Funding choice is plain to see

What is at stake for every public school across Australia in the upcoming federal election was represented in a powerful visual statement on the lawns of Parliament House on Budget day.

Thousands of illustrated cardboard cut-outs, representing the nation’s public schools, drew attention to the cost of the Morrison Government’s $14 billion cuts to public education. In contrast, each cut-out displayed the dollar amount a Labor government would deliver to a particular school over three years, if elected.

The campaign action was a significant event for both the Australian Education Union and Federation. Nine campaign vans, fresh from a national tour, converged on Canberra with a single message on behalf of the almost 7000 public schools in the nation: our schools need Fair Funding Now!

This visual display caught the attention of many of the nation’s politicians. Upper and lower house federal representatives from Labor, the Greens, as well as supportive crossbench Members of Parliament, were immediately drawn to the instillation, making time to seek out schools from their electorates and pose for photos before assisting others to locate theirs.

Politicians then spent time speaking to principals and parents about the difference additional funding would make to public schools as well as the damage the Morrison Government’s school cuts will have if not reversed.

The sense of connection to local public schools and strength of the Opposition’s commitment to reversing the $14 billion cut from public schools was clear, with the social media pages of MPs awash with images of the school cut-outs and messages of support for the Fair Funding Now! campaign.

The campaign action concluded with a media conference where Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Shadow Minister for Education Tanya Plibersek reaffirmed their commitment to reinstate $14 billion in additional funding over 10 years and ensure that public education will be a significant talking point not only on the day but in the coming weeks in the lead up to the election.

Jason Gerke Campaign Coordinator