The Prime Minister’s decision to throw Peter Garrett, the education minister, a lifeline in the form of Brendan O’Connor to manage the school funding review, chaired by David Gonski, proves how sensitive and potentially politically damaging the issue is.

Non-government schools enrolments have surged over the last 15 or so years with much of the increase occurring in low fee paying non-denominational schools in marginal seats that are crucial in any election campaign.

During the 2004 election campaign Mark Latham’s hit list of wealthy private schools proved an electoral liability and when education minister, the now Prime Minister Julia Gillard, assured non-government schools and their parents that schools would not suffer financially as a result of the review.

Notwithstanding Gillard’s assurances about maintaining current levels of funding the question arises: are non-government schools being set up for a fall with the Gonski report designed to cut funding and to curtail the freedom such schools currently enjoy to best reflect the needs and aspirations of their school communities?

Based on recent interviews given by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Peter Garrett, the federal education minister, the answer is ‘yes’.  Instead of waiting for the official release of the report, due early next year, both Gillard and Garrett have begun to pre-empt possible recommendations by going public on the funding issue.

It’s also clear that both the Prime Minister and the education minister have accepted the cultural-left’s mistaken view (adopted by the Gonski review panel) that non-government schools reinforce inequality and that funding must be redirected from such schools to government schools defined as disadvantaged.

Minister Garrett argues that the current socioeconomic status (SES) system used to apportion government funding to Catholic and independent schools is “all over the place” and he hopes the Gonski review will recommend a “fundamental break from the systems of the past”.

Echoing arguments put by the Australian Education Union (AEU) that the presence of non-government schools and the way they are funded have led to government schools being residualised, Minister Garrett also states that, “We’re at risk of a two-tiered school system in this country and I want to avoid that”.

Prime Minister Gillard, in a recent interview with the Murdoch Press’ Samantha Maiden, also argues that Australia needs a “new model of school funding” and that the current system, apparently, fails the fairness test as it reinforces inequality.

The Prime Minister also echoes an argument much favoured by non-government school critics that Australia’s education system reinforces disadvantage when she states, “Our data always shows, compared to other countries, that we let disadvantaged kids down”.

The fact that both the Prime Minister and the education minister refuse to guarantee, under any new funding model, that payments to non-government schools will be indexed and that schools will not be financially penalised as a result of raising money at the local level also suggest non-government schools will suffer.

The first thing to note about the Gillard/Garrett scenario of educational inequality and the place of non-government schools is that it is flawed and misconceived.  While the existing SES system has its critics, the reality is that it is based on need with better resourced non-government schools only receiving 13.7 per cent of the recurrent funding received per government school student.

The fact that approximately 32 per cent of students across Australia attend non-government schools and governments only contribute 57 per cent of the cost of educating such students means that billions are saved every year that can be spent in other areas such as social welfare and health.

While it’s true that certain groups of students (indigenous, low SES and non-English speaking) underperform, the reality is that OECD research shows that Australia, largely as a result of our education system, has a high degree of social mobility.  It shouldn’t surprise that a recent report by the UK’s The Sutton Trust, on analysing educational inequality across Germany, the US, England, Sweden, France, Canada and Australia, concluded that Australia, along with Canada, had the “smallest disparities between adolescents with high and low-educated parents”.

Being working class or a migrant does not necessarily lead to failure and research, both here and overseas, proves that equally, if not more important, than SES background in determining success are characteristics like, ability, motivation, school culture, classroom environment and teacher quality.

Instead of reinforcing inequality and disadvantage, it is also the case that non-government schools, as they best embody such in-school characteristics, are more effective than government schools in raising standards and achieving strong educational outcomes; even after adjusting for students’ SES.

As noted by two researchers from Western Australia investigating Australia’s NAPLAN results, in a paper titled Lessons From My School and published in the December 2011 edition of Australian Economic Review, “The results also indicate that test outcomes vary by school sector, with non-government schools having higher average scores, even after differences in schools’ ICSEA are taken into account” (ICSEA measures the characteristics of a school’s population).

Additional evidence that non-government schools are effective in overcoming disadvantage is found in a 2011 report sponsored by the US based National Bureau of Economic Research titled Does School Autonomy Make Sense Everywhere? Panel Estimates from PISA.

After analysing the results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests over the last 10 years or so the researchers conclude that the presence of privately operated schools is associated with stronger performing education systems.  The paper also argues that school autonomy, an important characteristic of non-government schools, does not lead to educational inequality.

