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Monday, 6 December 2004
Page: 95


Senator ALLISON (7:56 PM) —The Democrats will support this amendment. It has been our view for some time that educational funding decisions are not made on the basis of the most important need—the educational need of students—as I said in my speech in the second reading debate. Funding decisions at the present time are based on the capacity to pay fees and not on the very diverse range of student abilities within schools, student needs and educational needs. These should be first and foremost our underlying funding rationale.

Some students will need far more attention than others. Some students come to school already reading; others come to school with very little by way of vocabulary and a lot of problems looming. So we are pleased that the ALP is now talking about educational need. There was once a Disadvantaged Schools Program which, I think, was an ALP initiative. It has been a great pity that that was broadbanded and a lot of it lost to schools with highly disadvantaged students. Insofar as this changes attitudes to the way we fund education, the Democrats are pleased to support it.