1. Doom and Gloom There seems to be a climate of doom settling over education. I know the feeling because here in Victoria we had a particularly awful government between 1992 and 1999. It seemed the darkness would last forever. But it didn?t. Some teachers caved in and accepted that government?s destructive agenda - to their own personal benefit. But most resisted, and in time that government lost office and the replacement government got on with rebuilding the system - only itself to lose office in 2010 to the party that did the original damage. To understand this period, you need to know something of Victorian government and politics as the lessons are not simply transferable to other societies. Australia is a federation. Thus, education is a state, not a federal, responsibility, though the federal government, which has most of the money, uses its constitutional power to make grants to the states to push them around to get what it wants in various fields, including education. Even so, the states remain the most significant agent in education. The major political parties in Victorian post-war history have been the Australian Labor party, the Democratic Labor Party, the Democrats, the Greens, the Liberal Party (formerly known as the Liberal and Country Party) and the National Party (formerly known as the Country Party). The ALP did not win government in its own right until 1952. It then split over communism in 1955, which led to the formation of the DLP, and remained out of office until 1982. Victoria, like the other states apart from Queensland, has a bicameral Parliament ? the Legislative Assembly, the house of government, and the Legislative Council, the house of review. When the ALP was in government in from 1952 to 1955, it did not control the Legislative Council. When it was again in government, from 1982 to 1992 it did not control the Legislative Council (apart from a few weeks in 1985). When it was in government again, from 1999 to 2010, it did not control the Legislative Council from 1999 to 2002 and from 2006 to 2010. In summary, Labor has controlled both Houses in only four of the past 58 years. Labor?s commitment to democracy was so great that it reformed the voting system for the Legislative Council in 2002 to introduce proportional representation, meaning that it would probably never again have a majority. It even went so far as to entrench eight five -member seats in the Victorian Constitution so that they cannot be changed except by a referendum of the people, thus protecting that reform from any future government tempted to act in its own self-interest. By contrast, the Liberal Party (and later the Coalition of the Liberals and the Nationals) almost always controlled the Legislative Council when it was in government or had to get the agreement of the Country Party, which, while federally in Coalition, was not in Coalition in Victoria before 1992. Thus, the Liberals were far freer to do what they wanted when in government, while Labor was limited by being in the minority in the Legislative Council until 2002 and after 2006.