Soon Australians will be voting for their next Commonwealth Government and this could indeed be one of the more important elections of our time. There is always much said about the amount of funding given to independent schools, and while I certainly do not wish to throw my political views into the ring, Bill Shorten has certainly said “I support government schools, I support Catholic schools, and I support the right of parents to choose an independent school”. This is a very concerning statement which perhaps underlies his personal perception and value of independent schooling.
While the choice we make in voting for our next government must involve more than the consideration of only educational policy, it is nevertheless an important one to consider for it may have a direct and significant impact on the fees of all independent schools long into the future. As such, I would like to provide you with a newsletter item written by the Executive Director of Independent Schools Queensland, David Robertson:
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ), the peak body representing our school and the more than 200 other independent schools across the state, is advocating for the needs of our sector during the 2019 Federal Election. In this article, ISQ Executive Director David Robertson shares why this election matters to independent schools.
The campaign to elect Australia’s 46th Parliament is well underway. For independent schools and their families, the education policy platforms and commitments of Australia’s next Commonwealth Government are critically important.
There has been longstanding bipartisan support for school choice and recognition of the important contribution independent schools make to Australia’s education future.
While parents, on average, are the largest financial contributors to independent schools, out of the total public funding independent schools receive, the majority comes from the Australian Government. That’s why even small changes to school funding and policy settings can have implications for school and family budgets. Election policies that boost the economy, increase jobs and wages and lower the cost of living also impact the levels of disposable income families have to spend on the education choices they make for their children.
Successive election polls have consistently shown voters rate education as a key issue. At the federal level, expenditure on schools and higher education represents just over seven percent of all Australian Government expenditure – similar to what the nation will spend on defence in 2019-20.
Australia’s major parties have already announced a range of big-ticket items for school education. Independent Schools Queensland has created a dedicated 2019 Federal Election web page to keep schools and their communities informed about the latest school-related election policy announcements.
On behalf of the sector’s more than 200 independent schools and 121,000 students, ISQ is also advocating strongly for policy commitments that protect and maintain school choice and diversity.
ISQ has prepared an election statement that seeks commitments from the major parties across five key policy pillars:
I encourage school community members to study the policy commitments of the major parties and your local candidates ahead of the May 18 poll. If you have an opportunity to meet or speak with a political leader or candidate, let them know about your school and the central role it plays in the lives of your students, families and local community.
I strongly encourage all parents to carefully examine the various policies of the major parties as you consider who will lead our country.