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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 19245

Transcript of Doorstop Interview

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/04/2013

Release Type: Video Transcript

Transcript ID: 19245

Melbourne

PM: I'd like to thank everybody for making us welcome in this great school. I'm joined today by Rob Mitchell, the Member for McEwen and it's great to be with him in his electorate. And you're right, your school does rock, so thank you very much.

Unfortunately whilst I've had a great time here in this school, we are gathered together on what is a very sad day as people are seeing shocking images come out of Boston and the Boston Marathon.

As I said earlier today, the Boston Marathon is something that Australians look to, they are familiar with, many Australians across their lives would aspire to go and run in the Boston Marathon.

And to see those images of people so dreadfully hurt and to know that there has been loss of life has made it a truly saddening day.

I have on behalf of the nation written a letter of condolence to President Obama. And our thoughts continue to be with the people of Boston and particularly those who have lost loved ones, and those who are trying to now deal with injuries that they got so unexpectedly and during such scenes of terror.

On my present advice we are not aware of any Australians who have been hurt in this incident. But we know family members and friends would continue to worry.

Our advice is please try and contact your family member or friend if you think that they may have been at the Boston Marathon.

If you are unable to contact them then you should ring our consular emergency centre, and that number is 1 300 555 135.

We're asking people to make their own endeavours first to contact their family member or friend and then use the hotline if they are unable to get on to their family member or friend.

But we are not aware of any Australian who has been hurt in this incident in Boston, which is generating truly shocking images and is such a senseless and such a brutal act.

Onto happier things, and happier things include the discussions we have had today with the kids here and also with Bill the principal, and thank you very much to the teachers for making us so welcome.

I'm here today talking about our plan to properly resource schools for generations to come.

When you come to schools, when you see individual school children it reminds you that as a nation we want to make sure that every child gets the kind of education which enables them to realise their full potential.

That every child is precious and we want them to get a great education. That every child matters to our nation's future and we want to make sure that that future is one of economic strength and high skill, high wage jobs, and that all starts in classrooms like the classrooms I've been in today.

I am very committed that as a nation we adopt this school resourcing plan, and with it the school improvement agenda.

That we make sure that we can truly say to ourselves every school has got the resources it needs to give children a great education.

And every school too is working to continuously improve so kids get a better and better education.

That's why I will continue to press premiers and chief ministers to work with us and to see our nation drive towards this school resourcing standard.

I want to make sure over a transition period of six years that we drive our nation towards this school resource standard, and that we get the system right for all of the generations to come.

Here in Victoria we've spoken about a $14.5 billion new investment nationally on a two-for-one basis coming from the Federal Government, plus indexation rates from the Federal Government at 4.7 per cent.

Here in Victoria that would mean an extra amount of $4 billion - that's a lot of money.

It means on average an extra $1.5 million for schools. On average an extra $4,000 for every school student. It is considerable new resources.

And that is the future we could have; if we don't seize that future then unfortunately the current system of school funding, the one which we inherited from the former government, will see school funding go backwards by $5.4 billion - by around half a million dollars on average for every school.

I believe as a nation we can work together around the table at the Council of the Australian Governments meeting on Friday, and we can as we work around that table put the interests of Australia's children - and Australia's future - first.

And that's what I will be striving to do on Friday.

I'm very happy to take any questions.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the funding plan's already received opposition in the form of Colin Barnett. Is there anything the Federal Government can do to get Western Australia across the line?

PM: Well I'd like to just make clear the figures about Western Australia because I'm not sure that they have been clear.

Already the Federal Government contributes $1.2 billion to school education in Western Australia. That's around 27 per cent of what is spent in Western Australia.

So Premier Barnett has used words like “butt out” - the Federal Government should “butt out”. But I doubt he wants us to butt out and take $1.2 billion - more than a quarter of the expenditure on schools in his state - with us.

I'm sure really what the people of Western Australia want to see is me and the Premier working to better resource and improve schools for the future, which is why we do want to see an extra investment of $300 million in the schools in Western Australia.

