Just before the 2019 Federal Election on Saturday May 18th, Compass Education published a blog outlining the education policy positions of the major political parties and some commentary on a number of the most prominent minor parties. In this follow-up blog, we'll recap the election results and what the Coalition's third term might mean for education policy throughout Australia.
Map of 2019 Australian Federal Election results
The Coalition begins their third consecutive term
Last week, on Wednesday 22nd May, with 80% of the vote counted, it was announced that the Coalition had won enough seats to form a majority government. This will mark a third consecutive term in power for the Coalition, having entered office in 2013 under the leadership of Tony Abbott, and been re-elected under Malcolm Turnbull in 2016. With the next federal election to be held in 2022, the Coalition have another three years to continue the policies they have developed over the last six - including setting federal education policy and funding.
This was not a result that was predicted by either political pundits or polling, and even senior Liberal politicians appeared surprised by the emerging results on the evening of the election, but by the late evening Labor leader Bill Shorten had conceded the loss of his party, resigned from his position, and opened the space for a leadership contest.
It was only an hour later that Scott Morrison, leader of the Liberal Party, appeared onstage in Sydney for his victory speech. This may have seemed premature with most votes still yet to be counted, but all of the indicators suggested that the Coalition would be able to form a minority government at the very least - with early predictions that they would be able to form a majority beginning to emerge.
This was not an election that was won or lost on issues of education - indeed, as we argued in our pre-election blog, education was not a key, big ticket issue for any of the major parties. However, as the federal government sets funding and the national curriculum, the result will obviously have an outcome on primary and secondary education.
What will the election result mean for education?
As we suggested in our previous blog, the Coalition’s policy on education is likely to be a continuation of their policy over the last six years. This will include an $4.6 billion increase in funding for the Catholic and independent sector, and up to $32.4 billion of federal funding a year for schools by 2029.
Other funding pledges made by the Coalition include $9.5 million towards the development of online resources for mathematics and phonics education, $5.7 million towards arts programs in schools, and a $200 million Indigenous Youth Package.
It's important to remember that much education policy at a primary and secondary level is set by state governments, but that what happens at a federal-level can have a big impact at a state-level. This is why it's also necessary to pay close attention to state budgets and state elections, including the 2020 Queensland state election.
What happens to the Labor Party?
Anthony Albanese (pictured right) is now leader of the Labor Party, a position he took almost unchallenged. A popular figure on the Left of the party, Albanese's deputy must now come from the Labor Right and represent a non-New South Wales state. It is highly likely that this will be Richard Marles, a Labor member of the House of Representatives from Victoria.
Albanese has promised a 'reexamination' of Labor policy as a result of the election defeat, so it will be necessary to watch developments in the Labor Party under its new leadership closely over the next few weeks and months, but as a figure on the Left of the party it is likely that at least one policy Albanese will support is increased federal funding to state schools.
How did the minor parties perform?
With a large number of minor parties running in the federal election, some analysts have suggested they may have played a role in destabilising the Labor vote in Queensland, including Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. This will remain open for analysis for the foreseeable future.
The Green Party retained Adam Bandt in the House of Representatives, however without a Labor government to 'push to the left', his potential for influence may not be fully realised. It's unlikely that policies the Greens and Labor shared - for example over NAPLAN - will be enacted for the time being.
Thank you for reading our federal election recap: as the providers of an all-in-one school management system, Compass follows changes in the education sector closely. Our blog is a place to reflect this: we hope you find it useful - click here to find out more.