Mar 31

Online tutoring II Headlines of Impact II Innovation

Contents :

Online tutoring – new service

Headlines of Impact – UK rejects Sunday trading/ Green light for China’s port cities/ Sydney Grammar bans laptops in classroom / Jobs facing disruption

Innovation – TOMS & ATLASSIAN

Previously I have never taken advantage of my monthly blog to promote my business, this blog is an exception.  Research1M9169687-english-around-usedia’s new online tutoring service is targeted to largely, international students with NESB (non-English speaking backgrounds).

Australia wide, university funding has been cut,  an overhaul of the training sector is imminent and needed, and globalisation is producing growth in international student numbers in both Australia and overseas.  This is particularly so if the study combines paid work and/or the opportunity to obtain residency.  Learning beyond Grade 12 is now big business with all the inherent concerns of quality and bias.  Education is now Australia’s third largest export adding more than $19 billion to the economy last year (Sam Buckingham Jones,  The Australian 29 Mar 2016).

While R1M previously focused on community development and community capacity building largely linked to welfare and the promotion of linked government policy, the focus of the business has now changed to education.  Online tutoring as a form of learning, gained pace at local universities as early as 1995, some twenty years ago.  Now it is firmly ensconced in all degree subjects.  On the new webpage Online tutoring there is more detail with hourly rates for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Feel free to browse.

Headlines of Impact 

Dr John Vallance, Principal Sydney Grammar

Dr John Vallance, Principal Sydney Grammar

Sydney Grammar School Principal John Vallance has banned students from bringing laptops to school.  Up to year 10 students must submit their assignments and essays handwritten.   Academically Sydney Grammar rates among Australia’s top performing schools, among its alumni is the current Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.  Dr Vallance also criticised as ‘crazy’ plans by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority to computerise the National Assessment Program for Literacy and Numeracy tests next year.  Students won’t be able to write by hand… they will lose this capacity.  Source Image: Brad Hunter, The Weekend Australian March 26-27 Continue reading

Feb 29

Out of ammo… powdered milk II Brexit II the new Tobruk Pool

“Out of ammo?” It’s hardly a phrase one would want attributed to the World Economy,  but there it was, a high impact headline on the front page of The Economist (Feb 20,  2016).

I was thinking I would have preferred to do this month’s Blog on Brexit but …way too complicated. Then the Weekend Post journo, Susie O’Brien drew my attention to powdered milk and foreign ownership. In Tasmania,  The Van Diemen’s Land company is being purchased by a Chinese billionaire for $280 million.  The company is the nations largest dairy.  “In Victoria between 40 and 50 dairy farms are being purchased by Chinese backed interests,” said O’Brien, and there has been a shortage of milk powder (baby formula) in Australia.

…Now we know why 80% of Australians are opposed to foreign ownership of agricultural land (Lowy Institute).

A priceless quote from the EU finance commissioner, Pierre Moscovici,  “There is no plan B.  It doesn’t help us to envisage disaster scenarios.” Let’s hope GB stays in the EU.

Locally Tobruk Pool is scheduled to open mid year.  Couldn’t be soon enough for me. Animated skywalk

And now back to my subject for this Blog.  As jobs go the global economy falters (The Australian,  Friday Feb 26 2016, Front Page).  David Uren, Economics Editor refers to The International Monetary Fund advice “The global economy needs bold multilateral actions to boost growth and contain risk.”  The IMF is calling for structural reforms PLUS infrastructure funding.   Australia is going on a spending spree – $ 195 billion to be precise.  Defence spending will rise from 7% of government spending to 8%.      That’s not so bad I guess.

Scott Morriso586300-turnbulln will be applauded at the G20 meeting in Shanghai for  ‘stimulus spending’. Behind the reigns is the the PM.

A few economic indicators possibly of interest  (The Economist, p76 Feb 20-26, 2016).


Continue reading

Nov 25

Epic journey I Headlines of Impact I Education & Employment

Seriously I cannot believe it’s four weeks to go to Christmas.  This past year has seen me visiting the local hospital more times than I wish to remember with family.  Fortunately all’s well now.

Monty, Neddy & Becket

Monty, Neddy and Becket in Almunecar, Spain 2004 – so cute and so naughty … grandchildren

On 27 December I embark on an epic journey.  The last time I saw my brothers and sisters in the UK was in 2004,  it was a hurried trip and my son Ben (then 23 yrs old) was also there, then onto Spain.

This coming trip means I re-engage after eleven years.  Ours is a large family, five brothers and three sisters in the UK and two sisters in Brisbane.  I am the eldest.  Apart from meeting up with my various nieces and nephews (some of whom I have never seen) and their children who will be grandchildren,  it will be a time to share my own son’s journey with them.

London is like a second home to me,  I lived and worked there from 1962 – 1979, the end of the swinging sixties and the very beginning of the word ‘unemployment’ !  Always on flying into Heathrow I get emotional.  Lots of memories,  it was a mainly happy and very exciting time.

Enroute I will be spending time in Hong Kong – Kowloon and enjoying the vibrant harbour and skyscraper sunsets.  Big cities fascinate me but now as I get older,  I don’t want to live in them.  Life is too frantic and people communicate more with technology that they do with each other.

Headlines of Impact

Which brings me to my second blog topic – Teaching kids the language of the future (Inquirer, Weekend Australian,  Nov 7-8, 2015,  correspondent Natasha Bita).   “Toddlers click together wooden blocks embedded with computer chips to drive a toy cart.”  This is happening in daycare centres.  The new national curriculum starting in 2016, will see coding introduced at primary school level.  This training is the language of the future between computers.  Programming is coding … the Australian economy is transitioning from mining to mind industries.


“In the knowledge economy, children need to learn how to think” says Kate Highfield,  a lecturer at Macquarie University’s Institute of Early Childhood…”only 1% of apps on the market are ‘open-ended’ meaning they enable children to think for themselves and fail or find solutions.”  Without programming/coding skills young people will have difficulty getting employed.  Australia currently relies on 10,000 foreign ICT jobs (per year).

GE (the industrial giant previously in electrical manufacturing), now employs 15,000 software engineers.  It supplies fibre optics, photonics (whatever that is !!) for chips, bioscience and data crunching.  The company has developed a “Coding for Kids’ course for Australian primary students.  “STEM subjects can’t wait until High School,” says GE’s chief information officer Mark Sheppard. Programmable devices like Bee-bot robot and Scratch are recommended for early stage learning.  Coding has its own nouns, verbs, adjectives and sentences.  Kids who code.. Continue reading

Nov 01

An Unholy War l Connections – family and travel

New York: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President barack Obama met on 28 Sept to discuss

New York: Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama met on 28 Sept to discuss

An Unholy War l Connections – family and travel 

My October Blog focuses on Syria (and Europe), while most may want to switch off – I believe this crisis is going to affect all of us.  Europe will be changed by this human exodus,  please read on.

Russian intervention  

A month ago, Russian President Putin arrived in the US to inform the US President and the UN that he was about to bomb targets in Syria and aid the Assad regime.  Talks about how to end this unholy war which has displaced four million people, were held in Vienna yesterday. While the Internet provides 24/7 updates it does seem that the catastrophic situations in Syria, Iraq and Libya have been fuelled by western democratic aspirations.   There has been no planned alternative leadership.  Who in Syria,  would be able to hold power, let alone govern the country? Perhaps Russia is in the right place at the right time.

I started to research the origins of the civil war in Syria for this blog some six week ago. I had bought my air ticket via QATAR and was watching  the first migrants arrive in Munich by train,  the Germans had welcomed them,  but now they come – 11,000 per day. The majority of these migrants are young men (65%) many unskilled.   Their countries of origin include Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kosova and Albania,…  53% come from Syria.

In mid October the EU member states voted to provide $4.7 billion (Australian) to assist Turkey to provide humanitarian aid and control the boats, inflatable dinghies worth about 100 euros.  Those seeking to make the journey pay approximately $1200 to people smugglers,  the journey can be between four to ten kilometres by sea, many have died including little children.

Grim image untitled

Image: theguardian, Australian edition, Turkish police officer stands next to the body of a young boy – Photograph, Reuters/theguardian.

More than 710,000 migrants have arrived in Europe this year.  Australia’s boat people migration pales by comparison.  At its height in 2012/13,  578 boats arrived with nearly 38,000 people onboard (Monthly Statistical Bulletins  Most were from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Sri Lanka.

Human Exodus from Syria

The BBC reported that  9000 migrants arrived in Greece every day last week.  According to the Sydney Morning Herald (Oct 5, 2015), Germany expects 1.5million asylum seekers.  Turkey is currently sheltering nearly two million refugees. As winter approaches, countries have run out of room to house refugees. Those lucky enough to make it to Sweden and Germany are being housed in tents.   It seems the EU is at capacity.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seeking to organise a quota system with all countries held to the Schengen area plus the UK and Ireland.   However Shengen is unravelling as Hungary, Serbia and now Croatia, seal their borders in an attempt to stem the flow.  And Germany and Austria are now strengthening border controls.  Frontex, the EU border Agency have been told to strengthen the borders in Greece and Croatia.

