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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5894


Mr PYNE (3:00 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Education. I refer the minister to the Hastings Public School in New South Wales, which was granted $400,000 for a covered outdoor learning area under the schools stimulus debacle. Given that the Hastings Public School built a similar covered outdoor learning area for just $40,000 in 2003—this represents a tenfold leap in just six years—what action will the minister take to stamp out waste and mismanagement in the schools stimulus debacle?


Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —I thank the shadow minister for his question, because it proves yet again how little the Liberal Party cares about education in this country. On the specific school that he raises, I will of course investigate the details of this matter, but can I say this: the track record of the Liberal Party in raising accurate claims in this House is a very poor one indeed. Given that we have already had questions from the Liberal opposition which, when investigated, turned out to be completely incorrect, I will not accept any fact asserted by the shadow minister without having it thoroughly checked. So we will undertake those checks.

The shadow minister might think it is smart, as a representative of the Liberal Party, to go around the country insulting school communities on the work that is happening in their schools. The Leader of the Opposition might think it is smart to vote against $14.7 billion going into local schools and all of the support for local jobs that that provides. But, if they ever got out of their Liberal Party bubble and went to a school and spoke to some real human beings about what is happening in their school, they would find a sense of delight about the possibilities for better quality education that this program brings. I personally have visited schools. I have addressed principals forums where we have talked through Building the Education Revolution and where principals, teachers, parents and, indeed, students themselves have been delighted about the possibility that it brings to their school and the support that it brings to their local community.

Here we are in the parliament and what we hear constantly from the opposition is carping, moaning and criticism, just like we are hearing now. What we never hear from the shadow minister for education is an education policy—not once, not ever.


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, on a point of order under the standing orders: the minister was asked a very specific question about profiteering. She is now engaging in rhetoric. If she does not know the answer off the top of her head, she should simply sit down.


The SPEAKER —Order! The Deputy Prime Minister is responding to the question.


Ms GILLARD —In conclusion, the government will get on with delivering its education revolution. I wait for policy statements from the shadow minister. When he makes those policy statements, I think that they should include answers to the following: if the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop Building the Education Revolution? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop the national curriculum process? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop the extra money that we provided for primary schools recurrent for government schools? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop our national partnerships for disadvantaged schools? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop our half-billion-dollar investment in literacy and numeracy? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop our $550 million investment in teacher quality? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop our investment in universal preschools? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop the delivery of more than 700,000 more productivity places? If the Liberal Party were elected at the next election, would they stop the Bradley reforms? I await the answers.