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GONEski! Australian Government Ditching Education Reforms

Posted: November 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Education, They Said What | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on GONEski! Australian Government Ditching Education Reforms

GONEski Australian Government Trashes EA turnaround in policy position isn’t a huge surprise straight after an election, it sought of goes with the the furniture. Except in this case, apparently, both sides of Australian politics were in FULL agreement prior to the last election?

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has denied that 10 weeks into governing, he’s breaking a pre-election promise –  to match Labor’s school funding model – saying that his government would “do a little bit better.”

However, promises to one side, Australia’s new Government has just announced it will scrap the previous – Labor – governments plan for school funding reform, and will instead renegotiate individual agreements with all states and territories within the next 12 months.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne says Labor’s arrangements will stay in place for the coming year and will then be overhauled ::::


Mr Pyne claims Labor removed $1.2 billion from the education budget before the election, when it failed to clinch “better schools” deals with Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Mr Pyne says that means there is less money available but he is committed to ensure the shortfall will be spread across all states and territories, including the ones that did not sign up to the original Labor deal.

He wants to put in place a new system using the same amount of funding promised by Labor over four years. New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia all insist that agreements for funding over the next six years have already been signed off and they must be honoured.

Prior to the election, the Coalition said it was on a “unity ticket” with Labor regarding school funding, but Mr Pyne says he is not breaking election promises. He says the Government will honour funding for 2014 but beyond that, a new model will be implemented.

The Coalition says the so-called Gonski model negotiated by Labor is too complicated, with Mr Pyne describing it as “a complete shambles” and “an incomprehensible mess”.

“The way our system works is no government can bind any future government – what one government does, another government can undo,” Mr Pyne said. “I made it very clear before the election that I didn’t buy up to the Labor Party model. We said that we would have the same funding envelope and we will.”

Not a Broken Promise

Prime Minister Tony Abbott claims that his government is not breaking a pre-election promise to match Labor’s school funding. Mr Abbott said the government would do better than the Labor Party by putting an extra $230 million in so that not only will schools get next year what Labor promised them, but the schools that were “ripped off for next year by Labor,” will have that funding restored.

“We are absolutely honouring our pre-election commitment,” Mr Abbott said. “What we said before the election was that there would be the same quantum of funding, the same quantum of funding under us as under the Labor Party. Now that we know that Labor ripped $1.2 billion out of school funding just before the election, we’re going to put some of that back in. We’re going to put an extra $230 million into school funding that wouldn’t have been there had Labor won the election.

However, the Prime Minister refused to guarantee that no school would be worse off under new arrangements.

School Funding Porkies, Snow-jobs and Lame excuses

REBLOG! via Annabel Crab, The Drum: Is it surprising that Christopher Pyne has declared that he is junking school funding policy and starting again? Not when you consider how notoriously susceptible this crucial area of public policy is to the extreme political convenience of both sides of politics, writes Annabel Crabb.

Repeatedly postponed, serially bickered-over, full of holes, plagued by opportunistic porkies, snow-jobs and “dog and homework” excuses that don’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny; if the reform of primary and secondary education in this country were a school project, it would be flunked by any self-respecting teacher.

It’s entirely commonplace to remark of federal politics at present that it tends to be long on opportunism and short on courage. But the longstanding debacle on national schools funding is an example of political fecklessness so special that it deserves its own Prize Night category.

Is it surprising that Christopher Pyne – the ink on whose Gonski “unity ticket” promised before the last election is still faintly sticky to the touch – has now declared that he is junking the thing and starting again?

Not especially. Not when you consider how notoriously susceptible this crucial area of public policy is to extreme political convenience :: Read Ms Crabb’s full rundown »»»»

Needs Based System With Less Regulation

Mr Pyne says he remains committed to a needs-based funding system, but he will be putting in place a model that requires less regulation.

“It will be flatter, it will be simpler, it will be fair between the states and territories and it will be equitable for students so that the school funding reaches those who need it the most,” Mr Pyne told reporters in Canberra. “I would say that we are keeping our promises by doing just that. We said that we would remove the control and command features from the [former] government’s model, that is exactly what we will do.

