Wednesday, 4 March 2020
Australian Education Amendment (Direct Measure of Income) Bill 2020; Third Reading
I hear the interjection from those opposite—since you cut $30 billion from school funding in the 2014 budget, having promised in the 2013 election campaign: 'You can vote Liberal. You can vote Labor. Not a dollar difference to your school.' Yes, those opposite all stood up during that 2013 campaign and said: 'Oh, you can vote for us. We won't cut any school funding.' And then with that very first budget, in 2014, we all remember the $30 billion that was cut from school funding. And then what happened? Those across the road got a little bit nervous. They couldn't get their massive cuts through the Senate, so they did a tricky deal with the Senate and, instead of cutting $30 billion from school funding, they went to a much more generous $22 billion cut to school funding.
What have we had more recently? We had a government that had to get rid of their previous education minister because he had so antagonised non-government schools that they found it impossible to work with him. They have a new education minister now whose job it was just to take this off the front pages. Now we have a scenario where non-government schools will receive several billion dollars of extra funding. Of course it doesn't go the whole way to restoring what's been lost by those schools during this period of delay, but it is a very important thing to restore the funding that we always campaigned for. We always said that Catholic schools and independent schools should be properly funded. It was only those opposite who said that those schools should not be funded appropriately. It was only those opposite who were looking to cut their funding.
But the big issue, the big problem with this proposal that we are voting on today is not what it does for non-government schools; it's what it doesn't do for public schools. There are 2½ million children in this country who go to public schools.
Mr Falinski interjecting—