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False claims from Nelson on children's reading support.

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Media Release Jenny Macklin MP


Brendan Nelson’s claim today that it is not his fault nearly 25,000 children with reading difficulties will miss out on promised tutoring support is just a point blank denial of the truth.

Brendan Nelson has been falsely claiming that Federal Labor delayed the legislation. He has untruthfully said that:

Parents have not received their vouchers because of a Labor stunt in parking the legislation into a committee (The Australian, 4 September 2004).

There is no truth to this statement whatsoever. It is an invention by the Minister in order to try to save his own skin.

At no time did Federal Labor delay the Bill and at no time did Federal Labor refer the Bill to Committee.

These are the facts as recorded in Hansard:

1. The State Grants (Primary and Secondary Education Assistance) Legislation Amendment passed through the House of Representatives with Labor’s support on 5 August 2004.

2. At the time I said that the Government had deliberately dragged its heels on introducing the Bill:

It is blatantly irresponsible of the government to introduce this bill so late in the year. The delay is yet another case of this government playing politics with children’s education. (Parliament, 3 August 2004)

3. The Government introduced the Bill into the Senate on 9 August 2004 for its first reading and then adjourned debate.

Tens of thousands of children and their parents have been left stranded and disappointed because the Howard Government didn’t care enough about them to deliver on its promise of support.

The Education Minister has just used these children and their parents for a media opportunity.

To add insult to injury, Brendan Nelson has not even bothered contact parents to tell them the support he promised won’t happen and to apologise for misleading them.

A Latham Labor Government will increase investment in literacy and numeracy and - unlike the Howard Government - we will keep our promises.

More info: Shannon Rees 0438 950 375

04 September 2004