One element missing from Australia’s secondary schools.

The majority of Australian secondary schools are missing practical environmental sustainability projects. The same projects are increasingly prevalent in Australian primary schools.

The projects include compost bins, organic gardens, nature play areas or native gardens. Very few secondary schools in Australia allow teenage students to get their hands dirty and experience practical environmental projects.

How do I know?

I’m a secondary school teacher. I’ve taught full-time or part-time in many different secondary schools throughout Australia and I’ve seen very few practical environmental sustainability projects in any of the schools.

Why?

Secondary students learn environmental education, so why don’t they have the chance to put this theory into practice?

Crowded curriculum

Yes, the Australian secondary school curriculum is very crowded and education authorities seem determined to cram even more topics into it every year. Yes, schools would need to find a time and space to include practical environmental activities, as well as finding qualified teachers to deliver them. However, projects such as compost bins do not need to be taught in a specific subject at the expense of other topics.

Students can use compost bins when they eat. They can fill compost bins at recess and lunch time to dispose of organic food waste. Students would need to be taught which food scarps can and can’t go into the bins and their use would need to be monitored, but most teenagers should be smart enough to learn how to correctly us compost bins. Many already use them at home. The food waste can then be added to soil to create earth, especially if the school has some kind of native garden or organic food garden. Students could lead the project which converts the food waste to soil.

In my experience, the only secondary schools conducting this sort of program are Steiner schools or specific environmental schools.

Lack of space

Yes, inner-city and urban secondary schools are restricted by the lack of physical space in the school grounds. This in itself, however, can be turned into a learning point. How do we create a sustainable project in such a small space? How do we colectively solve the problem? Teenagers can be more adaptive and creative than many people think. Also, many of the same teenagers are likely to live in high-density areas when they leave school, so school is a great time for them to learn about how to create a sustainable project in restricted space. Urban sustainability is a growing movement, and many people have found practical solutions to this problem. It is possible.

Money

Yes, government schools in Australia are underfunded. That said, government primary schools manage to access funds for compost bins and other resources required for practical environmental projects. Can secondary schools do the same. Private schools certainly don’t lack money – when will they spend it on environmental resources?

Are teenagers too old?

Many primary school students are involved in environmentally-friendly projects on a daily basis. Many primary schools have compost bins, where students from Kindergarten to Yr 6 place their food scraps, after being educated on which food waste can go in compost.

Some primary schools even have separate rubbish bins in their classroom, and students are encouraged to avoid putting any items in the waste bin. It can even become a source of pride for the class to produce ‘zero waste’ on any given day or week. Of course, students are encouraged by incentives, but it has been successful in many schools, and some primary schools now produce very little waste for landfill, instead sending it to recycling or to compost. The compost then nourishes the school’s own organic garden.

Why can’t this be done with teenagers?

Teenagers are surely more able to distinguish between landfill, recyclables and organic waste. However, it is unusual to see a compost bin in any Australian secondary school.

Teenagers are more suited to practical environmental projects. They are old enough to design, plan and prepare a project, and old enough to create the project with their bare hands, with appropriate supervision. Teenagers could realistically create a native plant garden or organic garden from scratch.

Why should they?

Children will inherit the planet we are now shaping. They are also just a few years from becoming the decision makers in the world.

Do you know why?

If you’ve read this far, and you know why practical environmental projects are scarce in Australian secondary schools, feel free to get in touch. Better still, if you know of secondary schools which are doing this, and you know how to convince other schools to do the same, let us know.

Image: Element5Digital

Scott Morrison faces yet another attack.

Embattled Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under more pressure after an online petition was launched to remove him as no.1 ticket holder of the Cronulla Sharks rugby league team.

The petition is called New no.1 Sharks fan and is yet another sign that the leader of Australia is becoming less and less popular with the public, just as he is poised to announce a federal election.

Morrison has been no. 1 ticket holder of the club since 2016 and is a familiar sight at home games at Shark Park. He often appears in team colours during photo opportunities and has made himself so synonymous with the region that he earned the nickname LiarFromTheShire.

