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States must agree to the strings to get the Gonski money, says Shorten

The government will not match the Coalition promise to pay the Better Schools funding to states which have not signed up…

Bill Shorten believes one of the keys to a better education system is higher paid teachers. AAP/Penny Bradfield

The government will not match the Coalition promise to pay the Better Schools funding to states which have not signed up to the plan, but would be willing to continue negotiating with them if re-elected, Education minister Bill Shorten said today.

The Coalition, which capitulated just before the election was called and said it would guarantee the Gonski funding for four of the six year program, is not distinguishing between jurisdictions that have signed and those that have not.

But Shorten said Labor was not willing to provide funds with no strings attached. A condition was that the states did not cut their own funds to schools.

“What is the point of the Commonwealth education money walking in the front door, allowing the states to take money out of the system out of the backdoor?”

He said Labor was prepared to keep negotiating after the election with Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. But it was not to prepared to do what the opposition would do – which was hand over a blank cheque.

The government had offered jurisdictions a $2 for $1 funding deal but some were seeking $2 and looking to put in only 20 cents. “We’re generous, but not mugs”, Shorten said.

Shorten argued strongly that teachers should be better remunerated. “Our teachers commit every day – physically, intellectually, emotionally. Yet I do not believe their pay reflects the value of their commitment”.

He was appearing at the National Press Club which had proposed a debate with opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne, who declined the invitation. Pyne said today he had prior commitments and also had two debates locked in with Shorten next week.

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15 Comments sorted by

  1. Peter Evans

    Retired

    If I understand this correctly Queensland and WA can now get Gonski funding from a Coalition government even though they have not signed any agreement. While the promise is only for 4 years, prima facie it adds considerably to the cost of the Coalition's promises. Why are they being so generous in the face of what they call a "Budget emergency".

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    1. Greg Young

      Program Director

      In reply to Peter Evans

      Very good question Peter. I hope you're not holding your breath waiting for the answer, here or anywhere else.

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    2. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Peter Evans

      DO you seek the answer or are you being ironically rhetorical/ Not sure which, but on the assumption it is the first. let me point out that Shorten explained that he did not want to see the money going to a jurisdiction without the condition that it would not simply cut funds from its own budget contribution That seems to me to given the lie to the suggestion that the Commonwealth is simply throwing money down the drain. Not so the Coalition which has not deigned to tell us what it will do; it did not even let Mr Pyne come along and enlighten the press Club on the matter. presumably he was hunkered down in the usual cotton wool cubbyhose or spitting spleen about some Ruddism or Laborism or something. I ahve already regarded him as the Opposition spokesman for partisan comments.

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    3. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Peter Evans

      Not sure whether your question is rhetorical in part or in toto.

      However, you don't need to think very deeply to realise that as with a number of policy areas in this election the Coalition is running dead on education. Having realised that there is no political upside for its previous it aint broke so don't fix it policy, they decided to acquiesce in the better schools legislation clearly with a view to subjecting the funding aspect of it to the Audit and Review process viz (Peter Costello's…

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  2. Lee Emmett

    Guest House Manager

    Michelle Grattan's report has provided some interesting new facts, exposing real differences between Labor and the LNP.

    'Labor was not willing to provide funds with no strings attached. A condition was that the states did not cut their own funds to schools ... (Labor was) not prepared to do what the opposition would do – which was hand over a blank cheque.

    The Coalition ... would guarantee the Gonski funding for four of the six year program ... (and) is not distinguishing between jurisdictions that have signed and those that have not.'

    Voters can make a choice on education, at least for the first four years: Labor's fully costed plan, or an uncosted, open-ended LNP version.

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  3. Hardy Gosch
    Hardy Gosch is a Friend of The Conversation.

    Mr.

    This is actually a reasoned article. Thanks for that.
    As others here have already correctly pointed out LNP thought bubbles just do not add up or make overall sense.
    In an ideal world, in a vibrant, fully functioning democracy the election focus should always have highlighted the vast policy differences between the parties. That is what ultimately matters. Leader's come and leader's go.
    In my mind indulging in faux personality conflict analysis in the wider media is cute, but simply does not add to the conversation.
    The latest ALP slogan "If he wins, you loose" is catchy. The scariest thing about it, it is true. It is not so much about Kevin or Tony, they are easily replaced. This is about the LNP backers who are running the show in the background.
    If they win, we all loose and that’s a certainty.
    The public should ask themselves:
    Have Murdoch and his IPA/MSM/ABC/LNP mates made up my mind how to vote?

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  4. Rex Gibbs

    Engineer/Director

    As I understand the 'Gonski' model - The Federal Government provides additional school funding to be based on need except in the case of Catholic schools where it is to be per student funding with the Catholic school system to make its own decisions about where funds are to go and that they can choose to reduce fees or do as they choose. Catholic education is allowed to reallocate resources whereas States are not. But then they got on board and created an "announceable'. I also understand that needy students in some states are not as needy as those in others and funding was determined on the basis of the Labor Governments need to get some states out of the starting blocks rather than a rational 'evidence based' assessment. The Liberals did not find it too hard to agree to fund for the first four years because the scheme is so back end loaded that it cost very little to make the undertaking.

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  5. Greg North

    Retired Engineer

    " But Shorten said Labor was not willing to provide funds with no strings attached. A condition was that the states did not cut their own funds to schools.
    Shorten is likely playing cutesy for it'll be obvious that the attached strings are nothing to do with funding which is the basis of agreements, even with what financial fudging has already occurred with Gillard and now Shorten negotiations.
    The strings that Shorten refers to and which Gillard was wanting so as to be able to do national curriculum…

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    1. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Greg North

      Really Greg. I know you are just following the line, possibly doing what you are told by the machine, but if you are a real person you just look increasingly biased and silly.

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    2. Greg North

      Retired Engineer

      In reply to john davies

      I am thinking of getting some Tshirts knocked John with the following words:
      " It’s a well-worn political trick that you caricature and call your opponents names when you don’t want to engage with the substance of their claims. "
      Where would you like yours sent to?

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    3. john davies
      john davies is a Friend of The Conversation.

      retired engineer

      In reply to Greg North

      Sillier and sillier Greg! I suggest a cap rather than a tee shirt, and if it fits, wear it.

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    4. Brett Bailey

      Self Employed

      In reply to john davies

      Do you actually have a point?
      The better schools funding program doesn't deliver benefits to all states - for example here in the west our LNP state Government coughs up way more than Gonski suggests for schools - so for WA it would mean reduction in funding to match the Gonski formula. Barentt is no fool and he won't sign up for something he already betters. State that have signed up certainly haven;t put in the same money as in WA so understandbaly they want some cash - thing is most of it isn;t coming their way any time soon - full funding is years away

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    5. Chris Reynolds

      Education Consultant

      In reply to Greg North

      So what is the issue Greg? Accountability seems to be a regular hobbyhorse here. Yet you say nothing about the Coalition's inattention to accountability when it comes to this policy.

      Perhaps it is because we all know that the Libs will drop the Gonski Better Schools reforms after they win anyway. Why bother elaborating on something they do not intend to really deliver on. Meanwhile don't give the issue any oxygen by failing to say anything or doing anything during the election.

      This LNP campaign has been very cynically run. I by the way I see Tony wont take any more money from Big Tobacco. He must be getting worried about the electoral traction the ALP is gaining on this matter. Smart tactic but suggests there is no substance with a lot of spin!

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