View from the Street: Are Australia's children being bullied enough?

And government warn that changing negative gearing will definitely make housing prices fall, and also rise. Your news of the day, reduced to a snarky rant.

Government to fight school's insidious pro-student agenda

Here's a question that doesn't get asked often, possibly because it doesn't seem like one worth answering: are our children being adequately bullied?

"Typical leftist overreaction. I know plenty of bullies, and it didn't do them any harm."
"Typical leftist overreaction. I know plenty of bullies, and it didn't do them any harm." Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

See, for years we've been thinking that bullying in school is a terrifying and serious problem, since we know through tragic experience and exhaustive studies all over the country and planet that one of the biggest causes of suicide and self-harm with young people is from being bullied at school, and that the kids that get bullied are those perceived to be different - like, for example, if people think they're gay.

That's why organisations like the Safe Schools Coalition sprang up to try to address this problem and save actual young lives, by correctly explaining that sexuality isn't something that can be changed, that homosexuality is perfectly natural, that gender can differ from both sexuality and biological sex, and basically that there's nothing for our LGBTI kids to be ashamed about. Which is nice, and - importantly - also true.

And it's an important thing to tell school-agers, not least because kids terrified of being outed are much less likely to report being bullied - or for that matter, to report physical and sexual abuse from adults, as that whole Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse keeps reminding us in case after heartbreaking case at the moment.

But that's just one side of the argument. Sure, Safe Schools might save lives and prevent abuse - but on the other hand, what if their work is used to "indoctrinate children into a Marxist agenda of cultural relativism", huh?


…sorry, what?

That's the argument that's been put forward by well-respected public intellectual and Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi.

And Bernardi is deep thinker on the subject of The Gays. After all, he was the only Australian politician to question whether a liberal definition of marriage might end up including consensual relations between humans and animals.

Cozza's brave statements might have killed his frontbench career when he was stepped down as Parliamentary Secretary to then-opposition leader Tony Abbott (who memorably declared that "They are views that I don't share. They are views that many people will find repugnant"), but his incandescent influence remains undimmed.

And with wise, insightful statements like his, how could it not?

Won't someone think of the bullies?

That's why Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ordered Education Minister Simon Birmingham to commission a review of the Safe Schools teaching manual, presumably to ensure that it's free of calls for the proletariat to rise up and seize the means of production, unless Bernardi is just using "Marxism" as a conversational wild card.

And while we may (and should, and do) laugh at these ludicrous and vapid objections to a program designed to help prevent children getting hurt, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews dropped a truth bomb on the matter declaring "I don't think these extreme Liberals are actually offended by the structure of the program, or the teachers who lead it. I just think they're offended by the kids who need it. They don't like the fact that some young people might be different."

But maybe he's just overreacting. Heck, it's not like gay people still get bashed in the middle of the nation's largest city simply for having the temerity to exis… oh…

In any case, it's great that the Turnbull government is doing something about protecting our precious young bullies. After all, if we don't encourage ignorance, division and gay panic in our young people today, who's going to represent the Liberal Party as No.1 on the South Australian Senate ticket in the years to come?

Negative gearing: the sky is falling! And also rising!

Fortunately, Parliament was far more excited about arguing over Labor's proposal to restrict negative gearing. And you can't blame the government for trying out a range of different attacks to knock the idea down, even if they directly contradict one another.

On Tuesday Turnbull was insisting in Parliament that removing negative gearing from established properties bought after July next year would tank house prices, roaring that "Every single home owner in every single electorate represented in this house will be poorer if the Labor Party is elected to government."

So that's clear, right? Sure, defending the value-inflating power of negative gearing seems to go against the government's supposed concern about housing affordability, and does also rather confirm Labor's claim that negative gearing makes property more unreachably expensive for first home buyers.

Fortunately back in September Scott Morrison was determined to ensure that housing affordability for young Australians was tackled by increasing the supply of housing which… um, would bring prices down, surely, unless supply and demand are no longer connected? Anyway, this is apparently different and somehow perfectly AOK.

The waters were muddied on Friday, however, when Morrison explained to the ABC's AM program that limiting negative gearing "…will really penalise ordinary mum and dad investors who will now have to compete against people on high incomes with more properties, who will bid up the cost of those new properties."

So, to recap: the problem with Labor's plan is that it will drive the value of housing down… and also force them up.

Well, if nothing else, that policies excitingly versatile.

Poor people don't drive houses

And just in case you suspected that maybe Morrison's way out of his depth on how money works, he did explain something important about houses. They depreciate like cars, apparently.

"The minute you put your key in the front door, your house turns from a new house to an old house," he helpfully explained during that same storied AM appearance, "and it's a bit like driving the new car off the lot in terms of what it means for your assets."

Now, let's just think about that for a moment.

If this was true - and the man tasked with running the nation's economy evidently thinks it is - then property would be an long term financial strategy second only to hoarding loose Star Wars figures in terms of negative return on investment. People would be racing to get out of the property market, fearful of every second they held on to this value-shedding weight around their necks.

Does this sound like what's going on, especially in Sydney and Melbourne?

When's that election, again?

The cocktail hour: deploy the puppies!

When in doubt, pour a strong one and watch cute dogs running around. That oughtta fix everything.

Let's see if things are any less ridiculous tomorrow, friends, and cheers!

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