Tonight at a reception celebrating National TAFE Day an unexpected election announcement by Shadow Minister Sharon Bird showed that Labor has no idea where they stand.

12 months ago, on the last National TAFE Day, Mr Shorten said “And I have asked our Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird to work with all of you in the TAFE sector to develop policies that will deliver the skills and training the Australia of 2020 and 2030 will depend upon”.

(Source: Bill Shorten, National TAFE Day speech, 18 June 2014,

A year later, on National TAFE Day 2015, Labor have announced that their vocational education and training (VET) election policy amounts to a public statement, made ‘real and meaningful’ by a conversation.

“The announcement that we are making as our statement in support of TAFE in the contest that Bill was talking about at the election…a Labor Government will as a priority establish through the COAG process a nationally agreed statement on the role of TAFE as the public provider…to make that real and meaningful we will have a further conversation with the states and territories about rebalancing the issue of the competitive and non-competitive funding arrangements.”

(Source: Speech by Sharon Bird to Australian Education Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, 24 June 2015)

Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham said Labor have been all things to all people and now don't seem to know what they stand for.

“In 2012 Ms Gillard signed the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform with all States and Territories to open up the training market,” Senator Birmingham said.

In 2013 Mr Rudd said if States and Territories did not agree to maintain TAFE funding
“…in place of indirect funding arrangements, the Commonwealth would develop individual funding relationships with each TAFE institution.”

(Source: Australian Labor, “A Secure Future for TAFE,” Media Release, 1 September 2013,

“In 2015 Labor's new policy is more like an ambition for a fireside chat.”

“In their year of ideas, is this the best Labor can do?,” Senator Birmingham said.

Media Contact: Caitlin Keage 0427 729 987