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The Minister with nothing to say.



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The Minister With Nothing To Say Michael Lee - Shadow Minister for Education

Media Statement - 6 August 2000

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When Ministers appear on Sunday political interview programs they usually have something to announce, or at least something to say.

Not today.

On Meet the Press this morning Education Minister David Kemp had no meaningful response to Labor's positive agenda on education and the initiatives we announced in Hobart.

He would not rule in or out Labor's commitment to abolish his unfair Enrolment Benchmark Adjustment (EBA) policy which has taken more than $60 million from Government schools and which is not supported by government schools, private schools or his own backbench.

He would not rule in or out matching Labor's commitment to double the number of research fellowships to keep Australia's best minds working in Australia and stop the brain drain.

And when asked about literacy levels in disadvantaged schools he resorted to blaming the previous Government. Dr Kemp talks about accountability a lot, it's a pity he never applies it to himself.

Labor's Education Priority Zones (EPZs), also announced in Hobart, are specifically designed to deal with areas where social and educational disadvantage overlap.

The zones will make education the priority in breaking the cycle of poverty and poor education results. Through the zones the Commonwealth will invest additional resources and be an active partner with local communities in solving their own problems.

The next election will offer a clear contrast in education between:

Labor's plan to abolish the EBA and introduce EPZs to target literacy, provide better training for teachers and lift Year 12 completion rates in underperforming areas; and

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Dr Kemp's agenda to provide massive increases to private schools through the new SES funding system, while using the unfair EBA to cut federal government funding for public schools.

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Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.