The Shadow Education Spokesperson’s contributions to public debate in recent days have been a mix of blatant lies and staggering hypocrisy.
Don’t be fooled by Tanya Plibersek’s bluff and bluster. She is trying to distract from the fact that last week, she and her Labor Party colleagues voted against an additional $23.5 billion for Australian schools distributed according to a plan that has been endorsed by Gonski Review panellists Ken Boston, Kathryn Greiner and even David Gonski himself, not to mention the Grattan Institute, the Mitchell Institute and the former head of the Australian Education Union.
The school Ms Plibersek visited yesterday will get an additional $5 million under our plan. She should be explaining why she and the Labor Party voted against that funding increase.
Funding under our plan for Australian schools grows from already-record levels. Even Ms Plibersek’s Labor colleague, the Northern Territory’s Education Minister, has acknowledged our plan increases funding and that there are no cuts.
The simple facts are that under the Turnbull Government’s needs-based funding plan, students in the government school sector are set for a 6.4 per cent annual average increase, significantly above the average annual increase for non-government school students.
The Turnbull Government’s plan ensures students who need the most support get the most support as quickly as possible.
That’s fair. That’s needs-based.
Ms Plibersek was part of a government that punished states for funding their schools well. No state was left worse off than Western Australia by Tanya Plibersek and the Labor Party.
I challenge Tanya Plibersek and Bill Shorten to visit a public school in Western Australia and explain why, under the Gillard Government’s arrangements, WA schools would have been $1.6 billion worse off than under our Gonski needs-based funding plan.
Ms Plibersek and Labor abandoned WA schools when they were in office. Under our plan public schools in Western Australia get a 9.7 per cent per student average annual funding increase – the highest of any state.
I’ve been honoured to meet so many fantastic students and teachers in Western Australia during my visit and to tell the community at Woodvale Secondary College that our plan increases their funding by 94 per cent while Wesley College will get an additional 46 per cent to ensure all schools are treated by the Commonwealth based on their individual need.
Tanya Plibersek and the Labor Party have back flipped on supporting needs-based funding and must answer:
– Where will their additional $17 billion in funding come from? Would they scrap our tax cuts for small business?
– How would they distribute their funding? What would each school and sector get exactly? Would they go back to the 27 special deals they stitched up last time that disadvantaged different schools, states and sectors?
I call on the Labor Party to drop the scare campaign. The facts about our plan are there for all Australians to see. It’s only Labor that seems confused about whether to support needs-based funding and how schools should be funded.