The researchers write, “Finally, there is no indication that autonomy differentially affects students with well-off and disadvantaged backgrounds.  This suggests that autonomy reforms do not effect inequality between students with different social backgrounds in either developed or developing countries”.

In her interview with Samantha Maiden, Prime Minister Gillard is quoted as saying that education is vitally important because, “what you do in schools today will make a long-term difference for national prosperity”.

If the Prime Minister and her government are serious then they will ensure that any new school funding model, to be legislated next year and implemented in 2014, will ensure that non-government schools, on the basis of efficiency and equity, are properly funded and supported and that non-government school parents are not financially penalised because of school choice.

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • Mattb says:

      06:23am | 16/12/11

      “The fact that approximately 32 per cent of students across Australia attend non-government schools and governments only contribute 57 per cent of the cost of educating such students means that billions are saved every year that can be spent in other areas such as social welfare and health.”

      Sheesh, what a boring read that was. The above paragraph stood out though. Really loved the way you played with the figures and structured the paragraph.

      ‘governments only contribute 57 per cent of the cost of educating such students saving billions”


      “Parents of non-government schools and the non- government schools themselves only cover 43 percent of the cost of educating their children/ students (whilst force feeding them christian propaganda) costing the government billions”

    • gobsmack says:

      07:03am | 16/12/11

      I’m curious about the “57 per cent of the cost of educating such students”.
      Does that cost include the costs incurred by private schools of maintaining their army cadets, the trips to Africa, etc. or is it the cost of providing a basic education?

    • Tubesteak says:

      08:01am | 16/12/11

      Yep. They cost us billions yet want to remain outside of the school funding system thus reducing the quality of education for so-called public schools.

      If you choose to eschew the public system then you should fund it yourself. Just as I have to pay for a car myself if I choose to eschew public transport. The government doesn’t pay 57% of my car.

      If a different school system is so important to you then fund it yourself or go to public schools. That way the money can be more effectively spend within the one system.

    • David says:

      08:16am | 16/12/11

      Parents of those attending ‘government’ schools pay bugger all - leave well enough alone!

    • Nathan says:

      08:21am | 16/12/11

      You guys can say what you want about how its wrong and you what you are right. The reality though is if the schools are not funded more children go into the state schools system driving costs up. Religion is part of it but hardly forced down my throat.

      “army cadets, the trips to Africa, etc. or is it the cost of providing a basic education?” Very small % of schools have cadets. I went to Nepal with my school but the school didn’t pay a cent.

    • mick says:

      08:24am | 16/12/11

      People need to read the following link to get a better perspective into Kevin Donnelly’s credibility -  his views are not particularly well received in sections of the education sector:

      Having worked in all 3 education sectors I can verify that the public system is the very poor cousin of the education sector.  There is no denying that by and large students do well in the sector but this is because trouble makers are shafted very quickly and end up in public schools where they are permitted to disrupt the education process.  Only the bright survive there.  And then kids in public education can choose whether they want to learn or not whilst in private schools there is more pressure on students to study and conform.

      Both Catholic and Independent schools are generally well resourced and some do not need the generous funds which are doled out to them.  Public schools languish a.  Schools are falling apart due to lack of adequate maintenance and capital works are rare with the exception of the injection of funds since the GFC.

      Private schools generally are doing quite nicely.  The stories about second swimming pools and the like irk average Australians and the money shovelled into the private sector is like reducing tax liability for the wealthy…..unfair.

      All Australians need to be able to access education and funding is but one of the factors which determine how well students engage.  I applaud Gillard for wanting to adopt the report.  You can see the sharks circling and Donnelly appears to be one of the pack.

    • Bomb78 says:

      09:21am | 16/12/11

      Mattb: I was fortunate enough to go to good private and public schools, so I can both research and add up.
      My local public primary school gets over $9,000 per student in total government funding per year. My local Catholic primary school gets under $7,000 in total government funding per year. Somewhere along the line this one Catholic school saved governments federal and state $1.2 million in recurring funding, and about $10 million in start-up capital if we were to build a new public school to accommodate all of these students.
      Now, were we to extrapolate those numbers across the 103 primary primary schools with 42,000 students administered by the Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, we talking $84 million a year in recurring funding and around $700 million in capital. That’s a new regional hospital and enough staff to run it, year in year out, on the money saved by the government because some people choose to pay to send their kids to a Catholic school - or maybe more appropriately, that would fund 9,000 public school students.
      These 42,000 kids don’t get government funding do take overseas trips and the classrooms are no different from those provided to kids in public schools (although the schools are probably on the whole better maintained). The private sector simply operate more efficiently, and the public purse in benefitting as a result.

