Education funding changes ignore South West

I see the minister for education sitting at the table. Minister, I am the member for Forrest, and that is in the south-west of Western Australia.

My schools today would be looking at these amendments, if they can download them, and they would find, like so many in this chamber, that basically this group of amendments to them is as clear as mud.

It is as clear as mud for them. This does not give them any certainty at all. In fact I repeat: this gives my schools in the south-west of Western Australia no clear idea of what you are intending; this is as clear as mud for them.

We have had these amendments for such a short time. Bunbury Catholic College would be really interested; they would be flipping through this saying, ‘You know, what does this actually mean for Bunbury Catholic College?’

I defy them to be able to send me an email right now and tell me exactly what this means for them.

At the Georgiana Molloy Anglican School, a very good school in my electorate, I know the principal there, Ted Kosicki, would be looking through this and he would be saying, ‘What does this actually mean for Georgiana Molloy Anglican School?’

I am sure that is what he would be thinking—well, I am not really sure, according to this. I cannot find a list that says this is what GMAS is going to receive. There is nothing in here for my schools.

And yet—after what is an absolutely shambolic process that we have seen here—let us face it, Minister: government is supposed to be about process.

That is what we understand on this side—that is, that good government is about good process.

But we have had six years of a shambles and a circus, a circus and a shambles, and it is almost, to me, as though this is just a dreadful indictment on a very serious issue. We on this side take education extremely seriously, but in dropping these amendments on the table just yesterday, a short time away from an election, I ask: how important is education really to this government?

They come in here and make incredible statements, but when you look at the facts the opposite is the case. The government could have done this, as we know, such a long time ago.

Gonski, that they talk about so much: we hear that it has gone from a noun to a verb and back—that is interesting for schools—but what we do know—

Mr Fletcher interjecting—

Ms MARINO: Yes, it is an interesting thing for schools to debate about Gonski: is it a noun, is it a verb? And that seems about the extent of the government’s concern about education in this nation.

To introduce this at this point shows contempt, as does throwing 71 pages of amendments at us, the opposition, and saying, ‘You have to pass this.’ I would liken it to this: what is our duty of care to our schools?

It is to actually scrutinise this in detail, as the shadow minister needs to do; to look at this and say, ‘What exactly does this mean for every school in our country?’ But we are not being given the opportunity to do so.

Clearly this government does not place that value on our schools, and certainly not on the schools in my electorate.

There has been such a complete lack of detail and it is truly, as we have heard from the shadow minister, a swindle. We know that the funding is not in the forward estimates.

The funding is simply not there. The Australian people, they understand this government; they understand that you cannot believe a thing that this government says.

So why on earth would you believe anything that they would say about education—particularly when you look at the process the government has used? Gonski was delivered at the end of 2011.

Here we are, almost two years later, on the eve of an election with a couple of weeks left of parliament, and the minister comes in and says, ‘There’s 71 pages and we want you to pass them now.’

But for my own schools in the south-west of Western Australia—and I suspect some of them will be watching this debate with no idea what any of this mean for them—it is as I said: when my principals in my schools read these documents they are as clear as mud, and yet here we have a minister who is saying to us, ‘Tick and flick.’

That is not how the schools in this nation work, and it certainly is not the way that we as an opposition work, Minister.

We do not tick and flick because we know there is nothing that this government says that can be trusted, and we certainly know, in looking at the budget figures, there is no money in the budget for what you are proposing.