Many years ago, I went to university some considerable distance away from my home, so I stayed in a university residential college. Until a few years before I arrived, this had been a female-only college. As a consequence, it had no male toilets (i.e. with urinals). Therefore, I could be having a sit and a think in a cubicle alongside another cubicle in which a woman was having a sit and a think. Surprisingly, this did not seem to be a problem for the people who ran the college. Nor were there any problems with males and females going to the same toilets in the three years I spent at the college, as far as I am aware. If there had been, I would have heard of them, as I was one of the tutors in the college.

Travelling forward a couple of years, I was employed in an organisation in a town way out in the bush. One of its outposts was a storage shed, which only had a single toilet for about 5 people, and which outpost I needed to visit on occasion. One of the employees was an Englishman and another was a Frenchwoman. The Englishman, was mortified that he would have to share a toilet with a woman, because (to paraphrase) ‘he didn’t know where she had been’. People pointed out to him that the Frenchwoman didn’t know where he had been either, while others pointed out that he shared a toilet with female visitors to his home. Despite this, none of these entreaties made any impression on him.

Moving forward a few decades and today, in response to questions about the mooted Religious Discrimination Act, the Attorney General Michaelia Cash said that a move to strip religious schools of the ability to discriminate against transgender students would raise complications over toilets (she used the prudish Americanism ‘bathrooms’). The act would amend s38(3) of the Sex Discrimination Act to make it unlawful to expel students because they are gay – but this narrow amendment will leave schools with a legal basis to discriminate against students on the basis of gender identity. According to Cash, attempting to protect transgender students would upset the ethos of single-sex religious schools1. Really? Then maybe that single-sex ethos needs to change.

I realise that there has been much research into the value of single sex schools when compared with co-educational schools as well as single sex classes in co-educational schools, and their effects on both boys and girls. This has chiefly focused on academic performance, either using a summary measure of overall achievement or examining achievement in particular subject areas. Findings have differed across and within countries, according to the method of analysis used and the specific outcome selected2. Unlike Australia, there are no single-sex schools in Finland, and less than 2% of students attend private schools3.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has a Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). The PISA is a worldwide study that evaluates educational systems in selected countries by assessing student performance in reading, mathematics and science. The PISA study is normally undertaken every three years. However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 study has been postponed. As a consequence, the 2018 test is the most recent available. In the PISA test in 2018, Finnish students performed well above the OECD average in reading, mathematics, and science knowledge4

In this 1918 test, Australian students were behind Finnish students in every metric and the Australian scores have declined significantly since the PISA test was started in 20005.

But it is clear that we should concentrate on toilets, and it is strangely appropriate that it is currently this government’s main concern about education, because that is where we are headed; down the toilet.




  • James Faulkner says:

    I have consulted the entrails of a goat and spoken with the winds. This do I predict….

    There is going to be violence as a result of this legislation passing. Not immediately, but eventually some religious twerp will push it too far, a church will burn or some such, it will all go public and they will be forced, I mean forced, to rescind this inherently evil and Christian legislation.

    • admin says:

      If the Labor Party keep fannying around, I think it will be dropped before it has a chance of passing. I think there are enough people in the Liberal Party who are not keen on it and Morrison has no stomach to lose a vote (again) on the floor of the house. If the Labor Party vote for it, then they are making a huge mistake. Somewhere about 45% of the population now are non-religious, and all this legislation does is entrench the privilege to discriminate for religious schools and other organisations. It is just another attempt by the religious nutters in the coalition to make sure that the religious are still privileged, whose power and influence are waning at a rapid rate.

  • James Faulkner says:

    Aieee, but I should have consulted the lime scale patterns in my toilet for a truer prediction.

  • Jon says:

    Down the dunny is exactly where the Labor Party’s ethics and judgement can be found. They’ve decided to support the bill but move for amendments, no doubt figuring they can wedge a few Liberals in the House.

    Here’s a clue Albanese – forget the games, and listen to your own party member Stephen Jones (who is duty bound by your arcane rules not to jump ship). Some things are FAR more important than political wedges and point scoring. Otherwise his words, and your own morals and ethics aren’t worth an f’ing cracker.