    • Dean says:

      09:58am | 16/12/11

      that motor car you talk about runs on public roads though. To make what you say true your car needs to run on private roads only.  But then again you pay taxes that entitles you use public roads with your private car. I pay taxes so my children can be educated and they entitled to share in taxes we all pay regardless of where they go to school.

    • Tim says:

      11:11am | 16/12/11

      to get that government funding private schools have to teach to an approved curriculum.
      Thus the government is controlling what these schools can teach which is the requirement they must meet to receive funding.
      Anyone that says private schools don’t save the government money is kidding themselves.

    • Little Joe says:

      11:46am | 16/12/11

      @ Tubesteak

      What planet are you on??

      Just say 1,000,000 children go to school it costs $10,000 to educate a child every year.

      Scenario 1
      100% children went to public schools.
      Government Cost = $10,000,000,000

      Scenario 2
      50% children went to private schools that received 50% funding from the Government.
      Cost = $7,500,000,000

      Scenario 2 saves the Government $2,500,000,000.

      Now let’s say we close all Private Schools ...... what happens!!!

      First we flood the public system ..... after that it just disintegrates doesn’t it so who cares what happens next. If people check their history books this little scenario was experimented with in the 1963 Federal Election. Good luck with that!!!

    • Tator says:

      11:51am | 16/12/11

      The government doesn’t force you to own a motor vehicle or travel on public transport yet the Government makes it compulsary for a child to attend school until they are 17 years old (with a few exceptions for home schooled children).
      Now that is why there should be some government funding for private schools.

    • Mattb says:

      01:30pm | 16/12/11

      Bomb 78

      “mattb: I was fortunate enough to go to good private and public schools, so I can both research and add up.”

      I went to both a good public school for 8 and 9, and then a private catholic for 10,11 and 12. So if that means I also know how to ‘research’ then you would also know how to critically analyse what your researching. That’s all I did above. I stated that the way Kevin structured the paragraph I highlighted was deceiving and his use of the figures could easily be turned against him and his inane argument.

    • Bruce says:

      10:25am | 17/12/11

      Question ? How many of the kids of the labor and coalition politicians go to private schools ? Many I would suggest !

    • Adam says:

      01:56am | 18/12/11

      What a load of hodge podge! I’d rather see our government spend the money smartly and have more money be invested in education than to have ideology take precedent over common sense.

      If you look at the government spending (Federal + state, the state governments should and do make the biggest contribution to their state education systems) you’ll see that there’s a fraction of the money going towards private education. As long as the government isn’t spending more per student on those in the private sector than those in the public, I don’t really care that much.

      Rich people pay tax. (And most of the parents who send their students to private schools aren’t what you would consider rich). They’re entitled to some government support.

      I can’t believe how childish we’re all getting about this.

      Quoting the article and making sly remarks is hardly an argument. It was really a bore and didn’t really give any insight into what your solution would be. I’d give you an F. And I went to a public school for the record.

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:29am | 16/12/11

      Jesus mate, TL:DR.

      Can you give us the government schools version please?

    • acotrel says:

      06:30am | 16/12/11

      Which private schools in Melbourne perform as well as MacRobertson Girls High School or Melbourne Boys High School, as fas as HSC results are concerned, and future success of their students at universtity?  Wouldn’t we be better off subsidising more schools of the same type , rather than topping up the funds of the spoon-fed elite ?

    • Nathan says:

      08:24am | 16/12/11

      Spoon-fed elite give me a break the school’s you mention are more elite than private schools. Dumb argument

      Private schools out perform for a number of reasons.
      One is because no one get fired in the state system unless they fiddle with kids, the teachers don’t want accountability. Parents pay to have a say in the education and you demonize them and the students.

    • james says:

      08:57am | 16/12/11

      Private schools can kick out the duds.

      Public schools have to take them.

      Fair system = fair results.

    • Blind Freddy says:

      10:26am | 16/12/11

      You say, “Private schools out perform for a number of reasons” and then provide one.