A less complicated model seems to be the selling point for the new government.

“We will make the model less prescriptive, less restrictive, with less control from Canberra in what is effectively state government and territory government schools.” Mr Pyne said. “We don’t want to try and tell the states how to operate their own responsibilities. We’re not going to infantilize the states.”

Before the federal election the Coalition promised to meet Labor’s Better Schools funding promises. However, Mr Pyne says when some jurisdictions did not sign up to Labor’s plan, the money they rejected was removed from the education budget.

Collision Course With States

The issue has flared ahead of this Friday’s first meeting between Mr Pyne and all the states’ and territories’ education ministers. He says the Labor government signed bilateral deals with NSW, South Australia and the ACT, but never finalised the agreements with Tasmania and Victoria.

New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he expects the Commonwealth to abide by the signed agreement reached on education funding. Mr O’Farrell says he has written to the Prime Minister seeking assurances that his state will not receive less funding.

“We’ll hold the Commonwealth to the agreement we signed, but my concern is … Mr Pyne is making certain statements in the media but we don’t have the details, we don’t have an understanding,” Mr O’Farrell said. “I expect that will be outlined at the ministerial meeting on Friday, but I just say to Mr Pyne: we have a signed agreement with the Commonwealth Government, with the Commonwealth of Australia. It’s for set dollars and New South Wales is not going to settle for less.”

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli says his Government, which was the first to sign up to former prime minister Julia Gillard’s funding plan, has already applied the new model to the state’s 2,200 schools. But Mr Pyne says some schools in NSW are worse off because of the deal the state did with Labor.

“The New South Wales Government hasn’t implemented the pure Gonski model, they’ve implemented their own hybrid approach to that,” he said earlier.” Mr Piccoli said. “That is why, in implementing it, a number of schools lost money in New South Wales.”

Tasmania expects funding, although bilateral agreement wasn’t signed. There is currently some confusion over the status of Tasmania’s agreement with the Federal Government. While a heads of agreement was signed between Tasmania and the Labor government, a binding bilateral agreement was not finalised.

Tasmanian Education Minister Nick McKim says Mr Pyne should honour the heads of agreement negotiated with the previous government. He says Mr Pyne has sent a bolt of fear through schools around the state.

“This is an outrage perpetrated on Australia’s most disadvantaged students, on their parents and on their schools,” Mr McKim said. “And Tasmania will on Friday be putting to Christopher Pyne: stick to your promise and don’t try to cover up one of the biggest broken election promises in Australia’s history.”

The state’s Premier, Lara Giddings, says she is concerned the Federal Government is trying to back away from the earlier agreement.

“We expect the Australian Government to abide by their promise to the Tasmanian people,” Ms Giddings said. “It’s just not good enough to throw away an election promise, to break an election promise like that when this is about our children’s future – they made a promise, they better not break it.”

In a statement, Victoria’s Education Minister Martin Dixon says his state’s $12.2 billion agreement must stand, saying “along with Victorian schools and school communities, we expect the Commonwealth to honour this funding”.

ACT’s Education Minister Joy Burch says there is sense in the current funding deal.

“It’s most concerning that it appears that this Government, the Commonwealth Government, is negotiating new education funding through the media,” Ms Burch said. “It is very clear that this was a sensible and well thought through funding model that provided equity within the public system and in the non-public system. That’s what families and the school leaderships have been asking for. If this is the level of regard that is played out by the new Commonwealth Minister, it doesn’t bode well for a positive and ongoing enduring relationship.”

Earlier this month, Queensland said it had struck a deal with the Commonwealth worth $884 million, but the agreement is also yet to be formalised. Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls says state Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek has written to Mr Pyne about the latest developments.

Today, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill urged Mr Pyne to back off on plans to renegotiate the Gonski deal.

“We’re going to be insisting on the agreement that we reached with the former government. That’s the agreement we signed with a sovereign government,” Mr Weatherill said. “What’s this idea that somehow you come into government and somehow you can actually dishonour agreements that were reached with the previous government? I mean, this is unprecedented, this nonsense.”

