Doorstop Interview - Adelaide - 1 May 2016

SUBJECT/S: Malcolm Turnbull’s school cuts; the Liberals’ election promise to provide $3.5 billion less funding for schools by 2020 compared to Labor

KATE ELLIS, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EDUCATION: Malcolm Turnbull has today announced that he does not have an education policy, all he has is his own election strategy - and it's a half-baked one at that. What the Prime Minister has today made perfectly clear is that if voters vote for the Liberal Party, Australian schools will receive $3.5 billion less by 2020 than if Labor is elected. We need to make really clear that this is the Government that announced $30 billion in cuts to schools. What they're doing today is not boosting school funding by a billion dollars, it's announcing that it will instead be $29 billion in cuts to school funding over the next ten years. Malcolm Turnbull has also today confirmed that he wants to be the Prime Minister who throws away the historic school funding agreements that had been worked on over a number of years and negotiated between state and territory governments. Gonski would be no more if the Liberal Government are elected.

Now we know that Australian voters have a very clear choice at the upcoming election. Labor's Your Child. Our Future policy will ensure that every child in every school receives the attention and support that they need. If Australian parents want to make sure that there are more literacy and numeracy supports in Australian schools, they will need to vote Labor. If Australian parents want to ensure that every child and every school is funded based on need, they will need to vote Labor. At the last election, the Liberal Party blatantly lied to the Australian public. They claimed that they were on a 'unity ticket'. They claimed that they would match Labor's school funding dollar for dollar. Well, this election, what Malcolm Turnbull is trying to do is fool the Australian public twice. And we will be making sure each and every day up until the upcoming election that the Australian public is very clear about what the re-election of a Liberal Government would mean for Australian schools, and it would be very bad news.

JOURNALIST: So do you see this now, the battlelines being drawn in the lead-up to the campaign, that education is now your number one, big ticket item?

ELLIS: Education is clearly Labor's priority. We believe that it is the priority for Australian children, but also for Australia's future economy and ensuring that we have the skills that we need for the jobs of the future. What today's announcement does, is set up a very clear battleground, and we look forward to talking about education policy each and every day.

JOURNALIST: So do you again re-commit, to, if you say there is a $29 billion shortfall under the Coalition, the Liberal policy, that Labor will match its former commitment to this? You won’t have a dollar less?

ELLIS: What we've said is not only will we reverse the Liberal Government cuts, but we will go beyond that. We've announced funding of $37 billion. Now that is fully funded, fully costed - $37 billion over the next ten years. The reason for that is because unlike Malcolm Turnbull, we believe that Australia's education system needs to be the absolute priority of government. The important thing to note here is that just a couple of weeks ago, Malcolm Turnbull has a plan for his Government to walk away entirely from Australia's public schools. We know this is not a government that cares about education. All they are trying to do is care about their own re-election.