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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 554

Mr BROAD (Mallee) (15:37): This is a matter of public importance debate. This is the time when we throw mud at them and they throw mud at us. I like how it does not take long for the reflex action to kick in, with the shake of the head to say 'Shame, shame'. But there is not shame in this, because we are all concerned about the education of our children, which is a matter of public importance. I noticed when I was handing out how-to-vote cards last year that the Labor Party were saying, 'Health and education; health and education,' and it was interesting to see the look on their faces when we said, 'Health, education, border integrity and lower taxes.' It just pointed out that there is actually a holistic purpose to government.

I have learnt a word today—and I guess we are always learning. Education is about lifelong learning. I learnt the word 'mendacity'. That is a word that I had never heard before.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BROAD: I stand corrected. I must say that, when it comes to literacy, the Labor Party are better. They are good with their words. So I learnt a word today. But, when it comes to numeracy, I think the coalition probably has one up on you. I have been running a business for a long time, and I know what is a cut and what is a balloon payment that was never funded. I guess what we are talking about today is a balloon payment that was put forward in the forward estimates that was never accounted for and never had allocated funds put against it. What we have done is we have been responsible with our numeracy: in 2016, $16 billion; in 2017, $17 billion; and then $18 billion and $19 billion; and, by 2020, we will be funding $20.2 billion to our state governments for education. We are better at numeracy.

But just because you say something long enough does not make it true. I just want to make the point that money does not always equal outcomes. This is the challenge that a responsible government has to tackle. It has to be: how do we deliver the outcome we want to achieve? The thing that differentiates people on this side of the parliament as opposed to those on the other side is that we realise that throwing money at something does not always fix it. I just want to make that clear. We have focused on how we can deliver that service. We are strengthening the teaching and school leadership. We are developing the essential knowledge and the skills. We are focusing on phonics—the sounding of words.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr BROAD: You think it is revolutionary, but this is about delivering an outcome instead of just shovelling money at it. I also might point out that the federal contribution towards education funding is growing faster than the state contribution. And I might also point out that, when you look at the schools that I have, in a third of the state of Victoria, you see that they are largely forgotten by the administration of the state Labor government. They do not even know they are there. Some of the schools are white-ant eaten. This is because the state administration are very poorly administered.

We talked about sausage sizzles. Some of my very, very poor but private funded schools that can get direct funds from the federal government—

Ms Husar interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Lindsay is warned.

Mr BROAD: What they can do with their money is just phenomenal. They manage to stretch it. They manage to get local tradesmen to expand their works. I have to say that there is a lot to be said for better administration of our funds.

There are three things that make a good, educated student. One of those is their home life. If they are not getting fed breakfast and they do not have a good home life, they are not going to be a good student. The second is the culture of the schools. When I go to the schools across my patch I see very dedicated teachers who are doing their best but are largely passed over by the administration of the state Labor government. The third is the quality of the facilities. We must produce citizens, not just graduates. I am impressed with our young Australians. We are committed to them. We are the party that understands numeracy and can deliver the best education system for the future.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Before I call the member for Moreton, I remind the member for Deakin and the member for Franklin that there should be only one person speaking at a time—and please show respect.