Thanks to Gough Whitlam For Our Modern TAFE System

Today I had the opportunity to speak on the condolence motion for the Hon E G Whitlam AO QC and to include a tribute on his contribution to our national vocational education and training system.


Gough had a passion for education – not only school and university education – but also a strong commitment to establishing a truly national vocational education and training system.


Gough didn’t only see university as a path to opportunity – he recognised the critical importance of skills and training and community and further education as well.


In his famous “It’s Time” campaign speech in 1972, as he promised to abolish fees at universities and colleges of advanced education, he said:


“Sure we can have education on the cheap, but our children will pay for it for the rest of their lives”.


Our VET system began to take shape through the Kangan report, the establishment of our modern TAFE system and the continuing debate about growing productivity and participation for all Australians through the VET sector.


We, as a nation, are very grateful for Gough’s commitment to establishing a world class vocational education system for all.