Wednesday, December 16, 2009

David Bartlett

Call me crazy, but I have this feeling that David Bartlett is going to be a former Premier...maybe even a current Premier.

Ah! He is a current Premier. My subconscious must have recognized that. I had this feeling he was still in office.

He's Mr. Tasmania. He's been in office since May 2008.

Baby David was born in Hobart on 19 January 1968. He was four-years-old when I was born. I wonder if he had any political aspirations at that age.

Bartlett went to Mount Nelson Primary School. Their website is under construction, and the last time they updated the site was September 2008. So, you might not find much if you follow the link.

For his secondary education, Bartlett went to Taroona High School. The Crown Princess of Denmark went there as well. I didn't realize the Crown Princess of Denmark was Australian. I don't keep up much with the whole royalty thing. The school's website has some really nice quotes from an educator named Ted Sizer. In one, he says: I cannot teach a child well, whom I do not know well.How can I teach that child well, if I do not know her enthusiasm or why she makes mistakes or what seems to be out of sorts for her at any given moment, or what is behind her at home. And no two children are alike.

That's one thing I loved about the preschool I worked at in New York City. We knew the children well. We interacted with their parents or caretakers on a daily basis. We knew the names of their siblings. We'd seen inside most of their homes. We knew their interests. We knew their fears. We knew which kid was allergic to what. We could do all this because the staff to student radio was about 1:5. It's hard to have this atmosphere when you have one teacher for over twenty-five kids. As kids get older, the staff to child-to-adult ratio gets higher. It's kind of crazy in a way. Why do we think that ten-year-olds need less attention than four-year-olds? Yeah. For safety reasons, ten-year-olds probably require less adult supervision. But for learning purposes, they'd probably equally benefit from having a low ratio of students to adults.

Back to Bartlett....

 He also did some of his secondary education at Hobart College. This place is now called Hobart Campus, and it's part of a program called Tasmania Tomorrow. I don't really understand it fully, but it's for kids in years eleven and twelve.

Well, here's the government website. It looks like a transition program, getting kids ready for either university or a vocational path. It sounds fairly interesting.

For Bartlett's own post-secondary education, he went to the University of Tasmania. Where is that located? Hobart?

Well, Lord Wiki says they have a campus in Hobart and Burnie. Is Burnie north or south? I thought it was north...near Launceston. I might be wrong though.

No. I'm right. It's in the north...about two hours west of Launceston.

Oh! They also have another campus in Launceston. I missed that.

That Princess of Denmark went to this school too. I wonder if she ever met Bartlett.

Anyway, Bartlett got a degree in computer science, and later a business degree in professional management.

Before he entered the world of Parliament, Bartlett worked in the industry technology industry. That's those IT people.

At one point, Bartlett worked as the manager for the Tasmanian Innovation Centre. They're website is under construction as well.

It looks like Bartlett's first political job was as adviser to David Crean. Is he related to Simon Crean?

Yep. Lord Wiki says they're brothers.

In 2004, Bartlett became a Labor Member of Parliament. Then in 2008, he became Deputy Premier. I think that lasted only one month. Then he became the Premier. The previous Premier had been Paul Lennon. Lennon got out of office because his approval rating was very low. There were rumors of corruption involving him and that damn Gunn Pulp Mill.

Anyway, Lord Wiki is fairly stingy when it comes to information on Bartlett. There's not a lot of details in that entry. So I think I'm done with him...Lord Wiki, not David Bartlett. Bartlett and I still need to have some bonding time.

Here's David Bartlett's official Premier website. The logo on the website says, Tasmania, Explore the Possibilities. It reminds me of Fantasy Island. I dreamed about Mr. Roarke last night. There was a story with all these wild animals all over. Mr. Roarke appeared outside our staircase window, and told us he could help us escape.

