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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7131

Schools


Mr LYONS (Bass) (14:10): My question is to the Prime Minister. What progress has there been on the government's plan for better schools and what does it mean for Tasmanian schools in particular?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:11): I was just warming up on carbon pricing, but I do thank the member for Bass for his question because it enables me to draw to the attention of the House something that I think will be treated with delight by this side of the House and by the crossbenchers. It is that the Senate has now passed our Australian Education Bill. It is now the law of this country: a plan for school improvement and a plan for better funding of Australian schools.

What the passing of this legislation means is that six out of 10 children in Australian schools are now covered by our new funding plans and our plan for school improvement. That is great news for children around the country: in independent schools, in Catholic schools, the children who go to New South Wales schools, the children who go to schools in the ACT and the children who go to schools in South Australia. What they will see from this government is increased resources in their schools, combined with a new way of working which we know lifts outcomes for children. We know it because we have proved it in the national partnership schools where we are already working.

What remains is for those conservative leaders in the other jurisdictions to step forward and put the children in their schools first. What an absurdity it would be for the Premier of Victoria or the Premier of Queensland to countenance a situation where children in New South Wales had a better resourced education than the children in their schools, where the schools within their jurisdiction were subject to different funding arrangements. We need these premiers to sign up. We need Premier Barnett to sign up. We need the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory to sign up.

So these vital reforms are not put at risk, we also need the Leader of the Opposition to turn away from his destructive plan, the way in which he is putting pressure on conservative leaders to not endorse our plans for school improvement and the way in which he is going to the next election threatening to cut our schools to the bone. Our kids deserve better. They deserve a world-class education. Six out of 10 Australian children can look forward to that world-class education because of the actions of this Labor government and the laws that have passed the parliament today. I ask the Leader of the Opposition to not put that at risk for Australia's children.