House debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Questions without Notice


2:38 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Why is the Turnbull government giving large multinationals a tax cut while cutting billions of dollars from Australian schools?

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

Again the honourable member is seeking to anticipate what he imagines is going to be in the budget. Let me remind him of the realities of his own plan for spending on education. What the honourable member seeks to do is assert that he has the funds to pay for that, but he has not identified any. His friend, the Labor Premier of South Australia, has said that Mr Shorten, the opposition leader—

An opposition member: Tobacco!

Someone called out 'tobacco'. Is that the answer? Very good. The member for Adelaide nominates tobacco as the answer. Very good. That has not impressed the South Australian Premier, because what he has said, again and again and again, is that there is no coherent plan on behalf of the Labor Party to pay for it. What we have is a commitment to the highest level of spending on schools in the history of the Commonwealth, rising from $16 billion this year to $20 billion in 2020. What we have is a plan that will ensure that we get the outcomes parents value. The children will have the skills that enable them to compete in the 21st century economy. Teachers will be rewarded for their high capabilities, to encourage the most capable teachers to stay teaching. We will ensure that kids are assessed for literacy and basic numeracy when they come to school at age 5. The reason for that is that we know that what is happening at the moment is the gap between the best-performing kids and the worst-performing ones is growing. We have to recognise that we have been spending more and more on education, but the outcomes have not been improving.

The answer to that is ensuring that the taxpayers' dollars, the parents' dollars, are better deployed so that we get the better outcomes. So we are backing the parents; we are backing their aspirations. We are backing good teachers. And what we are doing is ensuring that, when kids get to year 1, we will find out how they are going and if they need support. If they need remedial teaching, they will get that support at a time when it can make the biggest difference. We are for great outcomes, we are for great schools, we are for great teachers. We are committed to ensuring that our children have the skills they need to compete and seize the great opportunities of the 21st century economy.