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Corks pop over Gonski 2.0 con but Turnbull government has nothing to celebrate.

Corks pop and peals of laughter ring out over the disco beat of a ghetto-blaster cranking out a Donna Summer number from Liberal offices deep inside Parliament House, safe from the world outside and Canberra’s winter frost.

She works hard for the money, MPs sing along with Donna. It’s 2:00am Friday before MPs can celebrate a pay rise, a tax cut and a six week break. Overseas holidays, aka tax-deductible study tours, in warmer climes beckon.

All raise a glass to Remuneration Tribunal members, John Conche, Ewen Crouch and Heather Zampatti, for their fair decision to grant federal parliamentarians and senior public servants a 2% pay rise. Years of experience as company directors of banks and investment houses help John, Ewen and Heather achieve arms-length objectivity.

The rise coincides with government’s decision to scrap the deficit levy even though the deficit is still $30 billion. Selflessly, it eases the burden on our highest income earners and lowers the top marginal tax rate to 47 per cent.

Yet many ordinary hard-working Australians will lose their recent minimum weekly wage rise of $22.20, a rise deplored as devastating by the Australian Retailers Association, negated by the loss of penalty rates from 1 July.

Or will they? Our rapidly expanding precariat and those in the trendy serfdom of the gig economy, or a quarter of our workforce face pay cuts of up to $63 for working a public holiday after July 1. Some pin their hopes on gorgeous George Christensen, who even promises fabulous mining jobs in his quest to do something for them.

All talk and no walk, sneers Labor. Coal mining employs 0.5% of the nation’s workforce. Yet a workers’ champion is born as Deadly Duterte fan-boy George crosses the floor to support Labor’s bill to reverse penalty rate cuts.

The bill is lost 73-72, Tuesday but George is hot to trot. Or walk again. His breach of party discipline further wounds a PM so agile and innovative it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll stand for next. Low emission coal-fired power?

The electorate has written him off. Essential Research shows Labor continues its steady lead 52:48. Newspoll is a week late but still shows 53:47 to Labor. One Nation is up a point despite adverse press recently.

Despite his flip-floppery and Morrison’s budget lunge to the sensible centre provoking screams of Labor-lite from the lunatic right and doing more harm than good, our Mal for all seasons has 14 consecutive bad Newspolls to prove his unpopularity. Although he deposed Abbott after 30 bad polls, he now says it’s no benchmark.

Paul Bongiorno quotes polling analyst Andrew Catsaras says a close look at the poll shows that “nothing is happening here”. Gonski 2.0 won’t help and Finkel is a resounding tinkle. Mal’s now as unpopular as Bill Shorten.

Yet it’s not all bad at the top. While Australians’ average income is $80,000, our PM’s pay will increase from $517,504 to $527,852. Barnaby “Bat-poo” Joyce pockets $416,191. Luckily we’ve saved $18 billion on schools.

Everyone’s toasting Gonski 2.0. It’s a brilliant pea and thimble trick to cheat millions of ordinary hard-working Australians, as, Mal’s mob so fulsomely flatters its victims, of their birthright. Yet it’s been sold not only as an increase in funding but a brave new system which is “sector blind and needs-based”. Spin? Marketing genius.

Bugger equal access to education for everyone. Gonski 2.0 subsidises the rich and perpetuates privilege. It locks in federal funding for private schools while poorer states are left to struggle to find the money for public schools.

It’s radical. Epoch-making. For the first time ever, private schools will be guaranteed eighty per cent of federal funding. States and Territories will get twenty. States can find their own money for public schools, with what’s left over from funding hospitals and any other small change they can find down the back of the federation sofa.

Or they can bugger off. The Coalition’s ultimatum to the states plumbs new depths in state-commonwealth relations, trashes Malcolm Turnbull’s 2015 promise:

“ There must be an end to policy on the run and captain’s calls. We need to be truly consultative with colleagues, members of parliament, senators and the wider public.’

Consult? States were presented with a fait accompli. Education Minister, Simon “Bolivar” Birmingham, refused, moreover, to enter into long-term consultations with States on future arrangements. Bugger federalism. States were also excluded from appearing before the Senate inquiry hearing on Gonski 2.0.

In a final tour de force, Birmingham turned to coercion. He threatened to cut funding to public schools if Gonski 2.0 were not passed by the Senate. Only public schools would suffer in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. All private schools would have their funding guaranteed.

Birmo’s bullying evokes Howard’s special deal in 2000 which guaranteed private schools their Gonski 1.0 funding. Funds continued after Tony Abbott cut public sector funding in 2014 two years before the end of the agreement.

Elite winners such as Loreto Kirribilli, Brigidine St Ives and St Aloysius’ College in Milsons Point received more than $5 million a year over the Gonski amount because of Howard’s funding guarantee; safeguarding privilege.

It’s no way to build a new national funding system, however loudly the private school claque may applaud.

Gonski is “the best special deal that private schools have ever had”, writes Save our Schools’ Trevor Cobbold, a former Productivity Commission economist. But such schools have ridden a winner since 1964 when their pork-barrelling potential was exploited. MPs saw schools as a wonderful vehicle in vote-buying and opened the public purse, ending a century of no support.

