Education Funding

I too took my kids to school last week as Senator Dastyari did. I share his comments in commending the incredible commitment of the teachers and principal at my children's school, St Benedict's Catholic Primary School in Yeppoon. It is a wonderful school, and they do a great job. 

I am proud to say that all of my three children actually seemed to want to go to school. There were no complaints, tears or dragging them out of bed. I do not know if that will happen every day this year, but it is nice to start the year on a positive step.

I noted Senator Dastyari did talk about his own children to start with and he did spend a lot of time speaking about the Labor Party's policy they announced last week, which you might have seen was titled 'Your Child. Our Future'. To me that was quite a scary title and frame to put on things. I think you can look after your children, Senator Dastyari. I do not particularly want to have any kind of ownership over your children, but apparently the Labor Party wants to have some ownership over my children and other people's children as well. That approach of the Labor Party is testament to their overall overbearing and controlling approach.

In fact, improvements to our children's schools are going to come not so much from what we do in this place but from the good work, commitment and cooperation between parents, teachers and local school communities. There is no magic wand that a minister, Treasurer or budget down here in this place could wave and suddenly have my son no longer wanting to play Minecraft every night and wanting to go learn the periodic table. That is not going to happen. It is not going to happen by Labor's policy. It is not going to happen by spending billions more dollars. It is going to happen by commitment to better education at all of our schools.

I also took note that Senator Dastyari said very clearly that in his view we cannot achieve better educational outcomes unless we have more funding. That is the Labor Party's position. It is all tied to the inputs. It is all tied to how much we spend. In fact, we have spent 40 per cent more on education in the last decade. According to the Labor Party's own 'Your Child. Our Future'policy document, over that period, according to OECD data, in the year 2000 only one country outperformed Australia in reading and maths and in 2006 only two countries outperformed Australia in science. Today, 16 countries outperform Australia in maths, nine countries outperform Australia in reading and seven countries outperform Australia in science. By their own admission and their own data we have gone backwards in the past 10 to 15 years at the same time as we have spent 40 per cent more on education funding.

How do they explain that? How do you explain that the response to this reduction in our performance in the past 10 to 15 years is just to throw more money at the problem? That is the Labor Party's approach to every problem that comes in: just spend more money. Just spend more money on these Medicare reforms that are controversial now. Do not worry about the results. Do not worry about whether they actually deliver what you promised and what you argued for.

We are in a new year now. It is an election year, and the Australian people will have a choice later for a Labor Party that is still addicted to spending too much of their money, still addicted to throwing billions of dollars at problems regardless of the outcome. They do not care. They do not do the analysis. They are not particularly concentrating on the results. They only care about how many dollar signs they can put before the next policy announcement they make. They will not fully fund it, as Jay Weatherill, the Premier of South Australia, admits. They will not have a proper funding plan for it. If we do end up with a Labor government after this election, it will no be 'Your Child. Our Future'; it will be your debt and you having to pay it back. That is what will happen if the Labor Party get back into office. They will continue to spend your money, regardless of what the outcomes deliver, like they did with $900 cheques, school halls and many other programs in their last term in government. God help Australia if they get back in and can have a cash barbecue of billions of dollars more of your money with their misguided plans.

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