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Thursday, 20 June 2013
Page: 6516


Mr SYMON (Deakin) (14:23): My question is to the Prime Minister. How will all Australian schools benefit from our plan for school improvement; and what is the choice facing schools and parents?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:23): I thank the member for Deakin for his question. I thank him for his deep interest in his local schools. I have had the opportunity to spend some time with him in his electorate and meet with some of the schoolchildren there. I know he wants them to have the best possible future. He wants them to go to the best possible schools. I thank him for his question because it enables me to say to the House that the role and responsibility of government is to do the big things that are necessary to shape our nation's future; to make sure that our country has a stronger, smarter and fairer future; to get the big things done that invest in that future on behalf of all Australians.

That is why the government has time after time worked on major reforms which will strengthen us as a country—including creating a clean energy future; including investing in the National Broadband Network; including reforms in health and aged care; including building the National Disability Insurance Scheme; and, including, very importantly, so that every child and every Australian can have the best possible future, investing in those great institutions that create opportunity in our country—that is, Australian schools.

We are investing in early childhood education because we want every child to get a flying start into the best possible life. We have created more apprenticeships and traineeships than have existed before in our country, because we want young people to have those all important skills, those trade qualifications for the future. We have created more university places than there have ever been before. We have put more into research and we have put more into innovation, because we want this country to be as smart as we know it can be. But we now want to ensure that every child in every school gets a great education so they can make the most of those opportunities for the future.

This is, firstly, something that you build when you recognise the current funding model is broken. I recognise that; Premier O'Farrell recognises that; unfortunately, the Leader of the Opposition defends that broken model. And then, having recognised that the model is broken, we come up with a well researched, careful plan for change, which is what we have been doing over more than five years now. Then you seek agreement for it. Once again I am calling on premiers and the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory to do the right thing, to resist the political pressure from the opposition, to put our kids first. They should be recognising in their leadership of their areas that there is something more important to them than succumbing to the political pressure of the opposition, and that is getting every child in the schools they have responsibility for a great education.