Continue reading

Sep 29

‘Dumbing Down’


Contents : Dumbing down l Tim Winton l Dredging l Cairns Youth l Breaking News

It’s Sunday and Tim Winton’s piece in The Weekend Australian’s Magazine (19-20 Sept) excites the soul ; cultic, islets, indigenes, describing how we as Australians view our land and seascapes now “at its heart [environmentalism], is a reasonable response to lived experience, disciplined study and hard won data.” 9781926428741 - Tim Winton's latest novel 'Island Home' 290915      mc_tim_winton_portrait_800x600_7465

I was saddened to find a Letter to the Editor, indeed even the CP editor herself, espousing dredging in Trinity Inlet. Walking along Holloways Beach less than a month ago in the distance appeared a rock formation I hadn’t seen before. As I approached the estuary was clogged with mud and sand.  Thomatis Creek no longer enters the ocean. And the rock formation was unmistakenly dredge spoil, purple and red streaks of mud that you could slice like a heavy cake revealing its carcinogenic origin.

Our tourism industry, the main driver of the Cairns economy, will be dramatically affected if the dredging increases in any manner or form.  All dredge spoil would best be treated and used as land fill.

I consider I live in paradise, I moved here from London in 1985 sick of Thatcherism, the film industry had collapsed with funding withdrawn on a colossal scale. My friends went to LA and Florida, I came back to Australia and we made documentaries, funded largely from our own meagre resources.

A month ago, my Aunt mentioned she was reading Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and felt as if the author was in the room, it was a momentous journey. First published in 1869 it is an epic and considered one of the central works of world literature. We both agreed that the whole education system indeed the newspapers we read, current best selling novels and the political banter we are exposed to, have all led to a significant ‘dumbing down’ of the population.

Add the monosyllabic chantra on Twitter, the insane idiocy of young girls and boys exposing themselves on Instagram and who gives a dam about what coffee you’re drinking, and what café has a new menu, I am bored with the trivia of social media. Continue reading

Jul 20

Away from Politics

Christmas Mango - Cairns

Christmas Mango – Cairns

Climbing beans May 2015

Climbinb beans

Found the ongoing Bronwyn, ISIS, Grexit, and gay marriage debates were intensifying my boredom levels…where are the updates on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and a sensible plan to reduce debt and deal with high youth unemployment.    Zilch…

Green crisp capsicum

Green crisp capsicum

So I decided to lose myself in plants and permaculture…community stuff and planning for travel. Finding unread books on the book shelves is also sheer delight. Joining the U3A, University of the Third Age also meant Yoga for $3.00 and Computer Ancestry classes to guide me through my research – a godsend.

Having made 7 jars of cumquat marmalade I watched the white cockatoos feast on my second crop early this morning.

I don’t know how other residents feel about Cairns at the moment,  but it seems to me like a ghost town.  Rusty’s markets lifts trade at the weekends, but generally,  I’m told –  it’s quiet.  Even those businesses which have been operating for up to 20/30 years say the same thing – it’s quiet.   Everyone is waiting, waiting, waiting …. anyone got a bright idea?

What about an economic free trade zone? According to the Economst, 4 April 2015,  “Special economic zones (SEZs) are all the rage among governments hoping to pep up their trade and investment numbers…Any country that didn’t have [an SEZ] ten years ago either does now or seems to be planning one,” says Thomas Farole of the World Bank.

Could the Cairns region explore such an investment vehicle for Cairns?   What do the most successful of these zones produce? Surely researchers at the Cairns Institute could briefly investigate such a proposition ?   Think out of the box…  Free Trade Zones – what are they? 

And there’s more – the world’s first Free Trade Zone was established in Shannon, Ireland (Shannon Free Zone). This was an attempt by the Irish Government to promote employment within a rural area, make use of a small regional airport and generate revenue for the Irish economy. It was hugely successful, and is still in operation today.

Researcher & Writer: Evelyne Lewiston

Jun 13

Fairness and equality – naive

June 2015 – Even using these two words in conversation seems naieve today.  Fairness doesn’t exist anymore, and I find it impossible to see how global economics will address inequality.

According to Oxfam (January 2014) the rapidly growing inequality is worsening poverty around the world.  Working for the Few shows that the wealth of the world is divided in two: almost half going to the richests one percent; the other half to the remaining 99 per cent.  “Widening inequality is helping the richest undermine democratic proceses and drive policies that promote their own interests.”

Back to fairness and equality – closer to home

This face tells a story – it seems the senses of this girl have been dulled by permanent shock: horrors at sea, violence, people killing each other, corpses overboard, no food or water. The Rohingya and Burmese boat people had an epic struggle with governments refusing them entry across SE Asia.