Since 1964, the private funding juggernaut has continued apace. We are avidly recreating the colonial system of the 1850s; replacing free and secular education with a system that embeds inequity and division. Fee barrier aside, private schools are exempt from discrimination legislation and can select students as they wish.

There is no evidence whatsoever that private schools offer higher education standards. Research does show that once you take their parents’ privileged backgrounds into account, students fare no better in the private system.

“We allow people to opt out of a government service and then send us a bill for obtaining the same service from a private provider. We are happy to buy a car for the chap who finds public transport distasteful,” notes Cobbold.

The private system enjoys huge subsidies. Their latest windfall boosts the $12 billion that our proudly “pragmatic” neoliberal government blithely currently lavishes on them. Private schools, in essence private businesses, receive from the federal treasury more than nine times the combined annual budget of SBS and the ABC.

Needs based? Or greed, with at least a whiff of droit du seigneur or good old-fashioned ruling-class entitlement?

Lauriston Girls’ School, for example, with annual fees of $25,000, will get an increase from Gonski 2.0 of $4093 per student over 10 years, while the public school in Tennant Creek, with three-quarters of its students in the lowest quartile of disadvantage, must make do with a paltry $1300 a student over the same decade.

Tanya Plibersek cites , Geelong Grammar, with 70 per cent of its students in the top quartile of advantage, will get an increase of $2309 while Wanguri Primary School in the NT, with a quarter of its student body from Indigenous families, will surely struggle to get by with a mere $565.

And Birmingham’s making noises about not “throwing money” at the issue; expecting more bang for those bucks.

Even worse, the federal contribution is capped. Under-funding is, therefore, assured given that few states ever meet the 80% schools need. In 2016, for example, NSW found 71%, 66% in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, 72% and 67% in the Northern Territory.

Prospects are even bleaker for Tasmania, which has the largest proportion of low socio-economic students in Australia and where 85% attend public schools. Its Labor Government slashed state funding for public schools between 2009-10 and 2013-14 while the Liberals cut further in 2014-15.

Public school funding did increase slightly overall, because of increased Commonwealth funding but this was outstripped by a massive, five-fold increase in government funding of private schools. It can only get worse.

Unlike Gonski 1.0, there is no incentive for states to increase or maintain their level of funding in order to qualify for federal funds. If anything, under-funding is almost guaranteed.

State and Territory governments already punish public schools by cutting funding by $732, or 6.6%, on average, per student, while increasing funding for private schools by $161 per student, or 6.9%, according to records from 2009-10 and 2014-15, the last five years for which official figures are available.

The bill, which passes the lower house around 2:00am is a wonderful victory for spin and wedge politics. Not only is Gonski 2.0 “the most significant reform to school education in Australia’s history” says another former failed Education Minister, Christopher porkie-Pyne.

The $50 billion dollar MP maintains his seat of Sturt in SA by a dodgy pork-barrel submarine-building contract yet he paints Labor’s Gonski opposition as petty politicking.

Politicking? In 2014 Pyne erased all mention of Gonski from every government website including reference to the original 2011 report. Amazingly, all were re-instated early last month, as Gonski became a sales pitch.

“Transparent, right and fair,” gurgles Turnbull mimicking Tony Abbott, a vacuous three word slogan personified. All hope of any rational, national conversation is torpedoed by MPs whose speech blends the language of advertising with the front bar inanities, platitudes and half-stewed certitudes of some imaginary country pub.

Our brave new political discourse echoes tabloids and shock-jocks to weave a “shallow, facile and ill-informed” world, as Jeremy Corbyn notes. Emotions are massaged as exponents swap headlines and reductive bumper sticker slogans in a caricature of debate. When two-dimensional superficiality triumphs; issues wither and die.

Advertising and propaganda techniques impoverish our “national conversation” about education funding. Slogans such as “needs-based” or “sector-blind” remain unexamined; unexplained. Incessant repetition is provided instead. Gonski 2.0 is just another chance to dumb-down issues, whip up fear and to patronise constituents.

“It will end decades of arguments about the school funding wars,” breakfast TV celebrity, near-sighted Liberal hack, former Education Minister, Christopher Pyne periscopes on Nine. Can Mr Magoo not see that Labor has already declared war? It will fight Gonski 2.0 all the way until the next election; restore every dollar cut.

Opposition to Gonski 2.0 will be wide and enduring. Turnbull’s government will face stiff opposition from not only from supporters of systemic Catholic schools but from a wide group of others dedicated to educational equality.

Teachers, in particular, will not take kindly to what is already seen as an attack on their profession in another part of Gonski 2.0 that has received no real public discussion and been through no real consultation process.

Little comment has followed Birmingham’s plan to include with Gonski 2.0 NAPLAN tests for every year level; annual literacy and numeracy reporting requirements; performance pay for teachers (including student results); a year 1 phonics test; contracts and performance pay for principals; and more Independent Public Schools. These arbitrarily imposed conditions must be met to access any funding. The implication is teachers are slack.

The politics of Gonski 2.0 is also part of a rapid decline in the prosperity of ordinary Australians. Workers’ share of GDP has plummeted since 1975. Then, two-thirds of our GDP was in wages; in 2014 it was just 53%. The gap between rich and poor is accelerating. The richest 1% of Australians now own 22% of the nation’s total wealth.

