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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9412

INTERVIEW WITH ANN SANDERS FOR AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TRAINING AUTHORITY AWARDS

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/11/1994

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 9412

PRIME MINISTER
TRANSCRIPT OF THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP
INTERVIEW WITH ANN SANDERS, RECORDED 3 NOVEMBER 1994 FOR
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL TRAINING AUTHORITY AWARDS,
NOVEMBER 1994
E& EO PROOF COPY
AS: It's easy for us Australians to pull down the so-called tall poppies do
you think that energy would be better spent paying tribute to our great
achievers?
PM: Well, getting poppies up is what it is all about, and there has been a lot
of concentration on tertiary education in this country and not
unreasonably but seeing people come through with real attainment's
in vocational education is wonderful for them, the institutions and the
country.
AS: One of the first things you did as Prime Minister in the vocational
education and training area was push for the establishment of a
national body why was this such an important goal?
PM: Because vocational education, or TAFE, has been the Cinderella of
Australian education, and we had 60% of the output of our Year 12
students coming out other than into tertiary education and many of
them being left untrained. The point of getting TAFE up to a National
system, and giving it national standing was so that anyone with a
vocational certificate should have not just an equal, but perhaps even
better chance of finding work and standing in educational terms in the
community, but to do that we had to bring TAFE together as a national
system. And so the Australian National Training Authority was a
devise we used to do that.
AS: Because TAFE courses and vocational training are often compared to
universities and schools does the former get the recognition that it
deserves, from the Government?
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PM: It's getting it from the Government, but it hasn't had the standing and
the recognition in the community. And this is a great pity because
often the people who are trained, more often than not indeed, the
people who are trained vocationally are entirely useful, and
immediately useful to their employer, and they can start charting
strong career paths for themselves. There is a bit of snobbery still
about a tertiary education, where in fact the strength and the diversity
of courses now in TAFE really gives us a tremendous opportunity to
bring the whole vocational education system up, and to give young
people a real chance to not only set a career path, but change it when
they feel like it to do something else, and to keep that relevance to
work.
AS: You have often connected the future of young Australians to the Asian
market, telling students to get smart, get a job and help us win markets
in Asia. On the eve of the APEC Forum, how important are skills to get
us into Asia?
PM: They are entirely important. Australia's great comparative advantage
in the Asia-Pacific is its education system there is no country in Asia
with an education system as strong as ours. And selling innovative
product, elaborately transformed goods, internationally traded
services, are all the things that Australia can do if we can open these
markets up. The point of APEC is to open all these markets up, but
then we have to follow through, and of course, we will follow through
better if we have a trained and skilled workforce. Again, all the roads
lead back to vocational education.
AS: We are already technologically smart and leaders in some of these
fields how far can we go?
PM: Australian pure research and applied research and innovation is really
at the cutting edge. What we have now got to do is improve our
marketing and our access to markets, and Australia is now
concentrating on the Asia-Pacific, and market access as never before.
So, if the Government keeps a premium on education and training and
particularly in those areas where the premium hasn't existed in full
before such as TAFE and vocational education then we will be in
first-rate shape to really fully participate in this growth.
AS: Finally Prime Minister, do you have a personal note to the finalists of
the Awards tonight?
PM: Well first of all I would like to congratulate each and every one of them.
Those who are coming through as trainees, who have come through a
certificate course, to those who are the trainers, to the institutions this
is the sort of acknowledgment I am glad to see being attached to TAFE
and vocational education because Universities are very strong now,
and they're strong enough to look after themselves, so I don't mind

saying that I am a TAFE champion I'm a vocational education person,
and so tonight is the sort of recognition that I am very pleased to see.
AS: You're a dad too, what about encouragement to the parents of the
students here tonight?
PM: I think parents are now getting onto TAFE. I think they are
understanding that there are tremendous career paths here, and that
students can change them and there is that view that if your
child.... you have ambition for them becoming university students, and
perhaps they don't, there is going to be a system sitting beside the
universities just as strong, and just as good, and I think that is a very
optimistic point for many Australian parents today.
AS: And a good point on which to end. Thank you very much for your time
today.
PM: Thank you.
ends.

Transcript 9412