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'Poles apart' Highlights Labor's Policy Illiteracy



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1U : 6 1 3 5 5 r'29C!b 2 9 5 L P ’ 92 1 r1 : b b No. UUr ' F . U 2 ^ (

PARLIAM ENT OF AUSTRALIA H O U SE OF R E PR E SE N T A T IV E S

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

368 Centre Rond, Benticigh, Vic. 3204 Tel: (03) 507 4G44 Fox: (03) 557 2906

M E D IA R ELEA SE 29 SEPTEM BER 1992

■POLES A P A R T HIGHLIGHTS LABOR'S POLICY ILLITERACY

Labor's monumental failure in education and training will not be concealed by the mish-mash o f bad analysis, distortions and straight-out lies offered in 'Poles Apart’.

Long on unsubstantiated criticism and short on constructive answers, 'Poles Apart' shows the Government has no answer to the substantial commitments the Coalition has made in Fightback! in the education and training area.

'Poles Apart1 is a clear illustration of a Government that has fallen apart.

The Government's appalling record in education and training speaks for itself :

* After almost a decade under Labor, one in five Australians does not have

functional literacy and numeracy skills;

* Knowledge among school students of Australia's history and place in the world is abysmal, as exemplified by the recent Institute of Public Affairs Social Studies Survey;

* 50,000 qualified students are locked out of university and 150,000 out of

TAPE;

* Overcrowding, staff shortages and deteriorating infrastructure are depressing tertiary standards;

* Even Paul Keating has admitted that Australia faces a "training emergency".

This is the legacy of a government which has missed the main game in education - quality - in favour of an agenda dictated by its union mates, who have obligingly provided quotes for today's shabby document.

Further information : Dr David Kemp (03) 557 4644

COMMONWEALTH

PA R LIA M EN TA R Y LIBRARY MICAH

CANBERRA OFFICE: Parliament H

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D ETA ILED RESPONSE TO VOLTS A P A R T

SCHOOLS

Labor's ideological opposition to the right of parents to choose theii child's school is made absolutely clear, but it is deliberately misleading to suggest that the Coalition would cut back assistance for disadvantaged students. Support for disadvantaged students is fully maintained in Fightback!

It is a lie to suggest that funding provided by Fightback! for per capita grants is directed to the "wealthiest" schools. The dominance of left-wing ideology in labor's education policy has made it not merely illiterate but innumerate as well. In fact, the Coalition's increased funding for non-government school pupils is targeted specifically

towards the neediest schools and lower income parents. 68 per cent of pupils attend schools in the highest needs categories (10-12), but 75 per cent of the increased funding in Fightback! flows to these schools. As a result, both the Government's analysis and Di Foggo's quote are complete nonsense.

It is also untrue to suggest that the Fightback! policy on grants to the states will lead to reduced support for education. The Coalition has demonstrated in Fightback! itself that reduced government expenditure overall is fully compatible with increased expenditure on education.

The Coalition proposes to increase support for both government and non-government schools.

It is not surprising that the Government opposes the National Standards program. Its subservience to the left in the unions and the bureaucracy has made it utterly incapable of addressing the crucial issue of standards throughout its period in office.

HIGHER EDUCATIO N

It is an unscrupulous lie that under Coalition policy "all students could end up paying full up-front fees".

This statement shows how far the Government will stoop in its desperation to distract attention from its policy failures.

The Coalition has given a clear and specific commitment to fully maintain the real value of Commonwealth funding per student place, and to fund at least the same number o f places as arc currently funded or projected.

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The Coalition has also undertaken to continue with the HECS deterred fee

arrangements. This means that up to 80 per cent of the cost of student's places will continue to be supported by the taxpayer, and that there is no possibility whatever of these students facing full cost fees, let alone up-front fees.

The Coalition has also undertaken to give Australian students who do not obtain funded places the same right to get places as overseas students. The Industry Commission last year described this policy change as a matter of "urgency" but the Government - again for ideological reasons - has failed to act.

The Government is refusing to face the fact that even its own advisory bodies sec that the present centralist and restrictive framework for universities is placing an inexorable downward pressure on standards. The. Higher Education Council has recently announced that it will be investigating alternative funding arrangements, while

in August last year the Industry Commission described the Government's funding arrangements as fundamentally "flawed".

The comments on the so-called "voucher" proposals are simply wrong. The Coalition has made clear that it will deliver to each institution funding for each funded student which recognises the variable cost of courses. Universities will still have full control over their own admissions. Diversity will be encouraged - unlike under the

Governments Unified National System.

Contrary to the claim in ‘Poles Apart', some of the strongest supporters ol" the Coalition's approach are smaller regional institutions.