As the asset ownership gap widens, the rich, of course, have increasing influence. Private school associations enthusiastically endorse the coalition’s new funding model. Yet no-one can explain how it was decided that they should receive 80% of federal funds. Part of the Coalition’s spin on transparency.

Yet one the most remarkable – and distressing features of the Gonski 2.0 con is the success of government spin.

The Coalition has been assisted in its Gonski confidence trick with the support of a compliant media. Its win is paralleled in the other big issue of the week, the flogging of the Finkel Report, a campaign which began with the demonising of renewables after the SA blackout, a cause fearlessly championed by ABC’s Chris Uhlmann.

An Important Announcement on Energy Tuesday is a Gilbertian performance. Coal school quality. On TV everywhere, Matt Canavan, Josh Frydenberg and Malcolm Fraser perform Three Little maids of School Are We.

No-one mentions that Finkel is dead in the water. Instead, Turnbull has a thought bubble:

“It would be good if we had a state-of-the-art clean coal power station in Australia,” Turnbull tells a media conference in Canberra. We could have a reverse auction. (Easy to rig in coal’s favour.) Technology neutral. Someone asks what technologies could provide “continuous” and “synchronous” power.

Turnbull can talk only of “clean coal”, gas and hydro. Gas, he notes, however, in an aside, would be too expensive.

Solar and wind with battery storage do not rate a mention. Nor do other technologies. No-one recalls that he had the clean coal bug when he was Environment Minister in 2007. Or expects him to account for the $1bn spent on it.

“We are seeing a real change in the nature of the energy market … with more variable sources of energy, more distributed sources,” the PM waffles off somewhere on his own evasive wave-length.

The April announcement that Australia would intervene in the gas market, something catchily entitled” imposing an Australian domestic gas security mechanism” is announced again. It was to have started 1 July but it has been postponed to allow consultations with the sector. It is “immediate action to put downward pressure on prices” which will probably happen next year, if it happens at all.

Best of all, the “limited merits review” which was to put downward pressure on electricity prices is put off to 2019.

The cave in to coal precedes a party room meeting to approve all of Finkel except his main point, the adoption of a Clean Energy Target. No policy. The media show reassures everyone that clean new coal is in there with a chance.

Coalition Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel continues his flawless political performance mid-week as he delivers a thoroughly dull and boring account of his report to the National Press Club. A highlight is an aside when he recalls a quotation from Giuseppe Di Lampedusa’s The Leopard, a text he read to help one of his children with their HSC.

“If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change”. It’s an inspiring quote about adaptation, especially if you see yourself as an enlightened autocrat. Job’s done for Finkel who makes it clear that the ball is in the government’s Dark Age court. There change must contend with the likes of Barnaby Joyce.

A week ago, proudly airing his sublime ignorance on national television, the Deputy PM tells Insiders host Barrie Cassidy:

“I flew in this morning Barrie, it was a beautiful day, not a puff of wind and if memory serves me correct, it was dark last night, so you switched off your coal-fired power stations, how do you switch on the lights?” he said, before adding: “So it’s just, we’re living in a different church to reality.”

Living very much in a different church is a Coalition which is on target to revise the CET to accept coal-fired power stations. Naturally they will be mythical High Efficiency Low Emission and clean coal even if they will take five to seven years to build. Of course they are expensive. But funds can then be provided at low-interest from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Emissions? Don’t you worry about that. Paris? Non-binding.

The week ends, we are told, with Coalition MPs going away to have a think about a Clean Energy Target after a Finkel Review which is destined to be no more that just another piece of theatre to avoid commitment to clean energy as a means to curb carbon emissions and as a cheap, economic and reliable alternative to coal. If, after four years, the party has been unable to agree on energy or climate, however, six weeks’ break is useless.

Gonski 2.0 reveals a high-handed government prepared to ride rough-shod over the states to impose a funding system which is not needs-based and certainly not sector-blind but one which will only entrench privilege and perpetuate inequality. In media management it has been a huge success and it will save $18 billions on Labor’s model but, in its style and in its substance, it can only leave a poorer and more divided nation.


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  1. Joseph Carli

    “It would be good if we had a state-of-the-art clean coal power station in Australia,” ….Just read a tweet from John was from Napoleon, and it said (wtte)..”It is not so strange that a man will sell his integrity, but that he will sell it so cheap.” Turnbull has sold his integrity for nothing but small change.

  2. Matters Not

    . Slogans such as “needs-based” or “sector-blind” remain unexamined; unexplained.

    Indeed they do. Labor has so much to be ashamed of.

    Having prostituted the original Gonski with special deals , one notes that Tanya Plibersek will supposedly solve the problem with promises of even more special deals . FFS.

    Seemingly, working on the notion that when in a hole keep on digging .

    How Labor could create the high moral ground and f*ck it up in almost the same breathe will go down in history.

    Tanya Plibersek is exposed. Shallow, lazy. And just dumb. Just like Shorten.

  3. Jaquix

    Great wrap up of the Gonski 2.0 con job the Libs have pulled off. Loved Scott Morrison at the Lib Conference saying people had turned the remote to mute. He got that right, but then went on to patronise with elitist talk about them and us, and wondering how they could make us see how wonderful they really are. And their you beaut website grossly misnamed TheFairGo they’re hailing as their answer to GetUp, is hilarious – Lib spin on steroids. I sincerely doubt it’s going to improve their poll position.

