Questions Without Notice: Take Note of Answers - 2 February 2016


Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (15:18) Thank you very much Deputy President, I’m very pleased to join in this very very important debate, and I start by also commending the wonderful teachers we have here in the ACT, the wonderful schools we have here in the ACT, both in the government and non-government sector. I have had the privilege of attending some of these schools here in the ACT, along with my family members both in the public sector and the non-government sector and my kids now have the opportunities in these wonderful schools. So I commend the teachers here in Canberra and around the country, who do such an outstanding job.

 

 

I think when we do take note of answers its worth reflecting on just the point that the opposition is trying to make in some of their questioning, and I gotta say you know this is a little bit like the first day of school, it’s the first day back for us here in the Senate after the summer break. And you would think, you would think that having had time to regroup, having had many weeks to regroup, that the Labor party could have come up with something a little bit better than this. You know they meandered around; they meandered around about Prime Minister Turnbull’s views on the Republic, on climate change on same-sex marriage, and when that didn’t get anywhere they started asking other questions.

 

And I thought what a tired strategy, you know you would think that in an election year, you know we’ve had the ‘year of ideas’ last year which produced some extra idea for some taxes from the Labor party, you would think that in an election year they would be rearing to go. But unfortunately that’s not what we saw in question time today.

 

And that brings us some of their questioning on education. This is lazy policy from the Labor party. And this is policy they know they can’t deliver. They can’t afford it, they can’t deliver it. They knew that when they were in government, which is why they put it to years 5 and 6. You know, this is the fundamental issue here. Let’s look at the first 4 years, let’s look at the four year cycle of the budget, which is what we did, which is what treasurer’s deal with, which is what government’s deal with. What the Labor party had when they were in government and which is what the coalition government has now. And over those four years, over those fours that we committed to, not only will we match what the Labor party was going to deliver, we will deliver an extra 1.2 Billion dollars. That’s a fact. So that’s the record in terms of the coalition government.

 

Now we’ve seen that increase in funding of 27.3% over the forward estimates, a significant increase in funding. But as the point has been made, that yes you need to invest in our schools as we are, significant increased investment. But that is not the only question, as to how you get better outcomes. Because we’ve seen a 100% increase from the late 80’s to around 2011/12 there was a 100% increase in school’s funding in Australia, yet we saw many of our outcomes going backwards. So it’s not the be all and end all.

 

So even though we are increasing funding by 27.3% in Education, over those forward estimates, 1.2 billion dollars more than Labor was going to deliver, that’s not the only answer. That’s not the whole equation.

 

But deputy President, it comes down to the credibility of Labor to deliver. The reason they pushed it out to years 5 and 6, is because they haven’t done the work, they don’t have the money, they didn’t have the money because they wasted it in government, and they certainly wouldn’t have the money if they were ever trusted with the treasury benches again. You don’t have to believe me, believe Jay Weatherill. Believe Jay Weatherill if you want to know Labor’s credibility on funding their education promises. Because what did Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Labor Premier say about their plans. He says we haven’t seen any coherent or sustainable way in which that is going to be funded.

 

Those are the words of a South Australia Labor Premier; and if even your mates in South Australian Labor don’t believe you on education funding, how can the Australian people believe you on education funding. Jay Weatherill has called you out. He said you can’t fund it. He said you’ve got no plans to fund it. Tinkering with multinationals is not going to fund your plans. You’re going to have a budget black hole. This is the fundamental credibility problem Labor has. Not just on education, but a whole range of other things. And until they can fix that, they can never be trusted to govern again.