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Transcript 19365

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: 20/05/2013

Release Type: Video Transcript

Transcript ID: 19365


PM: I'm delighted to be here at Forrest Primary School.

Thank you to Chris and the team here who have shown us around today. I'm delighted to be here with Senator Kate Lundy.

We've had the opportunity to chat about the school as we've moved around. We've had the opportunity to meet with a lot of kids and to do that in their Building the Education Revolution facility.

There was $3.1 million allocated to this school for a new multi-purpose school hall, so I'm glad to see it's being put to very good use and we've got to see some kids in there today.

Yesterday I released new information about the difference that our plan for school improvement will make for Australian schools.

It is an additional investment of $16.2 billion over six years.

And yesterday we released new figures so around the country, by state and by school system, you can see on average what is planned for your school.

I want to make sure every school is a great school. I want to make sure that every child gets to reach their full potential.

That means for the children who are at the front of the class and can learn more, that they've got a learning plan that's really extending them.

It means for the kids that are at risk of falling behind, that they get the support that they need so they don't just go from grade to grade falling further and further behind, but they too get a great education, learn to read and write and do maths to get the skills they need for their future.

This is important for every child, so it is important for every family and every parent.

But it is also important for all of our nation because we cannot be the strong economy we want to be in the future if our kids miss out during their school years.

When I come to schools I often say that this is where our future is being made, and that is absolutely true.

Our future can only be as good as our school education is for our children.

That's why I am determined that we improve school education right around the country and we invest new resources to do so.

Standing here in this school gives you a flavour of what's at risk if the nation doesn't endorse this plan for better school funding and school improvement.

On average a government school like this in the ACT will get an additional investment of $800,000 compared with a future of going backwards by $500,000.

It is a stark choice, to take a school like this, $800,000 more of investment, or to make $500,000 of cutbacks to this school.

The choice is for the nation to make. It is certainly something that I will continue to be campaigning for; change in our schools.

So today I will write to the premiers and chief ministers who have yet to sign on to our new school funding plan or our plan for school improvement and put to them again the case for change, including the figures that we released yesterday.

As we move towards the federal election, it is becoming clearer and clearer that Australian schools face two futures.

A future of improvement and new resources outlined by the Government, or a future of cutbacks outlined by the Opposition.

I was very disturbed today to see that Mr Pyne, the shadow spokesperson on education, has become so arrogant that he is now criticising Premier O'Farrell for signing up to do the best for his schools.

The words of Christopher Pyne today, that Premier O'Farrell has been conned, are arrogant words.

Premier O'Farrell has studied what is in the interests of his schools. He has been prepared to make tough choices to make new investment possible.

He has been prepared to work across the political divide in the interests of his schools. That should be respected, not criticised by Mr Pyne in what has been an incredibly arrogant display.

I'm very happy to take questions.

JOURNALIST: Is there any way you can lock in any part of the Gonski reforms?

For instance, with New South Wales, could you legislate that in any way so a future government might need senate approval to dismantle agreements state by state?

PM: If you change the government, you change the nation.

There is only one way of making sure that schools continue to improve with new resources and that's to back in our plans.

If you endorse Mr Abbott's plan, you are endorsing a loss of $16.2 billion for Australia's schools.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, if you are providing figures to the premiers today, didn't they already have those figures?

Certainly the premiers have had a lot of data, including all of the work we have done with them to show differences for different schools and different school types.

There was a new take on the data yesterday including both government and non-government schools, and so I will send that to them.

Of course they have had a wealth of information in the in-detail discussions and it was that wealth of information that informed Premier O'Farrell's decision to sign up.

JOURNALIST: Victoria says 50:50 chance of them signing up. Northern Territory still has some pretty significant concerns.

What chance do you give of this getting all the states on board?

PM: It depends on whether or not people are prepared to put our children first.

JOURNALIST: Do you think there is a good chance?

PM: That's a question you're going to have to put to them. It is a question as to whether or not premiers and chief ministers are prepared to put Australia's children first.

JOURNALIST: What happens if they don't sign up? Is there a plan B? Will you reinstitute the National Partnerships funding?

PM: There are two plans on the table here. $16.2 billion of new investment flowing from us; a $16.2 billion plan incorporating the work we have done through National Partnerships and then building on it.

