Quality teaching neglected in relentless funding focus

PUBLISHED ON THE DRUM ABC: The Prime Minister’s long-awaited school funding reforms outlined in the Gonski Review have been quietly shelved. The education ministers meeting last Thursday failed to endorse the reforms, with the Victorian Minister stating plainly that no substantial change will be happening anytime soon. After two years of work, it will back to the…

Build different new bridges – The Australian

PUBLISHED IN THE AUSTRALIAN April 12, 2012: HAVING just returned from leading a political delegation to Vietnam, I have a confession: I had no idea Australia had recently given $160 million to Vietnam for a new bridge. But then neither did the Vietnamese I met. In almost 20 meetings with senior Vietnamese leaders, Australia’s funding…

Death of Jim Stynes OAM

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA:  Today we lost a truly great Australian and, as Mike Sheahan said in today’s Herald Sun, ‘one of the most extraordinary figures in Australian life’—we lost Mr Jim Stynes. As the member for Flinders, who spoke just before me, so eloquently said, Mr Jim Stynes was not just a footballer, he was…

Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Maintaining Address) Bill 2011 and the Electoral and Referendum Amendment (Protecting Elector Participation) Bill 2012

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: Australia is a truly great democracy. We are indeed one of the great democracies of the world, the longest continuous democracy on the planet despite our relatively short history as a nation. We have never had a coup. We have never had a revolution. When we have elections at the state and…

Wild Rivers

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: Earlier today we rightly reflected upon the life of Dame Margaret Whitlam, who tragically passed away quite recently. In doing so, we also reflected upon the life of her husband, Gough Whitlam. When you think about Gough Whitlam and some of the enduring images of his tenure as Prime Minister, one of those…

Classification Amendment R 18+

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: I rise this afternoon to speak on the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R 18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012. I would like to say at the outset that this is a bill which I have spent considerable time thinking about, and I have had great difficulty in coming to a…

Voluntary Student Unionism

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA: This year students went back to university to discover that a condition of continuing their studies was a compulsory student services and amenities fee of up to $263. They did not have to pay that fee last year because it was voluntary, as it was for the six years before that. This…

90 Second Statement on Education

PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA:  One reason for the decline in the number of students studying maths and science is a paucity of maths and science teachers. So it is a great concern to learn that stifling bureaucracy is preventing some truly outstanding graduates from teaching maths and science. Let me give you three examples. Firstly, Justin…