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Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Page: 3276


Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (14:54): My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer confirm that the budget reveals $3.1 billion in national partnerships and targeted program funding for schools will be cut but only $2.8 billion will be redirected to a new school funding model? How can the Treasurer claim that schools will be better off in the next four years when they are facing a $325 million cut?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:54): Another question, another fiddle with the figures. There is $9.8 billion in this budget to implement the school improvement program, something that everyone on this side of the House is absolutely proud of. Of course, we know what is going to happen if we do not get this program implemented. What it is actually going to mean if the existing model that those opposite support stays in place and we do not get Gonski, the school improvement model—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, on a point of order: to be relevant he needs to address the issue of the next four-year cut, not the 10-year program.

The SPEAKER: The member for Sturt will resume his seat. The member for Sturt is introducing argument. The Treasurer has the call.

Mr SWAN: Madam Speaker, there is no cut. But I can tell you where the cut will be. In my home state of Queensland, if Gonski is not implemented, there will be a cut all right—about $2 billion to schools in Queensland under the Liberal Party policy, thereby proving the point that I made earlier. What the Liberals in this House are really on about is taking an axe to the social safety net and in particular to health and education because it is in their DNA. That is what they do. That is why we have had all this fiscal fearmongering today from them.

Today we have a statement from former Prime Minister Howard who says that our debt levels are low. Former Prime Minister Howard can acknowledge the fundamental economic fact in this country but not those Neanderthals on the other side who want to implement a form of austerity in this country which will take the axe to health and education and jobs.