Thursday, November 13, 2008

For Sale - Australian Defence Force Contracts

I recently stumbled across the website for a company called ASC Pty Ltd while searching for the Australian Sports Commission. At first glance I thought it was an off-shoot of the Aust Defence Force, but upon closer inspection I was troubled by what I found. Below is a transcript of an email I sent to the Minister for Defence.

Please provide your thoughts:

"Dear Minister,
I am writing to express my concerns regarding the company ASC Pty Ltd. and their role in supplying the Australian Defence Force with ships and submarines.

My concern is that the role of National Security must surely be of utmost importance. This said, I question why it appears that a private company is being left solely with the responsibility of maintaining our fleet of submarines.

The logic follows: a company must return as great a profit as possible - the objective is to make money. If there is an opportunity for a company to make further profit on a particular project, than they will do what is needed to maximise the profit while still delivering the required outcomes (a minimalistic approach will result).

I find it extremely hard to understand why the Australian Government would allow a $3.5 billion contract to be signed to hand over the control of any part of national security to a private company.

Below ae some of the corporate objectives as outlined in ASC's Statement of Corporate Intent

  • Create a long-term viable Australian business that is responsive to the needs of its customers, provides value for money, is attractive to investors and is an employer of choice;
  • Ensure these objectives are met in a manner that will facilitate the timely privatisation of the company; and
Additionally, the criteria of success are listed, one being:

  • Our investors – ASC is measured on acceptable and sustainable financial returns

This states clearly that part of their intent is to be making a financial return for it's members. Since when is it allowable for the safety of our country to be placed in the hands of a profiteering few. Please do not allow Australia take steps towards creating Haliburton, CACI, Titan or Bechtel.

National Defense is Australian Business and must remain in house and all aspects remain controlled by the Aust Government. The website for this company is listed below -

I look forward to hearing a justification and further clarification of the reasons behind such a decision being made (outsourcing defense).


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Teaching and incorporating ICTs - what for?

Finally - I have drafted a "teaching philosophy" with respect to ICTs.
Feel free to make comments to challenge my understanding on this issue.

Information Communication Technology (herein referred to as ICTs) – to use technology to communicate information; ideas, concepts, opinions and facts। ICTs impact in each of our lives in numerous ways; we watch the television while we eat breakfast, we talk to our spouse on the mobile phone on our way home from work (of course not while driving), we listen to a podcast while we walk up Castle Hill on our iPod, we become ‘Facebook friends’ with political figures during their campaign, and at the end of our day we enter a short account of the days events in our on-line diary (aka Blog). The technological changes that we have witnessed in the last few decades have revolutionized the way in which we interact with each other and the world in general. Information is communicated differently in the 21st century than the 20th. For Teachers this has profound implications.

The purpose of formalized education it can be argued is to equip the people of the nation with the skills and knowledge necessary to allow the country to survive on the ‘world stage’, while simultaneously allowing the persons to participate as citizens of their country. It is therefore important to keep this end point in mind when incorporating ICTs into the learning experiences of the students.
Incorporating ICT must always be done with the goal to enhance the educational experience; and not as a token gesture that removes the enjoyment and excitement from learning. In much the same way that skills are developed for a sport, not for the skill in and of itself, but in order to be used and incorporated into the sport as a whole; so to are ICT’s not an end in themselves, but a means by which we can participate and interact with our society.
This should therefore shape our approach to incorporating ICT in the classroom; modeling the use of the ICTs as part of something better; as part of the exciting journey and experience that life can be. ICTs are incredibly useful an powerful tools, and by equipping students with the skills necessary to use ICTs in their everyday life as citizens, all-the-while supporting their development (and drive) towards being lifelong learners, teachers can safely say they have accomplished an honorable mission for their country and their students.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Facebook - one word or two?

On a lighter note... I was sending a message via "facebook" and was expressing my frustration that another of our friends did not have their own profile on facebook yet. While typing the message, I noticed that Facebook underlines incorrect spelling with the infamous red line - and in fact had underlined the word "facebook" with a red line.

I thought it was ironic that the Facebook dictionary does not recognise its own 'name' so to speak.

Childcare services - nationalise or corporatise?

In the last week there has been quite a shock-wave sent throughout Australia as the largest "supplier" of Child Care Services (to the best of my knowledge) has gone into receivership.

This has left me to ponder - 'Why is it that a service that is so vital to the everyday functioning of Australia, been provided by the Private Sector?'
It stands to reason that businesses come and go, they rise and fall continuously. So if there is a service that is almost critical to Australia's operations, should it not be 'nationalised' and therefore the continuation of the service is guaranteed while it is still a critical function to the Australian people.

This then led me to ponder - 'what is the criteria for which services are Nationalised and which are safe enough to be market driven?'
Why is it that we have the state or federal Government providing such services as Education, Health, Law Enforcement and rescue services. What makes these services so critical that we are willing to pay taxes for them?

I'm yet to come up with an answer to that - but I am keen to hear other's thoughts.


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Diving in to the world of bloggers

Sunday afternoon - 4pm - completing an assignment for University that is all about incorporating ICT's into learning experiences.

So here I am, starting my very own blog. I am surprised at how easy it was to set up and begin. At the same time though, I expect that it will also be just as easy for me to stop blogging and leave this as another waste of cyberspace.

It is time for me to get back to other components of the assignment - I hope I will return some day to contribute further to my blog.

Until then,