Jason Clare reveals inspiring journey as he is sworn into Federal Government
Jason Clare has revealed his own unlikely path to politics as he prepares to tackle gaps in Australia’s education system.
Shortly after being sworn in on Wednesday, the new Education Minister told Sky News he was the first person in his family to finish high school.
Mr Clare credited past Labor governments with giving “working class kids in the western suburbs” the opportunity to attend university.
“For my mum and dad growing up in the 60s in western Sydney, they didn’t even dream of going to university; that sort of opportunity didn’t exist for working class kids in the western suburbs back then,” Mr Clare said.
“But it does now and that’s because of the sort of big reforms of people like Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke.”
Mr Clare emerged as a popular figure during the election campaign after temporarily taking over the reins from Labor leader Anthony Albanese when he contracted Covid-19.
He mentioned early childhood education and global education ranking as two areas of focus for his new ministry.
“We’re sliding down that sort of global benchmark. I want to work with state education ministers and teachers and all of the professionals in this area to see what we can do to turn that around,” Mr Clare said.
He said part of that process was getting more high achieving school students to attend university and become teachers.
More spending on child care was one of the key policies brought to the election by Labor with plans to increase the childcare subsidy to 90 per cent for families’ first children.
Mr Clare said passing legislation to implement the higher subsidy was “priority number one” for his ministry.
Justification for the roughly $5.4 billion expenditure, according to Mr Clare, was the good it does for the economy as well as mums and dads.
“The potential it has to help supercharge the economy by getting more people back into the economy who are at home,” Mr Clare said.
“Or whether it’s what we do in our primary schools and our high schools; our schools are effectively the engine room of the new economy.
“What we do in our primary schools and our high schools, if we get it right, really sets the Australian economy up for the next decade and the decade beyond, making sure that our kids have the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”