Mike Baird: Another Labor-Lite Liberal

Dean Hamstead calls for Mike Baird to appoint a Minister for Deregulation & Elimination of Waste!1924165_50280265534_4415_n

Today Mike Baird confirmed, by suggesting a GST increases, that Conservatives in NSW and Australia more generally are being forced in to voting for Labor or Labor-Lite.

“Yes, there’s more we can do, but efficiencies alone cannot be the answer,” Mr Baird says.

Thankfully Baird has an easy go-to to make up the difference. His answer? Make his state budget problems your house hold budget problems.

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago, Baird and co. were trumpeting their $2.1 billion surplus and $1billion in reduced spending. Further claiming that claiming that “revenue” (i.e. your tax dollars) is forecast to grow at 4.7% p.a.

Imagine a publicly listed company being so schizophrenic? Reporting record profits, then a week later issuing a profit warning. Such a board and CEO would surely not last long, with shareholders rightly looking to install someone more steady at the helm.

Naturally, Andrew Bolt calls him out: “I’d be more inclined to listen to Mike Baird if I heard him say the overall tax burden would fall, but this sounds too much like just another grab for even more taxes to underwrite massive social welfare spending”.

My answer? Stop wasting money on crap that the government has no need to be involved with, that includes crushing business with ever more regulations.

Business’s and households know that from time to time you have to go through the budget and work out what you can live without. Fighting the tendency of “nice to haves” becoming “can’t live withouts” is part of being a fiscally responsible and self sufficient adult.

Let’s contrast Mike Baird’s whining with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who cut taxes six times including the largest income tax cut in the history of Louisiana. In the USA it’s a race between Conservative run states to get out of the way of people living their lives and running their businesses.

Why pick out Louisiana? Consider this quote from Incitec Pivot CEO, James Fazzino “The state of Louisiana is open for business. They continue to ring us every month and ask, ‘What else can we do’ because they are about employing ­people in Louisiana,”. Sad times when an Australian company looks elsewhere to invest $850million.

I imagine an Australia where our states compete with each other to bring business, jobs and people to their state. An Australia where new businesses thrive and people can hope for more than a retirement spent in line at Centrelink. Where Government facilitates rather than tolerate world class technology, mining and business services.

Dean Hamstead is a technology consultant for medium and large enterprise at ByteFoundry. He is also working to improve the use of campaign technology here in Australia.

Campaigning Like Last Decade

The NSW Liberal Party’s failure to embrace digital campaigning will lead to disaster, writes Dean Hamstead: 1924165_50280265534_4415_n

In 2015 the NSW Liberal party seems to once again be relying on the Old Boys Club and a few corflutes to win them another election.

There is no doubt Campaign headquarters are very busy rolling out strategies that succeeded for John Howard, with campaign funds flowing to the usual consultants who assured them that it will work. However I am yet to receive a single campaign email from the NSW Liberal party. I haven’t been asked for a donation, nor have any of my friends and family received any correspondence at all. Surely having corresponded with sitting members past and present, they would be the first people asked to get involved, donate and vote?

Meanwhile, the Union campaign against the privatization (that isn’t) is already underway in NSW. Radio ads on 2GB during Alan Jones serve to compliment the (probably illegal) signs hanging around Sydney claiming utility prices will soar and even a legitimate advertisements on the M4.

That’s just what’s spilling over from the Union’s digital campaign happening online.

The fight in NSW against the privatisation (that isn’t), should only come as a surprise to people who somehow missed the (avoidable) losses in Victoria and Queensland.

It’s the same tactic the Unions used for “Work Choices” brought out of the freezer, warmed up and modernized for the Internet era. The next step is to hand the campaign to Labor so they can ride the wave of misinformed voters to winning yet another election.

Obviously the Unions’ apparatus presents a huge asset to the Labor and Greens parties.

But Digital Campaigning presents Conservatives with the tools to present their values and solutions directly to voters – erasing the Union backing advantage. It has never been easier to  stay in contact with them, motivating them to donate, volunteer and motivate them to ultimately vote Conservative.

Labor and the Greens get this – why doesn’t the Coalition?

The tools and platforms are out there, battle tested, mature and ready to go. But the Conservative Parties in Australia continue to ignore it. Considering that The NSW Liberal party has yet to achieve 20,000 Facebook likes in a state of 7.5 million, no one is hearing it. After a $10million campaign, The Victorian Liberal Party has just barely passed 40,000 Facebook likes in a state approaching 6 million people. Donor should be asking: “Where is the money going?”

Perhaps the Greens and Labor’s cries against the “Americanization” of campaigning are actually finding ears on William Street. Maybe thats why the party doesn’t hold rallies or Conventions, keep a database of party faithfuls election to election or make any serious effort to coordinate their ground game.

Unless something changes, only be surprised if the Coalition holds on to NSW.

 Dean Hamstead is a Sydney-based Telecommunications and Computing Engineer who specialises in open source systems and works for a major Telco. He has also spent a number of years working abroad and for local government, and his hobbies are running regular computer gaming events and sailing yachts.

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What are your values?

Dean Hamstead

Dean Hamstead suggests that self-evaluation can be a good thing but making sense of left-wing ideology can be an exercise in futility. GC.Ed.

From time to time I enjoy robust discussion with friends of mine who find left wing politics make more sense to them. Often this is via social media – where I post a link to an article or a meme, and discussion will ignite! Such discussion is useful because most of the time I am genuinely interested to understand why they disagree – thus allowing me to make more relevant talking points in the future.

But… I use the term 'robust discussion' loosely because so often I find these friends unable to rigorously discuss one issue without deflecting on to other issues. Fox news seems to come up frequently, as does gun control and marriage – even if the topic is educational outcomes, productivity or economic policy.

