The Liberal Party Doesn’t Like Labor’s TAFE Plan Because TAFE Teaches ‘Basket Weaving’

TAFE does a bit more than that.

Education minister Simon Birmingham has called Labor’s TAFE funding scheme “disastrous”, saying that it will subsidise “everything from energy healing to basket weaving and saw billions of taxpayer dollars rorted and tipped down the sink.”

And Labor’s hit back at the claim: opposition treasurer Chris Bowen said that Birmingham’s claim was an insult to TAFE.

“What he’s talking about last time was a relationship with private-sector providers, not all of whom were entirely reputable with all due respect,” Bowen said today on Sky News. “Guess what? TAFE is reputable.”

The tussle comes after Labor leader Bill Shorten announced on Thursday that if his party was in power, he would get rid of TAFE fees for 100,000 students. He said that at least half of those spots would be for women.

Shorten’s announcement was part of Labor’s broader appeal to young voters.

“I promise young Australians we will not leave you a ruined reef and rivers and oceans choked with waste and we will always invest in your education — schools, TAFE, and uni — because we know that when you get the opportunities Australia gets the opportunity.”

This comes weeks after the Victorian Labor government announced that it would make dozens of different TAFE courses free to complete. This includes 12 apprenticeship courses, diploma and certificate courses in areas such as accounting, agriculture, engineering and nursing.

In NSW, Liberal premier Gladys Berejiklian revealed today that the government would conduct the first review into the state’s schooling curriculum in almost 30 years.

NSW Education minister Rob Stokes said that the review was needed after a panel released a damning report about the education system back in April.

Several recent national reports on improving educational outcomes call for curriculum review and we are keen to ensure that these reports are answered by real action,” Stokes said today. “This is a once in a generation chance to examine, declutter and improve the NSW curriculum to make it simpler to understand and to teach.”

The review will try to simplify the curriculum, but we don’t yet know any details about what the reviewers will focus on. Geoff Masters, a professor who heads up the Australian Council for Educational Research, will lead the review.