PMB Education Funding
Posted on Tuesday, 13 February, 2018
Mr RAMSEY: I do believe, though, that a mistruth is being repeated here which is simply not correct. Labor and the member opposite claim to have the high moral ground on education. On one hand they say David Gonski's the font of all knowledge on education, when in fact Mr Gonski was never happy with the model Labor devised. They ignore his statements to that point, and in fact they even named their hotchpotch of funding after him—the 'the full Gonski'. How disappointing it must be to them that David Gonski has disowned that model. They never had the full Gonski. They never had full needs based funding. They had a different set of deals for each state and each sector within the state, meaning that students in one state were receiving less than students from other states in similar schools and of similar socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, the model provided incentives to states to reduce funding to schools. What the Labor Party will not acknowledge now is that their unfunded proposal was not fair or consistent, and the man they've put so much store in—the man they named their unfunded policy after, David Gonski—has not endorsed their model; he has endorsed the government's.
How can it be that grown-up people duly elected to this place can stand here and say that an increase in funding is a cut? What planet does that come from? Australia wide, the government sector will receive an extra $25 billion over the next 10 years on the 2016-17 figures—extra, not less. I had a look at the dictionary, and in this context 'cut' means 'reduce, decrease, decline, drop or fall'. I asked myself, which one of these best coincides with 'increase'? Is an increase a drop? Is an increase a fall? Is an increase a decrease? It's just as well the member for Wakefield is not a maths teacher. Is it that the member for Wakefield doesn't want an extra $850,000 for Craigmore High School over the next four years? Or is it that he doesn't want an extra $700,000 for Salisbury Primary over the next 10 years? Perhaps he should tell Elizabeth South Primary School that he's opposed to their receiving an extra $210,000 over the next four years and $430,000 over the next 10 and is hanging out for a better offer.
In my electorate there are schools like Ceduna, Port Augusta Secondary, Whyalla High, Port Pirie Secondary and especially remote and disadvantaged schools, like Ernabella and Coober Pedy, that stand to gain greatly from the new arrangements. Labor and the member for Wakefield are flogging a dead horse—a dead and deceitful horse—on this particular issue. And how do I know the horse is dead? Because I'm not getting any contact to my office. No-one is contacting my office and saying they are unhappy with the education deal that has been put forward by the federal government. I've been in this place long enough to pretty much know that a government policy is out of order with a sector of the community—the phones and emails run hot. On this issue there is silence. That's why I know the government has got it right. The only people left bleating at the edges now are the Labor Party. They are the only people. Everybody else has moved on from this issue. I congratulate Senator Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, on this model. He has done very good work.