The petition is proposing that Morrison be removed from the role for a number of reasons. It claims that he is an imposter because he grew up in the Eastern Suburbs and only started supporting the club after moving to The Shire. It also claims that changing a footy team halfway through life is ‘UnAustralian’ and that he should be replaced in the role by someone who has a proven link to the club and has contributed meaningfully.

The petition is currently collecting signatures from the Australian public and will reportedly be sent to the Sharks if it attracts enough interest. Club bosses will then be asked to put the proposal to a vote, and let registered members decide if Morrison stays or goes.

Image: Craig Greenhill

Sydney Boys High School becomes a trade school.

Sydney Boys High School will become a trade school in honour of old-boy Scott Morrison and his endless attempts to be a tradie.

The academically-selective school in Sydney will now be known as Moore Park Boys Heteronormative Pentecostal Vocational Learning Centre (MPBHPVLC), and will teach only vocational courses.

Boys will no longer study Extension Maths or English, nor French continuers, Economics or Physics, and must instead study for careers which Morrison has pretended to do while prime minister.

Courses will be offered in hairdressing, welding and forklift driving, and any other career involving hi-vis and a hard hat. A military cadet unit has also been established and will teach boys how to stand menacingly over a map like a Field Marshal.

Another major change to the school is the introduction of religion. The heteronormative students will pray between every lesson and will start the day with the Lord’s prayer. Chaplains will replace school counsellors and Economics classes will make way for lectures on tax avoidance and attracting government subsidies.

Sydney Boys High School thus becomes the first academically-selective school to convert to vocational education and its fate will be closely monitored by Morrison’s alma mater UNSW, as it considers whether to rename itself Kensington Tech.

One subject that will remain at MPBHPVLC is politics, so that boys can pretend to be prime minister, something Morrison has been doing since 2018.

Image: Element5Digital

How is this legal?

A stranger enters your home.

They throw over your furniture. They tear down paintings and artworks. They break objects and rip items out of draws. They smash your possessions and make a mess that will take for ever to clean up.

They steal what is most vaulable.

Days later, the police catch them. Mug shots and finger prints are taken. Their identities are confirmed. You don’t know them, nor did you invite them into your home. You certainly don’t want them to keep your valuables.

They are not punished.

They do not have to return the valuables they stole.

They do not have to pay a fine.

They do not spend any time in jail.

They don’t even have to clean up the mess, or pay for someone else to do so.

They don’t have to fix or pay for the damage they caused.

This could never happen in Australia could it?

It does.

Every day.

Outsiders steal from Australia. They take what is valuable. They cause enormous and often irreparable damage and refuse to fix what they broke. They also refuse to clean up the mess they made, or pay for it to be done.

Who are these people?

They are mining companies.

Australia’s mining industry is 86% foreign owned. They get away with his behaviour because they have spent over $541 million in the last ten years on lobbying Australian governments.

In addition, foreign companies hold 10 out of 14 position on both the Minerals Council board and the Queensland Resources Council board.

A 2011 report estimated 83% of mine production in Australia was attributable to foreign owners, including BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. yes, even ‘Aussie’ companies such Rio Tinto and BHP, which called itself ‘The Big Australian’. BHP is 76% foreign owned, and Rio Tinto is 83%. Between them they constitute 70% of listed mining company resources.

This means that less than 10% of mining projects are solely owned by Australian owned companies, while over 90% have some level of foreign ownership. Foreign investment accounts for 86% share of ownership of major mining projects, including 26% from the US and 27% from the UK.2.

If the mining companies are based off shore, the profits go off shore. Australians are left to clean up the mess.

Discovery of Banjo Paterson’s lost poems leads to major policy shift.

The discovery of Banjo Paterson’s lost poems has prompted an overhaul of New South Wales government policy on invasive species and land management.

Archivists recently stumbled upon a host of previously unknown texts from the beloved Australian poet, who grew up in regional NSW, but wrote many of his works about life on the land while living in Woollahra, Sydney.

