Monday, 2 May 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. The Abbott-Turnbull government cut $30 billion from Australian schools. Yesterday, the Prime Minister promised to reverse $1 billion of those cuts. Does the Prime Minister really expect people to be grateful that he is now cutting only $29 billion from Australian schools—cuts which will mean less individual support and less individual attention for every student at every school?
I thank the Prime Minister for the opportunity to respond to the question on education. The announcement that we made on the weekend would see public school funding increased by a third over the budget and forward estimates—by over a third. What it means is $1.2 billion in additional funding over that period of time. What is important about the announcement is not just the amount of funding in addition that we are putting into it but the focus on getting outcomes for that spending, ensuring that we get back to basics and we get the outcomes that parents are looking for and the improvements in teacher quality that are necessary to drive those education outcomes.
There are many people who support a greater focus on outcomes and education when it comes to how we match our spending, and one of those is the member for Fraser. In one of his many tomes, 'Long-run trends in school productivity: evidence from Australia', the member says:
All too frequently, education policy debates focus on inputs rather than outputs.
That is what he has to say. He says that what is important are:
… the results a school system is achieving for a given level of inputs.
Those opposite are proposing to the Australian people that what they claim they can do in education will be funded by tobacco excises and by increased spending with higher taxes. Now, we have heard all that before. We have heard it all before. When the then Assistant Treasurer, the now Leader of the Opposition, introduced the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill, this is what he had to say:
The MRRT will fund billions of dollars of new roads, bridges and other critical infrastructure …
The MRRT makes it possible to increase the superannuation guarantee …
The MRRT also makes it possible to deliver fairer super concessions for 3.6 million low income earners …
He said the 2012-13 budget outlined that the MRRT would raise—
Mr Husic interjecting—
$9.7 billion. That is what he said. But we know that the outcome demonstrated that it raised around just $400 million. We know that, when those opposite try to fund important expenditure through tax measures, with the Leader of the Opposition, with Bill Shorten, we know it just never adds up.