Rudd never promised laptops

Something of a mixed message has gotten about over the schools computer program. Rudd went to the last election with two computer promises. The first was for a tax-break that allowed some parents (from memory those who could access Family Tax Benefit Part A) to buy a tax deductable laptop (or make other computer related educational expenditure). The second policy was that every school child in the last three years of high school would have access to their own computer at school. Presumably that would be a desktop.

By most accounts Monday’s Q and A was a disaster for Rudd.

At one point, Rudd almost lost his temper with a girl all of 16 years of age, who shook her head at his answer on school laptops, telling her with a sharp look and tone in his voice: “You’re shaking your head. Can I just say that is a fact, and if you ring up principals from around the country, it’s happening.”

The SMH is quoting a Twitter message.

Kevin Rudd is ripping into the sort of girls who denied him sex in high school.

While that is very funny and I admit to a snigger, it is also very undignified. People are going to remember a comment like that and it suggests something of a PR problem for the government on this score. The Australian fact-check is also interesting (not online, but Andrew Bolt has a copy, and at page 4 of the paper edition).

RHETORIC: “Laptops, which is computers in schools, we said we would have a computer for every young person at secondary school from Year 9 and above by, I seem to recall, 2013 or thereabouts.”
REALITY: The original 2007 election commitment was for the laptops to be rolled out in four years (by 2011).
RHETORIC: “We are on track to doing that. We have about 260,000 computers out there in schools now … can I just say that is a fact.”

REALITY: According to Senate estimates, 154,000 of the one million promised laptops are in operation.

Just not good. I think Rudd was under-prepared and has added to the laptop confusion. Really he only has himself to blame; it was a half-assed policy in the first place that they tried to implement on the cheap and they have been caught out by technology savvy kids.

That might not be such a bad thing. Joshua Gans reckons the iPad will revolutionise e-education.

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18 Responses to Rudd never promised laptops

  1. Kevin Rudd is ripping into the sort of girls who denied him sex in high school.
    What a loser.

  2. Sinclair Davidson

    Yes, well. So I was telling this to the family and my father-in-law suggested that Rudd is a good-looking guy and would have ‘had the girls running after him’. ‘Nah’, said Mrs D., ‘he’s a nerd’.

  3. jtfsoon

    As I’ve said, I have yet to meet a person who says he likes Rudd, not even Labor voters who nonetheless keep their faith with the party.

    Abbott seems to be the opposite. Lots of people like the man and dislike his politics (including me).

  4. Infidel Tiger

    Rudd would definitely have been shot in the back in the miltary. Same thing will happen with his political career.

  5. I don’t think any of them are likable. But if you know what’s involved in that scene you know that being a, y’know, decent human being is a postive disadvantage.
    But a PM who loses it a 16 year old for asking a perfectly good question about a stupid token of a bullshit policy is, um, lacking something.
    I don’t want Abbott in tho’, had enough of the Back To The 50s series. He’ll probably snuff it and then Joe Hockey might step up. Another 5 years of Kevvie’s nanny-nagging and the Liberals might find it to their advatage to be, um, liberal again?
    I mean if they ever were. 🙂

  6. I’ve argued for a long time that Rudd seems to have the “normal” ratio of likeability to proximity reversed. That is, with many politicians, you hear people say, “oh, but when you get to meet him personally, he’s really very nice.” With Rudd, it always has seemed that the closer anyone gets to him, the more they learn to dislike him.

  7. tal

    The “you ring up and check if you don’t believe me”schtick is embarrassing behaviour in an adult

  8. daddy dave

    As I’ve said, I have yet to meet a person who says he likes Rudd, not even Labor voters who nonetheless keep their faith with the party.
    My mother loves Rudd.
    Believe me, in ALP heartland there’s still a bit of that Kevin 07 magic at work.
    I don’t dislike him as a person. I think he’s a well-intentioned, if boring and unsociable nerd. He should never have agreed to this Q&A though, it shows that he doesn’t understand his own strengths and weaknesses.

  9. daddy dave

    I guess that’s easy to say in hindsight.

  10. jtfsoon

    dd, nerds are not necessarily unlikeable. There is more to Rudd than being a nerd

    He is
    1) self important and pompous – see the Monthly essay
    2) grandstanding (I suppose the same as pompous but see his attempt to stut the stage)
    3) tells tales behind people’s back and indiscreet (how the hell did he get to be diplomat?)
    4) whiny and not very nice (his outburst against the stewardess)
    5) obviously can’t take criticism or tough questions

  11. Peter Patton

    Well Rudd must certainly keep a mega-watt light hidden under his bushel, because I doubt a siren like Therese would hang around for long if we were a ‘loafer on the sofa’. 😉

  12. jtfsoon

    jeezus Peter, the last thing I want to think about is Krudd’s sex life …

  13. Peter Patton

    I think computers should be restricted to the libraries. Look every single one of us dinosaurs here has caught up with each technological innovation. I don’t want the schools to become extensions of Apple/Microsoft/Compaq’s marketing department

    You don’t need computers to learn by rote your 16 times tables, long division, or learn to read, or basically anything Given the number of Australian school children who can barely run a sentence together or count past 10, a computer on each desk seems like a waste of money.

  14. daddy dave

    1) self important and pompous
    indeed he is; it seems to go with being a Labor leader. Not all, but many.
    yes- a temptation he should have resisted.
    3) tells tales behind people’s back and indiscreet
    again, a Labor curse it seems
    4) whiny
    5) obviously can’t take criticism or tough questions
    he does have a glass jaw.
    Interestingly, all of these faults apply equally to B.H.Obama. And they both swept to power on a wave of discontent against conservatives; with a strong personality cult; and with an image as compassionate intellectuals.

  15. TerjeP (say Tay-a)

    There was nothing dished out by the PM that the kids were not old enough to handle. I have no problem with a PM defending his position in the manner Rudd did. If his message was wrong then he deserves criticism for that but not for merely articulating to a child that he had a different opinion and that he thought the childs opinion was wrong.

  16. ken n

    Welcome back TerjeP. Did you have fun over there?

  17. JC

    It wasn’t the fact that he defended his position, Terje. It was his overall uptight, defensive school marm posture that did him in.

    Politics is perception and Rudd appeared really bad.

  18. TerjeP (say Tay-a)

    JC – I’ve always thought he presented badly so I’m struggling to see the difference. In terms of perception I think it was a bad format for any PM to appear in.

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