  4. Roswell

    Thank you for another gem, David.

  5. paulwalter

    Interesting with gonski, Rhiannon appeared to side with Labor to some extent. If Plibersek’s position is that Turnbull was removing too much money from state schools to finance church/private schools, it seems odd that Plibersek would go into bat for Catholic schools- unless she thought that more funding should be available for Gonski 2.0, overall.

  6. Joseph Carli

    Get your hands off it Mattersnot..You’re talking to those who have a memory unlike yours of the goldfish!..We all remember the haggling The Gillard govt’had to do to get those effing lazy LNP states on board just to get it off the ground..It was a miracle Gonski flew in the first place as we can now see the destructive agenda of the LNP vandals…The same happened with the Murray / Darling basin Plan…
    If there was anyone I would trust with getting the Labor machine running smoothly, it would be Plibersek.

  7. Freethinker

    David, posts like this weak up my hot blood and reminds me my old times during the students revolt back home.
    I guess that will be better for me to read a little short summary before read all the article.
    Why it is that the Anglo Saxon people have to cold blood and lay back, some times it is good, some times frustrate me no end.
    I guess that with the years I get grumpy.
    Thank you

  8. helvityni

    Good one David; so they have moved from Johnny Howard’s Pat Boone records and Jeannette’s scones, and are now sculling the Champers; not much progress, nothing to celebrate, but the Merchant of Venice has put a thin veneer on ‘stolen’ policies, gilding the lily as they say…

  9. Terry2

    I heard Barnaby talking to the media from a London pub this morning : he certainly can move fast when he wants to – the parliament only rose for the winter break on Friday !

  10. townsvilleblog

    This ‘needs based’ supply of the public purse by the LNP is simply that ‘private’ schools find that they ‘need’ a new gymnasium, or ‘need’ another swimming pool, and so the needs based tory government comes to the rescue. Meanwhile the schools that governments have responsibility for ‘government schools’ languish some who are badly in need of standard maintenance but there is ‘naught’ available for them as it has all been spent on their rich ‘private’ cousins. So unfair, and designed to keep the working class and their children bumping along the bottom of society.

  11. helvityni

    Plibersek or Ms Julie, Dutton or Albanese, Abbott or Burke, Morrison or Bowen…

    There are no Whitlams to choose from, not even Frasers, but have your pick…

  12. Helen Bates

    I do get amazed at you people on here in your rush to sanctify Malcolm Fraser. I don’t like old history politics but I do know Fraser killed off Whitlams efforts at Universal Health care,the one issue I trust Labor with above all others and I happened to learn that at-shock horror, St.Ursula’s, a private school where I was a boarder

  13. Freethinker

    Helen, regarding Malcolm Fraser, the last time that I voted for the ALP was to remove him from office.
    IMHO we have to give credit to him for change and accepting that he was wrong on many policies.
    He become a crusader for the South Africa cause and a defender of Mandela, and last but not least he resigned from the party due to the treat to refugees and other humanitarian issues.

  14. helvityni

    He was a unusual Liberal man, he learnt from his mistakes and in his old age he repented and became advocate for good social issues, Whitlam valued it and they became friends. How wonderful, and how unusual for a Liberal!

    He became “un-Liberal”…. 🙂

  15. guest

    Who was on the Gonski 2.0 advisory panel?

  16. David Tyler

    A fairly narrow sample with many right wingers – according to the PM’s website:
    “Along with support from Gonski Review panelists Ken Boston, Kathryn Greiner AO and David Gonski himself, the Government’s plan has been backed by independent think tanks including The Grattan Institute and The Mitchell Institute as well as schools, families and educators such as former head of the Australian Education Union Dianne Foggo AM.”

  17. guest

    Thank you, David.

    I notice you do not mention the states being part of the consultation. Your word “rough-shod” is entirely appropriate. It reminds me how much Gillard was badly treated by critics claiming that Gonski 1.0 was a “top-down, centralised command politics” manoeuvre straight out of Canberra. Pot black?

    I heard Kathryn Greiner AO speak about the Catholic sector. Nothing about lack of consultation. More about the size of the sector in NSW and how they would need to distribute the money according to need and not as at present where the bigger school gets more of the cake.

    I also read with alarm the add-ons from Birmingham, such as testing, testing, testing; performance payments and contracts; more independent public schools. It sounds very much like payment by results and Charter schools from the past which have been argued about for decades now, spruiked by right wing education pundits with ideas borrowed from overseas failures.

    As for all the testing, weighing the pig does not fatten the pig.

    There is still a great deal to be disclosed about this thought bubble from Turnbull and Birmingham. And when all is revealed, they will have a big, big fight on their hands.

  18. Freethinker

    paulwalter, I follow John’s articles and I think that he got this issue right.
    I cannot believe how many people from the right infiltrate in parties to take over them and they have done it on the Greens.
    I hope that she together with members of the left faction start a new movement and not only in NSW but Australia wide.
    I would not vote for the Greens again with the current leaders and with the present constitution.