There's a button on the site I can press if I want to make David Bartlett my Facebook friend. I wonder if it's a friend site or fan site. I've never added a celebrity as a Facebook friend. But last night I was tempted to do it. I had been wasting time by Internet stalking. I looked up people from my high school. I found some of my old preschool students...they're looking gorgeous, by the way. I looked up some of the kids from the Cystic Fibrosis Camp. Then I looked up Andrew Hubatsek. He's one of my longtime minor obsessions. Right now the guy is a theater actor up in the north east somewhere. But most of us know him as the scary skinny Zelda from Pet Semetary. That Hubatsek guy is so intriguing to me. For awhile, after the movie, I assumed he had died. He had looked so skinny and sick. I figured the Pet Semetary people had found some dying man who wouldn't mind being in a movie. But I guess he overcame that which ailed him...or maybe he had gotten thin for the movie. I don't know.

Anyway, I even wrote a screenplay based on my interest in Hubatsek. And one time I wrote him a fan email. He never wrote back, and I was a bit sad. BUT months later, I realized that sometimes good emails go into the spam folder. I sometimes imagine he MIGHT have sent me an email back, and I just missed it.

So last night I found Hubatsek on Facebook. I was tempted to add him, but I didn't. It seemed to weird. Okay, and yeah. I'd probably be all disappointed and hurt if he didn't add me back. Better to just leave it open and not do it. That way I can think to myself, I bet if I added him, he'd add me back and we'd become great friends. I love delusions sometimes.

Oh, sorry that was a major tangent. Let me get back to Bartlett.

This page has a little biographical information...but not much. The site emphasizes that Bartlett was educated by the public school system. He's a man of the people!

I'm going to look at Google News now.

There's some current stuff about land taxes. I'm not really interested, but follow the link if you are. I'm not good at figuring out the whole tax thing, but it LOOKS like taxes are going to be lowered, and people will be getting rebates. I may be wrong though.

The Green Party is not happy with all this. Their website says....today’s land tax announcement by the government smacks of a Premier engaged in a panicked spending spree in a desperate attempt to hang onto power. In other words, they think he's not doing good with the whole budget thing. He's spending money in a way that will endear him to voters. According to the Green Party, Bartlett pulled money out of the Public Sector. This is how he's funding the tax break. The Green Party says, Having slashed and burned the public service, apparently there is money available now for Mr Bartlett to try to buy his way back into power. Tasmania’s long suffering public sector workers are entitled to feel ripped off and exploited.

This farming website has a speech from Bartlett. It was done at the state Labor Party conference. I'm not sure when though. I can't find a date.

Bartlett says the cleanest air in the world is in a place in Tasmania called Woolnorth. I wonder if that's true. And where is Woolnorth?

Well, I'm not yet sure about the clean air bit. But it's located on the far northwest point of Tasmania.

Here's the Woolnorth website. They agree with Bartlett. They say they have the cleanest air.

The Travel and Leisure website lists Tasmania as a destination with very clean air. But I don't think they mention Woolnorth specifically.

Back to the speech.....

If you don't care much about clean air, you can get your kicks smelling beer being brewed at Cascade and Boags.

Bartlett uses most of the speech to sing the praises of the Labor Party. He says, Labor believes that every Tasmanian matters. Labor believes that the dignity of every Tasmanian is worth fighting for.
Okay. I'm betting the Liberal and Green Party would make the same claims. I'm also betting for ALL the political parties, it's a statement that's a little bit not completely true.

Bartlett says, Labor believes that at the core of that dignity is the capacity to find a job, the capacity to raise a family and the hope of building a better future. I don't have a job, and I have dignity. I am raising a family though. Maybe you need at least one or the other. What about people who are independently wealthy, and don't have any children to raise? Could they not have dignity? Well, maybe they have the hope in building a better future. What if someone has none of those? I bet they don't have dignity. They still might manage to have some fun though.

Later, Bartlett talks about the challenges of the future. The three he names are

a) management of scare water resources
b) rapid race of telecommunications revolution (the whole renewable and sustainable energy thing)

I see b as more of a positive than a challenge. I mean there ARE negative aspects of it all. But I think the good stuff outweighs the bad. Although I am a bit disturbed by the rising popularity of Farmville. Who am I to judge though? I'm addicted to Sims 3.