      How about socio-economic disadvantage and the fact that state schools can’t pick and choose their pupils. Some private school students are wealthy enough that mummy and daddy can pay for them to go to Nepal on a school excursion!

      On a brighter note however, I also remember seeing resarch that showed that private school kids drop out of university at a higher rate than state school students because they can’t cope with having to think for themselves.

    • PsychoHyena says:

      10:51am | 16/12/11

      @Nathan… You’re right, in private schools teachers don’t get kicked out even if they fiddle with kids.

    • Tim says:

      11:14am | 16/12/11

      selective public schools don’t have to take everyone either.
      What do you think about those evil elite public schools?

      that’s a disgusting comment and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    • james says:

      11:39am | 16/12/11

      “selective public schools”

      Have an entrance exam and are there for academic excellence. Once you are in you are in.

      “selective private schools”

      Weed out those who don’t make the “grade”
      Those kids should then be rejected by the government system as they are deemed unfit.

      You want to reject the public system, then you reject the money it provides. Private schools should not get a cent of government money.

    • Tim says:

      12:23pm | 16/12/11

      So you’re OK with some schools deciding who they accept but only if it’s for academic reasons and only if they’re public? Riggghhht.
      All this does is exclude those poor people who don’t make the “grade”, forcing them to learn with the other dullards. Surely this must offend your sense of equality?

    • james says:

      01:09pm | 16/12/11


      It is the criteria for accepting a student that is important.

      There a few selective public schools, and many selective private schools.
      Get the picture?

    • Dean says:

      01:41pm | 17/12/11

      I work in a Catholic school & I know the inner workings. It is near impossible to kick a students, the process is long and fair to all stake holders. No student is ever kick for academic performance, it is always an issue of behaviour.  In most cases it is the its the parents who give up and withdraw child as they are sick of being made accountable for their child’s actions, some parents believe because they pay school fees the school does the parenting. For the others if they want a place in a Catholic school then the child is move to another Catholic school. 

      One final point in SW Sydney where I live there are only four selective schools and they are all DET.

    • Little Joe says:

      08:18am | 19/12/11

      @ Acotrel

      Your ignorance is total!!

      “The Mac.Robertson Girls’ High School is an academically selective, public high school for girls, located in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.” (Source :’_High_School)

      Cost to Government / student - $11,350

      “Melbourne High School is an academic select entry school for 1,360 Year 9 to12 boys with approximately 340 at each year level. Admission is via statewide academic entry test and our students come from every suburb in the Melbourne metropolitan area and from a very diverse range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. It is the oldest, most prestigious and academically successful government secondary school in Victoria.” (Source :

      Cost to Government / student - $12,992

      My son’s school only costs the government $7,500/student

    • Alf says:

      06:42am | 16/12/11

      The “Education Revolution” can be added to the list of Labor failures. I still see the mental picture of Rudd and Gillard in 2007, standing together waving a laptop in the air proclaiming a “..a computer for every student in years 9-12”. That was just the first lie in the saga…..

      BTW. Ironic name for the person who chaired the review of school funding - Gonski.

    • jay-ded says:

      07:45am | 16/12/11

      They forgot to tell everyone that they also set a limit of one million dollars for each school.  Each computer, software etc cost $1000 per laptop, so if the school in question has over 1000 students then the parents will have to pay for the computers.

      My boys are in grade 10 next year.  The school that they go to had a parent night where they told us that the new laptops had come in.  These laptops are the tiny acer laptops. but wait you also get this:

      Advantages of a 1 to 1 Laptop program

      · Teaching and learning will be transformed with abundant access to technology
      · Exclusive use of a commercial grade, high-end laptop and software at a fraction of the retail cost of a similar device, with access 24/7, 365 days a year
      · Wireless connectivity across the school site, with access to network drives, internet, online classrooms and printing
      · 2GB/month 3G Data Plan able to be utilised at home
      · Laptop is owned, maintained and supported by Ferny Grove SHS
      · Students have exclusive access to a school operated Help Desk
      · Accidental damage, loss and theft insurance – at home and school (protected by CompuTrace) – an excess will apply
      · Blue Coat internet filtering
      · In the case of device failure, a Hot Swap device will be supplied until replacement or repair if the delay is longer than 48 hours
      · A strong, sturdy carry bag will be supplied

      You get all of the above for a low low price of $200 per student per year. 
      The above mentions internet filtering which is included in the $200 and I have to pay for, yet the C’wth provides 4 internet filter applications for FREE download. The blue coat web-site lists the program for FREE - so can someone explain to me why I am paying for it?