  19. paulwalter

    The Greens leadership is so isolated from its rank and file. It has become top down. Everyone knows that the average voter left of centre does not welcome gimmickry and grandstanding, and is fed up with the manufactured conflict. Why does old Bob Brown continue meddling and dissolving the deep respect thinking people once held of him? Lee Rhiannon, is an honest sort, beholden to no one and certainly not outside donor interests, someone who DOES understand the relationship between socialism, ecology and capitalism and the rest of their leadership are living in a fantasy world with their abject grovelling to precisely those interests most eager to destroy community,economy and ecology, the bases for a civilised society.

    The Greens leadership has attempted the same stunt as Meg Lees Democrats nearly twenty years ago, with ultimately likely the same disastrous result.

    Turnbull will be clapping his hands with glee at this extreme pig headedness.

  20. David Tyler

    The states were not consulted on the model before it was announced and then they were bullied. They will not have any real bargaining power subsequently given funding is conditional on acceptance of “reforms” yet to be finalised until Gonski reports back again at the end of this year. A new agreement will follow mid 2018. It’s another Turnbull triumph in top-down, centralised high-handedness. Paul Karp sees it as another blow to cooperative federalism.

    Turnbull’s one concession to democratic federalism is to say hat he ran the proposal by state premiers on Friday and no-one objected.

    Make no mistake, the states are being rail-roaded. And beware. There’s much teacher-bashing waiting in the wings. Lucy Turnbull is not with the Grattan Institute any longer but they may be relied upon to dog-whistle all the populist stereotypes about lazy, slack, overpaid teachers – in fact act as a megaphone for much of the Coalition’s prejudices.
    A few years ago Grattan, (Dr Ben Jensen) then a very new kid on the block jumped on the overpayment bandwagon; screaming that education spending was up a massive 44%. In fact, as David Bennett points out, properly measured education spending has in the long term simply kept up with economic growth.

    “The claims of huge increases rely on ignoring some or all of population growth, inflation and economic growth. The National Reports on Schooling in Australia show that government spending per student in Australia was $8,115 in 1999-2000 ($11,731 in 2012 dollars) and $13,544 in 2008-09 ($14,637 in 2012 dollars). That is a real increase of only 24.7 per cent, about half the oft-exaggerated 44 per cent that came from the Grattan Institute’s report several years ago.”

  21. jimhaz

    [Tanya Plibersek is exposed. Shallow, lazy. And just dumb. Just like Shorten]

    That is my view as well. Between her and her hubby they simply have earned too much to be true supporters of the working class (say 800k or more per annum between them). She is a rich inner city elite type who never sticks her neck out. I’m sure like Shorten, she does not really care. What she wants is status.

  22. paulwalter

    One for slimy jimhaz:

  23. Helen Bates

    Does earnings or wealth relate to the Greens as well?
    I just read on Independent Australia “”The irony in their solidarity with those who want to tip the system on its head is that both politicians have done well out of the capitalist status quo.

    Rhiannon and Shoebridge, a former industrial relations barrister, both own $2 million-plus homes in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, according to parliamentary records and real estate data, and Rhiannon in particular has lucrative public pension pots from state and federal parliaments.”

  24. Matters Not

    David Tyler re funding for schools – you may wish to check out the calculations undertaken by Ross Gittins

    Ever since its election, the Abbott-Turnbull government has repeated the line that “for so many years we spent more and more on school education and the results did not improve: in fact they got worse”. The federal minister, Simon Birmingham, has claimed repeatedly that federal funding has increased by 50 per cent since 2003. But is it true? …

    … the real increase in total government spending per student over the nine years to 2013-14 was just 4.5 per cent, or 0.5 per cent per year. But it’s worse than that. Although the non-government sector enrols less than 20 per cent of all disadvantaged students, the nine-year increase for non-government schools was 9.8 per cent, whereas the increase for government schools was only 3.3 per cent. It turns out that, while the federal government was increasing its funding to government schools, the state governments took the opportunity to limit their funding to their own schools, while increasing their grants to non-government schools .

    ROSS GITTINS. How we can do better on education. (Jean Blackburn Oration)

    Lies, damn lies and statistics. And I have no sympathy for State Governments when it comes to cost shifting because I witnessed too much of that over the years. Either we get serious about schooling or we continue down the path to mediocrity.

    While I am extremely critical of Labor when it came to Gonski Mark one, I am also critical of Gonski Mark 2. My anger is compounded because Labor created a policy vacuum – what were they doing since the last election? That the LNP have appropriated the ‘brand’ is plain tragic. That Labor will attempt a rescue based on ‘deals’ misses the whole point. Gonski attempted to take the politics out to make the funding allocations a matter of mathematics based on need as calculated.

    I suspect that this much needed reform will again be dead in the water for years to come. Not in my lifetime.

  25. guest

    Maters Not.

    I would not berate Shorten very much. Turnbull has a tiger by the tail and is in for big trouble as the details of Gonski 2.0 come out.

    This not the only half-baked enterprise he has undertaken. Remember the NBN. And still to see results for his “clean coal is king” jingo mantra. And umpteen consecutive losses in the polls!

    And will they pull the plug on same sex marriage as Pyne is saying? Another failed policy?

  26. David Tyler

    Well said, Joseph. The so-called “special deals” are a smear campaign against Labor by a Liberal spin machine that-as always is missing a cog or two and which counts on everyone having Sinidinos’ disease. History reveals otherwise.

