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Simon Birmingham

Phone: 08 8354 1644

Office of Senator Birmingham
107 Sir Donald Bradman Drive
Hilton SA 5033



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Labor’s letter of lies to schools across the country shows that Bill Shorten is wilfully ignoring facts in order to scare students, parents and educators. It is nothing short of a dishonest smear campaign.
 
“Mr Turnbull’s policy of cutting $30 billion from schools…”
- Bill Shorten and Kate Ellis, Letter to schools, 6/4/16
 
FACT: There are no cuts. It is an utter lie to suggest that the Turnbull Government’s funding is doing anything but increasing each and every year, off of a record base, meaning there is no reason schools won’t be able to continue to support teachers and existing initiatives, such as specialist teachers or additional resources.
 
“…walking away from public education is one of the worst ideas ever put forward by a prime minister.”
- Bill Shorten and Kate Ellis, Letter to schools, 6/4/16
 
FACT: The Turnbull Government is not abandoning schools or public education and has never proposed doing so. We are putting a record $69.4 billion into schools and only ever proposed an alternative means to allow states to grow this by even more, if they wished (which all but WA rejected). This funding will continue to grow year on year into the future and builds on the growth of Commonwealth funding per student for public schools in real terms by 66.1 per cent over the past 10 years. 
 
“Labor has made the difficult decisions on taxation and savings necessary to make sure our plan for schools is fully funded and fully costed over the next decade.”
- Bill Shorten and Kate Ellis, Letter to schools, 6/4/16
 
FACT: Labor’s education policy funding outlook is built on a ‘tax and spend’ approach and economic fantasy. Even ABC’s Fact Check unit sees it as “rose-coloured” at best.
 
“[The Turnbull Government is] not providing any certainty about schools funding.”
- Bill Shorten, Press Conference, 6/4/16
 
FACT: The Turnbull Government’s growing funding is locked in and clearly outlined in budget papers. The only people who seem not to understand that are the Labor Party and Bill Shorten. Schools, parents and students can be confident that the Turnbull Government’s record investment in education is only going to increase. 
 
“What we're doing is Budget repair that's fair.”
- Bill Shorten, Press Conference, 6/4/16
 
FACT: What Labor is proposing is ‘Budget repair’ that adds to their $51.3 billion black hole at a time when the budget is already $36 billion in deficit. It’s not repair, it’s vandalism. Labor’s plans will only be paid for by higher taxes or greater debt, leaving fewer jobs and opportunities for students when they finish school.
 
“Well I’ll tell you what reform for…education funding looks like - needs-based funding in schools.”
- Bill Shorten, Press Conference, 6/4/16
 
FACT: Labor aren’t proposing reform. They’re just re-announcing unaffordable levels of spending with no reforms to how it is used.  Needs-based funding is built into our existing and future funding models, ensuring students with higher needs receive more funding.

The fear being spread by Labor and the unions about schools funding detracts from the real conversation we need to be having. While funding matters, what you do with it matters even more. Evidence tells us to focus on the quality of teachers and teaching; the teaching of reading and maths; and the engagement of parents. That's exactly what the Turnbull Government is doing. 
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