Education Minister Kay Hallahan today described Opposition Leader Richard Court as the "the Pinocchio of Western Australian politics" because of his untrue claims about the number of TAFE places for young people.
Mrs Hallahan said Court's claim that the Government was not honouring its promise to provide an education or training place for all 1992 Year 12 school-leavers demonstrated his lack of honesty and leadership.
"Mr Court has the gall to attack Labor's efforts to provide extra places for young people when his own education policy makes no commitment to increasing TAFE funding," she said.
"In fact, the Liberals have denigrated TAFE education in the past, saying that young people were simply `parked' there.
"Furthermore, Mr Court said last week that he would pull out of national TAFE arrangements - jeopardising $100 million in Federal funding for at least 23,800 full-time places."
Mrs Hallahan said in the last three years, the number of school-leavers entering TAFE had risen by 168 per cent because of steps taken by the Government.
The Minister challenged Mr Court to substantiate his claim that 7,000 young people had been denied places at TAFE this year.
"TAFE has only just issued the first round of offers - further offers are yet to be made and many students who secure university places will cancel their TAFE applications."
"Mr Court is plucking figures out of thin air," she said.
The Minister said Labor had put together a $10 million `Smart Move!' strategy to provide additional education and training places for school-leavers this year.
"In TAFE alone there are 1,500 extra places for school-leavers in 1993," she said.
The Minister said Mr Court had also misrepresented figures relating to the number of teaching graduates to be employed by the Ministry of Education.
"While the Liberals in Victoria are closing schools, sacking teachers and eroding working conditions, WA's teaching workforce is swelling to record numbers this year," she said.
"By the end of the year, more than 50 per cent of the best teaching graduates will have been appointed to the Ministry of Education.
"The Government is providing additional teaching positions through initiatives such as the voluntary full-time pre-primary program - which the Liberals opposed."