Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3836 ..
the ACT are already among the lowest in the country at 17.2 per cent. In essence, families who pay for their children’s education at non-government schools save the government in excess of over $100 million a year. Hence, it is my hope that this motion today, with the Assembly’s support, can in some way or another act as a balm for the many concerned families who were affected by the Australian Greens policy that penalised their children for attending non-government schools.
On the day of the elections there was an interesting newspaper article that talked about the simmering power struggle between Bob Brown loyalists and the hard left New South Wales faction led by Lee Rhiannon. Perhaps this is why Senator Brown was monotone and totem-like during his talk at the Press Club. When posed with the issue of funding for non-government schools, he would not or could not give a straight answer on the matter.
It is perhaps also no surprise that in New South Wales the issue of the Greens wanting to shift government funds from non-government schools to public schools dates back as far as 2003, when the New South Wales Greens proposed cutting all state funding and capital works interest subsidies for wealthy private schools and freezing per capita spending for all other non-government schools at year 2000 levels.
I recall my colleague Mr Hanson noting that the Greens’ policies were tantamount to socialism. In this regard, I think he is not that far off the mark. Take, for example, the fact that Ms Rhiannon is the daughter of the communist Freda Brown. In the words of the Australian, she is from one of Australia’s most unapologetically pro-Soviet families.
In her speech for Public Education Day in 2009, rather than espousing the merits and importance of government schools, she took advantage of the moment and recklessly positioned non-government schools as the scourge of government schools. Here are a few of the things she had to say:
We are coming off a strong base if this is the way we choose to go. From my experience community support for public education is stronger than ever, and what is very exciting is that it is a political commitment. More and more people understand that funding of the privates has to be cut.
She also lays blame on Labor with the following:
But we do know that Labor—Is unwilling to break with the private school funding formulas—Has closed schools on a scale not even entertained by Liberals when in office—and are now engaged in a major con job with the PPP—public, private partnership plans.
And allowing us a glimpse of her imperative for getting rid of non-government schools, she has this to say:
… it is our public schools that provide the means to move beyond a narrow view of the world, which comes from adherence to a particular ethnic, religious or societal position.