Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

The Gonski Masterstroke (Still Confusing Christopher Pyne and Tony Abbott)

A month ago, I wrote a post on Gonski and here’s an update: 

Gonski infographic

But that is merely focussing on tactics instead of strategy. The reforms and their introduction are a strategic masterstroke for the following reasons:

  1. They are a clear and understandable reform to educational funding. The Gonski reforms mean that schools will be funded per student with extra to overcome disadvantage. Prior to Gonski, educational funding arrangements in Australia were incomprehensible.
  2. These reforms have been generally well received. There were protests regarding university funding changes (cutbacks or spending deferrals) made to finance these reforms. There have been some voices of dissent stating Gonski favours the haves over the have nots. But no educational counter revolution has occurred! The streets aren’t full of parents, teachers and students saying No to Gonski!
  3. Even in the ALP, where public versus private school funding has been a issue for decades, Gonski has laid the issue to rest. Because of Gonski, there will be no more hit lists as per Mark Latham in the 2004 Federal Election campaign.
  4. Most critically, the reforms have outflanked the LNP premiers, Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne presenting them with an issue that they cannot circumvent.

The LNP Premiers’ Dilemma:

  • If the LNP Premiers sign up to Gonski they’re seen as supporting the Gillard ALP Government. Worse, they are prevented by the Gonski conditions from making cuts to education spending (already occurring in NSW, Victoria and Queensland). O’Farrell has stated that he is in favour of Gonski on its own merits.
  • If the LNP Premiers don’t sign up to Gonski, it automatically (and has now) becomes a Federal and State election issue. Anyone who votes for the Gonski reforms is automatically registering a protest vote against the burgeoning State education spending cuts and the current educational funding model.

Tony Abbott’s and Christopher Pyne’s Dilemma:

  • If they agree with Gonski they’re seen as supporting the Gillard ALP Government. Even if Abbott had agreed in principle with the Gonski reforms and said they were too expensive, he would still be seen as supporting the centrepiece of the Gillard ALP Government re-election platform.
  • If they disagree with Gonski and support the current educational funding model, the current squabbling will worsen as education spending cuts (State and possibly Federal) bite.
  • Unfortunately, the position Pyne and Abbott have chosen is to criticise Gonski and state that the present system is better and that topping it up will make it even so. Their response is confusing and unclear.

So why is the title of this article not misleading?

  • In time, at least the ALP State Premiers will sign up to the Gonski reforms.
  • Gonski is now an election issue because of Abbott’s and the LNP State Premiers’ (except NSW’s O’Farrell) refusal to engage.
  • Consequently, the IGiveAGonski grassroots campaign will continue up until September 14th and beyond if there is a change of Government.
  • Abbott, Pyne and the LNP Premiers alternative to Gonski is the existing incomprehensible funding model and spending cuts which is no policy at all.

This issue is not going away. And it hasn’t!

15 Comments

  1. Good analysis and very timely. Have you seen this?

    http://images.smh.com.au/2013/04/21/4209739/gal-land-Moir-600×400.jpg

    Is it possible this nation,
    Sorely needing more education,
    Could choose to lead it such a fool,
    Who really should go back to school.

    Watch this space for the pome which is developing, inspired by Alan Moir’s brilliant cartoon today. http://polliepomes.wordpress.com/

  2. Hi Andrew, I guess you were trying to avoid the use of the word ‘wedge’ but otherwise a spot on interesting read. Let’s hope The Greens and what’s left of Labor’s left run with it hard. Thank you!

    • Thank you for your comment. I thought of and then discarded the word wedge as its normal use implies being forced into only one course of action. In this case, I don’t believe any course of action by the LNP will make political headway. Even normal wedge politics, a recent example being Abbott saying this scheme will pit school against school fades against the facts. Perhaps counter wedge instead?

  3. Education should not be about the self vest interests of corrupt politicians but about the future of our nation. All the major parties are doing is demonstrating that they have reached their use by date.

  4. Education should not be about the self vest interests of corrupt politicians but about the future of our nation. All the major parties are doing is demonstrating that they have reached their use by date.

  5. Reblogged this on A Wombat's Web and commented:
    Education should not b about the self vested interests of corrupt politicians but about the future of our nation. The only thing our major parties are doing is proving that they have reach their use by date and must be thrown out into the garbage bin.

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