Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

No surprises on funding commentary

By John Benn - posted Thursday, 22 August 2013

Some media have realised that the ALP has been missing an electoral advantage by not pushing harder its school proposals which traditionally have gained political advantage for the party over recent elections.

The Australian Financial Review (Financial Review, 2013) seems to have discovered truths that have been apparent to most astute commentators on school improvement for many months. Four main inferences are raised by the Financial Review article, but they are more complex than they look.

1. Prime Minister Rudd is discovering that education is central to the ALP's re-election chances.


During the course of his first prime ministership Mr Rudd conveniently left much of the running on education to his capable and extremely passionate deputy Julia Gillard. Any leadership role is generally complacent to bask in their underling's achievements so in this regard Kevin Rudd was no exception.

After being axed Mr Rudd enthusiastically adopted his ultimate political goal to stride a much wider international stage through the foreign affairs portfolio leaving school reform to the more experienced but no less diminished passion of Prime Minister Gillard.

Following her axing Mr Rudd was quick to endorse Ms Gillard's efforts to seek state/territory consensus for Gonski funding outcomes although, as before, Mr Rudd is more political show that policy go. His sole contribution to the school improvement debate was to rebadge Gonski to assume a more politically neutral epithet – Better Schools.

While some Gonski recommendations remain effective schooling reform has subverted to a variety of individual financial deals with states/territories to secure their agreement to the federal government's intentions which remain primarily politically motivated. How can the ALP secure state/territory agreement - and supposed national consensus - by offering more money to sign on to whatever remains of the Gonski proposals?

Three governments remained sidelined to signing – Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory – while Victoria only signed at the eleventh hour after the federal government backed down on some of its earlier prerequisites concerning increased federal domination of schools if states were to receive additional federal funding.

Because differing deals have been presumably signed with the earlier agreeing constituents – NSW, SA, ACT and Tasmania – it is expedient to ask what national consensus on school funding now exists between the states/territories and the federal government?


If differing states/territories have gained pre-emptive funding advantages won't states not so advantaged have every right to challenge constitutionally the entire funding package?

If non-signatory WA, Qld and NT governments fail to receive commensurate future increased funding won't they seek restoration of funding equality through a constitutional challenge?

Mr Rudd likes to be photographed beaming widely in front of adoring school children as if such news photos or 'selfie' exposure gives him electoral credibility for schooling reform.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. 3
  5. 4
  6. All

This article was first published on

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

4 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

John Benn has more than 25-year's administrative experience in fund raising, communications and marketing in the non-government school sector. He blogs on education matters affecting schools on He holds post graduate degrees in communication from The University of Technology Sydney.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by John Benn

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 4 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy