September 12, 2012
The politics of austerity are alive and well in Victoria, NSW and Queensland. It is the essential services that cater for the more disadvantaged sectors of the community---health and education (including TAFE) --- at a time when income inequality has risen steadily in Australia since about 1980, and Australia’s educational achievement is slipping.
Gonski argued that educational disadvantage is concentrated in the public school system and that the funding of the system exacerbates those inequities. The Gonski Review called for a big increase in funding to ensure that the growing equity gap between advantaged and disadvantaged communities is closed.
The other side of the politics of austerity is the attack on social justice--ie., the redistribution of resources to the poor and disadvantaged --as a form of class warfare and class envy in conservative political discourse. This politics here is to defend private health insurance and private education at independent schools.
So we have a winding back of the welfare state and to tell the poor to adapt to a transition to a health and education system that involves more personal responsibility and individual contributions. The rhetoric is that this wind back is necessary to avoid a debt burdened Queensland becoming like Greece.