Age (Fairfax) plays up the discrepancies:

Lid lifted on private school cash

INDEPENDENT schools in Victoria are the best resourced schools in Australia, according to data to be published for the first time today on the Gillard government’s controversial My School website.

The website, which is being relaunched today after an aborted start last year, will show that Victoria’s independent schools operate on an average of $15,201 per student.

This is more than any school sector – government, independent or Catholic – in any other state or territory.

It is also vastly more, on average, than the resourcing available to government schools in Victoria. When government grants, fees and charges and other income are all taken into account, Victorian government schools operate on an average of $10,178 per student – or about two-thirds of what the independents have.

Catholic schools in Victoria run on even less – an average of $9300 per student.

The publication of detailed financial information on each of the nation’s 10,000 or so schools is likely to reignite fierce debate about school funding, as businessman David Gonski conducts a review of existing federal funding arrangements.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has predicted the publication of the data will ”smash to the ground” preconceptions about education, while Schools Minister Peter Garrett said yesterday the revamped site would be a ”game-changer” in the debate

Even the HUN can see funding is an issue!

The Herald Sun, like The Oz is a New Corp publication. But true to form, it goes for the tabloid angle and declares the discrepancy as “class war”:

MASSIVE inequalities in spending on students have been exposed on the new My School website.

Money spent on students can vary by tens of thousands of dollars.

The Gillard Government’s controversial website – relaunched today – reveals for the first time that the average Australian school gets $11,262 for every student it teaches.

Raw figures suggest that spending on students can vary from $3000 to $150,000, but this is not a measure of wealth: it costs more to educate high needs students.

But nevertheless there are big disparities.

Many battling schools are forced to make do with less than half the money per student enjoyed by their counterparts.

Actual average income for state schools is $11,100, Catholic schools $10,000 and private schools $13,700.

The funding of private schools by both Federal and State show a clear discrepancy. Hell, if even the HUN can see it’s an issue then there must be a little truth to the claim.

The Oz: see no evil, tell no evil.

The Oz simply won’t accept there is an issue based on the figures alone. There does not appear to be a single issue this paper does not filer through an ideological filter.

The Australian aspires to be the nation’s paper of record.

However, what all it does is record is the prejudices of its editor Chris Mitchell.

At the very least Mr Mitchell is doing future historians a huge favour who will no doubt muse to themselves:

“Seriously, people believed that shit back then? No wonder it was hard to get consensus on anything with such misinformation being pushed!”


7 thoughts on “The Australian’s “War on Reality”: if Chris Mitchell doesn’t believe it, it mustn’t be real

  1. ianash says:

    Well said. The Australian turned to sludge ages ago -does anyone really buy this newspaper?

    There are numerous inconsistencies that the libertarian types hate you pointing out. Education is one of the most stark examples of their hypocrisy. Private health subsidies is another. Negative gearing of property. Fringe benefits loopholes. and on and on…

    And dont mention their ‘mates’. Rural subsidies to large farming corporates. Diesel rebates to multinational mining companies. Even not for profit status of right wing think tanks providing 100% tax relief on any profits made! … surely if they were committed to competition, the IPA would split into two, compete with itself and let market forces decide which is better (plus they both could pay taxes!) 😉

  2. I’ve been finding myself getting very angry today when I happen to catch the news. The bitching about this from the Coalition is telling – just like the Oz. Why the hell would such characters care, just as long as the cash flow is in their direction?
    There’s been a lot of suggestion of this for a long time, but at least the proof is now publicly available.

  3. Adam says:

    Kids should get the same , fair, amount of government funding regardless of where they go. If the parents are keen to push their kids into private school then let them spend the extra money to do so. I think parents send their kids to private school so the *parents* can network. The federal funding vs state funding should be reconsidered, why there needs to be separate funding is beyond me.
    I went to public schools. My kids go to public schools. Abolish negative gearing before we worry about school funding.

    • The Aust government worked wonders to provide excellent services and education (free uni, medicare, the old days of telecom, power, Qantas etc)… only to stuff it all up via outsourcing, privatisation and an abundance of weak will (political weak will and public servant managers who do nothing to avoid doing something wrong etc).
      No doubt it’ll bit us in the arse eventually and “reform” will be thrust onto us harder than it would otherwise require.. But thank god for the knee jerk reaction, hey?

  4. john byatt says:

    whenever this funding war gets into the news the church schools trying to muddy the water bring out their token poor , ” i am a single female pensioner and my daughter attends the church school and we pay nothing in fees” That is correct echoes the schools principle “we do not demand fees” It is only anecdotal but i know of such a case on the sunshine coast, what is not revealed is that the pensioner is tything 10% of her pension to the AOG church that is part of the school.

    A woman of rather low mental capacity and her slightly retarded daughter lived not far from us and she was the token poor for the particular local AOG

    walking along the street one day i found the women and her daughter crying and a police sarge interviewing both , the sarge left and I asked what was the problem, the daughter with the body of an adult and mental capacity of a six year old had been raped by three of the students at the school that day.

    There was nothing in the paper the next day, The girl had been expelled as a daughter of satan , the three boys involved from wealthy backgrounds had done a few hours detention .

    I told the women that this was wrong and got hold of a local reporter , introduced him to the woman and let her tell the story, she agreed to this but as she was still upset the reporter decided that he would come back the next day to gather the facts, Bad move i told him ,

    Next day he rang me to say that she did not wish to tell the story and in fact had now wanted nothing to do with him.

    The school had gotten wind of her intention and bribed her to keep her mouth shut, well if the threat of eternal damnation is seen as a bribe ,

    So nothing happened , the girl expelled as a harlot , the boys admonished ,
    everyone lived happy ever after except for the young girl now living in a caravan park as a single destitute mum.

  5. ianash says:

    Sorry for being OT but skeptical science has a great post demolishing ‘Professor’ Bob Carter’s denialist claptrap. This is the guy that (the now invisible) Geoff from The Climate Septics Party loves to quote as an expert…

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