The author o f this section of 'Poles Apart' is out of touch with the Government's own policies. The recent changes to A U ST U D Y demonstrate that it is possible to provide HECS-type loans while actually reducing the call on tire Budget. The adviser who w ro^ this should consult with the Department!

TECHNICAL A N D FU R T H E R EDUCATION

What the Government is at great pains to conceal in this section is that the Coalition has undertaken to spend some $225 million more on vocational education and training over the next three years than the Government!

The Coalition's proposal for training vouchers has been welcomed by the Catholic Social Welfare Commission. Fr David Cappo stated that:

"The concept of a voucher system for training provides the basis for a radical change in the link between training institutions and the job market.

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"This means that training institutions would have to be more responsive to the current needs of the unemployed. The demand lor specific training coming direct from the unemployed, not the supply of Australians trained in areas where jobs are not available, would provide a new and dynamic approach to

the link between the job market and training systems in Australia,"

Again, the Government's approach is clearly distorted by its ideology. It fails to recognise that the concept of the training voucher is much more likely to bring on-the- job and off-the-job training into line than the government's approach of training-first, subsidised job later (if you are lucky).

So far as the Government is concerned, you will get the kind of training it decides, whether it is the training you want or the training industry' actually needs.

Under the Government's policies Australia will end up with the best trained dole queues in the world!

It is quite untrue that young people will be vulnerable to unscrupulous providers. The Coalition has made clear that there will be a process of accreditation of providers to protect both the taxpayer and the trainee.

It is simply absurd to suggest that institutions in a more market-oriented context cannot plan ahead. Businesses have to do this every day of their existence.

Under the Coalition's plans, no one would be compelled to take employment which offered less than JSA.

The vouchers are being made available to two specific categories of trainees - youth wage recipients and long-term unemployed. They will not discourage private investment in training. On the contrary they will be an incentive to additional private investment, because the voucher can be supplemented by private funds.

BOOKS A N D T H E GST

The attached press release was issued in response to the Federation of University Women's claims.

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PARLIAMENT OF AUSTRALIA HOUSE OF R E P R E SE N T A T IV E S

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

368 Centre Road, Bentleigh, Vie. 3204 Tel: (03) 557 4644 Fox: (03) 567 2906

FOR M EDIA 28 JULY 1992

O P P O S m O N REJECTS "SCARE CAMPAIGN1' ON BOOKS

The Federal Opposition today rejected the notion that its tax reform package would mean higher education costs.

Claims that book prices would go up by 15 per cent were simply false, according to Dr. David Kemp, the Shadow Minister for Education.

Dr. Kemp described as "misguided" statements by the Australian Federation of University W omen which claimed that the Goods and Services Tax would mean higher education costs and a restriction of access to knowledge.

"Book purchases by universities and other educational institutions would be GST-free," Dr. Kemp said. "The overall impact of the Coalition's tax reform package would be to actually reduce the costs of education across Australia."

"The Federal Treasury has estimated a reduction in education costs arising from the tax package equivalent to $295 million a year.

"L is simply wrong to claim that the publishing industry is unaffected by the wholesale sales tax and customs duty because these taxes are not directly imposed on hooks. Ail industries are affected by these taxes, because of the cascading effect they have on prices.

"This means that the price of books will not rise by 15 per cent, as claimed by the Federation, and any rise will be more than offset by the impact of the rest of the Coalition's reform program," Dr Kemp said.

Dr. Kemp said that students and families would benefit from lower education costs, lower taxes and lower prices for other educational purchases such as computer equipment, musical instruments and stationery. The costs of travel to institutions would also be reduced.

C A N B E R R A O F F IC E : t’urliamont Itmixi·. Cauht-rni A <’ T ·2«<)0 Tel: 106)'277 2035 Fax ! 0 6 1 '277 8Γ>7(>

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He said publishers should take into account the full benefits to them of the Coalition's reform program.

"Publishers will benefit, along with other businesses, from the greater efficiency of transport and communications, from the industrial relations reforms and the rest of the massive infrastructure reform program proposed by the Coalition.

"The effect of the Fightback! program in creating jobs and promoting growth in the economy will be o f immense benefit to business, including publishing," Dr. Kemp said.

"Lobby group and industry spokespeople who take a narrow view, focussing on one aspect of the program to the exclusion of others, do themselves and their industry no credit," he said.

Dr. Kemp said he could understand publishers wanting to protect their sales, but he said they should look closely at the situation in New Zealand, where sales of books had essentially been unaffected by the introduction of a GST.

"The reality is that all the scaremongering proved to be false and the industry has not been harmed by the tax change.

"The industry's campaign against the GST in New Zealand proved to be a complete waste of time and energy, and not justified by the event.

"The publishing industry in Australia can expect to benefit substantially from the impact of the Coalition's reform program," Dr. Kemp said.

For further information : Dr David Kemp MP (03) 557 4644