Liberal's funding cuts to schools

MS BIRD (CUNNINGHAM) (14:14):  My question is to the Prime Minister. Data released by the New South Wales government shows that, because of the Prime Minister's $22 billion cut to schools, in the electorate of Gilmore over the next two years over $1.3 million will be cut from Nowra East Public School and over $890,000 will be cut from Sanctuary Point Public School. Has the member for Gilmore made any representations at all to the Prime Minister about these cuts to schools in her electorate?

The SPEAKER: I am ruling that question out of order. It is very clearly out of order because the Prime Minister is not responsible for the statements of other members, whether they have made representations or not.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER: I will hear the Manager of Opposition Business out of deference.

Government members interjecting.

The SPEAKER: Members on my right will cease interjecting. The member for Gilmore will cease interjecting.

Mr Burke:  It has always, I understand, been allowed to ask a minister what representations they have received from various groups and various stakeholders on any issue.

Mr Fletcher:  Is this what you believe now or what you have heard?

The SPEAKER: The Minister for Urban Infrastructure is warned.

Mr Burke:  I am trying to work out why it is legitimate for us to ask about whether an education group or a state government has made representations to a minister or the Prime Minister and not ask whether an elected member of parliament has.

Mrs Sudmalis interjecting.

The SPEAKER: The member for Gilmore will cease interjecting. In fairness to the member for Cunningham and the Manager of Opposition Business, this is not a kneejerk ruling I have made. I did allow a similar question which I felt I was in error I think last week.

An honourable member interjecting.

The SPEAKER: No, it was further ago than yesterday. Sometimes yesterday feels like last week. Having reflected on the matter, I do not think that those sorts of fishing expedition questions that do not go to the Prime Minister's responsibilities or any minister's responsibilities are desirable and fit within the standing orders. I am prepared to obviously allow questions that go to a minister's responsibilities, but on this occasion I just do not feel that those questions are within the standing orders. I really do not. The member for Cunningham.

Ms Bird:  Mr Speaker, it is a different position. Would I be able to rephrase the question?

The SPEAKER: I will give the member an opportunity to rephrase the question.

Ms Bird:  I thank the Speaker.

MS BIRD (CUNNINGHAM) (14:17):  My question is to the Prime Minister. Data released by the New South Wales government shows that, because of the Prime Minister's $22 billion cut to schools, in the electorate of Gilmore over the next two years over $1.3 million will be cut from Nowra East Public School and over $890,000 will be cut from Sanctuary Point Public School. What would the Prime Minister say to the parents of the students in those schools about these cuts?

The Speaker:  The question is completely in order. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:18): I thank the honourable member for her question. I have to say that her colleagues on the opposition benches were shouting so loudly that I could not hear her question on the previous occasion, so I thank her and her colleagues at least for letting me understand her question. Let me say this to her. All of the schools in the electorate of Gilmore will receive substantially more funding under the government's school funding program. That is the first point.

The second point is that the $22 billion figure the honourable member talks about is complete fantasy money. It never existed. We are committing an additional $18.6 billion to schools—Catholic, independent and public schools—right across Australia, including in the electorate of Gilmore and, indeed, in the honourable member's electorate. The honourable members opposite can fantasise about the money that they never had, they never paid for and they never financed. They can fantasise about that as much as they like. It is not an aspiration on their part; it is a hallucination. It was never there.

The reality is that the parents in the honourable member's electorate and in the member for Gilmore's electorate deserve to know that the funding is there—it is committed, it is paid for and it is in the budget. We have done that. We have done the hard yards. We have raised additional revenue. We have made savings. We have delivered a budget that can fund that substantial increase in funding for schools—the largest level of Commonwealth funding for schools in our history.