In Parliament

Motion: Attempt to Introduce Payroll Tax Amendment (Schools) Bill 2024



Wednesday, 19 June 2024.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (09:47):

I rise in strong support of the Member for Kew’s move to introduce the Payroll Tax Amendment (Schools) Bill 2024.

This Bill must be debated urgently. This is an issue that is a moral line in the sand. The State Labor Government has decided to make money off children. It is absolutely outrageous.

The reason that this Bill must be debated today is because not only are there 58 schools which are currently caught up in the Treasurer’s attack on those children but there are 18 schools which are about to be caught up in the Government’s attack – schools that are doing good work in educating our next generation.

I refer to Alice Miller School in the Member for Macedon’s electorate, Alphington Grammar School in the Member for Northcote’s electorate, Ballarat Clarendon College in the Member for Wendouree’s electorate, Ballarat Grammar, again in the Member for Wendouree’s electorate, Girton Grammar School in the Speaker’s electorate, Kardinia International College in the Member for Lara’s electorate and North-Eastern Montessori School in the member for Eltham’s electorate as just some examples of schools that are about to be caught by this outrageous attack. And what will we see then? We will see those Members quietly write little letters to the Treasurer – and hide them. They may come out under FOI. We will not see them stand up for the kids in their communities in this place, but that is what this Bill does. That is what this Bill is about. This Bill is standing up for the 58 schools that the Government is making money out of.

Natalie Hutchins interjected.

James NEWBURY: The former Minister for Education is interjecting across the chamber.

If only the Minister had actually used her voice on behalf of kids when the policy was introduced.

Members interjecting.

James NEWBURY: I remember, Shadow Minister for Education, the Minister consulting at one dinner about the impact. That was the level of consultation with schools. It was embarrassing for the Minister to stand up and say the consultation that was done was at a dinner –

Natalie Hutchins: On a point of order, Speaker, I am not sure if there are any regulations in Parliament about the tone that is being used and the decibels that are being reached by those opposite, but I would like to put a complaint in that my ears are hurting.

The SPEAKER: Order! It is not a point of order.

James NEWBURY: I am more than happy if the Minister wants to leave the Chamber. I can understand why the Minister is embarrassed by this policy. I can understand why. I understand after the strong public response the Minister was forced into a partial backflip, but it was not good enough.

And what we have seen today is 44 schools are paying the Government to teach kids – $19 million. It is outrageous to think that this is a so-called Labor Government that uses catchcry words around fairness but is charging schools to teach our kids. This is a moral question, and you can see how quiet the Members on the other side of the Chamber are because they are embarrassed. They know the 18 schools that are about to be hit. Then in this Budget the Government went further.

I recall in the briefing the Government gave to Members how it described possible risks and the need to close loopholes. What kind of Government would see children being educated as a possible risk and a loophole that needs to be changed?

We know that after the new 18 schools are caught in the Treasurer’s vicious net Members will write secret letters to their schools with their crocodile tears about how they have advocated to the Treasurer on their behalf. This Bill must be debated today. This is a moral question. This is about children being treated fairly no matter where they go to school – and that is the side that the Coalition is on – so we must debate this Bill today.