Paterson’s famous poem, The Man from Snowy River, is often cited when justifying the protection of feral horses in Australia’s alpine national parks and to argue against conservationists who are demanding a cull due to the destruction of the high country ecosystem.

The NSW government has afforded the feral horses more protection than the Victorian government on the other side of the ranges, and horse numbers have exploded in recent years, as has their trail of destruction. Countless ministers have drawn support from feral horse lovers who argue the horses are an integral part of Australian heritage, as expressed in The Man from Snowy River.

For this reason, the discovery of Paterson’s other poem’s will see more feral animals afforded the same protection.

Run Randy Rabbit!

A heartwarming poem about a cute little bunny who outruns farmers after destroying all of their crops. Rabbits will now be protected throughout NSW. It is illegal to kill any feral rabbit, anywhere in the state. Efforts will be made to humanely rehome every feral rabbit.

How Nice Are Mice!

An alternative representation of the much-maligned pest. As a result, mice are a protected species throughout NSW, and every mouse which comprises the current mouse plague throughout NSW will be humanely rehomed.

Another famous Paterson poem is Waltzing Matilda. This has been subject to a revisionist reading, and as a result, the government has declared it illegal to kill sheep or lambs, and to consume this meat anywhere in New South Wales. Discussions continue regarding the legality of sheering sheep for wool.

Paterson wrote a sister poem to his famous tale about sheep theft, and it is called Moulting Ma’ Killer, about a loveable cat which kills countless native Aussie animals every day, before returning to the loving embrace of its owner beside the hearth. Law makers have now axed programs to eradicate feral cats and control stray and pet cats. Every feral and stray cat will be free to roam night and day.

The treasure trove of hidden poems also included works from many more Australian poets writing about other feral animals. While researchers continue the painstaking task of matching the delicate and faded documents with their respective authors, their discovery has already reversed invasive species laws throughout the nation.

One poem is called That Bloke from Humpty Doo. It glorifies the humble cane toad, and it is therefore illegal to kill cane toads anywhere in Australia. Official policy is to humanely rehome every cane toad in Australia.

The Poor Man’s Bass depicts a typical Aussie battler trying desperately to feed his young family with carp after failing to land a bass in Australia’s regional rivers. The heartbreaking poem won protection for carp throughout Australia.

Other poems romanticise animals such as the fox, donkey, camel, wild pig, wild dog, buffalo, deer and goat, and all of these animals are now protected as part of the massive policy overhaul. Severe punishment awaits anyone who is caught attempting to harm feral horses or mice, rabbits, cane toads, cats, foxes, carp, cane toads, donkeys, camels, wild pigs, wild dogs, buffalo, deer or goats

Images: Jae Park, Daniel Fazio, Big Game Australia, Melbourne Press Club.

Parliament or Prison? The new Aussie family boardgame.

Gather the whole family for the most exciting boardgame to hit your loungeroom, and celebrate the impending federal election with Parliament or Prison?

Pick a card and read the real life scenarios of atrocious behaviour in Australian society, before deciding whether the offender is in parliament or in prison.

You might be horrified by the answer – but that’s what makes this game so captivating!

Play it in teams or as an individual, and find out which of your friends or relatives can guess the most correct answers and be declared the winner. Every time you answer a question correctly, you move up one seat from the back bench, and the winner is the first player to be elected ‘Prime Minister’.

Get yourself in gear for the next federal election by guessing the fate of the people involved in the following scenarios:

Where is the man who was accused of raping a young woman during a debating competition? Is he in prison?

What about the person/people who covered up the alleged rape of a younger staffer in parliament house, Canberra? Are they behind bars or running the country?

What happened to the person caught smoking marijuana?

What happened to the people who cut $14 million from the national audit office, after that office discovered substantial improprieties and wasteful spending (such as the sports rorts). Are they in prison or in parliament?

What is the fate of the person legally seeking asylum in Australia?

Where is the person responsible for paying 10 times too much for land for the new Sydney airport? 

Who voted against a binding code of conduct designed to ensure politicians act with integrity, and prevented parliament from debating whether to set up a National Integrity Commission? Where are they now?

Where is the young man caught drunk in public, driving without a licence and shoplifting?

