Teacher journal archive (2008-2011)
Commonwealth Shadow Minister for Education Christopher Pyne introduced a private member’s bill in late October to try to force a judicial inquiry into alleged rorting, price gouging, collusion, skimming and waste in the Commonwealth government’s $16.2 billion Building the Education Revolution (BER) Primary Schools for the 21st Century program. ‘This is the only inquiry that can summon witnesses and subpoena documents, and I think Australians do want to know whether they received value for money for their $16.2 billion and, if they didn’t, who is responsible,’ Pyne said. ‘(The independents) have indicated they support transparency and accountability. Passing this bill will create a crucial mechanism to forensically examine all the evidence on the BER and get the full picture of what went wrong.’ Parliamentary reforms pioneered by the independents, Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie, meant Pyne’s private member’s bill could actually be debated and a vote would be cast, but Windsor told ABC News’s Alexandra Kirk he wouldn’t be voting for it. The Greens also ruled out support for a judicial inquiry. Commonwealth Minister for Tertiary Education Chris Evans, whose responsibilities include the BER, said a judicial inquiry was unnecessary. ‘Given the existing level of scrutiny and the ongoing work of the (BER) Implementation Taskforce (headed by Brad Orgill), a further inquiry would be a gross waste of taxpayers’ money,’ he said. Pyne did the numbers and decided it wasn’t even worth attending the House of Representatives chamber to bring on the vote.