Gonski campaign steps up as federal government refuses to commit 

The effective programs being put in place with Gonski funds across Queensland remain at risk, thanks to the continued refusal of the Turnbull government to commit to the full funding beyond 2017.

At the time of writing, Malcolm Turnbull has suggested that states may become responsible for raising the taxes to fully fund public schools, while the federal government would continue to fund non-government schools. This situation would be unacceptable and would lead to increased inequities across state borders. It is also a further worrying indication that the Turnbull government is not committed to supporting and strengthening state schools for the benefit of society.

The Gonski Report and associated funding reforms clearly identified a role for the federal government in providing increased funding to schools, targeted to need. The QTU will continue to campaign for the full implementation of these reforms and rejects the notion that the federal government has no obligation to provide public education.

National doorknock

On 13 and 21 March, QTU members joined their colleagues from across Australia to hit the streets and knock on doors to take the Gonski message to households in key electorates.

The Forde doorknock team made it to nearly 300 homes and had over 70 conversations with locals in the Boronia Heights and Waterford West areas. Successful door knocking also occurred in Brisbane, Bonner and Longman. The overall feeling was that support for Gonski among community members is high. The positive reaction of the community was affirming for doorknockers, who found the experience positive, constructive and empowering.

Talking Gonski on local government election day

The March Gonski activity also extended to schools on the day of the local government elections, where P&C members holding cake stalls and sausage sizzles took the opportunity to raise awareness of the Gonski campaign for needs-based school funding and to share powerful stories of the difference the funds have been making in Queensland.

Parents, teachers and principals at Belmont State School, Upper Mt Gravatt State School, Mansfield State School, Marshall Road State School, Brisbane Central State School and Kelvin Grove State College donned their green shirts, handed out their Gonski story and continued to grow the supporters in their community with sign-ups. Conversations and activism are continuing to grow the local campaigns in these school communities. Some local supporters have taken the opportunity to begin engaging with their MP around advocacy for Gonski school funding in preparation for delegations occurring in early term two.

The Gonski Bus launches in Brisbane

Teachers from Mansfield State High School and Mansfield State School met between the two campuses to celebrate the launch of the Gonski Bus in Brisbane South. The bus will be seen on a number of routes from Redlands to Logan City to the centre of Brisbane, complementing a print, digital and television advertising campaign to ensure that the Gonski message is front and centre in people’s minds in the lead up to the federal election.

Brendan Crotty

Deputy General Secretary

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 121 No 3, 15 Apr 2016, p16