What about those who gave $345,000 to News Corp to build a spelling bee website, handing the excessive amount of cash to a company whose industry is neither website building nor education. Are they in prison or in power?

Who loosened political donation laws, and who ignored a ruling of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal? Are they running an undercover racket in prison, or looking forward to a fat parliamentary pension?

What happened to the man who forced a young female bushfire victim to shake his hand?

Where is the Labor politician who admitted to taking huge bribes from shady Chinese businessmen?

What about the independent politicians caught trying to sell Australia to the US gun lobby?

Who let Aged Care descend into a cruel, heartless, dangerous shambles? Is he is parliament, in prison, or at the cricket?

Parliament or Prison? is like Game of Knowledge or Trivial Pursuit, but with much greater real life consequences.

This fun, informative and educational game will enthrall, entertain and shock every Australian. Marvel at the grossly corrupt and unethical behaviour of our nation’s leaders, and contemplate why they are not in prison. Conversely, find out what kind of crimes land people in prison, and ponder why they are not in parliament.

Play the games with your kids to help them understand why their planet is burning.

Invite some millenials over for a game and show them why they’ll never be able to buy a house, no matter how much smashed avo they forego.

Play with your favourite Baby Boomers and scare them out of even considering an Aged Care facility.

Parliament or Prison?

Buy it in toy stores or online for $24.95, or get a personally-signed copy from your favourite politician for only $150,000.

Image: Markus Winkler

Protect Australia from foreign ownership.

Clive Palmer wants to protect Australia from foreign powers and to save Australia. He makes this promise in advertisements on TV, online, in the print media and on massive billboards throughout the country.

However, while he promises voters that his United Australia Party will protect Australia from foreign ownership and foreign interference, he himself has benefitted enormously from foreign companies operating in Australia.

The UAP website states:

“Our precious assets including our hospitals, ports, schools and power companies cannot be in the firing line, they need to be protected. We cannot have the Chinese government or any foreign government deciding how much we pay for essential services and how we live,’’

On a side note, does any foreign government or company want to buy an Australian school?

The UAP also boasts about preventing the sale of Australian assets to Chinese state owned companies, including a campaign launched in January 2015 to stop the potential sale of $50 billion in Queensland and NSW assets to the foreign government.

The UAP statements are true on the surface.

But dig a little deeper and it’s clear to see how Palmer himself has benefitted from foreign ownership in Australia, and used that money to fund the United Australia Party. The UAP website lists only one country specifically: China. This is interesting because China made Clive Palmer one of the richest people in Australia, and the world.

Economics experts claim that Palmer’s Mineralogy company was at one stage earning a million dollars a day from a Chinese mining company. According to Australian Financial Review, Palmer did a deal with Chinese company CITIC in 2006 in which he sold a series of mining claims for $415 million with ongoing royalties payable on every tonne of ore mined.

Despite earning so much money from a deal with a foreign company, Palmer did not pay many of his own employees. As a result, the Commonwealth Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme, funded by the taxpayer, paid $65.6 million to workers. Logic tells us that Palmer, their employer, will repay the money to the government, and to the taxpayer, but he indicated on numerous occasions that he was reluctant to do so.

Palmer’s business deal also allows a Chinese company, and thus a foreign company, to expand its iron ore mining activities in Australia.

Where does that money go?

How much of that mining money goes to the ‘foreigners’ Palmer and his UAP are trying to warn us against?

A lot of it. Foreign companies do employ a certain percentage of Australians in their operations on Australian soil, in accordance with Australian laws, but they also employ their own people. Mining operations make millions and millions of dollars per year, and when this much money is at stake, companies don’t take a risk when hiring employees. They won’t take a risk on hiring an Australian who may or may not be the best person for the job. They bring in their own people, and often those people are foreigners, who send the majority of their earnings back home.

This sobering statistic applies not only to Clive Palmer and his comany. It applies to the entire mining industry in Australia.

86% of Australia’s mining industry is foreign owned.

