SUBJECTS: Government education cuts; NAPLAN; Pacific Islands Forum.

JO BRISKEY, ALP CANDIDATE FOR BONNER: My name is Jo Briskey, I am Labor's candidate for the Federal seat of Bonner where we are right in the middle of today at this fabulous local school, Belmont State School.  It's been great to bring Tanya and Andrew here today. We've just gone on a tour of some of the fantastic work that's been done in classrooms across this school and the difference that the Federal funding is making for kids at this school. But the fact is, this year and next year, this school should be getting an additional $760,000. That's an incredible amount of money that should have been here this year and next year and making sure that our kids are getting the education that they deserve. We saw the difference in a Grade 2 reading program where we had a number of small groups being able to be led by different teachers and teacher aides and that's able to be done because of Federal funding but it's limited for those classrooms - it should be being delivered in all our classrooms and the principal has told us the difference that would make if only the school had the additional $760,000 that they should have been getting this year and next. And this is the very reason why I put my hand up to run because I want to see this money delivered to this school and schools right across this electorate. It should be coming to schools not be going to the big banks and that's why I'm here today and I'm glad to have Tanya and Andrew with me to be able to do deliver that message to the community of Bonner. So I'll hand it over to you Tanya.
TANYA PLIBERSEK, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Well thank you very much Jo. It's terrific to be here with Jo Briskey, Labor's candidate for Bonner and Andrew Giles who's the Assistant Shadow Minister for Education. This is a beautiful school and we're so grateful to Anthony, the Principal, and the school leaders who have been showing us around, showing us what's going on in classrooms here at Belmont State School. But as Jo said, this school would be substantially better off if the Liberals had not cut $17 billion from school funding. This school alone would have been $760,000 better off in calendar years 2018 and 2019 if the Liberals hadn't cut school funding. Now we've had a change of personnel when it comes to the Liberal Party leadership, we've got a new Prime Minister and a new Education Minister but we need to know that there's a change of policy as well. Scott Morrison has said that the new Minister, Dan Tehan, has to sort out the funding cuts from Catholic schools and we agree with that. Labor has already said that we would restore the funding cut from Catholic schools, but what we need to remember is that the biggest funding cuts have come from public schools, about 85 per cent of the funding cuts in 2018 and 2019 are from public schools just like this one, and there is no solution while ever this Government remains committed to cutting $17 billion from our schools. We will not accept a partial solution that looks after just one part of the education system. Public schools, Catholic schools and independent schools are all worse off under the Liberal government. They all deserve to have their funding restored and that's Labor's commitment.

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This school alone is $760,000 worse off in 2018 and 2019 because of the Liberal government's funding cuts. We know that $17 billion has been cut across the school system. Public schools, Catholic schools and independent schools have all been hit hard by these funding cuts. Of course the Government said that they're going to sort out the mess with Catholic school funding. Liberals have called it an "omni-shambles", a "festering sore". Of course, we agree - Catholic school funding has to be sorted out, Labor is committed to doing that but we have to remember that 85 per cent of the funding cuts have been to public schools. There is no way that we will accept a solution that looks after just one part of our schooling system. Public schools, Catholic schools and independent schools have all lost funding under this Government's $17 billion worth of cuts. Every sector should have their funding restored.

I'm very interested to know whether Dan Tehan, as the new Education Minister, will restore the $17 billion cut from our schools to allow more great programs like we've seen this morning, more personalised teaching, more one-on-one, more help with the basics, a greater ability to teach children in small groups so that we pick up early if kids are left behind in any area of their learning and we invest in making sure that we catch those kids up so that they've got a great start to their education.
Dan Tehan should agree to debate me as soon as possible, because while the personnel have changed, the policies are the same. Scott Morrison as Prime Minister is the same man who thought it was a good idea to cut $17 billion from schools and give it to the big banks as a tax cut. Scott Morrison as Prime Minister is the same man as Scott Morrison who was the Treasurer who cut funding to schools to give it to big banks as a tax cut. Dan Tehan should debate me at the National Press Club as soon as possible so that he can say what's going to change with the new line-up. Will you restore funding to pre-schools? We know there's no funding for pre-schools beyond 2020. Will you restore the $17 billion cut from our schools? Will you restore the more than $3 billion cut from TAFE, training and apprenticeships? Will you restore the billions cut from universities? Dan Tehan - debate me. 
OK any questions between the bells?
JOURNALIST: Do you want to say anything on NAPLAN?
PLIBERSEK: Yes well we've seen the results released from NAPLAN today and of course there are some positive elements to this, there's some areas where we've flatlined and of course writing is an area of concern. What I'd say is we cannot help those kids who are falling behind without the capacity for extra investment. That's why we should restore the $17 billion cut from our schools. But I add one other comment. Now ten years in, of course it's time for us to look at whether NAPLAN is still as effective as it can be but without a national test like NAPLAN we wouldn't know how our kids are doing with their reading, with their writing, with their maths. So by all means let's make sure this test is modern, is fit for purpose, gives teachers and parents great information faster about how their kids are doing at school. But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. It is really important that we are confident that kids are getting the basics under their belt. That they can read, write, do maths, and then we need to look at the other areas of learning as well - their creativity, their ability to work in teams. Today we looked at kids doing coding. We need to make sure that kids' education readies them for the 21st century and the jobs of the future. Jobs that haven't even been invented yet. So let's get NAPLAN right and let's make sure that every child in every classroom in every school in every system gets the best education, a world-class education that prepares them for an exciting future. 

Can I just say one other thing about NAPLAN? It is incredible that this Government managed to stuff-up the delivery of NAPLAN online, just as they stuffed-up the Census, just as they've stuffed-up the NBN, just as they've stuffed up the delivery of the e-Health record, just as they have stuffed up transitioning parents to a new childcare system, that leaves one in four parents worse off. It honestly is like there is no project like this that the Government touches that they don't manage to turn to rubbish.
Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Speaking of stuff ups, in another area, the Government's stated policy to strengthen relationships with the Pacific Islands countries, and I'm asking because of your previous experience in foreign affairs, would you like to venture an opinion on the impact of Scott Morrison not going to the Pacific Islands Forum?
PLIBERSEK: I think it is very disappointing that Scott Morrison has said he is not going to the Pacific Islands Forums. The Pacific is important for us. We have had friendly good relations with our Pacific neighbours for many decades, but the Indo-Pacific region is becoming increasingly important in strategic terms as well. If Australia withdraws there is a competition to fill the vacuum. I would prefer Australia to be a good friend and increased presence in the Pacific. We know that we have cut funding in this area and we have observed the strategic vacuum developing because of those aid funding cuts. For the Prime Minister not to attend the Pacific Islands Forum I think is a serious - I mean, it's an insult to our neighbours - but it's also a serious strategic mistake. It's not good for our national defence  to turn our back on our good neighbours. 
Any other questions? Thanks.