The prime minister admits defeat on his bold plan for public school funding
Apr 2, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
Two days after it was first floated, the Prime Minister’s radical plan for education funding has been sunk.
Malcolm Turnbull was yesterday forced to admit defeat after state leaders rejected his proposal to give them new tax raising powers to pay for public schools.
Mr Turnbull said his proposal had been withdrawn from Friday’s Council of Australian Governments meeting in Canberra because it lacked “anything like a consensus”.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Victorian leader Daniel Andrews moved swiftly to quash the proposal in the morning COAG session.
“There isn’t an appetite to do that, so that’s fine, that is their right,” the Prime Minister said at a press conference following the meeting.
“It’s my job to lead reform, to push the envelope, to try to help, with my colleagues, to make the federation work better.
“So we’ve made that proposal, but it doesn’t meet with the consensus of the room.”
Opposition leader Bill Shorten said the PM had been “humiliated” by the defeat, although it did manage to shift focus from the debate over Gonski funding to a longer-term consideration of how to pay for school education.
Many state leaders and chief ministers expressed their surprise at the last-minute spruiking of a major policy change, which was presented without any formal analysis or documentation.
They did, though, agree to begin a consideration process for replacing the commonwealth’s tied grants to the states - including $6.8bn a year for schools - with a share of the federal income tax take.
Treasurer Scott Morrison will now lead the negotiations for a new tax sharing plan which doesn’t allow individual states to raise differing education levies - inequality being one of the major criticisms of the PM’s plan.
Despite a number of state leaders and chief ministers calling for tax rises to pay for more education funding, Mr Turnbull argued efficiencies could be found within the existing budget by using resources “more efficiently”.
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