BHP, for example, is 76% foreign owned and Rio Tinto is 83% foreign owned. Furthermore, according to the Australia Institute:

“A 2016 Treasury paper on Foreign Investment in Australia stated that less than 10% of mining projects currently underway is solely owned by Australian owned companies, while over 90% have some level of foreign ownership.”

Thus, if Palmer plans to save Australia and protect it from foreign ownership, he might first need to warn his colleagues in the mining industry.

What does this all mean?

If you’re Australian, and if you’re eligible to vote, it matters. If you vote for the UAP, for any of their candidates, you are voting for increased foreign ownership of Australia’s resources, and you are voting for Aussie money to be taken overseas.

Vive L’Australie!

Patriotic fervour courses through the veins of the joyful populace of L’Australie on this annual day of celebration.

The tricolore informs the aesthetic from La Perouse to Vaucluse as loyal subjects commemorate the arrival of Jean-Francois de Galaup, comte de Laperouse at Kamay, just days before Englishman Arthur Phillip on January 24, 1788.

The famed national colours adorn everything from the fleet of modern submarines in the bay to the delicious macarons baked so eagerly in honour of the visiting president, whose cavalcade rolls proudly along Route Anglais towards Crique Anglais.

A president who defers to his high school Art teacher, and not his high school sweetheart, on matters of liberte, egalite, fraternite, and rules without interference from an irrelevant monarch in distant lands. A leader as flawed as any Australien, but more than the mere puppet of a media mogul dismantling democracy throughout the world.

Joie de vivre permeates every beating heart after victory over the old enemy in the most recent football World Cup, which was celebrated with endless renditions of a truly rousing national anthem, and not with a dour hymn girt by confusion, nor with a smelly, sweaty shoe full of the nation’s harmful addiction. Instead, proud fans raised glasses full of local wine, blissfully unaware that one of our great export industries could have been significantly bruised if the prime ministerial puppet (born and bred in the East) had attacked our biggest trading partner to score a few cheap political points. Sacre bleu!

Alas, not every citizen shares the collective gaiety on this momentous day. Informed citizens raised on daily political discourse campaign passionately to change the date from January 24, and temper festivities with reminders of the genocide initiated at Kamay and perpetuated throughout a land that was never ceded.

They offer a firm critique of rising exclusive nationalism and dwindling media diversity, as well as the existential crisis facing native animals, and the wide brown land, incomprehensible even to the likes of Descartes or De Beauvoir. They take consolation in the fact that the French at least turned the cane toad infestation into haute cuisine.

Meanwhile, local surfers decry the British pronunciation of ‘Bronnie’ as they order tourists to chase barrels in the Coogee shore dump, and the nation’s terrible English literacy is attributed to language one interference.

On this warm, blue-sky day, children lob tennis balls at friends who present a flat bat and stand front-on with sandy feet pegged together. Nearby, the elegant elite sip cocktails at Bondi’s exclusive private beach club, and savour the heavenly combination of unrivalled culinary expertise and rich natural ingredients which could never have culminated in good ol’ meat and 3 veg.

Vive L’Australie!

Image: Eleni Stefanovski

First published in The Beast magazine, February 2022.

Australia kicked out of Olympic Winter Games.

The Australian Olympic Winter Games team is in disarray after the the International Olympic Committee (IOC) forced it out of Beijing 2022 on the eve of competition.

Athletes, coaches and team officials were thrown out of the athletes village and onto planes bound for Australia just hours before the official opening ceremony, due to the appointment of Hancock Prospecting as a major sponsor of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC)

“Gina Rinehart and the mining activities of Hancock Prospecting threaten the very existence of the Olympic Winter Games,” began a brief statement from the IOC.

“Rinehart’s enormous fossil fuel mining and cattle farming businesses are major drivers of climate change. The subsequent accelerated warming is melting ice caps and creating less snow throughout the world.”

“Without snow, there is no Olympic Winter Games.”

The decision to announce Hancock Prospecting as the major sponsor of Australian Olympic teams until 2026 does not sit well with the IOC, and for this reason the Australian team was ordered out of the village, and out of the games. The governing body also disagrees with the decision to award Rinehart an Order of Australia (AO) in the recent Australia Day honours.

