Bill's Speeches

ADDRESS TO THE FIGHT FOR QUEENSLAND RALLY - SATURDAY, 14 MAY 2016

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When I stood on this stage in January – I said Labor would be the underdogs at this election.

But I also said we were up for the fight. 

I said we were ready to Fight for Queensland.

Well, friends, we are in this fight now - and we are in it to win it!

Please join me in thanking Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

When people ask me if it’s possible for Labor to defeat an out-of-touch Liberal Leader with bad policies that hurt families in just one term…I say: we’ve done it before and we can do it again on July the 2nd.

I want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, I pay my respects to elders past and present.

Those words of respect deserve action.

That's why I’m so proud that the first policy I announced on behalf of Labor - on day one of this campaign - was for 400 new scholarships for Indigenous teachers and $96 million more for the needs of Indigenous students.

We will provide the role models which will inspire the next generation and the resources to support them.

Because education is the key to closing the gap.

And more than that, education is the key to economic growth.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when the Liberals  decided to spend the first week of this campaign trying to argue that investing in schools will not deliver a dividend for our economy. 

We've heard an argument from some of the more stone age sectors of Australian political analysis that proper funding for schools and teachers will not a deliver a economic benefit.

This is medieval – it is a dark ages view of the economy.

It makes Tony Abbott look like a man of the future. Well, I exaggerate. But you get where I am going.

How on earth can anyone offer themselves as Prime Minister of Australia, if they don’t have a plan for education?

Let me make this point very clear:

Australia does not have to choose between a growing economy and great schools.

We cannot have a growing economy without great schools.

Friends,

This can be the education election.

A referendum on the future of education in this country.

With your hard work – with your passion – your advocacy.

This can be the election where Australians choose great schools over a tax break for multinationals.

Labor will be the guardians of the case to put to Australian where we can choose properly-paid and properly-supported teachers – over a double tax cut for the very few wealthy people. 

The contrast is that sharp – the difference is that stark.

A Labor party investing in education – and a Liberal party protecting the top end of town.

When I stand here and promise you Labor will put people first: this begins with our commitment to education.  

Over the next ten years a Labor Government will invest $37 billion to guarantee that every school, in every postcode receives fair funding on the basis of need.

We will deliver on the Gonski promise – and go beyond it.

As the son of a teacher, as a father of three fantastic kids – and as Prime Minister; I will make it my mission to ensure every child, in every school, gets every opportunity for a world-class education - our kids deserve nothing less.

As you know – we’re not talking about more money for more of the same.

For teachers and principals – our policy means certainty and security. An end to the education wars where every three years, schools have to worry about whether there will be continuity of funding. 

We will give a ten-year guarantee of the right resources.

-      More individual attention and classroom help

-      More support for students with special learning needs so their parents of these special kids are not made to feel like outcasts and bullies for demanding that the system help them.

-      More extension programs to challenge bright kids

-      More choice for students – in science, in art, in music and sport.

 

And for students and parents – it means better results – like improved literacy and numeracy.

And above all, it means a new sense of hope. For kids who had once only hoped to scrape through Year 12, they will now aiming for TAFE and for university, and more opportunity in their lives as adults.

This isn’t a hypothetical, this is not a bit of theorising.

This isn’t the trickle-down economics of Mr Turnbull’s $50 billion tax cut for multinationals.

You and I have seen what teachers and their students are capable of.

My outstanding shadow minister for education, Kate Ellis and I have spent the week in Queensland classrooms. And by the way, we started this campaign in regional Queensland; Cairns, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville.

Someone forgot to tell Mr Turnbull this week that the Brisbane line doesn't exist anymore.

But what we have seen in these remarkable schools, is students falling in love with learning.

We see the teachers selling raffle tickets, we know the stories of the parents baking cakes to help fill the holes in the school budget.

These schools, these communities, they deserve a government prepared to help them.

They deserve a Labor government which will do exactly what we say which is properly fund our schools. 

$725 million more alone to back up what Annastacia is doing in Queensland for Queensland schools in 2018 and 2019.

This is real money, for real improvements.

Yet the Liberal party still think they can score points against our plan for schools.

And never forget, just a month ago – this Prime Minister, in one of his trademark waffles was talking about in the perfect world...the Turnbull world, he said that it's really best if the Commonwealth doesn't bother funding those jolly blighters in the state system. 

The only idea he has had for education policy, seriously, is to cut every single Commonwealth dollar from every single government school.

Well let me promise the parents of Australia - the taxpayers. The taxpayers of Australia legitimately expect that when they pay their taxes to Canberra, some of that money will be returned as investments in our schools, in educating our children.

Suddenly – with the shadow of the election right upon us – after three years of cutting $30 billion from our schools…

After pretending day after day in Parliament that the cuts they made didn’t exist, or didn’t matter…

…now the Liberals will say they will put a billion back.

They’ve emptied buckets out of education, now they’re offering a cup-full back.

And for this, Mr Turnbull expected a round of applause.

He expected Australians to forgive and forget because its never been a more exciting time.

But Australians remember. They remember the last time the Liberals promised ‘no cuts to education’.

They remember Tony Abbott’s ‘unity ticket’.

They remember Christopher Pyne was education minister.

And when they hear Liberal Ministers lecturing teachers.

Telling teachers that 'you're the issue', just do more and more with less and less.

Waving their glasses and saying:

 “More money won’t solve the problem.”

Australians know the only people who ever say money doesn't matter are those for whom money has never been a problem.

Mr Turnbull thinks that the fact that he went to school with his friend David Gonski is the same as delivering Gonski to our schools.

But name-dropping isn’t an education policy.  

If you really believe in needs-based funding, than you have to deliver the funding to meet those needs.

We hear a lot of talk from this Prime Minister about ‘innovation’. 

But Australia cannot be an innovation nation, unless we are an education nation.

We cannot compete for the jobs of the future, without great schools and better-trained, properly-paid teachers.

We will never get smarter as a nation, or more prosperous, by cutting money from our schools.

Friends,

I tell you what will be one of the important issues in this election - education.

In 49 days, millions of Australians will be walking through the gates of their local school.

In assembly halls and classrooms and gyms across our country – Australians will be voting on the future of schools in this country.

And when this day comes for that decision, my message to Australians is simple:

Choose Labor – because Labor has chosen education. 

And I make this final promise to all of the teachers who work so hard in education - who understand better than most. The sort of message our society gives our kids rests in what we prioritise. 

I can give every teacher in every school this promise. 

We will restore the status of education and teaching to the right pinnacle it deserves to be.

When we tell our young people that our schools are important, we tell them what we think is important as a nation and it is education.

Thank you everybody 

ENDS


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