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Monday, 31 October 2011
Page: 11992


Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (11:37): I rise today a little perplexed, a little confused. I just cannot understand why in this House we are debating this motion on the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning. I could understand if they were doing it in the Victorian parliament, because that is where it belongs. It would seem there are two reasons we are here today. The first is that the federal Labor government thinks that the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria is an embarrassment. They obviously have no confidence in Daniel Andrews. They think he cannot do his job, so they have had to come up here and try to do it for him.

This comes after 11 years of state Labor government. They governed under some of the best economic conditions that the state has known and they have left a legacy of waste, mismanagement and failure. I have not heard from the other side any mention from state Labor's rule of Myki, the desal plant, the regional rail link—all monuments to incompetence and failure of state Labor. There has been no mention of that. In education Labor left a giant black hole with no money for cleaning, utilities or maintenance in BER buildings and no provision to demolish resulting unwanted buildings. Is this why Daniel Andrews will not debate this in the state parliament? Is this why he has sent it up here to the federal parliament?

When the Baillieu government came to power they found basic services in education with no ongoing funding. I hope we will hear that mentioned. The program for students with disabilities had no growth factored in. Vocational education and training in schools was a lapsing program. I hope we will go into all this detail, because obviously Mr Andrews cannot do it for himself in the state parliament. If that is not enough, I hope we will be able to mention, at some stage, federal Labor's carbon tax and that costs will rise for every essential service, including education in the Victorian system.

It might not be that federal Labor is embarrassed here about Daniel Andrews and think they have to do the job for him; it might be that they are embarrassed about their own performance federally when it comes to education and therefore have decided to create a big smokescreen so that they can try and take the eyes of the Australian public off the complete failure which is the federal education policy that we see in all areas.

I am happy to go into a lot of detail. When it comes to independent youth allowance, we have seen an embarrassing backdown—sadly, two years too late, because it has left a two-year cohort of regional students who are going to miss out on vital funding so that they can get access to a tertiary education. The Victorian government have embarrassed the federal government when it comes to early childhood learning, and I think this is where this motion comes from. We have the universal access policy, which is causing so many problems. We saw last week that the first three-year-old kinder program was going to be closed down as a result of the federal government's policy. And we are hearing all the time about four-year-old kindergartens being under pressure, especially in regional and rural areas.

We have also seen the federal government rip money out of occasional care, which is causing an occasional-care crisis, especially in Victoria. This is also where, I think, this motion comes from: federal Labor are embarrassed about what they are doing to early childhood learning in Victoria. Then there is the quality assurance framework and how it is putting child-care fees up, especially in Victoria. These are the three areas in early childhood learning that we have heard nothing about.

I could then go on to Australian technical colleges. What did federal Labor do to Australian technology colleges? I had two fantastic technical colleges in Hamilton and Warrnambool. The government gutted the funding to them and they are still not providing proper funding for those technical colleges.

So I think this motion is as a result of the second reason: federal Labor are embarrassed by what they are doing in the education sphere. They have put this motion up to try and throw a smokescreen at the Baillieu government. Face up to your own policies and try and defend them rather than picking on a state government.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr S Sidebottom ): I just remind members that it is not my decision; it is a decision by government. So please speak through the chair.