Brown Study

Brown study

15 December 2018

9:00 AM

15 December 2018

9:00 AM

As Head Master of Robert Menzies Grammar, it gives me less pleasure than usual to report on the boys and their performance during 2018. For the school itself, the year has been a worrying one. First, several boys decided they would rather be girls, three have announced that they already are girls and one, who not surprisingly is in the Drama Club and given to histrionic outbursts, has claimed that he is a ‘woman trapped in a man’s body’. In addition, there is an agile youth who changed his gender four times last term, transitioning each way twice, and at the last report was stranded somewhere between Scylla and Charybdis. Apart from the fact that this erratic behaviour discourages parents from enrolling their boys at a school that looks increasingly like a theatrical show, the cost of accommodating such eccentricities is steadily mounting. Unisex bathrooms have had to be built, new curtains acquired for the senior common room, and a range of power points installed to accommodate a significant increase in the number of hairdryers.

Secondly, a number of boys have become devoted followers of the latest cult which they describe as climate change. I have always encouraged a sense of open inquiry among the boys and I have not been particularly worried about passing fads because they usually pass by before some other pointless exercise in voodoo arises from nowhere. That was how we got through scientology, astral travel and economics to mention just a few of the more bizarre fields that have aroused the interest of our young charges. The worrying trend about climate change, however, is that although it is clearly more akin to witchcraft than anything else, some students actually believe in it. They even believe they can control the temperature and the sea levels, which shows how far they have drifted into the realm of the absurd. I have therefore announced that next term I will be introducing cold showers and banning mobiles and iPads in the school as a contribution to reducing our carbon emissions. This seems to have brought a halt to their enthusiasm as, apparently, when they say we must do something about climate change, they mean something that will penalise others but not themselves. The third worrying trend has been the descent of the school into warring tribes. Sometimes I think we’re going through a Lord of the Flies era and although the boys have not started eating each other, or at least not yet, no-one knows how it will end. With that, here is my report on several of the boys.

Matty Cormann: A refugee boy from Bosnia or Bulgaria or somewhere who has been an immense disappointment since we took him in, and shows no gratitude, a disturbing attitude among refugees in general. Initially showed promise and stood by the Abbott boy during the foolish attempt to remove him as Head Boy and replace him with Turnbull. But when that experiment failed,  instead of restoring Abbott, which would have been logical, he supported an unknown junior boy, Scotty Morrison, highlighting his own and the school’s erratic behaviour which continues to confound the school community.

Chris Pyne: Spends too much time hanging around the Cherry Bar in the village where he has fallen into the company of some unsavoury types. Anxious to impress them, he has been gloating over trifling successes he claims to have had in power plays in the school and hallucinating about a Black Hand Gang and ‘winner’s circle’. He has thus lost whatever authority he had and the boys outside the winner’s circle now feel rejected, which is destructive of school unity.

Mitchell Fifield: A traitor to Abbott, but fell out with Turnbull as everyone does, and then aligned himself with Morrison. Who next? Sets up one inquiry after another to make decisions he cannot make himself. Is about to go through an elaborate process of seeking nominations for head of the school newspaper and wireless station and then ignoring them.

Simon Birmingham: A sallow boy who bears a grudge about something.  Best out of the way as education monitor where he became what the boys call ‘toxic’. Nearly destroyed the school single-handed by reviving a pointless war with the local Catholics. May yet redeem himself and succeed in his new job in tourism, as he clearly needs a holiday. Matron has recommended a long sea cruise.

Joshua Frydenberg: Said to be one of the hopes for the future. Invested a lot in electrifying the school heating and lighting, but under a plan that was rightly rejected by the whole school and replaced by nothing. Strangely, has escaped blame for that volte face.

Angus Taylor: Together with Andrew Hastie, Taylor is one of the few real hopes of the school. Now supervises the vacuum left by Frydenberg in heating and lighting. Gives only lip service to the foolish ‘big stick’ energy policy foisted on the school by the prefects and his body language shows it. Sooner or later he will have to cast it adrift as it is doomed, as he will be unless he abandons it.

Of course, I have not yet mentioned the few girls who have now been admitted, but, generally speaking, they are better than the boys. But Kelly O’Dwyer still suffers from the debilitating superannuation scandal; Marise Payne is an ideal person to be in charge of relations with overseas schools. Does not take it too seriously, a valuable asset in a prefect.

Melissa Price: in charge of the school’s environment. An excellent choice; clearly does not believe a word of the official propaganda on the environment. Boys and girls both, a dispiriting lot who must realise they have no future except in the public service or on the board of a casino but, oddly, will do nothing to save themselves.

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