Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Prime Minister's education speech fails the test

Download PDFDownload PDF

John Hewson

Leader of the Opposition MEDIA RELEASE



Today's speech by the Prime Minister can in no way hide the fact that, after ten years, Labor's education policies have failed.

They have failed our institutions and they have failed our students.

The Prime Minister made the claim today that an education system should be all about providing fairness and equity.

The Coalition couldn't agree more - yet look at Labor's record.

One in five Australians do not have functional literacy;

50,000 students locked out of universities;

100,000 locked out of TAFE; and

Over-bureaucratisation and centralisation of education leaving education institutions with little flexibility.

The legacies of Messrs Keating, Dawkins, Beazley and Baldwin in education policy are not fairness and equity.

Labor's policies have done untold damage, not only to Australia's education system but, more importantly, to the chances of hundreds of thousands of Australians getting an education and a job.

The Prime Minister's announcement today of new spending totalling $85 million for the professional development of teachers and school reform is very late in the day after ten years of ignoring the problem and is a direct steal from Fightback!

if the government is serious about returning excellence and quality to our education system and giving students the necessary knowledge and skills essential for secure jobs during this decade and beyond, it must act urgently in a number of other key areas.




As is clear from the Prime Minister's statement today, the government can't and won't act - but a Coalition government will.

A Coalition government will:

spend an additional $2-$3 billion on education programs over the course of this decade;

allocate an additional $154 million on programs specifically designed to encourage parent choice of school in the government sector, raise literacy and language skill levels and expand professional development opportunities for teachers;

double capital funding for non-government schools;

spend an additional $240 million on TAFE over and above the $720 million committed by the government over the course of the decade, creating a further 220,000 places;

spend an additional $249 million on university research up to the year 2000.

The Coalition's education policy is underpinned by a commitment to encouraging excellence and providing students with every opportunity to reach their full potential.

To this end we will:

better prepare students for tertiary study by supporting professional development of teachers in key areas as mathematics, languages, sciences, technology and history;

encourage excellence in teaching and research by ending Labor's bureaucratic centralisation of universities;

empower students by giving them the Commonwealth funding for universities in the form of awards and scholarships;

create a greater diversity of institutions and courses within the university system - better meeting the needs of students; and

free the universities to offer places for fees, especially to the over 50,000 qualified students Labor has currently locked out.


9 ^


Fightback!, with it's commitment to excellence, quality, flexibility and best practice

within our schools and higher education institutions, will deliver to Australia's students what Labor has denied them - a proper education and a real chance of a secure job.