Western Australia’s Education Minister Peter Collier says he is keen to negotiate a national agreement – but on two conditions.

“First of all, the notion of Federal Government intervention in Western Australian schools as a result of that funding is unpalatable,” Mr Collier said. “Secondly, that Western Australia gets a fair and equitable distribution of the pie. “So if they can overcome those two issues, Western Australia will be pleased to sign up.”

However, not everybody is unhappy. NT Education Minister Peter Chandler says he supports the plan.

“I think Minister Pyne is on the right track here,” Mr Chandler said. “What he wants to do is remove the layers of bureaucracy that currently exist within education.”

The National Catholic Education Commission has welcomed the opportunity to renegotiate the terms of the funding arrangements.

“A lot was achieved through the Australian Education Act and the Gonski funding arrangements as they’re described,” executive director Ross Fox said. “But they can be improved and we’ll look forward to achieving even more fair and equitable outcomes from discussions with the Government.”

The president of the teacher’s union, Angelo Gavrielatos, has accused the Federal Government of spin.

“We have a funding formula in place and what the Government should be doing is first and foremost honouring its pre-election commitment and then seeking to extend it right across Australia,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

UPDATE! Gonski Co-Author Labels Payne L Plate Minister

UPDATED! November 29, 2013: A co-author of the Gonski report has labelled the new Federal Education Minister, Christopher Pyne, “a minister on L-plates” amid confusion over school funding.

Mr Pyne has not yet announced a new funding model for schools after scrapping the Gonski plan that was introduced under the previous Labor government.

Today Mr Pyne met with his state and territory counterparts, who described the talks as “very heated” and said they fear public schools will be the big losers under the new model.

Several education ministers have being fighting to maintain the funding agreed to under Gonski, but Mr Pyne insists it is time to go back to the drawing board.

In the meantime, it remains unclear where schools funding will come from after 2014. The former head of the New South Wales Education Department and co-author of the Gonski report, Dr Ken Boston, says the situation could bring public education to its knees.

“Gonski was a done deal. This had been signed up. Mr Abbott had talked of a unity ticket,” Dr Boston said. “Now we’ve not only backed away, apparently, from the unity ticket, we’ve potentially backed away from Commonwealth support for public education. It’s extraordinary. It’s almost unbelievable that a Commonwealth minister would be silly enough to take such a position.”

Dr Boston says public schools would struggle to survive if the current funding formula continued.

“Assuming there’s no increase in enrolments by 2016/2017, the government sector would’ve received an additional six per cent, a little over $300 million in funding,” Dr Boston said. “The non-government sector would receive an increase in funding of about $2.4 billion, which is a little over 30 per cent of their current funding. Mr Pyne could say it’s up to the states to pick up public school funding, but no state government is in a position to find an additional 30 per cent for public schools. He will bring public education to its knees.”

@verity_penfold update via @m_dangerfield + @abcnews

Government Defends Backflip on Education Backflip

UPDATED! December 2, 2013: Education Minister Christopher Pyne has defended his handling of the Gonski education reforms, saying he succeeded in creating a national funding model where Labor failed. The Federal Government has backed down on its decision to axe Labor’s Gonski reforms, pledging now to fund the plan for four years.

On Monday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Pyne announced school funding deals struck by the previous Labor government with four states and the ACT would be honoured. It also announced “in-principle” agreements with Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory that will see $1.2 billion in extra education funding delivered.

The backflip comes after criticism the Government broke an election promise made by Mr Abbott, who had said the Coalition was on a “unity ticket” with Labor on the issue. Mr Pyne defended the Government’s newfound support for the Labor-negotiated funding deals on the ABC’s 7.30 program, saying it was a “complicated process” made difficult by the “shambles” left behind by the Labor Party.

“I’ve just spent the last 11 weeks trying to sort through the mess that Bill Shorten left me as the Education Minister,” Mr Pyne told the ABC’s 7.30 program. “Three jurisdictions had signed agreements. Two had been claimed to have signed it, but hadn’t. The Catholics hadn’t signed an agreement and … two states and one territory weren’t even in the national model.”