Today, I had such a discussion and found myself wondering why my friend couldn't address the issue at hand (economic fairness in this case) – I found myself asking two questions of that person which, I theorize that without being able to answer them – how could anyone argue a topic with conviction? Or more to the point, how could anyone possibly stay on topic.

1. What are your core values/beliefs?

2. How do your positions reflect these values?

Here is an example for myself.

Q1. Economic freedom provides the best outcome over all.

Q2. My positions on education are that schools should be able to hire and fire as any other business might. If a teacher is productive, the schools should compete for that teacher by offering more money thus rewarding the teacher for better outcomes – and if that teacher isn't productive the school should be able to let that person go, then hire better teachers. The employment certainty of teachers shouldn't be any better or worse than professionals in any other sector.

As my own views have matured I have found that often my views on certain issues conflict with what I consider my core beliefs and values. This has allowed me to reflect upon them and reconsider my position – often I come to the realization that my original position wasn't well thought out and was often simply an accepted value from 'society'.

For example, I used to feel that funding to private schools from the government was inappropriate as parents either take 'free' public education or opt out. When I examined this view, I came to feel that it was incorrect – I felt more and more that education shouldn't be a role of government, I felt that private sector solutions are superior, I felt that parents and children should have choice, I felt that if government wants to 'help' it should do so by supporting parents decisions not making them for them, but I also felt that there should be education for the children in society whos family has the lowest income. After consideration I found myself agreeing with a voucher driven charter school system.

Hopefully the above example doesn't overshadow the point I am trying to make – or more correctly, the thought process I am trying to invoke. Have you thought about what you believe in? Are your views in line with what you believe in? How do you express those values when you explain your views to your friends and family?

Dean Hamstead is a Sydney-based Telecommunications and Computing Engineer who specialises in open source systems and works for a major Telco. He has also spent a number of years working abroad and for local government, and his hobbies are running regular computer gaming events and sailing yachts. 

 

Gonski completely missed the point

 

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Dean Hamstead discusses how he believes our education system is flawed, and how only greater choice (and not Gonski's ridgid anti-private ideology) is the way forward:

 

Whilst the government looks for an excuse to clip funding to private schools, (which taken 2 years to come up with a 'recommendation' to suit their ideology) , the real problems with the education system are being completely over looked.
I'm not talking about sending another truck down to an Apple store to pick up more iGadgets at the taxpayers expense; when people talk about "fixing" education in Australia, these sorts of ideas that are thrown around are about as effective as a new color of paint on the fences. What i am talking about are the real problems that parents know are there but no one articulates. I believe these issues include:-

– Parents and students aren't free to choose a school of their liking
– Students aren't free to excel, instead they are discriminated against based on age
– Schools aren't free to hire and fire as they wish
– Teachers aren't rewarded with higher pay for better results.

–  Schools aren't free to pay more to get better teachers

I would like to briefly discuss each of these.

 

Firstly, I'm not talking about private schools – we all know parents going to great lengths to get their children in to 'better' public schools. They bend enrollment rules using the address of a friend, or going to the extreme of renting briefly in the schools area. If parents aren't happy with their local public school they really have no option. The formative years of their childs are then severely impacted based on the rules of bureaucrats. Who knows better what's best for your child, better than yourself and your child? How ridiculous then that parents put up with defaulting to the school who has a government enforced monopoly on your locale!

Secondly, in a society so keen to classify people and then stamp out any hint of discrimination, in our schools we classify our children by their age then hold back those above the average and humiliate those who cant keep up. Then to top if off, in a culture so keen to recognize the value of diversity, schools insist that a child must have the same ability in math, english, science, and all their subjects. As such the whole grade system is totally broken. When else in a persons life are they isolated to a group of people only their own age? Does it happen at home? Or the work place? perhaps in University? There is simply no other example. I propose that doing so is completely unnatural, and that it is a root cause of bullying as it creates classes (literally) and as such is one cause of the epidemic of stunted social skills.

Thirdly, we all remember the bad teachers. To be fair, often as a student what made teachers good and bad may not be well based in desirable attributes. But chances are many of the teachers we liked were the same teachers who motivated us to do the most work and achieve the highest marks. In our own workplaces we all know the people who drag down the organisation, the dead branches if you will. Schools have these same dead branches but they have no way to prune them! On the flip side, schools hire based on 'points' – a ridiculous system which punishes young enthusiastic and talented teachers in favor of the hanger-ons. So many of these young vibrant teachers are stuck in casual teaching or forced to head to the unwanted positions in unpopular areas. Imagine if Facebook or Google hired based on points?

Fourth, I often discourage my friends, and question the sanity of deciding to go in to education. How bizarre that no matter how well you perform, to be unable to claim a higher wage? How ridiculous that teachers producing say 20% better marks on average, aren't rewarded with 20% more pay? And further more, why can't parents pay choose to pay 20% more to have their child taught by this student?

Although I do not yet have a child, I am very concerned about the broken education system. These issues I see as being seriously broken. I'm also concerned how little opportunity their is to break out of the mould of one teacher and a class. I like that some schools are experimenting with group teaching environments, and I like the different approaches that Steiner schools take. What would be better still is for real free market principles to drive clever people to find new ways to connect with young people, to allow parents to chose the best school for their child and for children to learn at their own paces, not being held back or dragged along.

Dean Hamstead is a Sydney-based Telecommunications and Computing Engineer who specialises in open source systems and works for a major Telco. He has also spent a number of years working abroad and for local government, and his hobbies are running regular computer gaming events and sailing yachts.