Parity in education

I just want to highlight that point. The Australian economy has remained slightly positive in terms of GDP since the Global Financial Crisis. The only reason it has been positive, though, is because 450,000 immigrants have arrived in the country each year. In terms of productivity, the gross domestic product per person, the economy has actually declined.

 

So, while we have been busy digging up the country and selling it off to the lowest bidder, our productivity has continued to slide. We are becoming less efficient, less productive in short we have been moving backwards, not forwards under the Julia Gillard education revolution.

 

Now, before I get stuck into the ALP for its poor record on education, let me just make it perfectly clear that I am not implying that a coalition government would have been better. The Coalition government has been busy undermining education at all levels since Howard was treasurer under Malcolm Fraser, and is threatening to accelerate the process if it is elected.

 

As the Teachers Federation so neatly put it in their advertisement, and I thank them for their support, the major parties are offering their teachers half an apple or a lemon.

 

I am here representing the full granny smith, the shiny green apple, that is The Greens education policy.

 

In 2007, I attended a range of forums organised by NSW Teachers Federation and listened to Justine Elliot claim that Julia Gillard’s education revolution would give us a fresh new start to equitable education. As the Greens candidate in that election, I expressed concern that the ALP was not going to protect public education, that the ALP planned to continue the “postcode” system of funding private schools, and would continue the erosion of TAFE by funding the construction of business colleges and the promotion of registered training organisations.

 

At those forums, Justine Elliot was asked a number of times to clarify the ALP position on these items. On each occasion she said, “I am Kevin Rudd’s candidate in Richmond and the fresh new approach Labor will take will deliver an Education Revolution that ensures a new start for all Australians.”

 

Well here we are ladies and gentlemen, three years later, the Education Revolution is under way and the results speak for themselves. TAFE struggles in all states, the funding for the 141 richest private schools continues to expand by $250 million a year and yet the skill shortage builds alarmingly. The 161 wealthiest private schools in Australia receive $432 million a year from the Gillard government. Some of these schools spend twice as much per student as the public schools do. That is not equitable.

 

Here in Lismore, the language and literacy department of the TAFE stands empty and the services are being delivered by a private provider. Community assets are being wasted, leased to private companies and education services continue to fall.

 

Here we are ladies and gentlemen, three years later and a handful of words in the script have changed but the future looks bleaker than the past.

 

The only way to protect public education, to ensure an investment in building an economy based on innovation and to move Australia onto a stable and robust footing is to Vote Green.

 

¨ The Greens want to end the funding of the extremely wealthy private schools and redirect the growth funding of all other non-government schools into public education. By funding all except the very wealthiest non-government schools at their 2003 levels, plus inflation, the Greens aim to create more than 6,800 new teachers in NSW alone.

¨ That’s a 13% growth in the number of teachers, allowing smaller class sizes, more attention for each student, more resources for children with special needs and more time and support for teachers to develop their skills.

¨ Smaller class sizes plus more teachers equals better education.

¨ No non-government school would close under Greens polices, nor would fees rise. Public schools would see a substantial growth in their funding to enable them to set the standards for class sizes and resources.

 

I believe the difference between The Greens and the corporate parties is obvious and stark. On August 21st I encourage you to vote 1 Joe Ebono in Richmond, and 1 for The Greens in the Senate. Vote 1 The Greens

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