Mr Pyne says the Coalition has now succeeded in signing up all states and territories.

“What I’ve managed to achieve is to get every state and territory in a national model, which Bill Shorten never achieved, and [return] $1.2 billion extra in spending on students that Bill Shorten ripped out in the pre-election financial outlook,” Mr Pyne said.

The $1.2 billion refers to additional funding Labor had offered under its schools funding model, but which was not allocated because those states – led by conservative governments – had not signed up to the Gonski model.

The Prime Minister says the additional money will come from savings to be announced in about a week with the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

Mr Pyne says the Coalition will be spending more on education than Labor would have, had it won the election.

“If Labor had been re-elected, they would’ve spent $1.6 billion in extra money. We’re spending $2.8 billion,” the Minister for Education said. “I’ve delivered the national funding agreement that eluded Bill Shorten and Julia Gillard. I think that’s quite a good day at the office.”

The Federation of Parents and Citizens Association says the Coalition’s reversal is the right call. Federation spokeswoman Rachel Sowden says the Abbott Government underestimated the community’s anger on the issue.

“We’ve had the downs and the ups and the roundabouts and the double backflips and now we’re almost off the ride, so that’s fantastic,” Ms Sowden said. “We’re excited they have heard the voice of community and parents and premiers of states and they’ve listened to the outcry and they’ve made some changes.”

high profile coalition frontbencher Barnaby Joyce said the Coalition had to find the extra $1.2 billion before it could change its education policy position.

“We had to deal with the promise that we would deliver what the Labor Party was going to deliver, but the Labor Party, from the … statements before the election, were going to deliver $1.2 billion less,” Mr Joyce told Lateline. “We had to negotiate our way through the figures and find the money so that we can deliver on the promise as the public sees it, and that’s only fair enough and that’s what was done.”

In announcing the new agreements on Monday, Prime Minister Mr Abbott said the Government would “dismantle” the regulations and red tape associated with Labor’s deal as it does not want to “run public schools out of Canberra”.

“I suspect that New South Wales and Victoria will be happy to lose the Canberra command and control elements of those deals but certainly the financial arrangements for the next four years will be absolutely adhered to,” the Prime Minister said.

It will shelve Labor’s ideas of imposing management plans for states’ schools systems, setting up Canberra-based inspectors and gathering extra data in Canberra. It has also not committed to the full six years of funding proposed by Labor – a move criticised by the Australian Education Union.

Deputy Union president Correna Haythorpe says the Government is effectively only committing to a third of the funding promised to the states that signed up to Gonski. She says most of the funding would have flowed in the last two years of the six-year agreements. “Today’s statement has done little to provide certainty for Australian schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

RELATED! Australian Government Very Very Quietly Shifts Israeli Settlement Policy

Australia Quietly Shift Settlement PolicyAustralia’s Federal Government has very quietly backflipped it’s position on the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Acting on instruction from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Australian government officials at the United Nations have withdrawn their nations support for an order that would have seen a halt to the expansion of any Israeli settlements in all of the occupied territories.

Under the previous – Labor Government – Australia condemned the settlements, but since the Coalition won office Australia has abstained from United Nations votes on the issue, returning Australia to the Howard-era policy of not supporting votes critical of Israel settlements. The current tight-lipped approach to implementation has seen NO information released on the governments change in Middle East policy.

In a statement released today, the Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed the policy shift, saying it reflects the Government’s concern that Middle East resolutions should be balanced. The statement says the Government considers each resolution on a case-by-case basis and will not support those which are one-sided or pre-judge the outcome of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

However, diplomats warn the fragile relationship is on rocky ground after Australia signalled it would abstain from voting at the United Nations on motions that condemn the expansion of Israeli settlements :: Read the full article »»»»

REBLOG! Dr Maryanne Demasi’s Playing With My Heart, Again…

Dr Maryanne Demasi As previously mentioned, I’m not a huge television watcher, discerning nut no couch-potato, one show I must see each and every week – or I seriously get the grumps – is Catalyst.

For those not-in-the-know, Catalyst is a superlative Australian science program aired weekly on ABC TV, it’s always current, often a lark and most beautifully produced.

