Last night’s leaders’ debate and TV this week

9C here in West Wollongong this morning. Just thought I’d mention it.

Last night’s leaders’ debate was a lacklustre affair generally. Lots of verbiage we’ve heard before. Never such an exciting time to be a rooster, and so on… But sadly it did spark up when asylum seekers were mentioned.

Mr Turnbull said the nation’s borders were at risk from a Labor government, arguing the former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd wound back asylum seeker legislation so far it led to an increase in people travelling to Australia by boat.

“[People smugglers], they’re out there marketing now, telling their customers that if Labor is elected it will be all on again,” Mr Turnbull said. “Bill says that’s not the case but, of course, they know what Labor was like in government just as we do.”

It led to a fiery response from the Opposition Leader.

“Shame on you Mr Turnbull for what you just said,” Mr Shorten shot back. “I have made it very clear what the Labor government would do. We would defeat the people smugglers. We accept the role of boat turn-backs as we should because we don’t want to see the people smugglers back in business. Mr Turnbull is playing with fire when he says that somehow Labor would be a better deal, and he shouldn’t say that because he just conceded in his own remarks that the people smugglers are efficient and watching every bit of the debate.”

Shows where the race to the bottom has left us, or rather those stuck on Nauru and Manus. Labor’s idea of approaching UNHCR asap to attain resettlement solutions is the nearest to light on this issue. Rather than argue more I commend my recent posts on the matter.

Later this week two promising TV premieres on ABC. First, Revolution School on Tuesday.


…”Reducing class size, private schooling and giving parents choice does not make a difference to the quality of education,” says Professor John Hattie of Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education in the show. What does make a difference is teachers who give a damn, and who have the skills and resources to bring the kids with them on the journey.

It’s not all success stories, though. There are some insanely difficult children and, it must be said, parents. Not all of them are going to have the outcome the school might have hoped for. Not every teacher is a Robin Williams whispering “carpe diem” in the ears of students who only need a nudge to become extraordinary. Sometimes merely avoiding outright failure will count as a massive success.

I’ve seen the first two episodes (all that were available for previewing at the time of writing) and I’m hooked. I want to know what happens to Tiarne, the aggressively disruptive 15-year-old who knows she has a problem but does not have the skills to fix it. I want to know whether the school’s revamped approach to literacy really does improve outcomes across the board. I want to know if the kids in the Darrabi program – designed to help the strugglers catch up – come to see school as anything more than a theatre in which to act out their fantasies of rebellion…

And from The Educator:

n 2008, despite having been opened for just six years, the school was ranked in the bottom 10% of schools in Victoria, based on its Year 12 scores.

Today, with more than 1,100 students from 42 different nationalities, Kambrya has both high and low achievers, as well as students who are struggling with serious behavioural difficulties and learning challenges…

Over the past four years, Kambrya’s Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) median study score has placed it among the top 25-30% of state schools in Victoria.

“This reflects the fantastic work of all teachers in the school. And we genuinely believe that our students are capable of further improvement,” [Principal] Muscat told The Educator. “In 2008, Kambrya College was a dysfunctional and chaotic school, so in that year, a new leadership team embarked on the excruciating process of rebuilding. We selected the Zbar/Kimber/Marshall model of school improvement and immediately commenced work on the ‘Preconditions for Improvement’.”

Muscat said this model focused on building strong and stable leadership with a shared vision, establishing an orderly learning environment, focusing on what matters most and building teacher efficacy.

I note a NSW public school following a similar model. I’ll be watching this series with interest.

Then on Thursday there is the intriguing Clever Man.


See Wikipedia:

Cleverman is an upcoming American-Australian-New Zealand television drama series based on an original concept by Ryan Griffen. The series will air on ABC in Australia and SundanceTV in the United States in 2016.

The six-part drama series reflects on racism, asylum seekers and border protection. Its central story revolves around two estranged indigenous brothers who are forced together to fight for their own survival. Otherworldly dreamtime creatures also emerge into this real world dystopian landscape…

And Red Arrow TV:

Set in the near future, a species from ancient mythology must live amongst humans and battle for survival in a world that wants to silence, exploit and destroy them.

At the heart of the story are two estranged brothers, Koen and Waruu West, who are forced together to fight against terrifying enemies – both human and not of this world. But can Koen, a man bestowed with a powerful gift and destined to become the Cleverman, learn to harness his power before everything around him crumbles?

By turns smart, sexy, bloody, thought-provoking and startlingly original, “Cleverman” combines compelling character-driven storytelling with powerful themes and thrilling action, to appeal to fans of all genres.

Directed by Wayne Blair (The Sapphires, Septembers of Shiraz) and Leah Purcell, an acclaimed ensemble cast includes Scottish actor Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Golden Globe nominee Frances O’Connor (The Missing), Logie Award winner Deborah Mailman (The Sapphires), Hunter Page-Lochard (The Sapphires), Rob Collins (The Lion King) and Stef Dawson (The Hunger Games).

Creatures and effects are by Jacob Nash (Bangarra Dance Theatre) and the world-renowned Weta Workshop (Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, Avatar, The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Godzilla).

Well, let’s see if it lives up to the strong pre-publicity. There’s certainly talent aplenty involved.