Socialist Alliance wins education debate

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BY JEREMY SMITH

BALLARAT — A forum organised jointly by the local National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the University of Ballarat scrutinised the education policies of local and Senate candidates on October 31.

Following an anti-war demonstration organised by local activists, the forum of 80 people heard candidates from the Liberal Party, the Greens, Democrats, the Socialist Alliance and ALP talk about education issues.

While the ALP's promise of $1 billion for higher education over the next five years was released that morning, it was Socialist Alliance Senate candidate Alison Thorne who got the warmest reception.

Thorne described the decline of public education and explained what the alliance was promising to do about it. When the candidates were asked, why should they be trusted to keep their promises, Thorne stated that the Socialist Alliance would continue to campaign for better public education, regardless of who wins the November 10 election.

Judy Swan, NTEU Ballarat vice-president, told Green Left Weekly, "I was disgusted by the Liberals. They simply stood on their record, which is what has put public education in dire straits. While the ALP are making the promises the NTEU wants to hear, I was really impressed with the Socialist Alliance and the Greens." The federal seat of Ballarat is currently held by the Liberal Party.

From Green Left Weekly, November 7, 2001.

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