Boat people 100615 003

a young girl numbed by horror (Getty)

It was Acehnese fishermen who finally showed compassion and rescued them.  Now there is hope with the Philippines signalling they could take in migrants and (under pressure from the UN) Malaysia and Indonesia agreeing to offer shelter to 7000 refugees and migrants.  Not a lot of fairness and equality in this event but there is hope.

Fairness and equality

In late May this year, the Guardian’s front page headline stated ISIS had taken full control of Ramadi, Iraq.  Ramadi is a mere 130 kilometres from Iraq’s capital Baghdad, with direct links to both the Jordanian and Syrian borders.

Brief background – ISIS (it is suggested) was borne out of the Damascas Spring (2000-2001). After the death of his father in 2000, Assad initially released hundreds of political prisoners (November 2000) but his actions became repressive a year later with forced closure of the political forums in the country and imprisonment, followed by the assassination in 2005 of Lebanon’s Rafic Hariri, former Prime Minister of Lebanon who opposed Syria’s invasion.  Syria’s Assad was implicated.  Syria was forced to announce its full withdrawal from Lebanon on April 30, 2005. Lebanon is currently dealing with over 1 million Syrian refugees.


The Arab Spring in December 2010/2011,  saw both Tunisia and Egypt’s leaders removed by popular revolution.  It spread to much of the Arab world.  Demonstrations, political unrest and social upheaval followed.  Assad is Commander and Chief of Syria’s armed forces, his regime is said to exploit ethnic and sectarian tensions to remain in power. ISS is intent on toppling the Syrian Government and Assad has cause to be afraid.

Fairness and equality

d23f50a5-1985-4778-a2ff-de1033b062dc_giant cross

the Giant Cross for protection (AP Shakil Adil May 31, 2015)

In all this madness,  a 43 metre tall cross is nearing completion in Karahi, Pakistan. Financed and built by businessman Parvex Henry Gill,  it seeks to protect the minority Christians living in fear of violence and abuse.   I am so glad I live in Australia,  an island continent in the southern hemisphere.  Australia is not fair,  nor is there equality… but there is a strong sense of place, nature and country.

Economic rationalism/globalisation whatever you wish to name the current economic system, it is not working.  It has increased inequality and as for fairness,  there is none.   The current economic system is broken,  now nothing more than dogma,  a set of principles way past their ‘use by’ date – yes globalisation has hit a wall. What now?

Author: Evelyne Lewiston © R1M  (

Sources: Guardian Weekly vol 192, No 24 dated 22.05.15  Journalists – Beh Lih Yi, Jakarta,  Kate Lamb, Langsa, Indonesia, Martin Chulow Middle East Correspondent Guardian Weekly vol 192, No 25 dated 04.06.15Journalists: Heather Stewart, Ann Pettifor (Prime Economics)

Apr 27

Dredging Trinity Inlet

Good news from diplomats at UNESCO who are suggesting protection of the Fitzroy delta and the veto on dredge spoil dumping in and near the Reef,  could see the “In danger” listing removed from the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage area.

It was 15 years ago in October 1990 that Russell Francis, then photographer for the Cairns Post, took this shot and the Mud Factory gained international press and television coverage.  Continue reading

Apr 25

Overkill with Gallipoli

When Lindsay Ross from Freshwater had her Letter to the Editor published in the Weekend Post (Cairns) on Saturday April 11, my son’s comment was – “Good for her”.  I too agreed with the heading ‘Excessive shindig not truly in Anzac spirit’. Lindsay was pointing out that $10 could save the life of one impoverished child by supplying clean drinking water and yet $300 million of tax payers’ money was being spent to mark a military defeat in far off Turkey 100 years ago. Continue reading

Feb 17

Hockey’s $56 Billion black hole – a little tweaking …

Scrap Lifetime pensions (20 yrs) for politicians and senior public servants – the Age of Entitlement is over !

  • $10,146,760 for PM +joe-hockey
  • $8,000,320 for Depty PM +
  • $7,317,360 Treasurer +
  • $7,219,800 Leader of the Opposition +
  • $6,829,540 House of Reps Speaker +
  • $6,829,540 Leader of the House +
  • $6,731,980 Minister +
  • $4,782,240 Parliamentary Secretary  +
  • $6,146,580 other Ministers (71 in all) +
  • $4,878,240 Shadow Ministers (also 71 in all) .

TOTAL  $840, 619, 760… $840 MILLION

Plus our previous PMs who also receive $10 Million per year – Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Paul Keating, Bob Hawke and Malcolm Frazer.    Previous Ministers can take a lump sum on leaving politics or a pension for life.  Former MPs can expect a guaranteed pension of at least $100,000 per year .   Australia cannot afford this largesse –  ‘welfare for the rich’.

Continue reading