Mr PASIN (Barker) (16:29): Mr Deputy Speaker Coulton, I have not had the privilege of serving in this place for as long as you have, but I have been here long enough to remember those placards. ‘Why do not you give a Gonski?’ they used to say. I thought I might have a think about what that placard meant and what Gonski was calling for. Gonski was calling for a national school funding model. He asked that it be needs based. He said, importantly, it needed to be transparent. We have delivered a model which is national. We have delivered a model which is needs based. And, importantly, we have delivered a model that is transparent. And, on top of all of that, we have provided a model which is sector agnostic.
So, when I see those placards which a few of my colleagues across the way forgot to take down from the windows in their suites, I think, yes, we have given a Gonski. We have delivered the real Gonski. But they hate it. They absolutely hate it. In this modern Labor Party, what do you do when you have been outflanked by an agile and innovative coalition? You turn back to the tried and true misinformation campaigns. They are out there on penalty rates today. They are obviously out there on the NDIS. But in here in this place they are running the school scare campaign.
Let’s have a think about the macroeconomic environment—$18.6 million more school funding. No matter which way you say it, that is more money. Those opposite say, ‘We would provide even more!’ But, just like the NDIS, it is unfunded. You can write a cheque if you do not have to cash it, and that is the problem for those opposite. You have to actually cash these cheques. We do not live in the fanciful world of writing a blank cheque and leaving it to someone else to worry about cashing it. Having spoken about the macro level, let’s look at the micro level. Let’s bring it back to the good people I have the privilege of representing in this place—110 schools; 25,236 students. Not 90 per cent, not 95 per cent, but every single school on that list receives more funding because we gave a Gonski. In 2017 it is a five per cent increase. Over the 10 years between 2017 to 2027, it is a 61.6 per cent increase. They are not cuts. They are real increases. It runs to hundreds of millions of dollars across these 110 schools in my electorate per year.
I am not the only one calling this fakedom out. To their credit, the Murray Pioneer,a newspaper in Renmark in my electorate, had this editorial headline: ‘Funding ‘cut’ is fake news’. Who would have thought that those opposite would kind of be channelling the fake news theories? The school funding calamity is false. Editors and journalists in my electorate get it. The people of my electorate get it. When you get more of something, that is not a cut. That is an increase. If I get more apples, I have had more apples, not less apples. It is pretty simple. My daughter is seven and she has worked out this sort of addition and subtraction stuff out.
I do not think the last word should go to a politician or to editors—although, they do a great job in my electorate; a great shout-out to the people at the Murray Pioneer. I think the last word should go to an independent school. Rivergum Christian College principal Gregg Smith said: ‘We are aware of a fierce campaign from some arguing against these reforms. We fundamentally disagree with those views. Our college, one of 125 Christian schools across Australia, is supportive of Gonski 2.0 reforms. Our support is not simply because we benefit from its successful implementation. In fact, we have six schools within our group who will suffer detriment. This is about what is best for all schools across all sectors in the long term. Our support is simply based on the fact that this is good policy.’