Here's an interesting fact that Bartlett provides. Tasmania is only about 1.5% of Australia's landmass. But they get 12% of the rainfall.

Bartlett says, That is why today I commit to a bold new goal – that to achieve our strategy to make Tasmania the foodbowl of the nation, we will deliver close to a quarter-of-a-million additional megalitres of water per annum for irrigation by 2014.

I'm not sure what he means by that. I guess it's about farming. They'll provide much of the food for the rest of the nation?

In his speech, he promises better and cheaper Internet service. That's good! Ah! Maybe that's what he meant by the Internet being a challenge. It's not that having it is a challenge. The challenge is making it cheaply and readily available to EVERYONE.

Bartlett says seventy percent of Tasmania's energy comes from renewable sources. That's awesome! Although I have nothing to compare it to. I wonder what percentage Texas would have....maybe one percent?

This New York Times article says despite Texas having an environmentally unfriendly Governor, it uses a fair amount of wind energy. Well, five percent of it's electricity comes from wind power. That's nothing compared to Tasmania's seventy percent. But I guess it's better than one percent.

Tasmania definitely has an impressive environment. And it's such a BEAUTIFUL place. It's history is a bit horrific, but that's a whole other story.

Bartlett talks next about education. He mentions these family and child centers. I saw that briefly on his Premier website.

The Labor Party website has a media release about that. The Federal Government handed Tasmania eight million dollars for the program. Oh wow. The eight million was for just ONE center. And then there's other centers that the state funded itself. They plan to eventually have thirty centers.

I'm not sure what the centers are, but the primary focus is Indigenous populations.

I'm heading to another website now. It's taking some time to load.....

Here we go. It's on the Tasmanian Government site. I'm not sure about the exact details of the center. The site says the centers will provide universal, easily accessible services and information to families of young children. They don't list which services will be available. Maybe medical stuff?
I know I bitch about America a lot, but we did use a good government program when Jack was a toddler. It's called ECI. They help children with various problems. You pay on a sliding scale. They were SO nice....very helpful and friendly. We had a woman come to our house...once a week, I think. She helped us with Jack's speech delay. The awesome thing is she didn't take Jack to another room and help him with his speech. What she mostly did is teach us how to help Jack. Sometimes, I wonder if the speech therapy actually helped, or if Jack learned to talk when he was simply meant to talk. But still...regardless. I do appreciate what ECI did for us.

Anyway, I hope the Tasmanian centers can provide some good in the community.

Well, here's a negative about Tasmania. Bartlett says it has the lowest adult literacy rates. I wonder how it compares to Texas.

I'm having trouble finding Tasmania's literacy rate. I'll look more in a minute. For now, I'm looking at Lord Wiki's list of country literacy. He says Cuba has the highest literacy rate in the world. I guess those backwards Communist people do some learning after all.

Well, this website has some Tasmanian information. It's a little more complicated than I thought. There's a variety of test scores. I thought I could get one simple percentage, but it's not like that. We'll just have to trust that Tasmania is a bit behind in reading. I wouldn't be too surprised if Texas had issues with this as well.

Yikes. This website doesn't have happy news. It says among the states, Texas is ranked LAST in Literacy. Again, I'm not surprised. Disturbed maybe...but not surprised.

I wonder why people fail to learn to read. Is it a matter of learning disabilities? For those who are not disabled....I guess it's a matter of not getting the attention and resources that one would need. I personally think we should push the idea of parents teaching their kids to read...whether it's before they reach school age or after. Right now, I think too many parents feel this is the teacher's job and they need not worry about it. The problem is the teachers have too many students to worry about. They may not realize that Wanda is struggling to learn how to read.

Anyway, I've blabbed on and on about that on other posts. I'll try not to repeat myself. Ah, it's tempting though.

Cool. I found some stuff in the speech about the family and child centers. Bartlett says, Through turning the handle on one door, she will find in the George Town Child and Family Centre advice on nutrition, help with her child’s early literacy, early intervention tests to see if her child has any special needs, and support for her parenting skills.

That sounds really nice.