Thousands of public schools displayed outside Parliament in fight against funding cuts

Public schools have taken over the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra today to highlight the importance of reversing the Morrison Government’s $14 billion in public school funding cuts.

Thousands of cardboard school cut-outs have been planted outside Parliament House in a spectacular display as part of the Fair Funding Now! campaign to win fair funding for public schools.

These schools will be joined by nine Fair Funding Now! vans and volunteers, who are bringing a message from parents and teachers across the country to Scott Morrison.

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the Fair Funding Now! van fleet had spent the last two months travelling the country talking to teachers and parents about what they wanted for their children and their schools.

“We have a very clear message from parents, teachers and voters about their disappointment over the Morrison Government’s decision to cut $14 billion in public school funding over the next decade,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Mr Morrison’s idea of a fair go is to cut billions from public schools and give billions extra to private schools. After six years of funding cuts we know the Coalition doesn’t support public schools. Mr Morrison’s plan will leave 99 per cent of public schools below the national resource standard. That’s his idea of a fair go.

“Today we have demonstrated the impact of Scott Morrison’s public school funding cuts with our field of Fair Funding Now! schools. This is a visual representation of every public school in Australia planted on the lawns before Parliament House.

“Each school on this lawn signifies a real public school in our community and the extra funding it stands to receive under Labor’s commitment for an extra $3.3 billion in public school funding in the first three years of a Shorten Labor government.

“This additional funding, under Labor, is critically important for our schools and will provide for smaller class sizes, more one-on-one support and more help for students with disability.

“We also welcome the commitment of the Australian Greens to Fair Funding Now! for all public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Today the AEU will also launch a national advertising campaign reminding voters about the failure of the Morrison Government to fairly fund public schools. This national campaign will run across television, radio, newspapers, online and social media as well as billboards in the lead up to the federal election.

“Under Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Coalition we have had six years of attacks on public schools. Unfortunately we don’t expect to see anything different in tonight’s budget,” Ms Haythorpe said. “Two thirds of Australian school students attend public schools, yet the Morrison government has turned its back on these children. 

“It is time for a change of government, one that is serious about investing in our public schools.”

NOTE: The AEU’s new national advertisement can be viewed here. A high-resolution version is also available on request.