'We want to end the funding uncertainty for schools.' This was the promise of those opposite prior to the election. 'You can vote Liberal or Labor and you will get exactly the same amount of funding for your school.' Those were the words of the now Minister for Education. 'No cuts to education,' they said. Now, those opposite are trying to tell Australians that they only ever meant to end the funding uncertainty on a temporary basis. They only meant to guarantee schools would get exactly the same amount of funding in the short term. Well, Australians are not buying it.
Prior to the election, the coalition wilfully deceived Australians by saying they were on an 'absolute unity ticket' with Labor when it came to Gonski. But, in Tuesday night's budget of broken promises, we saw that at the very first opportunity they have walked away from that promise. The Gonski reforms were the most comprehensive education review in 40 years. They came about after years of lobbying, advocacy and research by the education sector. They had the support of teachers, principals, parents, students, states and territories. They were supported by the Catholic sector, the independent sector and the public sector. Australians will not stand idly by and watch them get thrown on the scrap heap.
From the conversations that I have had with Canberrans in the last few days, I know that they are absolutely outraged by this betrayal and will not stand for it. Australians want Gonski reforms not just for four years but permanently.