Adult basic education in Australia: in need of a new song sheet?

Policy Press
Publication Type:
Resisting Neoliberalism in Education Local, National and Transnational Perspectives, 2019, pp. 195 - 195 (207)
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In 2007, the Australian Labor Party came into government espousing the mantra ‘The Australian economy needs an education revolution’. It is arguable whether this and what subsequent governments initiated could be characterised as a revolution; what is clear is that they succeeded in cementing a neoliberal governance system of adult education, including adult basic education (ABE). The changes in ABE from a practitioner led provision guided by a social justice ethos to what remains now is a story covering over four decades. Ironically, however, what has been most impactful in recent years is the absence of an identifiable policy. Tracing the ABE’s trajectory into a policy vacuum, and analysing the difficulty this vacuum presents for activists within the field, the chapter points to possibilities of resistance that may strengthen and restore an ethos of social justice in the field.
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