Tanya Plibersek: 'I have sleepless nights about my children's education.'

Today, I took my youngest son Louis off for his kindergarten Best Start assessment. There were no tears (not from him, anyway… I was a bit emotional). When his brother asked, “are you scared or excited?” there wasn’t even a pause before Louis answered “excited!”

I am lucky that my three children have had wonderful teachers in a warm and welcoming environment, but I’ve still had my sleepless nights when it comes to their education.

Is the school right for them? Am I pushing too hard? Am I letting them slack off?

Tanya’s son Louis. Image via Facebook (Tanya Plibersek).

School education takes up an enormous share of parental brain space.

Every parent and carer wants their kids to be happy at school, to get a great education, to have their genius recognised, or their problems picked up early so they can get the help they need.

We want individual attention, great resources, well trained teachers who continue to get quality professional development and strong support throughout their careers.

We want our kids to be prepared for the jobs of the future, but also the world of the future.

We want investment in schools so our own kids get a great education, but we want this for our nation too. The American philosopher, John Dewey said: “What the best and wisest parent wants for his own child, that must the community want for all of its children.”

Tanya with the NSW schools choir to welcome new citizens, celebrate our multiculturalism and recognise our traditional owners on Australia Day. Image via Facebook (Tanya Plibersek).

We want a great education for kids who come from difficult family circumstances, kids with a disability, kids from rural and remote communities. We want to close the gap in school attainment between Indigenous and non-indigenous kids. We want this for all our children because every one of them deserves a great start in life and the opportunity to make the most of their gifts.

But we should also want it to because there is no surer way of guaranteeing the wealth of our nation.

Malcolm Turnbull is all “blah, blah, blah” on innovation. But you can’t have innovation without education.


The Liberals are cutting school funding. Over a decade the Liberals will cut $30 billion from our schools: an average of more than $3 million from each school.

When Labor was in government we introduced a needs-based funding system based on the Gonski report.

Turnbull, you can’t have innovation without children.

Teachers and parents can tell you already what the early years of that school funding has meant for their schools. It’s meant extra teachers for literacy, for numeracy, for languages, extra teachers to help the kids who are falling behind keep up, and extra teachers who can help the kids who are advanced to make the most of their gifts. It’s meant school counsellors that can help kids who are struggling at home or struggling to fit into school to make sure that they get decent education.

Today Labor announced that we’ll stick with our plan – the most significant improvement in school education in Australia for two generations.

We’ll invest an extra $37.3 billion in schools over the next ten years through Your Child. Our Future.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek.

Labor’s plan will deliver:

· A strong focus on every single child’s needs;

· More individual attention for students;

· Better trained teachers – and more of them;

· More targeted resources and better equipped classrooms; and

· More support for students with special learning needs.

There will be a clear difference between Labor and the Liberals at the next election, and the difference will be obvious in every classroom, in every school.

We want our school system to be one of the best in the world. We want every child to get the best start in life, for their own sake and for the sake of our nation.