Alarm bells have been ringing since the leaking of a paper (not yet a Green Paper, and certainly not a White one) which, inter alia, suggests that the federal government should withdraw from funding public schools. Stewart Riddle (The Conversation, 23.6.15) argues:
‘Since the New South Wales Public Schools Act 1866, legislation has enshrined compulsory, secular and universal access to public schooling. This is not something that should be taken lightly, nor should it be cast aside with a spurious argument that it is not the responsibility of the federal government.
‘Providing universal access to high-quality education that is publicly provided is something we are all collectively responsible for. …
‘If we are serious about our attempts to close the gap in Indigenous education, raise literacy and numeracy levels, reduce social disadvantage and provide a meaningful education for all students in Australia, regardless of where they live, then we must have a strong public education system.
‘Any attempt to undermine the fabric of public education is an attempt to undermine the fabric of society. As such, it is something that every single one of us should be very concerned about.’