My favourite science reporter is back with another superlative question, “Is the role of cholesterol in heart disease really one of the biggest myths in the history of medicine?”

The answer is surprising. In this must see episode of Catalyst, Dr Demasi and team track down some surprising insights.  The science show has come under considerable fire from sections of the medical community for it’s latest two-part special.

Catalyst described the claim that saturated fats and cholesterol causes heart attacks as one of the biggest myths of medical history. Professor Emily Banks, the chair of the Advisory Committee on the Safety of Medicines, raised concerns over the program prompting people not to take necessary medicines.

Ms Demasi, a Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Research, says as a broadcaster she has a responsibility to inform the public that people may be using the drugs unnecessarily. Ms Demasi (we should be calling her Dr, but Ms sounds so neat) said via Catalyst’s Facebook page that she moved from medical science to journalism to encourage critical thinking about people’s health :: Read the full article »»»»

RELATED! Google’s Taken Control! The Mobile World Runs on Android

TAKEN CONTROL! Google AndroidThe uncool kid on the block, Google’s Android, now controls more than 80% of the global smartphone market, with Microsoft’s Windows Phone also experiencing explosive growth according to new numbers.

The worldwide mobile market shipped an amazing 467 million new phones in the third quarter of 2013. Mobile researchers IDC said figures show the overall market grew 39.9% to 261.1 million units, up from 186.7 million a year ago.

The clear market leader was Google Android, shipping upward of 210 million devices, more than the total number of smartphones sold for all platforms combined quarter on quarter.

The platform now claims an amazing 81% of the worldwide smartphone market, but wait there’s more :: Read the full article »»»»

RELATED! I’d Almost Trade My Bianchi Fixie For Ralf Holleis’ 3D Printed Pista

Ralf Holleis’ 3D Printed Pista

I ride a Pista, and for a long time I’ve thought it – my chrome-moly limited edition Bianchi – the most perfect Pista ever built, aesthetically and trackside.  German übergestalter Ralf Holleis has just broken my dream, creating the above stunning super lightweight track bike, the VRZ 2 BELT, resplendent with 3D – lasercused – printed titanium lugs :: Read the full article »»»»

RELATED! Google Maps Highlights UTA Flight 772 Memorial

UTA Flight 772I’d love to say ‘I STUMBLED UPON THIS‘ however, I didn’t. My facebook buddy Ben Frost did, it’s now gone completely viral!

On Tuesday, 19 September 1989 a McDonnell Douglas DC-10 aircraft registered N54629/UTA Flight 772 took off from N’Djamena International Airport at 13:13.

46 minutes later, at its cruising altitude of 10,700 metres/35,100 ft, a bomb explosion caused UTA Flight 772 to break up over the Sahara Desert near the towns of Bilma and Ténéré in Niger. All 155 passengers and 15 crew members died.

The victims came from 18 different countries, the majority being French or Congolese nationals: 54 French, 48 nationals of People’s Republic of Congo, 25 Chadians, 9 Italians, 7 Americans, 5 Cameroonians, 4 Britons, 3 nationals of Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo), 3 Canadians, 2 Central Africans, 2 Malians, 2 Swiss, 1 Algerian, 1 Bolivian, 1 Belgian, 1 Greek, 1 Moroccan and 1 Senegalese.

On the flight deck were Captain Georges Raveneau, as instructor; First Officer Jean-Pierre Hennequin in training; safety pilot Michel Crézé; and Flight Engineer Alain Bricout. In the cabin were Pursers Jean-Pierre Baschung and Michele Vasseur, along with Flight Attendants Alain Blanc, Laurence de Boery-Penon, Martine Brette, Anne Claisse, Nicole Deblicker, Ethery Lenoble, Gael Lugagne, Veronique Marella, Jean-Pierre Mauboussin.

The rest of this story might simply be legend, whatever, it is one of the most touching pictorial stories doing the interweb rounds. Check the gallery, it truly is moving :: Read the full article »»»»

By: @verity_penfold + @BuddhasBrother + @m_a_silverman


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