Gonski - Gone

This week in Parliament I spoke about how Labor stands for a fairer, more accessible and quality education.

A good education is the best creator of opportunity in our society.

It’s why in Government we put forward our $15 billion Better Schools Plan to enable the next generation of Australians  to reach their full potential.

If ever there was an example of a Government abandoning the next generation we have seen it this week with Tony Abbott’s broken election promise to support Labor’s education funding reform on a “unity ticket”.

The truth is he really never intended to keep that promise; it was just unashamed vote grabbing.

The fact that Education Minister, Mr Pyne used of the term “Con-ski” to refer to the Gonski reforms demonstrates he never had any intention of supporting an equitable model for school funding.

Their broken promise this week has removed any obligation on the States to fund schools with any fairness or equity.

Their broken promise has left it open for the states to gut funding for schools, and this is exactly what Barnett is doing to WA schools.

WA public schools are millions of dollars worse off under the Abbott government plan. It doesn’t even come close to covering the $100 million a year slashed from the State education budget by Mr Barnett.

A global report on education released today, by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), shows in Australia a big gap in student performance between the most well off and the most disadvantaged students. We now have a much wider gap between our top students and our bottom students than the OECD average.

Only Labor’s Better Schools model addresses this gap.

Education in Australia is at a cross roads. Will the Abbott Government take the responsibility to ensure a quality education for the next generation seriously?

Sadly, it seems that both the Abbott and Barnett Governments have simply abandoned Western Australia’s children.

This is something that Labor will never do.