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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

let's tear up the system « Previous | |Next »
December 2, 2013

I guess it is best to have low expectations of the Abbott Government truth telling; expect the worst with respect to competence; be prepared for public policy in the form of large dollops of ideological revenge and lots of lectures on the evils of political correctness. Oh, and the Rudd-Gillard governments will be blamed for basically everything.

Judging from the record so far we can expect the use funding and economics aggressively to attack public sector institutions; and the use of the power and authority of the state to promote and prescribe forms of social morality – "Australian values" – that are prescriptive and traditional.

PettyBLibspolicy.jpg Bruce Petty

We will experience another round of the culture wars: progressive educational policy is little than more highfalutin liberal claptrap; teachers are part of a leftwing conspiracy; since the state cannot cope with, or manage, the demands of modern public education it is time to bring in the private sector.

They will find that their policy of rolling back Labor's reforms will meet with resistance as many of these are publicly popular and represent good public policy. The Gonski reforms are a good example. Abbott and Pyne are ideologically wedded to increasing funding for independent schools as their priority, as part of their “school choice” program, that they fundamentally dislike the Gonski model; and they don’t see any problem in the inequitable school funding model we have at the moment.

Of course, the Coalition will deny the breaking promises made to win the election, or making backflips, or playing their clever word games as they twist and turn in the wind.

The Coalition's backflip on the Gonski reforms for reasons of political expediency has seen them weaken the obligations on the states for the federal money. Michelle Grattan points out that:

It is true the government now has all states in some sort of model. It is a model that is all give by the federal government with no responsibilities imposed on the states. The latest deals do not require undertakings by the states and the government has always planned to remove accountability requirements from the legislation to which the other states signed up.

The states have been pulling money out of public education for years. The removal of the co-contribution requirement on the states will mean more state funding could go, leaving state schools, that have the most disadvantaged students, worse off.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:51 AM | | Comments (9)


The trouble is that a sucessful Gonski plan will be written into history as a Labor win. I suspect a very similar plan with a new name is on the agenda. Of coarse the bugs will be removed (cough cough) , made fairer and cheaper to administrate. Abottski.

does the Coalition have any policy---eg., on tax policy, renewable energy policy, financial sector policy, car industry assistance and foreign investment--- apart from large dollops of ideological revenge?

So far it seems as if the Coalition's overriding policy is to wind back any reforms made by Labor over the past six years.

So far Pyne + Abbott on education and Gonskj equals an A-grade political botch-up. They have given us three iterations of the one policy in the space of a week.

It's a comedy show.

The Abbott government is fooling no one by insisting it has not broken a promise over its decision to scrap after one year Labor’s school funding formula.

The Coalition's plan to ditch the Gonski school funding model was a broken promise--an open-and-shut case of political deception.

They got stung.

Little is being said about the states-- Queensland, NSW and Victoria---ripping money out of public education, to the tune of billions of dollars; that Australia’s spending on education as a proportion of GDP has been declining; or that the increase in government school funding over the past decade has gone to private schools.

In negotiations, coming out and tearing up the agreement and saying we are going to start from scratch is nothing new. It is part of a process that works. There is always much name calling and frantic ranting.
But a week on what has been achieved? The states have agreed and if it doesn't work the states will be blamed and not the abbott government.
Its a good strategic result.

"The Coalition's backflip on the Gonski reforms for reasons of political expediency has seen them weaken the obligations on the states for the federal money."

Pyne has given funding to Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory without demanding anything in return.

There is no obligation that the states in turn increase their own funding or that they commit to additional funding for the disadvantaged kids. There is nothing to stop the states ignoring altogether needs-based funding, or even worse, re-directing education funding to other areas.

It's a blank cheque.

"Its a good strategic result."

They've bought off the states and dumped any commitment to reform the education system to make it less inequitable.