I spoke in the Federation Chamber about Mr Turnbull's cuts to education on the 26th of March.
You can read the full speech below.
Ms BUTLER (Griffith) (10:42): There's been a lot of concern expressed in the community about the Liberal and National government's $17 billion in school funding cuts, and of course my community is no different. Labor has committed to putting all of that amount—the full $17 billion—back into education in the event that we win government at the next federal election, and we've made it very clear that that money will go where it's needed, in a genuine sector-blind fashion, to bring all schools in Australia, for the first time, up to the schooling resource standard. That means that of that $17 billion about 86 per cent would go into the public school system and the remainder into Catholic and independent schools. These are really important questions for parents across my electorate and across this country. You'll often hear people say that money doesn't fix problems. Well, of course it doesn't alone. But I tell you what: when it comes to properly resourcing education in this country, you can't fix problems without money either.
I recently held a couple of really useful events in my community. I held a town hall style meeting, which Tanya Plibersek, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the shadow education minister, attended, as well as Matthew Campbell, who's a local education expert in my community. We had a great roll-up from locals despite terrible weather that night. They were interested in hearing what Labor would do, if we were elected to government at the next federal election, to try to bring back some focus onto schooling education—making sure that teachers are equipped with the skills they need and also the time they need to devote to teaching and making sure that kids have the resources they need in order to have a quality education. So, as well as Tanya and Matthew, I want to thank Jo Briskey, who's Labor's candidate for Bonner, who also came along and spoke at that event, and of course St Martin's Catholic Primary School in Carina for hosting us, as well as local father Martin Pook for running the event for us.
I also had, at the request of one of my local Catholic schools, a Catholic schools roundtable. You would be aware that I've got a lot of Catholic schools in my electorate, Mr Deputy Speaker. Some of those schools are in quite wealthy areas, but they all have a lot of students in their student body who are from lower socioeconomic status areas, as well. I might say that some of the Catholic schools in my electorate also have a high number of refugee children and asylum seeker children. Those schools are very concerned about what this government is doing to the quality of Catholic education with its significant funding cuts that have been introduced through the deal that was done in the Senate. I want to thank very much all of the people who attended that roundtable and also thank Andrew Giles, who is the shadow assistant minister for schools, for coming along and speaking with the Catholic schools sector at that roundtable. We had a really great turnout, and I thank St Laurence's for hosting it.