QTU President's comment : 4 September 2013

Christopher Pyne MP
(Image source:
Parliament of
Australia Website)

There’s a (not so) fine line between pleasure and Pyne…

The person likely to be the Education Minister if a Coalition government is elected on Saturday has a noteworthy record of problematic views on our profession.

The following quotes are directly attributable to Christopher Pyne, MP for Sturt, and are just a few on the public record. To see more, enter the search “Christopher Pyne teachers” into your favoured search engine (and images are worth a look as well).

On teachers’ unions –

“The union has campaigned heavily against the Coalition and they’ve been selling an untruth, that the government is implementing the Gonski report, when it is doing no such thing… I will treat the teachers union with the respect they deserve.” The Australian, 4 September 2013

On teacher recruitment -

Question - So the solution is paying teachers more?

“No, the solution isn’t just paying teachers more. The solution is paying the best teachers more and moving out of the education system underperforming teachers that currently can’t be removed from the education system.

“Sure, teachers should be paid more, but only the teachers that deserve to be paid more, not all teachers.” ABC Lateline, 16 August 2012

“…the students who are choosing teaching are choosing teaching because it’s cheap, because it’s not going to push them further than they were in Year 12 and because they think it’s easy. Now that’s not the kind of student we want to be teaching our young people.” ABC Lateline, 16 August 2012

On curriculum –

''I am happy to go back to the drawing board and start again.” Sydney Morning Herald, “'Flawed' national curriculum faces axe under Coalition”, 31 January 2011

“We must not allow a confidence-sapping ‘black armband’ view of history to take hold.” Sydney Morning Herald, “Libs ignite culture wars over Anzac Day teaching”, 23 April 2013

“I do think the national history curriculum was certainly written by an ex communist and I think the first offering was very left-wing...it doesn't necessarily reflect the kind of country we are.” ABC Q&A, Teachers, Schools and our Education System, 23 July 2012

On Gonski and equity in education –

“Well, the fact remains it is one of the most equitable systems in the world and there isn’t actually an issue in Australian schools that revolves around equity.”

“(re Victorian independent schools report) Well they’ve done a real analysis, unlike the Gonski review…” ABC Lateline, 16 August 2012

On school autonomy –

“The greatest determinants of outcomes of students is the parental involvement in their children’s lives at school, it’s about principal autonomy, it’s about the independence that teachers have to teach, it’s about governing council control of schools.

Compere – But it’s also about socio-economic background, isn’t it?

Pyne - No, it’s not. The greatest determinants of whether a student succeeds or not is the parent’s involvement in their student’s education systems, the autonomy of school systems, so that’s why the non-government school systems tend to perform better…” ABC Lateline, 16 August 2012

''We want more characteristics from the non-government sector in the government sector.'' The Age, “Coalition funding for independent status”, 30 August 2013

On pedagogy -

“When I refer to pedagogical approaches, I am talking about ways of assessing learning, related to specific areas and matched to the capabilities of students.” Address to the Queensland Media Club, 1 August 2013.

“…more didactic teaching methods, more traditional methods rather than the child-centred learning that has dominated the system for the past 20, 30 or 40 years.'' Sydney Morning Herald, “Old school is way to go says Pyne”, 28 February 2013

On industrial relations in schools –

“I believe that little will change in the long-term if the States don’t work towards increasing flexibility within the workplace to actually meet student need. I feel great steps are being taken towards this outcome by the Queensland Government.” Address to the Queensland Media Club, 1 August 2013.

The possible future?

“If we are fortunate enough to be elected, we will be the best friend teachers have ever had.” Address to the Queensland Media Club, 1 August 2013.

Kevin Bates

 Authorised by Graham Moloney, General Secretary, Queensland Teachers' Union