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War of words

Christopher Pyne and Bill Shorten swap insults over the coalition's decision to develop a new school funding model. Nine news.

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Labor leader Bill Shorten has brought out the L-word as he continues to hammer the Coalition over its backflip on school education funding.

In his second school visit in as many days, Mr Shorten accused the Coalition of lying about its plans for schools education before the election.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten meets with students from Ainslie Primary School in Canberra on Thursday.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten meets with students from Ainslie Primary School in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

"The Coalition promised before the election, it didn't matter who you voted for, Coalition or Labor ... you would get the same deal in education after the election," Mr Shorten told reporters at primary school in Canberra.

"Well that was clearly a lie. Clearly a broken promise."

On Wednesday, while visiting a school in Melbourne, Mr Shorten stopped short of branding the Coalition's education stance a "lie".

When pressed by reporters, the Labor leader would only say that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was "breaking a promise" by reneging on the Coalition's pledge before the election that it was on a "unity ticket" with Labor on schools funding.

On Thursday, after shaking hands with students at Ainslie Primary School in Canberra's north, Mr Shorten said that parents and teachers had a right to be upset about the new government's stance on schools funding.

He slammed the Coalition as a government of "nasty surprises and pathetic excuses".

Education Minister Christopher Pyne dismissed Mr Shorten's comments on Thursday, pointing to the Labor leader switching allegiance from Kevin Rudd to Julia Gillard in 2010 and then from Ms Gillard back to Mr Rudd in 2013.

"I would say that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," Mr Pyne told reporters in Adelaide.

"Bill Shorten has a very limited level of credibility when it comes to accusing other people of not telling the truth."

Mr Pyne also appeared to distance the Abbott government from the Howard government's funding model for schools - despite comments earlier this week that Howard model was a "good starting point".

The Education Minister said that he had defended the Howard model because it was a needs-based model.

"But that will not be the basis of a new funding model, because we’ve moved beyond that," he said.

"I've never said that we would now re-introduce the previous government's model."

Mr Pyne stressed that the new model, to be announced in early 2014, would need to be national, fair and needs-based.

The Education Minister is due to dine with his state counterparts tonight, ahead of a meeting in Canberra on Friday.

He said he expected a "warm" reception from state education ministers.

"My message to them is 'let's work together'."

On Thursday, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine said Victoria would not be backing down from the deal it struck with the former Labor federal government.  

‘‘We’ll do everything we can to make sure the Coalition government honours that commitment to our schools in Victoria," he said.

This came as fellow Liberal MP NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli  wrote in an opinion piece for Fairfax Media that: "The federal government's decision this week to dismantle the needs-based school funding model - known as Gonski - ignores the solid evidence that the former socioeconomic status model was broken."

On Wednesday, the federal government went into damage control over school funding reforms, promising extra cash and blaming the media for not understanding the issue, as the row over its backflip on education funds continued.

Mr Pyne pledged an extra $230 million for states that did not sign up to the former Labor government's so-called Gonski reforms.

Out of the new funds, Western Australia will receive $31 million, the Northern Territory will get $67 million and Queensland will bag $131 million next year.  

With AAP