Media Room

Welcome to ACTA's Media Release page where members of the media can find information and recent statements from ACTA. For further information and interviews on ACTA media matters, please contact the President of ACTA, president@tesol.org.au.

ACTA submission on the proposed Character test bill - August 2019

ACTA have made a submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Inquiry into Migration Amendment (Strengthening the Character Test) Bill 2019. The bill would amend the character test in section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 to provide grounds to consider visa cancellation or refusal where a non-citizen has been convicted of a serious crime, and make consequential amendments to the definition of ‘character concern’.

Read: ACTA submission on the proposed Character test bill - August 2019.pdf

Information about the inquiry and submissions published by the committee are available on the committee's website here.
https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Charactertest2019


ACTA 2019 Australian Federal Election News 

Welcome to the Australian Council of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Associations’ 2019 Federal Election page where members of the public and media can find recent information about ACTA pre-election policy platform, related correspondence and media releases.  For further information and interviews on ACTA media matters, please contact the President of ACTA, Michael Michell at m.michell@unsw.edu.au

ACTA’s Federal Election Policy Platform - The National Strategy for Language in Education and Training

The ACTA National Strategy for Language in Education and Training was approved as ACTA’s Federal Election Policy Platform in November 2018. It has 15 actions in all aimed at addressing the long-standing national policy/program gaps and neglect in the area of language in education and training (EAL/D, Indigenous, languages education, AMEP) which ACTA has been advocating in our submissions over the last few years.
The document has been used as the focus for discussions with Government and other parties about their education and training policy commitments prior to the federal election.

Read ACTA's National Strategy for Language in Education and Training

ACTA request for response to the National Strategy from political parties

Prior to the announcement of the federal election, ACTA forwarded the National Strategy to the Coalition Government, Labor and the Greens for their response.

Read ACTA's letter to Education Minister Dan Tehan, Minister Tehan’s response and ACTA’s reply to his response.

ACTA has been liaising with Tanya Plibersek’s office on the National Strategy over the last year. We are expecting to receive a formal response to the Strategy from the Shadow Minister for Education and Training shortly.

ACTA welcomes Greens’ plan for English language learners

On 18 April, the Greens announced their national plan to ensure that migrants and refugees throughout Australia have access to effective English language support in the school, post-school and adult education sectors. The plan can be found on the Greens’ website at: Greens Launch Plan to Ensure Access to English Language Support (The Greens, 18 April 2019).

SBS coverage of the plan can also be found at: Greens push to revamp English language support services (SBS, 19 April 2019)

ACTA welcomes the Greens’ plan. Read ACTA’s media release: Greens’ national plan for English language learners welcomed

ACTA scorecard of parties’ responses to the National Strategy

ACTA is keeping a scorecard of parties’ responses to the actions in the Strategy and will update the scorecard weekly until the election.

Read ACTA’s scorecard of parties’ responses to the National Strategy

ACTA Media Release - 16 May 2019
ACTA media release calling on major parties to address the crises in Australia’s English language programs in their election platforms.

Read ACTA Media Release: Major parties ignore crises in Australia’s English language programs - 16 May 2019

For further information

Contact: Michael Michell, President, ACTA.  Email: m.michell@unsw.edu.au w 93851956, h 96104870, m 0412167054


Below are general media releases, position statements and submissions. For those on specific sectors, please see our other pages under Advocacy.

2019 April - Greens’ national plan for English language learners welcomed

The Australian Council of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Associations welcomed the Greens’ announcement today of their national plan to ensure that migrants and refugees throughout Australia have access to effective English language support in the school, post-school and adult education sectors.

“The Greens’ four-point plan addresses key areas of need in this long-neglected area of education and training.” ACTA President, Dr Michael Michell, said today.

“The Adult Migrant English Program, which provides English language tuition each year for tens of thousands of recently arrived adult migrants with low levels of English, is currently in a state of turmoil”, he said. “The Greens’ commitment to reverse the disastrous outsourcing of this vital settlement service comes in time to halt the damage being done to this once world-leading program by the Government’s introduction of its so-called business model”.

“Despite having English language support programs in its schools for some fifty years, Australia still has no common national approach to identifying, assessing and reporting on migrant and refugee students’ English language learning. The Greens’ commitment to develop and implement a national English language assessment framework will ensure that this ‘unfinished business’ in the Gonski reform agenda towards needs-based education provision is finally achieved.”

“Too many young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds with incomplete schooling are falling through the cracks of school and post school provision and failing to access further education and training. The Greens’ commitment to expanding Youth Transition Support pilot programs will help ensure the development and ongoing provision of effective post-school education and training pathways for these youth.”

“These initiatives are backed up by the Greens’ commitment to establish a dedicated national office to oversee and coordinate language in education and training across government. This shows real national leadership in this vital policy area,” Dr Michell said.

“We are delighted that the Greens’ plan has picked up a number of initiatives proposed in our National Strategy for Language in Education and Training which ACTA forwarded to Government, Labor and the Greens prior to the announcement of the federal election”.

“Australia’s migration and humanitarian programs and its language diverse population demand ongoing national effort to ensure that recently arrived migrants and refugees receive the English language and literacy learning support they need to successfully participate in education and training and contribute to a cohesive and prosperous multicultural society.”

