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’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.


  1. It does not surprise me that NW Tas has the cleanest air. Bit off topic and I like Tasmania but I came across this yesterday.

  2. Andrew,

    Very disturbing article. Speaking of homophobia...reading very sad book now that deals with the subject. It's fiction, but I'm sure it represents an awful truth.

  3. Child and Family Centers - sounds like WIC ;)

    I'll have to look up what you've said about parents teaching kids to read. We just try to set a good example by reading a lot, ourselves. It seems to have worked.

    ok - actually, C read to our daughter pretty consistently the last little while, and that probably is what did it, I suppose. Although I think the bigger blessing out of that activity was the bond/relationship between parent and child and not the learning to read. I think that's secondary.

  4. I'll clarify the whole Tasmania Tomorrow thing for you and the readers :-)

    Previously the public school system here was made up of primary school - Kinder to Grade Six; high school - Grade Seven to Grade Ten; and then College which was Grades 11 - 12. College runs very indendently from the high schools and I imagine is a bit similar to how you have things over there. On the mainland though Years 11 and 12 are within the high school system and not separate like here.

    Ok..then you have what used to be called TAFE - which is a post secondary vocational institution. Aimed at people who don't want to go to university but want to do further study or are doing an apprenticeship etc.

    So..what the government have done is combine TAFE and College and there are now three entities operating in sort of the one context: Tasmanian Academy (Years 11 and 12); Tasmanian Polytechnic and Tasmanian Skills Institute (former TAFE). Polytechnic and Academy focus on academic and vocational programs for years 11 and 12 and mature age students and Skills Institute is driven by industry and companies and is responsible for training within the workplace and things like apprenticeships.

    There has been a huge uproar over it all and the transition has not gone well at all. Molly's college are resisting joining and becoming an Academy campus but they will have no choice come 2011. I work at a Polytechnic and SKills Institute campus which was an old TAFE campus. Why they amalgamated them all I have no idea. It has not worked at all and institutions have lost their identity and education has suffered. So there you go..that is the gist of it! And one of the reasons why David Bartlett is not doing well at all in office.

    Woolnough is a beautiful area. The entire north west coast is. I love it over there. The air is clean and everywhere is so so green.

    The literacy thing.. I think personally it has a lot to do with the majority of Tasmania being a farming community where the importance of literacy is not particularly high because they work on the land and don't need further education for that. It makes me sad though to think that children aren't being brought up with a love of literature.

  5. HappyOrganist: WIC? Really! I didn't realize they had centers. I thought they just gave out food to parents. Well, that's good to know. I'm so ignorant about some things.

    I think reading to your children is a very great way of leading them onto the road of reading. But yeah. I agree. I think the bonding part is the most important benefit.

    There ARE things that parents can do while reading that sometimes helps kids learn to read. One of them is to touch the words with your fingers as you read the text. This can help kids understand that the story comes from the words. Also, it can help to use books with repetition and rhyme. Then when the child begins to know the book...memorize it...the parents can pause and let the child fill in the blank. I have a feeling that parents probably do these things naturally...especially the latter.

    Tracey: Hi!!!! I get so excited when I see you on my blog.

    I think we're actually more like the mainland. Our eleventh and twelfth grade is lumped with the other high school students. What we have is usually either elementary school (k-5th grade) Middle school or Junior High (6th-8th grade) and then high school (9th-12th grade). Although in some school districts, the middle school starts at seventh grade instead of sixth. And then some private schools go from K to eighth grade. Then the kids have to struggle to find a high school to transition to.

    I have to be honest with you. I'm still confused about all the TAFE stuff. I think you'll have to explain it to me in Hawaii. I do get that you see it as a negative, but beyond that....I'm confused.

    Interesting point about the literacy. I wonder if it's a cultural bias than. We can say the farming community is illiterate. Their reading ability may be less than what we see as acceptable. But then can't they turn around and say we're illiterate when it comes to farming?

    My brother-in-law mentioned something too. I mentioned the Texas illiteracy rates. He reminded me that Texas has a very large Spanish population. So when we say people are illiterate, are we talking about people not reading at all, or are we talking about people not reading in English. They might be reading just fine in Spanish.

