Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale and Education Spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi have today doubled down on their defence of public schools, declaring they "will not be silenced" by a well-funded Private Schools lobby group.
"The Morrison Government has sold Australian students down the river to silence a powerful lobby group ahead of the Wentworth byelection, but the Greens will always put kids in public education front and centre," Dr Di Natale said.
"We are proud of our advocacy for the neediest schools in Australia, and are glad the Catholic schools lobby has decided to spread the word. Sadly, every cent it spends on this campaign is money not spent on our underfunded public school system.
"Almost 90% of Australia's public schools are below acceptable funding levels, while we've just learnt that Catholic schools in NSW have been given $85 million more than they need. Some of the richest schools have been given $3 million more than necessary, while public school students swelter in overcrowded demountables. That simply isn’t fair.
“We are the party of public education. The other parties have allowed this to happen by giving in to vested interests but we will stand up to those bullies and support kids in underfunded state schools.
“Each year the private schools lobby gets more brazen. We will be following this up with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission at Budget Estimates later this month.
“Now that the Government and Labor have given in to their demands, it’s only a matter of time before they seek to leech more money from our public school system.
"I have faith that parents of children in private schools understand that kids in public schools deserve a fair go. That's why we need the Greens in the Senate to stand up for students across Australia.”
Australian Greens Education Spokesperson, Senator Mehreen Faruqi said that the Greens make no apologies for putting public schools first and that the party was looking at ways to overturn the deal:
“The Greens are the only party that will stand up for public schools and against special deals for private schools. Both the Labor and Liberal parties continue to support billions going to already overfunded private schools," Senator Faruqi said.
“Billions in extra funding for private schools doesn’t end the school funding wars, it inflames it. We know the most disadvantaged schools are public schools. At the current rate, most public schools will not receive enough funding to meet even the basic needs of their students.
“We are looking carefully at our options in Parliament to shred this obscene deal. The Government must come back with a fair deal for public education” she concluded.