The I Give a Gonski campaign has been the “most outstanding schools funding campaign that Australia has ever seen”, Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe told Federation’s annual conference today.
In the context of the federal election result remaining too close to call, and the Coalition having already lost numerous seats including Macquarie, Lindsay, Eden-Monaro and Dobell, and possibly Gilmore in NSW alone, Ms Haythorpe said Malcolm Turnbull’s plan for education funding had been “clearly rejected by the electorate”.
“Across every state and territory the community has taken the fight to every local member of parliament and the outstanding result is that many MPs who refused to give a Gonski, who refused to back our students and our schools, have now discovered just how important education is to our community and they have been voted out,” she also said.
“Gonski is changing lives, it is making dreams come true and most importantly it is assisting student to overcome their learning difficulties and to overcome barriers that may have been in their way as they head towards their futures after school. This is being achieved with the help of their schools, teachers, support staff, principals and parents,” Ms Haythorpe said.
“This must not be lost after 2017. There is too much at stake.
“The Gonski Review and our campaign has put needs-based funding at the centre of the education debate in Australia — we need to keep it there.”
Ms Haythorpe said Gonski supporters would be mobilised again to keep momentum in the campaign.
She said it was clear the Coalition would not have a majority in the Senate so today she would start lobbying Senators, to “safeguard the Australian Education Act from a Coalition attack — something it would need to do to end Gonski”.
“We have had support from Jacquie Lambie and Nick Xenophon to keep Gonski and we will be holding them to that,” she said.
“I will be writing, today, to newly elected Senators and seeking a meeting to start the Gonski conversation.”