  6. The information provided in the State and Territory data tables, released on Wednesday 9th January 2007 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) from the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, contains data specific to the Tasmanian context and is based on a sample size of 579 adult between the ages of 15 and 74 years.
    Much of the information available in these tables has a relative standard error of 25% to 50%, however even when the best case scenario is accepted there is still a significant percentage of the Tasmania adult population, ( over 40% ) who can be expected to have difficulty across all the literacy domains measured, ie: prose, document, numeracy, problem solving and health.
    There has been no significant movement in the prose and document literacy levels of adult Tasmanians since the 1996 survey.
    Differences in the literacy levels between the major urban, other urban and rural areas of the state are not conclusive due to the relative standard area of the data.
    There is a correlation across all the literacy domains, between length of time spent in formal study and literacy levels. The more time spent in formal education and the higher the level of qualification the higher the literacy levels.

  7. re: WIC. Yes, it sounds like WIC, to me. I've had to go to their office/centers and sit through classes with my girlfriends before. very boring.

  8. although, they were in Spanish, so they weren't that boring

  9. Hugh Fielding,

    Fascinating statistics. I'm reading them now. I'm not sure if I landed on the same page or not. In comments, web addresses are sometimes incomplete. What I'm looking at is 4228.0 - Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey, Summary Results, Australia, 2006 (Reissue)

    The results look disturbing to me. 46% of Australians (ages 15-74) are on the lowest level for prose literacy.

    It's interesting that literacy decreases by age. Is that related to some kind of brain deterioration...or do people decrease the amount of studying/learning they do at that age?

    In terms of International Comparisons...those Norwegian people are pretty smart!

    I was going to say that Americans and Australians aren't too far apart in terms of skills. But I read the chart wrong. I was looking at the Canadians. Americans do much worse than Australians. And that probably explains why I couldn't read the chart correctly.

    It looks like people in the ACT do the best with literacy. Maybe politicians are smarter than we imagine.

    As for education, I feel the schools are failing a lot of children. I think in those first ten years, kids should be able to obtain the level three of literacy.

    There's also a correlation issue. Does going to school for over twenty years give people higher literacy levels? Or are people who obtain higher literacy levels in primary & secondary school more likely to pursue a higher education?

    I can't help wonder how I'd do on these tests. I would hope I'd be on the 4th or 5th level because I finished graduate school. But there are times I REALLY wonder about my intelligence.

  10. HappyOrganist,

    Cool. Did you get to practice your Spanish at all?

    My only encounter with WIC was with reading about breastfeeding...stuff about how the government doesn't do enough to encourage breastfeeding. I think recently they changed that though. Hey, speaking of breastfeeding....did you ever read Milk, Money, and Madness? That was one of my bibles during my lactivism day.

  11. Yes, I got to use my Spanish and meet a lot of cool people.
    I haven't read that book. I think most of what I read was on the Internet - except for the pamphlet given to me by the hospital (which wasn't nearly as informative as the million of things online) - the pictures are interesting though (in one of those pamphlets I got one year).

  12. HappyOrganist,

    Pictures? Well, I'm glad you enjoyed them. I've been thinking of you tonight....Listening to music. I'm making CD's for the road trip. Some songs make me so emotional.

  13. Take some Benadryl and think of me.
    ..jk (about the Benadryl)

    ok - jk about all of that.

    Hey - they were just pencil drawings. There was a picture of engorgement - quite hilarious if I remember correctly. C and I laughed at it together.

    you should put some Dire Straits in your music pile (that "So Far Away" song. I love that one.)

  14. HappyOrganist,

    Crap. I wish you sent this comment ten minutes ago. I made 8 CD's...the first was of music we already downloaded. Then in the 8th one, I started downloading new stuff. I ran out of ideas, so the CD wasn't full. I don't know if I want to make a #9. But I'll go listen to your Dire Strait song. I'll see if it MOVES me...If it does, I'll download it. Then I can think of you while we're in the car.