License article

Gillard holds community cabinet meeting near Brisbane

Show comments

The Gonski Review dominated a community cabinet meeting west of Brisbane last night, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard imploring voters to pressure their state governments into working with the federal government.

About 400 community members - many of them associated with the local schools - attended the cabinet meeting at Redbank Plains High School, west of Brisbane, in the marginal Labor seat of Blair.

Among the questions asked were whether the federal government planned to implement the raft of recommendations from the Gonski Report, commissioned by Ms Gillard when she was education minister.

David Goski, an eminent businessman, philanthropist and the Chancellor of the University of NSW, was asked to review the way schools are funded.

He handed down his report in February.

Three questions were asked in the space of an hour about the review, with one woman asking "What is stopping the implementations of the Gonski report? It's so important, we need you guys to get on board".


The Federal government is yet to formally respond to the report and Ms Gillard said she was going to "snaffle" the question from the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth Peter Garrett.

"It's a very big change to what we have now with very big financial costs," she said.

"We are very focused on that work and we will be responding, but that challenge from David Gonski was not a challenge to us - it was a challenge to state governments.

"We will be asking our state colleagues to work with us and for those of you who feel so passionately about education, we will probably be asking you to make your views very clearly known."

Members of the Kruger State School P&C Association wore matching shirts which said "I Give a Gonski", and a spokeswoman for the group said it was statistically one of the most disadvantaged schools in the state.

"The Gonski review is going to help all of our children, not just the ones who are labelled," she said.

"It's going to help our overworked teachers, it's going to help our families, our community as a whole.

"The Gonski report will help fix our education system."

Earlier in the forum, a man asked Ms Gillard how she could be an atheist and swear allegiance to the constitution when "it is relied on by the blessing of the almighty God?"

Ms Gillard said one of the strengths of Australia was its diversity.

"My world outlook is my world outlook and I'm not asking anyone to share it," she said.

Despite the carbon tax coming into effect on July 1 there were no questions directly about it though one man asked when the prime minister was going to acknowledge the full effects of climate change.