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Transcript 16056

Interview with the Acting Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard, ABC Gold FM

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 11/08/2008

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16056

NICOLE DYER: Julia Gillard is today making her way to the Gold Coast. She'll be officially opening Australia's first six star green-designed education building at Bond University.

And a very, very big welcome to the Acting Prime Minister, Ms Gillard. Good morning.

JULIA GILLARD: Good morning.

NICOLE DYER: Has your busy schedule allowed you to see much of the Olympic coverage?

JULIA GILLARD: Ah, it hasn't really, no. But I do try and catch the snippets on the radio and I'm certainly looking forward to some of the swimming today. It's going to be fantastic.

NICOLE DYER: Well, it certainly is. We've got the 4 X 100 relay for the men's. Sophie Edington, who's from the Coast, will also be taking the pool in the backstroke. Do you have favourite event?

JULIA GILLARD: I'm going to have my eyes, or maybe my ears, on Libby Trickett's performance in the 100m butterfly - I'm looking forward to that.

NICOLE DYER: Mr Rudd is in Seoul now. Last month you were in New York and were very impressed by the transparency of school performances over there. What did you like?

JULIA GILLARD: What I liked was the fact that you could get comprehensive information about what's happening in schools. Now we're not talking about anything as simplistic and silly as league tables, but we are talking about parents and the community understanding what kinds of students are in schools - their socio-economic status, the number of Indigenous students, the number of students with disabilities - because that obviously means the schools have special needs, and also how schools are attaining. And if you can get that information and you can see comparable schools, where one's doing really well and one's not doing well, then of course you can find the answer - ‘What's the difference?' - and spread the best practice.

NICOLE DYER: How does it work over in the US?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, look, there's no one perfect model and you've always got to be careful about transporting a model from overseas, but you can learn by having a look around. And in New York and in other places, information - very comprehensive information - is made available publicly and to parents.

NICOLE DYER: So exactly what would you like to see introduced here in Australia?

JULIA GILLARD: What I'd like to see here is I'd like to see a system where we could look at schools and know what kind of students are in those schools, and I'd like to know that because I'd like to bring new resources to bear for schools that are facing disadvantage

I don't want to see any Australian child left behind. And I'd also like to see us getting literacy and numeracy and attainment data, school by school, so we could see how everybody's going.

NICOLE DYER: The critics of such a plan say that you could risk unfairly stigmatising a school. What's your reaction to that?

JULIA GILLARD: I think that really depends a fair bit on the mindset that you bring into (inaudible). This isn't about shaming people or telling people that they've done badly. This is about understanding what's going on so that we can help schools that need extra assistance, and it's only by helping those schools that need extra assistance that we're really going to have an education revolution for all Australian kids in all Australian schools.

NICOLE DYER: But Ms Gillard, attempts to do this in the past have not worked. So what makes you so sure that talking about this idea again is going to get it off the ground?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, I'm an optimist about reform and I'm particularly an optimist when I sit with my state and territory colleagues and with representatives of the Independent and Catholic school sectors, and we're all on the same page in the sense we've all got the same aspirations for Australian kids.

People don't want to see kids left behind, they don't want to see schools left behind. They're now working with a government that isn't saying bad schools and bad teachers, and unfortunately that was their experience under the Howard Government. They're working with a Government that's saying, “What can we do to fix this? What can we do to make it better for the kids in those schools?”

NICOLE DYER: When Kevin Rudd was elected as Prime Minister, he ... one of this main platforms, of course, was the Digital Education Revolution. Some of our federal members here on the Coast have been very critical of what they say is a broken Rudd promise on school computers. Is it true that not one Gold Coast secondary school was allocated computers in Round One?

JULIA GILLARD: Round One was focused on schools in the greatest need, so that round was for schools that had computer to student ratios of 1:8 or worse. Now across the life of this program - it's a $1.2 billion program - every secondary school is going to benefit, so every school on the Coast is going to benefit.

But we did ask schools would they mind if we focused the first round on the schools in greatest need. So what that means for your schools locally is they weren't in the greatest need, they didn't have ratios of 1:8 or worse, but they will be able to participate in future rounds and every school will benefit from the program.

NICOLE DYER: So the Gold Coast didn't miss out on computers because it's a Liberal Party heartland at a federal level?

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, certainly not. What we did was we audited what schools had and we invited every school that had a ratio of 1:8 or worse to apply for Round One. It was a strictly mathematical formula. I don't care whether schools and students are being educated in Labor seats, Liberal seats, National seats, Independent seats - whatever other colour or flavour seats come in - that's entirely irrelevant to me. I want every student to have a good education and I want students in secondary schools to benefit from our Digital Education Revolution, and they will.

NICOLE DYER: Federal Education, Employment Workplace Relations Minister and Acting Prime Minister, Julia Gillard - a woman with a lot on her plate at the moment, joining me on ABC Coast FM at a quarter to nine.

Ms Gillard, you have made yourself available to open Bond University's six star, green-designed education building. Why do see this as being so important?

JULIA GILLARD: Of course, everybody's talking about climate change, and the Government's focused on tackling the challenges of climate change. It's one of the biggest issues for our long-term future. And if we are going to tackle something as big as climate change, then governments have to play their part and that's what we're doing with designing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

But also, institutions, people in their homes, need to be playing their part as well. And so I see this development of a green building, a six star building, which models in its design how to deal with climate change issues and energy issues, and it's also going to be used to teach Australian students about those things. I think that is an important flagship for how we're going about tackling climate change.

NICOLE DYER: Julia Gillard, thank you very much for your time.

JULIA GILLARD: Thank you.

NICOLE DYER: Enjoy your time on the Coast by the way. So are you in Brisbane at the moment?

JULIA GILLARD: I'm in Brisbane at the moment and I'm very much looking forward to coming down to the Coast, and I know that you consider it cold at the moment.

NICOLE DYER: Well ... [laughs]

JULIA GILLARD: But let me tell you as a person from Melbourne who spends a lot of time in Canberra, this isn't cold by my standards. [laughs] I'll be the one running around in short sleeves and you'll be the people laughing at me.

NICOLE DYER: [laughs] Julia Gillard, thank you. We'll see her at a beach some time soon.

Transcript 16056