Abbott rejects the core of Gonski

Dennis Long
Acting Country Organiser 

Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott has again poured cold water on the hope that he would give a guarantee to the Gonski schools funding reforms.

In response to a question about the underfunding of public education and the need to address student need, Mr Abbott acknowledged that the issue of school funding “is a challenge for me”.

The Opposition leader rejected the Gillard Government’s attempt to implement the new schools funding model through a series of agreements with individual states and territories.

“A funding system that is different in different states is not a national system.”

Mr Abbott also rejected the need for additional funding.

“A lot of money has been spent. Have we had commensurately better results?” he asked. Mr Abbott did not think so and cited examples of waste in the NSW implementation of the Building the Education Revolution capital works program.

“More money would be desirable in a perfect world.

“I am not certain that we have the money.”

Rather than put more money into education, Mr Abbott cited the need for “better teachers”, “stronger principals” and a “rigorous curriculum”.

“That’s where I would put my efforts,” he said.

Mr Abbott said much as he appreciated the intentions of those behind the push for Gonski and “as much I appreciate David Gonski himself”, he would not be proceeding with the reforms.

Mr Abbott was speaking at a community forum in Nowra on June 13.