South Australia Shadow Minister for Education David Pisoni
Weatherill’s Teacher Spin Cost $940,000
Victor P Taffa
After cutting over $100 Million from schools in his first budget as Education Minister, Premier Weatherill proceeded to raid his department for advertising dollars to lift his profile in the lead up to his strike on Mike Rann for the state’s top job.
Documents obtained under Freedom of Information confirm that last year’s ‘Teaching is Inspiring’ campaign cost taxpayers a whopping $940,000.
“Despite the fact that a report commissioned by his department advised Mr. Weatherill there was no shortage of teachers in South Australia, Mr. Weatherill used the perception of a shortage to justify spending nearly $1 Million on an unnecessary campaign.” Shadow Education Minister David Pisoni said.
“Mr. Weatherill even had to apply for an exemption from Labor’s self imposed advertising ban in order to proceed.”
Services purchased for the campaign included creative pitches, a series of focus groups, market research costing $150,000, and media advertising costing $500,000.
“So desperate was Mr. Weatherill to protect his image prior to the leadership coup that he spent an estimated $30,000 extra to re-shoot a scene after it was discovered that the actor chosen for the main ‘hero’ role also worked part time as a teacher in a private school.” Mr. Pisoni said.
“Interestingly the research identified a high degree of scepticism amongst teachers of any claim that Labor supports teachers, many feeling Labor has let them down on promises over many years.”
“The FOI documents also revealed a chaotic mix of existing teacher attraction and retention schemes that Mr Weatherill made no attempt to fix before splurging nearly $1 million on his advertising campaign.”
“There was a time when South Australia was a leader in education but under Labor we have fallen behind.” Mr. Pisoni said.