That's the future that we want for Australian schools as compared to schools being cut back. They're the two choices, the two options, that people need to decide between.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, there's another major choice to be made and that's on carbon pricing at this next election.

The Opposition Leader has mapped out in some detail how he would - the timing of how he would make any changes if he gets into government, how do you think the carbon pricing system stacks up against his?

PM: Let's be very clear about it.

Our carbon pricing system is working to cut carbon pollution.

It is working without any of the ridiculous fear campaign claims made by Mr Abbott coming true.

You would recall Mr Abbott being out there making nonsense claims about a wrecking ball through the economy, astronomical increases in the cost of living. None of that has come true.

And let's remember, the carbon tax is the fixed price for the first three years, then we move to an emissions trading scheme.

That is, by the time of the election, we will be less than two years away from the scheme that Mr Abbott backed when he was a government minister, and was backed by Prime Minister Howard.

So, stability and certainty dictates that we stay with the current system and keep tackling climate change by reducing carbon pollution.

JOURNALIST: What do you make of Direct Action as a plan?

PM: Well it's just a slogan, isn't it?

Have you seen in-detail costings for Direct Action?

Have you seen firm by firm what it would mean for money in, money out for firms?

Have you seen modelling of the impact that it would have on jobs?

Have you seen modelling of the impact it would have on cost of living if penalties are levied against firms as specified by the policy document?

Direct Action is just a slogan. It's not a policy. And it's just a fig leaf to cover up for the fact that Mr Abbott and all of his team are on record as supporting an emissions trading scheme - carbon pricing.

That's what they did when they were in government.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, as more details emerge about Tony Abbott's planned budget savings, do you still think the Coalition has a $70 billion crater?

PM: I believe that the Coalition has plans for cuts to the bone and we are only just starting to see the first cuts confirmed, and there is so much more to come.

There is nothing that isn't on the table when it comes to the Coalition's cuts.

The Leader of the Opposition said superannuation was safe in their hands, now of course they are cutting superannuation. He has broken his word.

The Leader of the Opposition said that they would defend the Baby Bonus. Now it appears they are not only cutting the Baby Bonus, but they want to cut more deeply into family payments. The Leader of the Opposition has broken his word.

If the Leader of the Opposition has broken his word on those two cutbacks, then how much more is to come?

Well, everything is on the table for deep cuts to the bone, and Mr Abbott can't keep walking away from legitimate questioning about where those cuts will fall.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, your personal opinion poll ratings are up this morning but the party vote still seems to be stubbornly low.

Given that you have announced such big measures like disability insurance and education reforms, why isn't it you can't shift that party poll?

PM: Look, I don't comment on opinion polls.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, in terms of that Family Tax Benefit payment for new parents, that's actually going to help you get the budget back into surplus if the Coalition does actually oppose that new measure?

PM: Well we've, as you have seen from what we put out on Budget night, we have indicated savings to support our big plans for improvement in schools and our plans for DisabilityCare.

So what we have done with the Baby Bonus, which we think is responsible, replacing it with a benefit in the family payment system, the saving from that will go to improving schools around the country.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, Tim Mathieson is in the US at the moment. Can you categorically rule out there is no public funding being spent there? And what is he there for?

PM: There is no public funding being spent there and he is on a private trip.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do you have any comment on Peta Credlin being picked up for drink driving?

PM: No, I don't.

JOURNALIST: Just on Gonski, what happens on 1 July if all the states haven't signed up?

PM: We will be working between now and 30 June to get states and territories signing up.

Now I do understand that the Leader of the Opposition is going in hard with his Liberal Party colleagues to prevent them signing on.

And here we have got Mr Pyne today criticising Barry O'Farrell for having done so, suggesting he was conned; such an arrogant thing to say and do.

So I do understand that in trying to get Liberal states signing on, we are pushing against the directions of the Opposition.

They don't want to see more money in schools; in fact, they have endorsed a plan for cutbacks in schools.

But despite that negativity from the Opposition, I will keep working to realise this vision of better schools for the Australian people and for Australian children.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, there is a report today in one of the papers that some of your members in western Sydney are already lining up for jobs in New South Wales or trying to get elected in New South Wales, any comment on that?

PM: I think you will find the members in that report have already issued denials of that report today.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, just on school funding, does your school funding plan deliver a real increase over four years?

PM: I referred you yesterday to the Budget table.

