Bill Shorten has failed to defend the shambolic schools funding deals he stitched up as Education Minister in an interview this morning that highlighted Labor is more interested in playing politics with future funding rather than engaging in the sensible policy discussion the Turnbull Government is leading.

Pushed repeatedly on criticisms of the Labor Party’s approach to schools in a speech by ‘Gonski Report’ author Dr Ken Boston yesterday, Mr Shorten didn’t appear to realise that the 27 special funding deals he signed on the eve of the 2013 election were vastly different to what the Gonski Report recommended.

At best the Leader of the Opposition was embarrassingly unaware that what he was saying was not recommended by Gonski, at worst he was deliberately trying to lie to Australians by misrepresenting the Report.

What we did is we embraced the principle that we wanted to get schools – over time, you can’t do it overnight – to a resourcing standard which was consistent with the best outcomes in schools, the top 1/8th of schools.”
– Bill Shorten, ABC AM, 15/2

The Gillard and Rudd governments did not adopt the Gonski Report, and neither has the current Labor Opposition…the Labor Party has not committed to sector-blind funding…
– Dr Ken Boston, Speech to T.J Ryan Foundation, 14/2

What Labor implemented and what the Gonski Report recommended are two very different things.

The cosy deals Bill Shorten stitched up before the 2013 “corrupted” needs-based funding according to Dr Boston.

It will take schools decades and even centuries in some cases to transition to a true needs-based distribution of funding under Labor’s model and those special Labor deals mean a disadvantaged student in one state receives up to $1,500 less federal funding per year than the exact same student would receive in other states in the exact same circumstances.

The Labor leader’s obsession with increasing funding at the expense of addressing more fundamental issues has also already been called out by Dr Boston.

…the Gonski Report did not see additional funding as the key to improving Australian education.

Provision of the so-called “last two years of Gonski funding” will not deal with the fundamental problem facing Australian education.
– Dr Ken Boston, Speech to T.J Ryan Foundation, 14/2

While a strong level of funding is obviously necessary for Australia’s education system, and we have that, it’s clear we need fair, needs-based and transparent funding arrangements tied to delivering reforms in schools that are proven to boost student outcomes are the only way forward. 

That’s exactly what the Turnbull Government has committed to delivering.