      Under DER, the school received $1,000 per machine and $53k for infrastructure and software upgrades. So why am I paying $200 p.a. over 3 years ($600 each) for a free $500 laptop to gain a carry bag and expensive data access?

      I told the school that my kids already had laptops and could they use those at school?  No.

      Okay, If I don’t want to go into the program and pay the $200?  Your child will have to do the work manually.

      If my child had to work on a computer for graphics or something similar?  Then the school would have to make sure he had access to a computer.

      smile  Ka Ching!  That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:06am | 16/12/11


      You don’t make a bad point, though I’d mention that all the kids in Grade 9 and 10 of my daughter’s school are issued laptops on a loan system.  Shibby.

    • mick says:

      09:18am | 16/12/11

      Have you renewed your Liberal Party membership yet Alf?

      Get real.  Your liberal party had 11 years in office and only managed to shove bucket loads of money into private education.  Well I guess you have to build school swimming polls some how.

    • Bomb78 says:

      01:29pm | 16/12/11

      Mick - the ALP has a virtual monopoly at state level in the last 15 years, and what did it do with the state education system for which it is constitutionally obligated to provide?
      The Catholic high school I went to had a swimming pool - it’s been there since I was a toddler. It was paid for by a special building levy on the families at the school in the late 1970’s. It took years to save the money, and some of the families that contributed never benefited from it. The huge hall next to the swimming pool was build in the 1990’s, using the same system - and my kids will get the chance to use to use both when they go there is a few years time. I’ll then probably pay for new science labs that might not be ready until my kids finish there.
      Refer to my post higher up - the elephant in the room is the room is the inefficient bureaucratic nature of public education. Please explain to me why the 700 student public school in my suburb has a principal and three deputies – whilst the Catholic primary school with 600 students has just a principal to run the show? And don’t get me started on the office towers in the Brisbane CBD full of staff working for the education department.

    • mick says:

      03:00pm | 16/12/11

      You won’t get too many schools with 3 deputies Bomb78.  Whilst I agree with you in regard to State Labor having let things go to the pack everywhere you have to acknowledge that 11 years of Howard never saw any reforms and whilst wealthy people were nicely accommodated things which benefited average Australians stagnated and state schools were cut loose.

      I do agree about the public service generally.  A public servant recently gave me the one which goes “politicians come and politicians go but the public service just grows and grows”.  It irks me somewhat awful that we have a huge group of public servants which sit in offices and produce reams of useless reports and that some of these earn 3 times what the people who run the nation earn.  The frustrating part is that average Australians never get up and say boo so what ever changes.

      If you went to a Catholic School you should have had a good education.  There were a lot of problems in catholic schools at the time I was teaching, most not seen by the general public, but as far as students were concerned the staff were very much focussed on their achievement.  From what I could see this was not unusual. 

      As far the post is concerned I do find it a bit rich that like every other issue in Australian politics it is again all Labor’s fault.  People need to see that some things belong to all sides of politics.  This is one of them.  And as far as Donnelly is concerned I am not sure that he has any credibility nor that his views are worth the time of day.  Donnelly appears very much to have an axe to grind.

    • Alf says:

      06:30pm | 16/12/11

      @Mick. “If you went to a Catholic School you should have had a good education”.

      Make your mind up Mick. Is private education a good or bad thing?

    • Steve Putnam says:

      07:23pm | 19/12/11

      @ Alf Howard gave money to private schools which was used to build rifle ranges and indoor swimming pools while students at some public high schools had to share text books and their teachers told to cut down on paper use.
      Australia is the only country in the developed world that subsidises private education in this way. The Howard Government gave more money to private schools than it did to the universities; little wonder we haven’t got a university ranked in the top twenty.
      It always amuses me when conservative politicians prate about “elites” when they condone this odious practice, but it infuriates me when bogans crap on about how Australia is free from class distinction.

    • Dr.Bob says:

      06:44am | 16/12/11

      Surely the moral approach in a supposedly fair (“Advance Australia WHAT?”) society is that education should be free, secular and compulsory. In our currently elitist nation, that objective would take time to evolve. Nevertheless, we should at least be working towards it, despite the power of the religious lobby. If parents want their children taught some faith as an alternative to science and reason, there’s plenty of available time outside school hours and all young Australians should have the same opportunities, regardless of parental wealth.

