Tony Abbott's broken promise on education
A couple of weeks ago four big bright green vans rolled into Canberra. The vans came to Canberra with a message - a message for Prime Minister Abbott from every school, every community, every town in every state and territory: Australians want Gonski.
Before the election, Tony Abbott said he was on a unity ticket with Labor on education. He promised that no school would be worse off under an Abbott Government.
But almost as soon as the election had been declared, the Abbott Government walked away from this promise.
The Prime Minister has not honoured the six year funding deals that Labor had signed with the states, territories, independent and Catholic schools as he promised he would do.
He has not maintained the requirement that states and territories must themselves increase funding to schools by three per cent a year – paving the way for states and territories to cut their own education funding, and replace it with federal funding.
He has broken his promise, and he has broken the trust of the Australian people.
Over the past few months I have spoken to schools around Canberra, to government schools, Catholic schools and independent schools, and they have all told me the same thing - under an Abbott Government, they have no funding certainty.
The great irony is that one of the key aims of the Gonski reforms was to ensure schools have certainty of funding. We all know that without funding certainty you cannot plan. You cannot make plans around staffing. You cannot offer your employees ongoing or permanent contracts. You cannot make plans around infrastructure, resources or schools size.
The Abbott Government has broken a promise on education – and Australians will not stand for it.
Labor will keep fighting the Prime Minister’s cuts to education, because we believe every child has the right to a great education, in a great school, supported by great teachers.