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Time for amateurs is over: Greens respond to chaplains High Court decision

The Australian Greens have challenged Prime Minister Tony Abbott to replace the invalidated chaplains program with professional mental health workers in schools.

Following the High Court's decision today, Australian Greens spokesperson for schools and mental health, Senator Penny Wright, said power to fund the chaplains program now sat with the Parliament.

"At a time when the government is ripping $30 billion out of schools - $250 million for chaplains was always a bad idea," Senator Wright said.

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Hasty curriculum review should be canned

Penny Wright 17 Jun 2014

Minister for Education Christopher Pyne has responded to Greens pressure to release the preliminary report of the Review into the Australian curriculum, posting the report online this afternoon.

However, Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright said she was not surprised how little had been achieved by the reviewers.

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Greens force release of curriculum review report

Penny Wright 17 Jun 2014

The Australian Greens will today force the release of the preliminary report of the Abbott Government's review into the national curriculum within seven days.

Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright will this afternoon move a production of documents motion, to be supported by Labor, which will require the Minister to release the preliminary report by Kevin Donnelly and Ken Wiltshire.

"This review has been shrouded in secrecy. The public deserve to know what's being planned for our schools," Senator Wright said.

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Nats must stand up to Tony Abbott on Gonski funding

Penny Wright 14 Jun 2014

The Australian Greens have called on federal National MPs join the NSW branch in publically advocating for the full six years of Gonski funding.

Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright commended NSW Education Minister and National Party member Adrian Piccoli for his speech in support of the full Gonski funding at the NSW Nationals conference.

"As Mr Piccoli says, funding the full six years of Gonski will benefit country schools the most," Senator Wright said.

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Don't turn Aussie schools into US franchises, Mr Abbott

Penny Wright 12 Jun 2014

The Australian Greens have urged Prime Minister Abbott to keep big business out of public education, following reports the Coalition is looking to Americanise Australian schools.

Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright said corporations should not be dictating curriculum.

"Our public education system should provide a chance for every student to reach their potential, and no - we don't want fries with that," Senator Wright said.

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$30b to be cut from schools, but even Government doesn’t know how

Penny Wright 5 Jun 2014

The Abbott Government cannot say where almost $30 billion in budget cuts to schools will be found, says Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright.

Senator Wright said estimates questioning late last night revealed the Government had picked a random number with no thought to the consequences.

"The best Treasury could do was say the cuts to schools would be 'something less than $30 billion'," Senator Wright said.

"When even Treasury doesn't know the real numbers - you know there's no plan behind this policy.

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Greens urge Coalition to rethink Gonski cuts

Penny Wright 22 May 2014

Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools Senator Penny Wright has urged the Coalition to reverse their cruel cuts to Australian schools as businessman David Gonski speaks out.

"If there was ever a time for Tony Abbott to do one last backflip on education - now is it," Senator Penny Wright said.

"This is Australia's future on the line. There can be no age of opportunity while we leave hundreds of thousands of children behind.

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Mental health must take priority over chaplain program

Funding for the National School Chaplaincy Program should be redirected to put qualified mental health workers in every school, says Australian Greens spokesperson for schools and mental health Senator Penny Wright.

"There is a youth mental health crisis in Australia - our students need to have access to qualified professionals," Senator Wright said.

"When teenagers are more likely to die from suicide than car accidents, it's time to make it as easy as possible for every young person to get professional mental health support."

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Cruel Coalition rips up Gonski, takes kids’ futures with it

Penny Wright 14 May 2014

Tony Abbott's decision to dump the Gonski school funding reforms will disadvantage every one of Australia's 3.6 million students, says Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Senator Penny Wright.

"The Coalition has abandoned every child, every parent, every teacher and every school, but none more so than those in greatest need," Senator Wright said.

"Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne have turned their backs on equality - wilfully and ruthlessly entrenching privilege in education.

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