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Pay teachers more after graduation, not before.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Democrats Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Status of Women

Dated: 10 March 2004 Press Release Number: 04/155 Portfolio: Status of Women

Pay teachers more after graduation, not before The Australian Democrats will not support moves to water down the Sex Discrimination Act to provide for male-only teaching scholarships.

Democrats Spokesperson for the Status of Women, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, said that the purpose of the Sex Discrimination Act was to address gender-based discrimination and that any special measures or exemptions to the Act must also serve this purpose.

"The changes proposed by the Government will undermine the purpose and intent of the Sex Discrimination Act," said Senator Stott Despoja.

"There is no evidence to suggest that men have suffered entrenched disadvantage or discrimination when entering the teaching profession.

"The reason why there is a shortage of male teachers is because some men like some women do not necessarily find the profession attractive, given the workload, the pay conditions and the status of the profession.

"Instead of paying our teachers more and elevating the status of the profession in the community, the Government is opting for a cosmetic change that will do nothing to address the real cause of the problem.

"The problem is not just that there is a shortage of male teachers, the problem is that there is a shortage of teachers, generally. The pay and conditions for teachers do not reflect the enormous value of their role in the community and the immense responsibility they have of educating the next generation.

"Providing a financial incentive to enter university will not attract anyone to the profession if the financial incentives stop at graduation.

"There is no evidence to suggest that financial disadvantage prevents men from studying teaching, so the Governments proposal can only be interpreted as an enticement. The Government message is clear: male teachers are worth more than female teachers and should be given a free ride into the profession.

"If the Prime Minister is really concerned about male role models for children, he wouldnt deliberately keep refugee children separated from their fathers.

"This is just another example of wedge politics by the Prime Minister who is looking for ways to generate division in an election year," concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

Authorised by: Marianne Dickie , 16 National Cct, Barton ACT 2604.