Shorten makes education the focus for Labor in 2016
May 09, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
Bill Shorten has launched his election campaign with a rallying cry for education to be placed at the heart of the debate.
The Opposition Leader has declared Labor is ready to fight an "education election".
"I want to put an end to the education wars once and for all," he told the NSW Teachers Federation this week.
"We will fight this as an education election.
“We will put the funding on the table to make sure every teacher in Australia gets the recognition and the support to back up what they do every day."
Education is an area that polls strongly for the opposition and in which it has seized the initiative from the Government with fully outlined policies on school and university funding.
Mr Shorten reiterate his pledge to fully fund the Gonski school spending reforms replaced by the Turnbull Government with a less expensive model.
Gonski polls well in marginal seats and has strong grass roots support for its needs-based allocation of resources.
Education minister Simon Birmingham last week pledged an extra $1.2 billion for schools over the three years from 2018, but the figure falls well short of the 4.5 billion Labor has committed to fully fund Gonski in 2018-19 if it wins government on July 2.
Mr Shorten has accused the Coalition of viewing education as a cost instead of "an investment in every Australian's future".
The Coalition argues Labor’s plans to fund education are unrealistic and unsustainable.
Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop said this week: “We have increased funding for education that’s been aid for, not pie in the sky promises that Bill Shorten has made that haven’t been paid for.”
Federal education minister Simon Birmingham claims greater spending does not directly equate to better student outcomes and he advocates better teacher quality, parent engagement, school autonomy and a new curriculum as improvement drivers.
He points to the fact that despite spending increasing sums of money on education, Australia’s international academic achievement rankings continue to slide