Public Education Day

Public Education Day, 28 May, is a time to recognise the central role that public schools, preschools and TAFEs play in strengthening the social, economic and cultural fabric of our society. Free, public and secular education is the key to a vibrant, socially cohesive, multicultural and democratic Australia.


Public education is a public good, one which contributes a collective benefit to society as well as to individuals. It brings together students from a range of diverse backgrounds, and creates a cohesive community by transforming lives and equipping young people with the skills, knowledge and attitudes for citizenship.

Public Education builds equity, hope, and opportunity for every child. Australia’s public schools, preschools and TAFEs are inclusive and provide lifelong benefits to students through access to education, improved health, wellbeing and employment.

Public education ensures the right of every student to access a high quality education. In order to fulfil this purpose, public education must be sufficiently resourced to focus on equity and equality in opportunity.

In the lead up to Public Education Day, Thursday 28th May, please join us on Twitter and Facebook as we celebrate and acknowledge principals, teachers and education support staff.

Prominent Australians speak out for Public Education


Maralyn Parker

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The professionalism, resilience and creativity of our public school teachers have never been more obvious to us, the majority of Australian families who send our children to public schools.

Alan Reid

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Public education has been central to the fight against Covid-19 in 2020. From the outset, and even as the health strategy changed as circumstances changed, public school educators acted in the same spirit in which public schools were established.

Jason Kimberley

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During the current COVID-19 crisis my organisation Cool Australia worked closely with public education teachers to ascertain our 200 most useful classroom lessons to convert into at home learning activities for parents and caregivers.


Amanda Graham

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When our twins’ year 1 teacher greeted them one Friday morning, dressed up as an explorer, my husband and I knew our children were in good hands.

John Falzon

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A well-funded, fully resourced public education system is the cornerstone of a strong democracy and a fair society.

Stephanie Gotlib

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It is really important that we celebrate Public Education Day. This year with the outbreak of Covid-19, it has been a telling reminder of how important public education is.


Jay Weatherill

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Universal free public education is one of the great social democratic achievements of our nation.

Michael Kirby

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Recent advent of COVID19 has imposed added pressures on public schools, their staff and students. However, the shining values of public education have continued and even strengthened.

Lesley Podesta

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Education is a human right, as well as a public good and a public responsibility. Without a properly funded and considered public education system, Australian society is at grave risk of endemic poverty, inequality, brutality and injustice.


Professor Larissa Behrendt

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Professor Larissa Behrendt, the first Aboriginal Harvard Law graduate, speaking about the importance of public education to her life.

Rosie Batty

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Rosie Batty shares her thoughts on the importance of public education.

Pasi Sahlberg

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In my global education mission I’ve been often asked: What is the most important thing you learned in school? Much of what was taught to me I have forgotten but one lesson will stay with me.


Julia Gillard

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I first became a supporter of public education in 1967. That was the year when, as a terrified five-year old migrant girl with continuing traces of a Welsh accent, I started at Mitcham Infants School.

David Gonski

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Even though I was only seven when we emigrated to Australia, I still remember it. Times were tough for my parents who had four children under eight living in a very small rented flat. Within a week of arriving in Sydney I was sent to the local public school...

Jessica Tovey

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I strongly believe that every Australian child should receive an education that allows them to find what inspires them and nurtures their individual needs regardless of their background.


Sally McManus

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Sally McManus, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, shares her thoughts about public education.

Hon. Adrian Piccolli

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Hon Adrian Piccolli, Director, Gonski Institute for Education and Professor of Practice, School of Education, UNSW shares his thoughts on public education.

Kurt Fearnley

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Kurt Fearnley (three time Paralympic gold medalist and two time Commonwealth Games gold medallist), shares his thoughts on the importance of public education.


Fiona Press

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Fiona Press, an Australian actress whose career has spanned over 30 years, shares her thoughts on the importance of public education.

Michele O'Neil

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Michele O'Neil, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, shares her thoughts about public education.

Dan Walton

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Dan Walton, National Secretary AWU, shares his thoughts on the importance of public education.


Jane Caro

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Jane Caro, author, columnist, broadcaster, documentary maker, and social commentator (and public education advocate!) shares her thoughts on public education.

David Hetherington

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David Hetherington, Executive Director of the Public Education Foundation shares his thanks.

Brad Chilcott

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Brad Chilcott, founder of Welcoming Australia, shares his thoughts on the importance of public education.


Dr David Zyngier

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As the founder of the Public Education Network (PEN) I wish to acknowledge the positive contributions that public school teachers make to the lives of children and young people, their families and communities need to be widely recognised.

Annie Butler

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I’m so pleased to be celebrating public education day and everything that public education means for Australia. I didn’t go to a public school myself – but that wasn’t my choice, it was my parents’ choice. When it was my choice – for my children – I chose the public school system.

Jo Schofield

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Public schools are at the heart of our community. They are places full of hope, of learning and – most importantly – of equity and inclusion.


Craig Reucassel

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Craig Reucassel talking about how his public school shaped his career and concept of social justice.

Professor Peter C Doherty

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The best thing that could come out of COVID-19 is that we re-evaluate, then change many of the ways we are doing things. At the forefront of that is the need to fund the public education sector properly, from schools to TAFEs to universities.

David Bartlett

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I consider myself very fortunate. Not only did I get the opportunity to attend three great Tasmanian public schools – Mt Nelson Primary, Taroona High and Hobart College – but I also have the opportunity to send my own children to great Tasmanian public schools.


Lara Golding

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Lara Golding, President of the AEU South Australia branch, shares her thoughts on #PublicEducationDay

Prof. Rachel Wilson

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Public Education is the foundation for strong and flourishing democracies. It serves to provide opportunity for all, within a schooling system that promotes inclusion, diversity and shared experience.

Helen Richardson

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Helen Richardson, President of the AEU Tasmania branch, shares her thoughts on #PublicEducationDay


Mark Zirnsak

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Free public education funded through a fair tax system is vital for a decent society. It is one of the key elements to putting a brake on the growing inequality in our community and across the globe.

Susan Hopgood

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In times of uncertainty and disruption, it is a good thing to remind ourselves of what matters. Public Education Day provides just such a reminder to me, both in a personal and professional sense.

Carmen Lawrence

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This week is an opportunity to celebrate the strengths of our public schools and commend the many who make it possible – the teachers, support staff and administrators - and to remind ourselves of why quality public education is so important to our national and personal wellbeing.


Dr. John Davis

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To couch a deeper connection to the ideal of Public Education, I wanted to share a few points on the grand narratives of our nation, to which Public Education subscribes.