THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
SUNRISE WITH DAVID KOCH AND SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE
WEDNESDAY 10 OCTOBER 2018
SUBJECTS: Labor's Plan for Schools funding; Religious freedoms report.
DAVID KOCH, PRESENTER: The ALP is preparing for an education funding war with the Government, promising to deliver the biggest investment in public schools in Australian history. The Opposition says under a Shorten Labor Government it will "fully reverse" Scott Morrison's $14 billion cuts to public schools, money that would buy 13,000 teachers or 23,000 teacher's aides. The PM says his school funding deal doesn't short-change the public school system.
Shadow Education Minister and Deputy Labor Leader Tanya Plibersek joins me now from Melbourne. Good morning to you.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning.
KOCH: Look both parties are making claims they're going to deliver record education funding, it's becoming a war on funding, which is great. Who is lying here?
PLIBERSEK: Well it is good for Australian children to have Labor today committing to an extra $14 billion for public schools over the next decade, $3.3 billion extra over the first three years alone, and I'm sure there are parents at home today who are planning to go down to the Bunning's sausage sizzle on Saturday or they are baking cakes for the school fete. They know every extra dollar is used by their school to deliver a better education for their kids. We've had the Liberals admit that they cut funding from Catholic and independent schools and say that they will restore billions of dollars to Catholics and independents. We say we need to restore funding to Catholic and independent schools, and public schools, which have seen the biggest cuts.
KOCH: So you're basically going to fully fund, by my understanding of it, the first Gonski report are you? The recommendation that even Julia Gillard's Government didn't implement and neither have Coalition governments has since, so you're going back to that are you?
PLIBERSEK: The first Gonski report had a look at the cost of educating a child in a school, and what the Government has done recently is say they are prepared to fund just 20 per cent of the cost of educating a child in a public school but 80 per cent of the cost of educating a child in a Catholic or independent school. We are saying every child in every school in every part of Australia is worth the same and we want to get all those children to 100 per cent of the fair funding level over time with the states and territories.
KOCH: OK. So a lot of people would be saying 'Hey where the money is coming from? $14 billion.' But your scheme sort of needs the states to increase their funding and also get over some performance hurdles as well.
PLIBERSEK: Absolutely. Look, the $14 billion is the extra money that we would put in if we are elected as the Commonwealth Government. But we would expect the states and territories to keep their funding levels as well. We don't want to put extra in and see the states and territories reduce their contribution. And we also want them to make sure we are getting good outcomes for that extra investment. To make sure that our kids are getting the basics. That their reading, writing, maths, science, that we're all over that. That we're picking up problems early, that we're fixing those problems, that the gifted and talented kids are getting extension, that we've got more choice, more languages, more vocational education, coding, arts. That we've got other supports so that if kids have trouble with their speaking or they do not know how to hold the scissors or they can't hold a pen, that we need speech pathology, occupational therapy, all of that extra help as well.
KOCH: Hey while we've got you, a review of anti-discrimination law has recommended church schools be given the right to turn away gay students and teachers. Is this likely to be approved? What do you think of that?
PLIBERSEK: This is a report that the Government's had for about five months and we haven't seen it. This little piece of it has been leaked today, I'm not sure why it's been leaked today. And basically they are saying that schools should be able to distribute against students who are gay and lesbian in the leak. I don't, look, Labor has said all along, we haven't seen the details but we've said all along, we don't really want to see an expansion of the right to discriminate and frankly, as an adult, as a mother, I think a proposal that would have adults turning away or rejecting kids, I don't know, it seems pretty off to me.
KOCH: All right, Tanya Plibersek, thanks for joining us.