    Fact is the ‘special deals’ do not apply to any public school. They were simply an attempt to get Gonski up against a legacy of Coalition favouritism toward what has become known as the private or independent system, a system which is neither of these but a heavily state subsidised set of private businesses.

    And it’s one of the most powerful lobby groups in the land.

    The special deals continue under Gonski 2.0 even though Birmingham is calling it corruption. He’s not wrong.

    As Trevor Cobbold writes:

    “The Federal Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham, says that he wants to fix the “corruption’’ at the heart of the current funding model. He should start on the various special deals that provide billions of dollars in funding to private schools that they would not be entitled to under a truly needs-based funding model.”

  27. Kyran

    So, you’re not a fan of government spin doctors and BS merchants. Quelle surprise!
    As always, your verbal imagery will leave me troubled. “George, hot to trot”. Oh, the horror.
    What a difference a day makes. Chrissy Whine, the one who didn’t read Gonski 1, yet decried its contents, is reinvented as one of the ministers of defence. Spending $50 bill on ‘trust’, to boost his popularity in his electorate, without any guarantee of jobs in his state. The silly bugger didn’t even guarantee jobs in WA or Vic. That company in France, still undergoing enquires for fraud and corruption, haven’t yet been told if the subs are ‘off the plan’ nuclear powered submarines which will require modification for ‘silent’ diesel power plants. You know. Silent diesel power plants are exactly the same as clean coal factories. Both fictitious.
    Anyhow, whiney got accused by tiny as a traitor, somebody without regard for trust or loyalty. Fancy any git expecting trust and loyalty from a politician. It was, after all, tiny who said ‘trust me’ to win government in 2013. How’s that going for us? It’s a case of mind over matter. They don’t mind, we don’t matter.
    As for bananas, as Terry2 pointed out, he’s over in London, enjoying a pint. Having heard the same broadcast, he went to the pub after placing a wreath on a bridge to commemorate one of the attacks. Ergo, he has qualified his entitlement to claim expenses.
    We have a wonderful system in Australia. We extol the virtues, through spin, BS and very good remuneration, of those who have no virtues. Other than their apparent electability.
    As you, and Matters Not, have pointed out, Finkel and Gonski are dead in the water. Bloody foreigners. What would they know?
    Thank you Mr Tyler and commenters. Take care

  28. David Tyler

    Plus, as I write in the article, Turnbull’s done nothing about gas or electricity prices despite all the vacuous sloganeering. Downward pressure on prices?

    Downward pressure on the Turnbull experiment, more like. Terminal pressure.

  29. Matters Not

    guest, I am not in praise of Turnbull – far from it – but I am also so very, very angry with Shorten. Education , over many years, has been Labor’s great strengths and under Gonski Mark 1 there was the opportunity to magnify that strength.

    Unfortunately in the lead up to the previous election, Shorten, then Education Minister, raced around doing ‘deals’ – 27 in all. There was no regard to the principles underlying Gonski Mark 1 – just frantic attempts to get ‘sign ups’. To no avail. Rudd lost.

    Since then Labor’s done nothing to get their house in order. They rested on the Gonski brand . A brand without substance. A shell. Just a name. Albeit, a symbol that was quite potent. Turnbull’s appropriation was a political masterstroke which leaves Labor grasping at straws.

  30. David Tyler

    Special deals? Try this for size.

    When Birmingham was asked about what consultation would inform Gonski 2.0,

    “The Federal Education Minister says that he is consulting with private school organisations and that they have been invited to comment and provide their priorities to inform the government’s considerations on the future funding arrangements. ”

    Neither he nor the private school organisations will reveal the proposals under consideration. He is not consulting public school organisations.

    Secret special deals. Not only is his process based around private system responses, the public system doesn’t get a look in.

  31. Freethinker

    David, IMO Turnbull will leave energy prices just before the election with also pulling the rabbit out of the hat and find some money for tax relief for those under $100.000.
    For cream on the top some housing solutions bull and he will be set again.

  32. Matters Not

    Joseph Carli re your comment:

    We all remember the haggling The Gillard govt’had to do to get those effing lazy LNP states on board just to get it off the ground

    Fantastic! Then, no doubt, you also will remember the special deal done by Shorten with Adrian Piccoli, the NSW Education Minister of the day. That Shorten did 27 special deals is not even denied by him. They are in writing. It’s now part of the historical record. It’s one reason why NSW is pissed off. It’s the same reason the Catholics are in a sulk. Perhaps Joseph if you would check the historical record a little more closely, you wouldn’t be prone to such errors. (And I am being kind.)

    David Taylor re

    Fact is the ‘special deals’ do not apply to any public school

    Not now they don’t. But they did under Shorten . Look above.

    Note also that Labor will negotiate new ‘deals’ if elected. (Shakes head.)

    Yes Birmingham will and has done ‘special deals’ – disgraceful! And Labor provided the model. High moral ground – lost!

  33. David Tyler

    Happy to check that historical record but I think you’ll find it concerned private schools.

  34. Matters Not

    Be interested to read your ‘revised’ history.

    You might also find that on some occasions he couldn’t make a deal. Newman in Queensland, for example, wouldn’t deal because he believed they were gone.

