Not that they didn’t already. Today the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
The Opposition Leader will call for “nothing less than a revolution in education” and warn that Australia’s prosperity will hit the wall unless the quality and funding of education – from childhood to adulthood – is raised substantially.
Totally agree with this… Education would be my first priority if I were in government. From improving the uninspiring physical environment of state schools, to paying teachers a decent wage to attract the best and improve the status of teaching as a career; from offering better childcare and early childhood education so that mothers can realistically re-enter the workforce; from universities which only offer mass-produced business and engineering degrees, rather than specialised and customised degrees… the whole thing needs major work.
Where will the money come from? Well, I read something months ago which said that if the money in the ‘Future Fund’ was invested in education, the government would earn a similar return. So there is definitely the money available for a ‘revolution’.
Birth Rate / Women in the Workforce
One of the problems with the baby bonus is it encourages people with low incomes to have children which they cannot realistically support. Offering world-class childcare to children from a very young age may encourage parents with higher incomes (and some chance to independently support them over the long term) to have children and give women a way to return to the workforce without feeling like they are disadvantaging or betraying their children.
What I am suggesting here is childcare, early childhood education, after-school programs and perhaps even later finishing times for high-school students, which would allow couples to consider having children and a career at the same time rather than waiting until later in life and allowing mothers (and fathers) to return to full-time work.