A month before the recent federal election it was becoming apparent that public sentiment favoured Labor’s Better Schools Plan education policy. The Coalition’s Socioeconomic Status or SES model had already been found to be outdated and flawed on the grounds of “consistency and equity”.
Recognising it as an Achilles heel in the electorate, Tony Abbott duly announced that he had now accepted Labor’s funding plan and was on a “unity ticket” with Kevin Rudd.
After the election the phrase ‘left in a mess’ became the refrain even though some the best educational minds in the country had spent three years in formulating the better schools policy. Recently, Abbott accused the ALP repeatedly of 'ripping' $1.2 billion out of the funding allocation. In actual fact, however, that money had been set aside for three jurisdictions - Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory - should they have chosen to sign up to the reforms. After they declined to do so, the money was returned to consolidated revenue.
Unfortunately, having expediently neutralised one of Labor’s strong suits in the election campaign, Abbott and Pyne have now reverted to their preferred catchphrase that Gonski is a ‘con-ski’.