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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. [Volume 39, Issue 8. April 1976]

National's Promise to Students

National's Promise to Students

It is not certain how big a part the Labour Party's bungling over student teacher allowances played in winning votes for the National Party. But the National Party seized the opportunity to play on students' discontent and constantly attacked the Labour Government for its lack of consultation and its ill-prepared plans.

On 5 September Les Gandar outlined the National Party's policy in a letter to interested organisations. The first point of this policy was a promise to "retain the present level of allowances paid to student teachers" And in explaining this pledge Gandar stated: "The present student teacher allowance carries with it obligations of an employer/employee relationship. Until this important matter has been thoroughly examined we feel that the 1975 situation should be continued in the meantime."

Later, the Young Nationals put out a poster titled "Labour Government Rips Students Off', which was authorised by Gandar as National's spokesman on Education. This poster stated: "Consulting no-one but Treasury about student needs, the Government has slashed the Student Teachers average pay by two thirds (a statement which was quite incorrect), to pay for other students rightful allowances. Why should one section of students have to suffer the loss of their rightful allowances in order to provide a basic allowance for the rest?"

Two days before the election, the National Party fired its final round on student allowances. A large advertisement placed in metropolitan dailies proclaimed that a National Government would "restore the present scale of payments to teacher trainees."