    Labor’s lost my vote for the election. Looks like it will be another protest vote coming up (following on from the first Rudd-Gillard/Swan coup): informal in the Reps and leaving both “major” (lol to that) parties off my Senate vote. You gutless bastards deserve to occupy the Opposition seats until there is a complete turnover in members and a leader with some grit, balls, common sense AND ethics. FO Albanese, you’re a disgrace.

  • Jon says:

    I understood their strategy. It was being spruiked everywhere as great wedge tactics by rusted on Labor supporters well before the vote on amendments was taken. It would have worked exactly the same way had they said they wouldn’t support the bill without amendment because it was moderate conservatives who held the keys, not Labor. Thankfully THEY, not Labor, sent the right message and it is they who will likely profit from their courage and conscience. They had more ticker than Albanese and the PLP combined. Their actions also won’t lead to their dismissal from the party as it would/might have if the shoe had been on the other foot due to the inane and anachronous ALP and co.

    Announcing their intention to support the bill and trusting the crossbenchers in the Senate (or future senates should they fall over the line at the election) to haul them out of the mire was appalling imo.

    If this was a one-off from Labor I could understand but it’s indicative of their lack of conviction (and strong leadership) on a whole range of important social issues in recent years.

    Imo parliament needs a real shakeup. Ideally the LNP would be routed in both houses and rational independents with decent ethics and a real concern for the country (unlike the affected concern of the LNP and ALP) would control both the House and the Senate.

    • admin says:

      You also have to take account of the alacrity with which the Murdoch and other media would jump on even the slightest suggestion that the Labor Party was being wedged. Look at what they did with the franking credit refunds. Retiree tax, my arse. However that is the phrase used by Samantha Maiden and Fran Kelly in the lead-up to the 2019 election.
      This was just one of the numerous lies put about by the supporters of the Liberal Party, and there were quite a few.
      You just have to look at the lies spread by the Murdoch media over the years I have been doing this stuff. Those I have reported upon are just the tip of the iceberg, as I do not subscribe to any of Murdoch’s budgie cage liners. Some of these have been sent to me.
      So the Labor Party have to be very cagey, and in the case of the Religious Bastardry bill, they and others outplayed Morrison at his own game.

  • jon says:

    …………..inane and anachronous ALP voting rules.

  • Jon says:

    Read that excuse also and it doesn’t wash with me. It shows just how pathetic Labor is at arguing a case and making their points on important issues with clarity. Keating would have forcefully argued the point about the serious damage done to already vulnerable kids and put the onus back on people prepared to do that by asking whether it was christian/religious to sacrifice the lives of young kids when other religious groups have already shown that trans kids can prosper at decent religious schools with PROPER support. Ironically plenty of religious schools – catholic, jewish, islamic – have said the right to discriminate isn’t necessary and that they would NOT do it.

    Modern Labor has a record of squibbing it. Their inability to sell the MRRT to the Australian public and the subsequent emasculation of it will rank as one of the most pathetic capitulations in Labor history.

    • admin says:

      We disagree with the kerfuffle over the Religious Bastardry bill. Part of the problem with religious schools, is that so many of them are single-sex, and when you are dealing with the reality of intersex and transgender kids, it freaks them out, and they wanted something to allow them to expel the problem. When Labor come out with a statement, they have to run that through a filter which asks ‘How could the Murdoch or Nine media misconstrue it or lie about it?’ It looks like they are ‘gun-shy’, but they are just being careful about giving the Liberals’ PR arm any ammunition. If we were a real democracy this would not be much of a consideration; however, we are not as we live in a nation with a corrupted media landscape replete with liars and incompetents. If you remember about the MRRT, the campaign against it was exceptionally well funded by people like Rinehart and sundry other people and organisations. Couple this with the rotten media, it was not a capitulation but a bludgeoning into submission. What must happen in Australia is a reset of the media landscape, and a Murdoch Royal Commission will be a start. Just imagine if the media landscape was not so rotten, how many votes the coalition would actually get? I think their numbers would be minuscule.

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