Parenting and schools; tolerance – Doorstop Interview – Sydney

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Parenting and schools; tolerance – Doorstop Interview – Sydney



Doorstop Interview
Wednesday, 16 July 2003
5.55 pm



SUBJECTS: Parenting and schools; tolerance


Treasurer, in your speech you talk about promoting parents’ involvement

in schools. Could you elaborate on that a bit?


Well, I think that parent control and parent involvement in schools is

very important for educational outcomes because parents have an interest

in the schooling that their children get. They want high standards. And

it also builds a community around a school which is supportive, and the

school, in turn, rebuilds a community. It becomes a centre in a neighbourhood,

or a community, for social engagement. And making the schools centres

like that, I think is positive. And making the schools accountable to

parents for higher standards in education is also a very positive thing.


You also say that, when you spoke about tolerance last month, people

wrote you letters saying they wouldn’t vote Liberal. Did that surprise



Well as I said, as I say in the speech, the response was overwhelmingly

positive. It was not unanimously positive. There were some people that

wrote to tell me why they did not regard tolerance as important. I have

tried to set down today some reasons why I think it is.


On your comments on tolerance, how does it stand with the Government’s

agenda for asylum seekers? Is it in line?


Well, I think one of the reasons why asylum seekers come to Australia,

is, it has a reputation as being a tolerant society. One of the reasons

that people support the, want to come into Australia and support the

Australian way of life, is, that compared to other societies around the

world, we are a remarkably tolerant society. And I think Australia has

been remarkably successful in relation to that.


Would you advocate a more sympathetic line, then, for the Government

on the issue?


Look, the thing, the thing I think is that, it is important in this area

that people smugglers, and those that seek to traffic human beings, get

a very clear message that an available destination is not Australia.

I think that message has been sent. But those people who are legitimate

refugees, who are assessed as being such, come in under a humanitarian

programme, which per capita is one of the largest in the world. Unfortunately,

we cannot take every person that wants to come in under that programme,

but we do operate a very generous programme.


You referred to Margaret Thatcher in your speech as extremely individualist.

Is there anything wrong with that?


Well, I note that her view attracted a lot of criticism. Okay. Thanks.