Storm over Gonski confusion

During an election rally at Hawkesbury Lookout on August 22, Susan Templeman said she was “incensed” every time she heard Liberal MP Louise Markus say she was on a “unity ticket” with Labor on the Gonski education reforms.

That feeling turned to dismay for the former Labor candidate last week when the federal government came under heavy fire for its Gonski backflip.

It turned to confusion on Tuesday when the government changed its position again, saying it will honour Labor's Gonski commitments for four years .

“Only three months ago, the now education minister said in Penrith that ‘You can vote Liberal or Labor and you’ll get exactly the same amount of funding for your school’  — and we now know that was a lie,” Ms Templeman said last week.

“What’s more, the Federal MP for Macquarie, while refusing to attend forums on education in person, claimed that ‘every single school in Macquarie will receive, dollar for dollar, the same federal funding over the next four years whether there is a Liberal or Labor Government after September 7’.

“Both statements were misleading, and parents in the Blue Mountains are rightly concerned about what this will mean for their children.”

On Tuesday following the government’s latest reversal, the Labor spokesperson said “the federal government has had so many different positions on school funding even in the past week it's hard to know what to believe and whether this is actually their final position”.

But Louise Markus said schools in Macquarie would have the same “funding certainty they need as a result of the Coalition Government investing an additional $2.8 billion over the next four years”.

“Labor left school funding in a mess,” said Mrs Markus. 

“Labor’s funding model was not national and it was not fair. In his last act as education minister, Bill Shorten ripped $1.2 billion from schools in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia.

“The Coalition Government is providing every school with the funding certainty they need. We are delivering on our election commitments and delivering more funding than Labor committed.

“We will put back the $1.2 billion in additional funding over the next four years that Labor took away and we will cut red tape and stop Canberra interference in schools.”

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