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Monday, 18 June 2018
Page: 3081


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South AustraliaMinister for Education and Training and Manager of Government Business in the Senate) (16:03): I rise to also briefly associate myself with the remarks of Senator Cormann, Senator Wong and Senator Payne in paying tribute to the contribution of Sir John Carrick. I do so very proudly, following in his footsteps as the minister for education in Australia and noting the very fine words said by others regarding his thoughtfulness, his humanity and his respectful and considered approach in all of his dealings. It is particularly, indeed, his influence on our education system that I want to highlight briefly today, to acknowledge that his contribution to education policy both preceded his time as Minister for Education and continued long after his service as Minister for Education and that he was one who provided some of the foundation steps in terms of support for parental choice across Australia, influencing Sir Robert Menzies as Prime Minister in policy decisions taken by the Menzies government, as well as, of course, continuing that influence through, in particular during his time and service as the federal Minister for Education.

Indeed, in that time, Sir John helped to make Australia's schools and postschool systems the world-class institutions that we can and should still be proud of today. He appointed the first ever national review of teacher education, recognising, quite rightly, the paramount and fundamental role of teachers and the quality of teaching in terms of student outcomes and provision of the best possible education. He appointed and brought together the various postsecondary education commissions under Professor Peter Karmel, initiated the Williams review of postsecondary education and established new programs, particularly covering school-to-work areas and reformed areas of vocational education and training, such as in the nursing profession.

His work continued, as Senator Payne acknowledged, with the New South Wales government in the development of the New South Wales Education Act 1990, providing and setting guiding principles of that act that remain central to the provision of education in New South Wales to this very day, reflecting his firm views that every child has a right to an education and that families carry a central responsibility for that education of their children but that it is also the duty of the state to ensure that every child, with the support of families wherever possible, can access education of the highest quality.

Sir John's outstanding contribution to our nation and to the education of generations of Australians continues today. It's a legacy that he and his family should be proud of. It's one that the Liberal Party is especially proud of. I pay tribute to him and express and share my condolences with his family and friends.

Question agreed to, honourable senators standing in their places.