Now Premier Barnett is right to be proud of what's been achieved in WA schools. They are closer to the school resource standard than many schools around the nation.

Now the figures he's using to suggest that our school resource standard is less than what is being spent in WA schools now fails to take into account all of the loadings for disadvantage and non-English speaking kids, and small schools, remote schools, indigenous children, children with disabilities, and the whole set of loadings we've built into the system.

Properly construed, what we have on offer for Western Australian schools is more money, and as Premier, why wouldn't he want to see more resources going into WA schools?

JOURNALIST: What would this school get under Gonski?

PM: Well, what we can talk about is average figures. Obviously the model is highly correlated to levels of disadvantage.

So the way in which it works is there is a figure for the school resource standard of just over $9,000 for primary schools per child, just over $12,000 for secondary schools per child, but then you add loadings.

Loadings for disadvantage, loadings for indigenous kids, loadings for non-English speaking kids, more money for children with disabilities, and more money for small and remote schools.

So every school is going to have a different set of factors, but we have worked through very carefully so that the school resource standard - the money I've referred to - and all of those loadings gives every school the resources it needs to get the children in that school a great education.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, what do you think of Chris Bowen's decision to write a book outlining his vision for modern Labor?

PM: Look, it's all fine. Obviously Chris Bowen will be working hard in his electorate and people can always put ideas about the future.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, the Department of Immigration yesterday said that Manus Island is cramped, lacks proper facilities, and is in urgent need of an upgrade. Will we be seeing an upgrade any time soon?

PM: What we would most want to see is that the Opposition would join with us in enabling us to put into full operation all of the recommendations that Angus Houston, the former Chief of our Defence Force and his very expert panel, recommended to the nation.

That's really the key thing we need to do.

Instead of that, unfortunately I think from Australia's point of view, we've seen political game playing around this.

I would much prefer that instead of the negativity we've seen, the Opposition would endorse such an expert plan.

JOURNALIST: The Chancellor of Swinburne University today made comments in the Financial Review; instead of stripping money from universities to fund Gonski, perhaps we should be looking at taking it from car industry subsidies. What do you make of his suggestion?

PM: Well I've dealt with this issue about university funding and made the simple mathematical point; we have increased university funding by more than 50 per cent since we came to office as a Government, more than 50 per cent.

And I understand that universities want to see more resources going to universities - that's fair enough.

But on behalf of the nation when we've got more than 50 per cent increase, when we've got university funding increasing like that, I think it is the right thing to do to ask them to moderate that rate of growth so that those savings can be used to improve school education.

So money to universities will still grow, it just won't grow as steeply as it otherwise would have. And the difference is 2 per cent dividend in one year, and a 1.25 per cent dividend the second year.

Universities need dollars to run, absolutely, but they also need students and the better prepared those students come from a great school education, the better for our universities.

And that's what we're trying to get our kids - a great school education.

JOURNALIST: Can I ask also in relation to COAG, the business community's saying that reform hasn't been quick enough through COAG. They're asking what the point of it is if it's not cutting red tape.

PM: Look I couldn't agree more. And we are always there at the COAG table with our seamless national economy agenda to try and reduce red tape for business.

We've worked long and hard on it, and unfortunately when we get to the COAG table we don't get agreement from states and territories on things that would cut red tape for business.

So I would like to see more agreement from states and territories to cutting red tape. I think it's important for business, and it's something that we've continued to work on through what we call our seamless national economy agenda, which is perhaps a complicated way of saying we want the rules in the Australian economy to work seamlessly.

So it doesn't matter if you're doing business in Victoria or Queensland or Tasmania, the rules applying to your business are the same.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Mr Abbott has promised to release his workplace relations policy sometime in the next couple of weeks. What are you expecting to see there?

PM: I've got a copy of the old one, Work Choices, I don't need a new one. It will be the same.

Okay, thank you very much.

[ENDS]

Transcript 19245