The Federal Government has given a Senate Inquiry into the Australian Education Bill just three days and has refused to allow time for hearings.
Victorian Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie said this move came after the Federal Government gagged debate on the Bill in the House of Representatives after less than two hours.
Senator McKenzie said the move was symbolic of a Government which was functioning poorly.
“The Government is rushing the changes through the Parliament without proper consideration of the impact on schools, families and school fees,” Senator McKenzie said.
“The Bill has 71 pages of amendments containing sweeping new powers for the Federal Government to interfere in the operation of both government and non-government schools and projected Federal Budgetary cuts of $325 million over the next four years,” she said.
“If this new model is so good, what does the Government have to hide from the proper scrutiny of the Parliament?’’
Senator McKenzie said the Senate committee needed to talk to schools, parents and other stakeholders to find out how the detail of the bill would impact on them.
She said schools looking at projections of what they might receive in additional funding by 2019 were still in the dark about what funding they would receive next year and the year after.
“The Gillard Government should release the year by year figures for the next three years where Commonwealth education funding actually goes backwards in every state and territory,’’ she said.
Media contact: Kathleen Tonini Mob: 0400530027