Education International
Education International

Australian teachers’ union calls on government to boost education funding

published 29 February 2016 updated 4 April 2016

The Australian Education Union is gearing up for a $2 million TV advertising campaign aimed at garnering support for extra education funding under the so-called "Gonski programme."

Australian Education Union (AEU) Federal President Correna Haythorpe told the AEU’s Annual Federal Conference on 26 February in Melbourne, that the conservative government “needs to match Labour’s promise of investing an extra $4.5 billion AUD in schools in 2018 and 2019". Federal elections are expected to be held later this year. While addressing the conference, Labour Leader Bill Shorten confirmed that, if elected, Labour would stand by its promise for extra funding.

The three day conference also discussed the plight of children of refugees seeking asylum in Australia, many of which are held in detention centres. For some years the AEU and civil society organisations in Australia are protesting against the detention of children by their government. Shocking figures about the poor and deteriorating health conditions of these children have increased pressure on the public authorities to review refugee and migration policies.  Education International (EI) General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, who addressed the AEU conference on the international refugee crisis, said that Australian refugee policy was "harsh, inhumane and in violation with international law."

His comments came as EI is launching a project focused on refugee children and refugee teachers. Six union affiliates in six European countries are going to be chosen for the programme, which will involve various aspects ranging from the training of European teachers to better work with refugee children to identifying and training refugee teachers.