The ACT Opposition has accused the ACT government of allowing unions to "recruit" in public schools by letting them to brief work experience students on their rights in the workplace.
Liberal politician Andrew Wall said the presence of unions in schools could be seen as "inappropriate" and as "having a political motivation given the ideological ties that bind the ALP and the union movement".
In budget estimates on Friday, Mr Wall alleged a parent had voiced concerns to him about union members encouraging year 10 students at Campbell High "at length" to join the union.
"It has been suggested to me that unions have had access to ACT public schools on a regular basis, even going so far as to hand out membership forms and other propaganda material on some occasions," Mr Wall said in a later statement.
However education minister Yvette Berry dismissed the notion unions had been running "recruitment" in schools.
In a statement to the Canberra Times, she extended an invitation to Mr Wall to come along to a session to see for himself.
"There are a number of ways in which schools support students in understanding their workplace rights and responsibilities. Schools put considerable effort into ensuring students are well prepared for work experience and this flows onto to their paid work," Ms Berry said.
"There are lots of organisations that contribute to informing our students about life after school, including WHS and White Card awareness, learning pathways, construction safety etc."
Asked about the recruitment claims, education deputy director-general Meg Brighton said she would not expect it to happen in schools.
"As young people enter the work place and understand their rights they'll make those decisions themselves,' Ms Brighton said.
It is understood union membership forms were only provided to students if the student requested one.
Unions ACT secretary Alex White said the Liberal party needed to "calm down" about their "hatred" towards the union movement.
"Mr Wall is very sad if he thinks unions talking to school students about work safety rights is a problem," Mr White said.
Unions ACT employs one staff member to brief school students on workplace rights and safety. The program is free with all material provided to school and Education Directorate beforehand.
This particular program has been running since the start of the year and was sparked by a school-based apprentice breaking his back on a construction site last year.
However union officials have been briefing school students on workplace issues for at least a decade.
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