Release type: Transcript

Date:

Paul Murray Live - Interview with Paul Murray

Ministers:

The Hon Alan Tudge MP
Minister for Education and Youth

Subjects: Schools reopening, vaccinations for teachers, national curriculum

PAUL MURRAY:

Alan Tudge is the Education Minister and we had a chance to talk a bit earlier today, the Federal Education Minister, about the need to get kids back in school and what powers he might have to be able to do that.

PAUL MURRAY:

Let's get this clear. Should kids be in school today? Do we need to mandate the vaccines for the teachers to make sure they get back to school now?

ALAN TUDGE:

I believe in the National Plan, which says that when we get to the 70 per cent vaccination target, then we should only be having school closures in absolute extraordinary circumstances where there are hot spots. And so that's our target. Schools should be open then, and that's what we expect all jurisdictions to adhere to.

PAUL MURRAY:

But Minister, what I find bizarre is that, effectively, it is a mandatory vaccine to work in a pub, but there is no such compulsion, seemingly, for teachers to be vaccinated so schools can reopen.

ALAN TUDGE:

Well, in fact, that's what New South Wales has said. They've already said to teachers that you must be vaccinated in order to teach. Now, that was their decision, and no other jurisdiction has made that decision as of yet. But I would certainly hope that teachers do go and get vaccinated, take the opportunities right now to go and do so. I know that most have already, and particularly New South Wales, but New South Wales is the only jurisdiction that’s gone as far as to make it mandatory.

With the state ministers, we meet up every couple of months and talk through some of these issues, what support we can offer, encouragement, most importantly is to get the Premiers to stick to the National Plan. Gladys Berejiklian is opening up her economy. Here in Victoria, I want, and I hope and the public so want for Premier Andrews to stick to the National Plan, which gives people hope on the horizon. He must do that so that we can open up our economy in a similar manner to what New South Wales is. And then, similarly in the ACT, and then for other jurisdictions to do the same because we're so close now, Paul. You can see the light on the horizon, but there's so much despondency here in Melbourne, particularly. You know, people have lost hope. The mental health impact on kids is just astronomical. And so we need to give them that hope that things will be different when we hit that 70 per cent mark. And that's what I really want to see the state governments reinforce along with us, to give them that hope.

PAUL MURRAY:

And just before you go, I want to ask you here about the national curriculum because this has been up in the air for a while, talked about for a long period of time. Give us an update on that. Where are we when it comes to that national curriculum either being locked in or rejected for being too woke?

ALAN TUDGE:

Yes, I've been making my views known pretty clearly that I'm very dissatisfied with the current draft of the national curriculum, and that's because it lowers standards, it’s too cluttered still, it doesn't embed evidence based practises, and particularly in relation to the history curriculum, it imparts such a negative, miserable view of that history, rather than celebrating the great things about modern Australia and kids learning about that. Where is it at at the moment? Well, it's gone back to the curriculum authorities. They've heard me loudly and clearly. I’ve formally written to them, and they've written back to me and said that they hear me and they're updating it accordingly. Now, the proof will be in the pudding when they actually produce the next version for education ministers which will be October, early November. But my expectation is that it will be considerably improved with higher standards embedded, with evidence based practises such as phonics embedded, and with a positive, optimistic view of our history, rather than this miserable negative view whereby the only thing about Western civilisation seems to be colonialism and imperialism and slavery.

PAUL MURRAY:

Alan Tudge is the Education Minister at the Federal level.