A clash over schools between the federal government and State Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews risks souring the mood of what has been a successful national cabinet during the coronavirus pandemic when it meets again this week.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan has launched a scathing attack on Andrews over the controversial issue of opening schools during the COVID-19 crisis, which Labor has described as “bullying”.
The attack came as state health minister Jenny Mikakos reported a teacher had tested positive to COVID-19 at the Meadowglen primary school in Melbourne, which will be closed for three days for cleaning.
Andrews has been adamant in not opening schools for fear of spreading the virus, while prime minister Scott Morrison has urged all schools to open.
But the prime minister has also previously said parents should listen to their premiers, although that stance now appears to have changed.
“The question to Dan Andrews is, sure, take a sledgehammer to defeating the coronavirus but why are you taking a sledgehammer also to your schools system?” Tehan told ABC on May 3.
He said Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory hadnt had to quash their education system to fight the virus and have a 70 percent attendance at their schools.
Pressed several times on the prime ministers previous advice to parents about listening to their premiers, Tehan said the governments advice was that parents should listen to the medical experts.
“Its safe for schools to be open and it is safe for teachers to be in the classroom when the right protocols are in place,” an unusually heated Tehan insisted.
He said the Victorian chief health officer was on the national medical expert panel which is providing that advice.
But Brett Sutton, unlike his federal counterparts, is against allowing students back to the classroom at this stage,
Mikakos said the prime minister needed to clarify whether Tehan was speaking for his government.
“(Morrison) asked Victorian parents to listen to the advice of the Victorian premier,” she told reporters.
“I too would urge Victorian parents to listen to the advice of our government. The advice remains unchanged and that is that we will continue to engage in online learning for the foreseeable future.”
Labors education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said Tehans attack was “disappointing” when states and territories had been working so well with the commonwealth government during the crisis.
“We dont need the federal education minister trying to bully and harass state education ministers and state governments,” she told reporters in Sydney.
“This is a very difficult and stresRead More – Source