Education and Skills

The Abbott Government’s continuing unprecedented attacks on education at every level means that there is now a very clear distinction between Labor and the Coalition, at both State and Federal levels.

Foremost in this attack is the withdrawal of the universal support for a Needs Based Funding Formula for all schools. This universal approach was a position taken by the major political parties to the 2013 Federal Election. Labor fought for and developed the Gonski model, which received overwhelming support from both the community and from the majority of State governments. Within its first year, the Abbott government has rapidly retreated to the Coalition’s former position, which will entrench inequity once again.

The attacks on the provision of skills training by TAFE and the withdrawal of allowances, such as the cost of tools for apprentices, give Labor a unique opportunity to position itself as the champion of vocational education at a time when the mining boom is receding and all experts are saying that Australia’s workforce needs re-skilling.

The deregulation of funding and fees in universities, along with the demise of the tertiary infrastructure spend, and the increased rate of interest charged on student loans, are other areas where Labor can make a clear distinction between itself and the Coalition.Labor can also make significant political gain in areas such as Science and Research Funding where the Abbott government appears to be deliberately attempting to ‘dumb down’ public debate on crucial issues such as the Environment and

Climate Change. They have withdrawn funding from Australia’s leading research organisation, the CSIRO, abolished many advisory boards, and announced the closure of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and have not appointed a Minister for Science.

We note the motion from The Entrance SEC concerning the selective Gosford High School and would reiterate that it has been long standing Labor Policy that the “one-size fits all” model is not appropriate and that there are many models of secondary school structures across the state in both the public and private sector. Selective High Schools are but one of these.

Party Unit and Union Motions (Click to download)