House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Matters of Public Importance


4:24 pm

Photo of Andrew GilesAndrew Giles (Scullin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Schools) Share this | Hansard source

As the member for McMillan well knows, it is a $14 billion cut. We have put our money where our mouth is, member for McMillan. We are going to put every cent back in. More than that, we're going to scrap what's worse than the cut, which is the arbitrary decision to cap Commonwealth funding of state schooling at 20 per cent. That is outrageous. It's short-changing our most vulnerable, most needy students across the board but, in particular, in jurisdictions like Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory. You are creating two tiers of school education in Australia and you stand condemned for that, member for McMillan, as does the minister. It is a two-tier system of school education, and you have no vision for reform.

In fact, I will give the member for Wannon some credit. Unlike his two predecessors, he has effectively engaged in some conversations with the ministers council—he has—after five wasted years. He talks about reform, but it is on no foundation whatsoever. We support the recommendations in so-called Gonski 2.0 but we will fund them. We will give every child every chance to succeed in school.

Time doesn't permit me to go beyond schools, but the member for Sydney articulated the case clearly. Actually, there is a worse case of policy failure from this government than in schools and early learning, and that is in skills and university, because the government have absolutely nothing at all to say about this vital sector.


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