Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick has weighed into the public discourse around funding early childhood education relying not on research but rather the Wizard of Oz. Yes, you read that right. No, this isn’t The Betoota Advocate.
“Dorothy didn’t tap her shoes together and say there’s no place like childcare. She said there’s no place like home.”
These were actual words spoken by the Queenslander in the Senate on Wednesday in support of his argument that children staying at home with a parent is preferable to them attending any sort of childcare.
‘If you can keep a child at home… and you can keep a parent at home…you’ll halve congestion, halve pollution and increase the quality of life for the children and their parents,’ he explained.
Astonishingly, in spite of the cogent fact that Dorothy did indeed say ‘home’ instead of ‘childcare’, Rennick’s argument flies in the face of mountains of empirical evidence that shows, categorically, children benefit from accessing early education and care.
Just yesterday we published an op-ed from Professor Frank Oberklaid illustrating the substantial merit in public policy being informed by science and research. Australia’s successful management of COVID19 is proof that it’s an effective precedent that can result in positive outcomes.
Professor Oberklaid argued that it’s time for the unequivocal scientific research about early childhood education and care to inform Australia’s policy.
And yet on the very same day an actual elected representative was in the Senate proclaiming that kids staying home is better because Dorothy said so.
For what it’s worth, his aversion to actual science appears consistent across the board. Senator Rennick has argued that the Bureau of Meteorology is engaged in a conspiracy to rewrite climate records to fit in with a “global warming agenda”.
How reassuring to consider decisions that impact the lives of all Australians are being made by representatives like Senator Rennick?