Schools, hospitals high on Labor's agenda

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

One of the dangers of election campaigning at a school is the tolling of the bell.

Having attended St Mary's Cathedral College as a student, Anthony Albanese knew it was coming as he campaigned on Monday.

"The bells are tolling for the Morrison government because early voting starts today," he said.

"Time is up."

Mr Albanese spent the day promising funding for the education sector as well as a hospital in South Australia, riding high on new opinion polls indicating Labor has extended its lead two weeks out from the election.

The latest Newspoll shows Labor ahead 54-46 on two-party preferred, up one point from the previous week, while an Ipsos poll has Labor on a 35 per cent primary vote while the coalition has dropped to 29 per cent.

At his former high school, Mr Albanese was greeted by a mob of cheering students who called him over for selfies and high-fives.

He told the youngsters he had met one of his lifelong best friends at the school and his highest HSC marks were in chemistry and maths.

The welcome was similarly warm at an early voting centre in the Liberal-held seat of Boothby in Adelaide.

Mr Albanese told Labor supporters their task was to convince five undecided voters to back the party every day before the election.

The visits provided a backdrop to spruik Labor's plans for the education and health sectors.

A $150 million plan aims to get more high achievers into teaching and boost the numbers of science and mathematics teachers.

Labor hopes to reverse nearly two decades of declining performance from Australian students.

Mr Albanese also pledged a $200 million commitment for the Flinders Hospital in Adelaide.

The funding, which will be matched by the South Australian government, will provide an extra 160 beds, expand the intensive care unit and upgrade the operating theatres.

He was joined by SA Premier Peter Malinauskas who said the Liberal Party had neglected Boothby for too long.

Yet Mr Albanese denied the announcement was an attempt to buy votes in the marginal seat.

"States run the hospitals, I'm not planning to change that at all. What I am planning to do is to sit down constructively with all state governments based upon their priority," he told reporters in Adelaide.

"This is the hospital that needs this infrastructure upgrade right now."

Meanwhile, the education sector is facing a post-pandemic shift, as teachers say they are burned out after two years of lockdown and educators in NSW striking last week for better pay.

Opposition education spokeswoman Tanya Plibersek said under the Morrison government too many high-achieving teachers were leaving the profession and not enough were entering it.

At least one in three educators quit the sector in their first five years of teaching, with unions complaining of extra workloads pushing members to their limit.

Mr Albanese said Labor will incentivise the best graduates to take up teaching.

"A good teacher changes lives," he told reporters.

"(Labor's plan) is about attracting people who will become the best teachers in the profession."

Under the plan, 5000 students with an 80 or higher ATAR will be able to receive $10,000 a year to study teaching, plus an extra $2000 if they move to the bush.

The plan will also fund 1500 extra placements to retrain mathematicians and scientists and support them as they work part-time as teachers while getting their masters degree in education.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting