Contributed from Queensland
Australian unions are going to target 18 Coalition seats at the next election, following an Australian Education Union poll that showed to voters in targeted marginal seats, school funding is a decisive factor in the voting intentions of 80 percent of respondents. The survey was carried out by QDOS Research.
There is no surprise here. Many schools are under funded and parents are well aware of this. They want a better deal for their kids.
The union campaign will involve phone calls, door knocking, billboards and social media – an echo of the “I Give a Gonski” campaign, which ran in 2012 in support of original school funding recommendations from the David Gonski’s review.
Among the union’s demands are the restoration of $1.9 billion in public school funding over the next two years, abolition of the 20 per cent cap on the Commonwealth’s share of public school funding and the creation of a $300 million capital works fund for public schools.
Labor has said it is committed to tan increase of $1.7 billion in public school funding. But has so far not committed on the other two issues. This means the unions are publicly holding back full support, until this becomes clearer.
School funding is a matter that is strongly felt though the Australian community. The prospects of the emerging generation will be heavily influenced by the quality of the education they receive.
A big problem is that there has emerged a much more segregated system than there ever has been before. What you get is dependent on your class status. The wealthier the background, the better the opportunities.
The best example of this is in the top echelon of the private schools. They can raise funds from their own community and receive greater government funding per capita than the government schools. If we are talking about greater equality, this has got to stop.
Differences are also evident in the government sector. Those in better off neighbourhoods are generally better resourced in relation to their needs, than those in worse off neighbourhoods are. This needs to be addressed too.
Government funding must be on a needs basis, and aimed at promoting equality of opportunity.