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Latham and Macklin at odds - confusion for Labor on schools policy.

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Media Release


21 November, 2004 MIN 1010/04

Labor’s post-election shamble has continued with Opposition Leader Mark Latham today contradicting his Deputy and Education Spokesperson, Jenny Macklin, by publicly acknowledging the Government’s mandate for its schools policy.

This morning on Channel Nine’s Sunday programme, Mark Latham told Laurie Oakes that;

“Other areas where the Government out of the blue in the campaign said here's some funding commitments for child care, some funding commitments for schools — well, of course we recognise their mandate. And I think that's the right balance. For us to be true to our commitments to the Australian people, but recognise where the Government won the campaign — won the election on fresh promises in the campaign, well, obviously there's a strong element of mandate.”

Mark Latham, Sunday programme, Channel 9, 21/11/04

However this week, in response to the introduction into Parliament of the Government’s $33 billion schools package, Jenny Macklin boldly declared that “Federal Labor will be proposing amendments to the legislation...”

Jenny Macklin, Media Release, 17 November 2004

Australian parents have every right to ask who will prevail? Jenny Macklin or Mark Latham.

At stake is the Government’s support for the right of parents to choose the school that best suits the needs of their child and plans to improve standards and values in our schools, with school authorities having to meet conditions including:

● Plain English student report cards

● All students being taught Australian values and the dangers of drug use

● Common national testing and standards

● Greater consistency, including a common school starting age

● More information to parents about a school’s performance

● More autonomy for school principals

The Labor Party may be confused about where it stands on these important schooling issues but Australian parents have made it very clear that they want meaningful information about their child’s performance, and that of their school.

Labor now needs to get out of the way and pass the Government’s schools legislation.

Media Contact Dr Nelson’s Office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663