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June 23, 2015

Mr CHESTER  (Gippsland—Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence) (15:55): You have to give the member for Port Adelaide some credit—10 out of 10 for effort. He tried to whip himself into a frenzy. He started with six members here listening. It was so important! This was the most important issue of the day! He managed to have six members of his own team here for a while. Then they raced up to 10, and finally they had 12. Twelve thought it was so important; the rest raced over for a coffee. This is your MPI. We know what it is. We know it is just a massive scare campaign. So I feel sorry for the member for Port Adelaide. This poor man is the incoming President of the Australian Labor Party. What has happened to your once great party?

I am very pleased to be here, enjoying the matter of public importance debate, to reassure the Australian people that the government is not cutting funding for health and education. All we have seen is an irresponsible scare campaign by those opposite, scaring students, teachers and families. That is so typical of this modern Labor Party—never let the facts get in the way of a good story, hey? Budget figures tell the story. Do the numbers go up in the budget? I am just checking. Oh, there is silence over there. The numbers go up in the budget every year. The funding increases every year.

Opposition members interjecting—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER   ( Hon. BC Scott ): Order! We won’t have those documents.

Mr CHESTER:  I am surprised at the member for Maribyrnong, who is always so good with numbers. He is very good with numbers, the member for Maribyrnong. He is really good with numbers. Just ask Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. He is good with numbers. I am surprised he had trouble reading those numbers. It used to be said when we were at school that a cockroach could survive the fallout from a nuclear explosion. I am afraid the member for Maribyrnong is in danger of becoming the cockroach of the Australian Labor Party. He has survived the fallout from two Labor leadership explosions.

Ms Macklin:  Mr Deputy Speaker, on a point of order, that really is unparliamentary language, and I ask the member to withdraw.

Mr CHESTER:  He is in danger of becoming the cockroach of the Australian Labor Party.

Ms Macklin:  Withdraw. Don’t repeat it—withdraw.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Jagajaga will resume her seat. The member for Gippsland would assist the chamber if he would withdraw that comment.

Mr CHESTER:  If it would assist the chamber. I did not know the member for Jagajaga had become so sensitive.


Mr CHESTER:  But I would be sensitive as well if I knew what was coming up tonight on the ABC. I would be sensitive if I were you as well, because probably the best thing that has happened to the ABC ratings in living memory is the next episode of The Killing Season.

Speaking of the ABC, I know those opposite do not like facts, but they do like their ABC. But what did the ABC Fact Check have to say about Labor’s claims of a $30 billion cut to the education budget? This is on the 2014 budget, almost a year ago, and this is what came about.

On May 22, Opposition education spokeswoman Kate Ellis told the media that “Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne, rather than improving Australian schools, have announced $30 billion in cuts to our schools”.

That is the claim that has been made. So ABC Fact Check had a look at what the budget actually says about school funding:

Funding will be increasing in accordance with the existing Labor plan until 2018.

The verdict from ABC Fact Check was:

The Government did not cut $30 billion from schools in the May budget.

They have gone quiet all of a sudden. Hang on—ABC Fact Check’s verdict was:

The Government did not cut $30 billion from schools in the May budget.

ABC Fact Check went on:

… in reality there is just too much uncertainty for this long-term estimate to be used as a reliable measure for cuts or savings.

Ms Ellis is spouting rubbery figures.

Fancy that! Your scare campaign has been exposed for what it is. It is one long scare campaign based on rubbery figures. Members opposite know it and the Australian people know it.

Let’s move forward to the 2015 budget, look at this year’s budget figures and again consider some facts. I know that those opposite do not like the facts, but the 2015-16 budget delivers a record 15.7 billion in funding for all schools across Australia. And $69.5 billion in funding over the forward estimates will be provided for both government and non-government schools in all states and territories. Total Commonwealth funding for all schools will increase by $4.1 billion, a 27.9 per cent increase from 2014-15 to 2018-19. 

It is all starting to go horribly wrong for those opposite. The bitter irony is just starting to sink in. Kevin Rudd, the bloke they sacked and then brought back to try to save the furniture, has put in place rules that actually protect the member for Maribyrnong. They cannot sack him—the guy who sacked two prime ministers—and the bitter irony is starting to sink in for them. They cannot sack him. Those opposite never trusted him, the Australian people will never trust him, and as long as he leads this once-great party— (Time expired)





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