Read ACTA's Strategy for Language in Education and Training 

For further information contact: Michael Michell, President, ACTA.
Email: m.michell@unsw.edu.au w 93851956, h 96104870, m 0412167054

Download copy of this Media Release: Greens’ national plan for English language learners welcomed


2018 November - ACTA Strategy for Language in Education and Training

ACTA Strategy for Language in Education and Training

The ACTA Strategy for Language in Education and Training has 15 actions in all aimed at addressing the long-standing national policy/program gaps and neglect in the area of language in education and training (EAL/D, Indigenous, language education, AMEP) that we have been advocating for in our submissions over the last few years.

The document will be used as the focus for discussions with Government and other parties about their education and training policy commitments prior to the federal election.


2017 November - Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools

ACTA's FULL submission to the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools

SUMMARY version of ACTA's full submission above (to meet the Review’s word limit requirements)

The Panel for the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools chaired by Mr David Gonski AC, has been commissioned to examine evidence and make recommendations on how school funding should be used to improve school performance and student outcomes. Details at:

The Australian Department of Education's Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools


2017 June-September - Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017

ACTA made a submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee's Inquiry into the Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017.  ACTA's submission focused on the English proficiency test proposed for Australian Citizenship eligibility: the arbitrary and negative effects of the test on specific groups; current English language learning opportunities for migrants; social cohesion; arbitrary exemptions and inclusions; types of tests and the notion of “competent”; and, the ethics of language testing. 

ACTA Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee regarding The Australian Citizenship Legislation Amendment (Strengthening the Requirements for Australian Citizenship and Other Measures) Bill 2017 (Submission no. 292)

ACTA also made a Supplementary submission specifically regarding encouraging English language learning, combined with learning about Australian citizenship:

ACTA Supplementary Submission on the Citizenship Bill - July 2017

We encourage members to also read the other submissions, especially the many personal ones. The ramifications of this legislation go far beyond what we documented in our submission. Members should get up to speed on this issue.

ACTA's submission was quoted in this article in The New Daily: Reject English test, longer wait for citizenship, UN tells Senate (2 August 2017)

The Report of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee was published on 5 September 2017

Media Release from the ACTA President regarding the English language test proposed for Australian Citizenship eligibility.

Australian Council Of TESOL Associations, Media Release, 27/06/2017
English Teachers Condemn English Test for Citizenship

Also, listen to the recording of an interview ACTA's Helen Moore did on this issue with Wendy Harmer on ABC RN 702 in Sydney:

Radio interview re proposed English language test, June 2017



2017 May -  Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes

ACTA made a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes:

Australian Council Of TESOL Associations. Submission To The Joint Standing Committee On Migration, Inquiry Into Migrant Settlement Outcomes - May 2017 Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes (Submission no. 108)

ACTA later prepared a supplementary submission as part of its presentation to the inquiry committee at the public hearing in October 2017. It summarises the problems and proposals of English language provision in Australia outlined in its May submission:

ACTA supplementary submission to the Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes, October 2017

Inquiry Terms of Reference:

The Joint Standing Committee on Migration shall inquire into and report on migrant settlement outcomes with reference to:

  • the mix, coordination and extent of settlement services available and the effectiveness of these services in promoting better settlement outcomes for migrants;
  • national and international best practice strategies for improving migrant settlement outcomes and prospects;
  • the importance of English language ability on a migrant’s, or prospective migrant’s, settlement outcome;
  • whether current migration processes adequately assess a prospective migrant’s settlement prospects; and
  • any other related matter.  

The Committee shall give particular consideration to social engagement of youth migrants, including involvement of youth migrants in anti-social behaviour such as gang activity, and the adequacy of the Migration Act 1958 character test provisions as a means to address issues arising from this behaviour.

The ACTA submission addresses all of the Terms of Reference, specifically focussing on

  • English language provision for all sectors: early childhood education and care, the school and adult sectors, with particular mention of provision for refugee youth with severely disrupted/minimal previouus education. 
  • examples of best practice
  • the importance of English language ability on prospective migrant outcomes
  • Social engagement of “youth migrants”. 

Also in the appendices are included exemplars of resources for EALD/D Assessment, best practice in curriculum and materials for EAL/D learners, and resources for teacher development to assist EAL/D learners.

This is a comprehensive submission with concrete evidence and information from the grass roots contributed by members of affiliated associations from across Australia. At around 200 pages, the ACTA submission is not exactly something to skim through. If you want just a taste, read the Conclusion, which is short. Depending on your concerns, you may find some sections more relevant than others. For those researching this area, it should be very useful.

We also commend the Inquiry website to you: inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes. There are some excellent submissions there (ACTA's is Submission 108 on page 6). The Hansard of hearings is also very interesting.  ACTA is also hoping to give evidence to this Inquiry, possibly in September 2017

The report of the parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Migration’s Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes was published in December 2017:

No one teaches you to become an Australian

VicTESOL Event 2013


2013 September - ACTA statement on National Plan for School Improvement

Media Statement from the ACTA President regarding the importance of accountability for EAL/D service provision in the new National Plan for School Improvement.

 

2012 November - ACTA Position Statement on Australian Indigenous Languages

'ACTA supports collaborations throughout Australia among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities and educators who work with them. These collaborations need to include how Australian Indigenous languages can best be used in different schools.

We affirm the essential link between resourcing the promotion of Australian Indigenous languages in school communities and improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students' educational outcomes.'

 

2012 November - ACTA Position Statement on Cocos Malay language

'ACTA actively supports the structured learning of the Cocos Malay language (the home language of the students) in the Territory of the Cocos (Keeling) Island schools. ACTA also recommends the appointment of experienced and qualified Language, EALD and trained local teachers to these schools with a view to further developing the Cocos community's bilingual strengths.'

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