Do not fall for this nonsense being spun by the Opposition.

It is in the Budget. Get the Budget table out and what you see is year by year increases in school funding.

The reason that the Opposition is seeking to confuse about this is they think that if they can confuse people, they will be alleviated of the responsibility of saying very clearly that they stand for cutting schools.

No one should be confused. The Budget figures are there for all to see.

The Opposition stands for cutting schools and that's just a taste of the cuts to the bone that they are planning for the Australian people, and they need to - for the Australian people - outline everywhere those cuts would fall.

JOURNALIST: If as you say the Liberal states, it is going to be hard to get them to sign up, what guarantee can you give parents come 1 July about the future of school funding for your period of office?

PM: What I can always say to the parents of Australia is every day I will be working to improve funding in Australian schools.

And I can say to the parents of Australia in contrast; every day, the Leader of the Opposition is working to cut funding to Australian schools.

It is on the public record from Premier O'Farrell yesterday that the Leader of the Opposition worked to cut funding to New South Wales schools by seeking to dissuade Premier O'Farrell from signing on to our school funding reforms.

JOURNALIST: But PM, one of the arguments about school funding is that over the last decade or so, we have seen a big increase in school funding but not a related increase in academic achievement.

So what's your position on whether the funding actually lifts school standards, school academic standards?

PM: It lifts school standards, and I can say that to you with absolute confidence.


PM: Well, based on the work we have done in schools.

The approach we have taken, and we have worked on these reforms all of the time we have been in office.

Transparency, so you knew what was going on; National Partnership Schools, where we combined new resources with new ways of working; and we can show you in those schools that kids are getting a better education.

I can take you to schools around the country where the teachers can give you the before case and the after case, all of the data, the lift in outcomes that has happened because of that money and that new way of working.

We now want to take that out to 9,500 schools around the country.

So, all of this has been carefully done and I would suggest, ask yourself the question.

Would Premier O'Farrell, the man responsible for the biggest schooling system in the country, have thought deeply about this before he signed on given the inevitable political criticism that was going to come from his own side of politics?

He has done that because he understands that those resources and those changed ways of working make a real difference for the kids in his schools.

So this is just the nonsense distraction debate.

The rubbish being spoken about in terms of the Budget figures, the ‘look over here' distraction about the standards debate; let's just put that to one side for the white noise and distraction that it is.

We have shown over five years of working through patience and method that if you are transparent, if you bring new resources, if you measure outcomes, you will get kids a better education.

That's what we want to do in every Australian school.

What Mr Abbott and his team wants to do is cut funding to schooling. That will get kids worse outcomes.

JOURNALIST: We are hearing there are some teachers who aren't so crash hot at understanding the NAPLAN data when they get it back. One of my colleagues wrote about that today.

Do you have any concerns about whether teachers understand or can process enough of that NAPLAN data correctly?

PM: Well I think it is always important to be working to support teachers with professional development and new ways of working.

When I go to schools - and I do it very frequently - teachers are very focused on the data, not just on NAPLAN data, but their own diagnostic tests about what needs to be done to support a child's education.

Now, there are thousands and thousands and thousands of people out there teaching. Do some of them need support? Inevitably, yes.

Just the same way do some journalists occasionally need their grammar corrected? Inevitably, yes.

So in any human occupation, are there people who need some support and assistance? Absolutely.

The question then becomes, do you have a systematic way of providing it so you are building those teachers' skills, or do you just ignore it and cut some funds out of their school?

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, do we need tax reform in the next term do you think?

PM: We have undertaken tax reform and we will never support an increase to the rate of the GST or broadening its base.

That's the plan of the other side of politics front and centre now.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how are you going to win this election? How?

PM: Look, people will make their choice on 14 September.

My job is to keep building the things that make a real difference for our nation's future. That's what I'm doing here today.

And to make clear to Australians the choice and what's at risk on 14 September, and I'm doing that today too.

JOURNALIST: Do you think the polling would be a factor when premiers consider whether to sign up to Gonski, that they might be looking and thinking, well the polling indicates a Labor loss and so therefore why negotiate?

Do you think it would be a factor?

PM: For any responsible decision-maker, the only factor that should ever drive them is what is in the best interests of the children whose education is ultimately their responsibility.

Thank you very much.


Transcript 19365