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Motion: Funding for Schools

Mehreen Faruqi 16 Sep 2019

I just want to say: let's not make any mistake about what's happening here today. The government is making good its promise of big cash for the private school sector without doing a single thing for public schools. Nothing any of you have said—and you really haven't said much—can paper over the fact that you are voting for widening the divide between the haves and the have-nots of the Australian education system. It's not only a state responsibility to make sure that public education gets the funding that it needs; it is absolutely incumbent on the federal government to make sure that the gap in inequality does not widen, but that's exactly what you both—Labor and Liberals—are voting on today.

Parents, teachers and the community do know much better than the transparent weasel words of those of you who are sitting here. You know that. There is absolutely no justification for the choice and affordability slush fund to exist. I reiterate: there are no guidelines. No-one knows—not even the department could answer my questions—how the formula for the money was developed, where the money is going to go and what criteria are being used for that. Around the country, surely we have to have a better deal for public schools. We have to reverse the neglect that public schools have suffered for years. But we can't do that when public schools are overlooked each and every time by the federal government. There needs to be some leadership shown by you lot.

I just want to conclude by saying that I remind you that this slush fund will only serve to widen this extreme gap. It's the perfect symbol of education inequality that has been rising in Australia—a big pile of cash for private schools, with no justification, no guidelines and no accountability. The Greens proudly put forward this motion to disallow this Liberal slush fund for private schools.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Kitching ): The question is that the disallowance motion, as moved by Senator Faruqi, be agreed to.

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