  35. Joseph Carli

    Matters Not…” Joseph if you would check the historical record a little more closely…” Don’t give us that old “This is the real history” 1-2 crapperoo…Campbell Newman wouldn’t even deal with the ALP……” Jun 3, 2013 – CAMPBELL Newman has virtually ruled out the Queensland government’s agreement to the Gonski school funding reforms by Julia Gillard’s …” ….That Liberal shit for brains premier in WA. wouldn’t deal with the ALP….”Nov 27, 2013 – WEST Australian Premier Colin Barnett has told states complaining they had signed up to Labors Gonski education plan to quotget real quot …”…. the Liberal govt’ in Vic’ at the time wouldn’t deal with the ALP…….”Jun 10, 2013 – Victorian Premier Denis Napthine says there is no real deadline to sign … he will negotiate with whoever is the federal government of the day…”……. every shit-brained arsehole Lib or LNP brain-dead stooge made it their life’s ambition as they are doing now to destroy Gonski in it’s original intention..and the fact that Shorten had to do so many deals was so that at least Labor could get this bloody great “Interstate ballistic missile” launched and of course there would be adjustments (the same as any new project) later when one section or other had “proved” itself…Politics is the art of getting policies, like runs, not just “on the board”, but on the board with appropriate flair and panache!
    So don’t come here with your “this is the way it was bullshit!..We know the politics, we know the intent, we know the result..if you are going to try taking us for a ride, at least get some fuel in your crappy jalopy!

  36. Matters Not

    This is getting hilarious. One example only:

    Campbell Newman wouldn’t even deal with the ALP

    So Newman ruled out a ‘deal’ that was never offered? For shit’s sake. And Victorian Premier Denis Napthine says there is no real deadline to sign.

    Sign what? Perhaps a ‘deal’ as offered by Shorten?

    Let me assure you Joseph, you don’t know the politics of Gonski.

    But take as much rope as you like. Not that I want you to continue to make a fool of yourself.

  37. Joseph Carli

    Matters Not..Your faux outrage that comes without the least backing with ANY evidence of the intent of the ALP to do a devious deal / deals is rope enough to see you jerking on the end of your cord!

  38. Joseph Carli

    ” Let me assure you Joseph, you don’t know the politics of Gonski.”…ok, tell us the “deal on Gonski”..c’mon, Mr. Insider…Master researcher…c’mon Maestro…My-arse-tro…don’t worry about slinging snide remarks at me..give us ALL your good oil…and save the bulldust for your LNP mates.

  39. Freethinker

    Joseph, I was thinking that was only me with hot, grumpy latino blood,………

  40. Matters Not

    Just for the record:

    what the Gonski panel regarded as an essential recommendation: to establish a national schools resourcing body, similar to a schools commission, responsible to all education ministers, to determine in a nationally consistent way the school resourcing standard, the minimum public contribution, the loadings and the indexation factor.

    While a national schools resourcing body was always a big ask, Labor didn’t even try. Perhaps they realised that it was an almost impossible task. Turnbull promises to try. But I don’t think he will because the politics of Gonski is probably done and dusted. And besides the States will resist and that’s his political ‘out’. Not me (Turnbull) but them – the States.

    But back to KGB – the author of Gonski.

    Instead, the Labor government sought to negotiate those matters unilaterally and separately with the state authorities, non-government school organisations, church leaders and unions – after we had consulted with them all for more than 18 months – thus repeating the pattern of the past 40 years.

    Thems the special deals – which in the minds of some don’t seem to exist.

    But there’s more:

    It set aside the recommendations on disabilities funding and the coordination of capital works funding across states and territories.

    And finally.

    in the final few weeks of government, it touted Gonski around the country in an unholy scramble to entice states to sign up to deals in which the fundamental principles were entirely secondary.

    Note that States speak for ‘public education’. State schools and all that. The ‘privates’ (including the Catholics negotiate with the Feds without State Government restraint.)

    Yes the the fundamental principles were entirely secondary . And they still are – on all sides of politics.

    Joseph Carli, I note you’ve chosen to use more rope.

  41. Joseph Carli

    This talk by Ken Boston was made after the election that saw Labor in opposition : “QTU Conference, Brisbane 16 May 2014”..there’s so much wisdom in hindsight…He initially supported the original ideal of the scheme, then was scathing when it could not be implemented in its original form (thank you state LNP govt’s) and now is scathing of those who do not support the butchered Turnbull ideal of what is going on here..? what does he stand for if he stands for this LNP rubbish?

    Oh..and by the way..nice selective’re learning.

  42. Matters Not

    He initially supported the original ideal of the scheme

    Nearly there. But keep trying (and perhaps with less uninformed, inane insults). Given that he was the brains behind the model – HE STILL DOES .

    Now he is on a different mission – trying to rescue what he can. But I am not hopeful. The time has gone.

  43. Joseph Carli

    What a whitewash…from a wrung out dish-rag..wimpy and weak..if you come at me with your passive- aggressive snivelling snide remarks: ” Perhaps Joseph if you would check the historical record a little more closely, you wouldn’t be prone to such errors. (And I am being kind.)” don’t be kind and don’t expect me to turn the other cheek..I’m not a christian..if you can’t take it , don’t even start to dish it out.

