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Angry response to student ID number plan -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Education Minister Julia Gillard this morning sparked an angry reaction when she
confirmed that the Federal Government plans to give all school children a personal identity number
to enable their academic results to be tracked.

The Education Union accused the Minister of once again failing to consult with the sector.

Civil Liberties groups say there are significant privacy concerns with the proposal.

And the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, condemned it as a national identity card via the back door.

In Canberra, Samantha Hawley reports.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Government thinks it's too hard to track the academic history of Australian
school children.

And it wants to make it easier.

JULIA GILLARD: Kids move school. They move school between the State systems and Catholic systems,
they move interstate, they move suburbs.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard's driving the program which will see
school children given an identity number known as a unique student identifier so their academic
history can be logged and tracked online.

Reports say it'll be linked to the Government's controversial My School website, which shows school
results.

JULIA GILLARD: For individual parents and teachers, it obviously would be of assistance to be able
to track the records of a child's schooling if they need to move schools several times during
schooling and many children do. Children of Defence force families for example routinely move at
least once every two years and sometimes more frequently.

STUART ROBERT: My little boy is not a number. He has a name.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: That's the Liberal MP Stuart Robert.

His leader, Tony Abbott has a similar view.

TONY ABBOTT: Uh, I think that children should have names not numbers and I'm concerned about any
proposal that seems to commodify our kids.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: But it's the Australian education Union that's up in arms.

Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos says it's just another example of the Minister failing to
communicate with the sector she represents.

ANGELO GAVRIELATOS: What we've seen today is yet another announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister
without any consultation, meaningful consultation, with the profession. It's almost another day,
another announcement without consultation. This does not make for good education policy. The Deputy
Prime Minister must engage with the profession in the development of education policy.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: So you had no idea that this was coming?

ANGELO GAVRIELATOS: Uh, what I know of this policy is what I read, like everyone else, in the
Sydney Morning Herald today.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: The union says the idea for an identity number is ok but it needs the minister to
provide more detail.

ANGELO GAVRIELATOS: What we ask of the government is to show more regard and respect for the
profession and therefore consult with the profession prior to announcement.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: Terry O'Gorman from the Council of Civil Liberties can't see the point.

TERRY O'GORMAN: Why does there need to be a unique student identifier? Students get annual reports,
those reports are available to parents. Parents don't need to go on to some national website and
access their student, their child's unique student identification number in order to see how that
child is going academically one year to the next.

JULIA GILLARD: Of course there would be proper privacy protections and as a public policy question,
I'm not interested in individual child's results.

SAMANTHA HAWLEY: But the Opposition Leader doubts the Governments motives.

TONY ABBOTT: Well, I think one of the things that the public are always rightly suspicious of is
governments which are attempting to interview some kind of national identity card by the back door
and look I have seen any details here. All I've seen is the report in the paper, but my initial
reaction was to think that children should have names not numbers.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott ending Samantha Hawley's report.