Bill Shorten has said he ‘stands by’ Labor’s corrupted version of Gonski schools funding that has created inequality in the amount of Commonwealth money a disadvantaged student would receive in each state and territory.
Mr Shorten wilfully ignored the facts and was backed by his deputy Tanya Plibersek who made a series of embarrassing missteps in an interview today on schools funding after avoiding providing comment on the debates in the sector since she bumped off Kate Ellis and assumed the role way back in July.
The Deputy Opposition Leader even went so far as to say she was “proud” of the schools funding arrangements Labor implemented. Those same arrangements Ms Plibersek is “proud” of:
- Would see government schools in Western Australia attract 40 per cent less Commonwealth funding in 2017 than comparable schools in some other states with the same need
- Include differences of more than $1,500 between what federal funding a disadvantaged student would attract in one state (NT) compared to what that same student would attract in another (WA)
- Mean a Catholic school in Victoria would attract more than double the Commonwealth funding of a comparable Catholic systemic school in NSW despite having nearly identical circumstances and student populations
In fact Tanya Plibersek has said she is proud of arrangements which a key architect of the Gonski reforms described as a “corruption”.
“We are very proud of the Gonski needs based funding model…”
Tanya Plibersek, Interview, 22/9/16
“In the run-up to the 2013 election, prime minister Kevin Rudd and education minister Bill Shorten hawked this corruption of the Gonski report around the country, doing deals with premiers, bishops and the various education lobbies.”
Ken Boston, Opinion piece, 6/9/16
Tanya Plibersek has also desperately tried to distract from the distortions Labor built into their schools funding arrangements.
“That's actually not embedded in the Gonski school funding model – that is what happened when the government changed nationally…”
Tanya Plibersek, Interview, 22/9/16
Tanya Plibersek has this dead wrong as the Coalition has been implementing exactly what Labor had offered states, according to the same funding formulas and loadings. It is Labor's special deals that have created the disparate federal payments for comparable schools just because they are in different states.
The only difference between Labor and the Coalition when it came to schools funding in 2013 was that Bill Shorten sneakily cut $1.2 billion of offered funding out of the WA, Queensland and NT education systems pre-election, which we had to put it back into the budget subsequently to avoid inequities being even worse than they are.
The full extent of Labor’s corruption of the ‘Gonski’ schools funding model has been exposed and all they have to offer are excuses and lies.
The Turnbull Government took a clear policy to the election to grow Commonwealth schools funding from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020 and to implement more than a dozen practical reforms backed by evidence to improve our education system.
We want students leaving school with literacy and numeracy skills that are up to scratch, we want to reward teachers for their competency and achievement not just their length of service, we want to be able to identify and help Year 1 students who need additional support and we want to give families more transparency so they can monitor their children’s progress and better support them.
Tomorrow’s meeting will be a chance for Education Ministers to indicate which areas of our proposed evidence based reforms they believe we can effectively cooperate on and their views on how we can share the record levels of growing funding most fairly.
We call on Labor to work with the Turnbull Government in a conversation about schools funding that moves past politics so we can focus on a distribution of funding that is informed by need, equitable across Australia and ensures the implementation of practical, evidence-led reforms that are proven to lift student outcomes.