Gilmore "Guesstimate" on Gonski - Question Without Notice

Ms Bird (Cunningham) (14:33): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, this week the member for Gilmore said about the reaction of school principals to the government's funding: 'They have certainty of funding going forward—for as far as they know, four years. There is guesstimate there for 10, but no government can absolutely commit to that.' Is the member for Gilmore correct? Isn’t the only certainty for schools a $22 billion cut?

Mr Turnbull (Wentworth – Prime Minister) (14:33): I thank the honourable member for her question. She knows as well as we all do that the Labor Party's commitment to school funding was based on fantasy dollars. They did not even fund years 5 and 6 of what they claim to be the Gonski funding, so hopeless and hapless were they. They were running around desperately signing cheques they could not honour—one bouncing cheque after another. That was the Labor Party's approach.

We have fully funded our commitments, and Australian schools and Australian parents know exactly the basis on which the funding will be delivered. They know that it is based on the Schooling Resource Standard. They know that that will increase every year by the wages CPI with a floor of three per cent, after the next several years at 3.56 per cent.

They know about that. They know that we will fund government schools to 20 per cent of the SRS. They know that non-government schools will be funded to 80 per cent. The methodology is completely transparent. In contradiction to the interjection from the member for Sydney, needs based funding, to be fair, means that people with the same needs get the same funding. She shakes her head! What is this parallel universe the member for Sydney is inhabiting? It troubles me, because her electorate is next to mine. I would be concerned if this sort of parallel universe, black-means-white thinking got across the electoral boundary.

It is absolutely plain that a just school funding system means that a school with the same needs gets the same funding per student from one state to another, from one denomination to another, from one system to another. That is fairness. That is what we are doing.