Brian Burston backs maiden speech statement that he lectured at Newcastle University

HUNTER One Nation Senator Brian Burston has denied misleading Federal Parliament about lecturing at the University of Newcastle.

Senator Burston said he would use a speech in the Senate this week to “correct” a Sydney media report that he misled parliament in his maiden speech when he said he “lectured in teacher education at Newcastle University”.

The university is quoted saying it had “no record of Brian Burston ever being employed”.

But Senator Burston on Sunday insisted “I haven’t misled the Senate and I’m not sure how they could even think I had”.

List: A Newcastle College of Advanced Education 1983 handbook shows Brian Burston as a Department of Technical and Further Education lecturer at the college which was located on the Newcastle University campus site.

List: A Newcastle College of Advanced Education 1983 handbook shows Brian Burston as a Department of Technical and Further Education lecturer at the college which was located on the Newcastle University campus site.

“Parliament resumes this week and I’ll speak in the Senate and reconfirm what I said in my maiden speech, that I lectured in teacher education at Newcastle University. That’s how sure I am,” he said.

Handbook: A Newcastle College of Advanced Education 1983 handbook showing Brian Burston as a TAFE Diploma of Teaching lecturer for the college, which was on the Newcastle University campus.

Handbook: A Newcastle College of Advanced Education 1983 handbook showing Brian Burston as a TAFE Diploma of Teaching lecturer for the college, which was on the Newcastle University campus.

“I was certainly there. I was there for four years. I never said I was employed by the university. I said I lectured at Newcastle University.” 

Senator Burston said he was employed by TAFE in the mid-1980s and worked at Newcastle College of Advanced Education on the Newcastle University campus lecturing trainee TAFE teachers. He said the College of Advanced Education eventually “transitioned to the university”.

“I was paid my TAFE salary and an increment comparable to a university wage because of the work I was doing. I was recognised as a Newcastle University lecturer. I’ve got no fear on this one. It was one of the best times of my life because I was basically working four jobs but I loved it,” Senator Burston said.

A University of Newcastle history shows the Newcastle College of Advanced Education was located “across the creek from the university in what is now known as the Hunter Building”.

“The two had grown almost in parallel,” the university history said.

The university and College of Advanced Education “amalgamated in 1989 after a long and sometimes bitter negotiation”, the university history said.

The amalgamation process started in 1981 under the Federal Government led by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser which “attempted to force the amalgamation of the university and the College of Advanced Education”, the university history said.

“After protests and a change of government the forced amalgamation slipped off the agenda, for a time, in 1983, but was later resumed.”

Senator Burston said his four years of teacher education coincided with the period of upheaval before the college and university were amalgamated.

A 1983 Newcastle College of Advanced Education handbook shows Brian Burston as a TAFE lecturer for the college.

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This story Hunter One Nation Senator Brian Burston denies misleading parliament first appeared on Newcastle Herald.