Senate debates

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Statements by Senators

Education Funding

12:58 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise this afternoon in senators' statements to put on the record some remarks around the significant announcement that was made by the Labor leader, Bill Shorten, about reform that is needed to continue the improvements that have been implemented by Labor with the announcement of the Gonski funding reforms. The Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten, announced the 'Your Child. Our Future' suite of reforms around education that, I think, are absolutely vital for the future of this nation. It represents one of the most significant improvements in school education that we have seen in two generations in this country.

Labor understands that improving access to a quality education is the critical dimension of enabling the success of individual students through the school. So it is about your child; it is about your grandchild; it is about those individual children. But it is also about ensuring that the collective investment of the country in a fine education for each young Australian is a benefit to each one of us in this nation. These are the children of a nation—the children of families and parents, certainly, but the children of a nation—who will be our greatest resource going forward. We need to invest in them, and we need to do it in a way that is sustainable and a way that makes sure that that whole sector can plan for excellence in education for every single child. And I do mean every single child, no matter what their background, no matter where they live, whether it is in the city or the country or in remote or regional areas around the country, no matter whether it is in Catholic schools, independent schools, government schools or schools of any particular philosophical bent. We live in a country, a nation, where every student should be able to walk through the gates of any school and know that they are going to get a fine education. Sadly, that is not the case.

The government opposite promised in the lead-up to the last election that they would fund Gonski reforms in full. They had placards outside polling booths saying they would match—


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