Australian Greens welcome Weatherill’s input, saying ECEC needs “a big rethink”
The Australian Greens Party has responded favourably to recent statements made by former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, who called for state-based control of early childhood education and care, saying that the Commonwealth was “failing” Australian children under five years of age through their provision of “a fractured childcare system dominated by private interests”.
Both Greens Leader Adam Bandt and Greens education spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi said that it was time to start treating childcare as an essential public service, making it clear that the party’s position was that the ideas presented by Mr Weatherill warrant further discussion.
The Party does not, however, agree that the Commonwealth should vacate the field and hand childcare over to the states.
Mr Bandt and Dr Faruqi said it was time to start “treating childcare as an essential public service” expressing gratitude for Mr Weatherill’s perspective, which is in alignment with the Green New Deal push for free childcare run on a not-for-profit basis.
“On my first day as Greens Leader I said that free childcare, run like schools on a not-for-profit basis, was core to a Green New Deal. We need to kickstart a national discussion about how we can give our children the best start in life. Jay Weatherill’s idea is a good one and worthy of consideration,” Mr Bandt said.
Echoing his thoughts, Dr Faruqi said every child “should have free learning and care, and every educator should have job security through the COVID-19 crisis”.
“There’s no place for profit in education. Early learning and care is an essential public service. It must be funded and operated accordingly,” she added, saying the COVID-19 pandemic “has exposed some of the serious structural problems with childcare in Australia. Early childhood education and care needs a big rethink.”