THE HON TANYA PLIBERSEK MP
DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION AND TRAINING
SHADOW MINISTER FOR WOMEN
MEMBER FOR SYDNEY
FRIDAY 6 JULY 2018
SUBJECTS: Jenny Macklin; Funding for non-government schools.
TANYA PLIBERSEK MP, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Thank you and thanks for coming out this morning. I wanted to take this opportunity to say a few words about my dear friend and close colleague, Jenny Macklin, who has announced today that she will be retiring at the next election and stepping down from the Shadow Ministry, effective immediately. Jenny Macklin has had the biggest influence on social policy in this county, I think of pretty much any person ever. Most of the significant reforms that have been made in the last two, or even three decades, are because of the work of Jenny Macklin. Paid parental leave, dad and partner pay, the Apology to the Stolen Generations and the Closing the Gap Strategy, new support for carers, the largest increase in the aged pension in 100 years. And the most significant reform since the introduction of Medicare, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, driven and designed by Jenny Macklin.
Jenny Macklin has had a huge influence on the lives of millions of Australians and she's done it always, not with any thought to her own benefit, but always with the thought of the people that she went into Parliament to stand up for. The forgotten Australians, the child migrants, the age pensioners, the carers, the unemployed, people living with a disability, people relying on Government benefits. All of them have benefited because of the fierce intellect, strong advocacy skills and deep compassion of Jenny Macklin. Jenny has always fought for an economic policy for Australia that has prioritised full employment because she has always known that the best way out of poverty was a good job with decent pay and conditions. But for those Australians who can't work, they've had no stronger defender than Jenny Macklin. People with disability and their carers who rely on Government services, aged pensioners, so many examples of people who have benefited because of Jenny's fierce advocacy over the years.
I'd also like to say that when Jenny went into the Parliament, it was a very different place. Labor's almost achieved our target of having 50 per cent of our caucus made up of women, but that's not the Parliament that Jenny entered. She was a trailblazer for Labor women and I'd say a role model for many millions of Australian women. She was the first woman of any political party to take on a leadership position. She was the Deputy Leader to both Kim Beazley and Mark Latham, and she would have made a very fine Deputy Prime Minister. She's always been someone who's looked out for the next generation of women, made sure that their path was smoother than her own. And I'm personally very, very grateful to her for the support that she's shown me.
Thanks. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: What will Jenny Macklin's legacy be?
PLIBERSEK: Jenny Macklin's legacy is to have touched the lives of millions of Australians. I think perhaps the biggest single thing that people will point to in generations to come is the National Disability Insurance Scheme, although the Closing the Gap strategy and her role in the Apology to the Stolen Generations, her role in the Apology to the Forgotten Australians too, all of these will be remembered as absolutely life changing for millions of Australians.
JOURNALIST: Can I ask you about schools funding? Do you believe that parents' income should be tied directly to the funding that private schools receive?
PLIBERSEK: The Schools Resourcing Board has only just released the report that reviews the socio-economic status funding of schools. I haven't yet had a chance to read that report. I haven't had a chance to talk to stakeholders about the contents of the report, so I'm going to have a look at it before I make extensive commentary. What I would say is Labor supported the socio-economic status review in the first place. We do know that we need to have a good basis for decisions about directing funding to the schools that need the most help, but because I haven't read the review I'm not going to comment on the specific recommendations that it makes.
JOURNALIST: Broadly speaking though it is a fairer way isn't it, looking at parent's income as opposed to socio-economic status?
PLIBERSEK: Socio-economic status has a lot of flaws to it. It depends on the practicality of any different system. We need to see whether there are practical alternatives.
JOURNALIST: And do you think there's a risk that elite private schools may be given less money as a result of this?
PLIBERSEK: I honestly couldn't say without much more closely examining the suggestions that have been made.