More than a year after the first Tasmanian senior secondary colleges became campuses of the new Academy and Polytechnic, the Opposition has made its first legislative move in State Parliament to reverse the Tasmania Tomorrow changes.
The Opposition’s Education spokesman Michael Ferguson had to wait until after Question Time to table the legislation to abolish the two-tiered Academy and Polytechnic system.
The Liberals and Greens both pledged before the election to restore the senior college system and now have the numbers in the Lower House to pass the legislation, which will not be debated until Parliament resumes in five weeks.
Mr Ferguson says the Greens are welcome to suggest improvements.
“Tasmania Tomorrow has been fabulously expensive,” he said. “And we know it has only brought misery.”
The Premier and previous Minister, David Bartlett, admits changes are needed.
“I did not get it all right. I did not communicate this well enough,” Mr Bartlett said.
But he says abolishing the system would be chaotic, and simply restore a system that failed students.
“The worst sort of change we could possibly impose on the system now, is a simplistic “bang”-style roll-back to what we had before. It would create more confusion, more debilitating activity for teachers, more challenges for kids.”
‘Greens want more time’
The Tasmanian Greens say they want more time to consider the Opposition’s legislation.
The Greens Leader Nick McKim says he is yet to examine the bill closely.
“All three parties do have a different policy on post-Year 10 [education], although I certainly acknowledge that ours is closer to the Liberal policy than it is to Labor’s.
“We’re happy to talk to both of the other parties, to try to find a way forward. But we retain, very strongly, the policy position we took at the election.”
The teachers union remains opposed to the Tasmania Tomorrow system and wants it abolished.
The new Education Minister Lin Thorp has ruled out getting rid of the system, and started talks with teachers this week in an effort to fix its problems.