Matters of Public Importance | Schools

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

I relish the opportunity to speak on this MPI. This is the third education-related MPI that I have spoken on, and it is just as outrageous as the previous ones. There are two very common themes from Labor on education matters of public importance.

First, once again they are completely and utterly misleading the Australian public, and quite frankly we are all sick of it. Second, once again there is not one single South Australian on the other side. I would love to see one of my South Australian federal colleagues among the members opposite in this chamber for an education matter of public importance. I am going to come back to this, but there is a very good reason why we do not see them in this chamber: they are embarrassed. They are embarrassed by federal Labor's record on education. They are even more embarrassed by the state Weatherill Labor government's appalling record on education. That is why they are not here. That is why they are not speaking. That is why they will not show their faces in this place during a matter of public importance.

I will come back to this after I explain why the Turnbull government's Quality Schools package is fairer, simpler and more sustainable than the 27 separate deals that Labor struck whilst last in government. Our policy is yet another example of the Turnbull government cleaning up yet another Labor mess. Under the coalition, funding for schools will grow from $17.5 billion in 2017 to a record of $30.6 billion in 2027. Our commitment of $242 billion from 2018 to 2027 means that in just 10 years the Commonwealth will be consistently and fairly funding each and every school in the nation. The Turnbull government is a true friend of the schooling sector. We are the party that sticks by hardworking Australians with school-aged children.

I would like to congratulate my South Australian colleague the Minister for Education and Training, Senator Simon Birmingham, for the monumental effort he has undertaken to see the education system fixed. Of course, as a South Australian Minister Birmingham knows how bad the situation was in South Australia. The deal that former Prime Minister Julia Gillard struck with her equally incompetent counterpart, South Australian Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, was the worst in the nation. Considering that Ms Gillard was born and raised in South Australia, that really does make it worse in my estimation. Not only did South Australia receive less funding over the forward estimates than it should have, but most of the Gonski money from my home state was backloaded into the unfunded years 5 and 6, outside the funding projections. The Labor Party in South Australia, both state
and federal, should hang their heads in shame for what they did to our schools.

But do not take it from me; take it from Mr Michael Honey, Principal of Nazareth Catholic College in Adelaide, who said—last week, I think it was—on radio:

… we've been gutted … of funding in South Australia, the lowest funded sectors in Australia … … … …
… we're looking at a shortfall … of some $200 million per annum at the moment. … this is the deal that was done between Jay and Julia and is still in force today.

That is why there are no Labor members opposite in this chamber—because Labor completely did a raw deal for schools in South Australia.

Well, no longer. We are fixing Labor's mess, as I said, and we are proud to be doing so. In my electorate of Boothby, for example, we are going to see increases to every Catholic, independent and government school in terms of funding. Marion Primary School, a two-minute walk from my office, by 2027 will have received an extra $1.3 million in funding. Warradale Primary School, just down the road, will have received an extra $3.1 million by 2027. Colonel Light Gardens Primary School, where my great-grandmother and my grandmother both taught, will have an extra $4.4 million in funding by 2027. And my brother and sister, who are both teachers in the state school system, and my sister-in-law and brother-in-law will also be teachers who benefit from the
Turnbull  government's increase in funding.