Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Questions without Notice

Education Funding

2:20 pm

Photo of Kim CarrKim Carr (Victoria, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Human Services) Share this | Hansard source

Thank you very much for the question, Senator Wright. The government has made it very clear that all schools in Australia—nearly 10,000 of them—will receive extra funding, whether they be Catholic schools, whether they be independent schools, whether they be public schools. What I can say to you, Senator, is that the great hallmark of the Labor Party in this country has been our commitment to education. Our No. 1 priority has been education.

I can say this to you, Senator: what attracted me to join the Labor Party in the mid-seventies was our commitment under the Whitlam government to equality of opportunity for all Australians. Education, of course, is the critical vehicle by which that has been done. That has remained our consistent position right throughout modern times: our commitment to ensure equality of opportunity for all Australians.

That is why this government has doubled the level of investment to $13.9 billion, compared to the $8.5 billion under the Howard government that was spent on school education.

What we have seen on the other side of the chamber is a fundamental commitment to injustice.

Only yesterday the Leader of the Opposition made it very clear in terms of education funding when he said:

So there is no question of injustice to public schools, if anything the injustice is the other way.

The view of the opposition is that public schools get too much money. The opposition position is that public education is overfunded. That is the measure. We talk a lot about class politics in this country; we are seeing something of their class politics here. (Time expired)


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