TAFE ‘gags’ Gilmore Labor candidate

Labor's Gilmore candidate Fiona Phillips (centre), Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones and Cunningham MP Sharon Bird walk Kiama's main street in March. Picture: Adam McLean

Labor's Gilmore candidate Fiona Phillips (centre), Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones and Cunningham MP Sharon Bird walk Kiama's main street in March. Picture: Adam McLean

Labor’s Gilmore candidate Fiona Phillips has resigned as a TAFE teacher amid claims the organisation moved to “politically gag” her.

Mrs Phillips taught her final class at TAFE’s Nowra campus on Wednesday, after 15 years as a casual teacher.

The federal election contender told the Mercury she made the decision after being called into a meeting with management, briefed about the organisation’s code of conduct and told she couldn’t mention the word ‘TAFE’ as a candidate.

“I made it clear that I did not agree with that,” she said.

“They were certainly trying to politically gag me.” 

Mrs Phillips said she was “very careful” about speaking as Labor’s candidate, and not a TAFE employee, when addressing the media and had not encountered a problem during her previous two election campaigns. 

“I’m not doing anything different now than what I did then, apart from the Gilmore electorate being the most marginal federal electorate in NSW,” she said.

A TAFE NSW spokesman said the One TAFE media policy outlined “the roles and responsibilities of approved spokespersons for TAFE”.

“Section four of the policy also states that staff engaging in public comment through the media should do so consistent with the TAFE NSW code of conduct,” he said.

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