“The sponsorship arrangement also covers the Pacific Games in 2023, though there may not be many Pacific Island nations left in 2023 if Hancock Prospecting continues its climate destroying practices,” continued the statement.

The shock announcement denies any Australian athlete the opportunity to compete at the games, including those with realistic medal chances. The AOC was given no opportunity to appeal the decision.

International media has already highlighted the fact that the majority of the snow at Beijing 2022 is man-made.

“If the climate crisis continues, even man-made snow will not suffice for winter sports,” continued the IOC spokesperson. “Man-made snow is only effective if the ground is cold enough. If not, the snow simply melts, and conditions resemble late season skiing in Australia.”

The decision means that the Australian Olympic Committee is also banned from sending athletes to future competitions such as the summer and winter versions of the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games.

Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates refused to comment of the sudden decision, explaining that he was waiting for Gina to tell him what to say. Meanwhile, Minster for Sport Richard Colbeck said the decision was of no major concern, because Australia wins so few medals at such events compared to other countries, such as China and The USA, that Australia shouldn’t bother competing in the games at all. Plus, he prefers cricket.

Rinehart, meanwhile, was unfazed at the announcement and its motivation.

“Personally, I couldn’t care less if some young Aussie kid wins a medal for twirling themselves up in the air on a snowboard. I only threw some of my pocket money at this to keep sports-mad Aussies under my spell, and to stop them from forcing the government to take real action on climate change.

“It’s amazing what you can do to the Aussie people if you pretend to like sport.”

Image: Patrick Hamilton

Cronulla Sharks to make massive call in 2022.

The Cronulla Sutherland Sharks rugby league club is searching for a new no. 1 ticket holder in anticipation of Scott Morrison losing the next federal election.

The prime minister became the club’s number 1 ticket holder in 2016 in order to win favour with the voters of The Shire, but will have no more need for the club if he loses the seat of Cook at the upcoming election.

“Scotty’s on his way out,” confirmed a club spokesperson, “so we need to find someone else to be our no.1 ticket holder. No one wants him anymore, and we’re pretty sure he won’t want us after the election, even if he makes it to the next election.”

Morrison became a familiar sight at Sharks home games in recent years, drinking a beer and smiling in his team kit. The photo opportunities helped to convince the people of The Shire that he was one of them, when in fact he grew up in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and only moved south to earn pre-selection for the safe Liberal seat.

“People like to call him The Liar From The Shire, but the biggest lie is that he’s not even from The Shire.”

“Sure, lots of us were fooled by the PR spin at first,” continued the spokesperson, “but it’s hard not to be when the whole NewsCorp network is promoting him. But now we see through him. We all see the lies, the incompetence, arrogance, insincerity, bullying, corruption, double standards and mismanagement of him and his party.”

What’s more, an increasing number of residents in Sydney’s south are learning that Morrison used a dirty smear campaign against another candidate, run through the Murdoch press, to win pre-selection for the seat in the first place.

Club bosses expect Morrison to lose the seat of Cook later this year and to turn his back on the club as soon as it no longer serves his needs.

“Scotty might go back to the Eastern Suburbs or impose himself on another electorate, and another footy team, who knows. All we know is that we don’t expect him to be loyal to our club, I mean, look what he did to Malcolm.”

Sharks directors and members have made a tentative start to the search for a new no.1 fan, and have researched the no.1 ticket holders of other clubs in Australia’s major football codes.

“Penrith Panthers had Mark Geyer at one point, and Perth Glory had Dawn Fraser. West Coast Eagles had Sam Kerr, Richmond were with Ash Barty. St Kilda even got Eric Bana, but we got stuck with Scotty.”

Members expressed a degree of shame and regret at appointing Morrison to the position in 2016, but saw the advantage of him turning his back on the club.

“At least we won’t have to put up with that smirk every time we attend or watch a home game.”

Sharks members will be contacted soon to nominate a new no.1 ticket holder with a more legitimate claim for the position.

Image: http://www.sharks.com.au