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Labor hypocrisy over Teacher Scholarships.

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21 March 2004 035/2004


The Opposition and the Labor Government in Western Australian have demonstrated hypocrisy over their criticism of moves to increase the number of male primary school teachers the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said today.

“The Federal Opposition has been critical of the proposed amendments to the Sex Discrimination Act to enable scholarships to be offered to males, in a move to address the gender imbalance in primary teacher numbers,” Mr Ruddock said.

“This is a very important measure to ensure children, in their formative years, are able to relate to both male and female role models.

“The WA Minister for Education and Training has also been critical of the Government’s amendment, yet his Department has offered scholarships to enable males completing their degree at a WA university to obtain teaching qualifications.”

Last year, the WA Department of Education and Training offered 37 male-only scholarships worth $10,000 each as part of its scholarship program. The funds are paid as a lump sum and the recipient has to sign a two year employment contract.

The WA department has indicated it is planning another round of male-only scholarships for primary teaching this year.

“I understand the WA Government has not sought an exemption from the Sex Discrimination Act for the scholarships and it is unclear whether they have sought an exemption from their own Equal Opportunity Act, which makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of gender.

“Labor sees the gender imbalance in primary teacher numbers as an issue that needs addressing, yet has been critical of the federal Government’s similar measures,” Mr Ruddock said.

The Opposition has clearly demonstrated again that it is trying to walk both sides of the street and we should not look at what they say, but what they do,” Mr Ruddock said.

Media Contact: Steve Ingram 0419 278 715

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