September 2016. We sent a submission to the federal Minister for Education, the Hon. Simon Birmingham, on education funding. (Copy sent to Tanya Plibersek, opposition spokesperson on education.) The following points were made.
- We cited a report by the Centre for Policy Development, ‘Uneven playing field: the state of Australia’s schools’, which described funding as dysfunctional as it was unable to reverse the widening gap between schools. And that the class divide in Australia was wider than the OECD average.
- We noted that public school students receive less government funding than those in private schools.
- We urged that schools run by minorities, e.g. Exclusive Brethren and the Church of Scientology, ought not to be subsidised by taxpayers.
- We urged the Minister to uphold equality of opportunity as a hallmark of democratic governance.
Halina Strnad, Rosslyn Ives
October 2016. We received a reply to our letter (24 Aug) to federal Minister for Education, the Hon. Simon Birmingham, on education funding. The reply from Schools Funding Branch was a detailed set of responses to the points we made, set out over more than two pages. In summary the letter implied we were not fully informed on all the matters we had specifically raised. It also emphasised that the federal government aimed to provide education funding on ‘real needs-based principles’.