Malcolm Turnbull’s attempts to replace Gonski after 2017 have descended into farce and he has no alternative but to listen to the states and territories and fund Gonski in full.
In the 11 months since Malcolm Turnbull and his Education Minister Simon Birmingham announced they wanted to replace Gonski, they have produced no detail as to how their new model would work, and have not convinced a single state government to support it.
That means not a single school in Australia knows what its budget will be in 2018.
There is now yet another delay to the development of a new system, with Simon Birmingham admitting he has no proposal for state education ministers when they meet him in Hobart tomorrow.
Instead of talking he should listen: because state ministers will be able to tell him how much of a difference that Gonski funding is making in their schools.
Minister Birmingham now wants another meeting, just before June’s COAG meeting between Malcolm Turnbull and state premiers – the government’s self-imposed deadline for funding agreements to be decided.
The Turnbull Government is clearly aware that no state government supports a new funding model, and is running scared from the damage that ending Gonski will do to our schools.
Private school peak bodies have joined the chorus of concern, saying that it is too late to being in a workable funding system for next year.
Ignoring the evidence
Malcolm Turnbull has not only failed his own test to deliver a schools funding model, he continues to ignore the evidence that Gonski is working.
We know that schools across Australia are doing amazing things with their Gonski funding – changing students’ lives by providing extra support to those who need it.
A recent survey showed 90 per cent of principals whose schools received Gonski funding reported it was making a ‘significant difference’ to their schools.
However only 19 per cent said the funding received so far was enough to meet the needs of all their students – and were concerned many students would continue to miss out if funding was stopped.
Malcolm Turnbull needs to listen to those principals and make sure their schools get the funding they need.
After all, he has managed to give business a $24 billion cut in company tax, that’s a lot more than the $3.8 billion needed to fund the Gonski agreements to be funded in full
Malcolm Turnbull has no plan to lift results, or properly fund schools, just a plan for cuts that will hit hardest the children who need help the most.
The survey of principals found that it would be students with disability, or who were struggling with literacy and numeracy who would miss out on support if schools did not get the full six years of Gonski funding.
If Malcolm Turnbull fails to fund Gonski he will be taking funding from the most disadvantaged schools and students.
Campaign steps up
The lack of action at tomorrow’s Education Ministers meeting will make the next few months even more important, as we head towards the Federal budget in May.
Thanks to the work of our supporters Gonski has strong support from state governments, and many of the Senators who may still have to vote on changes to the Australian Education Act.
We will be looking for your help as campaign in the lead up to the Budget, and beyond, with TV, print and radio advertising, as well as community and social media action.
Here’s what you can do in the lead up to the Budget:
Send a message to Mr Turnbull via his website. Let him know why Gonski funding is so important, and why the full six years of funding must be included in the May Budget.
Tweet @TurnbullMalcolm and let him know you want a Prime Minister who gives a Gonski for our kids. Add your Message to Malcolm photo if you have one.
Politicians know that Gonski has strong support in the community, because Australians understand why investing in our children’s education is vital for our future.
Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt to push ahead with his own system, which would see the worst-resourced school systems funded the same as the best-resourced, has ended in failure.
We need him to maintain the basic principles of Gonski funding: that state and territory governments work together to ensure every Australian school has the resources it needs for its students.
We need him to honour the six years of the Gonski agreements in full