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Beazley out of touch with reality



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PA RL IA ME NT OF AUST RA LI A H O U S E OF R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S

DR DAVID KEMP M.P. MEMBER FOR GOLDSTEIN SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION

368 Centre Rond, Bentleif/h, Vic. 3204 Tel: (03) 557 4644 Fax; (03) 557 2906

MEDIA RELEASE - 19 OCTOBER 1992

B E A Z L E Y O U T O F T O U C H W IT H R E A L IT Y

Comments made by the Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Mr Beazley, at the National Press Club today show a man who is sadly out of touch with reality.

The Minister's picture of the situation of a middle aged, middle income family man named John, indicates the kind of fairy tale world in which Mr Beazley obviously lives.

For a start, with existing record levels of unemployment created by the recession we had to have, John would be lucky to even have a job.

If his son attended a government school, John would have little say in his education as a result of Labor's highly centralised, bureaucratic approach. He would find a system which effectively shuts parents out of a role in their child's education. H e would be confronted by a policy which discriminates against parents dissatisfied with existing educational options by hindering the establishment of new schools.

If John sent his son to a non-government school, he would discover that Labor has discriminated against low-income parents wishing to exercise choice in their child's schooling. He would be told that Labor has discriminated between schools by freezing per-capita grants to schools in funding categories one to seven.

Most importantly, John would be shocked to discover that after almost a decade under Labor, one in five Australians does not have functional literacy and numeracy skills.

And yet the Government opposes Fighiback's National Standards Program which aims to raise standards in Australian schools to international levels.

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And what would the TAPE system oiicr John's daughter following her completion ol' Year 12?

After nine years and a massive and disruptive upheaval in the advanced and higher education sector, the government still lacks a credible policy for the development of an open and flexible training market. John's daughter would find, in the Prime

Minister's words, a "training emergency".

In contrast, the Coalition has outlined a policy to develop such a market based on national standards and - through the use of training vouchers - provide training services which best meet an individual's specific needs.

The Liberal and National Parties' commitment to spend some $225 million more on vocational education and training over the next three years than the Government, makes a mockery of the Minister's statement that the Coalition has "... an outdated an disparaging view of vocational education as a slightly seedy process, involving dirt

under the finger nails and unkempt children with working class accents."

Were John to suggest to his daughter that she seek entry to a university, she would find a system characterised by overcrowded lecture theatres, staff shortages and deteriorating infrastructure.

She would question the equity and fairness of a system which this year has locked out 50,000 qualified school leavers because the Government continues to prohibit universities from admitting these students while encouraging the admission of overseas students.

And she would certainly question the Minister's belief that those who wish to invest in their education and obtain a place if they can obtain sponsorship or are prepared to make a financial commitment are "...the rich and thick."

This is the real Labor legacy that John and his family would find.

Further information : Richard Ellis (03) 557 4644

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