    • gobsmack says:

      06:59am | 16/12/11

      Who comes up with the titles for these articles?
      The author’s point is that the government should continue to prop up private schools not leave them alone.

    • jay-ded says:

      07:51am | 16/12/11

      I don’t see why we even call them private schools if the government is handing out our taxpayer money to them.  They’re really semi-public schools aren’t they?

    • MarkS says:

      08:22am | 16/12/11

      Elitist rubbish, I resent my tax money being used to continue class advantage. Furthermore I am yet to meet a single ex-private school male who was not a bleeping bleeper.

    • Ryan says:

      09:04am | 16/12/11

      My son’s ‘private’ school receive around $7000 per student in government funding. Parent’s tip in another $5000-7000 or so in fees (depending on their age / grade). The 3 public high schools in .the local area receive an average of $12000 per student in government funding. So this taxpayer saves you $5000 per year. If all the private school parent decided to put their kids in public education next year, the system couldn’t cope.

    • mick says:

      09:24am | 16/12/11

      The point is Ryan that those who choose to send their children to elitist schools should not be subsidised to do so.  It should be a free will choice.  For the same reason that somebody who buys a Rolls instead of a Holden is not subsidised for making this life choice neither should education of the well off be any different.

      The rich have their ways of minimising tax which poor folk cannot ever access or utilise.  There has to be a point where society says enough is enough.

    • Ryan says:

      09:51am | 16/12/11

      The point you are forgetting is that it is the child who is being funded, not the parents. Why not give each child the same funding (entrusted through their parents) ? Then let each family decide which school they wish to spend the money on. If parents then want to pay an additional amount for a different education style then that is their choice. All they want is equality. Are you are saying ‘the well off’ hard working families who send their kids to private school should be less equal in the govenrments eyes?

      People who purchase Holdens are actually substantially subsidised by the government in the form of large payouts to the local auto manufacturing industry. If not, no one could afford a Holden at the price it costs to make them.

      I’m just an average Australian wage earner / taxpayer and a product of a public education myself. Any tips you have on minimising tax glady accepted.

    • AdamC says:

      10:14am | 16/12/11

      Ryan, you need to keep in mind that many of the people who comment on articles like this are extremists with an us-and-them attitude. They have a simple educational worldview of government-run schools good, privately-run schools bad. Therefore, anything that benefits government schools is a good idea, and anything which is perceived as benefiting private schools is a threat to western civilisation.

      Any negative consequences of attacking private schools is simply ignored.

    • mick says:

      10:32am | 16/12/11

      what else would one expect from somebody who has no experience at the coal face AdamC.  Easier to write critics off as ‘extremist’ rather than address the reality that public system education is for the major part a throw away system.  Take a job teaching, get a few decades under your belt in all 3 systems and then spew out the elitist and discrimination jargon.  And maybe learn a little about life and maybe want to see a fair distribution of the national wealth, or at the very least give fair access to decent education to the poor.  We all know that education is the leveller in society.  Sad that you want to keep this as an entitlement for the rich.  Blah, blah, blah…...

    • MarkS says:

      11:29am | 16/12/11

      The idea of funding each child and allow the market a proper say is a worthy one, but equal money for each child is a problem. I have no problem with say $12,000 or more for the child of somebody who has not got two dollar coins to rub together.

      But I will be damned if I am happy with the same $12,000 for the child of somebody who lives in a mansion. If they are more than capable of funding their child’s education, then they should do so, not bludge off me.

    • Tator says:

      12:13pm | 16/12/11

      only problem is it is that it is those who can afford the $12k in fees that are paying the taxes that provide the $12k for those who can’t afford it so they are paying for their own children and somebody elses. This is because the top 20% of income earners are paying nearly twice as much in tax than the other 80% (61.3% of income tax receipts are paid for by the top 20% of income earners according to ATO 08/09 tax stats)
      Then if you take Family Tax benefit, it has been commented on that the lowest 40% of families pay NO net income tax anyway which puts more of the tax burden on those on higher income.

    • Tim says:

      12:25pm | 16/12/11

      I agree.
      Now when can we start charging all those rich parents who send their kids to public schools. I’m sick of paying for their kids education.

