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Wednesday, 14 December 1983
Page: 3760


Senator PETER BAUME(3.35) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

This report includes a report on the operations of the adult migration education program as required under the Immigration (Education) Act 1971. I want to use the few moments available to me to set down a gross dereliction of an election promise by the Australian Labor Party Government in that it has failed to implement a specific promise to a group of teachers who operate within the adult migration education service. I received a copy of a letter dated 1 December from Carole Elvin of Newtown, Sydney, written to the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) in which she states:

Dear Mr Hawke,

Early this year you stated 'Labor will create a permanent Adult Migrant Education Service to provide English instruction for all new arrivals who require it and to overcome the enormous backlog of need. All full-time casual teachers will be transfered to permanent service. We will provide $3.68 million during the first year of government to facilitate this transfer'.

There cannot be a more specific promise than that-a promise that in Labor's first year of office $3.68m would be provided to establish a permanent adult migrant education service and that all full time permanent teachers would be transferred to that service. The letter from Ms Elvin goes on to make it clear that that promise has not been kept and that teachers in the adult migrant education service have not had extended to them the facility of full time employment that the Labor Government promised. If one looks at other reports from within the education community one finds that the same promise-publicly made and widely known-is being quoted and the Government is being called on to honour what it promised and what it has failed to provide.

It promised an amount of money-$3.68m. It has not delivered that amount of money. In the Budget it provided merely $800,000, which is less than a quarter of the amount of money promised. The Government has not given to the teachers who operate in adult migrant education the certainty or the assurance which they want and require. Before the election Labor Party spokesmen went to the migrant education teachers and promised they would do better then the Government they sought to replace. They replaced that Government. Labor is now in government. The Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (Mr West) should have redeemed that promise. It was a specific promise to people who simply want to be able to have permanent employment in providing to migrants the kind of language teaching they require and deserve. They were entitled to believe that a promise for a certain amount of money in the first year was a promise Labor would redeem. But, along with so many other promises made as election bait before the people went to the polls, the promise has been set aside and has not been honoured.


Senator Tate —Have you seen today's Bulletin?


Senator PETER BAUME —Senator Tate, who interjects, was a member of the Party that made that promise. Senator Tate was party to that promise. Senator Tate is one person who has to explain why he and his colleagues made the promise when it suited them in going to an election and why they now have broken that promise. The honourable senator can sit there grinning from ear to ear because he got the votes of these people. He got the votes when the promise was made and he has failed to redeem the promise. We know that in the whole education area, not only adult migrant education, Labor's record so far has been characterised by the breaking of many promises. Those promises referred to what would be done in its first year. This is merely one more of them. When people write to the Prime Minister and beg him to redeem promises he made because they affect them, it is our duty to draw to the attention of the Parliament the deception which has been practised upon adult migrant education teachers in this country. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.