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Education policy hand grenade pulls the pin on Barry O'Farrell's patience

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Pyne abandons Gonski model

The government says it will retain Labor's funding levels for school education, but will introduce a new model for distributing the money from the 2015 school year.

PT0M0S 620 349

''What the hell is going on?'' NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell thundered on Tuesday.

It captured what many were thinking, in a week when the Abbott government threw a hand grenade into the centre of education policy and reform.

"What the hell is going on?": NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell.

"What the hell is going on?": NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell. Photo: AFR

Contrast O'Farrell's mood on Tuesday with the hope the NSW Premier expressed just six months ago. Back then, the Premier was signing his conservative state government up to the former federal Labor government's so-called Gonski education reforms.

In doing so, he talked about how the newly signed deal could signal the end of the education wars.

''This reform today has the potential to ensure that some of the debates of the past, debates about funding mixes, debates about system versus system, are consigned to history and we continue to focus on what's most important in education - which is giving our young people the best possible start and opportunities in life,'' O'Farrell said in April.

New funding system: Education Minister Christopher Pyne.

New funding system: Education Minister Christopher Pyne. Photo: Melissa Adams

But if those hopes have not been permanently dashed, they have at least been delayed.

Christopher Pyne has clearly abandoned his election pledge of providing a ''unity ticket'' on school policy.

The pugnacious Liberal frontbencher has also chosen to pick a fight with the five jurisdictions that have signed up and revived the Coalition's bitter enmity with Labor over school policy, claiming the funding model he supported during the election campaign was now an unworkable ''shambles''.

The full funding envelope of additional dollars for schools that did sign on to the new model seems set to be spread more thinly now. This presumably means there could be less money for individual schools in NSW and Pyne could not promise otherwise on Tuesday.

If the federal government gets its way, the reduced amount of funding will also be distributed according to a different, ''flatter'' model and not the one he went to the election supporting.

Just as it seemed the whistle had finally been blown on the muddy political football match that has characterised Australian education policy debate, it seems Pyne has chosen to call all weary players back onto the field for another brutal round. That will be exhausting for them.

But it will be terrible shame if it means less money delivered to the neediest schools in this state, or across the country.

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161 comments

  • They promised us everything
    They promised us thick and thin
    They promised us pies from the skies
    Turned out to be just filthy lies

    Commenter
    Abbott Sceptic
    Location
    Gold Coast
    Date and time
    November 27, 2013, 6:46AM
    • Abbott / Pyne - Liar / Liar
      I am surprised people are surprised. This is traditional politics of the rotten right - Give money to those that have and take it away from those in need.
      You only have to look at their superannuation changes (giving back massive concessions to 30k of Aus wealthiest people and taking ii away for 3.5M lower income workers). Under Howard the bulk of tax cuts were to the wealthiest few while the rest got a hamburger . . remember?
      Then there is the mining tax, take away from the country and give to a few billionaires. It goes on and on . . at least they are consistent I suppose. :(
      This backflip will just take money out of public schools and hand it over to rich private schools . . remember Abbott & Pyne both went to wealthy private schools.

      Commenter
      Danger Ranger
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 8:10AM
    • For the purpose of getting in power
      They said they were men of the hour
      What they said they won't do
      It was, it seems, untrue
      And the after taste is sour.

      No surprises, no excuses they said
      With such slogans their campaign was led,
      The promises couldn't long last
      Surprise and excuses came fast
      And the trust of the electorate bled.

      Commenter
      Ross
      Location
      MALLABULA
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 8:11AM
    • promises were made to be broken---like lawsChild hood stuff..Anyway, Pynes right.Its a n unworkable shambles.

      Commenter
      Lane
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 9:02AM
    • Got to keep the underlings dumb......then they can work for you & don't ask questions.

      Commenter
      Bazza
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 9:14AM
    • It seems Pyne may have taken one for the team. Something spectacular had to be done to get the reports of Abbott's mishandling of the spying row off the front pages. Although the cure may prove to be more painful than the cause. Needs must.

      Commenter
      Lyn
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 9:41AM
    • "promises were made to be broken"

      Lane, is that a direct quote from Abbott commenting on the decision of the Gillard Labor Government to introduce a carbon price?

      I bet it was said by Abbott to the horrible rabble clutching their 'ditch the witch' signs (and much worse) as he explained patiently to them that with a hung Parliament Julia Gillard had no choice but to go with a carbon price. Must have been the horrible MSM that did not report it.

      Commenter
      Whyalla Wipeout
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 10:18AM
    • Yes blame Labor for not funding gonski fully in the budget and cutting 1.2 billions from whatever little fund they allocated.

      and on the top of it Labor Greens have blocked moves to increase the debt limit

      clearly Pyne has been left with yet another labor mess to fix.

      Commenter
      Logic
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 10:21AM
    • Three words: "One term Tony"

      Commenter
      Brad
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 10:26AM
    • Name me the politician who is different to this?

      The party does not matter, neither does the leader. They will all say one thing & do another to tow the party line, it is a proven fact for either side of politics. When all is said & done, they'll leave the job after 10-15 years & get paid for the rest of their lives from the public purse, whilst the rest of us work for 50+ years, only to be a burden at the end.

      For us mere mortals, all they want us to do is work from an early age, pay taxes & then pay more taxes, work till you're nearly dead, or die before that to save them some more money.

      Commenter
      Indeed
      Date and time
      November 27, 2013, 10:42AM

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