    • Ryan says:

      12:32pm | 16/12/11

      Does that mean it’s OK for the child of someone who hasn’t ‘two dollar coins to rub together’ (ie not paying tax) to receive the funding, but someone who has worked hard and therefore paying more tax has to fund other children’s education but not receive funding for their own child?

      The parents at our school already save the taxpayer $7,500,000 per year (1500 students @ $5000) per year. How much more can we give?

    • glenm says:

      12:42pm | 16/12/11

      @ Mark S
      It sounds like you are personally funding the education of everyone from your taxes.  Personally I pay a staggering amount of tax each year and also pay for my children to have a private education. You are not funding my childs education. I am funding them all on my own.
      Everyone here seems to have missed the point, It costs the government more to fund a public education place than a private place. It would be economic illiteracy of the federal government to remove private funding. MarkS , I am not bludging off you I am saving you money by putting my children in a private school.

    • Alf says:

      06:35pm | 16/12/11

      Communist rubbish, I resent my tax money being used to continue class disadvantage. Furthermore I am yet to meet a singele ex-public school male who was not a complete moron.

    • AdamC says:

      08:51am | 16/12/11

      The anti-private education Jihad of Australia’s palao-lefties has become one of the last great ideological divides in Australian politics. (The others being industrial relations and passive welfare ‘rights’.)

      De-funding private schools, preferred by many parents, and flushing those funds down the cisterns of the states’ demonstrably inferior, bureaucracy-ridden state education systems makes no sense outside of some people’s trogoldyte-socialist obsession with making sure everyone gets an equally bad education that conforms to the soft-totalitiarian indoctrination priority du jour. For those of us who think the purpose of education is, well, education, it simply makes no sense.

      Having an educational race-to-the-bottom merely to satisfy the destructive instincts of the lesser parts of Labor’s left is so politically appalling and despicable that Gillard just might do it. Never mind the collateral damage will be Australian children.

    • mick says:

      09:28am | 16/12/11

      The rich looking after the rich AdamC.  You clearly know nothing about public education, how it works and why many students in the public sector cannot and do not reach their potential in the education system.  Oh to be as rich as you and be able to spew up such rubbish to preserve the rights of the wealthy.

    • AdamC says:

      09:47am | 16/12/11

      There is lots of shallow invective there, Mick. As a teacher, aren’t you supposed to be interested in ideas and knowledge? Instead, your class hate is poisoning your consideration of the issues.

      In any event, only a fool would trade educational quality for educational equality. Everyone having an equally bad education is not a good thing, as much as you may think it will irritate the rich. Indeed, ‘the rich’ would continue to send their kids to elite schools, subsidy or no subsidy, and said elite schools would simply become more exclusive. Which would leave you, still, a very angry man.

    • mick says:

      10:38am | 16/12/11

      I have done very nicely out of life AdamC.  If I appear to take sides it is because I have seen the carnage and inequality.  I have no “class hate” whatsoever but I do champion the deliberate attempts of those who have to walk over those who don’t have.  I can see which camp you are in and congratulate you on your achievements in life.  If you had a christian bone in your body you would understand where I am coming from and why I am not happy to wipe my feet on the those who cannot get out of the hole of life.

      Have a nice Christmas and maybe spare a thought for those less fortunate enough than yourself.

    • Yuri says:

      12:02pm | 16/12/11

      I 100% agree with that AdamC

      If there is such a difference between the education standards of private and public schools, then look at increasing the standards of public schools, not decreasing the standards of private schools. Personally, I don’t think there is much of a difference in education standards, just that private schools have more extra-curricular activiities and facilities.

      If government funding is cut from private schools, then they will become even more elitist as a lot of middle-income families would no longer be able to afford the fees. This would put a greater strain on the public education system with the influx of students, and thus decrease the education standard of the public system.

    • Matt says:

      08:55am | 16/12/11

      Your last paragraph is a joke, not to mention the rest of the article - to claim funding should be on the basis of equity?!?!  Equity?!  Like how catholic schools treat homosexual students and teachers with ‘equity’? 

      Also, if you’re whining about possible changes to funding, you shouldn’t close with reminding everyone that it’s a choice to send kids to private schools..  Useless hypocritical trash article..

    • mick says:

      09:30am | 16/12/11

      A quote about the author of this blog from the link I gave above”

      “a cherry-picking exercise that would disgrace an undergraduate. Armed with a stock of cliches and prejudices, and with quite a few windmills to tilt at, Donnelly lays about the past forty years with an acute lack of discrimination, quite often plainly not understanding what he is criticising.”

