By Helen Richardson, AEU Branch President.
If there is one thing the EU referendum has taught us, it is that voting matters and being informed about the consequences of your vote matters even more.
I won’t beat around the bush, on Saturday you have a stark choice when it comes to voting for Gonski.
Bill Shorten and the ALP, and the Australian Greens, will continue with the rollout of Gonski school funding reform.
Malcolm Turnbull and the Liberals will axe Gonski and needs-based school funding at the end of next year.
At a conservative estimate, Malcolm Turnbull’s policy denies more than $70 million to Tasmanian schools – public and private – in the two years alone (2018/2019).
Worse still, Malcolm Turnbull’s last Federal Budget shows cuts and ongoing underfunding for public schools. That means under Malcolm Turnbull’s policy, if you work in a public school you will go backwards in terms of resources. It is spelled out in black and white in his own budget papers – you can read it for yourself here.
I don’t need to tell you what a disaster cuts of any proportion would be, nor the crying shame of the lost opportunities for our kids because they are denied $70 million in vital funding.
And I don’t need to tell Tasmanian Liberal Government Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff either. Mr Rockliff is on the record as saying that if Gonski is stopped it will condemn generations of Tasmanians to disadvantage.
What is also very concerning in regard to Turnbull’s policy is that there is little detail about what comes next – he will only say that new funding arrangements will be negotiated with Premiers. This contrasts with Gonski which is not just more funding for schools, according to need, but is a whole new funding model which is permanent.
On Saturday, I urge you to vote for the resources you need to do the job to the high standard that you set for yourself, so that every child at your school has the opportunity to reach their full potential.