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International education scandal: Kemp acknowledges that Labor is right.

International Education Scandal:

 

Kemp Acknowledges That Labor Is Right

 

Kim Carr - Parliamentary Secretary for Education

 

Media Statement - 26 March 2000

 

Labor welcomes Dr Kemp's acknowledgement of its failure to act on student visa rorts and abuses by private colleges in the education export industry, according to Senator Kim Carr. Senator Carr is Labor's Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.

 

He has been raising these scandals and problems for over two years in the Senate Estimates process.

 

"Until today, Kemp has refused to act despite the constant revelations of abuses and irregularities connected to international education," Senator Carr said. "There have been widespread allegations of suspected criminal activity. The Government has admitted breaches of the law but no prosecutions have yet been launched.

 

"Although the Federal Government has had wide-ranging powers under the existing regulatory regime, Kemp has preferred to shove his head in the sand.

 

"He would rather sit still and allow the market to have its way, unmonitored and unimpeded in any practical sense by the Commonwealth.

 

Senator Carr has welcomed the Government's acknowledgement of the scope and depth of this problem. "Labor, by continuing to raise these issues in the public realm, has been successful in using Parliamentary processes to finally force the Government to act.

 

"For too long the Commonwealth has blamed students alone for this problem, deporting the messengers who provide evidence of shonky practices, visa rorts and rock-bottom quality courses," he said.

 

"But it has not acted to prosecute the crooked operators who have organised the scams and shortchanged unlucky genuine students seeking decent education and training courses."

 

Senator Carr said that the responsible majority of providers of international education in Australia had also been pressuring Dr Kemp to clean up their industry.

 

"We wait with interest to see the detail of Dr Kemp's legislation," Senator Carr said. "Labor will bring on a Senate Inquiry to examine the adequacy of the measures proposed. We hope that the extra powers that are sought are actually intended to be used - which would be a contrast to the present situation.

 

"We trust that the proposals will ensure that the measures are strong and far-reaching enough to protect Australia's valuable education export industry and the students that it serves," Senator Carr said.

 

Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.