  44. Freethinker

    Sorry to interrupt, some times we have to agree to disagree.
    After all we talking about politicians and not what is a good wine which will be more constructive debate.
    I will have a limocello and go to bed, cold weather and age is not a good mix.

  45. Joseph Carli

    I will take your sage advice, Freethinker and withdraw from further “conversation”…The Latin blood starts to boil at a low altitude these days.

  46. Matters Not

    Joseph Carli, it seems to me that even more rope is simply not enough.

    Joe, I can take it – but the evidence suggests that you can’t give it .

    Over the years I have been abused by experts. Sorry, but you’re not even a talented amateur.

    Note that you began this attempted abuse very early in this post. All I have done is respond.

  47. Matters Not

    Seems to me that the ‘progressive’ side of politics can’t afford to remain in an echo chamber. Progressives must be prepared to reflect on the ‘errors’ made, the reasons for same and what might be learned for the future. And like any gambler know when to walk away and when to run.

    Gonski should have been an absolute winner. That it’s now a ‘problem’ is inexcusable. Who will put their hand up and admit to that?

  48. David Tyler

    Worry that The Canberra Times can call Gonski 2.0 a boon.
    Despite the appearance of a large increase in school funding to 2026-27, it will deliver only a miniscule increase in inflation-adjusted funding per student. The increase amounts to only about 40% of the increase planned under Gonski 1.0. Thousands of public schools will get much smaller increases than under Gonski 1.0.

    Gonski 2.0 puts a cap on Commonwealth funding of public schools. It represents a major retreat by the Commonwealth Government in funding public schools and disadvantaged students. Disadvantaged public schools will continue to be massively under-resourced, unless state governments reverse their past cuts and come to the rescue with a major funding effort. But, they are not required to increase inflation-adjusted funding per student funding under Gonski 2.0.

  49. Matters Not

    David Tyler, yes the funding for Gonski was, and is, in the land of the unknown. And it remains so.

    The original ‘promises’ made by Labor were outside the forward estimates . Outside the estimates four year timeline. Whether they would be delivered or not can only be a matter of speculation. And that’s where the debate is occurring.

    Yes it’s true that State governments have underfunded public schools while diverting additional monies to private schools. And yes it’s reasonable to argue that it’s a trend that shows no sign of abating. It’s ‘politics’ after all.

    Yes the Commonwealth, under Gonski 2.0 promised a cap on funding on public schools (20% of the resource standard) but that cap is an improvement on the existing arrangements. When you say:

    It represents a major retreat by the Commonwealth Government in funding public schools and disadvantaged students

    Are you referring to the existing arrangements or the Labor promise? There’s one hell of a difference

    To be quite honest, no person knows what Gonski Mark 2.0 will actually deliver. That’s in the lap of the gods and what KGB can conjure – and have funded. But what we can be relatively sure of – there will be mountains of bullshit (from both sides) – before we see the numbers. And you can bet that public schools will again be the losers.

  50. Freethinker

    IMHO there is only one Gonski and is the original version and unfortunately for supporting it Lee Rhiannon just been temporary suspended.
    I guess that they did not removed for the party because they need the NSW money, about $ 200000.

  51. Matters Not

    Yes Freethinker, there was only one Gonski Report and its enduring significance (hopefully) remains a conceptual framework based on allocating monies re demonstrated educational needs . The original report had funding recommendations that were not accepted by Labor – no surprise there because any report of this nature advances lots of ‘ambit’ – but Labor did ‘commit’ to significant increases in the ‘out’ years.

    It’s a model with some complexity. Unfortunately, it’s been reduced to a slogan. All sides must wear the blame.

  52. Matters Not

    For an inside view, Chris Bonner is hard to beat:

    Most reporting has referred to the whole package as Gonski 2.0 – but Gonski’s actual second review is just now getting under way, and it must be completed in the next six months. While the terms of reference have been established we have no idea of the relationship between the review (and its possible recommendations) and the recent legislation. While the focus of the review seems to be on getting better school education delivery for the dollar, it will inevitably touch on decisions already made.

    There are still too many unknowns to make sensible comments. So many issues to be identified and resolved.

    The Australian government will fund non-government schools to 80%, and government schools to 20%, of their Schooling Resource Standard – the reverse obligation lies with the states. Aside from the criticisms, including by Save our Schools, of this irrational division it almost certainly won’t work. The states are supposed to fund non-government schools to 20% of their SRS. But on average across Australia state governments already (2015 figures) provide most Catholic schools with over 23% of their public funding. In some States it is much higher In the light of recent politics can anyone see the state governments (especially Labor) reducing their funding to non-government schools?

    Then the States need to fund government schools to 80% of their SRS. Their recent track record is dismal. The last time they were faced with such obligations the then (2013) Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne effectively told them they could do what they like. Will it be different this time around? The Federal Government seems armed with sanctions to make this happen, but there are many ways in which this might fall apart. After all, this 80:20/20:80 division hasn’t been developed through any consultation. Gonski’s original School Resourcing Body might have carried such an agreement – it’s too early to know what the new form of this body will achieve.

    Another mess. Yet the caravan seems to have moved on.

    CHRIS BONNOR. Has the Gonski dust settled?

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