Tehan’s Melbourne Declaration review a total farce

22 February 2019

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan’s bid to review the Melbourne Declaration is a farce which has failed to win the full support of all state and territory members of the national Education Council.

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians was ratified in 2008 following wide consultation across the education sector.

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan's review process is now seriously compromised, with Victorian Education Minister James Merlino pulling out of a national discussion forum scheduled to follow today’s Education Council meeting in Melbourne. Min Merlino said he was not prepared to sit in a room and discuss a vision for national education with Min. Tehan.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe said despite an invite to attend today’s National Forum, the AEU was also boycotting the forum in support of Mr Merlino’s decision not to attend.

“The Review of the Melbourne Declaration forum being held today is yet another farcical example of the Morrison government falling short when it comes to public education,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The Australian Education Union will not participate in any review of the Melbourne Declaration which does not have the support of every state and territory Minister and while the critical issue of funding our schools fairly is outstanding.”

“We support Min. Merlino’s decision not to take part in the national forum, and we will also be boycotting this shambolic review process,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“The AEU is of the firm view that the goals of the existing Declaration have not yet been achieved. It is unfortunate that the Morrison government has developed a habit of shifting the goalposts when it comes up short on reaching targets”

“We have seen this time and time again. When the Morrison government fails to meet a goal, it implements a review process which leads to it changing the targets, instead of finding a way to meet the original goals. Just look at Closing the Gap!” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Why is Min. Tehan forcing through this review to reframe the Melbourne Declaration? He should be showing leadership and ensuring that the Morrison government meets the valid and widely-supported goals of the existing Declaration.”

“The Morrison government has failed yet again when it comes to public education,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“It has failed to fund public schools fairly by cutting $14 billion over the next decade. It has failed to consult the teaching profession on policy matters such as the formulation of its National School Reform Agenda and it has failed to deliver on the current Melbourne Declaration.”

“Now the Morrison government has even failed in its bid to review the Melbourne Declaration. It’s just a debacle,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“We welcome Min Merlino’s decision to call today’s forum out for what it is, and particularly his comments about the Morrison government wanting to fund public schools less than private schools.”

“The AEU will be seeking genuine consultation with a newly-elected federal government about public school funding, the Melbourne Declaration and all matters relating to the teaching profession.”