    • Bobby B says:

      10:41am | 16/12/11

      I object to private schools as there is no guarantee that the teachers will peddle lefty-socialist PC crap to the students all day. We want young voters brainwashed and not thinking for themselves!

    • mick says:

      12:22pm | 16/12/11

      Teachers present the best argument they can based on the facts available and then do what the liberal side of politics never wants to do….debate and see where it goes.  Recent criticism of teachers is just another in a long line of teacher bashing.  This seems to be a political football and is entrenched as teachers are an easy target.

      Teachers do not go to ‘left wing’ training couses and accusing them of peddling this is unfair.  If you want lifeless robots who teach students facts and figures then so be it.  But then we have the other side of society which wants students to have all of the interaction skills and this requires what you are complaining about Bobby B, lively and informed debate.

    • marley says:

      01:44pm | 16/12/11

      @mick - I’m a bit dismayed that you don’t know the difference between “liberal” politics and Liberal politics.  I’ve found that there are lots of Liberals in Australia, and lots of “progressives.”  But liberals, not so much.  And it’s small “l” liberals who are the first, not the last,  to question perceived truth.

    • acotrel says:

      03:47am | 17/12/11

      The name ‘Liberal Party’ is false advertising.  LNP supporters just love their party exercising authority ! - ‘liberal’ they ain’t !

    • Alf says:

      09:35am | 17/12/11

      @acotrel. “The name ‘Liberal Party’ is false advertising”.

      Labor took the U out of labour, because U are a pack of social bludgers not labourers.

    • Anjuli says:

      10:46am | 16/12/11

      My grand children go an excellent independent school with in the public system ,the downside is because they live in the catchment area for a high school which has a really bad academic record.  The parents are looking to see if they can afford to send them to a private school which is just a few hundred metres from their home ,they have since learned that it is just as bad .When they moved to the area they were told there was to be a government high school for that suburb ,which did not eventuate,you can’t blame parents who just want the best for their children as all of us pay taxes even those who send their kids to private schools.

    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      10:51am | 16/12/11

      The education debate is one brought with difficulties - been in or with it for more than forty years and the debate is circular. New systems and new arguments, pedagogical, financial or organisational are reinventions of the old with a different name.
      As every thing changes it all stays the same.
      Kids in a technological society will invariably be ahead of their teachers and the majority of kids will learn despite of not because of teachers. Some will be bright, some will be dumb (not PC but true all the same) and the unwashed 60% will get on with a useful life supported by a useful job and society will continue ...

    • The Labor Landslide says:

      12:19pm | 16/12/11

      The NSW HSC 2011 Honor Roll Came out Dec 15 2011 in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph !
      The same old schools as previous years came out on top.
      Other same other schools as previous years came out at the bottom.
      Girls came out on top and boys came out on the bottom.
      The Future needs to be different from the past.

    • stephen says:

      05:35pm | 16/12/11

      A school in Sydney has decided not to include references to santa, have Christmas carols or include mention of Christianity for fear it may upset Jewish and Hindu pupils.
      Jews and Hindus wouldn’t at all be upset by what the mainstream in this country believe, so why is the school ?

    • Peter says:

      07:39am | 17/12/11

      Actually Juliar and Labor leave everything alone because everything Labor touches turns into a disaster.

    • Bill says:

      01:06pm | 18/12/11

      The only solution I can see is to privatise all the state schools. The system would then be 100% private and all schools would be equal. Efficiency, fairness and excellence would then ensue. The less the government does the better, they need to exit education.

    • Claire says:

      03:07pm | 18/12/11

      Do you really forget that Christianity and Christmas is universal and is celebrated by multiculturalism around the world and Jesus was born in middle East in the Jew and Muslims country. Most Christians and religious leaders around the world go to the middle East to recreate the life of Jesus his birth place and the Muslims know that and they don’t mind, why now all the change in Australia school and culture you deny Christmas celebration and religious gathering for a minority. How you think the Australian and multicultural Christians are feeling right now?

    • Lina18Ross says:

      02:09pm | 25/01/12

      Some time before, I really needed to buy a good car for my corporation but I didn’t have enough cash and couldn’t buy anything. Thank heaven my mother adviced to try to take the credit loans from trustworthy creditors. Thus, I acted that and used to be satisfied with my collateral loan.


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free newsletter