Turnbull wants to end the ‘Education funding wars’.... well Abbott and Pyne started it when they first attacked Gonski and then tried to nullify it going into an election by lying about supporting it (a ‘unity ticket’ they said) and then backing or squirming out of it once in power.
Turnbull took a hit on education at the last election and he’s trying to do what Abbott did by hosing down the education sector with the aid of his old debating pal David Gonski. I hope the AEU and ALP strategists are getting their heads together around this because if they have any credibility at all they can punch huge holes through this charade. I wonder if the privates and Catholic will kick up the stink against Turnbull and co. that they would have done if it was Labor?
'Gonski 2.0' review to allocate resources as funding is cut to private schools
Government announces 10-year plan to bring school funding to the same level for all institutions, with David Gonski to lead second review
The first thing to say is obvious. Voters care about two things: education and health.
The enduring level of voter interest in these issues was underscored in the latest Guardian Essential poll, which found a majority of voters wanted the government to use next week’s budget to increase spending on healthcare (62%) and education (54%).
The next thing to say is also obvious. The Turnbull government in its head, having suffered the trauma of a near-death experience at the last federal election, is still fighting the last war.
Having been whacked comprehensively on health and education in 2016, carrying the last of Tony Abbott’s heavy water, it wants the looming budget to mark a political turning point of sorts.
It’s been signalling for weeks that there will be some good news on Medicare next Tuesday.
Then, on education: rejoicing.
Courtesy of the deck-clearing exercise over the past 48 hours, the government would dearly like you to think that the cut could have been worse for universities, (remember Tony’s mad deregulation idea – that was so much worse) and, oh look – peace in our time on schools!
As is so often the case with the Turnbull government, you really do have to mind the whiplash.
After arguing for many months the problems in Australian schools weren’t about money, that money doesn’t automatically buy you quality, hey presto, apparently it is about money, at least in part.
It was unclear for much of the press conference on Tuesday why Gonski was there, to do a new review, given the government had apparently accepted the principles of his original school funding model.
Then it became clear. Gonski would do a second review into improving the results of Australian students.
So after a long an arduous journey into hyper-partisan soundbite hell, the problem in schools would be about money and about improving standards.
But lest positive thoughts begin to settle on your brain, Labor was quick with some dark side of the moon.
The shadow education minister, Tanya Plibersek, said peace in our time was actually a $22bn school funding cut dressed up as an improvement.
University fees: how much more will you pay under the proposed changes?
This interactive calculator estimates how the government’s proposed university changes will increase your fees
“These people think we are all idiots,” Plibersek thundered in some foliage in Sydney. “We are supposed to be grateful that this isn’t a $30bn cut?”
The government’s funding documents point out that the Coalition, with Gonski 2.0, would spend $6.3bn less than Labor has pledged over the four years 2018 to 2021, and $22.3bn less over 10 years (2018 to 2027).
The Victorian government says the new deal leaves it $630m worse off compared with the original Gonski agreement.
The biggest losers don’t stop with some pre-budget accounting wizardry.
Birmingham noted rather delicately on Tuesday that as schools transitioned to a common schooling resource standard, a “small number of schools will experience some negative growth”.
In plain English, this means some rich schools will lose funding – more than 300 on current indications.
Many ordinary voters will say bring it on, baby, this is a fight absolutely worth having – but the various private education lobbies I suspect won’t be quite so sanguine.
Catholic education was none too pleased with the prevailing political winds on Tuesday.
So perhaps, rather than Gonski 2.0, peace in our time – we have Gonski, round two.
From Katherine Murphy in the Guardian